February 05, 2015

Can You Hear Me

 Many people carry tension in their neck, shoulders, jaw or all of the above.  This is the domain of Vishuddha or the throat chakra.  Why is this such a problem area for most of us?  Our modern world bombards us with dissonance – vibrations that we tune out of our conscious mind while our body and nervous system continue to endureAnodea Judith.  Not only are we surrounded by constant, insignificant noise on the outside, but we are encouraged from a young age to ignore the very thing on the inside that we should be listening for – our inner voice.  We are trained to “fit in,” avoid being different, and to look outside of ourselves for not only the causes of problems in our lives, but also to find the solutions.  As we are growing up, we are taught to believe that “somebody/something” else knows what is best for our lives.  We are not taught to trust our own internal wisdom. 

The basic right for this chakra is The Right to Speak and Hear the Truth.  I would argue that the act and skill of listening needs to come first.   How can we speak our truth and share what we believe if we don’t know what it is first?  How do we know if the truth we are speaking is our truth or the thoughts and ideas that have been put there by other people or by society? 

The demon of this chakra that prevents us from discovering this truth is lies.  Unfortunately, we are surrounded by lies every day – from well meaning parents who believe they are protecting us, from the culture or society we grow up in that wants us to follow its beliefs, from the media and corporations that tells us what we “need” to have to be happy, and from our government that wants to have power and control over us.  However, the worst lies we receive (and listen to) are the lies that we tell ourselves often on a daily basis – I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy of being loved, I should be doing _______, I shouldn’t have done that, I can’t do that, etc.  With all of these lies swirling around us as well as within us, how can we ever discover what our truth really is? 

Working with the fifth chakra is definitely a large undertaking, and I acknowledge that I have a lot of work to do in this area.  One of the biggest obstacles for me (as I’m sure it is for many people) is sitting in that silence and getting past my inner critic to figure out what my truth really is.  My inner critic is very good at making me doubt myself, and keeping me in my head instead of listening to my heart.  At one point in my journey, it was suggested that I ask myself the following questions:
  • What am I doing that I don’t want to do?
  • What am I not saying that needs to be said?
  • What do I love to do?
  • What is important to me?
After asking these questions, I was to look for common themes and then intuitively answer the final question – What is my truth and/or what did I come here to do?

Fifth chakra work can involve some pretty heady stuff!!  I won’t say I have an answer to all of these questions, but I do feel like I'm making progress.  I’ve started to identify and let go of some things that I didn’t want to be doing, and I’ve started to really know what I love, what is important to me, and what inspires me.  There was (and still is) a lot of resistance from myself (the inner critic is not willing to give up control that easily!!) to go through this process and make changes, but I feel like I am starting to develop a small glimmer of an idea of what it is I am here to do. 

To work with sound and the idea of getting past our mental chatter to discover our true selves, let's end with some mantra work.  Mantras calm the mind.  The repetition of a mantra begins to absorb the wandering thoughts of the busy mind, silencing the chatter of the subconscious mind, which in turn begins to create one-pointedness, focus and concentrationDavid Goulet.  Mantras exist in all languages and religions and involve the repetition of words or phrases.  Mantras can be chanted out loud or internally, and as we learned in class whether the sound is out loud or silent, it still produces a vibration.  Two mantras I like to work with are Om and the Gayatri Mantra. 
  1. Om – according to Patanjali and the Yoga Sutra’s, the chanting of this mantra results in the disappearance of obstacles and helps you to turn inwards.
  2. Gayatri Mantra -  this was the first mantra I was taught and is said to be the oldest and most powerful of Sanskrit mantras.  I love the version that Deva Premal has done and am including the video to that below. 

Ideally, mantras are repeated 108 times and are best done at sunrise, sunset or before bed.  However, feel free to do as many rounds as time allows for you, and play around with different times to get a feel for what works in your life.  You could even just try reciting them while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, doing dishes, going for a walk, etc.  Have fun with it and see if you can notice any effects.

Change your thoughts, raise your vibration and know that you have a right to discover and speak your truth,

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