My lower back gave out on Monday morning, after a weekend of yoga teacher training. Ironically, we covered the root chakra during one of the classes. Tragically, the night before my back gave out, more than fifty people were shot in Las Vegas in a horrific act of gun violence.
Our 1st chakra, the Muldahara, is also called our Root Chakra. It is associated with the color red, the color of blood. It is our support system, and our tribal chakra. The root chakra connects us to each other. When there is instability, or disease, in an individual, the wellbeing and health of all of us are compromised.
All week I’ve been thinking about the stability of the base and what it means to the individual and the whole. We may think that we are birthed into individuality, but if we hold on too tightly to this belief, we become estranged from all that binds us together.
Surrounding my house there are trees, and each day I walk in the town’s forests with my two dogs and walk amid more trees. There is perhaps no better analogy than a tree to describe the interdependence of life. Science has shown that beneath the ground, where the eye does not often travel, there is a complex network of communication that is shared among tress through their systems of roots. Nutrients and water are exchanged, and warning signals are released when pests and fire are near.
Life does not thrive in isolation. Nor does it thrive when fear, anger, greed and arrogance try to separate out the individual from the group. When a tree divides itself to form multiple trunks, their is an increased risk of collapse. Without a strong base of support, an individual trunk will often break off into decay.
Without strong roots the crown cannot grow toward the light.
What is true for the tree, is also true for us. How can we collectively evolve and thrive, if we keep striving for separation in favor of unity? In the aftermath of tragedy, individuals often come together in a collective empathy. After months have passed, though, a status quo of individuality often returns.
When my back gave out, I experienced the discomfort of having to rely upon others for support. The ego mind wanted to hold onto its illusion of individual strength, yet when I surrendered to the slow-time that came with acceptance, gratitude took its place. It became almost silly in my mind to think I might have wanted, or preferred, to stand alone. To support myself when there exists a network of support in the form of my tribal unity, or family, around me.
The air I breathe mingles with the air you breathe. Each inhale collects the breath of all life and brings it, for a moment, into the body before it is exhaled to rejoin the whole. The heart cannot beat without the shared breath of life. So why to we try to breathe alone?