The spiritually educated usually understand that our bodies consist of energetic components which make up the etheric body and the chakra system. References to the chakra system date back thousands of years and incorporate wisdom from myriad cultures. While there is much information available about what each of these chakras do, how they govern our emotions, and how our emotions govern them, as well as how they affect our mental and physical health, many people are not aware of our tendency to live our lives primarily from the lower 3 chakras.

The chakra system can be thought of as a set of two energetic groups. The first, second and third chakra, or the muladhara (root), svadhistana (sacral), and Manipua (navel chakra), respectively, are all tied to how we live our lives in physical form. They are responsible for making sure we have enough to eat, a safe place to live, and relationships that are primarily physical in nature.

The second group of chakras: the anahata (heart), vishudha (throat or center of purification), ajna (third eye or pineal chakra), and sahasrara (crown chakra) are all called the “higher chakras.” These are the pathway to an existence beyond the physical, and one that is imbued with the transcendent, or spiritual.

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Once our energy evolves to these higher levels, we start to have more focus on our internal world, understanding that our “inside consciousness” creates the “outside world.”

As the medical intuitive, Caroline Myss likes to say, it is in these chakras that we stop looking at everyone, everything, and every place as the result of our unhappiness. It is only when we begin to look within – a process that doesn’t truly begin until we start to unlock energy in the heart chakra and above—that we stop living “below the waste.”

As her terminology suggests, “below the waste” consciousness is completely consumed with sexuality, power, self-acceptance vs self-judgement, blame, dominance, greed, pleasure, sensuality, will, and force.

The first three-chakras represent tribal programming – or what Joseph Campbell would call the tribal mind. Tribal programs or energies have an important place in our spiritual evolution, but we are not meant to get stuck there. The tribe tells us what to think, how to feel, and what risks we can take. The tribal mind doesn’t promote individualism, or true spirituality. It allows religion – but not a direct-connect with God. If you were to step outside your tribal beliefs, as Myss puts it, “you’d be shot on the spot.”

This is because first, second, and third chakra energy is meant to keep you “safe” from predators, and even yourself. Although we are used to thinking of predators in a tribal sense like hungry wolves hiding behind a bush, or ourselves, just like a gazelle grazing, without the faintest hint that a lion is ready to pounce upon it (or us), we can take these instances of needing tribal protection, and spin a larger metaphor.

The angry wolves we face today are different than those we might have faced as a primitive society, but they are still very much there.  Now, those wolves might represent the banking cabal, and the hungry tiger might represent friends or family members who suck all your “blood” energetically.

Though we need tribal protection for a time on our spiritual journey, we eventually learn that we can protect ourselves even when we step away from the tribe – and that this escape from group-think, though somewhat protective – also keeps us from exploring new lands. Again, to expand the metaphor – we cannot explore new states of consciousness if we are stuck in the tribal developmental stage.

If you aren’t sure whether you are still living below the belt – in other words – in the lower three chakras, here are ten clues that it might be time to start your journey of spiritual evolution to the next level of consciousness.

1. You identify strongly with groups.

This can be represented by the military, a nation-state alliance, political parties, religions or religious figures, fraternities or sororities, alma maters, familial bonds, social cliques (look at Facebook – it’s an enormous one, but still a tribal group), etc. It may be that you “outgrow” one tribe, and join another one – as has been the case with the New Age movement – but this is still a tribe. It does not promote individual, free-thought, or a one-to-one connection with the Divine. It asks you to have gurus, a satsang, or certain beliefs to belong to it, or even to subscribe to certain self-proclaimed mystics — even though the beliefs held by the new tribe may be different than the ones you grew up with. Once you evolve out of the lower three chakras, you will no longer need any group or organized religion to experience God.

2. You fear having original thoughts

If someone asks, “what do you think?” you consciously or subconsciously run your answer through all the people who are close to you, and some who are not even alive any more, to determine if what you “think and feel” is appropriate. If what you think of feel differs from the accepted norm, you are highly likely to just reiterate the status quo, even when you believe you are acting/thinking/feeling from your own personal “self.” This reactive state is your most common state, and plays out through your job, your friends, where you live, and how you live.

3. You allow others to tell you how to think and what to think.

You don’t question the rhetoric of the day. All propaganda or thought systems are accepted at face value. You don’t question any “authorities,” scientific bodies, religious systems, or your friends and families’ beliefs to check to see if they are truth – not subjectively true, but TRUTH as in immutable, and universally correct. You’ve done this for so long, if you’re accepted truths are criticized or challenged, you become afraid and withdraw, or lash out in anger.

4. Your allegiance to a group is mindless, and rarely based on the group’s merits or meritocracy.

You do not question the moral or social authority of any group you are associated with. There are too many examples to name, but current glaring examples are the Catholic Church, and both political parties in the US.

5. You trade time for money and money for time.

The lower three chakras cannot operate in anything but a 3-D reality. They cannot experience time-warps, wormholes, clairvoyance (which ignores time and space), or out of body experiences. The only way to gain power in the lower three chakras is by trading time and money with others. It is only when you get into the higher levels of consciousness (above the belt) that you can start bending these laws to your favor.

6. Your self-worth is based entirely on what you can “earn” from the tribe.

This can be accolades, university degrees, certifications, money, attention, trophies, honors, etc.

7. You tie sexual power to the amount of money you earn.

This is evident in the fact that any man or woman, no matter how physically attractive, will become infinitely more attractive to others when they have a high net worth. Conversely, those who are financially bankrupt, do not have enough power to emit a wide sexual net. You also link your own worth with the level of sexual attractiveness which you think you hold. This becomes an endless loop of concentrating only on the physical form, and ignoring our spiritual destiny. The fact that sexual dysfunction is so rampant in our society right now, is a reflection of our current consciousness, which is still very much tied to the lower three chakras.

8. You believe that you have no right to “be,” without the tribe’s blessings.

In the higher chakras, less emphasis is placed on what you “do” and more on how you “be.” This is where the eastern concept of wu wei comes in. By tapping into strong, spiritual energy available by opening the higher chakras, you can get more accomplished with less because you finally understand that everything “out there” is ALWAYS a result of your current consciousness. Because you understand this immutable truth, you spend more time in consciousness meditation, and less in “action,” — and ironically get more accomplished with less external effort.

9. You’ve chosen your romantic partners, career, when to have children or not to have children, where you live, or whom you are friends with based on the acceptance of your family, society, and peers.

This one needs no further explanation.

10. You feel it is selfish to take care of your own spiritual needs.

The tribe doesn’t like it if you go on a spiritual retreat. You can’t show up at your job and tell your boss you’re having a spiritual crisis, and need to take a few days off to pray and meditate. Our society promotes only endless, often useless, activity, because this keeps us in our lower three chakras. When you finally start asking yourself when it is time to stop taking care of everyone else, and start taking care of your spiritual self, and truly follow through with your own personal, spiritual rituals – be they mantra, meditation, yoga, prayer, contemplation, or whatever – you’ll know you’re headed into a consciousness which is operating “above the belt.”

In Closing

If you can start to venture away from the tribe (living in the lower three chakras), it may be scary, but you then don’t have to evolve at the same pace of the tribe, anymore either. You are free to start living in greater alignment with the Divine – which is where we are all headed anyhow.

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