“WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT CHAKRAS, YOU TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING!” ~ SRI HARISH JOHARI
CHAKRAS reflect seven kinds of energy in the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Rooted far back in Hindu tradition, they are presently emerging in Western culture as a useful guide to deeper understanding of the inner self for followers of any religious, philosophical, or psychological tradition. Viewed as seven spinning wheels of energy, they are arranged in a column up along the spinal cord, from its base to the top of the head.
WORKING WITH THE CHAKRAS IN DAILY LIFE CAN
INCREASE YOUR EFFECTIVENESS
BRING OUT YOUR HIDDEN POTENTIALS
HELP YOU SEE MORE DEEPLY INTO WHAT OTHERS SAY AND DO
and even BRIGHTEN YOUR AWARENESS
The first or Muladhara chakra, often called the root chakra, relates to physical and emotional security and survival.
The second or Svadhisthana chakra, often called the passion chakra, addresses sexuality, relationships, and fame and fortune.
The third or Manipura chakra, also called the power chakra, is about strength or the lack of it.
The fourth or Anahata chakra, the heart chakra, is the vortex of compassion, unselfish love, and service.
The fifth or Vishuddha chakra, the throat chakra, is about communication and the use of intellect.
The sixth or Ajna chakra, the third eye, is about intuition and advanced stages of spiritual practice
The seventh Sahasrara chakra, or crown chakra, the thousand petaled lotus, refers to the highest stages of spiritual consciousness.
BODILY LINKS ARE:
First chakra = anus. Second chakra = genitals. Third chakra = stomach. Fourth chakra = heart. Fifth chakra = throat. Sixth chakra = forehead. Seventh chakra = crown of the head.
CHAKRAS IN ASIAN TRADITIONS
In India’s yogic traditions that trace their origins back to the Vedas, the principal yogas are these: Hatha Yoga emphasizes the body and mind-body connections. Raja Yoga emphasizes meditation. Bhakti Yoga emphasizes love, devotional practice, and ecstatic states. Karma Yoga emphasizes transcending your self-centered ego and offering service and respectful help to others;. Jnana Yoga emphasizes gaining true knowledge and wisdom. And Tantra Yoga emphasizes that realization of divine mother energy is as necessary as the widespread emphasis on divine father energy. Tantra views all acts as flowing from the universal creative spirit. Chakra work is a central feature of Tantric practice. In the West ,Tantra is widely thought of as a sexual yoga, but this is a limited understanding. Indeed, in contrast to the “Left-handed” sexual Tantric path, “Right-handed” Tantra emphasizes developing self-control through practice of austerities. Stepping outside the yogic tradition, we also find Buddhist esoteric traditions that include chakra systems. None, howeverr, make chakras as central to their teachings as Tibetan Buddhism. In the Tibetan chakra tradition, a central goal is to align the organic harmony of personal consciousness with compassionate loving-kindness toward all beings.
CONNECTIONS WITH WESTERN PSYCHOLOGY
Twentieth Century psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a model called the “hierarchy of needs.” He spoke of “deficiency or deficit needs” (D-needs) that are roughly equivalent to the three lower chakras. His “being needs” (B-needs) are more like the four higher chakras. Gestalt therapy emphasizes direct awareness in the moment. Such awareness has much in common with the mindfulness and witness consciousness developed by Yogic and Buddhist meditation. Knowing the chakras can help either a gestalt therapist or any other kind of psychotherapist or counselor pinpoint a given person’s strengths and hindrances. Founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud’s “libido” has much in common with the Tantric construct of Kundalini energy. Kundalini is portrayed as a coiled snake asleep at the base of the spine. As the energies of each chakra are awakened the snake moves upward along the spine until cosmic consciousness is realized. The human potential movement with such leading figures as Alfred Adler, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, and Maslow criticized most psychotherapy as far too limited,. A “well adjusted” person who could function in society was that old goal. Existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychologies aimed at going beyond “being OK” to develop our greater and grander potentials and to lead as joyful and fulfilling a life as possible. This resembles the states that can be attained through development of fourth through seventh chakra energies. Western psychology emphasizes counseling and psychotherapy for personal transformation, while Yoga and Buddhist traditions emphasize meditation and spiritual practices as paths to the same end.
WHAT’S SPECIAL IN AWAKENING THE CHAKRAS?
The unique Table of Possibilities introduces each chakra. Twelve subdimensions of each chakra are discussed. These point to the opportunities that can come from fully realizing the chakra’s potential, and the obstacles that the chakra’s energies may encounter .For each of the seven chakras, the following points are discussed:
- The Chakra’s Essence
- The Mental Pathway for working with the chakra’s energies
- The Body and Emotions Pathway: Feeling tones in the chakra. This section identifies both personal and relational transformations that can occur.
- The Pathway of Spirit. This includes a detailed description of the symbolism of each chakra. Beautiful illustrations provide a visual embodiment of the chakra’s messages.
- Practical Tools for working with the chakra. For each chakra there is a method for developing greater relaxation, concentration, polarity-balancing meditation, sound healing, and a guide to taking action
Chakra work is sometimes described as “balancing the chakras” (if they’re unbalanced), or “unblocking” a chakra that’s blocked. Actually it’s not that simple. Those generalities are fine for beginners. But beginners are limited in what they can do. To benefit fully from understanding chakras you have to be more than a beginner. Fortunately, there’s a path that can help you be that “more.” It is summed up in six insights:
SIX KEY INSIGHTS
1. Every chakra has both a bright side that consists of its gifts and strengths, and a dark side that consists of its issues and challenges.
1. Each chakra is not just one monolithic thing.” It has a dozen or so subdimensions, Effective chakra work requires identifying which of them is troubling or attracting you. Then you can learn how to work with the problem or develop the capacity in question.
3. Effective chakra work usually requires both direct awareness of a quality the present moment, reflection on past events that led to your present way of being with that quality, and some sense of what you’d like to do with all that. (“Past, present, and future”.)
4. Chakra work involves your physical body, emotions, thoughts, connections with others, and your relationship to “something greater than yourself.” Whether you call that God, the Divine Mother, the Universe, or anything else is up to you.
5. The tools of chakra work include breath work, movement, concentrative focus, mindfulness, polarity-balancing meditation, affirming and developing both your everyday strengths and your inner spirit, sound and mantra work, and action in your world. Which to use depends on your needs and preferences and on the situation. And on the specific chakra and the dimension of it you’re working with at a given time.
6. The ethics of chakra work include truthfulness, being as honest with yourself as you can, working to let go of ego attachments to being “right” or feeling “better than” others, and radical respect for other people and other living beings.
SUBDIMENSIONS OF THE CHAKRAS
Awakening the Chakras identifies twelve dimensions of each chakra. These are not “opposites” but polarities along a continuum. For example, the first chakra includes:
Feeling secure at one extreme to feeling needy and insecure at the other extreme.
Courageous at one extreme to fearful and tied at the other extreme.
Able to let go at one extreme to grasping and hoarding at the other extreme.
Responsible at one extreme to blaming and irresponsible at the other extreme.
We have pinpointed eight more such dimensions of the first chakra. Identifying, paying attention to, and working with these and other such specific is basic to real chakra work, whether with yourself or with a counseling, psychotherapy, or a chakra reading client.
For more about the chakras, click one of the links at the top of the page or “Learn More.” To really deepen your understanding — well, the book is a very good read with a wealth of information. And it does not cost much.
You might also enjoy these other offerings . . .
NEW RELEASE! Sacred Mysteries: The Chakra Oracle. A card deck illustrated by world-class artist Pieter Weltevrede. and also see. . .
Sacred Mysteries: The Chakra Oracle: The book by Kooch & Victor Daniels written to accompany the Chakra Oracle deck.
Tarot at a Crossroads: The Unexpected Meeting of Tarot and Psychology. Psychological understandings for tarot readers, and original methods of using the tarot and other visual imagery in psychotherapy and counseling.
Tarot D’Amour: Find Love, Sex and Romance in the Cards. How to use the tarot to understand and improve relationships — your own or those of your clients. Much of this is relevant to family and workplace relationships as well as to lovers and partners.
Matrix Meditations: A 16-Week Program for Developing the Mind-Heart Connection. We should have said “16 months” or “16 years.” Includes a detailed description of how meditation works and step-by-step instructions for mindfulness, concentration, and contemplative meditations. The structure resembles the I. Ching, with 65 “cells” that each contain an insightful commentary and one meditative practice.
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