Total Eclipse of the Heart

by Bernie McKnight

Chakras are energetic centers that run along the midline of the body from the base of the torso up to the crown of the head.   The chakras form a system through which energy cycles.  Located in the middle of the chest and the center of this energetic structure is Anahata, the heart chakra. Energy interacts with each chakra differently and as energy rolls around the heart chakra it is in the center of love.

I know my heart chakra to be functioning at its optimal performance when I experience feelings of peace and connection, when I have a sense that everything (even when I don’t judge everything to be perfect) is in its right place.  It’s nice to have what’s referred to as an open heart chakra, but it isn’t always easy.  When the feeling that I’ve been misunderstood or marginalized has me frothing with rage I know that my heart chakra is probably blocked.  It can be fun to think about whether my chakra starts off blocked and causes my outrageous reactions or if something about the situations I react to cause my open chakra to slam shut.  But all of that thinking really does is keep me from the work at hand, to find a way to open up a connection to love in the moments when I want to use all of my resources on being right.

Some of the most embarrassing times that I’ve experienced a closed heart chakra have been in close proximity to a personal spiritual practice.  Getting pissed off when I couldn’t get out of the parking lot after yoga class.  Stamping off in a huff when my spouse returned home unexpectedly and makes noise during my meditation practice.  For a while my practices were like vacations where I could rest from the toll of being alive.  It is when I started to take the benefits of my practice through my heart that they began to have a real effect on my life.

Taking the benefits of my practices through my heart for me means to consciously feel the equanimity I touch during my practices in the center of my chest.  When I do this I sometimes see my self-finding situations that used to get on my nerves as no big deal.  At other times I find that I have genuine compassion for a person I previously perceived as annoying.  To me unblocking my heart chakra means connecting with its essence, which is the essence of love. Through this I’ve even found compassion for myself for snapping my heart closed so soon after my practices in the past because now any time I feel rage swirling in my chest I have a practice I can use to open up to love.