The Hara: Center of Being
Learning to open and close the hara protects highly sensitive empathic people.
"Hara" is an Asian term that refers to the mid-section of the body, generally behind the belly button. This is said to be the intersection of mind and body, and the seat of all intuitive or "gut" knowings. In all people, the hara acts like an invisible umbilical cord. It reaches out to the universe the way the physical umbilical used to reach out to our mother’s womb. The hara receives information about the physical and non-physical realms. It also senses emotions and can perceive the leftover emotions from stress that are left behind at an accident scene, for instance.
Extreme reactions from the hara will give symptoms of nausea and even a lower backache in the presence of very dark emotions or energies. A person can feel "punched in the stomach" drained and fatigued when exposed to large doses of stress or strong emotions.
For some people, the hara is the primary source of information about the world. These people would be called empathic. An empath is a person who can sense the emotions of others without even trying. They are like sponges who soak everything in. If there is no awareness of their condition, and no ability to squeeze the sponge out, then they may find themselves drawn to extreme behaviors as a default way of dumping excessive baggage.
So, what can an empath do? First, they must gain awareness of their state. Second, empaths have to learn to close down the hara, and only open it on purpose. One way to close the hara is to put your hands over your belly button while imagining that you are rolling up the invisible umbilical cord. Then you tuck it in behind your hands, inside your body. At this point, some people like to imagine they are zipping up the front of the aura and closing the aura off from the world.
Once you are practiced at putting the hara away, you can practice bringing it out on purpose. Imagine someone or an animal or special tree or something that you like and feel safe with, then you throw your hara out towards that person, place or animal. You imagine fully embracing them with the hara, like a warm hug. When you are done, you tuck the hara back in again. Unless you think about it, the hara will default to being open.
When you have more practice, you can check in with someone by using the hara on purpose. You can also close the hara off from co-workers or people who feel draining. If you find yourself in a stressful situation or even in an environment where an accident or trauma occurred in the past, you can quickly cover the hara and limit the amount of feeling you will absorb. Conversely, if you are in the healing arts, you can unroll the hara in the presence of a client who needs understanding, then roll it up when you are done.
Sharon Morelli is a shamanic counselor who has practiced healing and teaching arts for 15 years. She currently works with horses as facilitators for fundamental shifting of consciousness and lives in Westminster, VT. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.