Image by mohamed Hassan
As is demonstrated in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, our motivation as a species is driven first by our basic needs—the lowest-level of the pyramid. His theory states that one must satisfy lower level deficit needs before progressing on to meet higher-level growth needs.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid
A hundred years ago human consciousness was very self-centered, and poverty and lack were widespread (recognizing poverty and lack still exist today, but they are not as pervasive). Attitudes such as “each man for himself” and “it’s okay to climb over others to get what you want” were not only common but expected. Like the plot from so many old Western movies, “It’s either me or you, partner.”
Anodea Judith, psychotherapist and author of many books on the chakras, brilliantly superimposed the chakra system onto the development stages of a child as a way to characterize and quantify individual human development. (Eastern Body, Western Mind)
In that system, development progresses from the first chakra, which corresponds to time in the womb through our first year of existence, up to the seventh chakra, which equates to early adulthood and beyond. In her book The Global Heart Awakens, Anodea extrapolates her mapping of the relationship between chakras and the developmental stages of an individual to the developmental progress of humanity as a whole. She says:
We’re now at the threshold of the global heart, the era of planetary adulthood. We have been slowly emerging into the fourth chakra, with the advent of rational philosophy, human rights, women’s rights, democracy and a spiritual revolution that is moving beyond dogma toward compassion, higher wisdom, and personal connection with the divine. I argue, however, that we’re now suffering from a syndrome of arrested development in our journey to the heart. Parts of our collective psyche are moving forward, while other aspects remain trapped in the egoic third chakra’s love of power. --The Global Heart Awakens
Taking this perspective, it is obvious that we were still animated by lower chakra consciousness even a century ago, most notably the third chakra. The third chakra is the place of personal will and personal power. In an individual, this consciousness is driven by self-definition and the formation of the ego. It is naturally a self-centered focus as autonomy is sought. In this level of development, individual identity motivates decisions and reactions. Other themes of the third chakra include self-esteem, strength, energy, vitality, focus, discipline, freedom, and purpose. Enlarge and adapt this template now to the whole of humanity and you can see that we have been experimenting with asserting our will and power in all of its forms and expressions for centuries.
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From Cultural Adolescence Upward
While many agree that we are currently in our cultural adolescence, there is also clear evidence of higher chakra development in the realms of communication (fifth chakra), vision (sixth chakra), and spirituality (seventh chakra). Judith says it’s important to note that “in both individual and cultural development, the opening of a particular chakra does not mean that its development is completed in that phase. Often higher levels of realization are necessary in order to consolidate a previous chakra phase.”
This means that as an individual or society progresses or matures through the chakras (which you can also think of as levels of consciousness), progress is neither complete nor linear. We cycle back through these levels of development multiple times in our lives, revisiting aspects that were aborted, damaged, shut down, ignored, overemphasized, stuck, or otherwise unable to develop in a normal and healthy way. It’s actually a form of soul retrieval, essentially going back in time and collecting up the processes and parts of ourselves that were incomplete or got left behind so we can move forward in wholeness.
In looking at our collective stuckness in the third chakra, it would be easy to make the ego wrong. But if you look at the larger picture, taking into account the entire chakra system (whether applying it to an individual or society), each level creates a necessary foundation for the next. Lower chakra consciousness is not summarily “bad,” and likewise upper chakra consciousness is not summarily “good.” This is too simplistic a perspective.
Any chakra quality (like the ego) can be taken to an unhealthy extreme. All chakras functioning together in balance and harmony is the ideal. Each stage of development is necessary because the next level of consciousness is only made possible by the establishment of the previous level. Each chakra is integrated as one (or a collective) moves to higher levels of consciousness. Integrated, not vacated.
From the Love of Power to the Power of Love
Just as individuals can be highly mature and developed in one aspect (mental or intellectual, for example) and sorely stunted in another (emotional, for example), societies can be, too. And to complicate matters more, our level of consciousness and maturity changes from moment to moment and day to day. Just as humans can get triggered, regress, project, act out, deny, or go into addiction, so too can societies. But taken as a general average, humanity is at the fourth chakra level of development.
Anodea says that “our collective initiation from the love of power [third chakra] to the power of love [fourth chakra] is the drama of our time.” This is where empaths come in. We are a catalyzing force in humanity’s journey toward heart-centered consciousness. Morris Berman, author of Dark Ages America, says, “Love is the social equivalent of gravity.”
The period of ascension we are in now is creating somewhat of a pressure cooker as polarities are amplified, energies are intensifying, and the collective ego is fighting to maintain dominance in the face of the gravity of love. Our arrested development cannot maintain a stasis for much longer. As empaths, we are here to help humanity get unstuck.
The Empathic Gift of Being a Bullshit Detector
One of our gifts as empaths, if we develop it, is bullshit detection. This alone can be of tremendous help in navigating life and relationships. If you know how to listen to yourself, you can determine if someone is saying one thing but motivated otherwise.
Our nervous systems are finely tuned receivers, and we can identify the smallest aberration in a person’s integrity. It can help keep you safe and make prudent decisions in a world where authentic expression and conscious living are still in their infancy, provided you have retained (or redeveloped) the ability to hear yourself, trust yourself, and act upon your inner knowing.
While developmental progression through the chakras isn’t perfectly linear, humanity has just begun to move into fourth chakra consciousness. The era of the heart is upon us, and it is time to collectively mature out of our adolescence and into responsible adulthood.
As empaths, we are the forerunners, coming into this world with huge, open hearts, refined sensitivities, and a strong desire for harmony and cooperation. For many of us, I’m sure it feels like we are centuries premature. Considering the state of affairs in the majority of the world, our minds question whether the world is ready to move into the realm of the heart and increasing levels of consciousness. Yet here we are, our courageous souls imploring us onward.
Empaths were a rarity a century ago, and even fifty years ago they were still highly uncommon. For the first waves of empaths incarnating on this planet, make no mistake, it has been challenging. But at a soul level we chose this as part of our human mission. And more and more of us are dropping in every day.
We are a specific segment of the larger collective of souls who came here to anchor the new frequencies of consciousness on planet Earth. Those of us who came first did so in order to pave the way for the newly incoming souls and for the current souls choosing to “wake up.”
Don’t let outer appearances dissuade you. The time of the empath has arrived.
©2019 by Stephanie Red Feather. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpted with permission from The Evolutionary Empath.
Publisher: Bear and Co, a divn of Inner Traditions Intl
BearandCompanyBooks.com and InnerTraditions.com.
The Evolutionary Empath: A Practical Guide for Heart-Centered Consciousness
by Rev. Stephanie Red Feather
With this hands-on guide, Stephanie Red Feather provides empaths the tools they need to empower themselves and embrace their essential role in the next step of humanity’s evolution and ascension into the frequency of heart-centered consciousness. (Also available as a Kindle edition.)
About the Author
Rev. Stephanie Red Feather, Ph.D., is the founder and director of Blue Star Temple. An ordained shamanic minister, she holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and master’s and doctorate degrees in shamanic studies from Venus Rising University. She is also a mesa carrier in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition of Peru, having studied with Don Oscar Miro-Quesada and his lineage since 2005. Find out more about Stephanie at www.bluestartemple.org.