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The energy in your body is carried through a network of connective tissue or 'fascia', in a way that's directed by your thoughts and feelings. There are seven main points in the body where the fascia joins together in thick horizontal bands forming a high-concentration of energy. These points are known as 'chakras' and are numbered from one to seven starting at the base of the spine and continuing up to the top of the head.
"Archetypally the word tribal connotes a group identity, group force,
group willpower, and group belief patterns."
She says that all of these meanings make up the energy content of our first chakra. Located at the base of the spine, it's more commonly known as the Root or Base Chakra and the Sanskrit name is 'Muladhara' meaning 'root support'. In this post we'll be considering this energy centre within Myss' context, and I'll be offering a few things you can do to tap into your own energy to identify the 'tribal' factors that are influencing your life.
As suggested by the Sanskrit name, the first chakra represents our connection to Earth, our foundations or 'roots' and our sense of groundedness. On the physical level, it is connected to the bones, feet, legs, rectum, spinal column and immune system and is located at the coccyx, the base of the spine. Just as a tree's roots need to be firmly anchored into the soil to support it, this chakra provides the foundation for the other main energy centres which are located above.
The energy connected with the Muladhara relates to the beliefs we were raised with, and the sense of identity we have gained from being a part of our family. It's very much linked to the way our personal identity and self-perception were formed during childhood. Being part of a family is what gave us an understanding of our place - not only amongst the other family members but also within the community. It's how we formed our moral code, had our expectations set and managed, and where our behaviour was guided in accordance with the group rules. Our sense of belonging, and the things we are taught as part of 'group belief patterns' shape our understanding of everything - from when we should brush our teeth, to how we speak to others, and whether or not we believe in a God.
It's not only our early experiences that are connected with this chakra - it is also the energetic link with anything we feel we 'belong' to now - encompassing nationality, culture, race, religion, sexuality, and so on. Our identification with any type of 'tribe' or 'group' is connected to this chakra and putting energy into these groups (energetically 'financing' them, to use Myss' words) often feels quite tangible. In an interview with the BBC, before the World Cup Semi-final match, England Coach Gareth Southgate said:
"Our country has been through some difficult moments recently, in terms of its unity and I think sport has the power to do that, and football in particular has the power to do that. So for us, we can feel the energy, and we can feel the support from home and it's a very special feeling, it's a privilege for us."
The squad could feel the energy and support of their 'tribe' back home. I don't doubt that at all. I live in England, but I'm Welsh and don't particularly like football, yet I've still been completely caught up in the incredible collective energy around this tournament and I've seen it drawing people together. It was exactly what the country needed with a Government in chaos and over half of us facing the prospect of leaving the European Union 'tribe' without voting to do so.
So let's look at what happens when things go wrong in our tribes, or when the group thinking doesn't match our own. The quote from Caroline Myss at the beginning of this post, included 'group willpower' and 'force' as energies related to this chakra. These words suggest a level of influence or power over us that might not always feel so good. What happens if we don't quite fitin or when we want something different to the majority, or the way things are?
Throughout her work, Myss talks about one person's rate of personal evolution being directly linked to the rate of evolution of the groups that they are plugged into. In other words, if the group isn't moving in the same direction or at the same speed as you'd like to, you'll be held back in line with them. Group consciousness has a huge impact on your level of personal authority and autonomy - the more deeply connected you are to a group, the bigger influence it will have over every aspect of your life. It's not always a comfortable fit.
Many people struggle to fit in, and don't feel they truly belong in their families, at school, or in other group settings. From a young age, we are all aware of the risk of being excluded, and the challenges of leaving a group of our own accord. We are conditioned to worry about what 'They' will think, or say. How we will be judged, and what will happen if we don't appear to fit in. We see this in all walks of life from the playground to Government (although some might say those two are not so very different).
A key concept in Myss' work is that "your biography becomes your biology" which means that anything that happens to you, and whatever you're plugged into, will have an effect on your consciousness, your sense of wellbeing and ultimately, your physical health. Myss explains that "the process of spiritual development challenges us to retain the tribal influences that are positive and to discard those that are not."Indeed, for many people this is a huge challenge. The decision to follow one's own path, or to remain part of a family or group where it may be necessary to be inauthentic to fit in, can be a huge burden and the cause of much suffering. Perhaps you can think of an example of this from your own life, I know I can!
Having said all of this, the majority of people are oblivious to the fact that they're 'energetically financing' so many different tribes and groups, and just how much of their energy is being used (or drained) in this way. If you're reading this, I'll assume that you are ready to bring more awareness to this and how it plays out in your own life. Myss says:
"Our spiritual power grows when we are able to see beyond the contradictions inherent in tribal teachings and pursue a deeper level of truth. Each time we make a shift towards symbolic awareness, we positively influence our energy and biological systems. We also contribute positive energy to the collective body of life - the global tribe."
With this in mind, the following steps are intended to bring your awareness to the ways you're connecting to different groups, how they make you feel and where necessary, what you can do to manage or withdraw your energetic investment. You'll need a pen and paper or even better, write it in a journal so you can come back to it again in a few months and see your progress and what's changed.
EVALUATING YOUR TRIBAL "INVESTMENTS"
Step 1. Make a list of the different groups or 'tribes' you belong to. This should include your family of origin, the immediate "family" you live with (e.g. your spouse, kids, or housemates), your in-laws, the local community, your school, church, friendship groups, book club, football team, knitting circle, and any other communities you're part of.
Step 2. If you haven't already done so, add online communities, Facebook groups, What'sApp chat groups, and any newspapers or other media you regularly consume. If you subscribe to or have a membership of anything else, add it to the list. You may be surprised to see how many 'groups' you have an energetic connection to!
Step 3. Take a few minutes to think about each of the groups you have listed. How do you feel about them? Are they in alignment with the direction you want to be moving in? Do you get any sensations in your body when you think about your connection to them? If so, is it a positive feeling? Where do you feel it?
Step 4. Go back through the list and mark any groups you don't feel particularly aligned with, or any which leave you feeling drained. Make a note about why you feel this way. What could you do to feel better about this connection? Do you need to change something, or would it be more appropriate to draw back your energy, or to stop 'plugging in' altogether?
Step 5. Next, consider the groups or communities that make you feel great and that are a worthwhile investment of your energetic resources. What do you enjoy about these? What do you get from them and how are you able to contribute in return? When you think about them, which part of your body is activated? What can you do to feel more of this?
It might take you some time to work through the list, and like all exercises, you'll get out what you put in. As you go about the rest of your week, you might realise that you missed some things off the list. That's fine, you can add them as they come up and work through the steps at your own pace. When you've done so, you should have a much clearer picture of your first chakra connections.