The hara is the energetic point of balance in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life. The word literally means “cultivation of life” or “vital center”. It is located two fingers below our navel. To enter in contact with this center means to do so with the deep being that exists in us, with all its problems or its realizations, its pains or its joys. In Japan, it is said that “everything is born from HARA and everything returns to HARA“.
In Eastern cultures have spent years cultivating this energy point through martial arts, meditation, therapies, art (music, painting …) and even when working, everything is done from the consciousness of the Hara, as we create root in our environment from our feet to the navel and from the navel to the head, to unite with the Earth and the sky, is our umbilical cord with our environment feeding us with the universal energy.
Karlfried Graf, in the book “Hara: the vital center” describes that human beings are suspended between the archetypal poles of heaven and earth, space and time, masculine and feminine. These poles attract us from their positions: the sky propels us towards higher ideals and communion with the spirit; the Earth helps us to establish ourselves as beings.
We, human beings create this duality to establish serenity and center, if for some reason the energy is more in the sky or on Earth, that is where our tests in life arise to really connect with our essence, without being so much in the mind or lost in the emotional or hooked in patterns.
By becoming aware of the Hara, we integrate our dualities from our authentic center, source of health and vitality. If a person acts from the Hara, he moves effortlessly through life, he is sustained by both earthly and spiritual life. To reach the Hara is to reach the roots of being, it is to return to the source: to find oneself.
One way to develop awareness of this energy point is to breathe deeply into the abdomen, if we realize that we breathe more at the top, we are over stimulating the rib cage and the heart center, that is to say that a person who breathes superficially will be more insecure, nervous, emotions are out of control creating much instability, so deep breathing and other exercises to work help you connect with your center and vitality.
“The more connected you are in your Hara, the less fear you will feel of life and death, because this is the center of life and death. Once you are in tune with the Hara center you can live courageously. Courage comes from there: less thoughts, more silence, less uncontrolled moments, natural discipline, courage and rootedness. It is a rooting.” Osho.
In the trainings of the School, we take into account the work from the Hara, in the Californian massage the therapist is in movement, that is to say, we work with our whole body. The movement arises from the Hara, it does not begin in the hands or arms, but from our Hara, giving amplitude to the movements, and consequently, moving much more energy.
The movements we perform are intended to move the blocked energy and for this the therapist needs to be well grounded to be able to use his power and transmit security. One of the many mistakes of conventional massages is that the masseur is not aware of his center and posture, he performs the movements from his hands or arms, either applying his strength and carrying all the weight on his lower back, thus developing musculoskeletal pathologies; in this way, the work is not effective either because the client’s body tends to contract before the force and only works at a superficial level. One of the fundamental differences lies in the fact that in this type of massage, when we put the force from the “hara”, we are using our life energy and the client’s body recognizes that this force is not intrusive – as in conventional massages – and we will feel through his breathing the permission to enter much deeper.
In Californian Esalen massage the goal is to know the person spiritually, physically and emotionally, so the knowledge goes beyond the mere anatomical-physiological understanding of the human body. Therefore, for the therapist as well as for the person receiving a session, to be in the Hara is to be at peace, serene thanks to the discovery between the physical and the psychic.
Of course, to access the center it is necessary to go through the experience of a daily exercise: it can be the sustained practice of tai-chi, chi-kung, aikido, yoga or any other art that seeks the centered resolution of one’s own conflicts and those that are generated when each person faces himself, and another ego.
The Osho Book of Hara
Hara, the vital center of man by Karlfried Durckheim