Roots & Wings
Today is day 11 concentrating on the root chakra, and I've got a few things to report. My friend, whom I mentioned in my last entry, has practiced with me 2-3 times since now, and his experiences have remained a bit intense, though, admittedly, their quality has changed a bit. (By the way, I have gotten his permission to share his experiences with you. I'm not talking out of turn here.) Though he is crying less often now, he still feels some rather intense emotions. In one of our previous sessions, he had a rather intimate experience with the Horned God that he said felt more profound than anything he's experienced previously.
Though there is nothing noteworthy to mention about today's practice, I do have some interesting things to report since my last check-in with you. Yesterday, during my 15-30 minute meditation on the root chakra, I found myself hovering above my body, floating just a few feet above it, gently rocking back and forth. It was as if I was lulling myself into a peaceful state of comfort. Then all of a sudden, I completely lost consciousness. I actually thought I had fallen asleep, because I even lost awareness of the Youtube video I was playing to help my friend focus on his root chakra during our meditation. (I've added that video to this post in case you want to try using it in your own meditation.) However, when he started shuffling around after his own meditation had ended, I immediately came back to my senses, so I definitely wasn't asleep.
Though I've levitated astrally before, it was never that easy. In truth, I actually found it quite difficult to prevent myself from leaving my body this time. It just seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do. It was even easier to slip into an ecstatic state of blankness where all thought and awareness seemed to disappear. I'm not actually sure how long it was before I slipped into that blank state from my perception of floating above my body. All I know is that when I heard my friend begin moving about the room, I came back into my body with what felt like a thud. It made me think about the connection between roots and wings referenced in that old adage.
There does seem to be some debate on where this quote originally comes from. One possible source is the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who said:
There are two things parents should give their children roots and wings. Roots to give them bearing and a sense of belonging, but also wings to help free them from constraints and prejudices and give them other ways to travel (or rather, to fly).
Aside from the astral flight piece of my experience, the first connection between this "roots and wings" metaphor that immediately comes to my mind is the fact that exploring the root chakra opens you up to the energies of security, prosperity, and belonging–all things that seem intimately connected to the concept of roots.
Within traditional Tantric teachings, the root chakra is seen as the first center involved in human incarnation, but it is also the highest chakra in animal existence. Animals, like people have multiple chakras. However, they do not have the same chakras we do. For them, the root chakra is like our crown chakra. (What's interesting about that is that Tantra has a theory that our crown chakra is actually the base chakra for the next rung of our spiritual evolution after we progress beyond the need for physical existence on the material plane. We may talk more about that in a future entry, though.)
The chakras below the root (or mooladhara) are called patalas and relate exclusively to sense consciousness. There is no sense of individual awareness or ego derived from these patalas. That sense of self starts with the root chakra, which is why it is the baseline of human awareness and why it is often associated with meeting those basic human needs like food, shelter, etc. For example, there are chakras in the knees which are directly connected to fear. This connection is why we talk about "going weak in the knees" when we feel frightened and some people have even been known to faint when scared.
However, once the root chakra is balanced and those basic necessities of life are met, the individual awakens to the possibility of divine consciousness and the animalistic or instinctive responses begin to loosen. He gains better control over his impulses and his drives and is able to begin focusing on developing his willpower. (This point of freedom is where the witch's Art begins, by the way.) It is at this moment that the consciousness, like the child in von Goethe's advice, can be freed from constraints and begin to "soar" upward to more subtle, less terrestrial concerns.
Today, on this dreary Monday in North Carolina, I'm sitting with this wisdom and contemplating its value on my own personal journey. If you would like to try meditating while using the seed mantra for the root chakra, here is the video my friend and I used in our practice yesterday. Feel free to add it to your own yoga practice. Just let it play in the background while you do your savasana.