CHAPTER 4: Matters of the Heart

Fourth Chakra


Mantra: “Yam”

Colour: Dark Green

 Element: Air

Foods: Kale, Chard, broccoli – all green leafy vegetables

Scent: Tree scents such as pine or cedar, and rose oil, Melissa and neroli.

Imbalances indicated by:

  • Lack of self discipline
  • Difficulty in relationships
  • An attempt to live vicariously through another
  • Dependence on someone else for your happiness



The heart is not only the physical center of our aliveness, but it is also a central area of communication for our bodies. Eighty percent of the signals that affect and activate the heart’s actions travel from the heart to the brain and not the other way around.  Compassion is the ultimate expression of heart energy.

Every seven minutes, someone dies from a heart attack in Canada(1).  Heart disease represents the cause of death for more than 29% of the population.  In a world and culture where we are inundated with daily news of war, political and economic unrest, divorce, family violence, addiction and suicide – the heart is at the center of these matters. Love and the way we express love through compassion, joy, creativity, empathy, kindness, patience is related to how connected we are with the energy of this fourth chakra center.

It is clear that the daunting problems affecting our world could be brought back into balance through a worldwide focus on compassion, love and understanding.  This has been the message of our greatest teachers. However, this process can only begin when individuals look at the center of the heart within the context of their own lives.  This focus can then spread outwards into our families, communities and eventually into the manner in which we are making decisions on a global level.

Our decisions currently and historically have reflected only self interest – interest in our personal individual well being, the well being of our own religions, or philosophical ways of looking at things.  It has been like this since we existed as tribal cultures and only knew how to manage basic brutal survival on this earth. Today, we have the benefit of our history to show us that clearly, this “tribal” instinct must be done away with. The heart shows us we are intricately connected with one another.  The most effective way to connect to this energy is by individually focusing on the matters within ourselves that have affected our ability to express love and compassion on a grander scale. The matters that block our own hearts, such as resentment, anger, jealousy, guilt and fear must be faced and brought into perspective.

Someone once described to me the heart in a very interesting way: they said it was like a beautiful thing that radiated light, but that it had a type of “ethereal net” covering it and that when we had issues in our lives like anger, jealousy, guilt, and fear – they became “stuck” in the net like little packets of darkness which block the light in our hearts from shining outwards.  People that do not deal with these “packets of dark” (meaning simply to become aware of) become afflicted with addiction and anger issues which will cause a variety of physical and mental health issues.  The Heart is the center of joyful living.  Taking time for personal therapy of some form to help you shine the light of awareness of these issues is critically important in helping to clear out the things that block your heart.

As from within – so it is without…

Nothing can happen outside of yourself that you cannot do within yourself. In the world of horse training, we often say that we cannot do something in the saddle with a horse until we know it can do what we are asking from the ground. It all begins with us and the basics self-love expressing outwards. . In other words, if you cannot express love and compassion, patience and understanding to yourself, you will not be effective in doing that in your relationships, your work or any portion of your exterior life.  Simply put, the more you can realize and make choices with love for yourself, the better able will you be to express it to others.  Taking time with animals, in nature any time – is a great and effective way to bring this intention into your life.



Secretariat’s heart was about two and three quarters the times larger than a normal horse’s heart when it weighed in at about 22 pounds at his necropsy.  Eclipse, necropsied in 1798, was the first extraordinary thoroughbred racer to be credited with a huge heart, weighing in at 14 pounds.  Sham, another great winner, was also endowed with a big heart.  In horse-folk circles, if we say “that horse has heart” – that horse has a good work ethic; he is selfless and giving with his cooperation.  He is compassionate and connected.

The heart can be fed – like a great hungry stomach – with beauty, passion, creativity, food, prayer.  When the heart opens, you feel it, like a warm radiating flood of light coming out from the middle of you.

In the chakras, the heart is the place where heaven meets earth.  If you have ever been in love, you understand this feeling; a place where time doesn’t exist and everything feels in balance, easy, exciting and connected.

Connecting to the heart is something that we must do consciously and intentionally. Awareness, acceptance and fearless willingness are the keys to opening the heart.  North American culture does not  exactly teach us to strive for self love and acceptance.  We are critical and hard on ourselves, always looking to achieve something that is temporary, materialistic and fleeting. The heart urges us to settle into something that is unchanging and rooted in deep truth within ourselves.  No one can tell us this truth or teach it to us – It has to come from inside.

Teaching our children to “listen to their hearts”, as my mother often told me when faced with big choices, is a great gift. Teaching them to be kind to themselves, to stand in awe of the miracle that they are and then to take that sense of amazement and cascade it outwards in every interaction they have in their lives, is the ultimate gift and teaching we can give our children.  This can only be taught if we ourselves practice its principles.


You have nothing to learn. You don’t need to know anything more or new from a fancy book.  You don’t need to be a different version of you.  You just need to listen to your heart and be yourself. Meditation and quiet time in nature can be very helpful in quieting your mind long enough to allow you to hear what you already know.

Belief and Knowing are different.  Belief is based on an opinion, judgment – a conclusion you have made in your thoughts and rational mind. It is a “head” understanding.  “Knowing” –  is something that comes from beyond thought – from your heart.  They say “the longest journey” is the eighteen inches between the head and the heart.  The knowing of the heart feels certain and unbiased. It is a type of instinctive understanding – a feeling.

Love yourself unconditionally – is the message of the heart chakra.  Ultimately you will find that as this love becomes real for you (not just as a thought – but as a knowing in your heart) it will fall out of you and into your life, then into your community, into your country and the world will have a chance to be healed, one heart at a time.  This is the message of all the great teachers who have come before us, and maybe now, we are finally becoming ready to hear it.


(1)    Statistics Canada 2011


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