Several months ago, I read a delightful story about a visit the Dalai Lama made to Colorado in the mid-1970s. During the trip, he wanted to see a ski slope in action. He was not quite as well known at the time and his life was not as scheduled and hedged around with protocol, so in short order, he and his companions were riding the chairlift to the top of a run at one of the famous ski resorts.
Looking around, he was so enchanted with his surroundings that he stopped moving completely and was knocked flat by two teenage girls getting off the lift behind him.
Prostrate in the snow in his saffron robes, he couldn’t stop laughing. When it was clear that he had not actually been hurt physically, his horrified hosts kept apologizing, sure that his dignity must have suffered a mortal wound.
However, the Dalai Lama simply doesn’t read from that script. He is himself through and through and his dignity, his authenticity, his ego (if you will) does not depend on his verticality. Everyone who has ever met him in person speaks of his focused presence and his utter confidence. My guess is that he has a completely open energy flow through every chakra node from root to crown, because any internal psychic debris is cleared away intentionally and speedily.
And my guess is that his Solar Plexus chakra shines a clear, radiant yellow.
From the Root, we moved upward to the Belly. We continue upward to the Solar Plexus. The energy node is located about 2 inches below the breastbone, centered in the torso behind the stomach. People who have experience with chakras can locate the nodes with great precision, the rest of us just need to do the best we can. So if “behind the stomach” doesn’t resonate, just sit up straight and find a point about half way between your belly button and the place where the bottom of your ribs start arcing away from each other. Then move inward, not quite as far as your spine.
The third chakra is where our personal power resides, our psychic strength, and our healthy (or unhealthy) ego. It is the node of passions – both positive and negative. Our authenticity and confidence are fed by this energy. When it is unblocked, we have a clear sense of who we are, a willingness to reveal ourselves openly, and we make decisions that are consistent with our values (as opposed to saying one thing and acting another). We are nourished by life and, in turn, we nourish life by sharing our unique gifts and wisdom freely.
I would note that my own confident sense of self is not always strong. I doubt and second-guess. If someone doesn’t like me, I take it personally. Far too often, I allow my sense of worthiness to reside outside myself. Rather than looking inward to the clear centered third chakra where my authentic is-ness resides, I look to someone else in the world around me to ‘value’ me (or undervalue me…) And I take that as my truth as opposed to their truth.
Third chakra is my truth. It is the ego that is uniquely mine. Only I can verify its integrity – it either sparkles clearly and cleanly or it is confused, foggy, murky (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot). When it shines with perfect clarity, I am able to be totally present, non-anxious, non-judgmental, focused, available and transparent. When it is clogged and cluttered and blocked by debris, I waver in and out of focus, I am swamped by doubt, I project judgmentalism and anxiety, I am not all the way present. Neither I (nor anyone else) can figure out exactly who I am.
This week, I will be using the following meditation to sit gently with what I hope will be some fruitful questions.
Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing that. If you would prefer to keep your eyes open, you may want to find something yellow on which to focus (a flower, a piece of cloth, even a throw pillow till work). Allow your eyes to relax and go soft – receive the color gently, let the focus be gentle rather than intense or grasping.
Begin to breathe deeply, allowing your breath to slow as you sink into a quiet awareness of your body at rest in time and space.
When you feel centered, at rest, still, let your awareness drift into third node, into the space behind your ribs, centered about half way between your ribs and your spine. If it helps, rest your hand at the bottom of your ribs. As you inhale, let warmth flood into that space. Exhale. Inhale more warmth.
Let your mind drift. When you feel most fully yourself, how are you being in the world? Think back to a time when you stepped into a situation with total confidence. Let your heart remember a time when you knew exactly what you needed to do and did it. Perhaps you felt a conviction or compulsion to say something or take an action about an issue, an event. someone in crisis, a new direction in your own life.
How did that feel? How did you experience yourself in that moment? Looking back now, does what you did or said still feel ‘right’?
Without judging yourself, notice whether the energy behind your ribs is steady and strong, or whether it feels erratic or struggles to burn at all?
When you are ready, express your gratitude for your confidence and uniquely authentic presence.
Take three or four deep breaths and open your eyes slowly and gently, or refocus and be present here and now.
I invite you to spend this week taking nothing from outside yourself personally. When someone judges you, take a deep breath, and say, “That comment is about them, not about me.” Then quietly and firmly recall who you are, what you value, how you want to behave in the world. Take another deep breath and say, “This is who I am. This is how I want to be.”
May we both step out con-fidere – with faith – in our wholeness, our holiness, our confidence.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015, 2009, Immram Chara, LLC
NOTE: The first photo is yellow rudebekia from Wisley Gardens in England.
The second is Solar Plexus Chakra from the set of chakra pieces I am making over these seven weeks. It will be going up in my Etsy shop shortly. If you are interested in owning it, let me know.
The third is from my 21-Day Art Journey-Exploration.