Anahata Chakra - Heart Chakra

Commentary: The Heart Chakra, the middle one of seven, is located deep within the chest, on a level with the heart but centered, just in front of the spinal column. The Sankrit word anahata means 'unstruck', not created - in the sense of existing, not in the outside world, but in the inner world. It thefore has the connotation of purity - the purity of love, devotion (a devout life) and altruistic application of energy. This chakra is also the node where all opposites merge, where all contradictions are transcended, all dilemmas reconciled: body and soul, woman and man, higher self and lower self, inner world and outer world, good and evil, light and dark. The Heart Chakra's dominant aspect of love leads to the acceptance of contradictions - in your own personality and in those of others - and thereby to a more loving attitude to self and others, with self-acceptance the most clear (because least ambiguous) sign of achievement. Warning: Activation of the Heart Chakra can have dramatic consequences, and those consequences are usually irreversible. The heart, once opened, can only be closed with brute force, an intervention that is deeply hurtful to the soul. Activation of chakras is a process beyond the range of logic, hard to manage with traditional methods. A thorough understanding of what is playing at heart level is essential for everyone who goes through fundamental personal changes, or coaches others going through such changes.

Personal aspects: This is the chakra of balance, but also the balance of soul connection, of love. The Heart Chakra is often brought to awakening or blossoming by having children, but those children may be of a figurative nature - a similar strengthening of this chakra is caused by shouldering any substantial task for the benefit of others. This transformational aspect often manifests itself in people of somewhat advanced age who start to question what they truly did with their life energy - and then discover, consciously or subconsciously, that through decades of self-serving their Heart Chakra has been dimmed, in some cases almost to extinction. This is the chakra of people with a big heart, those who love life and honour it - by giving others their love, compassion, acceptance and trust. Negative development: Heartlessness. Heart problems. (This is not to suggest a causal relationship between heart disease and heartlessness, because there are many dear people who get heart problems from grief or worry about others for instance, but there is the unilateral causal relationship that heartlessness is not good for the heart.)

Corporate aspects: Growth by the expression of shared values, by the establisment and nourishment of loyalty-based relationships with employees, clients, suppliers, by applying 'heart force'. Or as a speaker dear to the author lately said at a seminar: 'by using love as a nutrient for growth'. By extension: openness to change, enhancement of the capacity for self-renewal, transformation. Negative development: Fake humanity, pretend chumminess (Cf. the boss in the BBC's brilliant The Office series), isolation, loss of trust base in the organisation, entropy (disintegration of the organism, or loss of one's place in it) caused by deficit of energy, what we might call 'spiritual low blood pressure'.

Challenge (dilemma to be reconciled): To maintain balance during transformation - because swinging too far one way, or swinging too far both ways alternately, does not bring transformation but destruction. This is a very important dilemma, reviewed in the chapter How holy is the highest chakra? The essential point is, that only those who manage to maintain equilibrium can truly achieve transformation. A one-sided focus on one specific aspect of individual or corporate behaviour, however desirable or even noble it may be (e.g. more warmth, more emphasis on learning, more contribution to the common good) can block fundamental change by causing neglect of other aspects, weakening the whole. A truly enlightened leader perceives the needs of the organisation on all levels, and will give it the kind of attention that Richard Barrett, one of the groundlayers of values-based management, terms 'full spectrum'.