Anahata, the Heart Chakra:
We are now halfway through our seven-leveled chakra system. Below the heart chakra, are the first three chakras which relate to things and activities in the external physical world. Above this, are the top three chakras which relate to internal representations of the physical world that are experienced mentally. This fourth chakra, located (obviously) over the heart, is the balance point between these two extremes: the integrator of mind and body, believed to be the central home of the spirit.
The twelve-petaled lotus symbol of the heart chakra contains within it two intersecting triangles forming a six-pointed star. These triangles represent the force of matter moving upward toward liberation and the force of spirit moving into manifestation. It is at this chakra that they are evenly combined, creating a center of peace and balance. Anahata is the center of compassion; when the heart is open you transcend the limits of your people, plants, animals, all of life. This is the humanitarian center, you care about social causes. The heart makes you see through the eyes of compassion. The heart chakra is the gateway into the higher states of consciousness. It is the portal through which we radiate the great power of unconditional love and how we receive from the universe. Awakening the heart chakra is one of the most important steps that we can take on our spiritual journey through life. True healing of old emotional wounds comes from here. With a strong heart energy, we stop clinging to old hurts and pain and feel forgiveness.
The heart chakra is related to the element of air and the quality of love. Air is formless, largely invisible, absolutely necessary, and the least dense of our first four elements. Air is expansive as it will expand to fit any space it is put into, yet it is soft and gentle. So, too, is love. Love is the expansions of the heart, the transcendence of boundaries, the interconnectedness of spirit. Love is balance, ease, softness, and forgiveness. And love at the heart chakra is felt as a state of being, existing independently of any object or person, unlike the passion-oriented love of the second chakra. Because Anahata is related to the element air, it is accessible through the breath. The Hindus call the breath prana, which means “first unit,” and they believe it contains the essence of all vitality and nourishment, being the point of commonality between the mental and physical worlds. Opening up the breath, unloosening whatever tensions are constricting it, is a way of accessing the heart chakra.
The Sanskrit name for this chakra is Anahata, which means “sound that is made without any two things striking.” This describes a state where we are no longer fighting or confronting what we love but moving with it in graceful harmony. The fight of the third chakra gives way to graceful acceptance in the fourth. Ideally, the heart chakra should radiate love from a strong, solide center of self-acceptance and reach out with supportive care and compassion towards others. With its essential message of balance, our self-love and love for others need to be balanced and interconnected.
The operating force in this chakra is the force of equilibrium. That which stays in balance has longevity and lives in harmony. Enter the peaceful balance of the heart within yourself and others, and you will experience the mysteries of Anahata. Directly below the heart chakra is another small lotus that is seldom talked about but significant to the heart chakra. Called the Anandakanda lotus, it has eight petals and contains the Kalaptaru, or the Celestial Wishing Tree. In front of the tree is an altar for worship, and it is believed that the tree contains the deeper wishes of the heart chakra - those things we hardly dare name but are most integral to our deepest hopes. It is believed that when one worships this altar by wishing from the heart, the tree bestows even more than desired.
The glands and organs influenced by the fourth chakra include the heart, lungs, immune system, thymus gland and the lymph nodes. Because of this association, when one keeps this chakra imbalanced for a prolonged period of time, experienced illnesses include heart pain, heart attack, high blood pressure, negativity, fatigue, difficulty breathing, tension, insomnia, anger, paranoia, and cancer.
When one keeps this chakra well-balanced, they tend to be compassionate, empathetic, a humanitarian, see the good in everyone, desire to nurture others, are friendly, outgoing, in touch with their feelings, can surrender and merge in a love relationship (their sexual energy), and can wait for the right partner. When in balance, you begin to express and receive abundant love. You find out what you love to do and then you do it. Your life purpose becomes clear as you express the energy of love. You love what you do and it shows. You are able to accept those you meet and accept them for what they are without being drawn into their drama. You begin to give of yourself freely and openly without looking or expecting anything in return. Love is the natural state for the mind and body. Exampled by the love for a child or an animal. You give love without expecting it in return - you love for the sheer joy of loving.
However, this chakra can be over-active and contain excessive energy, and when it is one will be demanding, overly critical, possessive, moody, melodramatic, manic-depressive, use money or sex to control people, act as a martyr, and are a master of conditional love: “I love you if” without love to get the desired behavior, “You wouldn’t do that if you really loved me.” Also, if the heart chakra is too open, one can have the tendency to give all our time and energy away, to be so focused on “others” that we lose our own center.
If it is neither balanced or over-active one will have deficient energy in the heart chakra, (or, otherwise, a closed or blocked chakra,) and with that they tend to be paranoid, feel sorry for themselves, indecisive, afraid of letting go and being free, feel unworthy of love (their sexual energy), can’t reach out, terrified of rejection, and need constant reassurance. If the heart chakra is closed down, the very core of us suffers. Our breathing is shallow, slowing down our metabolism and our physical energy. Blocked at the center, we feel divided between mind and body. We pull in to ourselves, withdraw, and become a closed system.
Gems and minerals associated with the heart chakra that can be used in stone meditation for clearing blockades in the chakra are emerald, rose quartz, bloodstone, green and/or pink tourmaline, malachite, green jade, green aventurine, pink topaz, rhodocrosite, watermelon tourmaline, green peridot, or kunzite.
To balance this chakra, give freely your service to others, watch tender movies, listen to romantic soft music, play with cute kittens or puppies, sit for awhile with a baby in your arms, give someone a hug, or give someone a Reiki treatment. The most important is to love and forgive yourself. Keep feelings and thoughts of thankfulness in everything you experience daily. Close your eyes and think of a pink cloud surrounding you and emanating from your physical body. Trust that all is well. Feel with compassion and patience. To balance yours and someone else’s heart chakra, have you and your partner give each other “love massages” using a rose quartz and rose oil.
An exercise that can also help is called the Arch exercise. To do this, form a grounding position associated with the root chakra and begin breathing into your legs, building up some charge. Then bring the charge into your pelvis by moving your hips back and forth until your sacral chakra feels some of this same energy. When your hips and belly feel connected, begin to form an arch with your body, keeping your knees bent, thrusting your pelvis forward, then your stomach and chest, and finally reaching upward with your arms, head, and back. (Be gentle with your spin, and do not hold this position if you feel an discomfort.) If you are holding the position correctly, you should feel a vibration in your chest. Breathe into this and relax as much as you can in this difficult position, imagining a green light filling and opening your heart. Return slowly to your upright position, keeping the knees slightly bent, and slowly return your arms to your sides, eyes closed. Stand at rest a few moments to feel the effects of this exercise. Repeat when ready.
Oils associated with Anahata include rose, melissa, and neroli. These oils can be used in aromatherapy with a diffuser, or in the form of incense. It can also be used in an aromatic bath or during meditation to help with the opening and balancing of this chakra.
Yoga positions associated with this chakra include bhujangasana (cobra), raised bhujangasana (raised cobra), janusirasasana (head-to-knee forward bend), and matsyasana (fish pose).
The more you love, the more love you attract.