Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do We Really Care About our Health?

In all the talk about health care, few are asking the question:

“Why are we getting sick?”

Article Do We Really Care About our Health

The first chakra is related to the element earth and to the aspect of consciousness oriented to survival. Denying the first chakra is a denial of our bodies, our environment, and the path to abundance. No wonder we are suffering from a health care crisis, an environmental crisis of global proportions, and an economic crisis. All of these effect our survival, yet all are an issue of health. We want healthy bodies, a healthy planet, and a healthy economy. These are all intricately related.

While it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the immensity of the problems, the area we have the most control over is our personal health. I write this as one who has struggled with my health for most of my adult life. Due to an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease that nearly crippled me two decades ago, my health has never been taken for granted, and requires dedicated work and attention. It has been a great teacher and guide along my path as a healer and teacher. But what brought me to my health did not come from the Health Care System, but from my own efforts toward cultivating wholeness.

Our current Health Care System is neither about health nor care, nor is it a functioning system. It is a system designed to rescue us from the inevitable result of denying our bodies, our feelings, our planet, and our needs. We look to modern medicine as the remedy for a lifetime of unhealthy food, exposure to toxins, and lack of exercise, touch, fresh air, free time, and the simple pleasures of life.
Just as a co-dependent enabler of an alcoholic becomes exhausted by their efforts to remedy an addictive situation, our “health care system” has become the fixer or enabler to unhealthy lifestyles, and is bound to fail sooner or later. To remedy this important system, we must look deeper at what really needs healing. In all the talk about health care, few are asking the question: “why are so many getting sick?” Cancer, heart disease, chronic illnesses, and expensive surgeries are draining demands on our health care system. If we do not address the causes of our illnesses, these costs will only continue to rise.
True health care means caring for your health. Caring what you put in your body, caring for yourself when you are tired, hungry, thirsty, caring enough to make sure you get fresh air, sunlight, and exercise. Health means listening to your body, engaging in practices, like yoga, aerobics, dance, chi gong, or anything that develops your body’s strength, flexibility, intelligence, and capacity.
A healthy “health care system” keeps us from getting sick in the first place. It teaches practices that promote health, gets them into schools and businesses so they become part of society. It addresses environmental toxins, promotes organic food, looks at a way to reduce stress and find more enjoyment in life. Such a system spends more of its money on prevention than adaptation. Such a system saves money and improves what is around us at the same time. It is a win-win approach.
We can begin by caring for our own health, engaging in practices and watching what we eat, breathe, see, and hear. To heal means to make whole. Wholeness is a powerful force in the world.
(For a great morning exercise routine, check out the audio CD of the seven chakra based Sun Salutations included the Chakra Balancing kit.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grounding and Manifesting

The liberating current, ever moving toward higher consciousness, is the pathway most commonly associated with the Chakra System. Until recently there has been less said about sending our energy downward, into the Earth, along the current of Manifestation. This is often seen as less spiritual and, therefore, less worthy of our time and attention. Too many spiritual paths ignore the importance of grounding, at their own peril.

Imagine if you went out into your garden and examined the little plants reaching for the sun. Would you help those plants grow to the sky faster by pulling them up from their roots? No, this would best occur by encouraging the plant to have deep roots, well watered, with nourishing soil.

So, too, our spiritual growth is nourished by a healthy ground.

Grounding is a process of dynamic contact with the Earth, with its edge, boundaries, and limitations. It allows us to become solidly real—present in the here and now—and dynamically alive with the vitality that comes from the ground of all being. While mechanically our feet may touch the ground with every step, this contact is empty if we are cut off from the feelings in our legs and feet. Grounding involves opening the lower chakras, merging with gravity, and descending deeply into the vehicle of the body.

Without grounding, we are unstable; we lose our center, fly off the handle, get swept off our feet, or daydream in a fantasy world. We lost our ability to contain, to have, or to hold. Natural excitement, charge, or prana, becomes dissipated, diluted, and ineffectual. When we lose our ground, we threaten our health, and appear to be not all the way “here.”

The name of the first chakra, Muladhara, means root support. Our ground anchors the very roots for which this chakra is named. Through our roots, we gain nourishment, power, stability, and growth. Without this connection we are separated from nature, separated from our biological source. Cut off from our source, we lose our path. Many people who cannot find their true path in life have simply not yet found their ground – the place where the feet meet the path. They need to look down and see where they are walking, rather than up in the clouds.

Our roots extend downward from our guts—and relate to the instinctual feelings hard-wired into the nervous system through millions of years of evolution. These instincts were designed to keep us alive and healthy. They inform us when we need to rest, eat or stop eating, exercise, or run from danger.

In today’s urban world, there are few people who are naturally grounded. Our language and cultural values reflect the superiority of the high at the expense of the low. Yet we say we get Up-tight, Up-set, and messed-Up. Maybe it’s time we let down a little!

In an alienated and ungrounded culture where most values do not favor the body or its pleasures, we develop pain. Our bodies hurt after a day at the computer or a day of driving. The stress of competition and fast living do not give us a chance to rest and renew, or to process that hurt, to release it. As we develop pain, we become, ironically, more resistant to grounding, for it puts us initially, in touch with our pain. Eventually that pain becomes disease. No wonder we have a health care crisis, when we have been taught to ignore our bodies!

Yoga is a way to connect with the body in a profound manner. Yet some yogis are still ungrounded, instead, responding as we often do in a mechanical society, to mechanical commands from an instructor to move this way or place your body that way. If a student listens more to the mechanical instructions than to the inner prana of their own body and its limitations, they can get hurt, by stretching too far, or moving improperly for their level of skill.

To ground means that the first chakra at the base of the spine must connect to the Earth through the channels of the two legs. Grounding involves opening these channels so that they can carry the excess charge (stress) from the torso down to the earth, and can carry earth energy upward into the body. Pushing into the ground gets the whole process started. In this way the first chakra paradox is that “we must move downward in order to wake up.”

Coming down from the crown chakra, the manifesting current takes our ideas, which begin in consciousness, down into our vision, then through communication into relationship, fueling our will with passion and purpose and bringing the idea into the density and completion at the earth plane, where we experience our dreams as reality. We must open the downward current to effectively manifest.

We need to get back down to the Earth as a sacred ground of being in all our spiritual practices. Honoring the body and our first chakra ground is a good place to start.

Anodea Judith
September 2009