Moving now to a familiar and possibly “favorite” chakra; the Heart Chakra; the seat of our universal loving, forgiveness, and compassion, as well as self love, forgiveness and compassion. The color of the heart chakra is green; bringing this color around you can help focus your energies in a worldly connection of love.
The Heart Chakra In Recovery
In recovery I have developed a longstanding affection for this center:cultivating love for self has been the routine to sustainable recovery. It started with love of others as I had zero regard for myself. I think that is why we are told that our fellows in recovery will “love us until we can love ourselves.” It is a difficult but vital part of the path.
I often hear at meetings that the longest journey is those 18 inches between the head and the heart; the journey from thinking to feeling; head knowing to heart knowing. This remark underlines the importance of the heart chakra; that we are all moving toward that destination. My investigation of the popular interpretations of the chakras incorporates the power of this energy center with my recovery in the following ways.
A Balanced Heart Chakra
A balanced heart chakra gives us the ability to experience kindness, purity, gentleness, love, and compassion. It’s position is between the earthly or mundane basic and fundamental energies of the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras; and a gateway to the ethereal properties of the throat, third eye and crown chakras. In this location it guides us to a balanced and non-judgemental experience of the world around us. When we are in balance we are freed of old historical and ancestor pain, and are able to experience growth with joy and gratitude. The connection between ourselves and all beings, with the energy of the universe is also one of the aspects of a balanced heart center.
My experience with the heart chakra has been one of longing for this balance, understanding the benefits, but still needing to do a LOT of work for this equilibrium to be achieved. Daily. Knowing wasn’t feeling, understanding wasn’t embodying. Like many of us in recovery- smarts and intelligence, being clever, didn’t prevent me from becoming an addict. Knowing about how I could be feeling didn’t always manifest in my emotional body, my feeling self. That took time. It has taken lots of time and lots of practice.
An Unbalanced Heart Chakra
How do I know my heart chakra is out of balance? That it is over or underactive? That I need to tend to my heartfelt needs?
When the heart chakra is out of balance one can feel grief, sadness, blame, self pity, even paranoia, blame and guilt. We can be afraid of both holding on and letting go. Jealousy and trust may be obstacles to investigate and overcome, we may have a fear of intimacy and yet be clingy or over-attached. Those of us who have experienced trauma have, indeed, heart scars that require time and vigilant attention and love to heal.
To quote a friend of mine:
“Our hearts get tested, hurt and scarred as we live full lives. When our scarred hearts bump into other scarred hearts it can be rough and hard. Don’t give up. There are kind and sweet spots left in all of our hearts and when those find each other it is soft and safe. Trust works like a healing ointment on our scarred parts and eventually we get our whole heart back. Wide open and willing to hug and help heal others. Live life to the fullest even if it hurts sometimes. Take risks even if they don’t all work out, learn from them. Life is bumpy, resilience comes from riding, not hiding, from the bumps. Go for it. Reach out, trust, love, hit bumps, learn, start over. And over. And over. Create a life worth living.”
How Do I Know If My Heart Chakra Is Off Balance?
We may also experience some physical symptoms or issues related to breathing, heart pressure, insomnia, or asthma; among others. I experience chest tightness and upper back pain.
Don’t worry – with balancing the chakra it is “progress not perfection”. The heart chakra doesn’t have to be in perfect balance in order to derive the benefits and gifts of a balanced heart chakra. However, as with the steps, when you are having a problem with a step you go back to the previous one; so too with the chakras, if you are challenged in letting go of something that is causing your heart pain and feel like you can’t get through it, reflect on the previous three chakras to be sure you are taking care of yourself there.
Here are some questions that can guide you in understanding if your heart chakra is out of balance.
- Do I treat myself with love and kindness?
- Do I feel disconnected from the people who love me?
- Do I find it hard to let go of bitter, resentful or angry thoughts?
- Do I tend to feel emotionally distant from others?
- Do I criticize or find fault with myself frequently?
- Do I have poor boundaries (prone to codependent relationships)?
- Do I have a constant sense of heaviness in my chest?
Help With Balancing Your Chakras
Here are some affirmations to add to your recovery routines that can help balance your heart chakra.
- “I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
- “I am wanted and loved.”
- “My heart is open to love.”
- “I forgive myself.”
- “I live in a state of grace and gratefulness.”
You can also go out in nature, do volunteer/service work, and do metta meditations. You can give yourself permission to feel ALL your feelings without shutting down the sadness, the anger, the sense of loss, even boredom. Let them in and let them leave. This will give you practice in accepting and loving the “unlovely” parts of yourself without editing. We don’t’ have to act on all that we feel, particularly when we FEEL all that we feel. With compassion we can acknowledge it and grow to love ourselves.
Bringing acceptance INSIDE will help you balance your heart chakra and you will become more open to the sunlight of the spirit. A little at a time. Progress not perfection.