Pillar one: Conscience.

The first pillar is our conscience, which holds our early and/or recent lessons about what we ought, should, and/or must do each day. Located in the xiphoid process, if this pillar is too open, we can become guilt ridden, overly defensive and rationalize excessively. If blocked, we may lose access to our emotional life and/or fail to develop any conscience at all. Cartoonists picture this first pillar as an angel whispering what we should do in one ear and a devil in the other.

Conscience exercise:

Notice each ought, should and must that pops up in your brain. Then notice how you feel about those suggestions. Which ones hinder your ability to relax or relate…. Or inhibit your ability to enjoy yourself and your life? Determine which ought, should and/or must is no longer valid and needs to be laid to rest. Then put them on an extinction plan by ignoring any mental habit that creates guilt and/or shame that does not serve you.

Pillar two: Attachment.

The second pillar is our connectedness to others, possessions, and the planet. Located just above the xiphoid process, this is the epicenter of attachment, deep caring, and the willingness to put ourselves out for someone else. If this pillar is too open, over-attachments to others, possessions and/or principles can occur. This may leave little energy that remains for yourself to truly understand how to meet and balance your heart requirements. If blocked, our heart can close and reject human attachment.

Attachment questions:

Review what you need, crave, love, or possess. Do you only care about material objects, like your car or house? What do possessions mean to you? Do you need people or care about principles? Do your relationships with others, participation in the world, and/or perception of the ideal way to live life matter to you? Does what you need, crave, love, and possess comfort you or cause anxiety?

Attachment exercise:

Some say the only attachments we need spiritually is a deep attachment to our soul and the divine. All material possessions and our human relationships are temporary in nature and therefore an illusion to see beyond compared to our soul’s eternal life. After thinking things over, what do you want to attach to now? What do you need to let go?  Can you expand beyond these attachments, love responsibly, and let go of your illusions simultaneously?

Pillar three: Heart Chakra.

The third pillar is our will to live well and love. Located in the center of our breastbone, herein lies our life force and the driving force to enhance and/or enjoy life. Once we learn about life, personally grow, and discover our divine origins, we can return to the divine and our spiritual home. If our will to live and love is too open, we can become impulsive and clueless. If blocked, we can fear life and our will to live, and love may weaken.

Heart Chakra questions:

What part of you is open, curious, and joyful about exploring your next adventure? Or have you given up, shut down, and don’t want to know how to live life fully? Is there a part of you more comfortable swimming in circles in a small fishbowl rather making a beeline towards your dream in an ocean of unlimited possibility?

Heart Chakra exercise:

Open you heart chakra to your next teaching, shift through your life lessons for kernels of truth. Patiently modify your definitions of a life well lived and let love awaken your heart to every possibility that enflames your passion to live fully. Let the fire of your will power burn away any fear, every inhibition and archaic pattern that limits the expansion of love in your live.

Pillar four: Forgiveness.

The fourth pillar is about forgiveness and letting divine light shine within. Forgiveness is an incredible blessing, both for the extender and receiver. Tightness and vengeance live on the flip side, which inhibits our ability to flow or let go. The need to get even or withhold blocks the true nature of love. If this pillar is too open, we can become overly forgiving and accepting, while damage continues to be inflicted upon us. If closed, vengeance, righteous indignation, and every war stems from this place.

Forgiveness question:

Do you carry grudges? The exercise below can help release payback burdens and enhance forgiveness.

Forgiveness exercise:

Focus upon the person in your life that currently gives you the most difficulty. They can be living or dead. What is their most irritating quality? What did you need from that individual? Did you love them? What happened that made you so mad? Name the core injury you endured? Is there a part of yourself that also injuries yourself in a similar fashion? Now forgive yourself for anything that you have said or done to this person. “I forgive myself for…and hold your awareness for thirty seconds. Ask for divine assistance and forgiveness…and hold your intention for thirty seconds.

Now, forgive the individual troubling you for what they said and did to you. Send love to them, pray for them, and bless them. Now pray and bless yourself for trying to forgive. Forgive yourself for any self-destructive behaviors or negative self-talk. Then ask for divine forgiveness. Pray for yourself and set the intention to become the forgiving person you want to become going forward.

Pillar five: Compassion.

The fifth pillar is compassion, the will to live and equilibrium. A flowing, compassionate heart will cause others to open up to you like a flower. Looking for relief, people will want to tell you about their troubles. Located between the horseshoe (hyoid) bone in our neck and our nipples, we can become a people pleaser if our fifth pillar is too open and hard-hearted if closed.

Compassion questions:

Do you give too much and feel people suck you dry? Do you struggle balancing your needs with the needs of others? Are you conditioned to give to others primarily and need to learn how to have an egalitarian give and take relationship with friends, family, and lovers? Have you closed your heart because you fear more suffering or being sucked dry? Then, try the following exercise.

Compassion exercise:

Feel your compassion, let it breathe in and out freely for everyone in your life…friends, family, intimates, and especially, yourself. Let your sweet compassion flow and taste its humor as your soul smiles with you. Now focus all your compassion on yourself. Watch it lovingly embrace your quirks, foibles, pet peeves, and secret habits. Now consider the core intent of everything you do, or what anyone else does for that matter…has only one purpose and one purpose only.

All behavior at its core intent is designed to bring more love, joy, and happiness into our lives. Unfortunately, the strategies humanity and we employ are limited to the wisdom and consciousness we held at the time of our original intention. Now, offer compassion for all your misguided attempts, behaviors, and habits that have not worked out and are still unsuccessful. Wash your judgment of your and other’s mistakes away with love and compassion.

When we make a mistake, all we need to do is go back to our original positive intention and make a new plan. Punishment and judgment just create more suffering and slow down learning. Now apply this compassion exercise to someone you judge. Imagine the most positive core intention they may have had to bring more love, joy, and happiness into their lives that created the problem you judge. Then experience the compassion you offered others soften your heart.

Pillar six: Spiritual Growth

As compassion blossoms, a passion for higher spiritual levels grows. This is when our heart embraces spiritual growth with reckless abandon. Located just below the horseshoe shaped (hyoid) bone in the front of the neck, the sixth pillar arrives when true love knocks on the door. This is same love we experience with the divine, but now we feel it towards others around us.

When this pillar is too open, a tendency to only see things from a spiritual level or higher perspective can increase a tendency to ignore human suffering in self and others. Spirituality run amuck in this way can trigger airy-fairy comments from the general population. If closed or blocked, fear ensues, and spiritual possibilities are rejected. A tendency to only see the human side of life flourish.

Spiritual Growth questions:

How expansive is your spiritual opening and soul connection? What’s it like to feel your divine origins? Are you spending too much time in the divine realms, neglecting to create on earth and/or don’t know how to manifest your dreams? Or do you only focus on the practical here and now aspect of life, while ignoring your spiritual side?

Spiritual Growth exercise:

Anchoring your passion or a dream in the physical world is accomplished by synchronizing your mind, heart, and behavior into a stable unity, like a three-legged stool.[1] Mental focus, emotional desire, and dedicated action, when grounded with awareness and integrity create the opportunity to materialize our wants and needs. Before beginning this self-guided personal discovery session, center yourself and set your intentions. The task ahead is about discovering how to unify your mental, emotional, and behavioral “legs” into a stable, sound stool able to launch your desire. Illusions block dreams, so do your best to find which leg is destabilizing your desire during this dialogue. Check your list for shreds of oughts, should and/or ought not attachments that bind and/or smack of willfulness and ego.

You can start by integrating the mental, emotional, and behavioral aspects of your personality and developing more internal consistency. Once our three-legged stool is balanced, we can attract our heart’s desire and actualize dreams. Intellectual integrity, emotional honesty and dedicated action are essential elements to create unity, which activates our soul and divinity on earth. Focus your mental energy like a laser beam, build your heartfelt passion and intention for a new start on life and/or a greater spiritual dedication to your soul’s higher calling. Then polish your prayer by letting your illusions go. Then go hang out with the divine and all of divinity trusting that goals designed for highest good will be supported by the universe.

[1] Eric Ehrke, The Promise of Wholeness, (Rowman and Littlefield Press, 2019), pp 167-168.

Pillar seven: Service

The more we hang out with the divine and truly begin to embody our soul, service to the world becomes a very compelling higher purpose. Located just above the (hyoid) bone in the bottom of the neck that forms a horseshoe shape, when flowing properly the service aspect of our heart chakra becomes our supreme purpose of this lifetime. If this pillar is open too wide, we may rush in and push to serve when neither is needed or welcome. If blocked, all of our behavior is self-serving. As such, we may become oblivious to any opportunity to help others. Twisted service energy also produces martyrs, who give service but complain about it. Begrudged giving damages everyone around the activity.

Service questions:

What kinds of service opportunities are opening up in your life right now? Where are you making the effort to give to life and those around you? How would you describe your service energy and what does it feel like? What new areas of service possibilities are starting to expand within you?

Service exercise:

Ask to experience the very highest service energy within yourself that your can offer. A useful mantra for advanced service surrender on your spiritual journey, is the following, “I will to will…Thy will.” From that intent, send it to the divine and rededicate yourself accordingly. Then let the seeds of service begin to sprout within you because it is your joy to do so.