The Third/ Solar Plexus Chakra deals with our personal growth and development. A prominent part of our development is to discover our place and purpose in the world. When our primal survival needs are met, and we build a healthy emotional relation to pleasure through our body, we begin to investigate what it is we further want from life. To feel fulfilled and happy, we want to claim our unique place in the circle of life. From this natural urge to define ourselves, we begin to explore what it is that makes us unique and how we can use that to find our purpose. The energies that govern this personal sense of I-ness are located in our Third/Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura in Sanskrit). It is associated with the element of fire. The third Chakra is the home of our power, self-esteem, self-image, energy, will, responsibility, and life purpose.
What is The Third/ Solar Plexus Chakra and how it affects us
The Third Chakra is located just below the solar plexus (our diaphragm). It is in the centre of what is often described as the gut-brain. Since our guts are lined up with many nerve cells, it forms a direct connection with the brain. The constant dialogue between the gut (emotions) and the brain (thoughts) results in a personal sense of I that is unique and authentic and wishes to apply itself onto the world.
These energies of personal will, power, self-esteem, digestion and assertiveness are part of the Solar Plexus Chakra, which is associated with the element Fire. This Fire quality pushes us to develop, discover and to expand our life all the time from inside out. From here our authentic personality grows as we begin to touch the world in our own meaningful and unique way.
How does it feel when we have a healthy sense of Self?
As humans, we always wish to find and do what we love. We feel unfulfilled if we spend our days doing something we don’t. The active fire energy of our Third Chakra is essential in helping us grow towards our potential. When we listen to it we learn about what moves us and what touches our curiosity and passion. We are aware of our own energy and let it guide us. Through this, we develop a healthy sense of self. This helps us to find our place in the world and apply ourselves fully. When we notice that life starts providing us with possibilities fitting to who we are and what we love, it is a sign the energies in our Third Chakra are in balance.
This brings a sense of fulfilment and happiness that is based on us applying our authentic self onto the world. We found jobs, relationships or places to live that give our life a true sense of purpose. No longer do we worry extensively about what we should do and where we belong. We dare to stand up for ourselves, our passions and inner voice. There is a constant process in which we grow further and discover more branches of our own personal tree of life.
How can our Third/ Solar Plexus Chakra become imbalanced?
Life is constantly demanding for us to react. Things happen all around us and circumstances change constantly. As healthy humans, we get better at reacting to life. We respond to the weather, to people around us, to our bodies, thoughts, sensations, and so on. Life is really flowing within and without us. However, often we tend to live more on the outside and ignore our inner fire. This causes problems because our fire needs to be recognised and given the freedom to express itself. When we do not listen to our own inner calling and act upon it, our life boils down to a chain of reaction to things on the outside. We begin to define ourselves only through what is happening to us. We don’t allow our inner fire to find its way into our external lives.
When our third Chakra is imbalanced we don’t have a clear sense of knowing ourselves and what makes us special. We may find ourselves doing jobs we don’t really connect with just because we have been doing them for some time or because of the need to simply survive. We feel disconnected from our life purpose and the sense of personal fulfilment that comes from living our purpose. It’s common to feel low on self-esteem, or even experience an identity crisis. We may feel ‘burned out’ in our jobs and in desperate need of a break. We become hungry for meaning in our lives beyond comfort, pleasures or social status.
How to balance the energies in our Solar Plexus?
In nature, fire is both destructive and nourishing. When out of control, fire can burn down a forest and all the life in it. When under control, it can warm our bodies, heat our food and save our lives. But even when the forest burns down, the soil which is left is incredibly fertile. New life always starts to grow straight away.
The fire of the Third Chakra can work for us in the same way. As we have seen in the previous paragraph, not allowing our inner fire to burn healthily can cause us to be imbalanced into different directions. However, it is important to understand that this is a very natural process through which we all go. We have to experience an imbalanced state before we can truly realize that we have to correct our course. There is an opportunity for us to grow in the process. It is a chance to realize our true self and its place in the world.
Through practices like Yoga and Mindfulness, we can start to see more clearly who we really are as opposed to who we think we are. We start to see we are an integrated part of the world. Our personal lives are important but at the same time also a part of a bigger whole. We accept that this polarity (us and the world) is not a paradox to be solved but a dance to be enjoyed. This recognition balances our sense of self and ego. We value ourselves but do not take our ego too seriously. It is not the sole centre of our whole being – just the centre of our personality. From here we naturally find our place in the world.
Taken from ManipuraMala