The chakra system is a seven-leveled philosophical model of the universe. Chakras have come to the West mainy through the tradition and practice of yoga. Yoga ("yoke") is a discipline designed to bring together to yoke together the individual with the divine, using mental and physical practices that join our mundane and spiritual lives. This goal is acheived by passing through steps of ever-expanding states of consciousness. The chakras represent these steps.
A chakra is a centre of organization that receives, assimilates, and expresses life force energy.
The word chakra literally means "wheel" or "disk" and refers to a spinning sphere of bioenergetic activity emanating from th emajor nerve ganglia branching forward from the spinal column. There are seven of these wheels stcked in a column that spans from the base of the spine to the top of the head. It is these seven chakras that correlate with the basic states of consciousness.
The chakra system originated in India, more than four thousand years ago. They have been referred to in the ancient iterature of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and most thoroughly in the sixteenth century text Sat-Chakra-Nirupana. Chakras are not physical entities in and of themselves. Like feelings or ideas, they cannot be held like a physical object, yet they have strong effect upon the body as they express the embodiment of spiritual energy on the physical plane. Chakra patterns are programmed deep in the ocre of the mind-body interface and have a strong relationship with our physical functioning.
By using techniques such as yoga, pranayama, bioenergetics, physical exercises, meditation, and visualization, we can influence our chakras, our health, and our lives.
The chakras are said to have a loctaion in the body even though they do not exist in the physical sense. Based on their location the chakras have become associated with various states of consciousness, archetypal elements, and philosophical constructs. The lower chakras, for example, which are physically closer to the earth, are related to the more practical matters of our lives - survival, movement, action. The upper chakras represent menatl realms and work on a symbolic level through words, images, and concepts.
Each of the seven chakras has also come to represent amajor area of human psychological health which can be brieflt summarized as follows:
1 - Survival
2 - Sexuality
3 - Power
4 - Love
5 - Communication
6 - Intuition
7 - Consciousness
We all function by sets of programs, which may or may not be conscious. The challenge before us is to find the appropriate program and get the bugs out. The chakra system is an evolutionary program that can be used to reprogram our lives. If the outer world is to be transformed, th eprocess nuct begin within. If the inner world is to be transformed, it must be understood in the light of the outer forces that shaped it. By understanding this internal arrangement, we can understand our defenses and needs, and learn how to restore balance.
In a series of post I will explore the seven chakras as presented by Anodea Judith. Join me on this journey through Psychology and the Chakra system as a path to the Self.
Reference Eastern Body, Western Mind 1996