Chakras Part 3 
Practices for the manipura (solar plexus) centre

The meaning of its name:’filled with jewels’, or ‘City of Jewels’.

Connect with this chakra and its energy through:
• its nature as the chakra associated with the Sun and the Fire element
• the chakra colour yellow (and with fire colours when attuning with the Fire element)
• the sense of sight; the sense organ: eyes
• the function of digestion and absorption at the physical, emotional and mental levels
• ‘work organ’: the feet and legs; keeping energy flowing; stopping emotional and mental energy from stagnating
• our lower, logical mind
• our self-image, our ego

Become more aware of its qualities in your being:
As the sun is the source of life in the solar system, so the Solar Plexus is the centre of vitality in physical and psychic bodies.
Fire: purifies, gives the life force for metabolism at every level
The life power of the Sun and the heat of Fire are catalysts for evolution
On the emotional level it digests the psychological food of our life
Emotions become balanced with self-awareness, giving a new sense of choice and control
On the level of the rational mind, it gives the ability to process thoughts and experiences providing:

• tools for organizing your sense of yourself – your ego
• the power to express ideas effectively
• your ability to organize your environment

On the level of consciousness, personal spiritual consciousness is awakening: in the evolutionary process, development of life in the Solar Plexus is leading towards enriching emotions, increasing sensitivity, growing capacity for sympathy with others, and the ability to choose the values we live by and our responses to life. Knowledge of who one is on the physical plane is needed when we go to higher states of consciousness, otherwise it is easy to become inflated.

Notice its behaviour characteristics and challenges
• The Sun, as the intellect, symbolizes an organizing ability and the power to command through clear rational organization (compare with the tendency of the Base centre to achieve its goals by using blunt force and of the Second Chakra to use antagonistic power).
• As the ego develops there is a desire to be valued and recognized.
• This may lead to over-assertiveness, exaggerating our importance, pride, and a preoccupation with our reputation and status.
• This easily tips into becoming manipulative, wanting others to conform to our concepts and plans, and trying to control others. Also, possessive love.
• In nature, fire can blaze out of control; in the human temperament with excess fire, anger can blaze out of control; it can consume the life-supporting subtle substances.
• Low solar plexus vitality can produce low self-image, insecurity, depression, a ‘victim mentality’, and acting like a ‘doormat’ – either temporarily or as a consistent pattern
• Dominating others and bullying is often a way used to conceal low self-image.
• The rational mind brings a different attitude to the collective eg playing and controlling stock markets instead of war.

Practices
1. The Element Purification Breaths, deepening awareness of the nature of Fire and its association with the Solar Plexus.
2. Breathe into the Solar Plexus. Feel, listen to, see, sense the quality of energy and life in your Solar Plexus. What is its life and energy contributing to your body, your mind, your heart, your soul? What is it ‘saying’ to you? Is it a disturbing vortex of energy, thoughts, feelings? Or is it contributing to harmony in your bodies? Sit with this breath for some time, letting your awareness rest in the breath and the centre, aware and unattached, just allowing any unfolding to be. Repeat this after different experiences, and at different times of day.
3. Breathe the colour yellow into your Solar Plexus, sensing what this contributes to the state of this centre and to all your centres. Let the colour yellow fill your aura. Relax in this experience and sense the effect it has.
4. Experience your Solar Plexus as the sun of your being. Visualize your ego as evolved so that it shines like the sun in the cosmos: balanced, with respect for self and others.
5. ‘Meditation in the Solar Plexus chakra can heal indigestion and all intestinal problems. Its warmth makes blood circulate better.’ You may choose to experience the benefit such meditation can bring to your physical body.

Zikr and wazaif
YA MU’IZZ: The Divine Being who gives Honour and Respect
ISHQ: The Divine Yearning
YA GHANIYY– YA MUGHNI: The One who clears the way, the Self-Sufficient – The Fulfiller of Needs, the Bestower of Wealth

Movement of the Second Zikr:
In kneeling position (or sitting in a chair if that is not possible)
– bow head to the ground surrendering to the One those attitudes, habits and patterns which may be keeping you competing with others, manipulative, insecure etc
– rise to the upright position (still kneeling), feeling you are being lifted, purified from the attitude, habit or pattern

Sound
In the Yogic sound sequence for chakras: chant ‘Ram’ (pronounced ‘Ramng’) in the Solar Plexus centre.
Murshid gave: ‘eh’ (Base chakra: ‘O’; Heart: ‘ah'; Throat: ‘oo'; Third Eye: ‘ee'; Crown: ‘mm’)

Questions and themes:
The following questions may be used to deepen your observation, understanding and choice; address them with interest, and respect for yourself, to uncover elements you may normally be less aware of, but steering clear of using them as a way of being self-critical.
1. Looking at my own life, what functions and qualities do I experience through my Solar Plexus?
Can I sense how its contribution to my life experience is different from that of my Base and Sacral centres?
2. How is my life different when my rational mind is functioning efficiently, and when it is doing its work less appropriately?
3. Are there objects in my life that my ego is attached to for its self-image and self-importance? (eg style of clothes, furniture, books, car, house, jobs and roles…. ) Note: these may be good and/or beautiful in themselves – it is whether the ego is attached to them that is the matter for research.
4. ‘What do people think of me?’ To what extent do I care what others think. Is anything different when I am in touch with the radiant sun of my personal being in my Solar Plexus?
5. Are there elements in my relationships in which I am seeking to be loved to satisfy my own need? Can you imagine what it feels like to love without attachment?
6. In everyday as well as major life situations, is there a tension between two inner ‘voices’: one of self-interest and the other of selfless service?
7. In everyday life, practise experiencing the other person as oneself, with their pain, limitations, suffering, joy, accomplishments.