The journey of the spirit is a very personal one. Yet, at the same time, the soul travels a path of evolution that is universal. We can benefit from the experience and understanding gained by those who have walked the path before us. For those who are interested in personal growth, evolution, spiritual awakening or enlightenment it is extremely helpful to have a basic understanding of the chakras. They represent stages in our development, different levels of consciousness and spiritual maturity. Through our understanding of the chakras we are able to restore balance and accelerate personal growth. Balancing chakras is often just a matter of focus and intent. If you wish to absorb this material from a more centered place, do the the chakras meditation at the end of this article first.
These energy centers are seen throughout history from slightly different perspectives depending on the culture from which it sprang: Indian chakras, Christian sacraments and the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life. These experiences and understandings are universal in their origin and application.
The seven chakras or seals are powerful energy centers within the body which represent different levels of consciousness. Chakra means “wheel”; a vortex of vibration, light and energy. A chakra point is where two lines of energy cross. They are located in the astral (light/energy) body. Some people think of them as little computers; each center processes different information. There are seven major chakras and many minor ones. Each major chakra relates to a different gland. The first three levels of sexuality/survivial, pain/suffering and power respectively represent the dynamics at play in social consciousness and in the human drama. When the upper centers are activated a higher level of awareness is experienced.
The kundalini is the energy at the base of the spine. It is often referred to as the sleeping serpent. The journey of the kundalini awakening and moving to the crown of the head is the journey of enlightenment. As the kundalini energy wakes up it dances up the spine. In yoga philosophy the central channel of energy up the spine is called the sushumna and the energy that moves around it the ida and the pingala. The ida represents the sun and the pingala represent the moon. The ida and pingala separate at the first chakra, dance around the spine and meet up again at the sixth chakra.
One of the benefits of yoga is that a regular asana practice clears out these energy channels so that the kundalini energy can move freely up the spine. It has been known to be a painful experience for some if there is an energy blockage in one of the channels so that, as the kundalini moves upward, the energy is prevented from going forward. There are stories of old about yogis spontaneously jumping into different postures to assist this energy moving through the body.
What you spend your time thinking about and contemplating, what is important to you is where your energy will be dominant. If you are concerned about how you will pay rent or where you will get your next meal you will be situated in the first chakra or base chakra (a chakra could also be called a center, a seal or a level/plane of consciousness. They all pretty much mean the same thing and are used interchangeably in this article and in the chakra color chart below). If you spend much of your time thinking about sex your energy will be concentrated in the first seal. This center is located at the perineum, the base of the spine. It is represented by the element earth and all solid, dense forms of matter.
If you are experiencing a dis-ease and putting most of your attention on it, your energy is in the second seal (sacral chakra). This chakra is located in the lower abdomen. It is related to pain, the emotions (fear, anger, frustration, depression, guilt, hatred, blame, worry, doubt etc…) and the water element. At any moment we can be coming from any one of these levels of consciousness. However, most people in the world, in social consciousness, spend their time in the first three seals.
Notice when you are relating with people where they are coming from and where you are coming from. If you are having lunch with an old friend and all he is talking about is how everything is going wrong for him and nothing is working out, you know he is coming from his third seal, in a state of consciousness known as victimization. It is important that as we become aware of these levels and how they play out; not to judge ourselves or others; just notice, “Oh, I’m in the third seal right now, I’m trying to control this situation.” Know that we all have all of these inside of ourselves and that at some point or another we have all been there. We are not better than anyone else. The third seal (solar plexus chakra) of power and control is where the victim/tyrant dynamic plays out. It is located in the solar plexus area (just below the sternum and above the belly button). It is represented by the element fire and the color yellow.
The fourth seal (heart chakra) is one of unconditional love, deeply felt yet not expressed in words; like that of a mother for her child. This mother would do anything for that child and is willing to make sacrifices yet is not skilled in communication or open enough to verbally articulate that unconditional love. In some traditions its color is green and in others violet blue. It is located in the center of the chest, just to the right of the physical heart. The fourth chakra is represented by the element air and it relates to respiration. It is known as bridge consciousness because it is located in the center, between the upper and the lower chakras; it is the link between the lower states of consciousness and the higher states of consciousness.
The fifth seal (throat chakra) is one of unconditional love expressed. This level relates to sound, our voice, expressing ourselves clearly and stating our intentions out into the world. It is about speaking our truth. Its location is the neck and is related to the element of ether or space. It relates to the process of manifestation: first, we have a thought (in the sixth plane); if we want to bring this inspiration into form, at some point we must, most likely, verbalize this idea so that it can make its way down the seals into the densest form of matter and materialization at the first plane. This stage of evolution is often seen as a grandmother who has unconditional love for her grandchild and is able to freely, easily and openly express that love.
The sixth seal (third eye chakra) is the contact point between the mind of God (Universal Mind; Source; Universal Consciousness; Big Mind; The Infinite) and the individual mind. It is a sending and receiving station; a transmitter and receiver of telepathic communications. This is seen in the individual who is clairvoyant (the ability to perceive beyond the five senses) or has the ability to remote view (dura-darsana; distant viewing). Certain parts of the brain are activated so that one gains access to this information. Therefore every person has these abilities dormant and one just needs training to access them at will. This chakra is located in the center of the head and is related to the element light. The chakras meditation below as well as many other forms of meditation will strengthen and balance this seal.
The seventh seal (crown chakra) is the state of consciousness of enlightenment which is an experience masters throughout the ages have struggled to put words to due to the limited nature of language. It is an experience and words only point to the experience. A person who has never been far out in a forest surrounded by ancient trees and sacred land has no concept of what that really feels like if they have only seen pictures and read words to describe the experience.
Science has shown that we only use a small percentage of our brain. As the kundalini travels up the spine and reaches the seventh level it opens dormant aspects of the brain. Enlightenment is the awakening of the full potential of the human being; some say it has the power of immortality; others say it is a state of mind that is completely unlimited, not bound by time or space. The energy of an enlightened master is situated in the seventh seal, at the crown of the head.
Many yogis and meditators have the power to control their bodily systems; for example slowing the heart rate down through focus and intent. Our minds are very powerful. Balancing chakras is the same. If you feel that your energy is out of balance try this simple chakras meditation. Sit comfortably, with the spine erect and focus on each chakra, one at a time. Start at the base and move your way up. Simply, intend for each chakra to be balanced. As you pause at each chakra, feel that it is. Do this in whatever way makes sense to you (without dissing it in the back of your mind : ) Stop when you feel it is complete. It can take as little as a few minutes or up to 15, do what feels right.
Balancing chakras is also a matter of realizing where our consciousness is; what we focus on, where our thought is throughout the day. If we find through observation that we spend much of our time worrying about survival needs (1st seal), emotionally distraught (2nd seal) or in a power struggle (3rd seal), we can intentionally bring balance to our energy body by choosing to spend some time feeling love (towards a pet, a child or a beautiful sunset (4th seal), expressing our truth and our love (5th seal) or meditating/listening for intuition, guidance and inspiration (6th seal).
Learn where the chakras are located and the state of consciousness they represent. Then pay attention at any given moment to where you are, what you are thinking and where others are. Awareness and understanding is the first step. Do not be harsh or judge yourself or others. Be kind and know that at any moment we can change; we can choose what we put our attention on and what we think. That is the beauty and process of conscious evolution.
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