Love, Boundaries & Forgiveness: 4th Chakra, Anahata

Kristina Lanuza, Yogafly, Sumukhi, Yoga IlluminedIt’s birthday month for me, and there’s always a whole heck of a lot of reflection, meditation, CELEBRATION and transformation that happen with the passing of each year. Photos in this post were taken by Suzanne Daniels Grisaffe in 1999 or so. It’s truly remarkable to meditate on all the glorious transformations that occur with Yoga practice and the passage of time. Wild stuff.

In Yoga, we focus on the Eternal aspect of ourselves having a turn in a Temporary body for a lifetime. And September’s Chakra Series at Castle Hill Yoga in Austin, Texas shines Light on the Heart Chakra – Anahata. “Anahata” in Sanskrit means “unstruck” – there is a Symphony of Song in your Heart that plays without instrumentation. There is an “unstruck” chord that plays in your heart – and it is the beauty of Silence, like Plato’s Music of the Spheres (I had to read Plato’s Republic in college, anyone else? It’s good stuff). Zoe Mantarakis, Yoga Illumined co-leader, will be teaching the Anahata Chakra class for me on September 7 at 2 pm as I will be at Rob and Ally Rhatigan’s wedding in the greater New York City region.

So then of course, the Heart Chakra brings up the themes of Love, Boundaries and Forgiveness. Look at the anatomical structure of the chest region – where your physical 4-chambered Heart lies. It is in a rib – cage. The Heart and the Lungs are uber-protected. And so it is written structurally that the Heart needs boundaries in order to settle deep into the physical body. I like to visualize the Heart chakra as a Lotus flower – it blooms upward and it has roots that flow all the way down to the base of my spine and into each of my ten toes. It settles in itself and blossoms inward in a never-ending light of holy, soothing music.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Ch. 1, Sutra 33,:
Maitri-Karuna-Mudita-Upekshanam
Sukha-Dukha-Punya-Apunya-Visayanam
Bhavanatah-Citta-Prasadanam

Translation by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D. and Ananda Ashram editors:
“The mind becomes calm and tranquil by cultivating an attitude of friendliness and fellowship (maitri) toward happy-going persons, compassion and kindness (karuna) toward the miserable, entertainment and joy (mudita) toward the virtuous, and indifference and neutrality (upeksha) toward those who appear to be doing evil.”

Kristina Lanuza, Sumukhi, Yogafly, Yoga Illumined

We had a great discussion about the above sutra and Forgiveness during a few weekends of Yoga Illumined Teacher Training at Castle Hill Yoga. Because, man, the Heart can’t help but Forgive. It just can’t help itself. I like how Guruji and pals encourage one to have indifference and neutrality “toward those who appear to be doing evil.” Because we cannot ever really know what got someone to the place where they are behaving in a manner that is destructive (to self or others), it is not in our best interest to simply cast off others with labels such as permanently “evil.” But at the same time, it’s best to simply not get involved — unless of course, you are in the middle of a battlefield, then you take up your arms and fight. But in most of our day-to-day lives, we can simply ignore stupid, ignorant actions. There’s simply no reason to fight all the time. It’s exhausting and you know, if you pull your focus away from the battlefield, you get to hang with Joy-filled, virtuous people who are very creative and just downright FUN in this world.

This has been one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned over this amazing little journey of a Life, that there is no Boundless Love without Boundaries. There is no real forgiveness without boundaries. If one forgives and forgets, then the likelihood of perpetuating or enabling behaviors that serve no one, is guaranteed. So we forgive and we create beautiful boundaries where we feel safe expanding and opening the Lotus flower of the Heart.

As Kabir says:

Do not go into the garden of flowers

O friend, go not there.

In your body is the garden of flowers.

Take your seat on the thousand petals of lotus

and there gaze upon the infinite beauty.

Om shantih om,
Sumukhi

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