2nd Chakra Series – Spirituality and Bliss
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.