The Heart of the Matter
by Nancy Privett, MA, EFTCert-I, BBSH
A version of this article first appeared in the February-March 1997 edition of New Consciousness Newsletter.
The Heavenly Alchemist
In all the great spiritual traditions, the heart and all it represents -- love, compassion, forgiveness -- are focal points. In the energy body, the heart is referred to as the bridge between the lower chakras, representing the world of matter and how we deal with external power, and the higher chakras, representing the world of spirit and our internal power. It is easy to live in the vibrations of the lower three chakras only, but when we do so, we believe that everything we need is outside of us, and we spend all our time and energy trying to get what we need and what we want from external sources. The energy of the heart has the ability to allow us to bring together the worlds of matter and spirit, and allows us to function from a spiritual base, fueled by an internal source, while living in and enjoying the material world.
This transformative bridging power of the heart associates it with the archetype of the Heavenly Alchemist, since the heart energies can transform the crudest energy into the finest gold. Think, for example, of what happens when we fall in love. Our defenses and worst behaviors can abate, and we are able to exhibit a fineness and an open-heartedness that last as long as our eros does.
The archetype of the Heavenly Alchemist is associated with the astrological sign of Aquarius, the water carrier. Aquarius traditionally symbolizes the energy of perfect relationship and community, as well as the dissolution of old forms and a liberation from the world of matter. This liberation does not mean that we will turn our backs on the material world. It does mean that we will understand that our creative power, and thus our reality, does not come from the material world or external sources, but rather from the world inside of us -- our attitudes and perceptions, our definitions of our life experiences, and the images that come from those definitions. If we can infuse our definitions with Light from the Limitless Source, rather than, for example, victim consciousness or a belief that we need to control, our external lives will change accordingly.
As our planet gradually moves into the new evolutionary age associated with the astrological sign of Aquarius, our psyches concurrently move into the energy of everything that Aquarius represents. And so we begin the alchemical process of liberating ourselves from thinking that what matters most, what is most powerful, is external rather than internal, and we begin dissolving all the old patterns based on that kind of thinking. We move into honoring community and relationship, and in doing so, we naturally move into the energy of our hearts.
The Energetic Heart
The energetic center of the heart governs the area of the body from just below the base of the throat and above the abdomen. Here we have the heart, lungs, breasts, bronchial tubes, thymus gland, diaphragm, ribs, thoracic spine, shoulders, arms and hands. The heart chakra traditionally deals with issues of relationship, and we notice that almost everything in this area of the body is paired -- two lungs, two breasts, two lobes of the thymus, two bronchial tubes, paired ribs, arms, hands and shoulders. Then we look at the heart itself and see two chambers divided by the septum, two layers of pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart), and even a double thump for a heartbeat. The physical organ of the heart brings the “two” together as one organ; symbolically and energetically, this is exactly what our heart energy is for -- to bring the two into the perfect relationship, whether that “two” be the worlds of matter and spirit, or two people.
When we think about relationship, we immediately think of the “other” with whom we will enter into relationship. And yet, a powerful heart center reminds us that the first relationship that we enter into must be with ourselves. The heart is about love, compassion and forgiveness, and these terms include the energies of self-love, self-compassion and self-forgiveness. The challenge begins right here.
Taking the Marriage Vows to Yourself
Teacher, author and medical intuitive Dr. Caroline Myss has associated the Christian sacrament of marriage with the fourth energy center, or heart chakra. In order to understand the healing of any chakra, we apply the sacrament to ourselves first. Thus, we would work with the symbolism of marriage to ourselves in order to develop our heart centers. I have found that one of the easiest ways to understand this, and to feel the power of it, is to take statements which reflect the grace which the sacrament of marriage bestows upon the individuals in the ceremony, that is, the marriage vows, and to replace the idea of “the other” with the word “myself”.
We can use the following three statements regarding the sacrament of marriage:
1. Marriage is a sacred pledge of devotion to the other.
2. Marriage is about fidelity -- being true to the other.
3. Marriage bestows an ability to resist the temptation to abandon the other, despite the hardships that might cause.
These statements are usually stated in the form of a vow.
1. I vow to love you.
2. I vow to honor you.
3. I vow not to abandon you.
One of the most powerful exercises we can perform is to take these vows to ourselves.
1. I vow to love myself.
2. I vow to honor myself.
3. I vow not to abandon myself.
Read these aloud, and feel the meaning of them.
What would it look like if you really loved yourself?
What would it mean to always honor yourself?
What would it take to be true to yourself, always be a friend to yourself, take the risk of staying connected with yourself? Are you strong enough not to abandon yourself, even though that might mean saying “No” to someone, and risking a negative reaction?
In taking the marriage vows to ourselves, we are also fostering our relationship with our Higher Self, or superconscious aspect. Our Higher Self, the non-physical part of us that is directly connected to Source, adores and unconditionally loves us. By keeping our marriage vows to ourselves, we are behaving toward ourselves as our Higher Self behaves, and we immediately come into a powerful alignment.
A Sacred Partnership
Creating a sacred partnership with ourselves allows us to automatically create it with others. A true partnership with the self leads to true partnerships in relationships with others. Loving ourselves, we naturally love others -- there is no barrier. Not loving ourselves, and then trying to fully love others, we feel resentment, abandonment and jealousy. If we have trouble loving, we need to practice! We can constantly be awake to our capacity to love, and continually intend to increase it.
The healing that emerges when we can bring the vibration of the “marriage-to-self” statements into our lives affects not only our spiritual, mental and emotional bodies, but also has a healing effect on the heart organ itself, and in fact, the entire physical area governed by the heart chakra. What happens when our energetic heart centers are charged and flowing is that our capacity to love, forgive and be compassionate is increased. Our ability to establish healthy relationships and communities is made stronger. And the alchemical transformative qualities of the heart become more powerful, forging a deeper connection with our True Self. This is what creates a healthy physical heart and supports the physical health of all the organs and tissue in the area of the body nourished by the heart chakra.
The heart is a crucial tool for leading us through the evolutionary phases we are about to enter into. The ease of our movement through these phases will be supported by a heart strong enough to love mightily and carry the qualities of interior harmony and beauty so that we can begin to manifest that harmony and beauty outwardly. As we strengthen our individual hearts, we strengthen the heart of our planetary community. As we strengthen the heart of our planetary community, we begin to come into our true destiny.