Your hair is standing on end. You KNEW you shouldn’t have but you did anyway.  You had this feeling in your gut that something was just a little off but you brushed it aside and went ahead.  Your dream last night told you to change your mind but it was just a dream … Something was fishy.  Your head hurt,  your legs were twitchy,  you got chills,  you got butterflies (not the fun kind).  And then,  even though you thought through it and used all of your logic and blasted forth with your plan,  it ALL fell apart.  Maybe you lost some money.  Maybe all of your techie gadgets crashed.  Or worse,  maybe someone betrayed you or an accident befell you.  But you KNEW if you had only listened to that tiny voice or feeling in the background that ALL of this could have been avoided …

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This,  my friend,  is your intuition speaking to you.  We are guided by voices,  not in a crazy kind of way,  but by feelings,  sometimes dreams,  sometimes words/images in your head,  sometimes by the feeling in your GUT.  I think of our sixth sense as our higher self,  just a tiny bit ahead of us,  watching out for us as we head out the door or sign that big contract.  Our inner guidance,  sometimes just a teensy little thing,  sometimes a bully that rubs it in saying,  after the tragic circumstance befalls us,  “I told you so! Nanananabooboo!”

If you’ve been following along for the last month and a half,  I’ve been writing blogs about the chakras pretty much every week.  Chakras are energy centers of our subtle body,  not physical,  tangible anatomy but more of a spiritual/emotional anatomy.  I keep saying,  TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT or find it totally WHACK,  but you might find something in these blogs that brings more awareness.  If you’re an artist of any sort,  I want to give you a few practices to deepen your creativity + intuition,  and if you’re a non-artist aka fabulous human with other modes of creativity,  I hope that this blog provides the same: the ability to tune into our inner guidance for more clarity,  direction,  and faith in our “gut feelings.”

The Ajna or 6th chakra is seated right between the brows and a little upward,  at the level of what could be your third eye.  It is bathed in deep blue or indigo and rules the pituitary gland,  eyes,  head and the lower brain.  It is the home of our intuition,  imagination,  visualization.  It can also host clairvoyance,  lucid dreaming and telepathy in some lucky individuals.

Stained glass at Java Kai in Kauai

Stained glass at Java Kai in Kauai

Before technology,  we tuned into our senses and had a deep connection to the elements.  We knew the land,  we knew the weather.  We were more like animals: the birds know when tsunamis approach and the squirrels know when to gather food for winter.  But now,  we zone out to the boob tube,  to the youtube,  to the facebook and we let other people tell us what’s going on.

But have you had those moments where you felt that something was just off?  And if you only listened to that feeling,  you could have avoided tons of hassle?

Some people consider that the pineal gland could be our “third eye.”  It is a vestigial organ,  involved in the production of melatonin (a seretonin derived hormone) and is greatly affected by patterns of darkness and light which then affects our sleep patterns.  So if you think of it in terms of physiology,  since seretonin affects our sense of well-being and calmness,  when we tune into those feelings of “off-ness” or “on edge,”  we might be onto something.  Maybe we just need some zoloft or xanax,  but maybe it is the seat of our soul talking to us …

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If you are balanced in your 6th chakra,  you live an inspired life and you inspire others.  You are creative,  able to manifest what you visualize and make things happen,  create “somethings” out of nothing.  You make dreams become reality.  Even if it is as simple as waking up and saying “I’m going to leave my house and get a coffee” – this counts as making a dream come true because you got up and went and got a coffee.  That’s a tiny example.  A grander example would be dreaming of moving to London or dreaming of running an ultramarathon or dreaming of creating an opera and going forth and DOING those things.  You are manifesting what is in your “mind’s eye.”

An imbalanced 6th chakra includes a deep fear of change.  You may feel aimless,  unfocused,  unable to make the things you want to happen,  happen.  You don’t want any attention,  just want to follow the crowd and blend in,  not make a statement.  I think that this is all okay for a spell,  and we all move back and forth between knowing and unknowing,  doing and non-doing.  But if we hover too long in this fearful,  uncertain,  mistrusting place it might be time for some counseling or deep soul searching …

At last,  some things you can incorporate into your life to activate the Anja chakra!

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MEDITATION

There are incredible resources about meditation and myriad scientific studies exclaiming its benefits. Website LiveandDare.com sites 76 of them here.  Increased concentration/focus,  pain relief,  improves memory,  improves ability to cope with stressful events,  fosters creativity,  increased immunity,  reduced risk of heart disease & Alzheimers … the list goes on and on and on …

I do a simple form of meditation that aims to improve concentration called “breath counting.”  I try and do it every day for 10-15 minutes.  I use a super cool app called Insight Timer where you program the length of time you’d like to meditate and these lovely, realistic gong or chime sounds signal the start and end of your meditation.  Now,  you definitely DON’T need an app to meditate – it’s just a tool.  But a timer can be helpful.  If you do want to download insight timer,  do so here: www.insighttimer.com or look for it in your device’s app store.

Photo by Jon Hain Photography

Photo by Jon Hain Photography

Breath counting:  Find a comfortable seated position.  I sit cross legged propped up on a yoga block.  You could sit in a chair too.  So long as your spine is long and tall.  Close your eyes.  Start to bring your awareness to your breath.  We’ll be counting breath up to four cycles and then repeating.  Simply take your first inhale and as you exhale say to yourself “one.”  On your following inhale say “and” and then exhale “two.”  Inhale “and,”  Exhale “three.”  Inhale “and,” exhale “four.”  Inhale “and,”  exhale “one.”  Inhale “and,”  exhale “two,”  You get the point.  Eventually you might find yourself counting all the way up to thirteen or forty two because the MIND WANDERS.  When you notice that you aren’t counting or have gone wayyyyyy far away from number four,  gently bring it back,  reel it in,  and start back where you left off.  No need to call yourself “stupid” or feel like an asshole whatsoever because meditation is HARD and that’s why they call it “practice.”  You won’t drift off to Nirvana just yet.  Or find transcendental bliss just yet.  I have meditated,  according to my app,  since May 2012,  approximately 140 hours over 714 sessions that I’ve logged on and I still haven’t reached samadhi.  🙂 BUT I have kept my tendency to depression and anxiety mostly at bay,  been very productive and truly,  since 2012 it’s been an amazing ride.  Let me know how your first session goes!!!!! 

TRUST

When you listen to that still small voice of your intuition and it turns out to be a positive thing (say,  you had an inkling to go to a random park and you met your to-be husband for the first time,  or you had a feeling you would get that job way out of your bounds even though it seemed impossible but you GOT it) – every time a great scenario based on your “inkling” pans out groovy – write it down!  This will reinforce your intuitive sense,  your higher self,  and will help her to speak a little louder next time.

YOGA

Postures where your forehead meets the floor stimulate the 6th chakra.  Child’s pose / Balasana is something most everyone can do and it is very nurturing,  kind of like when you fell asleep on your desk in school.  Come to your hands and knees with a blanket under the knees or on plush, carpeted floor. Exhale slowly back bringing your hips towards your heels and your forehead towards the floor.  If your forehead doesn’t meet the floor,  put a pillow under it or stack your forearms and rest your head.  Same thing with hips to heels,  you can place a blanket or pillow underneath your bum on top of your calves and have a little extra comfort.  Focus on your breath,  smooth,  steady,  soothing and long.

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

If you feel so inclined,  comment on this post and let me know what your sixth sense feels like!  Also,  sharing is caring,  so if you like what you read,  please share!

Namaste and I am so grateful for your eyes and thoughts.  XXOO Mary