If you are familiar with spiritual ideas, or even if you have no interest at all, you will likely have heard the word chakra before. You may have heard it many times, in many contexts, and from many different types of people.
The chakra system is¬†first recorded in the Vedas, ancient Indian scriptures dating back to as early as 1500BC. Before that it is quite possible that the knowledge of the chakra system was known, and passed down verbally or experientially.
The chakra system later surfaced in various schools of Yoga, such as the Yoga Upanishads in 600BC, and the Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali in 200BC. The chakra system can be seen in many Hindu religious branches, and in Tantric traditions, and has found its way to the West, where it is used by some occult traditions and in the philosophy of spiritual seekers everywhere.
In short, the chakra system is a popular model for studying the energetic body. Perhaps its popularity is a result of something innate and tangible. Seekers who work with this system often obtain real results of self improvement and balance. Whether or not they actually exist, there is no denying that a perception of the self that includes energetic centres helps us to work on our self; to balance and harmonize our different aspects.
Spinning Energy Vortexes
The original, and literal Sanskrit meaning of chakra is wheel, which is often taken to describe the energy vortexes that spin like a wheel within our energetic body. The word also relates to the sun, which is the eternal wheel of time that provides celestial balance and harmony.
The lower chakras are related to the world of matter, and are said to rotate at the slowest pace. The higher chakras relate to higher spiritual functions and realities, and rotate faster, with the fastest being the crown chakra.
Balance and harmony are important when we are working with the chakra system; this is not a race to the top to jam open our higher chakra centres and barge through the door to our spiritual self. The chakra system encourages you to balance and transcend the lower chakra centres, to understand their function, whilst undoing blockages.
Balancing The Chakra Centers
There are seven major energetic chakra points on the body. According to most systems, there are many other more subtle energy centres, and there are also chakra centres which exist below and above our body. The important ones for working on ourselves are the seven described below, which make up a spectrum of light, representing the fragmented aspects of our being.
Once each of these chakra centres are energized, opened, free of blockages, and stabilized, the life force known as Prana, or Chi, or a number of other names depending on the tradition, can flow freely through the energetic body. Seen as the energetic body also relates to the physical, emotional, and mental bodies, the result of a balanced chakra system is a healthy, happy, well grounded, loving, and spiritually awakened individual who is in balance and harmony with themselves and their surroundings.
The journey of chakra work is different for every individual, who will come to understand their own being in a unique way. At the point of becoming aware of your chakras, you will find that you you have your own work to do if you are to become balanced.
There are many holistic therapies, new-age treatments, and chakra healers who may be able to assist you in identifying and treating energetic blockages, but the main recommendation is to meditate, and to gain awareness of the function of each chakra, by reading about it, and by relating it to your own being.
This series will help you to understand each chakra, and will offer advice and meditations for each one. At the bottom of this introduction is a guided chakra balancing meditation, that aims to work on each chakra, for an overall balancing effect.
The Seven Major Chakras
- Relates to our connection to the earth, and our feeling of being grounded here in the physical realm.
- Located at the base of the spine, and often depicted as extending into the earth, as is the case with the visualizations of tree roots that can be useful for grounding.
- The root chakra is the centre for survival, security and safety.
- A blocked or imbalanced root chakra can result in anxious, insecure, and fearful feelings.
- A healthy flow of energy in the root chakra gives a sense of safety and comfort, and gives the power to manifest physical reality through action.
- The sacral chakra could be loosely described as our emotional centre.
- It is located two inches below the naval, and is sometimes referred to as the belly.
- It is related to our creativity and sexuality, as well as how we connect to other people and our experiences of the world.
- A blocked or imbalanced sacral chakra can result in emotionally explosive tendencies, manipulative behavior, sexual obsession, and a lack of energy.
- A healthy flow of energy in the sacral chakra allows for open and honest emotional expression, and to know yourself sexually.
Solar Plexus Chakra-
- The solar plexus is the centre for our personal power and sense of self.
- It is located a little below the breastbone behind the stomach.
- Here lie our passions and impulses, our strength and our ego.
- The solar plexus chakra is related to our ability to be in control of ourselves and our life.
- A blockage or imbalance in this chakra can result in a feeling of lacking control, self worth and self confidence issues, and confusion about your life.
- A healthy flow of energy in the solar plexus chakra gives a strong sense of personal power, self worth, and balance, and help you to be expressive and take on new experiences with leaps and bounds.
- The heart chakra is our centre for love, self love, universal love, compassion, and spirituality.
- The heart chakra is our energetic centre and the place where mind, body and spirit meet and connect.
- It is related to our ability to give and receive love to ourselves and others, and our compassion in life.
- A blockage or imbalance in the heart chakra can result in troubles letting go, fears of getting hurt, feelings of being unable to love, or unworthy of being loved.
- A balanced heart chakra leads to a compassionate outlook, and an empathetic and kind hearted nature. It leaves you wanting to help and nurture your fellow human beings, as well as giving a sense of inner peace.
- You would do well to listen to your heart chakra!
- The throat chakra is our energetic centre of communication.
- It is located in the V of the collarbone.
- The throat chakra relates to our ability to speak and express our feelings in thoughts, speech, and writing, as well as musically or artistically.
- An imbalanced throat chakra can result in difficulty communicating thoughts, or expressing opinions and emotions. You might feel like you are holding back or being quieter than usual.
- With a balanced throat chakra communication comes easy, and you will feel centred, balanced, and expressive.
Third Eye Chakra-
- The third eye chakra is our psychic centre, and the chakra which once opened, helps us to understand our connection to our Higher Self, or to whatever it is that we label the higher forces.
- It is located in the brow, above the eyes, in the centre of the forehead.
- The third eye chakras is one of the highest chakra points in our body, making it highly related to the spiritual realm.
- There are many scriptures and religious references to the third eye, but there are underlying agreements in its nature and function. It is here where higher intuition and understanding and perception of spirit and light become available.
- All kinds of phenomenon can occur at this level of awareness, including psychic connections and communications, guidance and access to higher self states, past lives, astral travel, and the transcendence of negative and egotistical tendencies. Experiential knowledge of spiritual truths can be gained.
- The crown chakra is our centre for spirituality, enlightenment, and pure spiritual energy.
- It is located in the top of our skull, although it is sometimes depicted as floating a little above the body, to denote the connection to the greater web above and beyond us.
- Opening the crown chakra gives a sense of divine wisdom and purpose, and a knowing of the interconnectedness of all things. In a sense it is an experience of God, or of the pure spiritual energy which exists within and throughout all animate and inanimate frequencies of light and matter. It is spiritual realization, and is the state synonymous with enlightenment and divine consciousness.
The MultiDimensional Self
The chakra system shows the multi dimensional nature of the self, and gives the spiritual minded individual a system for working on the energetic level, which then effects our being at all other levels of existence. By working on our chakras (or our different aspects if you prefer that terminology) we can come to understand ourselves as functioning from many different points of awareness, and for many different reasons. We can balance our self, and become well rounded individuals with a connection to both the physical world, and the spiritual world, which we come to understand as being part of the same Oneness of all things; all connected at the heart.
The chakra system is ancient, beautiful, functional, and is great model to work with in the quest for self betterment. Visualizations and meditations are widely available for chakra balancing.
Coming soon… An elaboration on each of the seven chakras, with further explanation of their functions, and techniques and tips to help to remove blockages in each area. Each chakra will be complimented by a link to a corresponding guided meditation.