The Animals Have It

Lately the focus of my practice has been on the third chakra. In the yogic tradition this center is located at the solar plexus and is the home of our self-esteem, self-worth and self-appraisal. Many years ago, I attended a training on the chakra system. During a guided visualization, I was shown an image of the most beautiful dancer I had ever seen. She was fluid, deeply feminine and mesmerizing. In the midst of reveling in this experience, the powerfully destructive and cataclysmic question “What will they think?” tore in. In its wake, the dancer was obliterated. I sobbed in desperation at losing her and for the realization of how much of me I had lost over the years by allowing this question to so occupy me.

The symbol for the third chakra contains an image of the ram. To me, the presence of the ram reminds me to take my cues from the animals and other living creatures. To look to them and learn from them regarding how to feel about myself in the presence of other people. You will never find the worm feeling poorly about itself because it disgusts some of us. You will never find the moose self-conscious about where it chooses to leave its scat. As a matter of fact, you will never ever find any wild animal acquiesce to what we think it should be or how we think it should behave.

Just as the wild kingdom takes its cues from a deep and abiding knowing of its own truest nature, for truly it can be no other way, how might our lives change if we could do just the same? For practice, begin with the urges of the body. Find times within your week to allow yourself to begin from within. Notice physical cues like hunger, thirst, the need to slow down, rest, etc. Let these states be your guide. Who knows what may happen when there is more of “what do I feel/know/sense” and less of “what will they think?”