Sunday, December 15, 2013

Notes on the Chakras: Swadhistana

So let's talk about sex.

This chakra is Swadhistana and it's traditionally located about an inch or so below the navel. It's associated with the ovaries and prostate and it's element is water. It is the next logical progression, the step up from Muladhara where our main concern was survival. If we have survived and become somewhat comfortable in that space, the next concern would be to procreate to ensure the survival of the species. Every organism on the planet responds to this energy in some way. Along with hunger, it is one of the primary forces that drives behaviors and provides motivations and that makes many people very uncomfortable.

This is the chakra that everyone stutters and stammers over while claiming that it has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with pleasure and sensuality and the connection to the physical world through the experience of sensation. But really it's just about sex. And the fact that the average western mind is so bothered by the idea of the overt discussion of procreation on a basic level speaks volumes especially when modern media is awash with sexual imagery and innuendo. The paradox is actually staggering if you stop and think about it. You can't talk about the subject without giggling behind your hand but the media and marketing moguls can use it all day long to sell whatever they want and that's fine.

This is troublesome to say the least. The current iteration of humans has severely mucked up sexuality on so many levels. We can't talk about it. But we have to have it.  But we can't have it. And we will tell others what they can't and can have and who the they can have it with. And everywhere you look flickering images and giant billboards that basically scream "Buy me and you can have SEX!".

Is it really that complicated though? Sex at it's most basic is a method of reproduction. Sex is for making babies and it's made pleasurable to encourage the baby making.

Now, of course, here comes the Hallmark Channel crowd that is going to call me a cretin and explain, tearfully, no doubt, that "making love" is a beautiful act of intimacy that shouldn't be sullied with words like "sex" and "reproduction". Which is part of the problem. Yes, sex is intimate. No other act is perhaps more intimate. But sex is for making babies. Covering up the basic mechanics of the situation with pretty words has not helped the evolution of humans one bit.

(Although it has helped some teenage boys in their early sexual endeavors. How many "birds and bees" conversations with young girls started out with "When a man and a woman are in love . . ."? How many boys used the opening provided by crying "But, baby, if you loved me . . ." to get what they want?)

But why is it so complicated? Well, for one, sex is intimate but having a baby with someone is that intimacy multiplied by a thousand. Your lives come locked together for the duration and nothing brings out the pure human in a person like parenthood. Rarely are such concerns present in the initial intimacy but search for birth control and the panic over a missed period show such concerns to be real. Other reasons for the complication include the effects of peer pressure, societal pressure, psychological pressures and physical pressures via hormones.

And those hormones should not be underestimated. It is amazing what a male type person at various stages of life will say and do in order to procreate. The power of the physical drive is frightening sometimes but it is the drive to ensure the continuation of the species. That's not an excuse for bad behavior. Just an observation of the evolutionary consequences.

So this chakra stays muddy for a lot of people. The desires are there, possibly weighed down by guilt or other psychological expressions and the desires are reinforced by media and while fears are enhanced with talk of unwanted pregnancies and STD's. To add to the mess, this chakra gets a lot of feedback from another chakra called Anahata or the heart chakra or the fourth chakra if you keep track by numbers. Anahata is the feeling center where emotions are processed and expressed and saying that there may be some feedback to Swadhistana may be understating the situation. It's more like a feedback loop.

Anahata:  I have feelings for this person.
Swadhistana:  Do you desire them physically?
Anahata:  Maybe?
Swadhistana:  But you have feelings for them.
Anahata: Yes.
Swadhistana: So you should make a baby!
Anahata:  NO!
Swadhistana:  But you said you had feelings.
Anahata:  I do but I just desire intimacy with this person.
Swadhistana:  Babies are intimate.
Anahata:  I SAID NO!

And sometimes the loop starts with Swadhistana as in the physical attraction is there but the feelings are not but develop through the implied intimacy. One can see how things stay muddied with both of these chakras.

So what to do? How do we balance this chakra and keep the prana flowing?

Honestly there is not a simple answer to that question.  We've concentrated on the sexual aspect but while sex is the focus, sensuality and pleasure is the byproduct which is often why this chakra gets associated with just sensuality and pleasure. But how many deny themselves even simple pleasures because of some associated guilt that connects all pleasure to sexual pleasure. And since sex is bad how can pleasure be good?

We need to ease back on the judgement. And easing back on the judgement does not mean we are giving up sexual responsibility. We drop the unwarranted guilt while still maintaining our ethical centers when it comes to choosing partners for intimacy and parents for our children. We can marvel at the physical sensation of this world and we should not feel guilty that we are experiencing this life on that physical level.

Swadhistana is the part of us that is searching for that experience, the physical experience of this life from the baby-making all the way down to that bite of chocolate. And savoring that bite of chocolate, a sip of wine or even the sun on our skin all speaks to the realness of being alive. Simple pleasures can feed the energy of this chakra as much as the full blown experience of a sexual encounter.

And we shouldn't judge. We shouldn't judge ourselves and we definitely shouldn't judge others in the midst of their own experiences. If anything, we should share experiences and relish the joy of discovery in ourselves and others.

If the first chakra, Muladhara, says, "I lived", the second chakra, Swadhistana says "I am alive".

Funny how we can choose just how "alive" we want to be.