Is your svadhisthana making drama?
If you’re like the vast majority of human beings, the second chakra (subtle energy center) will generate a lot of unnecessary tension and disturbance in your life. And if you’re really stuck in it, you’ll answer that first question with, “No, it’s not drama, these are serious problems!”
We’ll get to this in a minute. But first, let’s have an introduction to svadhisthana chakra and see why it’s so important to address this level of our being as part of our spiritual practice.
Let’s meet svadhisthana chakra
Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra, in the yogic tradition is associated with the water element. Water itself—always moving, changing and flowing downwards—can help us understand this level of consciousness.
Svadhisthana is related to emotions and the sense of emotionality, the constant fluctuation of mood that we all experience. It is also the main center of sexuality, with all the power and complications that entails.
In Sanskrit, “svadhisthana” means “abode of the self,” but not the transcendent Self. Rather it means the base of the limited self—“you” as personality—and especially “you” as your subconscious patterns, tendencies and triggers. The vast, mostly unknown network of the subconscious mind, the bulk of the iceberg lurking underneath the water, finds its home in this chakra.
To understand the consciousness of svadhisthana, just think about Instagram, or social media in general. It flows like water in an endless scroll, from image to flashy image, everything so glamorous and enticing yet shallow; there isn’t really anything underneath the glittery surface. It jumps constantly from one thing to another, every new item seeming so very important before it’s forgotten a minute later. Validation by others is all that matters.
Of course, svadhisthana isn’t all bad! Water can be a shallow, noisy stream or a deep ocean. It can be the water of life.
A balanced, harmonized svadhisthana offers beautiful gifts: creativity, artistic expression, awakened sexuality and sensuality, the joy of existing within the flow of embodied life… all of these are available once the imbalances and impurities are resolved.
Do you have a problematic second chakra?
The #1 sign you might have an overactive svadhisthana chakra is that you are a human being living on planet Earth.
Remember that svadhisthana is related to the water element. Water covers 70% of the surface of the Earth, and it accounts for a similar percentage of the mass of a human body. Even your bones are 30% water!
All of us have to make peace with this energy at some point or another. These are a few signs that your svadhisthana is getting out of hand and needs some work right now:
- You’re often swept away in intense emotions, out of proportion to the situation that triggered them
- You suffer from depression, moodiness, jealousy or social anxiety
- You’re extremely sensitive to what other people think of you
- You tend to follow the crowd and get lost in other people’s stories
- Your sexual energy is out of control and causes you to act in ways that harms others or yourself
- Everything that happens to you is a big drama that takes you over completely
- You feel like your whole life is driven by your subconscious patterns
As you can see, it’s a pretty broad spectrum. So many of the challenges of everyday human life find their root in an inharmonious svadhisthana chakra. We all have to address it in some way, either to move energy (and therefore our consciousness) out of it, or to purify it until it becomes transparent to its divine nature—or both!
Ignoring this energy or trying to suppress it will always backfire in the end. It’s too powerful, too fundamental to our manifested existence as humans.
The good news is that once you start working with svadhisthana, to understand its patterns and bring it into balance, many problems that might once have seemed insurmountable, like a feature of life itself, will start to dissolve of their own accord.
How to get out of the svadhisthana drama
Given how much of humanity’s suffering and limitations are related to svadhisthana chakra, it makes sense that hatha yoga includes many practices to harmonize this energy and release the stranglehold it often has on our consciousness.
Usually the best thing you can do for svadhisthana is to move energy out of it! Sublimation techniques, the bread and butter of traditional hatha yoga, move energy from the lower chakras to the upper chakras, the more refined, “spiritual” levels of your being. This allows you to use the heavy, powerful and easily replenished energies of muladhara and svadhisthana for spiritual evolution, while bringing a lightness and upward flow to these energy centers.
Just removing the excess energy from svadhisthana, taking some of the pressure off, will already give you some space to observe and work with the processes at this level, rather than drowning in them.
Sublimation needs fire as a catalyst, so it’s important to work on manipura chakra (the navel chakra associated with the fire element). This energy is in many ways directly opposed to that of svadhisthana: it’s all about courage, willpower, discipline and making your own way in the world, rather than just “going with the flow.” Stoking the fire of manipura will start to burn off the heaviness of svadhisthana and turn your overall flow upwards.
Finally, working on the upper chakras will help bring the profound transformation and change in perspective that allows you to really go beyond the consciousness of svadhisthana into a more cosmic understanding of yourself.
Watch your media diet
Most entertainment and media in our culture is created from svadhisthana and aimed towards that level of consciousness, since this is where the collective subconscious is based. This energy is the very fabric of pop culture.
The media that we engage with strongly influence our consciousness, like a tuning fork that our own frequency aligns itself with. (Especially if we’re consuming it unconsciously!) When you spend the whole day listening to music that resonates with svadhisthana, watching movies on svadhisthana, reading articles written from svadhisthana, not to mention scrolling through the endless svadhisthana vortex of social media… no surprise you end up with a lot of energy stuck at this level!
If you usually spend a lot of time in media, try taking a break from Netflix and social media for a while. You can try going cold turkey for a month, or set a limit of, say, only fifteen minutes every day for “feeding my svadhisthana.”
Or, try to switch your media habits to another frequency. Spend some time with books, movies and music that are more on the level of manipura or anahata chakra. After a while, you’ll notice your own consciousness starts to flow more easily into a more elevated way of perceiving the world.
Learn to witness
Svadhisthana is often referred to as the “black sheep” or “problem child” of the chakra family.
While it’s true that this chakra causes a lot of problems for many people, it’s important to realize that there’s nothing wrong with the energy of svadhisthana. Like any other energy, it is essentially sacred, and when we have the right relationship with it, it will also take us to the source of all energy: to the Divine, to pure consciousness.
The problems arise when we identify with the world of svadhisthana. It’s when you believe on some deep level, “I am my emotions,” “I am my sexuality,” “I am my subconscious mind.” This happens very easily because this energy is so dominant within the human structure.
And when you’re identified, all of the moods and dramas and fluctuations associated with this level of consciousness start to loom over us in such great proportions that the block out everything else. It’s like instead of watching a movie on a small screen, you’ve shrunk yourself and put yourself inside the action.
These feelings can seem very real—and they are, but they aren’t the only reality.
This part of you that is lost in emotions, that lives in stories and fantasies, that cares so much about fitting in and being liked and accepted by others, it’s only one tiny aspect of what you are. It’s perfectly valid; you don’t need to reject it or try to change it in any way. Just take a step back and acknowledge it for what it is. Let it be simply a frequency within you rather than your entire reality, like one harmony line within the symphony of your being.
How do you do this? By learning to watch. Sit with whatever arises, without judging, without following and without rejecting anything. Don’t react in any way. No matter what crazy story your mind tries to tell you, whether it’s ecstatic or heartbreaking, just let it be.
Get out of the screen and be the one who’s watching the movie.
(Of course, for this to work you really have to want it to work. One of the symptoms of being stuck in svadhisthana is the tendency to “wallow” even in unpleasant emotions and experiences!)
It’s a practice in detachment, but not a cold sort of disassociation. On the contrary, witnessing like this is actually a radical acceptance. It means having the courage and love to look everything in the eye, allowing even the most ugly and frightening parts of yourself to come into the light of awareness.
The best practices to train for this are techniques like vipassana or Self-enquiry, but witnessing is an attitude that you can cultivate in all your spiritual practices and in every aspect of your life.
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