Part 1 of the Heart Chakra guide can be found here.
Love for yourself and for others is what drives the heart chakra. All of its challenges stem from the complexities of love - how it is expressed, how it is received and its quantity and quality. Our ability to give and receive love is most crippled by grief, the main challenge of the heart chakra. Grief causes heaviness in our heart, hardening it to stone and ice. The grief takes up so much space that we have no more room to feel. The air that carries compassion inside and outside is obstructed.
Grief for an excessive fourth chakra is masked as the heartache of denied needs. It has such poor boundaries and so much energy moving out that it cannot take enough energy in. Insecurities cause its balance to skew outside of itself rather than in. Those with excessive heart chakras use too much love to overcompensate for their wounds or incompleteness. They are so dependent on the assurance of others that they often smother and hinder others’ freedom. They can be demanding, possessive and jealous, and they fear abandonment. Their obsession with connection causes others to reject them, deepening their insecurities and perpetuating a cycle of codependency.
The deficient heart chakra responds to grief by closing up. Rigid boundaries prevent energy from reaching out or from being taken in, causing isolation and continued deficiency. Having felt pain, those with deficient fourth chakras withdraw and avoid risking vulnerability again. With depleted hearts, they wait for others to reach out and fix their problems for them. They often dwell on the past, remain angry or bitter and find it difficult to forgive or empathize with others or even themselves. They believe that they do not deserve love and so cannot love themselves. With nothing to share from within, true connection and intimacy cannot form with others, perpetuating the cycle of isolation.
Balancing the Heart Chakra
To open and balance the heart chakra, we must begin with ourselves. Self-love is about honoring our individuality and our importance. It is accepting our strengths and weaknesses, our quirks and flaws and our ability to change and grow. It strengthens our sense of empathy. Mindful breathwork, often with help from a trusted friend or therapist, helps release feelings that are being held back. Examining and intentionally working with the breath creates space for those emotions to flow, to be felt and processed. Grief should especially be attended to, as well as feelings that prevent forgiveness, whether toward yourself or someone else. Because all traumas and abuses are a betrayal of love, these are important to work through. In your relationships with others, strive toward a balance of taking in and letting go - to give without sacrificing and to receive without demanding. Work towards a balance of attachment and freedom, giving the lower chakras their security and the upper chakras their novelty, both for yourself and for others.
When we have emotional maturity, our heart can remain open despite challenges like betrayal and disappointment. We can forgive easily and believe in people’s ability to grow and change. We can express compassion and empathy even when there is no solution. Our heart is vulnerable yet fortified. It is sensitive, yet indestructible. It has the space for love to flow in and to spread it out into the world.
Credits and Resources:
Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith
7wisdoms.org by Shai Tubali
Chakras.info by Lizzy Martin
My Other Chakra Guides: