Muladhara Chakra : Root Support
An emotional place :
To go to when unsure, afraid or in need of safety and rest. A good place to leave and return to.
Primarily concerned with:
- Personal survival and safety.
- Being (and having). What is? Existence (of one self)
Connects to :
- The Earth
- One’s foundation
- The essence (to the bones) of a thing. So : -
- to one’s core beliefs
- to the essentials of existence
- Sense of self and in particular identity
- The physical world
- Kinesthetic sense – sense of position, shape and place of one’s body.
Earth / Solid
- Strongly associated with feet, legs, base of spine & trunk (especially pelvic floor mucles), skeletal system.
- One’s core and one’s foundation.
- Strength, robustness, endurance, perseverance, (stamina)
- What is solid or firm
- Comfortable, safe, confident, assured, rest, peaceful, calm, patient, content, dormant, disciplined.
- Protection of self (physically, emotionally, identity)
- Not exploring. What is considered known by oneself has been accepted as not needing further investigations.
What is unknown (to oneself) is ignored as irrelevant – as not worth knowing.
- Creativity is not engaged – sticking with what one considers “known”.
- Not experimenting. What is considered known by oneself has been accepted as not needing further investigations.
What is unknown (to oneself) is ignored as irrelevant – as not worth knowing.
- Trusting information (one considers known) as reliable / accurate
- Protection of what one considers “known” – any information in conflict with “known” is rejected or attacked.
Attack on what one considers “known” is felt as an attack on oneself.
- Formulaic approaches / use of information processing procedures.
Activity / doing
- Habits and doing what one has previously done.
- Disciplines - sticking to procedures and routines
- Unquestioning trusting of advice and guidance as given (especially where source is considered reliable
– e.g. sacred text or teacher / parent) – doing as one is told (obedience).
- Performing / doing routine actions or standard procedures.
- Reinforcing and making even more established what one already knows.
- “Return to basics” – doing and attending to what is already “known” (by oneself) and what one is already established in.
- Discipline (and obedience).
- The attitude is one of implicit trust and absolute faith in things considered known and the authority and
wisdom of one’s “betters” (which may included sacred texts as well as other people).
- Being established in and confident of : First Principles, core beliefs, axiomatic assumptions, ethics and morals.
- Not thinking (not doing) – mental stillness.
When acting skillfully from this place:
- One acts with sureness and confidence. (Aristotle, the ancient Greek thinker, said something about being able to move the earth if one has
an unmovable object / place and a long enough lever. A strong stable Muladhara provides an unmovable place / object to push against so as
to help one act upon or move other things).
- One ensures that the essentials of one’s life and existence (such as food and shelter) are attended to.
- One is likely to be perceived to be : - reliable, confident, strong (not necessarily physically), robust (not necessarily physically), dependable,
disciplined, assured, practical, resourceful, comfortable, honourable, steadfast …. And so on.
Issues that may occur when acting unskillfully from, or when stuck in, this chakra or when it is too dominant :-
An effective way of protecting oneself is to put up barriers between oneself and any threat. At times of extreme or immense threat, this is sensible -
but it is not without cost. Usually putting up barriers uses resources that could be put to other uses. Worse is if the barriers stay up after the
threat has gone away, when one has created barriers between oneself and everything else, leaving one isolated and alone. Also, such barriers
act as containment of oneself and act to limit and restrict growth, expansion and extension of oneself – leading to stagnation of learning,
personality, abilities and so on. Working with Vishuddha (to help one develop connections with others and reassess the size or even
existence of a threat) is likely to be helpful.
Having a strong sense of self / identity is great – both healthy and useful. But it can be taken to an extreme where a sense of self fills one’s
awareness to the exclusion of all else. This lack of awareness of others leads to a lack of awareness and consideration of the needs and
feelings of others. This is thoughtlessness rather than a deliberate intent to be hurtful or unpleasant. Working with Anahata (to develop a
sense of “non-self” alongside one’s sense of “self”) is likely to be helpful.
Possessiveness / Being Territorial
This may appear to be an attitude of “This is mine, not yours”, but is actually closer to “I consider this to be part of me, don’t attack me”.
This is where one considers possessions and territory to be part of oneself – any attack on them or attempt to remove them from oneself is
thus seen / felt as an attack on oneself – and so naturally one acts protectively. This is not always inappropriate (e.g. parents protecting their
young). Where this is an issue, working with Ajna (to gain a new perspective on what one considers to be oneself) may be helpful.
This is where one is focused on collecting and saving for fear one might not have enough, or just in case things will be needed. This is
accompanied by frugality and austerity – living in a way that uses one’s resources to a limited extent. An extreme example of this is the
archetypal miser who lives like a pauper despite having already accumulated great wealth. This may look like greed but is really about
trying to create and maintain feelings of security. Working with Swadhisthana (to remind oneself of pleasure rather than being fixated
on survival) and Ajna (to get a greater perspective on the likelihood of not having enough) may be helpful.
Ossification / Rigidity
One could think of this, in physical terms, as joints stiffening and muscles becoming solid but I am really referring here to becoming ossified
in one’s behaviour (habits) and in one’s thinking. That is, doing things as one has always done them before, until one finds one is disinclined
and unable to do them any other way. This is an easy thing to slip into as doing what has worked before is often a sensible approach (and
feels safe) and saves thinking effort. A problem with this is that it removes the possibility of innovation and finding better ways of doing things.
Working with Swadhisthana (to open one up to the possibility of change and adapting according to circumstances) is likely to be helpful.
Rooted / Unmoving
Having taken a position (on anything), one sticks to it and defends it no matter what. There are times when this is appropriate, for example in
terms of being loyal, being steadfast and sticking to one’s principles. It can, however, also become an attitudinal habit of stubbornness, obstinacy
and intolerance. And this sort of attitudinal habit gives “isms” (such as dogmatism, fundamentalism, racism, nationalism etc) enduring strength
(within the individual) as well as a refusal to consider another person’s point of view or position. Where this is an unhelpful issue, working
with Anahata (to open one to the possibility of there being sense in moving especially in relation to other people and their positions) and Ajna
(to review one’s own position) may be helpful.
Unquestioning & Full Trust or no Trust
This is when, having decided to trust or have faith in something (say advice, a teacher, a sacred text, an object one uses), this is trusted as
fully and completely reliable as if “set in stone”. Sometimes teachers and religious / spiritual texts actively advocate having such unquestioning
trust and faith (especially with regard to themselves). And there are times when this is appropriate. When one is new to an area or a novice, one
lacks the experience and knowledge to assess the reliability of things – so trusting a teacher or guide gives one a chance to gain experience and
knowledge under protective guidance. However, at some point, personal development and learning is aided by developing trust in oneself and
one’s own understanding rather than being dependent on advice and guidance of another. Also it is unlikely that anything (or anyone) is completely
reliable under all circumstances. Working with Vishuddha (to develop a more measured and graduated approach to trusting things rather than
either full trust or no trust) is likely to be helpful.
Issues that may occur when one inadequately accesses this chakra or when it is weak :-
Fearful Insecurity / Nervousness
This may express itself in many ways including in terms of : defensive aggressive behaviour (such as blindly and senselessly striking out like a
cornered animal), submissive (& clingy) dependency and reliance on another, shyness or being in constant need of reassurance. In addition to
working with Muladhara (to develop one’s self-confidence and sense of inner strength), working with Manipura (to develop one’s ability to act)
may well be helpful (if one does not already have a tendency towards being violent).
Conforming to other people’s values or agenda
A certain amount of accommodating to the values and agendas of those around one is socially helpful – at least to the point of being tolerant and
accepting of people having different value systems to that of one’s own. But where this is taken to a degree where one considers other values,
opinions and agendas as more important or valuable (to oneself) than one’s own then this can lead to a submergence of oneself or one’s
identity and make one easy to “push around”. (cf. What ex-slaves and women of societies that expect women to be subservient to men
have to write about their sense of identity). In addition to working with Mulahara (to develop in protection of self), working with Anahata
(to develop one’s own sense of self/identity) is likely to be helpful.
Where one protects oneself and attends to basic needs (e.g. food and shelter), too little may lead one in time to become fragile or delicate. In
addition to working with Muladhara, working with Swadhisthana (to increase self-nurturing and resilience) is likely to be helpful.
I don’t mean literally (in the physical sense), but rather in a “rabbit caught in the head-lamp” or “rooted to the ground in fear” sort of way. In
addition to working with Muladhara, working with Manipura (to develop one’s ability to act and “unfreeze” oneself) is likely to be particularly
Unsettled / Restless
There are lots of potential reasons for feeling unsettled and restless. Where these are appropriate or relate to something important to oneself,
working with Manipura (to develop ability to act in the issue making one feel restless) is likely to be helpful. Otherwise, working with Swadhisthana
(to help one chill out), in addition to working on Muladhara, is likely to be helpful.
Unstable / Unreliable
Instability and unreliability may show itself in many ways but, perhaps most obviously, through Manipura either via highly fluctuating
energy levels or unpredictable / inexplicable mood fluctuations. In addition to working with Muladhara (to develop in discipline and stability)
working with Vishuddha (to develop one’s self-control and regulation) is likely to be helpful.