By Kelly Lydick
Its color is Green. It’s the middle of the seven chakras, nestled between three upper and three lower centers. It bridges the gap between ego (the lower chakras) and spirit (the upper chakras), and connects each one of us to universal life force. The heart chakra creates a filed called a “torus” and it looks like a donut. This allows energy to flow in an ever-renewing fashion through the center of the body and out across the layers of the aura that emanate from the body.
The fourth chakra is also a conduit between personal power and the intellect. The three lower chakras ground our energy on the physical plane, while the three upper chakras provide a channel from the divine and the higher self into the physical—with the heart as an instrument of divine expression amongst them. The heart chakra is the wellspring for feelings of joy, oneness with all (unity), love, compassion, forgiveness, trust, excitement, and the ability to heal.
One of the most interesting facts about the heart is that is has a nervous system just like the brain and can make decisions independent of the brain (Eden, 156). It’s no surprise, then, that we are each capable of thinking with the heart just as we can think with the brain. The language of the heart is the language of divine expressed through human form: emotions. When emotions ebb and flow, the heart chakra can open and close depending on whether the emotion is positive or negative; whether there are feelings of fear or feelings of safety.
“One of the problems in modern cultures,” Donna Eden suggests, “is that the heart chakra is underdeveloped in too many individuals and its principles are underrepresented in too many of our institutions” (155). Balance here, though, is key, as a person whose heart chakra is too open “…may overidentify with other people’s pain, suffering so much for the other that they become emotionally disabled, codependent, and ultimately no more capable of a successful relationship than a person whose heat chakra is shriveled” (155).
When we experience a loss of energy in the fourth chakra, Caroline Myss states that jealousy, bitterness, anger, hatred, and an inability to forgive can occur. When fear is present in this chakra, emotional weakness and betrayal can occur (198). Often the internal struggle is whether to let the ego and intellect control, or allow the emotions to flow; with each experience there is a choice point that occurs if self-awareness is present.
The challenge is that emotions are often triggered by events of the past that are held by memories of how these past events played out. The brain’s basal ganglia, the part of the brain that stores emotions, habits and pattern recognition, expects the same outcome in the present moment that occurred at another moment in the past—and the looping that occurs here interferes with the heart’s intelligence. This is where self-awareness plays a crucial role and must be used to override the looping of the ego and intellect to allow the heart’s intelligence to lead.
Learning to work with the energy of the heart, and keep the heart chakra’s energy balanced is paramount to staying in a space of love, compassion, trust and joy.
Tips to Keep the Fourth Chakra Balanced:
- Lead with the heart. Sometimes this is easier said than done because the ego wants to engage in control. But leading with the heart is possible and can come easily with practice.
- Practice self-care. The heart chakra is the center of self. When we let self care go by the wayside, it demonstrates a lack of self love. And self love keeps us in our personal integrity.
- Raise your emotional IQ. Becoming self-aware is not an easy task. But as your awareness increases, so too can you balance the intellect with emotions. Remember that emotions as just energy in motion, and it’s the associations and attachments we create that color this experience.
- Practice forgiveness. When we forgive, we release energy from the heart space. Lacking forgiveness, for the self or others keeps energy stuck. Learning to forgive is the best way to free yourself and others from disappointment, expectation, and attachment.
- Love yourself. It’s true what has been said that you can only love another as much as you love yourself. If there are areas in your life in which you would like to heal or grow, make these a priority each day. When self-love is the foundation upon which you stand, other areas can more easily come into balance and flow.
Eden, Donna. (1998). Energy Medicine. London, England: Penguin Books, Ltd.
“Habits: How They Form and How to Break Them” www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them
Myss, Caroline. (1996). Anatomy of the Spirit. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
About the author:
Kelly Lydick received her M.A. in Writing and Consciousness from the New College of California, San Francisco (now at CIIS). Her writing has appeared in Guernica, Drunken Boat, Switched-on Gutenberg, Mission at Tenth, Thema, Tarpaulin Sky, and True Blue Spirit magazines, as well as on the home page of ElephantJournal.com. Her work has also been featured on NPR’s The Writers’ Block. She is the author of the experimental work, Mastering the Dream.
Kelly holds certifications as a Meditation Facilitator, Reiki Master, Crystal Reiki Master, Past Life Healer, and Gateway Dreaming™ Coach. She teaches writing and metaphysical workshops, and offers private consultations through her company Waking the Dream. In 2016, she was awarded a Juno fellowship from the world-renowned Omega Institute for achievements in healing and women’s leadership. You can learn more about her work at www.kellylydick.com.