Initially composed in the light of this Full Moon, I feel it is ripe for sharing the integration of a recent healing ceremony. This particular ceremony was an all-women's group, so much of what is said may resonate most closely with women, or those that relate more closely to their feminine aspects. However, this does not mean there is not something potent for any of us on the broad spectrum of gender.
As preface, I must first mention that Eastern and Western approaches to consciousness & the function of the body can often be quite different.
In the West, our consciousness is often considered as a sort of pinnacle achievement in the evolution of Life on Earth, and many spiritual traditions (religions specifically) teach us that our bodies are sinful, filled with base desires, and should be tamed, ignored, and repressed.
The Eastern systems tend to take the approach that human consciousness today is considered to be quite deficient, and that through healing and cultivation, via the body, it can be restored to more optimal functioning & higher states of being.
I tend to agree with the eastern approach.
Many are blocked and looking for ways to move forward with their individual paths, their purpose for having a Life. There is much healing to be done to the basic substructure of the energetic body, and in doing so, one finally comes to identify themselves beyond the restrictions of the "false ego".
"The only battle is with Avidyā (ignorance or delusion); confused values & priorities, a limited sense of self, & complacency" - The Yogi's Roadmap: Patañjali Yoga Sutra as a Journey to Self Realization, by Bhavani Silvia Maki
Many of us identify our "selves" with the conditioned patterns and habits that we have accrued during our development in this incarnation. Some of these qualities or characteristics were seen as needed, or were adopted, as a means of protection and survival. Some were merely misguided, and transmitted through generations due to ignorance, although intentions may have been good.
While part of ourselves always knows, always remembers who it is - the ego is not always so apt to realize certain aspects of self that do not fit into its belief structure of reality. The ego is limited, in a sense, to its beliefs and conditioning; in a sense, it is its belief structures and conditioning, and oft times it identifies more with the resistance to healing we need than with the healing life force; prana, mana, qi, ki, chi, the Tao, primordial nature, or whathaveyou.
Translation: We do not always recognize the difference between our personality and the energetic blocks in our chakras. Imagine that there is a continual flow of energy, and wherever there is a belief that is incongruent with the ultimate truth of reality (Love), a block is created. Now imagine that through repetition of thought and action, that trauma becomes frozen in our behavioral patterns, and so energy continues to flow in this manner. We become constricted and numb, disconnected from the earth, from ourselves and each other, and from Spirit... or through awareness and healing it begins to flow again, and we begin to feel connected, sensitive, and once again in touch with our deepest sense of self.
It is in the proper identification - the allowance by the ego to let itself expand its identification of self beyond its definitions of selfhood, so we come to know what/who our "self" truly is. This is an ever-changing, flowing, definition. Like water running through our fingers when we try to grasp it, the self is the embodiment of a sort of flowing impulse in the field of consciousness.
It is through our bodies that we experience this "selfhood". The flow of qi, akin to an aware-ized electrical current, has a relationship to each chakra in the body and is thus expressed through each one in specific ways relating to that chakra. The chakras in that sense remind me of energetic brains. Each one contributes its own intelligence to the overall complete picture of Being.
For most of us, trauma begins at the development of our first chakra - The Muladhara (Root) and is our most fundamental connection to Earth. This imbalance will appear in each subsequent chakra, as it is the most foundational chakra.
In Eastern Body, Western Mind, by Anodea Judith, she articlulates the multidimensionality of the root chakra with such eloquence, explaining that to lose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless.
"Disconnection with the human body is a cultural epidemic. Of all the losses rupturing the human soul today, this alienation may be the most alarming because it separates us from the very roots of our existence. With jobs that are degrading, routines that are automatic, and environments that annihilate our senses, we lose the joy that arises from the dynamic connection with the only living presence we are guaranteed to have for the whole of our lives; our body"
Dissociation produces dangerously disconnected actions... Many people fall into addictions, numbing their aliveness with food, drugs, or compulsive activities. Children are beaten, molested, and marshaled into obedience, driven from their own young bodies before they even learn to understand them, driven by adults who know not what they annihilate... We are taught to control the body by way of mind... and impose these practices on the body rather than listening from within. ... Without the body as the unifying figure of existence, we become fragmented. We repress our aliveness and become machine-like, easily manipulated. We lose our testing ground for Truth.
... Is it any wonder that we equally ignore our physical surroundings, damaging the body of the Earth in order to perpetuate our dissociated survival? Perhaps the increasing problem of homelessness is a metaphor for our own cultural homelessness, for the body is indeed the home of the spirit. Our health care crisis extends far beyond the issue of insurance coverage-- it is a crisis of disconnection with the biological reality of our existence...
... Degradation of our physical reality is a cultural epidemic for which there is no simple cure, no pill to take, no miraculous healing. Nor can we necessarily ease the pain that comes when the numbness wears off and we awaken to the constriction and abuse we have previously accepted. Only by recovering the body can we begin to heal the planet. Healing the split between mind and body is a necessary step in the healing of us all."
Without a strong foundation - the intelligence of the root to communicate its most basic fundamental needs is inhibited. How else then can we begin to translate the language of these impulses into feeling (sacral/2nd chakra) and consequently, trust these impulses (knowings), and then translate them into action (manipura/3rd chakra)? How then, can we walk our path, or live our dreams of being our Highest Self & serving the Collective, if we cannot connect and translate the pulses of the root of our being, which comes from somewhere beyond the scope of our minds and the false ego?
It is up to us to bridge the gap between mind and body.
If we are to be more than mere automatons that cannot think for ourselves, seeking guidance and direction from others, taking orders from outside of ourselves like children that never learned how to translate their own moral ethic from within, we are confined to mental structures of right and wrong that are completely unrooted from reality. Our minds wreak havoc.
It is no wonder that we will discharge weapons or drop bombs on unarmed families, "because those were the orders". It is no wonder we would devastate the planet's natural resources, inject poisons into standing Oaks, and pollute our water supplies at the expense of the world's poorest communities & ourselves... The order came from somewhere "out there", and we lacked the internal structural integrity to identify what is truly right or wrong, acting without any thought of our own, uncertain of our own ability to discern what we should do, and lacking the confidence to defy such leadership when everyone around us is blindly following. We have to learn to Trust ourselves and inner teacher within. We have to move out of the amnesia of our numbness.
" The second chakra - The center of sensation and feeling, emotion and pleasure, intimacy and connection, movement and change--- is instead turned and twisted, squashed and squandered, further severing the perceptual cognition of the mind from the sensate ground of the body. Without touch, we literally become out of touch. Dulled in our senses, behavior becomes senseless instead of sensible." - Anodea Judith
Emotional numbness is a sort of culturally accepted form of insanity. It is seen as a sort of deficiency or weakness to be sensitive, and an inconvenience to have feelings. Women, or any human that identifies more closely with the yin side of things, are often affected most-deeply, as they are seen as the more emotive and sensitive of the genders. And yet, this is what gives them the power to be some of our greatest teachers in this rebalancing of male/female polarity.
'The world will be saved by the Western Woman" - The Dalai Llama
Without feelings, and the inner security to act on such feelings, we cannot identify our real selves from our constrictive and compulsive habits that we have heretofore identified with. We stay small. And to unblock this place, we must sense. We must move, flow, allow. From this place, we can somehow "know" without knowing. Our intuition guides the way. We make our choices and actions from here, rather than from external cues and expectations. We act from our inner most guidance, rather than from fear of judgement by others. We reclaim our Power.
"Just as logic leads the mind, desire guides the soul." - Thomas Moore.
If we want something different... something more than this life we have created, we must take action. And to take such action, we must be able to feel. We must be comfortable with change, and to be comfortable with change, we must know that our impulses stem from an utterly Sacred Calling. We must be able to feel what it is we desire, and rather than suppress that desire in fear and uncertainty. We must know that we are supported by a force that is greater than ourselves.
Our senses inform our identity. Without healing our relationship to our 1st and 2nd chakras, the mind is the oppressor of our feelings. If feelings are not expressed, but instead are repressed, they can translate into a vast cornucopia of neurosis.
I should mention there is a obviously a maturity that develops in what we understand as a balanced and healthy expression of bodily senses and feelings. Complete disregard of others in a sort of infantile narcissism is not a healthy expression either. There is an art to the translation of intuition into appropriate action that should in essence benefit all beings. Being yourself is the Medicine that everyone needs, and your self is not pre-defined by anyone but You. When you finally allow yourself to be yourself, you will find that you can also respect this seemingly fundamental need in others (empathy).
"We cannot heal what we cannot feel" - John Bradshaw
In my experience as I sat in my comfortable and familiar little corner of the room, my padded blankets insulating me from any fear of assault on the integrity of my newly reforming identity, I felt an encouragement from deep within. I was seeing pictures in my mind, a sort of language-image, of what I should be doing. This was the beginnings of the individuation of the Self. To walk my path that is uniquely mine, I will need to continue to cultivate this Self, like a caterpillar in a chrysalis. Relearning how to relate to my body and my inner knowing, because there is no map but the inner-GPS.
While in previous ceremonies I had been told its best to stay in my place and not interact with others, my inner guidance was showing me visions of myself dancing. There were urges to let myself get bigger and fill more space. The rigidity of my conditioning, the tension in my hips and shoulders, was a reflection of my fear of expressing myself; a fear of ridicule and judgement that seemed to be shared by all the participants. This rigidity was affecting all aspects of my life that had a symbiotic relationship to the value fulfillment I was grappling with, which is the actualization of my personal path. It was time to rely less on my mind, and more on my body. There was the part of me that wanted to get up, and then the part of me that is comfortable in its complacency. Eventually, I couldn't stand it anymore. Knowing the my very choice in that moment would ripple out into my life in other ways, as changes, as perceptual clarity, as a new sense of self... I jumped up! I stumbled, a bit unbalanced, but made my way to the center of the room to dance.
"You want more?" Grandmother seemed to jest, "Then go get it!"
It's as if I thought someone or something was going to do it for me; transform me. There was help, but only I could dictate my will to move through resistance, and act on my own inner knowing, without need for approval or permission from anyone else.
If you want to understand what it means to be in your personal power, this is a practical moving meditation you can take towards it. Move into the resistance. Honor your desires. Act from within. Do things you want to do, but are afraid to do. These seemingly small actions were the Medicine that would reprogram Trust as the foundation of my beliefs, and would continue to accelerate the process of melting away the rigidity of my social conditioning.
"The third chakra state of individuation is where we overcome our psychic inertia, the unconscious habits and the ways we let ourselves be defined by others. Here we break away from the internalized parents, peers, and culture, and begin to define ourselves. It is about daring to be unique, risking disapproval for the integrity of your own truth. Individuation is the unfolding of our unique destiny, the unfolding of the soul. We cannot change the world if we have not yet individuated from the way the world expects us to be. We cannot truly claim our power without a willingness to individuate" - Anodea Judith
In our culture, what we call "power" is a bit confusing. We seem to confuse it with domination & submission. It elicits a sort of vexed powerlessness over ourselves, and the submission of our personal power to others. We give it away or we try to accumulate it. It is almost an excuse we have to act without integrity. We see governing bodies and laws and rules that strip the individual of their own sovereignty. We feel out of control to our impulses instead of feeling enlivened to turn our desires into actions... But power's true purpose is transformation. "To Be, or Not to Be...?" - That really is the question.
"Raised into the obedience by parents and teachers, trained for cooperation with larger corporate, legal, and military, and political power structures, we have become a society of victims and controllers. In polarized either/or thinking, we see power in terms of eat or be eaten, control or be controlled, winners or losers, one-up or one-down...
...To restructure the way we think of power and to channel and contain that power within our own being is the challenge of the third chakra. It transforms us, igniting our life with purpose. To have true power emanating from within renews the joy of being alive.
... In the chakra system as a whole, the purpose of the third chakra is to transform the inertia of matter and movement into a conscious direction of willed activity. Earth and water are passive and dense. They move downward. Chakras one and two are instinctual. They follow the paths of least resistance. The fire of chakra three is dynamic and light, rising upwards, moving away from gravity. This change is necessary to reach the upper chakras beyond.
We must be willing to leave passivity behind. We must be willing to leave the way it has always been, to transform our habits, set a new course, and enter chakra three. We must be willing to individuate-- 'to step out of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great,' says Hegel. 'You must be the change you wish to see in the world.' says Gandhi." - Anodea Judith
Yes... Be The Change You Wish to See In The World.
As we journey, we come to realize that while we have an individuated self, it is largely informed by a collective selflessness... a field of being. We see that our urges to Be are not just our own. Impulses and desires coming through others are also channeled from The Source. We find Individuality & Universality. Seemingly paradoxical, as we individuate, we find community.
And from this place, we have the courage to walk our own path, blazing trails where there may not have been any previously, or continuing to refine old ones by following the footprints set there long ago that may have been covered by lost memories.
In benefit of ourselves and all sentient beings, we must continue to bring forward our medicine, to penetrate the veils, and to re-establish our connection to whatever we call it... Spirit, All That Is, God/Goddess, and so on.
My experience was primarily healing the lower three chakras first, and when I feel I have a fuller grasp of the rest of the rainbow ladder, I will share. "Eastern Body, Western Mind", by Anodea Judith, was found in a public library, two days after my experience. It was the first time I had been in a library in many years, and was teaching an art class there. I've referenced her heavily here, because I feel she articulates what I wish to say quite well... Not one to reinvent the wheel, her work helps elucidate my own experiences.