The Chakras and Psychotherapy - Belly Chakra, Solar PLexus Chakra
Chakra View - Belly Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra
Prior to the break, I wrote the first in a series of articles about how the Indian Chakra system mirrored developmental stages in "the real world." As you'll remember (I hope!) the Root Chakra is the "base, security" Chakra. We talked about how this need for security is fundamental for our ego's establishing its place on the planet.
Today, I'd like to explore Chakras 2 and 3 (orange and yellow, above.). I want to play with their positioning, as I think it flies in the face of much of the romantic notions we in the West possess regarding relationships.
So, Chakra 2 is located 2 inches or so below the navel, and is the "relationship, sex" Chakra. As we've written in past issues, the most primary stage of development, next to simply being alive, is certainly the relationship stage. Infants, for example, must learn how to fit in - how to get attention - get fed, how to interact. This interaction is so vital that research has demonstrated that its lack results in dissociated children. Children without emotional relationships often waste away and die - they "fail to thrive."
This "learning through relationship" continues throughout life, and could be said to be what we're engaged in through Into the Centre. We make contact and share insights. You read and relate to what I'm saying – otherwise you'd have unsubscribed. We connect with each other, inform each other and help each other to adapt to the society that surrounds us.
We might rightly think, then, that much of relating is actually about fitting in. Relating is about "scoping out" situations and people and figuring out the rules of engagement. It's all about learning how to figure out what others want, while at the same time getting what we want.
Sex, too, is often such a fitting in and figuring out. The West considers sex to be special, and it wasn't that long ago that sex was sacrosanct. You only bonked when you were married. In the last several decades, sex has become both commercialized, and a way to get what you want. At its best it is an elegant communication and pleasure tool. At its worst, it's a way to manipulate - to get others to do your bidding. In the main, we learn about sex and how to use sex through the self-same trial and error method that lies beneath all other forms of relating.
A fully functional 2nd Chakra is all about fluidity and flexibility in the pelvis, front and back. We at The Phoenix Centre talk endlessly about flexibility in the back pelvis as being about passion for life, and flexibility in the front pelvis being indicative of sexual passion and freedom. Thus, if relationships were not fluid and healthy, we'd expect to see pain in the region, as well as bladder infections, yeast infections, cysts and other disturbances.
The 3rd Chakra is located at the solar plexus, and is the centre of self-esteem. This area is all about respecting and valuing yourself- caring about yourself and understanding yourself. We might think of this Chakra as being about "enlightened self-interest."
This parallels human development. Again, as the child moves along, breathing comes before getting and relating (in practical terms, the kid has to figure out the family thing to maintain root survival. Once the routines of relating are figured out, the rest of life is self-development.)
Now, what intrigues me about the placement of these two Chakras is this: self-esteem and self-awareness builds upon having learned to be in relationship. To paraphrase Ken Wilber, self-esteem "transcends and includes" relationship. To put it in crass western terms, self-esteem is higher up the food chain and therefore "more valuable" than relationships.
Boy, do we hate that one.
Or, we've been conditioned to.
We've been taught that "putting yourself ahead of others" is a bad thing. We've been taught that family, (and following the family rules and traditions) is more important than self-worth and self-actualization. We've been taught that "the way we are is the way we are," and that escaping our genetics or conditioning is nearly impossible, and would be highly selfish should we try it.
And yet, the self both transcends and includes all relationships. In other words, we are in relationship for one purpose and one purpose only: to develop more self-esteem and to become more and more ourselves. Relationships serve self-development and eventual self-actualization, not the other way around.
I can't tell you how many clients I've seen who make themselves victims of their relationships. (I've got a real thing about "victim mentality" and will have to write about it some day soon.) "Here's what I want and need, but I can't have it because my husband / wife / partner / parents / children / employer won't let me." Guilt is used to bludgeon people down. Sex is used as a weapon. Societal norms are tossed around as if they actually mean something apart from the person who chooses to enact them.
All of this is designed to keep passion at a minimum and self-esteem and self-actualization in the background. We thus create a world of people who "fit in" and either nothing changes or things get worse. Pure and simple.
If you think your family and their rules (or, substitute "tribe" for "family") are more important than your own self-knowing, think again. Relationships facilitate self-actualization. That's what they are for.
It's as simple as this: parents are supposed to be parenting, and parenting means creating independent people out of helpless children, not fostering dependency and "stuckness." That many parents hamstring their children in the guise of protecting them simply means that many, many people never grow up and leave home, no matter where they live.
This week, contemplate the ratio of "self-development to relationship-fixedness" that you engage in. Shake the relationships loose. And all that you'll find is all that there is – you.