Understanding the Base or First Chakra
As Mary began to speak of her abusive childhood, her energy seemed to float up and out of her body, her voice became a monotone as she recited the horrific things she had experienced as a child and yet she smiled and laughed throughout her story. This did not match the seriousness of what she described nor did her laughter sound authentic, it matched her monotone. She spoke quickly and she fidgeted in her seat and moved with jerky motions, suddenly making eye contact or shifting in her chair. Just as suddenly she would sink into a reverie as the memories seemed to overwhelm her and it seemed as if she had disconnected from her body, her eyes staring vacantly into the room.
Mary had experienced multiple traumas from sexual abuse, she was thrown through the windshield of a car and had reconstructive surgery on her face, and she had been brutally abused by the father of her children. Her response to disconnect from the body is normal.
Disconnection from the body is a symptom of the first chakra being out of balance. The first chakra deals with survival and the right to be here. Being abused and experiencing trauma gives the message that it is not okay to be here, you have no right to your body or your reality.
Being disconnected to your first or base chakra creates a disconnect between it and all the rest of the chakras. A person will start to live in a more intellectual realm and ignore the earthy reality of living in a body. Mary’s energy would seem to float up and out of her head as she disconnected with her base chakra.
The first chakra corresponds to the first psychological and physical developmental stages. Erickson calls this the phase of trust vs mistrust and the task is to establish hope. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the physiological of breathing, food, water, etc.
- do I have fears of abandonment?
- are my needs for survival easily met?
- do I stand up for my beliefs and opinions?
- do I seem to live in a dream world?
Some exercises to help ground the first chakra and help reestablish the foundation to your life include grounding meditations, whole body relaxation meditation, going for a walk while concentrating on your feet pressing into the ground, and noticing what is around you, naming things you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.