Located in the region of the heart, the Anahata Chakra is typically associated with compassion and a surrendering of yourself to a higher power (however you percieve it to be). It is here, at this level, you begin to make decisions about life and your calling...about following your heart. It is here, the Samurai speak of Rei.
Rei is respect, kindness, politeness and all with a hint of morality. Treating others and yourself with Rei keeps this Chakra spinning...and conversely, keeping this Chakra open allows Rei to pour forth. Samurai culture was full of Confucian influence as well, which called for protocol that implied respect, politeness and refinement of character.
The act of bowing is deeply symbolic of these qualities....and add your hands together you have a gassho.
Also, the wish-fulfilling tree, kalpa taru, resides here, symbolizing the ability to manifest whatever you wish to happen in the world. Thus, following your passion, your heart, is highly creative. As a tree produces fruit so does the Anahata...and Rei.
Surrendering to this higher power within ourselves and listening is the beginning of entering into the higher realms of what it means to be human. It also here, when you learn to trust your martial training that 'magic' happens. Emanating from Anahata/Rei you rise above the physical lower chakras and your ability to see and relate to others begins to shift.
Get stuck here means...well, you"re an ego-centered jack ass. You can't see beyond your own wishes and carnal lusts. Visualizing green in your heart region and simply filling your heart with loving thoughts can help keep this chakra spinning. Also, practice bowing and paying respect to all things...rocks, sticks, animals, humans...and even the ego-centered jack ass. After all, you can only know he is a jack ass because you have those same elements within yourself. Be peace.
Just taking a bit of a stray from the Chakra/Bushido code for a post. In Madison, Wisconsin today to drop my middle child off at college. My wife and I went to a folk festival this evening full of old and young hippies.
While walking around I noticed my shoulders and breathing were high. There were a lot of people and I felt a bit on-edge. Then this little voice in my head (yes, I have voices in my head....now don't get jealous cause they just talk to me...lol)...well, this 'voice' or prompting said, "Walk Blood-Heavy".
For some reason I knew what to do. I dropped my shoulders, put my breath-focus into my feet and with each step I visualized the ground vibrating from the heavy step of blood-filled feet. A lot like when doing Sanchin Kata. A very strong rooted feeling. The only difference was it felt heavier than Sanchin and I felt better...less on-edge, more clear and calm. I felt connected to each step, the earth and now.
I know. Strange. But you have to listen to those voices...it is the voice of intuition. I am going to practice Walking Blood-Heavy more often and see what happens. Try if for yourself. Just see and feel your feet getting heavy with blood (remember chi and blood flow together). Then be aware of each step and as you step feel/visualize the ground thunderously vibrating beneath your feet. Have fun with it. Let me know what you think.
I know at times I can sound crazy...well, that's because it is important to push the parameters of consensus reality. Don't you agree?
Hands palm to palm _/|\_ (thanks Rizal for showing this to me)
The third Chakra, Manipura, also known as the Solar Plexus Chakra correlates well with Bushido's, Makoto. The Manipura Chakra is the seat of personal power and integrity. Whereas the first chakra is associated with tribal power and the second with the flow of power in relationships, the third chakra is all about personal power.
Makoto is about this power. Makoto is truthfulness to yourself, to your values and to your inner self and vows. It is about total sincerity in being true to yourself. This entails personal power and the ability to have a well-adjusted attitude and perspective with your 'tribe' or 'group'. This is also about self-esteem....and so is Manipura Chakra.
Manipura is about the development of good self-esteem, self-respect and self-discipline. It is the seat of creativity as well that served the Samurai in crisis. Manipura and Makoto is about the ability to generate the personal power for courage, action and strength of character..
When not in order fears of rejection, criticism and a general lack of confidence exists. The Samurai here could have a major fear of not keeping his responsibilites to his lord. It was important to generate the energy for Makoto. This is all about honoring yourself.
To develop Makoto via a healthy Manipura. Get plenty of sunshine. Spend time in nature soaking in the sun and the warmth that nature provides. Practice some simple rooting Qigong with the trees...while opening yourself to the vitality of the sun. I have heard that the practice of Karma Yoga is also a wonderful way to strengthen this chakra and its virtue. A simple chakra meditation is to place your hands over the chakra and visualize its color. Do this over each chakra for a few minutes or until you feel like your done.
The first chakra is red. The second is orange...and the third is yellow. Yes, the seven chakras follow the rainbow. So, be true to yourself. Practice integrity and truthfulness.
Meiyo. Honor. The Samurai believed in honor within society. This is ruled by awakening your second Chakra, the Svadhisthana. This second chakra oversees your energy for relationships, sexual energy and the need to manage the dynamics of your place in society.
A second chakra out of balance brings about a fear of losing control. I see this in men and women who are domestic abusers. They rule over their partner with power and control tactics that are physically, mentally, economically abusive. They have no honor for another. Ever have a toxic boss? Second Chakra out of a balance.
Honoring others in relationships and your place in society was crucial for maintaining the feudal system in Japan...and other cultures as well. In the dojo, this honoring each other with a simple bow is so important. Examine for a moment when you do a standing bow. Where do you bend? At the second chakra! This bowing motion seems to exercise this second chakra...and bowing is a symbol of enacting the virtue of honor to one another.
A healthy second chakra helps build faith and is a source of wonderful creativity as well.
The root chakra, or Muladhara Chakra, is located at the base of the spine. Its energy is concerned with survival and groundedness...especially to mother earth. When it is out of balance there is fear. Fear, in early development, is about being part of a group or tribe. In a lot of ways, this Chakra is our Tribal Loyalty Chakra.
Take a look at Mixed Martial Arts right now. These are young men and women who are extremely tribal. Check out the tattoos, the t-shirts, caps, etc. Their concern is how they fit into the tribe...and how the tribe helps care for them. Loyalty is key in tribal survival.
The Muladhara Chakra is also the seat of an energy called Kundalini. This is a life energy that begins at this Chakra and coils its way up your spine through all the chakras. It does this through three meridians, called inga, pingala and shushumna.. If your energy gets stuck here you will tend to operate your life from fear and having to be the baddest ass on the block. Martial Artists who get stuck here are usually young and loud-mouthed, as well as surrounded by their tribe or gang. They rule through preying on fear...and loyalty to the gang or tribe becomes paramount for survival.
One of the basic virtues of the Samurai was Loyalty or Chuugi. Loyalty to their feudal lord and clan. It was also very important for a Samurai to have this affiliation. His survival depended on it. As a Samurai you were awarded land, food and relationships. Without a lord, the Ronin, who were Samurai with no clan or tribe, had no land, food and relationships were mostly mercenary at best. They lived a lonely, meager existence. Chuugi was needed for the basics of living. Food, Shelter, Clothing.
To awaken the Kundalini that will spin your root Chakra, or throw this Shuriken safely, meditation and training in various Kiko or Qigong were practiced. As this energy rises, it allows for awakening the next in line Chakras...and provide awakening to the other virtues. Keeping this chakra spinning in a healthy manner allows for growth from blind loyalty to the tribe to other wonderful virtues.
Well, that's all for now. Any feedback or comments are greatly appreciated...even if it is to say,'this makes sense' or 'I have no idea what the hell your talking about'...'or 'can you please expand on xyz'.
Many martial artist's today understand the concept of Ki or Qi. It is the energy that runs through us and gives us life. We can get Qi through the air we breath, the food we eat and the water we drink. It is in all and moves through all. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the meridians are the channels that Qi flow through. Each meridian is connected to an organ and has certain qualities pertaining to our physical and emotional makeup.
The Chakras, or Wheels of Energy, run up and down our spinal column, beginning in the coccyx and ending at the top of the head. These Chakras are energy wheels that spin and also give us life...and contain certain qualities...many of which correlate to the seven virtues of a Samurai.(Loyalty, Honesty, Integrity, etc.) Seven Chakras. Seven Virtues.
Sometimes I think of Chakras as Shuriken spinning inside of us. Shuriken come in many shapes, but the most common thought of form is a disc. The circular Shuriken were developed from old coins, sharpened at the edges....and thrown at an opponent. Not so much as to harm him, but to distract him for a moment so the Samurai or Ninja could use their long or short swords.
Shuriken take practice time to throw properly and if not trained in throwing, you will miss your target and possibly harm yourself. Thrown properly they will defend you and keep you safe.
Same with Chakras. They need to be spun correctly. They need to be handled with care and exercised so as to spin correctly to give us the right types of energy we need...as well as provide us with the virtues the Samurai treasured.
I'll get more into tying these divergent systems together in future posts...my wife wants to get out and go for a walk. I do need the exercise....walking helps the Chakras as well...and by walking with my wife I am practicing familial loyalty. Such a Samurai, eh. (I grew up in Northern Wisconsin, eh). Oh...this is where I need your help as well. This might be part of my next book and am looking for feedback and questions. Thank You.
Thanks for visiting. My Dharma name is Shinzen. I began studying Goshindo Karate under the watchful eye of Shihan Paul Dean in 1969. Yes, I now have gray hair. I am also Lay-ordained in Soto Zen under the tutelage of Rev. Nonin Chowaney of the Nebraska Zen Center.