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2nd Chakra Series – Spirituality and Bliss

April 29, 2009

This is the fourth in a marathon series I am doing this week on the 2nd, or sacral chakra, in women. The prior posts were on Tantric Sexuality, Intuition and Seeing, and Motherhood and Creating, and the post after this is on 21 Ways to Care for Your 2nd Chakra. As you can see, I am a bit of a chakra geek. We all need our obsessions.

I was trying to decide how to start this post, and finally settled on the question, what is bliss?

I ask this because in the yogic and meditative traditions that address women’s 2nd chakras, it is associated with a certain kind of bliss. Not happiness, or connectivity, or mindfulness, or love, or clarity, or even epiphany, but specifically bliss. So what is bliss?

I’m not sure it can be described by a non-poet such as myself, but mystics in virtually every tradition have described a kind of bliss, or rapture (St. Theresa of Avila’s choice of word), where all boundaries, all sense of a limited self, fell away. A dissolution really, into the pure light – or pure love – of existence. It’s like being a wave in the ocean (I know I’ve used that phrase before, but I warned you I’m not a poet, so my metaphors are limited!)

All of that sounds a bit cliche, and bliss really is very different from other spiritual experiences. Bliss is an integrated mind/body/spirit experience – it isn’t only a physical sensation, or an emotion, or a mental realization, or spiritual transcendence ‘outside’ the body. It is simultaneously experienced physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, because it is touching the essence of all of those planes.

In meditative traditions that address it, women’s 2nd chakras are specifically associated with bliss, as is the entire female, or yin, aspect of existence. Men can of course experience it too, because any human can experience any state, but energetically women’s 2nd chakras are the most direct access to it. In fact, as I mentioned, this is one of the approaches within Tantric Sexuality – a man and woman both travel with their awareness through the doorway of the women’s 2nd chakra during sex. This bliss is really associated with creation, and as I’ve already discussed in the last post, the 2nd chakra is energetically the root of creation.

I think almost everyone gets glimpses of this bliss, ‘nectar’ it is sometimes called in Eastern writing, throughout their lives, particularly anyone that is actively seeking in some way. And interestingly, the word ‘bliss’ is sometimes used to describe two distinct female physical experiences that are associated with the 2nd chakra – the aftermath of orgasm, and nursing a baby. Of course both of these release hormones that ripple through the uterus and contribute to these sensations. But considering the link between the uterus and the 2nd chakra, it’s fascinating to me that I see that word used so often in that context.

There are all sorts of other spiritual experiences we can have, bliss is just one. In fact, there are distinct experiences associated with each of the four paths I described in my Four Paths to Freedom post, and each can be tied to a chakra: Service is associated with the navel chakra, devotion with the heart, inquiry with the third eye, and yoga/mysticism with the crown. You don’t have to be aware of your chakras at all for this to happen – it just does. Exploring the chakras is just a way for understanding it in a new way, and may open up new experiences.

As I mentioned in the first post, meditative traditions that revolve around the chakras focus on one of two approaches: 1) Raising the kundalini, or life force, up through all the chakras into the crown, or 2) Going through one particular spiritual ‘doorway’, usually the heart for devotional paths that revolve around the realization of divine love, or the third eye for those that revolve around recognizing the true nature of reality. And of course, Tantric sexuality uses the 2nd in a unique way. Of course all paths, and all of life, use all the chakras, because they are the nervous system of our energetic body. Just as we can’t really do much with just one part of our body, we can’t do much with just one chakra. But different paths do ‘specialize’ in different ones, much like different forms of exercise use one part of our body more than others.

Regardless of what ‘path’ you consider yourself on (and even if it’s not explicit), if you are a woman I think there is special value in understanding your 2nd chakra, and of caring for and exploring it in certain ways, because of the unique role it plays in our energetic body. That unique role is part of what I’ve been trying to outline in the last three posts. But from a meditative perspective, it has an additional role, if you buy into the idea (as I do) that it is really the primary seat of our kundalini or life force, rather than the 1st chakra, as is usually taught for both men and women. This means that the health of our 2nd chakra is essential to any spiritual experience or realization, because the kundalini can’t move up into our other chakras otherwise.

In addition, because our 2nd chakra is so essential to our being, bliss is a special proclivity of ours. It’s a spiritual doorway uniquely available to us. So find your bliss!

And don’t get me wrong – spiritual experience is not spiritual realization. A good chakra meditator can get very proficient at opening their heart chakra (for example) during meditation, and feeling great waves of love, and then get up from their meditation cushion and still be a jerk in real life. I have been in and out of spiritual communities my entire adult life, and I see it all the time (and have to admit, experienced this myself too!) Opening a chakra, and experiencing its energy, is a technical skill, and translating that into wisdom requires an integrated practice. So I’m not trying to say bliss – or any other spiritual experience – is the be all and end all. But it can sure help open your awareness and loosen your attachments to heavier states. And who doesn’t want to experience bliss?

I’ll talk about caring for your 2nd chakra in the final post tomorrow, but I did want to talk about one way that I think the centrality of our 2nd chakras influences women’s journeys, and that is that we are much more cyclical. We of course have monthly cycles, and as I discussed in my Women’s Energy Body post, we also have life cycles. But I think most of us also have natural energy cycles of incubation and creation, even in our daily lives. This is sometimes wrongly labeled as ‘moodiness’. Banish that word! I think we just naturally move in these inward and outward cycles related to our 2nd chakra energies, and learning to honor and work with that is essential. I’ll talk a bit more about this later too.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions…

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The final post in this series is 21 Ways to Care for Your Sacral Chakra.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2009 10:23 pm

    This is getting a bit too difficult for me 😉 When I started reading this post, I was thinking “So bliss is like orgasm, right?” and I can relate how certain spiritual experience can substitute sex, or vice versa. Superficially it’s a bit weird because you can be a virgin (like female saints) and have all the orgasm — no, bliss — you want, or you can be a slut and be very spiritual, and there is really not much difference there energetically. Is this what you are talking about, or am I missing the point?

    I also thought about “healthy sex” as we discussed in the comment in your previous post. You said many married women get their second chakra energy messed up even when they are not in abusive relationship (or something in this line, if I remember correctly). I can see this. But I also think healthy sex is a lot more than sex with a loving partner. Many married women feel obligated to have sex with their spouse even when they don’t feel like it. And I think this is unhealthy. If someone can’t say yes or no freely, it is not truly consensual, and years of doing this can well mess up her energy. What do you think?

  2. Uzma permalink
    April 29, 2009 11:04 pm

    Yup, have experienced this bliss, fleetingly. I think it was Yoga and shavasana, that did it.

    Am looking forward to your next post. Have actually been checking 3-4 times a day for when the next post will be out.

    God bless

  3. mommymystic permalink*
    April 30, 2009 12:18 am

    Akemi – A teacher once said to me “if you were to have a physical orgasm during true bliss, you wouldn’t even feel it.” So no, I didn’t mean to say physical orgasm IS bliss, just that it’s one reference point for it (and one path to it, in the Tantric Sexuality traditions, but those traditionally take alot of training – most people just get caught up in the physical and maybe emotional levels during sex, not really much more than that, which is fine.) But yes, isn’t it interesting that in spiritual meditative traditions you have these two opposite extremes – virginity or sex as the focus? Most of us in real life are somewhere in the middle, of course:-)
    And yes, I agree 100% on the comments regarding ‘healthy sex’, in or out or marriage. Gender balance has just been so messed up in this world for so long, that it’s led to a lot of 2nd chakra related problems and relationship dysfunction. I think that’s part of the reason I really wanted to do this series, although I didn’t consciously think of it in those terms. I was recently reading an article about how many women when surveyed report they have at some point been sexually abused or assaulted – I think it was close to 60%. That’s not even counting the type of situations you are talking about, which I think are all too often financially related (financial fears are still the number one reason women give for staying in marriage relationships that are not healthy.)
    I do believe this is changing, but it’s a long haul. And I definitely do NOT want to come off as man-bashing here (I’m actually a big fan of men!), because it’s a yin/yang thing – an imbalance that gets reflected in ALL our awareness, it’s not something ’caused’ by men, in my view. Men suffer just as much by it, because they are cut off from their yin energies. And of course I am happily married and trying to be part of this rebalancing and redefining of male/female relationships myself.
    Thanks for all your comments on this series, they have really helped me clarify my thinking.

  4. mommymystic permalink*
    April 30, 2009 12:23 am

    Uzma, yes yoga was basically designed to help us find this bliss, so glad it has actually worked for you! I know the chakras are rarely talked about in most yoga classes (especially here in the West, maybe it is different where you are) but the asanas in most lineages were designed with the chakras in mind, to clear and balance them, and ultimately to bring the kundalini up through them (I am sure you know this already, based on our last exchange.)
    As for checking for my posts 3-4 times a day **gulp** hope it doesn’t disappoint! I actually think i will email you afterwards with some additional stuff since the post will be more general.

  5. April 30, 2009 12:25 am

    I’m really interested in these ideas.

    I most frequently experience this bliss (2nd chakra related) when doing Matsyasana (fish pose) in yoga. It opens me right up, and probably has the most powerful effect of any of the asanas (upon me personally). I’ve also experienced something even more powerful during times when I was writing my thesis a few years ago, when every part of my body and being would feel as though it was vibrating with energy and bliss.

    It probably sounds strange, (it does to me) as I had such a fraught and ambivalent relationship to my thesis. But it certainly facilitated something, and there was a lot of energy stirred up around my second chakra. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was less than a year after I gave birth when I entered into an intense writing phase, and reading your previous post about the 2nd chakra and motherhood it makes sense to me that things would have been triggered.

  6. April 30, 2009 12:26 am

    BTW if kundalini power is in the second chakra for women, what’s the first chakra doing in women?

  7. mommymystic permalink*
    April 30, 2009 1:39 am

    Docwitch – this is fascinating, especially your descriptions of how you felt while writing your thesis – both the ‘vibrating with energy and bliss’ and the ‘fraught and ambivalent’. I mean, that is the creative ‘birth’ process right? Definitely what I was trying to get at here. And the fish pose, very interesting. I am so happy to be getting some real world examples for some of these ideas. I wasn’t so sure about doing this series, I have to say. But for whatever reason, it has been a similar creative experience for me, on a smaller scale.

  8. mommymystic permalink*
    April 30, 2009 1:42 am

    Akemi – I think all the chakras are still always relevant for everyone but that the kundalini is ‘pooled’ at the 2nd for women, rather than the 1st. You know the whole ‘snake’ image right? So the snake is resting at the 2nd chakra instead of the 1st – in a way, already one step up. But the first chakra is of course still there, and still has to be tended, especially in terms of grounding. I have to think about it more, and read some more chakra views to sort this all out. But what do you think, based on your Akashic readings? I know you are working with the chakras from a slightly different perspective, but do you see what I mean, when you consider men in general vs. women in general?

  9. April 30, 2009 2:03 am

    Hmm… I need to think about this. As you know, I check the damages to chakras as a routine of my Akashic Record Reading. (I can do more detailed examination of each chakra, too.) I don’t check the kundalini so, as you said, my perspective is a bit different from yours…

    It’s pretty rare to see serious problem at the first chakra, whereas it’s pretty common to see issue at second chakra. Now are there differences between men and women? Only about 20% of my clients are men so it’s hard to say. Again, I will think about this.

  10. April 30, 2009 3:31 am

    Really interesting to me to hear you comment on the distinction between spiritual experience and spiritual realization. I’ve also known people who appear to have had genuine spiritual experiences that somehow didn’t become taken up and integrated into a process by which they became characteristically more peaceful and productive people.

    In his classic “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” William James speaks of “fruitfulness for life” as one of the defining characteristics of authentic religious experience. This implies that spiritual experience necessarily leads to spiritual realization.

    I tend to think the relationship between the two isn’t that simple.

  11. mommymystic permalink*
    April 30, 2009 3:47 am

    Paul – I agree, it’s really interesting, isn’t it? In the end, a ‘spiritual’ experience is just like any other experience – transient. It’s long term value is in how we process it. And it’s easy to get ‘addicted’ to experiences. I have been reading Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trunpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and the first half is all about how the ego can take hold of the spiritual process – one way is by getting addicted to certain meditative experiences, and seeking them over and over. And then no real growth is occurring. On the other hand, you have someone like Eckhart Tolle, who wasn’t on an explicit spiritual path at all, just had a spontaneous profound experience during a depressive phase, and it set him on a two-year odyssey to try and figure out what happened, and thus led to a deep awakening.

  12. April 30, 2009 7:44 am

    Well, this series is triggering all sorts of emotions in me!

    As you might recall, I’ve been going through a creative awakening recently (after having my first baby), and I feel the urge in me to take this further and further. A driving force.

    In reading about caring for that chakra, I feel saddened how I have neglected it. Of course, it was at it was meant to be, so it is a healthy sadness.
    I just relaise how my life has been so concentrated on the third eye (?) chakra. Which is all fine and good. But I have neglected the 2nd.

    I would say that I have had blisses. When I am in Nature. When I have been immersed in her and meditatively connecting.

    I understand your explanation, that it is not an out of body experience but a whole person experience. I so get this because I’ve tried to explain to others my experience with nature and my ‘trance’ states. That it is not about leaving the body, not tanscendence at all. It is definitely holistic.

    Would saying that I’m keenly awaiting your next instalment on caring for the 2nd chakra and will be stalking you blog until it comes up, seem too creepy? 🙂

  13. April 30, 2009 12:24 pm

    I’ve experienced bliss during meditation. You are right. It can be addictive. And when I go seeking it for it, it rarely arises in my next sitting.

    I also resonated well with what you said “spiritual experience is not spiritual realization”. Having spiritual experiences or psychic abilities does not mean wisdom. We really need to keep watch over the ego bit!

  14. Uzma permalink
    April 30, 2009 3:21 pm

    Hey. Am loving this series. Do email the extra info you’re mentioning. Would completely love to read it .

  15. mommymystic permalink*
    April 30, 2009 5:36 pm

    Mon, stalk all you want, although I am getting a little worried I’ve built up expectations a bit too high for this final post!! You know it’s interesting that you feel you have neglected your 2nd chakra, because I feel like the energy behind your blog is very 2nd chakra/bliss like. So from my perspective this energy is definitely coming through now in you. But if you are speaking of your life overall, I can relate. So much of my earlier life was very cerebral/academic, and then power oriented (career and martial arts and even, I can see now, my meditation practice) so my heart and 2nd chakra had definitely been neglected, and this is why motherhood was an opening experience for me I think. Other women I know were more connected to this energy throughout their lives. But as you say, it’s ‘all fine and good’, because I really value the skills I developed from that time. For example, I really trust my ability to execute and manifest things once I have decided on them, and those are very third eye/navel functions. So I feel like now it is all coming together.

  16. mommymystic permalink*
    April 30, 2009 5:41 pm

    Evelyn – yes it’s interesting how when we seek for it, it rarely appears, as I think you mentioned in your post too. One teacher I had called that ‘meditating from memory’ which isn’t true openness, since we’re trying to direct everything and not letting go. It’s so fascinating how meditation is this delicate balance between discipline and release, control and surrender. Just like life I guess:-)

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