This Chakra is all about BALANCE IN LOVE.
LOCATION: Heart, cardiac plexus
Located up from the solar plexus at the cardiac plexus or heart centre, this chakra is the centre of our social identity, or how we create our persona through interactions with others. Different from the third chakra, which is about our sense of power and worth as an individual in the world, the fourth chakra is about our sense of identity in relationships, how we feel exist within a social perspective and how we love those around us and ourselves. Many of you may recognise yourself or others as 'the helper', 'the entertainer', 'the pleaser’ or 'the seductive lover.’ As children, you may have been seen as 'the good girl or boy' or 'the rebel’ or 'the dreamer' and have identified yourself by the role you played within your relationships. Instead of exploring our relationships as we develop, we tend to act out a certain persona to feel like we know we can be loved. However, as we mature, the heart chakra emerges beyond the ego and we begin to explore the role of service we can offer to others and the world.
So, what would a balanced fourth chakra be?
The first chakra was the element Earth (steadiness), the second chakra was the element Water (movement), the third chakra was the element Fire (transformation) and the fourth chakra is the element Air and related to LOVE. A person balanced in this Chakra would be peaceful, as they are able to love themselves, which means they are free to love others. Balanced fourth Chakra people are compassionate without blurring the boundaries; they are able to empathise without affecting their own balance. They are altruistic, so have a selfless concern for others and really do act from the heart. When you are balanced here you tend to have a good immune system. You can love and be loved in return without neediness. Like air, love is boundless and when we are balanced in it, we can feel this allover sense of it, like a breeze brushing our skin.
And what causes imbalances?
Imbalances may develop temporarily with situational challenges, or they may be chronic. A chronic imbalance can come from childhood experiences, past pain or stress, and internalised cultural values. Blockages in the lower chakras can cause our heart chakra to be unbalanced, as we perhaps don't feel steady enough to be open to give and receive love as this takes a certain amount of vulnerability. However, imbalances here can also be caused by conditional love ("I will only love you if….") or abandonment or rejection. The end of a relationship or the death of a loved one can leave us absolutely ‘heart-broken’. Any traumas where our love is suddenly cut off or not free causes us to be imbalanced in the heart chakra.
What happens when we are deficient?
When we are deficient in our fourth chakra, we can feel lonely or unlovable. So, perhaps we withdraw ourselves as we have a fear of relationships or feel we don't fit in. People who are deficient probably have a self-critical voice and a negative concept of their role in social groups. Depending on what has triggered an imbalance, we can have a lack of empathy or even become critical towards others as we tend to be a little withdrawn and unable to connect with those around us. This can lead to nervousness and self-criticism, perhaps social awkwardness. Deficient people can either ignore their heart completely or feel it so strongly they have to hide it away. Either way, a feeling that it's safer to stay alone than be vulnerable in relationships is usually present.
What happens when we are excessive?
When we are excessive in this chakra, we may go the other way by experiencing co-dependency with others, a need to constantly have love and give love. Perhaps poor boundaries, in all types of relationships, not giving 'space' for the other person, smothering them or clinging to them, even becoming demanding. Excessive fourth chakra people can also be over-sacrificing, giving all they have to a lover or those around them, not leaving any energy for themselves.
Remember, not many people are completely balanced and it is common to have small traits of both deficiency and excessiveness!
So what can we do to help balance deficiency?
Breathing exercises or pranayama (in Sanskrit) can help us feel more at ease and balanced. If we take deeper breaths, focusing on really opening our lungs and chest, we can perhaps feel less restricted there.
If you think of people who 'hide their hearts,’ they slouch, shoulders coming in, to literally protect themselves, or hide themselves away. A great way to start to feel more open and connected to those around you is to open your arms out wide and do some exercises like this. In and out, in and out. Think of standing on top of a mountain and opening your arms to really feel as big and present and connected to the landscape around you. Your little heart is so big and it wants to FEEL more, let's start letting it.
Letting people in is important. If you feel like you've been hiding away, check in with what label you are giving yourself in a social group and why? "I'm always the outsider,” for instance, is not a good mantra to have at a social occasion. If you believe it, you will become it, so try to switch it up. Mantras and affirmations are so powerful. Before a date or a social occasion, give yourself an affirmation for the night. "I am open to new and real connections" or "I am absolutely 100% loveable and people like to be with me.”
Journalling & Meditating...
This one has come up so much in the chakras as in our busy lives, we rarely get the time to really experience what we are feeling. Start by just writing without it having to make sense, start to disperse grief or heartbreak by giving it a time and place to be heard. Or try just sitting with no distractions with your hands on your heart. Breathe into the space underneath your heart and allow yourself to simply feel, allow emotions to surface and breathe, there is no need to be constricted anymore. You have to FEEL in order to DEAL in order to HEAL.
What can we do to balance excess?
People who are excessive probably don't like their own company much. But this is the best way to really experience why you need to either receive or give love to excess. It's also important to really separate your own feelings from the feelings of others. If you feel like you give all the time, is this because you are empathising more with the other person and how they feel or does it make you feel a certain way? Of course being giving and loving are gorgeous and brilliant qualities, but are they draining you? Do you give enough love to yourself?
Are you the person saying 'but I JUST want to spend ALL my time with you!’ ? Try allowing the other person to come to you if you feel like you are constantly the one asking for the other person. Let your partner come to you and you may realise that your fear was making you cling on so tight that you were suffocating the relationship. When we have space to breathe we allow the AIR element of love to be free and natural. Take a step back and enjoy what this moment is without the fear of it leaving.
Do exercise for yourself, to make you feel empowered and strong from the inside out. Start feeling great in your own skin. This will help you develop a confidence from the inside out and perhaps make you feel less needy or like you can only fill your love quota from outside sources.
Remember that we are ALL imbalanced in some way, and this is also what makes us unique. Embrace your imperfections and learn to love them, explore them, and perhaps you'll become open to things you never thought possible. If we see ourselves with imbalances rather than flaws we begin to see that we can actually become more balanced and that we are constantly growing, learning, changing, in this wonderful whacky world. Remember we are in it together!