Create the Life You Imagine~June 2018
Activating Your Inner Powers - Totems of the Path
“When you reach the upper chakras, you don’t do without the first three. You don’t destroy the first three floors of the building when you get to the fourth.”
~ Joseph Campbell
The beginning legs of the spiritual path can be difficult and exhausting, but the struggles of these first three stages are the foundational blocks that will support our progress as we continue on our path. In the eastern spiritual traditions, the first three chakras represent our “lower nature,” our human experiences and aspects, our physical, emotional and mental bodies. As we work with the first three chakras, we face our fears, explore our emotional stories and confront the thoughts and beliefs that control the way we see ourselves and the world. Metaphorically we clean the closets of our past and prepare to move forward with a lighter load and with more of our energy available for the journey.
As we move along the path of spiritual development, the lower chakras bring with them two common hazards. The first comes in our refusal to honestly do our work with these parts of ourselves. There is a tendency to race toward the end of the spiritual journey—seeking the promise of peace, joy and bliss—without uncovering and healing the shadow parts of our personalities. We avoid the anxieties and fears, the negative emotions and the disempowering beliefs of these centers, because they challenge us to touch the wounds and traumas of our past and do the hard work of forgiveness and healing. Unfortunately, the unhealed stories and patterns of our past will continue to create havoc and distractions for us as we try to follow our spiritual path. Until we deal with the sorrows, shames and shadows of our past experiences, we will inevitably find ourselves back in old patterns and relationships, repeating lessons we thought we had learned.
The second danger in following the spiritual path is to cut ourselves off from our lower centers in a desire to live the “spiritual life.” We deny our physical needs or realities, we repress our deep emotional responses and we forego the objective and rational thinking that allows us to function effectively on the planet. We can fill our days with ascetic physical practices, elaborate and emotional rituals or fantastical and magical thinking about all things spiritual. In the process, we actually become cut off from ourselves, from others and from the world. Those who have struggled with addictions in the physical world may find that they have simply exchanged their worldly addictive patterns for “spiritually” addictive patterns.
We must remember that we came to the planet in human form—with a body, with feelings and with a reasoning mind. These are the gifts of being in human form: our sensations, our passions, our need for relationships and our capacity to explore, learn and evolve through all that we experience. These are the rich experiences that make us human and that provide us with opportunities to grow and evolve in our awareness and consciousness as we move along our path. We cannot ignore these parts of ourselves, nor can we abandon them in search of our higher self. The spiritual work of our lower chakras is to clear out the old stories, traumas and patterns that limit our development and then consciously integrate the lessons so that we can use the powers of these chakras in service to the awakening Self.
In the Oz story, as Dorothy emerges from the third stage of her journey, she has walked through the challenges of the first three chakras and is now accompanied by three faithful companions as totems of her inner work—the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. These three companions represent the three energy centers of our lower nature, the first three chakras of the eastern system. Each of these chakra centers has a power or strength, as well as a shadow or vulnerability. Dorothy’s three companions clearly illustrate both the power and the peril of each of these chakras. During the weekly messages this month we will explore these first three chakras and their connection to our spiritual growth.
Wishing you courage, blessings and light as you continue this journey to create the life you imagine.