By Jessica Marie Traino
Religious or not, society benefits greatly from developing an accurate understanding of The Seven Deadly Sins. Lust and envy are merely two of these sins, and both have been described as destructive to the self and to others. A large majority of people have already gathered enough surface information to truly comprehend the meaning of lust and envy, but do they extend their thoughts even further in order to make deeper connections to these concepts, so that greater meaning can be found within them? Unfortunately, the development of thought on this topic usually stops with the interpretation of the definition. However, there are connections that can be made in order to appeal to a broader audience of people, such as scientists, religious groups, spiritual people, and everybody in between.
In spirituality, there is such a thing known to be called a Chakra system within the human body. Chakras are what some may prefer to call ‘Energy Centres’, and have been described as having a circular or wheel-like form (non-visible to the human eye). These wheels have been thought to project energy, as well as receive it. There are seven main Chakras, beginning from the base of the spine, and ending on the crown of the head. Each energy centre is known to govern over particular characteristics. Aware of the fact that there are both Seven Deadly Sins and seven main Chakras, a very important connection can be made in order to understand the sins to a greater degree.
Lust has a direct connection to that which the spiritual community calls the ‘Heart Chakra’ (located in the centre of the chest, just above the heart). When the Heart Chakra is well balanced, open and active to a healthy extent, one may expect to have true appreciation for beauty, as well as immense love for the self and other people. It is associated with giving and receiving joy and peace. Lust will become a problem when the Heart Chakra is not balanced, and is instead classified as overactive. This means that too much intimacy is being shared between people, and it is being expressed much too freely. This happens to the point where intercourse becomes increasingly active, often with people experiencing more than one sexual partner at a time.
Not only does the Heart Chakra connect with the deadly sin of lust, but also to the goddess, Aphrodite (also known as ‘Venus’ in Roman mythology). Aphrodite was portrayed as having many different lovers throughout the course of her life, and was often seen having love affairs. As she grew older and wiser, she was able to understand that self-restraint was more than necessary. Now, rather than projecting the image of ‘The Temptress’, she stands for love, beauty, appreciation, romance, sensuality and giving intimate love to just one significant other. Lust can be battled by mankind in the same way Aphrodite realised that self-control must be exercised, and it can be done by better understanding the functions of the Heart Chakra.
Nevertheless, there are those who would rather take a more psychological approach, and perhaps delve into the idea of ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’. This is a diagram that was constructed by Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist. He believed that humans have a pyramid of needs that must be fulfilled and well- balanced, but if the base needs are not fulfilled, individuals will fail to reach the top of the pyramid (Self-Actualisation). In association with lust, the need of ‘Esteem’ comes into play. It is presumed that without a proper sense of self- esteem, people will too readily allow themselves to be emotionally and physically used due to a lack of self-worth. They will constantly seek the approval of others, in an attempt to gain their worth based on how much intimacy they receive from other people. The solution to this is for people to find their self-worth and gain their esteem within themselves, seeking inner peace, inner joy, and learning to practice self- love. If individuals wish to take a more physical approach to the idea of lust, the human sense of touch easily resonates to this sin, and can be controlled by restraining from too much physical contact.
As for the deadly sin of envy, there appears to be a direct link to the Chakra called the ‘Third Eye’ (located on the forehead, between the eyes). When in perfect harmony and balance, the Third Eye allows individuals to have direct access to intuition, inner knowledge, self-direction, self- trust, and the ability to make wise decisions. However, it becomes a rather problematic matter when this Chakra is underactive, as it may lead to people having no sense of direction, self-confidence, or inner trust, which of course activates a horrid emotion within, described as jealousy. With a clouded mind and lack of judgement, people will find that they are suddenly wishing they were somebody else, and when that is greatly intensified, it may even allow people to act viciously to those who are successful, and those who have the ability to use their intuition and inner knowledge to bring abundance into their own lives.
The Greek goddess Artemis (or ‘The Moon’ in Roman mythology) has been accurately matched to the Third Eye. Artemis is often known to govern human emotions, intuition, and how we react to things, and she is all about the energy of reflection. This urges humanity to practice seeing their actions through the eyes of others so that their behaviour can be adjusted appropriately. Nonetheless, Artemis was sometimes known to be overly defensive, reactive, emotional, and felt insecure which often led to harming those who she thought might have ill intentions. This goes alongside feelings of jealousy and envy; wishing to be in the position of another instead of understanding her own internal power and knowledge. However, like all the gods and goddesses, she learnt a great deal and now symbolises wisdom, empathy, emotion, nurture, intuition and reflection, all of which should be a substitute for envy.
Envy can also be associated with esteem in ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’, as both lust and envy stem from feelings of worthlessness, powerlessness and lack of self-esteem. It is believed, however, that the connection to envy is more about inner senses than lust is. It urges individuals to look into their subconscious and unconscious mind. So, in order to overcome envy and reach the heavenly virtue of ‘hope’, one must be able to trust their abilities, judgements and organisation in all decision making in order to feel content and successful enough to gain back feelings of self-worth. This also involves imagination and the proper use of manifesting dreams and desires into physical reality. It most certainly represents the concept that positive thought creates a rewarding overall experience.
With this analysis, it is evident that a much greater understanding of The Seven Deadly Sins can be formed when perceiving them from a much larger spectrum. It also goes to show the interconnectedness of social science and spiritual beliefs, having the same core meanings and messages, with all but an altered explanation in order to appeal to a wider range of people in the world.