At the most basic level, your body is made up of energy. That energy organizes itself into the physical body you are looking at in the mirror every day. But before that energy organizes itself into physical body parts, it organizes itself into meridians and chakras. These chakras are centers of energy that lie along energy channels and each one holds a very specific vibration and has a specific purpose. Each chakra is a specific expression of Prana (otherwise known as life force or source energy). The chakras look a bit like funnels of energy or vortices. They both absorb and emit energy. When a chakra is out of alignment, meaning it is not letting life force in or is out of alignment for any number of reasons, it starts to affect your equilibrium. It becomes a serious imbalance within the system. When chakras are out of alignment, they appear small and do not absorb or emit much energy. They also change in their color, patterning, texture and sound. The traditional name for the heart chakra is Anahata. In Sanskrit, this word translates to unhurt, which is important to know because it gives you some key insight about this particular chakra. The heart chakra is the center chakra. It is located in the very center of your chest. Though all chakras are doorways for spiritual energy, it is the heart chakra that unites the physical and spiritual aspect of your embodiment. The heart is the first organ that manifests physically in a fetus for this very reason. You can think of the heart chakra as the central power point generator of love. Love is the central theme of the heart chakra. This is why it is seen as the chakra most associated with healing because vibrationally speaking the frequency of love is the most healing frequency of all. The heart chakra is also the chakra that is associated with compassion, forgiveness, emotional safety, absence of fear, gratitude, hope, trust, generosity, joy, altruism, kindness and connection. Because it is the unifying chakra, it is the chakra with the capacity to bring you into integration and therefore wholeness. Your heart chakra maintains the truth that you are connected to all that is. You can never be alone because you are an integral part of the web that connects and makes up the entire universe.
The heart chakra is associated with the color green and is associated with the air element. The heart chakra governs the heart as well as the circulatory system, emotional regulation, the lungs, shoulders, arms and hands, breasts and lymph system beginning with the thymus gland. A little known fact is that our brains are governed by our heart. Our brain obeys the messages it receives from the heart. This is why emotional hurt is the root cause of mental illness. Any time you see an issue with these aspects of the body, you can be sure that the heart chakra is out of alignment.
What causes the heart chakra to go out of alignment? Hurt that impacts or is caused by your connection with others. This is why I find it fascinating that the Anahata translates to un-hurt. This is what it feels like when the heart chakra is fully open. But conversely, it is hurt that causes it to close. It is pain experienced in conjunction with love, things like grief, jealousy, hatred, loneliness and isolation, resentment, the inability to forgive and betrayal that cause the heart chakra to close. Both the negative emotional states and the positive emotional states that apply to our connection with others are governed by the heart chakra. Around your actual heart is a membrane that encloses the heart and the fluid around your heart like a sac. This membrane is called the pericardium. On a non-physical level, this membrane is a “protector and nurturer” of the heart. It is like a spiritual amniotic sac for the heart. But the emotional energy that you feel, affects this pericardial fluid. This fluid adopts the vibration of the emotional energy and ultimately the heart is bathing and gestating in this energy. This is a good thing if the emotional energy you feel, is a feel good emotion. But it presents problems if the emotional energy you feel is a painful emotion. This is especially the case with grief. The pericardium is an in-born wall that protects your heart, but it does so in such a way that it allows energy like love both in and out. However, when you are hurt at an emotional level, you will start to armor the pericardium on a non-physical and even physical level. This is when we say that someone has an emotional wall. The term we use for this is a heart wall. The painful emotions associated with the hurt you experienced become trapped inside this heart wall, they strengthen the heart wall and love cannot flow in or out. To understand more about this dynamic, watch my video on YouTube titled: Building Walls To Keep Pain In.
If you’d like to look more deeply into the concept of a heart wall, I’d suggest exploring the work of Dr. Bradley Nelson, who has dedicated the majority of his career to the healing of heart walls. All this being said, nothing affects the health of your heart chakra more than a heart wall. One thing we need to get out of the way before continuing is that people in the spiritual field have become preoccupied with the idea of balance. They try to achieve equilibrium through control. An adjunct to this idea is the concept that chakras can be too closed or too open. As it applies to the heart chakra, you’ll hear theories going around that a heart chakra can be too open or active and this is what creates weak boundaries and co-dependant relationships. Though logical, this is inaccurate. If your chakras are fully open you will experience your being naturally coming into equilibrium. And weak boundaries have much more to do with trauma that effects the solar plexus chakra and sacral chakra.
Co-dependent relationships are not relationships that occur between people with open heart chakras. The opposite is true. A codependent relationship is a transactional relationship based on meeting needs in an unhealthy way. It is the byproduct of a closed heart chakra. This myth comes from the desire to see the codependent as the underdog and victim of a relationship and thus… the good guy. It comes from the myth that co-dependent people are “just too loving”, when in fact they are not in their codependent relationship because of love. So contrary to some warnings you may encounter, don’t worry about opening your heart chakra. How do we open our heart chakra and bring it into alignment?
First, we need to connect with our heart in order to become aware of what is keeping it out of alignment. Intuitively, what emotions do you think you are struggling with that are keeping your heart closed? Have you been hurt in the past or recently? What emotional memories are unhealed? What do you feel in response to the word relationship? I created a video called “Connecting With and Healing Your Heart”. I encourage you to pause this video and watch that video first before continuing on.
Also, nothing affects the heart chakra quite like grief. Grief is the cardinal trauma we are dealing with when the heart chakra is out of alignment. It is this situation that causes us to say we are “heartbroken”. Greif is often the result of having an experience where we feel we have lost love. So, if you are dealing with heartbreak, I encourage you to watch my video on YouTube titled: How To Survive a Break Up and/or Heartbreak.
- Be open with your emotions. Emotional repression is the undoing of the heart chakra. We need to become aware of them, express them and then let them fade away like leaves being taken downstream so as to not cling to them. To learn how to do this, watch my video on YouTube titled: How To Express Your Emotion.
- The heart chakra is the chakra that is thrown out of alignment by hurt in conjunction with relationships. An often-overlooked aspect of health relative to the heart chakra is self-love. If you have a painful or self-hating relationship with yourself, it is as if you have locked your heart inside a prison where it is tortured by its jail keeper every day. So cultivating self-love is crucial to the opening of the heart chakra. If you feel that you are struggling with self-love, I invite you to try out my book titled: Shadows Before Dawn, Finding the Light of Self Love in Your Darkest Times. It is a practical guide to loving yourself that tells you how to actually do it.
- Many of the dimensional realities outside the physical dimension do not have a time/space aspect to them. This means to think something is to cause the thing to happen or to be instantly. It’s a “think open, it opens” kind of thing. Where as in the physical dimension there is a time and space buffer between thought and thing. The chakra system influences the physical but is a multidimensional aspect of you (which is why they are invisible to most people). This means if you think of your heart chakra opening or visualize it opening, it opens. The visualization I see working the best is when you place your hands over your heart and imagine your heart chakra as a rich emerald colored vortex like opening in the center of your chest. Then visualize expanding it with the help of an opening movement of your hands to about a foot wide. Then visualize it spinning clockwise. When you are ready, open your arms and hands wide, with your chest to the sky and sense this chakra pulling in energy from the world with each inhale and emitting loving energy to the world with each exhale.
- Imagine your heart wall. If it were made of something, what is it made of? The answer could be granite or glass or wood for example. Feel into the reason that this heart wall is there and see if you can intuitively feel what caused it to be there. Then ask your heart what it needs in order to be able to let go of that heart wall. Don’t try to tear down a heart wall. Remember it is there to protect you and so, it will only go away if the energy you approach it with an attitude of helping it to realize that it doesn’t need the heart wall anymore. If you get to this point with the heart chakra, imagine this heart wall being lovingly dissolved or released in whatever way feels best to you.
- Stimulate it with sounds. You can find binaural beats on the Internet designed specifically for the heart chakra. You can expose yourself to crystal singing bowls designed for the heart chakra. You can also stick with thousands of years worth of toning tradition. To do this, sit in meditation and stimulate your heart chakra by chanting LAM or YUM depending on which one resonates in your chest the most. Play around with the tonality of these sounds to find the one that causes your chest to vibrate the most.
- Surround yourself in the color green. Wear this color, decorate with this color and eat foods that are this color.
- Eat green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, lettuce, dandelion greens, cabbage, chard, broccoli and collard greens. Vibrationally speaking, this is the food that benefits the heart chakra the very most. Also include green tea, basil, sage, thyme, cilantro and parsley.
- Use essential oils to help your heart chakra align. My top picks for effect on the heart chakra are rose, melissa, neroli, marjoram, chamomile, yarrow and eucalyptus. I find that using these oils in conjunction with placing something warm (like a warm water bottle) over your heart area is the most effective.
- Bring certain mineral spirits into your life. In my opinion, the best for the heart chakra are tourmaline (especially green tourmaline, watermelon tourmaline and pink tourmaline) green kyanite, chrysoprase, rhodonite, rose quartz, malachite, emerald and jade.
- Move your body in ways that open the chest. The tradition of yoga has many poses that are designed to facilitate heart opening. Doing so outdoors is the best. Go to places that are lush and green with plenty of fresh breeze.
- Practice “living from the heart” and “speaking from the heart”. To understand how this is done, you can watch my video on YouTube titled: How To Live From The Heart. Criticism closes off the heart chakra amazingly fast. For this reason, practice directly caretaking the aspect of you that feels negative and thus generates negative appraisals of the world. And when you speak, speak from the heart. To do this, when you speak to other people, imagine literally taking the thoughts you think and are about to verbalize, down through your throat to your heart and filtering them through your chest. So that even if the sounds come out of your mouth, the thoughts themselves are being fed to the throat from your heart instead of head.
- Deliberately think thoughts and say things and take actions and seek out experiences that cause you to feel love, compassion, emotional safety, absence of fear, gratitude, hope, trust, forgiveness, generosity, joy, altruism, kindness and connection. Any experience that causes you to shift into these frequencies will cause the heart chakra to open and come into alignment. For example, start a gratitude journal or do something loving for someone in your life or initiate a gathering with like-hearted people or go out into the world and do random acts of kindness. Especially form connections with people. When we experience trauma within relationships, we rehabilitate that trauma and find resolution within relationships as well. For this reason, I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled: How To Connect With Someone. I also want you to watch my video titled: How to Receive.
- Practice Metta on a daily or weekly basis. In the Buddhist tradition, Metta is a practice of embodying unconditional love. For 12 minutes, imagine allowing your breath to come and go from your heart area. See if certain loving intentions or words emerge from your heart. For example, "May I enjoy peace, may I enjoy good health, and abundance of love." Continue this way until you feel a sense of well-being. Then, visualize or imagine this wellbeing radiating outward in a series of concentric circles, like ripples from a stone dropped in water. See it reaching out to other people. Starting with people you do know in your private life to and then expanding outward gradually to the people you do not know and then to your country and then to the world at large. For example, "May my husband enjoy good health, peace, and abundance of love." Then, “May all beings on earth enjoy good health, peace, abundance and love.” Continue radiating this well being outward until you feel a sense of completeness. You don’t only have to focus on people. You can focus on sending wellbeing to anything and it will cause the heart chakra to open.
By intentionally doing things which enable your heart chakra to come into alignment and open, you will be setting yourself up to live in harmony with the world. All relationships in your life will reap the benefits of this decision, most especially the relationship you have with yourself.
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