“If the heart is the image of the Sun in man, in the Earth it is gold.” – Juan Eduardo Cirlot, Dictionary of Symbols ( Great Zimbabwe: Resting Place of the Lion)
As healers, we are constantly working on ourselves. Our own weaknesses, shortcomings and fragility. It is very instructive that one of the primary ways in which Nguni/BaNtu shamans/sangoma’s/Nyanga’s become initiated into their powerful duties as mediums is that there must be a recognisable illness or sickness that they have to go through. This sickness is usually impossible to define in western terms, but it usually involves a kind of psychosis and sometimes strange inexplicable misfortunes and physical suffering.
Part of Initiation involves overcoming or conquering ingulo/ the sickness and occurs in the early stages. The healer never forgets this usually near death experience, it is a constant reminder of the fragile bond between the visible and invisible worlds, between wellness and infirmity.
We have to be healed and cleansed in order to guide and heal others. Cerebral or mental Consciousness of this is not quite enough. We have to strive to walk this path daily with the required sense of purpose and keen vision. Our guides can teach us so much, but we walk the road alone. Healing may be for the community but it is also a solitary road. We must embrace the loneliness as much as we must enjoy communal living.
While working on my own deficiencies and striving to improve my character as well as my practice, I have been studying various books in addition to a deeper meditation work. One of the key books is Anodea Judith’s Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and The Chakra System As A Path To The Self. I hereby quote from a chapter titled Excess and Deficiency.
“In order to develop love – universal love, cosmic love, whatever you would like to call it – one must accept the whole situation of life as it is, both the light and the dark, the good and the bad.” – Chogyam Trungpa
“Excess in the heart chakra is not an excess in actual love, but an excessive use of love for our own needs. Excess occurs when we overcompensate for our own wounds. Since love, by nature, involves others, then others become victims in our drama of overcompensating. Excessive love is desperate in its need for constant assurance, and does not uphold another’s freedom to be who they are. It is love that is used like a drug, where the goal is to get high and remove ourselves from our responsibilities and unresolved pain. We are in excess when we use love to compensate for the incompleteness in ourselves, or when we use another to go where we cannot or will not go ourselves.
Excess – An Excessive fourth chakra has such a strong movement outward that very little can get in. This eventually depletes the core, which tries to replenish itself by connecting with others in the same excessive manner that caused the depletion.
Deficiency – Rigid boundaries keep the inside from coming out and the outside from coming in, resulting in isolation, which perpetuates deficiency.
By definition the heart chakra is about reaching beyond the self and connecting with others. Codependency expresses an excessive heart chakra, where the emphasis on the OTHER is out of balance. The compulsive need to fixate on others with excessive care taking and meddling is a behaviour that arises from our own denied need for such care. Codependency is not an act of love, but an obsession clothed in the guise of love.
An obsessive heart chakra can be demanding and possessive. It is passionately connected, but often blindly so. ”
There is so much illumination in these pages, but we have to stop here and contemplate, meditate on Self care and how to let go of our own compulsive behaviour that hurts us as well as others. We often do this without noticing. I am constantly reminding myself to be aware and to act accordingly.
The next post will focus on Healing The Heart Chakra. This is a topic that the author of this book deals with deftly on Chapter Four. She begins the theme of Healing / Restoring the Lotus, with the following words, which shall be the closing of this post:
“Love is the essence that heals. Patience, skill, training, and talent all play their part, but without love they are merely techniques. All wounds cry for the universal medicine of love. As the cosmic glue of the universe, love is the force that bridges the gaps that cut us asunder. In the gap between Heaven and Earth, love is the binding force that holds together the many-coloured steps of the rainbow Bridge.”
As we close this episode, I must state that, not since reading Ayi Kwei Armah’s books Two Thousand Seasons, The Healers and The Beautifull Ones Are Not Yet Born, have I been so moved by the written word. In the next episode we shall also explore just how words can both heal and harm.