Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Universal Identity

The first chakra we are going to explore is the Crown Chakra (Sahasrara translation: Thousandfold).  The Crown Chakra is located at the very top of the head.  This Chakra is associated with divine wisdom, our spirit, our Oneness with the Universe, our Unity with all that is, and Enlightenment.  In Yoga, this centre is referred to as the Thousand Pedaled Lotus, representing purity, refinement and beauty.  We use this chakra as a tool to communicate with our spiritual nature.

To truly open this chakra, one has to let go of all earthly attachments, forget the past and let spirituality in; bringing you to complete awareness.  It is then that we actualize spiritual qualities such as love, trust, clarity, confidence and well-being and let go of qualities of impulsiveness, lack of confidence, fear and depression.  It is only when the other six chakra's are opened that we can reach this state.  Just as we are all interconnected, so are the chakra's.  When one chakra opens or closes it affects the rest of the system.

Environmental conditioning and cultural attitude are the prime sources of a closed crown chakra.  They perpetuate fear, anxiety, suspicion, worry, self-doubt and can even lead to depression.  But if looked at from a spiritual perspective, the fear of inadequacy is generated by identifying oneself with one's behavior rather than spiritual identity.  Fears of being unsafe in the world or death occur when people do not recognize that their physical body is temporary and our true essence or spirit is eternal.  Indicators that the crown chakra is not functioning optimally is if you find yourself  stuck in the past, without faith or just have a feeling of disconnect from the world in general.

"Ultimately, all beliefs rooted in fear can be transformed through drawing on spiritual principles such as love, compassion and balance; and working to manifest them in everyday life."
Inspiration, Devotion and Spontaneity are ways to unblock the crown chakra.  It is impossible to be frightened when we manifest any of these.  I for one find inspiration through pictures, poetry, prayers, blessings and short stories.  I share them on my blog, Chasing My Bliss, so others can find a happy spot to sit and relieve some stress and anxiety.  But what inspires me, may not inspire you.  You need to look within yourself to see where you find inspiration.  Devotion creates a feeling of unity, which opens the Crown Chakra as well.  Whether it is a dedication or worship that is focused on spiritual matters, a child, spouse, friend or pet.  Spontaneity is the by-product of trust which of course eliminates fear making those care-free moments wonderful ways to open the Crown.

"People who attempt to meditate with closed crown chakras can achieve a form of relaxation, but they are unable to experience expansion and direct contact with Spirit.  Meditation is listening to Spirit; therefore the door to Spirit - the crown chakra - must be open.  With an open crown chakra, insight and connection to the spiritual life force are available to everyone."
Because the Crown Chakra is a tool to communicate with our spiritual nature, the best yoga method is meditation.  The asana's (poses) that you may like to incorporate into your practice are lotus pose (Padmasana), Headstand Pose (Sirsasana), Easy Pose (Sukhasana), or any other meditation pose that you prefer.

 There are three steps to achieve Vipassana or mindfulness meditation - Awareness, Mindfulness and Intention.

Attention is the first step.  By being attentive to one’s own breathing, thoughts, feelings or bodily sensations, the mind becomes calm.  The most common technique is to observe one’s own breathing, either by feeling the air move through the nostrils or by being aware of the abdomen moving in and out. The calming of the mind alone doesn’t constitute vipassana or mindfulness meditation. As long as the underlying causes of restlessness and suffering are not removed, they will keep coming back.   Until the mind is fundamentally transformed, it will keep getting disturbed again and again. Most minds are being caught in (usually unconscious) patterns of reactions to certain stimuli, leading to cycles of negative emotions and suffering. The mind has to be made aware of these patterns by the practice of mindfulness.  Inspiration, devotion and trust are all tools that can be used to help become aware.  You may want to start with an inspiring poem, visualization or prayer to help aid your focus.

The second step is mindfulness.  When attentiveness becomes lasting and strong and the mind is sufficiently calm, it becomes mindful of its own workings. This includes putting a stop to the endless judging and commenting going on in the mind.  Being mindful means neither grasping nor pushing things away. It also means living truly in the present moment and seeing things as they really are.  A tool to use to stay mindful is an affirmation or universal truth.  It could be something as simple as "I am" or as long as "I soar upward on wings of joy!"  Find one that connects with you and sit with it.

The final step is intention.  It happens spontaneously as the result of the practice of calmness and mindfulness.  When one releases the affirmation and works to hold the mind still.  Just as muddy water becomes transparent again once it is allowed to be still, and the mud has settled down; so a mind purified by the practice of calmness and mindfulness will spontaneously reveal its true nature.

"When we focus on the gift of being Spirit in human form, sources of inspiration become abundant.  We appreciate the possibilities of learning and creativity in life.  Happiness becomes a state of being, not a state of acquiring."
 This week, I offer you the following practices to help open yourself to your spiritual nature.

Day 1 ~  Take a sheet of paper and list all your fears.  Everything from the smallest insecurity to the biggest struggle.  When you are finished listing them go back to the first item and write why you have this fear and how you can overcome it.  Continue this throughout the list.  How many can you overcome with simple inspiration, devotion or spontaneity?  Would you be able to meditate on these fears to release them?  Please share which fears you can not overcome so maybe you can find inspiration from another person.

Day 2 ~  I invite you on a creative journey today.  What inspires you?  Share your inspirations with us by making a vision board, painting, writing a poem, making a video or other creative way and share it with the group.  Tell us how these inspirations can help you open your crown chakra.

Day 3 ~ Today we are going to look at The Key to Happiness.  Again, take a sheet of paper and list all of your desires from the ones you share with those close to you to the ones you harbor inside.  Now look at your list.  Are the desires spiritual or cultural?  How would you feel if certain desires could not be fulfilled?  Sit on this mindfully for as long as you can.  Release the desires that contaminate your happiness.  Come back here and share with us how you feel now that you no longer are carrying these burdens.

Day 4 ~ Stress and anxiety are our focus today.  I want you to be mindful of your body, mind and spirit; and what causes you anxiety or stress.  Whether it is from a social, personal or spiritual standpoint.  I want you to become aware of the triggers and journal about how you paused and released it.  Share this journal with the group.

Day 5 ~ Today we will begin focusing on meditation.  When you have 10 minutes of calm, I invite you to use this Guided Meditation with Karen Kallie.  Share with the group your experience.

Day 6 ~ Today's meditation comes from David Pond's book, Chakra's for Beginners.  "Draw a beam of white light and trace the movement of the white light down through the chakras and, let it rise to your Crown Chakra and out.  Picture a violet glow surrounding you and as you hold your breath, fill yourself with this light.  Realize that you are no longer alone as a separate being; you are one with all.  Feel the sense of spiritual protection as you align with the Divine.  Breathe out and send the energy of your being to the Divine and the world around you.  With your eyes still closed, begin to sense that you are sitting in the room.  Again become aware of your surrounding noises and smells.  Still keeping your breathing regular, open your eyes and notice the refreshing awareness of NOW."  Share with the group your experience. 

Day 7 ~ Today is our last day focusing on the root before we move onto the third eye chakra.  After a week of absorbing information and guided practices, I ask that today you sit on your own.  Use any of the tools I have shared to help you open your crown chakra.  For the final day on this chakra, I ask that you write about your experience this past week.  How have you grown spiritually?

Do not forget the practice in upcoming weeks.  Remember all the chakras work together.  To share in this exploration journey, please join us over at Meditation and Weight Loss.  Namaste.

All information on the Crown Chakra has been collected through various sources and personal experience with the intention of sharing them with like-minded individuals who are exploring the chakras.  All quotations are from The Wisdom of the Chakra's by Ellen Tadd unless otherwise noted.  I highly recommend this book.


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