Today's Thought: Developmental Tasks
This week we'll be diving more deeply into how the physical body is impacted by the chakra and vice versa. As such, today we'll be touching on three developmental roles the root chakra plays. Firstly, physical growth is a direct manifestation of the root. It makes sense that if our bodies are well nourished we will be able to grow tall and strong. When I lived among Spanish speaking people in Southern California, I saw many cases of Hispanics coming from very poor parts of Central and South America. These women, who may have reached a height of around 4 feet tall, commonly had children almost as tall as I am (5'10"). This is one of those cases of nature vs nurture. The DNA the mother shared with the children obviously didn't stunt their growth, but the more nutrient rich environment seemed to make all the difference in this case.
Another area impacted by the root chakra is the development of motor skills. These skills of walking, talking, and being able to have fine control of the hands are how we interact with our environment. It is interesting to make the realization that when the baby is finally able to sit up tall at about 6 months old, all of the chakras are able to be stacked one on top of the other. Often parents comment on the baby's increased attentiveness at this time. This is one step to being able to better interact with the earth around us.
Finally, in the root chakra helps the infant begin to realize the permanence of objects. This is the idea that an object can continue to exist even when one individual ceased to be able to see, hear, smell, touch, or taste it. Peek-a-boo is such a fun game to play with newborns because when you hide behind a blanket, the baby believes you are gone. When you suddenly reappear, the baby is often visibly startled. Developing the realizations of permanence of objects is crucial to the development of trust, which, as mentioned previously, is key to a healthy first chakra.
Today's Thought: Traumas & Abuses
Though there are many things that can go right with chakras, we need to spend a few days looking at a few traumas that can occur and how they may impact development. When we are aware of the problems that can be created, we may be able to prevent the trauma from occurring in someone else. Know that no trauma exists which can't be eventually healed. But the more we prevent the trauma, the less people will have to suffer to get to that healed state.
The first category of trauma we'll talk about today is that of birth trauma. Birth is a miraculous event of the emerging of a new life. The experience is full of a range of emotions for the mother and the baby. However, there are some common practices in hospitals today which may be unnecessarily traumatizing to the new human. Often, babies are held upside down by their feet and smacked hard on the butt. Not only are the roots held up against gravity, but the smack directly to the area of the body trying to develop the root chakra is hurt. Not only that, but the baby is briskly rushed away from the mother. Though we don't remember it, these events make it more difficult to begin developing trust in the world.
After being in direct physical contact with the mother for the entire pregnancy, it is traumatizing if the baby then begins to experience abandonment or physical neglect. Of key utmost importance is physical bonding with mother. In the womb, the baby grows to recognize the mother, her voice, and her emotions. The baby loves the mother from the very beginning. If it doesn't receive reciprocation of that love and trust, sometimes the will to survive is lost. Some hospitals around the country are developing a "cuddles" program so that when there are babies in intensive care whose mothers can't be present every day (because of distance, her own recovery, or many other reasons), the baby can still receive the gift of loving touch from a human.
Along with the prior traumas come malnourishment, which sometimes comes from feeding difficulties. When any person isn't receiving the necessary nutrients, the root chakra will begin to wither like a root out of dirt.
Occasionally, major illness comes or surgery is necessary. Depending on the location, either of these can unknowingly also bring trauma to the root chakra. Just as physical therapy is often necessary after such events, the chakra, too, needs to be given time, space, and energy to heal.
Finally, physical abuse or a violent environment can also hurt the root chakra. In such cases, victims often become withdrawn and cannot trust that the world can be a good place. They live with constant stress hormones and begin to disconnect from the body to feel less of the pain.
Though these can be difficult things to read about, know that there is hope. With your love, care, and attention, the chakras can become whole.
Today's Meditation: Release
Today's Thought: Inherited Traumas
Events we go through change us even to the very level of the DNA. When we are in times of peace and prosperity, the active genes in our DNA will be very different than in times of war. This helps the body get into the correct "mode" to deal with the world it finds itself in, whether that world be more peaceful or chaotic.
This very DNA history, combined with the hormones the mother produces during pregnancy and the habits of the family the baby is born into, constitute the "baggage" the baby has as it begins life. Though the word baggage has a negative connotation, the "baggage" of the new life could be good or bad. In some cases, this baggage may include the parent's survival fears and these fears will definitely impact the root chakra. As a few examples, holocaust survivors, war veterans, and parents in poverty conditions will likely raise children with certain fears and beliefs about humanity.
For an example from my life, my grandparents grew up during the time of the great depression. They have some very distinct habits which never made sense to me until I realized the time period they grew up in. For instance, my grandma will save anything that still has "value," even if it is just the water she made her beans in. Her kids were always taught to eat everything on their plates. Every scrap of fabric and piece of paper was saved. In some ways, it now makes sense to me that the mindset of poverty, desperation, and not knowing where the next meal would come from create to hoarder mentality. I can see that though my parents now have much more than their parents grew up with, having grown up with the mentality of scarcity affected my parents in such a way that they've never fully been able to shake. Having grown up under my parents, I, noticed that I, too, have the natural tendency to save every little penny and to create excuses rather than go out and do fun things with my friends so that I don't have to spend the money.
Inheriting certain perceptions from our ancestors is very real. Now, the main point that I've been building up to today is that though this is the case, we can choose to release the perceptions that no longer serve us. If we have a mentality of scarcity, we will attract scarcity into our lives until we release that. The same holds true for any number of traits we may hold. As we release inherited fears and traumas (whether we know about them or not), our root chakra will begin to balance! Today's meditation will help us with this goal.
Today's Thought: Physical Malfunctions
In continuing with what can go wrong when the root chakra is out of balance, today we will discuss physical malfunctions that can occur in such a situation. If you begin to notice these types of malfunctions or if they have been going on for a long time, it is a good idea to work on the root chakra through yoga, meditation, art, and other healing practices.
The first thing to note when discussing physical malfunctions of the root chakra are disorders of the bowel, anus, large intestine. These are the physical organs directly touching the root chakra and their health is fed through this system. These organs have the important role of absorbing the nutrients from the food we eat and then expelling any wastes. Those are the roles of the root chakra too: nutrition and processing the environment. Interestingly, when the fight-or-flight response is present via hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, the digestive system is effectively slows down to conserve energy and blood for other systems. This can result in large undigested particles of food, gas, cramping, constipation, or loss of appetite. Any stagnated food in the digestive tract can lead to inflammation and overgrowth of bacteria and fungus. Absorption of vitamins such as B12 (crucial in DNA synthesis, nerve cells, and red blood cells) relies on the perfect amount of alkalinity in the digestive tract. When this range isn't precise, memory grows weaker and energy levels decline.
Other disorders can deal with solid parts of the body including bones and teeth. The skeleton is related to the root chakra because it is the foundation of the rest of the system being able to move and strengthen. (Imagine that scene in Harry Potter where Harry accidentally loses the bones of an arm and you'll understand what I mean!). Issues with legs, feet, knees, base of spine, buttocks are also noteworthy because these are the physical manifestation of roots we have. These areas are the parts of our body connecting to the ground and lifting upward when we stand, kneel, sit, walk, and run.
Eating disorders are a concern of the root chakra because they deal with the lack of will to survive and feed oneself or, conversely, the overfeeding of the body past the point of necessity. The presence of one of these two extremes is a sign that the need for greater balance. As we'll discuss the next two days, the chakra can be deficient (as in starving) or excessive (as in obesity). In a similar way, frequent illness is a sign of an imbalanced root chakra because of the stressors ofn the immune system. The frequent illness could mean the chakra is deficient or it could be excessive.
Today's Thought: Deficiency
Today we're discussing what a deficient root chakra may look like and how energy moves around it. When this occurs to the root chakra, the chakra itself condenses into a small, tight, dense ball. In contracting inward so much, it is as if it sealed off its pores from the possibility of taking in more energy. Thus, when energy flows to the root chakra, it is so contracted that the energy bounces off of it and travels randomly throughout the body. This creates a chaotic, unpredictable, and a draining situation for the body which lacks consistency.
When deficiency occurs to the root chakra, it is common to observe a great amount of disconnection from the body, the person may be notably underweight, and emotions can include fear, anxiety, and restlessness. Other notable observations include poor focus and disciple, financial difficulty, poor boundaries, and chronic disorganization. Understand that even if these symptoms have been occurring for a long time, they don't have the be permanent. Small changes go a long way in healing the root chakra!
It will soon become clear that many of the problems associated with an excessive root chakra are opposite to those of the deficient root chakra. What is going on energetically with an excessive root is that the chakra absorbs all the energy around it like a sponge. It has the tendency to attract the energy of the body to it. So much energy is collected that the energy has difficulty moving upward to the rest of the body or downward in release to the earth. It continues to swell in excess. Because of the chronic solidarity here, the person has difficulty embracing change.
A few examples of tendencies you may observe with an excessive root chakra are obesity, overeating, hoarding, material fixation, greed, sluggishness, laziness, chronically feeling tired, fear of change, addiction to security, and rigid boundaries.
It is very interesting to note that the very same chakra can experience excess in some areas and deficiency in other areas. For instance, a person might display physical components of an excessive root chakra while experiencing the mental and financial deficient properties. Such a person may look like a person addicted to comfort foods and binge eating every night (excessive properties) but who is fearful, anxious, and financially unstable (deficient properties). This realization is key because it reminds us that people don't fit into a neat little organized box. We've all got a lifetime of experiences which have shaped us into who we are today.
Today's Thought: Excessive
Now that we've talked about what deficiency and excess in this chakra looks like, let's take some time to talk about balanced characteristics. These characteristics begin to present themselves when the chakra is healthy and thriving. First of all, good health and vitality are common because the immune system is able to take care of many threats before they become a problem. This person is well grounded and comfortable in his or her own body. There is no need to act, look, or be like anyone else. You are true and rooted to who you are. Along with this personal freedom comes a sense of trust in the world and feeling of safety and security. Generally you see the world as on your side rather than out to get you.
In the ability to relax and be still, the body is healthy and happy. Stability persists in all aspects of life. Prosperity abounds and the Buddhist principle of "right livlihood" is a way of life. That term means that your way of bringing in money doesn't harm others and is as sustainable as possible to the earth.