Today is an absolutely beautiful day after a night full of rain. I took a ski charter to Hunter Mountain, and although their skiing will be slushy, their day will be sunny and bright. The Sun awakens us and makes us feel good.
My Gurdjieff teacher Donald Petacchi used to have an expression he got from his Native American friends, “May the Sun always rise in your heart.” He knew how to say it in sign language too.
His point was this: The Solar Plexus is a nerve braid just around the inverted “V” shape between our ribs. This area is where our formatory learning is shared: not the higher functioning brain (neo-cortex), but the first fundamental things that form our personality from ages 0-7. These things include beliefs, how to conduct the self socially, how to interact with other people notably our primary caregivers, how I see myself (self worthiness) and how I project this image out into the world. This is not an area of reason, but of associated groupings of memories, beliefs born of my response to an incident, superstitions of what works to win my way, and stuff like that. The Solar Plexus is the chakra of Will empowered by the desires and emotions of the Sacral chakra. Solar, Sol, and Soul all share the same root word that is another name for the Sun.
Between the Sacral and Solar chakras there are twinned aspects to process impressions that are reflected in the head brain in the form of the left and right brain. These twinned aspects of the mind are feeling and thought, emotion and intellect, intuition and reason.
Don’s teaching about the Solar Plexus being the formatory center, or area of first thought, is important, because when our personalities are formed as children, we have not attained the stage of maturity to sort out, or to reason with the impressions we receive. I think of the formatory center as being the place from which I am “programmed.” The subconscious holds on to every perception we receive, and there is a lot buried there, from which flow our dreams and patterns of reacting to life. This is important to self awareness, I believe, because from the subconscious arises material that our waking consciousness cannot encompass.
In Wheels of Light, author Rosalynn L. Bruyere notes that it is at this chakra that many people stop the flow of energy moving into the Heart Chakra. This blockage of energy moving upward causes the energy instead to move sideways to the left and get stuck in the area of the pancreas. Is it surprising that America has an epidemic of diabetes and heart disease?
When we instead allow the energy to move upward, the vortex of our Heart chakra can purify painful feelings and toxic emotions through the contact it holds with our spirit. Like the Sun calls seeds to life out of the fertile ground, and the rain that falls upon those seeds nutures their arising and well being, is the call upward from our Root through our Sacral toward the Solar and even beyond, to the higher love of the Heart.