My notes of Anodea Judith’s great book Chakra Yoga that I am currently reading.
If the outer world is to be transformed, the process must begin within. If the inner world is to be transformed, it must be understood in the light of the outer forces that shaped it. These realms are interconnected, yet we lack a way to tie them together. Understanding the chakra system, you learn to ingrate your body, mind and spirit.
Eastern and Western cultures can both learn something from the other. East possesses a vast spiritual wealth. Yet despite the spiritual wealth, there is a predominance of material poverty in many of the Eastern countries. In contrast, most Westerns live among material wealth, but spiritual poverty. Greed and violence dominate our news, burnouts and heart attacks take place within our circle of people and we consume mindless material without further thought. I believe it is possible to have both material abundance and spiritual wealth. My finding balance in our body and mind, we can transform ourselves and find realm happiness, joy and peace from within. By transforming ourselves, we transform the world.
A chakra is a center of organization that receives, assimilates and expresses life force energy. There are seven chakras in the body from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Chakra patterns are programmed deep in the core of the mind-body interface and have a strong relationship with our physical functioning. Just as the emotions can and do affect our breathing, heart rate, and metabolism, the activities in the various chakras influence our internal processes, body shape, chronic physical ailments, thoughts and behavior. By using techniques such as yoga, breathing, bioenergetics, physical exercises, meditation and visualization, we can influence our chakras, our health and our lives. The lower chakras, which are closer to earth, are related to the more practical matter of our lives – survival, movement and action. Physical and social law of our bodies and our societies rules them. The upper chakras represent mental realms and work on a symbolic level through words, images and concepts. Each of the seven chakras represents a major area of human psychological health: 1. Survival, 2. Sexuality, 3. Power, 4. Love, 5. Communication, 6. Intuition, 7. Consciousness itself
In order to understand a human being, we have to examine the flow of energy through the system. We can think of this energy as excitement, charge, attention, awareness or simply the life force. Every one of us has a unique and dynamic energy process that shapes our bodies and behavior, and consequently our environment, life path and relationships. Understanding and addressing imbalances of our chakra system can be used to find balance, health, peace and happiness from within.What activates any and all of our programs is the energy we pour into the system. Hunger centers are activated when the stomach is empty and sexual centers awaken with certain stimuli. In order to run any of our programs, we have to activate our energy currents. Our major energy pathways run vertically while subtler currents run in other directions, leaving us with two essential poles: the pole of consciousness, which we experience through our bodies, and the poles of consciousness, which we experience through our minds. Between these poles runs a dynamic flow of energy that we experience as our life force. Grounding happens when our body makes energetic contact with the earth, making us feel safe, alive, centered in ourselves and rooted in our environment. Consciousness, the other pole, comes through mind. It is our inner understanding, our memory, our dreams and beliefs. When consciousness is connected to the body, we have a dynamic energy flow throughout our entire being.
The seven chakras are created by the combination of consciousness and matter. The downward energy flow can be called as the current of manifestation. Manifesting is the process of turning our thoughts into visualizations, then words, and finally into form. The upward current, moving from dense earth to consciousness, is the current of liberation. As we move upward through the chakras, we become less restricted and more liberated. Human being needs a balance between both of these currents in order to be whole. If we cannot liberate, we cannot change, grow or expand. Unfortunately, both currents are affected by negative experiences. Physical pain, childhood traumas, social programming, and environments or activities can cut us off from the ground. Fortunately, information and experience are stored in both physical and mental states. Bringing consciousness into our ground activates various memories and experiences that reveal the lies and misunderstanding blocked from memory. Likewise, sensation can return to the body when attention is focused in certain mental material – the elements of a dream, characters in a novel, or images in a picture. Integration of mind, body and energy makes healing possible.
What blocks a chakra? Childhood traumas, cultural conditioning, limited belief systems, restrictive or exhausting habits, physical and emotional injuries, or even just a lack of attention. For each one, we develop a coping strategy, which then become chronic patterns, anchored in the body and psyche as defines structures. Eventually these defences create holding patterns in our muscular system that restricts the free flow of energy. It affects our posture, breathing, metabolism and our emotional states, as well as our perceptions, interpretations, and belief systems. Obviously, since the body-mind system is affected, we see manifestations in our relationships, work, creativity, and belief systems, all of which tend to perpetuate the pattern. It is important to recognize the blocks we carry, find ways to understand their source and meaning, and develop tools to heal them. Unblocking a chakra requires:
- Understand the dynamics of that particular chakra
- Examine the personal history related to that chakra’s issues
For example, someone who grew up in isolation and neglect may not have learned how to create relationships and will close down their heart chakra and withdraw socially
- Apply exercises and techniques
- Balance excess and deficiency
As we develop through life we are likely to become excessive in some areas and deficient in others. If a person is deficient in their first chakra, it is likely they will be excessive their upper chakras. If they are excessively attached to power over others, they will have trouble in relationships. Both excessive and deficient chakras restrict the flow of energy through the system, and block the complete expression of both the liberating and manifesting currents. Eventually, they both result in dysfunctional behaviour and health problems. These imbalances can be approached verbally through discussion, physically through work with body and movement, spiritually through meditation, emotionally through exploration of feelings, visually through images, aurally through sounds, and actualized through outer world tasks that strengthen certain areas of our lives.
“In honoring the full spectrum of human aliveness, this book is a contribution toward the restoration of your wondrously divine potential. With map in hand, may you enjoy the journey”