This is Post 17 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found here.
The Mental Body entirely pervades, and extends slightly beyond, the physical body, but the felt experience of the Mental Body is most keenly felt in the lower belly three or four finger widths below the naval. Throughout the cultures of the East, from India to Japan, this point or area is widely understood to have a close association with mental stability, physical vitality, and with the sort of mental focus that supports high-level feats of physical coordination.
The Swadhisthāna Chakra – a Place of Rest and Beneficial Alignment
The same understanding is found in the Western tradition of Classical Ballet, and elsewhere in the West, but in the East, with its traditions of meditation and self-inquiry, its intuitive and energetic approaches to medicine, and its deep and subtle martial arts, this understanding has gone very deep. In Indian tradition this area of the belly is called the swadhiṣṭhāna chakra, while in Japanese tradition it is called the hara, or ‘belly’. If we wanted to be culture-free we could simply call it the second chakra, but I find the Japanese word hara to have wide recognition.
The entomology of the Sanskrit word swadhiṣṭhāna is worth acknowledging. The prefix swa denotes ‘my’ and adhiṣṭhāna expresses the idea of a resting place, or seat, or base, or dwelling place, especially a place from which it is possible to have an overview. I am not a Sanskrit scholar, but there are associations with this word that convey the idea of a position of benevolent and protective authority, or an objective point of view – and an empowerment or blessing that is not personal, but comes from the Divine. All this speaks volumes about the experience of allowing the Mental Body to rest as Consciousness, and the felt experience of being centred in the swadhiṣṭhāna chakra or hara. This alignment and empowerment ultimately requires that the other bodies are also allowed to rest as Consciousness, preferably at the same time – but this is a very good place to start. Continue reading