This fall season is flying by, and my life has sped up with it. I didn't mean to leave such a cliff hanger last post. Most of you know that my brain scan came back clean, so there is nothing wrong with my brain after all. Well, physically, at least :) But as the wind starts to blow and the vegetation becomes dry, I feel myself being drawn inward. The question I have been dealing with lately is how to hear the voice of my soul.
There are many parts to the body and mind. Classical Ayurveda and Yoga teach that the body/mind system has five sheaths, or koshas, which start at the most physical and move towards the most etherial. You have the Annamaya kosha, or the food body first, then the Pranamaya kosha, or breath body. Third comes the Manomaya kosha, or the mind (this is why we must use the breath as the bridge between the mind and body). In Manomaya kosha, we're talking about the mind-stuff -- the part of the mind that's always moving and creating thoughts, but that we can direct and focus with practice. This is also the part of the mind where we distinquish ourselves from others. I like to think of this layer as the workers in a factory -- their job just to work, and their work is to create thoughts. This is why sometimes our thoughts spin and spin with no real pattern, because the Manomaya kosha needs guidance. Enter the Vijnanamaya kosha, or the wisdom sheath. This is the part of the mind that contains the intellect and processes information from our sense organs. This sheath can be thought of as the manager of the factory -- it takes in information, gives orders, and makes decisions based on information it receives. The final sheath is known as the Anandamaya kosha, or the bliss sheath. This is the boss of the factory; the person behind the curtain. This is the our soul, and where our soul connects to the larger universe. This sheath, along from the information processed through Vijnanamaya kosha, is what I want to hear.
The koshas tend to correspond fairly well with the chakras, if you aligned them from the bottom to the top -- the Annamaya kosha would be at the first chakra and the Anandamaya kosha would be at the seventh chakra. I have more experience with chakras than koshas in my own practice, so I tend to focus on their energy more. What I've noticed is that in times of relative peace in my life, I'm able to hear the voice of my higher chakras and koshas with more ease -- a simple meditation or yoga practice is all it takes for me to listen to my higher Self in these moments. But when my life becomes turbulent, hearing my higher voice is challenging.
When survival and security are threatened, the first chakra tends to light up or enlarge in order to get more information. When money is low, or life feels unstable, the second chakra will chime in as well. And if these disruptions have lowered self-esteem at all, the third chakra might joint in. These lower chakras are completely necessary in order to survive on the planet, but what I've noticed is that, when disrupted, they are so much louder than the upper chakras. I think of the lower chakras as heavier, more physical, more in touch with the physical world because that's what they deal with. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh chakras handle some physical energy, but are more concerned with relaying cosmic and spiritual information to the mind and body. This type of information is more ethereal, lighter and softer.
So when I find myself making big, tumultuous decisions in life, I find the the noise of my lower chakras tends to drown out that of my higher. It's as if you can't hear the melody because the base is too loud.
What's the answer? I think the answer is faith. For me, making big decisions centers around the information I get from my higher Self, my higher chakras, my higher koshas. When that information is processed by lower koshas and chakras and I realize what an upheaval it causes in my physical and emotional life, my chakras throw a tantrum. They start questioning me in bursts so loud I can't hear myself think. Balancing the first, second and third chakras is about trusting the process of life. If I can trust that I will find the security, financial and emotional support I need, those centers of energy will go back to functioning at normal so that I can hear my soul again. So I must learn to cultivate faith -- faith in the process of life, faith that the universe will provide for me as long as I follow the guidance of my soul, and faith that I am hearing my soul correctly.
So how do I cultivate faith? By sitting quietly, and listening for the melody against the chorus of base until the base disappears and all that remains is the quiet singing of my soul.