Are you familiar with the seven chakras, which are the body’s energy centers, and are rooted in ancient Eastern religion? Meditating on and giving conscious awareness to them, regularly, creates a fullness of self and healthy being, as well as promotes stronger spirituality. It might sound hokey, but it’s true. Cross my heart chakra and hope to die.
Here’s a quick intro.
(These names may vary from source to source, and the descriptions of the life aspects and abilities they affect are my own, derived from what I’ve learned and how I’ve come to embrace them for myself.)
(1) root chakra — base of trunk — connection to the earth; a feeling of “home” and comfort, grounding, no matter where you find yourself
(2) sacral chakra — low belly — insight and understanding, especially in relation to others
(3) solar plexus chakra — upper abdomen, just beneath the rib cage — relaxation, competency, without worry
(4) heart chakra — behind the breastbone — warmth, openness, compassion, gratitude
(5) throat chakra — throat — confidence and a strong voice, self-expression (your truths)
(6) third eye chakra — that space between your eyes — vision and empathy
(7) crown chakra — crown of head — connection to God and the Universe; personality, perception, intuition
Do you have a few minutes? Are you in a peace-filled spot? Read through those again, study the diagram. Consciously find each center in your body (do this mentally — unless it helps to physically touch your brow or your breastbone, etc., no one’s looking) and imagine clarity. Impress upon yourself strength in each of the described capacities.
It was more than a year ago now that I first began studying the chakras, and actively unleashing, so to speak, the calm power they hold. I find that when I’m especially anxious or unfocused, and feel like life and my peace are out of alignment, a few minutes in meditation brings me back.
There’s a rich awareness, a whole spirituality, a fullness in the universe and God’s control to be found when you can give over negativity, doubt, fear, whatever holds you back or consumes your life, to these energy centers.
I’d like to challenge you to seek renewal in this way, and find for yourself — it’s gonna sound hokey again — the benefits that come from chakra awareness.
But don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself!
If you’re interested, here’s a related post I wrote on my Woman, Determined blog last spring. That’s when I recognized the harmonies between the long-established Eastern chakras and Gary Zuvak’s book, The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness.
In 2014, I probably read all of six books. Sad, I know, considering I used to read ALL OF THE TIME. I was one of those kids who used to read the cereal box front to back.
So when the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge began, I jumped into the fray and set an intention to read a book a week.
One of the books I read last month was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve wanted to read the book for ages, and because of that, avoided the movie for fear it would spoil the book. And I’m so glad I did! While the book was EXTREMELY long (I now wish I’d kept track of how many hours it took me to read it), it was worth every hour.
Eat, Pray, Love is the story of one very unhappy woman’s search for happiness. After a painful and ugly divorce, she throws on a backpack and sets out on a year long journey of discovery. She spends four months in Italy where she explores pleasure (EAT), four months in India where she explores devotion (PRAY), and four months in Bali where she explores balance (LOVE).
Elizabeth Gilbert’s four months in India, spent in devotion at an Ashram, touched my soul. At one point in the reading, I had to put down the book and walk away because I experienced a wave of jealousy so extreme, I felt the need to explore the workings of my own inner being.
And what I discovered was that this woman, surrounded by the peace and serenity of the Ashram, had experienced the life I was meant to live. Wow, didn’t see that coming, did you? Neither did I. 🙂
When I understood this, the jealousy quickly passed because I am truly thankful for my life and everything in it—my family and friends and career. However, while immersing myself in the daily rituals of an Ashram is still on my bucket list, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to leave my family to discover inner peace and serenity.
From the comfort of my home, I’ve been doing SOUL work, inspired by the awesome courses offered by Christine Kane. I’ve always been fascinated by this “woo-woo stuff” (as Christine calls it), but my busy life has left me little time to indulge this yearning…until now. There are changes afloat, and I’m embracing each one.
Have you read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, or seen the movie? If so, did the book or movie unleash any long forgotten dreams or desires?
And finally, what’s on your reading table this month?
I registered for the “Expanding Your Happiness” Meditation Experience from Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey as a way to deal with stress. It started on Monday and runs for three weeks. I’m hoping it will get me into a practice of mindfulness meditation, which is supposed to rewire you brain so you can focus better. Heaven knows I can use help with that. I have a bad habit of multitasking, and often end up spending too much time on trivial things (like cat videos on Facebook) rather than the activities that need my attention.
I’m planning to release a novella each month for the rest of this year. Since I’ve also got a day job, there’s no time to waste if I want to meet my goals. The last novella in the series is a Christmas story, and the holiday isn’t going to wait for me to finish the book. So it’s critical for me to stay on track.
Will meditation help? I don’t know, but I’m giving it a try.
Strangely, the last couple of times I meditated, it seemed to increase my stress level instead of lessening it. I started out in a state of bliss, and became more and more tense. It might just be a fluke, but I wonder if I’m wired that way. Because I’m so practiced at getting into my writing mind—my intuitive mind—maybe meditating actually takes me out of that state and into a more concrete, sensory one. And then, all the real world troubles come into focus.
My imagination is a happy place. I’m in charge. I have the power to resolve any problem. When people fight, they make up. If they disagree on a fundamental level, they learn to live and let live.
The real world is full of problems I can’t fix. So I do the next best thing—I write love stories with happy endings. Hopefully, they’ll give a lift to the readers’ day, and make their troubles slip into the background for a while.
And maybe that’s what expanding your happiness is all about. Finding something that gives you hope when the world looks dark around you. Living in a fantasy world isn’t the answer, but we all need coping mechanisms. Sometimes, books help. They give us perspective. They take us out of our own heads so we can see challenges from a new angle. As an author, I hope that’s what I give my audience.
How do you cope with stress? Have you tried meditation? Does reading fiction help you find solutions to real-world problems?
I love yoga. I love the flexibility, the deep breathing, and the peace it brings me. For the hour I practice the poses, my mind is focused on the singular task of performing the routines, which helps enhance my focus when I’m at the computer working.
￼A couple of years ago, I discovered Maya Fiennes book, Yoga for Real Life, and her Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVD, and these quickly became part of my exercise program. Maya teaches Kundalini Yoga which “awakens awareness”. It is the oldest form of yoga and uses meditative focus, breath work, and chanting.
Recently I found this DVD available on YouTube, along with a couple of other cool features from this yoga teacher. Turn on your sound and enjoy the background music. It’s written and performed by Maya, who is also a classical pianist and performer. If you’re interested in trying it, this program runs about sixty minutes.
However, if you want a quick routine to energize you, Maya also offers something different, a free style five minute routine that will totally get you moving and make you smile. If you don’t have time to check out the other links, make sure you check out this one because it’s super cool and fun!
Or if you just want to lie back and relax, here is one of her songs.
Visit Maya’s website where you can learn more about Kundalini yoga.
Have you ever considered doing yoga or meditation? What about the practices appeals or doesn’t appeal to you?