Don’t Lose Heart

I started a series of posts some time ago about the individual chakras which can be found here: Back Down to Earth ; Life is a Dance and Are You Your Biggest Fan?. I continue now with a few thoughts about the Heart Chakra.

The heart chakra governs our ability to give and receive love; it is the place where we feel compassion, empathy and joy. When this centre is healthy and balanced, we experience a deep connection to life and feel ourselves as a vital part in a greater whole. A healthy expression of all the chakras is important for our well-being and development but there is something particularly devastating when we have blockages in the heart. We will all know what it feels like to have our heart centre contract because none of us is immune to heartbreak.

In the chakra system, the Heart is a bridge between the three lower centres of Base, Sacral and Solar Plexus, and the three higher centres of Throat, Third Eye and Crown. Blockages in any of these can present challenges but when the heart has closed, it can have a profound knock-on effect on all the chakras. We can truly shut down. When our hearts are broken, we stop feeling safe and lose our sense of belonging in the world; we feel unable to relate to others or experience pleasure; we lose our confidence and feel powerless and victimized by life – all states of being associated with imbalances in the first, second and third chakras respectively. We can also find it impossible to talk about our pain; we experience the absence of our inner compass and can feel deeply cynical about Divine support – again, fifth, sixth and seventh chakra issues. As the physical heart pumps life-giving blood around our bodies; the energetic heart keeps the life-force circulating through our centres. When this process is interrupted in any way, our entire system – physically, psychologically and spiritually- will struggle to function.

When I first started studying the chakras, I was confused by the element association of this centre. In the chakra system the heart is traditionally associated with the element of air. Having worked with the elements in Wicca, where air is connected to thought, the mind and intellect, I found it difficult to resonate at first with this elements connection to the heart. Surely it should be water? And yet as I have worked more consciously with the system, it has come to make perfect sense.

Water is actually the element connected to the Sacral Chakra; this chakra is the realm of relationships, feelings and emotions, the flow between self and other; and although love is very much felt as an emotion, the love that is an expression of the heart centre goes beyond merely the desire for connection found in the Sacral. The love of the heart is profound and reaches out beyond the boundaries of our domestic lives to include the love of all things. Like air, it is seemingly intangible, unconfined, is present everywhere, and although we might not be able to see it, it is utterly vital for the existence of life. Without it, we die. The love of the heart is not dependent on reciprocation; it loves without condition.

The heart will experience great joy and pain whilst we live, and sometimes, when a pain has been so immense, our poor hearts tighten and constrict. I think that this is a natural response; sometimes we need to retreat and protect this tender place but we cannot do this for extended periods of time without the colour and meaning draining from our world. A closed and overly protected heart can harden; such hardening can make us feel very lonely and cut off from the support of others, from life and the Divine. When we hang on to hurt for too long, anger and bitterness can undermine our trust in life; we can become judgemental and unkind with ourselves and others; all sense of true connection disintegrates. When the heart is profoundly wounded, although our instinct might be to do all we can to prevent further hurt, constructing an impenetrable bunker in that tender place means that the air of this centre cannot flow; closed off from world outside, it grows stale and ultimately deadly for our emotional and spiritual selves (in time, it can also do great damage to our physical health too!).

Love is our teacher and its palette is infinite in colour and complexity. It takes us on a journey whose spectrum is life; all the agony and ecstasy – and everything in between – is its training ground. And every time the heart experiences something deeply – be it pain or joy – it gives us the opportunity to strengthen our compassion and understanding of what it means to be human, what it means to be a part of creation. The gift of these experiences is empathy; we bear witness to each other and in doing so, we can all feel truly seen and held. When we express empathy, we validate each other and our stories, and this is a powerful gift of healing that we can share. This healing gift of the heart is why it is so important to not to close down for too long after emotional trauma; if we do, we deny ourselves and others the gift of the heart’s wisdom.

Love, like air, flows freely; it cannot be possessed by anyone; it cannot be contained. It requires from us that we forgive, let go and move on – that might take us a while, we might need help to do so, but when we let the heart truly breath, its embrace is all encompassing. If we can just hold on to enough trust and faith amongst life’s blows, we will find our meaning, joy, peace and deep soul connection once again. Remember…don’t lose heart; we are all in this together.


  1. Carl Markham said,

    September 20, 2017 at 12:08 am

    As usual Maria, you’ve given us a lot here to think and meditate upon, so thank you for that.The only thing that puzzles me a bit is the association of the heart to the element of Water, as I’ve always related it to Fire particularly when we also liken the physical heart to Love e.g. the ‘warm heart’ or ‘burning with love’ etc. Colour associations also:The heart pumps the red blood around the body; our faces sometimes turn with the fire’ of our emotions.Fire itself is almost always depicted as being this colour – so where does Water (or Air) ‘fit in’ here? Thanks again for a wonderful post and hope you have a joyous Autumn Equinoxe. Much Love.

    • luckyloom1 said,

      September 24, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Carl,

      Many thanks – I hope you had a lovely Equinox!

      It is so interesting that we all have different associations. I think they are all valid and teach us different things about how we work with heart energy. I am not sure of the air connection source, I am presuming it comes from Tantric yoga texts but maybe not. I know that most modern, western teaching about the chakras associates air with the heart; root is earth, sacral is water, solar plexus, fire, and then the throat is connected to sound; the third eye to light.But it is just a system and I think it is good to explore alternative associations.

      The water connection to heart, for me, is about feeling and emotion – I think I very much associate these with water – they flow, have depths, movement etc, and again the Wiccan thing has influenced my thinking. But I can also feel the fire association that you mention. I don’t think any of this is set in stone and it is always good to follow your instincts as to works for you. I do think it is good to have a flexible approach to any system we might use.

      I really resonate with fire at the solar plexus – I like the idea of the solar plexus being our inner sun, our furnace that metabolizes our food and gives us energy both physically and energetically. But I see no reason why we can’t work with fire in our heart or any other chakra. Go with what enables you to deepen your understanding of working with that energy.

      Thanks for reading and commenting Carl – I really appreciate it!

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