There’s an aspect of spiritual awakening that is not always talked about. The process of awakening is a movement to total integration. This means not only awakening to our higher spiritual selves but to our lower animal selves as well.
The average person lives mostly in their ego sense. This is a mental construct, driven by emotions and the “subconscious”, our urges and wants.
They appear to us as urges and vague impulses because we have submerged our primitive nature. Instead of being a conscious, vibrant part of our being, it is repressed, squirting out sideways. We call it our shadow or animal nature.
Yet the lower 3 energy centers are what bring us our confidence (3rd), passion (2nd), and groundedness (root). Our solidity and drive, our joy of being.
When these areas are out of balance, we experience difficult and persistent traits. Because they are subconscious, they are hard to manage. The source is hidden. If we can instead bring them into awareness and heal them, we not only heal the imbalances, but we bring a vivid richness to life.
(Note that the body has thousands of energy channels. We’re just focusing on the main ones for simplicity.)
When the 3rd is out of balance, we can be either controlling or submissive. Not wanting what life wants. This is also the home of the core fear that separates us and drives the ego sense.
When the 2nd of passion is out of balance, we find issues around emotions and sexuality. We may experience fear or addictions to sexuality, emotional dependencies, boredom, or depression. Inversely, it can lash out in anger. Feelings can be vague and/or conflicted.
This is often one of the muddiest places, what some call the emotional or astral body. It’s also where many people have some of the most visible issues, partly because the 2nd is also about relating. How we are with others close to us.
When the root chakra is out of balance, we may feel restless, have difficulty manifesting, feel insecurity or craving, have tendencies to hoarding or excess spending, feel resistance, or be prone to violence.
The root chakra has some of the least familiar qualities as it’s the most distant from mind and meaning. The most primitive or animal. But this does not mean we should repress it. We should give it the light of our awareness. This will correct the imbalances and integrate our foundations into wholeness.
In balance, we find:
Calm confidence and reliability
Emotional and sexual health, good relationships
Grounded, presence, and security
Healing is the same process as usual. Attention and intention. When we notice a reactivity, see how it feels. What is behind that feeling? If it’s a strong one, we may notice a physical sensation. Let our awareness go there. That can facilitate it’s release. The energy lets go and flows. Over time, we release more and more resistance and our quality of life improves.
We might call this Healing the Animal or Awakening the Animal. Or Freeing the Animal. It is only the devil if we keep it in the dark.
On the spiritual journey, we cannot predict when such “lower” issues may arise for us. But it’s not at all uncommon for them to come up a couple of times in the long cycle. For one, when the kundalini energy begins to rise naturally, it has a tendency to gradually “awaken” the main energy centers on the way up. This will bring up issues we have not yet resolved.
In his book Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda described the awakening second chakra. Until it cleared and rebalanced, it was quite aroused. For a monk, this was undesirable. For a householder though, there can be a profound awakening of our sexual selves.
The second cycle is when the divine descends. Any issues that have not yet been made conscious will do so as each area of life is awakened to its divinity. Adyashanti talks about Self descending and absorbing the gut. This dissolves our sense of identity that separates inside and out. The absorption of the second facilitates our merger with all beings. And the absorption of the first, our merger with the divine, right on the surface of life. I wrote about that recently in Awakening the Body.
The spiritual path is a remarkable journey into our complete nature, from the primitive animal to our oneness with the divine. It brings us face to face with the entire spectrum of life and to life itself, in its own essential nature. And you are That.