THE CHAKRAS - EXPLAINED

August 15, 2018

From the big spiral galaxies to the microscopic atoms, the Universe is composed of spinning wheels of energy. The chakras are no different - the word comes from sanskrit and it is translated as "wheel". As you also perhaps may know, many ancient philosophers and their various teachings along with many different spiritual teachings have speculated that not only galaxies, stars, planets, electrons, etc. are going in a circular motion, but also time itself. This universal law of cyclic existence is known as the "Principle of Rhythm" in Hermeticism.

WHAT IS A CHAKRA IN RELATION TO HUMANS?

What we refer to as "chakra" in correlation to us, is an energy center where "Nadis" intersect. Nadi is translated as an "energetic channel" or a channel through which the energies from the subtle body flow. Depending on what teaching or philosophy about the structure of the human being you look at, you would read about different number of bodies from which it is composed (emotional, mental, astral, energy, etc.). For the sake of simplicity of this article, let's look at the human being composed of a gross body (physical body) and a subtle body (energy body). The subtle body, as i've stated above, has energy channels, which are considered to be more than 70,000 or 350,000 in number (depending on the source). The energy flowing through those channels is called "prana" ("chi", "ki", "air", etc.).


The word "prana" is translated as "primary food" or "life-giving force". This energy keeps the cells in our body alive, thus we call it "air", as the oxygen in the air is being transported to all our cells via the hemoglobin in our blood. This description of the prana however is not entirely correct. When we say "prana" we refer to the force that creates life itself - it is inherent everywhere in space - and what we call "air" and its components, are just carriers of prana, but they are not prana themselves. The Nadis intersect in some points and the energy passing through them gets stuck in a vortex motion. You can imagine this energy flowing through the Nadis as a flowing streams of water. When you try to walk across a flowing stream it is difficult right? Now imagine that you're standing in a point where flowing streams from all directions intersect, you wouldn't be able to move out of that point, would you? This is a good analogy of how the chakras are created. The more Nadis intersect in a certain point, the bigger and powerful the chakra is. 

[ The Nadis ]

There are 7 main points where most of the Nadis intersect, thus we have the most popular system of the 7 chakras known throughout the world. The Chinese however, use a type of medicine that relies on the acupuncture points, which are much more than 7. These points are also chakras, but on a much smaller scale, because not so many Nadis intersect there. The acupuncture medicine can heal a headache by applying pressure on the foot for example. How? Well considering that the Nadis are energetic channels and that the acupuncture points are chakras, then if there is a problem in a chakra located in the foot, it may lead to a blockage of the flowing energy from the foot towards the head. Therefore it is possible to heal the headache by taking care of the blocked chakra in the foot and letting the energy start flowing normally again.


WHAT IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THE CHAKRAS?

The energies flowing through the Nadis to create the chakras are with different grossness. According to hindu philosophy, everything in the Universe is made of the 3 Gunas manifested and existing within one Universal Consciousness, where each Guna represent a dinstinctly different from the others vibrational frequency. Considering this, that the energies flowing through the Nadis are from a different grossness, then it is a common sense to conclude that each chakra is composed of different solidity summarized by all the Nadis creating it. Going from the frst chakra towards the seventh, the denseness becomes subtler and subtler. A good imaginary exercise to visualize this description is the following: - Imagine that you hold a ball tied up on a string hanging down. Now imagine that you give kinetic energy, to push the ball that is, so that the ball starts moving in a circular motion while it hangs on the string. If the string is long, you would be able to clearly see the orbit which the ball follows. Now imagine that you cut the string in half - the ball now has a much shorter orbit thus it gets a little harder to see the circular motion of the ball, because the ball keeps going with the same speed, but the orbit is smaller. If you cut the string by 99%, then the ball would seem like it is standing in place, not moving at all. This is a visual exercise that can give you an abstract idea on how vibrations (movement) can appear to be in a solid form (atoms for example) and how a chakra can be more subtle or more gross, depending on their avarage vibrations summarized from all the Nadis creating it. If you wish to read more about the 3 gunas, check out our article:



THE 3 MAIN NADIS

There are 3 main energy channels in our body. The first one is called Sushumna and it is going vertically throughout the 7 chakras alongside our spine. This energy channel is the result of the intersection points of all other Nadis creating the 7 main chakras and it is the channel through which the "Kundalini" goes upwards when awakened to bring enlightenment. The other 2 energy channels are called "Ida" and "Pingala" and they are bidirectional (two-way). 

[ Sushumna, Pingala and Ida Nadis ]


The flowing energies in Pingala and Ida can be used in two ways - to strenghten and balance all chakras and to open higher dimensional states of consciousness by letting the energy flow upwards, or it can be used to manifest something in our physical life by redirecting the energy downwards (this will be explained later on). The chakras are connected to the 7 main levels of the consciousness. When opening a certain chakra, we experience a deep understanding of the state in the consciousness associated with that chakra. The chakras are also associated with the 7 main colors that we can perceive (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Having a contact in any way with a certain color, can help us strengthen the chakra associated with it. The 7 chakras correspond to the states of consciousness in the following way:


- Chakra 1  (Muladhara) - located in the base of our spine, it is associated with survival. Its element is Earth.
- Chakra 2 (Swadhisthana) - located in the lower part of the belly, it is associated with emotions and sexuality. Its element is Water.
- Chakra 3 (Manipura) - located in the solar pexus, it is associated with personal willpower and the energy of the metabolism. Its element is Fire.
- Chakra 4 (Anahata) - located near the sternum, it is associated with love. Its element is Air.
- Chakra 5 (Vishuddha) - located in the throat, it is associated with communication and creativity. Its element is Sound.
- Chakra 6 (Ajna) - located in the middle of the forehead, it is associated with clairvoyance, intuition and imagination. Its element is Light.
- Chakra 7 (Sahasrara) - located on the top of the head, it is associated with knowledge and understanding. Its element is Thought.

As you perhaps may have noticed, i've stated Sound, Light and Thought as elements, whereas there are only 5 elements through which everything in Creation is created (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether). In Yogic philosophy, the Ether is not entirely corporeal, thus it is not taken into consideration when it is talked about the physical. Whereas everything outside of the Ether is considered divine, thus it is transcendental in relation to the 4 elements of the lower dimensions of Creation (the physical Universe). The "Ether" is the blueprint for the 4 physical elements, that's why in relation to the chakras, we can call it "Sound" as sound is vibration and everything exist in the form of vibrations, thus it is the source for every other manifestation of the 4 elements. The sixth chakra is associated with Light, as light is a necessity for seeing and imagination. Clairvoyance and intuition are dependent more or less on light, for where there is no light, there is no sight and imagination. The 7th chakra is associated with Thought, because it is from thought that everything is created - according to Hermeticism, Yogic philosophy and the most influential philosophers of ancient times. A more modern explanation to how thought can create everything would be the experiments of Masaru Emoto, where he demonstrated that our thoughts have their own vibrational frequency which affect matter. And if everything exist in the form of vibrations that can be produced by thought, then thought would be the ultimate force of Creation.

KUNDALINI, IDA, PINGALA AND SUSHUMNA

The chakras were foremost connected with a goddess named "Kundalini". She is illustrated as a sleeping snake coiled three and a half times around the first chakra located in the base of our spine. Her name comes from the word "Kundala", which means "coiled in a ball". According to the hindu tradition, when she awakens, this goddess goes upwards through each chakra until it reaches the 7th one. While she penetrates each individual chakra, she brings awakening to the person according to the penetrated chakra. When the journey of the Kundalini reaches its end, the individual is considered enlightened. As i've stated above the energies going through Ida and Pingala can be used in two different ways - to manifest or to reach enlightenment. If you use the energy downardly you can manifest something in your physical life the following way:
- Energy goes through the 7th chakra, where we think of what we want and give birth to that idea.
- Energy goes through the 6th chakra, where we visualize what we try to manifest.
- Energy goes through the 5th chakra, where we take all possibilites into account (communication that is) and we create the best possible way to achieve it.
- Energy goes through the 4th chakra, where we balance ourselves and get ready to manifest our desire.
- Energy goes through the 3th chakra, where we do mentally or physically what is needed to manifest our desire.
- Energy goes through the 2nd chakra, where we experience the emotions of joy while accomplishing our goal.


And finally we have manifested what we've desired and have succeeded in filling our needs. All the 7 steps of manifestation require energy and the result of whether you will be able to manifest your desire or not depends on how open your chakras are. For example, if you have a weak 6th chakra, then you won't be able to visualize in details what you're trying to manifest, therefore you won't be able to use your creativity in your 5th chakra at its maximum capacity, and every other step becomes more limited in its possibilities. The energy can also be pushed upwards, by focusing on the other chakras. For example, you can suppress your sexuality, feelings and physical needs and excercise visualization, thinking on philosophical matters, meditate, communicate, etc. This way you make the non-physical dimensions of life open up to you. 

A lot more can be said about the functions, benefits and associations with each individual chakras and how each one of them plays a cruical role in our lives through our consciousness. What is important to remember is that each chakra has its own state of consciousness associated with it and this is what determines the quality of your life. If you live mainly in your second chakra and focus all your energies in it, your consciousness will be in a constant state of seeking emotions, drama, sexuality and pleasure. If you focus your energies on your 7th chakra, your state of consciousness would be of understanding and knowing. Our consciousness however, is a combination of all our chakras, it is impossible for us to put all our energy into only one state of the chakras. What determines mostly the quality of your life however, is in which chakras you put most of your energy. If you wish to read a solid book on chakras, we strongly recommend "Wheels of Life: A User's Guide to the Chakra System" by Anodea Judith.

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