Vishuddha is the name of the fifth chakra. The word Vishuddha means “purity” in Sanskrit. The location of the fifth chakra at the throat indicates its association with our voice. We often think about our throat chakra in terms of purifying the way we communicate and communicating our truth. Good communication is a multi-faceted psycho-spiritual art form that comes from deep and mature self-awareness. This is the work of the throat chakra.

Active, effective listening.

One significant aspect of good communication is that there is more than one person involved. Sometimes when we think we are communicating with someone, we are actually just doing a whole lot of talking. It is entirely possible for two parties to engage in a conversation where a whole lot of talking is done but nothing is communicated! One of the most important aspects of good communication is good listening. This is why Vishuddha chakra governs not only our throat, but our ears as well!

Listening, or attentive reading if one is communicating through signing or writing, is a skill that takes some practice. It is easy to hear what another person says. I can hear the heater kick on. I can hear the sound of my keyboard as I type. However, I’m not really listening to those things. They are just sounds. To listen means that we are tuning out of distractions and tuning into the moment at hand. Listening is a practice of presence.

The discipline of listening deeply.

To be a good listener requires discipline. Without the discipline required to remain present throughout the duration of a conversation, it is all too easy to become distracted. We may not find what the person in front of us is saying to be particularly interesting or relevant. However, what they are saying is interesting and relevant to them. If they are important enough to us that we are conversing with them at that moment, we should at least make them important enough to be engaged in what they are saying. Otherwise, it is our responsibility to end or leave the conversation.

Sometimes it is not so much the we are disengaged from the conversation at hand. At times we are so concerned with our own response or what we are going to say next that we do not listen. Good communication is like a dance. We must all be dancing to the same beat or else we will find ourselves stepping on each other’s toes!

Using our voice.

Part of strengthening Vishuddha chakra is cultivating our voice. Our voice is more than just the sounds we produce when we want to talk. Our voice is how we outwardly express our inner experiences. One way we can cultivate our own voice is to listen to the voices of people whose messages resonate with us. If there is a speaker that we find inspiring and who communicates effectively (the two qualities do not necessarily go hand-in-hand), it can be helpful to listen to them on YouTube. If they have a podcast, all the better!

We can only borrow the voices of our teachers for so long. Eventually, we must learn to speak in our own voice. One way to practice speaking effectively is to record ourselves speaking. This allows us a way to hear what we sound like. It also helps us determine whether or not they way we communicate is conducive to getting our message across. This is an effective tool for both the spoken and the written word. Many writers find it helpful to read their work out loud before they give it to someone else.

Speaking our truth.

The most important work we do with Vishuddha chakra is to speak our truth. To speak our truth is very different than merely saying what we think. In fact, simply saying what we think can actually do harm to ourselves and others. Truth is not dogmatic. It may not even be factually accurate! Truth is experiential. Speaking my truth does not negate your truth. Both truths can be held simultaneously. To speak our truth means that we communicate from a place of presence. That which we communicate allows us to live with integrity and authenticity.

The word Suniai means “listening” in Gurmukhi. Please enjoy this mantra by Ajeet Kaur.