Basmati.com is doing a series about chakras! Thank you for joining! If you missed the intro, find it here.
Get to the Root in the Seat of Muladhara
Crimson red like the blood of a menstruating woman. Did you just catch yourself shrinking or wondering of the mystery? Your reaction to the often taboo subject of the female menses could help you determine if your root chakra is open or closed. The first chakra in the physical body is called in Sanskrit – Muladhara – it is the root chakra and the seat of the kundalini energy.
The Closed Flower
Before kundalini shakti awakens and arises up the spine, there is still energy in the root – but it is dormant, asleep. The root governs birth and our very embodiment into the physical. It is where we start our climb through this physical plane of existence and it is marked with blood...first our mother's and then, with our own. Whether you are female or male, the root chakra deals with primal instincts and survival mechanisms. It is what causes one to act out on defenses or to scurry to find shelter.... often still in the arms of a parent or other caretaker, many times even a partner.
An asleep or unopened root chakra is vulnerable to the blood-fear. It fears injury, scarcity and death. The closed root will scramble and feel at odds with the world and want for “their fair share.” The unopened root chakra will fight for what feels to be rightfully theirs and would even “shed blood” over it, or support others in doing so – sometimes this plays out metaphorically, not physically. This “blood-shed” mentality comes from an unresolved sense of vulnerability as a child, an insecurity around basic needs, the fear of “not having enough” to survive or abandonment experiences. It also arises from the collective fear of survival, which overlays on every being until they take up the process of ascending kundalini shakti (or until she does it for/to you).
Closed root chakras feed women who despise their menstrual cycle and succumb to the societal stigma of the bleeding woman needing to “act as if” she did not have such things in her pants. She will enter relationships with boys and pseudo- “men” who share a sense of ownership and codependency. The masculine, unawakened root will fear the blood of this woman, will find disdain for it, will hide from it or shame her for it. He will not be able to respect and honor it or her because she doesn't respect it herself, but still fears her body and does not trust life to provide for her any safe places to grow.
The unawakened root in masculine will also still, under the surface, feel rejected from the arms of his mother and feel insecure in himself until he realizes the world is his home and love is his shelter.
Muladhara governs the money and beliefs about money. Before this chakra opens and purifies, the sense will be a grasping or chasing after money, “just getting by” or fear of loss.
One who has opened their third-eye chakra first (Anja chakra), which is actually recommended, may find that for a time, they are wise and spiritually savvy and even mature in the ways of inner growth and perspective, but still find abundance eludes them. This can happen through the entire process of chakra purification until, at last, kundalini shakti rises full-throttle up the spine, fully awake for one final ascent. (see more below)
The first chakra governs the process of elimination and the legs and feet; therefore, it is possible that these areas act weak or dysfunctional, especially in one whose constitution would lend to such (as in those with a dominant kapha nature or perhaps those with varicose veins running in the family). Gonads and the ovaries/testes can show up challenged or acting up prior to full awakening/activation due to the block in the energy flow to that region.
When kundalini first starts to awaken in the root, which is where it lays dormant originally, a process of cleansing in the body begins. There is really no turning back once the kundalini force has been awakened. It will make a few “false start” attempts of rising and activating lower centers before it fully awakens, but it will not remain asleep after it has been stirred. It is our divine remembrance to awaken this force.
The cleansing of a chakra can “look” a variety of ways.
In the root it may look like various opportunities to address what is considered “safe” or “home.” Issues around money and security may arise and certainly the psyche will undergo the challenge of looking at what it means to “provide for oneself” versus “trusting in a greater force.”
An awakening root chakra will have to wade through fears surrounding basic survival, “being in one's body” and the very real fear of death every person must face at some point. True, some refuse to look at death square in the face during life and put off this root chakra initiation until they cannot any longer. However, delaying the root’s full purification process means that life was never fully lived as the root chakra, when open and cleansed, offers solid ground on which to stand in one's power and express authenticity which rises through the entire body.
The cleansing process is not always pretty. It may mean facing issues of money or safety or survival repeatedly while appearing to “fail the test.” This is, however, not the case. Instead, every opportunity to face issues associated with this chakra are instead the many layers of its encasing. These layers are directly related to the psyche and even past life events that have bound the chakras from previous experiences and levels of consciousness. Though the second chakra is said to be the “karmic chakra,” every vortex has its karmic debris that will affect it on some level.
You know you have purified this center, at least one round, when you can look at first chakra challenges that arise – square in the face – and not be phased. When you can know you have reached the awareness needed to hold the enlightened/awakened version while still looking at what seems like lack. In other words, when you can repeat an experience you have been through dozens of times, perhaps, say in regards to money and not having enough, but instead of feeding into it and worrying and buying into fear, letting the mind cling to past thoughts of lack and despair, you see the abundance in it anyway.
When you can feel that you are taken care of despite what your circumstances might “say,” you know you have transcended the lessons of the root chakra. This is the teller that you have purified and activated this center to function properly, and that kundalini shakti has amply enlivened it.
The same goes for issues of safety, survival, basic needs of every kind – when you can “be in the experience of lack” but know, trust and see safety, feel abundant, know you are thriving – instead of caving to what the experience might be saying on the surface...you have transcended and you know your root chakra is awake and participating fully in your consciousness.
It is not to say that once you have awakened the root that you will never have to go through experiences of it awakening again, because you might. Why? Well, there are layers. Sometimes the kundalini blows through the other centers and it triggers another level of the root chakra to awaken. Other times you may experience a collective root awakening which you mistake for your own, but is really “for the all” so to speak.
But once you do this and you are rooted in yourself in an awakened first chakra, your experience becomes grounded in the knowing that your life is divinely provided for. “Like the lilies of the valley who want not for food or raiment” - this becomes what is true for you. You simply know that life is orchestrating your basic needs; you see it unfold before you miraculously all the time. Though at times you may have a slight back-step and “remember” the lack and fear, you always manage to fall into trust and knowing.
The awakened root in the feminine honors her moon cycle and is nurtured by the blood she sheds and the gifts it gives her to tap into intuition and the earth. The awakened root of the masculine will honor his woman and all women and see the power and the potency they carry in their womb space. He will not fear her, but become the student of she who would take him into her sanctuary and teach of the wisdom found in the blood.
The awakened root nourishes men who put down their weapons and return to the womb of life to find healing rather than resorting to the taking of life and acts of war, which perpetuate the fear of life/death.
An awakened root allows you to fully embody the cosmic energy as it floods the physical more and more with each chakra activation. It is important to be grounded and “in your body” while downloading cosmic energies. If you are not grounded, the result is spaciness and a disconnection/disorientation with what is going on around you. This can occur if the higher chakras “lock in” before a complete cleansing of the root takes place.
Also, a lot of fasting can also loosen one's “grip on reality,” so to speak, by disconnecting one from their root chakra or disallowing it to fully cleanse and open correctly. This can happen because the first chakra is intimately tied to food and basic survival instincts, so the “lack of food,” even if with spiritual intent, can confuse the psyche of the first chakra which is working to ground the personality into the earth plane reality for cosmic work.
Does this make sense?
Ever met a “super spiritual faster” who was completely ungrounded or even displayed delusions of grandeur. This is due to a compromised root chakra early on in its awakening/purification process.
To Revisit – for the Spiritually Adept
Once the kundalini shakti has fully enlivened the entire chakra system and all chakras have been cleansed and purified, each “issue” will be re-visited” for a final “green-light” so to speak. This is like the class finals, testing the system to prepare for the huge influx of spiritual knowledge which must be “cleared for take-off.” I believe this is what occurs once the spiritually adept are in, what I might call, “final stages” of soul-purposed activation and they are yet “still” or “again” facing issues of poverty or lack. It is the final test to see if they can hold their consciousness in every chakra awareness and not fall into the trap of cyclical behavior that would spin them off into another layer of chakra cleansing.
Hold the path. This is it!
Important Note - Word of Caution
There is a lot of information out there about chakras and how to awaken them these days, so much so that many people think of it as common knowledge and take for granted the potency of doing so. I can't emphasize enough how important it is that you approach the awakening of the spinal centers with great humility and caution. I am not suggesting fear, but rather care.
It is not uncommon that in awakening a center, or many psychic centers “too soon” or without proper awareness, supervision or support can result in what could be deemed “madness,” lunacy or instability.
It must be understood that these centers regulate cosmic energy into the body at specific rates and that the various psychic centers determine the level of consciousness one is using to perceive and interact with the world.
It is always recommended to open the third eye center (Anja Chakra) first. Why? Because the forehead center, when activated, cultivates the witness attitude known as drashta in Sanskrit – the observer.
When drashta is activated in a person, then whatever debris is blown out of a chakra during the opening/cleansing process is less likely to be “taken personally” so to speak. Or in other words, it is easier to watch and observe the cleansing process and not become emotionally involved in it, or think “it is you.”
Where, if the third eye is closed, it is almost impossible to not identify with everything that is occurring in your reality. Therefore, if certain experiences occur that are simply “root chakra being cleansed” experiences, it is unlikely the person will know this, and instead will engage them as if “real” - thereby prolonging the cleansing/awakening process indefinitely until the witness capacity can be activated. This problem is what can eventually cause a sort of psychosis in a person.
How to Assist in the Awakening Process
As mentioned above, it is important to engage Anja chakra first. For this reason, the Moola Bandha practice incorporates the third eye intimately and can therefore be used to awaken Muladhara without neglecting this important point.
The mantra LAM, chanted regularly in concert with OM, can assist, as can daily chants to Ganesha, the governing deity of the root center. Ganesha represents the aspect of the Divine, which removes obstacles, which is exactly what is needed to assist the process of kundalini awakening and rising. One simple chant to Ganesha (of which many can be found on YouTube) is:
“Ganesha Namaha, Ganesha Namaha, Ganesha Namaha, Jai Jai Ganesha.”
Remembering to start and end any chanting/meditation practice with the sound of OM three times will bring the third eye factor into account. Using the image of Ganesha or a Red Square – another symbol of the root chakra – can assist in the awakening/cleansing, as can a Yantra dedicated to this center.
Perhaps my favorite awakening practice for this psychic center is Yoga Nidra, as it also helps to surface any subconscious imprints held in this chakra for release and assists the kundalini shakti in moving from the first chakra up the spine to work out the kinks in the other centers, effectively and with awareness.
Working with each chakra could become a dedicated practice of up to a month for each center, even longer. It is not to be underestimated how much processing and “garbage” may be stored in each chakra, and the work that will need to be done in order to make it through the gates to the next chakra.
It also should be noted that chakras do not always open “one at a time.” There can be over-lap and one chakra can be processing issues while another chakra is finishing up and it is akin to having at least seven dials in the process of fine-tuning their collective sound, at once.
It is about more than a few simple chants, a daily meditation and a few exercises. The opening and activating of the chakra system does demand a certain level of responsibility be taken into account, for open chakras means greater cosmic energy available to a person. With more energy pulsing into the body, multiple gifts, insights, awarenesses and possibilities present themselves. It is in learning how to use the gifts of each center together and to avoid getting side-tracked into their “powers” which makes a person most powerful and whole.
In order to fully utilize kundalini shakti in the spine and in one's life, we must first get to the root of it by addressing the first chakra, Muladhara – the seat of the kundalini.
To ground your root chakra, watch this guided video:
More information on other chakras will be covered in consecutive articles on each psychic center (chakra).