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Anahata Chakra : Heart Centre



An emotional place :

To go to for connecting to and responding to others.



Primarily concerned with:



Connects to :



Element :

            Air / gas / fluid

Physically :



Emotionally :




Intellectually :

Exploring


Creativity


Experimenting


Information Handling



Activity / doing



Learning



Other Comments




When acting skillfully from this place:



Issues that may occur when acting unskillfully from, or when stuck in, this chakra or when it is too dominant :-

Dissatisfaction

It is possible, in the process of exploring the nature of oneself and “non-self”, to discover that some aspect of oneself or the things around one are not as one would wish. Such dissatisfaction is not necessarily a bad thing – it can give one the impetus and motivation to act – to make things better. However, it can also be uncomfortable and unsettling. And, where one can see no way or means of improving what one is dissatisfied with, it can lead to one feeling emotional sensations of inadequacy, being incapable, powerlessness and despair. This is emotionally painful – and the more one cares or the more important the source of dissatisfaction, the more painful this is. Where this is an issue, working with Swadhisthana (to develop an acceptance of things as they are) may help, but may also open one more to experiencing emotional pain. Working with Muladhara (to develop in settled calmness and ability to endure) may help if one feels uncomfortably unsettled or in emotional pain. Working with Manipura (to develop one’s ability to act and cause change) may help if the source of dissatisfaction is something that can be resolved / improved, but where it is not, this is likely to make you feel more restless and unsettled.

Tribalism

This is where one cares about and gives greater importance to things and those who are related to oneself. This might be in terms of family, friendship, being of same nation, being of same religion, being of same ethnicity and so on. In our culture it is considered normal, healthy and socially useful for one to care more about the welfare and needs of one’s family and friends than others. (Some religions and spiritual texts seem to advocate something different – being “alike to friend and foe, to family and stranger”). What is potentially problematic is only caring about those associated with oneself or caring about them at the expense of those not associated with oneself. When this occurs, one feels morally able to treat those who are not associated with oneself as nothing or less or worse than nothing. Thus the slightest harm or insult to one’s group (or one inside one’s group) from anything outside the group is seen to be extremely unreasonable and provocative and that no response can be too extreme or unjustified. Thus extreme acts of violence, aggression, cruelty and suppression to those not of one’s group may come to be seen as not merely justified and reasonable but morally righteous and even one’s duty! This sort of attitude can help to seed and exasperate wars and encourages development and expression of anger and hatred. Working with Ajna (to develop a greater view of self-associations and to see potential consequences of group aggression) may help.

Self-Centered / Ego-full

It is normal to be the centre of one’s perceptual universe and to see things in relation to oneself. But to see things solely in relation to oneself and one’s own experiences and concerns can be to lose sight of perceiving things in any other terms. That is, one’s perception becomes filtered and flavoured into thoughts of “I”, “me” and “mine” – leading to a distorted perception of reality around one. This does not necessarily lead to selfishness and inconsideration of others (although it often does encourage such a thing). For example, one might be genuinely interested in a friends experiences, but interpret them as being similar to one’s own experiences rather then accepting the context and meaning one’s friend wishes to give them. It can also lead to one taking things personally which were in fact intended more generally or indeed not intended to relate to oneself at all. Where this is an issue, working with Ajna (to develop ability to perceive things more objectively) is likely to be helpful.

Self-Important / Self – aggrandizement

Of course, oneself and one’s concerns are important to oneself but expecting oneself or one’s concerns to be important to others is usually unrealistic and irritating (to others). Working with Ajna (to develop perception of one’s placing in the world) is likely to be helpful.

Self-righteousness

Being self-righteous (believing in the rightness of one’s aims and actions) is useful to a degree as being riddled with doubt can leave one paralyzed with indecision. However, being so sure that one’s views, values and aims are “right” or “righteous” that one is not open to considering other views (etc), or considers those with other views (etc) as less than oneself, closes the possibility of further self-development and encourages attitudes of arrogance, intolerance, condescension and hubris. Working with Vishuddha (to develop a questioning attitude to one’s values and aims) is likely to be helpful.

Relationship Emotions

Anahata is typically considered to be the seat and origin of “good” emotions and feelings such as love, compassion, empathy, and devotion. But it is also, in my view, origin of other emotions such as hate, anger, enmity, jealousy, envy etc. If the desire to be kind, to make things better springs from the heart centre, so can the desire to be cruel and to cause harm. My view is that this is why so many religious and spiritual texts emphasize the importance of having a “pure” heart. Working with Vishuddha will help develop discrimination in which emotional seeds one allows to grow into a guiding force.

Emotionality / Temperamental / Hyper-Responsive

Feeling things emotionally is useful, but one can let one’s emotional responses and feelings over-dominate – with the result that one responds or reacts to things too quickly or inappropriately. My view is that emotions are about letting one know what matters to one and so are important in helping set one’s agenda (aspirations) and giving one motivation. But once that is done, other facets of one’s being are more likely to be helpful – such as Manipura for achieving one’s aspirations or Ajna for developing a plan for achieving one’s aspirations. Where one has a tendency to excessive emotionality or is temperamental, working with Muladhara (as a settling and calming influence) is likely to be helpful.

Emotional Agitation / Emotional Distress

This is similar to above, but with the added factor that one’s emotions / feelings are turbulent, painful or acutely intense. Whatever the nature of the emotion, the thing that the emotion relates to is something that matters greatly to oneself. Working with Ajna to develop a greater perception and understanding of the things that matters may help – but it may also just intensify the feeling that it matters. This may be particularly so over emotional issues where there is nothing to be done to make things better – such as grief over the death of a loved one. Otherwise, working with Swadhishana (to help one become more mellow and accepting) and Muladhara (to help one become calmer and more settled) is likely to be helpful.

Good Intentions

Obviously there is nothing wrong with good intentions per se – after all plenty of religious and spiritual texts emphasize the importance of having good intentions. And yet we also have warnings such as “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. My view is that it is dangerous to think that having good intentions is sufficient for one’s actions (or inaction) to have good (or desirable) consequences. Also, intentions may be good as in nice or desirable but be unrealistic and thus inappropriate. Working with Ajna (to develop one’s perceptions and planning in relation to one’s intentions) is likely to be helpful. And working with Vishuddha (to develop greater discernment in how one allows one’s intentions to become expressed in action) is also likely to be helpful.

Attachment / Obsessions / Willfulness

The Anahata centre is where one decides what matters to one – ideally one finds a balance in one’s concerns and interests. But it is not uncommon for things to come to be perceived to be predominantly important – possibly to the exclusion to all else. This takes one in the direction of being obsessed or overly attached to a desire or aspiration (as opposed to sensations). This is not necessarily inappropriate as it can lead to useful drive and focus to achieve what one desires – but it certainly is not without dangers. Where this is an issue, working with Swadhisthana (to develop in acceptance of how things happen to be) may well be helpful.

Selfless Service / Acting for the sake of “non-Self”

Selfless service is highly recommended in many religious and spiritual texts and it tends to be great for those around one and for the society one lives in. But, taken to excess, it risks one giving out from oneself (resources, energy, motivation and so on) to such an extent that there is nothing of oneself left to give. Some attention to oneself and one’s own needs means one remains strong, resilient and able to keep on giving and being of service. Working with Muladhara and Swadhisthana can help with ensuring that oneself remains able to act for the sake of “non-self” as well as oneself.



Issues that may occur when one inadequately accesses this chakra or when it is weak :-

Self-Forgetting

This is where one gets so involved and engaged with something (e.g. sensations, doing, thinking) that one forgets oneself. For short periods of time, where one is not in danger, this may be helpful and appropriate. However, if one forgets oneself for extended periods, one also forgets to attend to one’s basic needs – and this often shows in forgetting to eat or sleep. Where this is an issue, in addition to working on Anahata, working with Muladhara may well be helpful.

Disengaged / Not caring / Apathy / Indifferent / Withdrawn

May be there really is nothing that matters to one in the sense of one being “non-attached” as advocated in many religious and spiritual texts – in which case maybe one is beyond having any need to worry about things like chakras. Otherwise it is quite likely there is good reason for becoming disengaged such as emotional pain of caring or feeling impotent – unable to improve matters or make progress. Working with Anahata thus may not be the most helpful approach to take – as it may merely increase feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and emotional pain like despair. In working with Muladhara (to develop in ability to endure even emotional pain) and Manipura (to develop in ability to do) is likely to be helpful.

Indecisive / Procrastination

When one is not particularly aware of what matters to oneself, making decisions and getting on with things can be difficult. In addition to working with Anahata, working with Ajna may help (so long as one takes care not to spend too long “navel gazing”!)

Impersonal / Aloof / Detached / Insensitive / “Heartless”

If one loses a sense of relationship of things to oneself, then one can act (and make decisions) without reference to oneself and without emotional feeling or connectivity. In “professional” type situations this can be highly appropriate, leading to decisions and actions being made without personal bias. However, amongst family and friends, to act from such a place is to act “without heart” and is usually felt as unpleasantly impersonal. Where this is an issue, working with Anahata is likely to be most helpful but working with Manipura (for warmth) and Swadhisthana (for accepting and experiencing) may also be helpful.

Aimlessness / Directionlessness / Purposelessness

My view is that it is from Anahata that one’s aims and sense of direction or purpose in life comes – without that, life can feel empty and meaningless. Working with Anahata can help, but it can also simply make one more aware of emptiness – in which case working with Swadisthana can help one with accepting and enjoying not having a particular aim or direction in life.

Laziness / Lacking in will-power or motivation

Quite simply, if something does not matter much to one, then there is little reason for motivation, applying will-power or acting. Working with Anahata can help one find the things that really matter to one and thus give one the impetus to act and get on with things.

Humility / Poor self-esteem / Poor sense of self-worth

Many religions and spiritual texts recommend humility – one of the benefits of which is that it tends to encourage one to be open to receiving advice and learning. But a major danger of poor self esteem or sense of self worth is it encourages a lack of care of self and the lack of attention to one’s needs – in extremes this can even lead to active self-abuse or self-harm. Working with Anahata with regard to receiving love and nurturing may help, but it can also bring into sharper relief one’s feelings of worthlessness. Working with Swadhisthana (to nurture oneself and remind oneself of the enjoyableness of life) is likely to be helpful.

Innocent / Amoral

With a poor sense of self and non-self, actions become unattached to a self which might consider appropriateness or value of actions. The questions of “right” or “wrong” of actions, duty or responsibility simply do not arise. Such a person is innocent – guiltless in intention, regardless of how well or not well the consequences of their actions may turn out. Working with Anahata may help where this is an issue – an alternative work around might be to use Ajna to develop an abstract set of morals and values to give to Anahata to work with.

Negligent / Irresponsible

This strongly relates to the above. Where there is a poor sense of self (and non-self) then there is little self to have a sense of duty or responsibility. Working with Muladhara and Anahata may be helpful in developing a sense of self and duty associated with selfhood.
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