“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my Soul longs for you.” – Psalm 42:1
“When it rains, there is happiness. Water is the key to all life.” – Guru Nanak
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” – Rumi
Communing with the sacred has been likened to drinking water from a fresh stream, being cleansed by a cooling rain or submerging into a body of water since time immemorial. And although each person’s experience of connecting with the sacred (and even what that word means to them!) can be extremely varied and nuanced, I believe there is a reason for this – beyond the realm of metaphor. Tuning into the sacredness of the water element – through words, through a practice, through time spent in nature, ushers in healing. There is flow, a tapping into of Spirit. Call it what you like. The Spirit of the Divine. The Spirit of Nature. Even the Spirit of the deer who longs for the flowing streams.
Perhaps I’m a little biased. Perhaps it’s because I live on an island on the coast of Maine . . .and I spend some portion of every day swimming. . .and I’ve been chanting the Narayan Shabad for the past 270-days. I find my flow through connection with the water element – both literally and figuratively.
Perhaps it also stems from a great deal of time spent working with and healing the second chakra. The second chakra, or Svadhisthana, is regarded as the basis of our individual human existence. The place where our unconscious personality, previous experiences and mental impressions are stored. The name is derived from two Sanskrit words: Swa – meaning “one’s own” and Adhisthana – meaning “dwelling place” or “seat.” The word can also be translated to “sweetness.”
In Kundalini Yoga, this chakra is often viewed as a challenge, since we pesky humans find it quite hard to break through our unconscious blocks. It is through this chakra that we connect to the water element and the aspects of flow, change, sexuality and creation. Kundalini Yoga teaches us that this energetic center is connected to the sacrum, bladder, kidneys, and the reproductive glands/organs. It is easy to see the themes of water and creativity through these bodily representations.
Emotionally, if we are disconnected from our second chakra, we may experience jealousy, guilt, possessiveness, and have shallow relationships. We might also feel shame of our body or sexuality, experience self-rejection or go to the other extreme of exhibitionism. The teachings of Kundalini Yoga express that these shadow emotions of the second chakra all stem from a lack of self-respect, which is merely a disconnection from our Soul’s sweetness. Luckily, maintaining a strong connection to this chakra is possible with Kundalini Yoga. With practice we can easily reconnect and manifest empathy, generosity and flexibility.
The following kriya from Owner’s Manual for the Human Body is a great kriya for the second chakra and can do wonders for moving, cleansing and releasing fear from these watery organs.
TONING THE KIDNEYS
1. Sit in Easy Pose, hands grasping the waist, applying full pressure with your thumbs where your kidneys are. Twist left and right with a double breath. Inhale and exhale powerfully as you twist left and inhale and exhale powerfully as you twist right. This swing puts pressure at the kidneys and helps flush them out with each breath. Continue for 5 1/2 Minutes.
2. Immediately come into Back Platform Pose. Raise and lower your buttocks rapidly with Breath of Fire. Continue for 4 Minutes. This gives relief to the kidneys.
3. Immediately come into Cobra Pose. Then, in rhythm with Breath of Fire, raise yourself from flat on your stomach up into Cobra and lower yourself back down to flat on your stomach. Breathe heavily. Continue the movement for 2 Minutes.
4. Come into Easy Pose, mentally meditate on the sound of Ek Ong Kar. Concentrate at both the third eye point and the navel, and on the flow of energy up and down between these two points. 4 Minutes. Then begin to chant as loud as you can: Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad, Sat Gur Prasad, Ek Ong Kar all in one breath. 2 Minutes. (Yogi Bhajan played the gong throughout this entire meditation.) To finish: inhale deeply, hold the breath for 15 seconds, and then keep the breath held another 10 seconds while you move the navel. Exhale and relax.
Whether you practice this kriya or find another practice that speaks to you, see where you can connect to the water element and find flow within your daily life. Notice where you find passion, genuine intimacy and empowerment. These are the places of deep connection to the flow of Svadhisthana energy. To me, these places are like a prayer – the best kind of prayer there is. The kind of prayer where you just take a deep breath and be still, and notice, and be aware. The kind of prayer in which you dwell in love, you dwell in compassion, you dwell in heart. . .you dwell as the ocean in a single drop.