Understanding How (and When) Your Chakras Developed
Our chakra system functions in layers. Similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the lower chakras must be properly developed and functioning in order for the higher chakras to develop correctly.
While activities to unblock and balance our chakra system may be beneficial overall, if the core of our chakra was improperly developed, then we will not be able to achieve the full mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of a healthy chakra system.
Unfortunately, our chakras were developing long before we were ever aware of their existence. From birth, our chakra system has been forming. If one chakra system developed poorly or out of alignment, then the rest do not cease to develop. Rather, they begin developing on a basis of already blocked energy.
The good news is that our chakra system is fluid and ever-growing. While they may have been forming on blocked energy, it is never too late to reform them and achieve optimum health. However, this is not a slow or simple process as it requires a deep look into our past development as well as the knowledge of how to heal these energetic wounds.
Timeline of Development
In the mid-1900s, renowned psychologist Erik Erikson identified stages of psychosocial development in his work, Childhood and Society. He described these eight developmental stages as challenges or “crises” which we are faced with at varying times throughout our life. How we come through those stages forms that aspect of our psyche.
Each stage builds upon the previous one, carrying the distortion of a failed challenge to the next stage, affecting how we are able to handle it, and thus, how our psyche forms.
The chakra system forms in just the same way and in a similar timeline. By looking at each of these life stages, we can see where our energy became blocked in that chakra and move toward healing and reforming that energy system.
Let us take a look at the timeline of development:
Root Chakra: Birth – 2 years old
This first stage of development focuses on the formation of our trust in the world. If our caregivers are consistent, attentive, and responsive, we develop a sense of basic trust. However, if they are inconsistent and neglectful, a basic mistrust is developed.
Our root chakra is the center of physical safety. This is the foundation of our entire chakra system, and, when we do not feel a sense of overall trust and security, all else in our life is distorted through a lens of fear.
This blockage is not easily cleared through simple mantras or chakra cleansing exercises. While we cannot choose our caregivers at such a young age, we can heal and acknowledge that aspect of our lives with deep inner work. As long as the energy in our root chakra is blocked from consistent negative experiences in our infancy, then any work done on additional chakras will not be as beneficial.
In order to begin this healing process, one may need to seek professional counsel and be willing to do some intense inner work. The seed of mistrust and fear has been running through you for your entire life, so be patient with yourself as you work through this blockage gradually and reform your root.
Sacral Chakra: 2 – 3 years old
The second stage of psychosocial development forms our sense of autonomy. During this age, we begin exploring the world around us, attempting to master a variety of challenges on our own, pushing bounds and building confidence. Our creative minds are at work and we begin testing out cause and effect while learning to use our body in conjunction with the world around us.
The safer we felt, the more creative we allowed ourselves to be. If our caregivers set healthy, consistent boundaries and allowed us to explore safely, we were able to develop a strong sense of autonomy on our foundation of security. On the other hand, if they smothered us or critiqued us every step of the way, then we developed shame for our creative efforts and learned that using our body was wrong.
Our sacral chakra houses our creative and sexual energy. It is the place where we carry our sense of confident autonomy, recognizing the power of our body and harnessing this power to achieve beautiful things. When malformed, this chakra holds a sense of shame, both emotionally and physically. We suppress our natural urge to use our body and feel as though we are unable to express ourselves in any creative manner for fear of critique.
In order to heal this energy center, we must first heal our root chakra and learn that it is safe for us to express ourselves physically and creatively. Slowly branching out in our endeavors and seeing the positive effects of allowing our sacral energy to flow brings about confidence and a greater sense of autonomy. Painting a picture, moving our body, applying creative energy to problem solving, and exploring our sexuality individually are examples of safe ways to begin healing our sacral energy.
Solar Plexus Chakra: 4 – 5 years old
The third stage of development pertains to our self-esteem. At this age, you began acknowledging your personal power. You felt strong emotions and could see the way these emotions affected those around you. You began recognizing that your actions and behaviors could evoke emotions from your caregivers, such as hitting or screaming. You realized that what you said could affect how others interacted with you. Ultimately, you began to see that you held power in the world.
If our caregivers encouraged our expressions in healthy manners (i.e. allowed us to share our thoughts safely, took our opinions into consideration, acknowledged our strong emotions as normal and natural), then we formed a healthy sense of confidence. On the other hand, if they punished us for standing up, dismissed our opinions, or shamed us for our actions, then we began to develop feelings of guilt for expressing ourselves. From this stemmed low self-esteem and weak initiative.
Our solar plexus chakra is the energy center of our will power and confidence. When it is malformed during this phase of life, we lack inner power and hold ourselves back from making choices and taking actions. It also may cause us to have a limited sense of self-awareness or distorted view of our talents. As we heal our root and sacral chakras, we feel more confident in using our power, allowing the energy to flow freely through our solar plexus.
Heart Chakra: 6 – 12 years old
The fourth stage of development occurs during what Sigmund Freud referred to as the “latency stage.” During this stage, our sexual development which occurred in the previous three stages (safety, sexuality, and confidence) takes a pause from active development and we begin to progress in our connections with the outside world. During this fourth phase, we work hard at being “good” and doing what is right. We learn sharing and connecting, and begin establishing our morals based on the cultural values around us.
If we feel we cannot fit in and ultimately are “unsuccessful” at this life challenge, then we wind up with feelings of not being good enough. We begin thinking thoughts like What is wrong with me? or I must be unlovable. As a protection method, we then turn towards self-sabotaging behaviors or self-absorbed behaviors. We shut down outside connections and protect ourselves from further ridicule.
Our heart chakra connects us to other people. It is the energy center which harnesses our ability to love and empathize with the world around us as well as allows us to be loved by others. When this center is malformed from the fourth stage of development, it leads to blocks which cause lack of empathy and fear of intimacy.
When we begin this stage with blockage or malformation of the root, sacral, and solar plexus chakras, we struggle to open our hearts fully and allow this energy center to develop and function at the optimum level. In order to heal and open our heart, we must recognize the connection to the first three chakras as well as allow ourselves to reconnect with the world. Only through this connection can the energy in our heart chakra flow unobstructed.
Throat Chakra: 13 – 19 years old
The fifth stage of development is best classified by the question, “Who am I?” In this stage, we struggle to identify who we are while remaining connected with our group identity. We seek to find our voice among peer pressure while conforming to the security of fitting in.
When we can successfully balance what Erikson called “role confusion,” we are able to develop a healthy sense of who we are and our place in the world. On the other hand, when we are unable to define ourselves and commit to our place in life, we hold ourselves and our psychosocial development back.
The throat chakra is the energy center of our communication. It governs our ability to express ourselves freely and confidently. In order for our throat chakra to function at optimal level, we need to know exactly who we are and feel safe in expressing our truths.
These five developmental stages and chakras are the base of who we are. When they are not formed properly, then we end up stagnant in our growth, unable to reach higher levels of self-awareness and consciousness.
Unless and until each of these chakras is healed and allowing the free flow of our energy, we cannot move into the additional stages of development which allow for deeper sense of intimacy, awareness of our connection to those around us as well as our connection to divine forces.
In order to access our third eye, crown, and higher chakras, we must first align our base five. Essentially, until we feel safe, secure, and confident in who we are and how we fit in with the world, we cannot successfully move further into our spiritual quest.
Looking for ways to make Chakra health a focus in your daily life?
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