What Are Chakras?
Chakras are one of the most fundamental Energy Vortexes in the body. But, they are also very misunderstood. So what exactly are they?
Good question. To understand this, we first need to look at the Energy known as Kundalini.
When human beings incarnate, their karma from past lives is given consciousness and is implanted in the new host body as it is forming in the womb. This consciousness is the Kundalini energy which takes up residence in the root called the "Mooladhara" located at the base of the spinal column. This consciousness is temporal consciousness which houses all of our past life attachments. It is different from the eternal Soul consciousness which is housed in the heart center. Temporal consciousness is affected by emotional attachments. Soul consciousness is not affected by temporal emotions.
Just arriving here? Please click on HOME to learn about the free apprenticeship course in Sun-Wheel Magick.
What is Kundalini?
This all important Energy is directly connected to our past life experiences and lessons needed to be learned in order to move further toward the goal of liberation from re-birth. It is these past life attachments that must be worked through in the current lifetime of the individual. Many times a person's past life actions may stimulate the Shakti to rise to a certain chakra. This process will happen automatically without the knowledge of the person in question. They may or may not have a "Kundalini experience," but their life will undergo a drastic and permanent change.
As the person spiritually matures throughout their lives, they will encounter life lessons based on unresolved karmic issues from past lives. If they are successful in making choices that will aid in releasing these karmic blocks, the individual may experience a profound shift in consciousness resulting in the Shakti energy rising further up the spinal column and perhaps opening a chakra. If this rise is powerful enough, it may break through an energetic "granthi" or knot in the spinal column. When this happens, the chakra in question will "open" and the person will gain entry into a new spiritual plane of existence which will forever alter their perception of the Universe both in this life and the next. The person has "graduated" to a new level of Soul learning.
There are seven major Energy Wheels in the body.
These Chakras are called:
Each one the seven energy plexus' corresponds to different mental, emotional and spiritual planes of existence called "lokas." Each one of the chakras represents areas of life lessons/challenges that need to be overcome. If a certain challenge is not mastered during a lifetime, the soul, after death, is believed to go to the spiritual dimension associated with tat life lesson in order to meditate on those unresolved issues and prepare for the next incarnation. When they are reincarnated, it is believed that the individual's Kundalini will eventually start at the chakra where they left off in the previous lifetime.
The Seven Lokas (Spiritual Realms) are:
The Life-Lessons associated with each Loka are:
The vast majority of peoples' Kundalini is somewhere in the first three chakras (Root, Sacral and Navel). In these first chakras, the Kundalini has the capacity to fall back down and either go back to sleep or become lodged in the lower centers.
After the Kundalini has opened the Navel chakra and moved to the Heart center, then, there is no turning back and the Kundalini can only move up the chakras from there. This isn't to say that someone can't get stuck in these higher centers, it just means that the Kundalini won't fall back down again into the lower chakras. But every chakra including the higher ones have dangers to be avoided.
Life lessons to be learned at each Psychic Energy Center:
The Kundalini Energy starts its journey asleep at the base of the spine. As the individual moves beyond a dependence on physical resources, the root chakra opens, Kundalini rises into the sacral center. The downside is of the Root chakra is that in this center, a person can become cruel, controlling and abusive out of a misplaced need for security.
Here the individual learns how to differentiate themselves as individuals, they foster creativity and begin to seek out relationships with others. Here they learn how to be individuals among others. But, it is possible to become attached to relationships instead of relying on the Soul.
Here is where the Kundalini has the opportunity to make significant, permanent progress. Here the individual learns about Power and about self-sacrifice. At this stage, there is an opportunity for the Soul to learn about true self-less heroism. The danger here is that the navel center also has the potential to produce a power-hungry tyrant.
Here, the individual learns how to love others unconditionally from the perspective of Spirit awareness. conversely, the danger is that the individual can become attached to the group awareness and mistake it for Spiritual awareness.. Many here make the error of mistaking the group consciousness for Spirit consciousness. This can produce cultish behavior or attachments to religious dogma instead of the true Spirit.
Here is the realm of the ascetic monk, the spiritual teacher. At the throat center, the Kundalini seeks once again to individualize herself, but this time on a spiritual, rather than physical level. The downside is that the person can get so caught up in their individual connection to the Divine that they can become cynical toward the rest of humanity and ostracize themselves from their fellows and forget their true purpose as teachers which is to share their spiritual knowledge with others.
At the 3rd Eye, the Kundalini begins the process of merging the two halves of consciousness (Yin and Yang). Here Shiva (Yang) and Shakti (Yin) begin to merge. The Kundalini has moved beyond the gross physical world. Here there is no distinction between object and subject. But, there is still some ways to go. The challenge here is not to be seduced into believing one has reached nirvana.
Here the Kundalini is united with pure consciousness. This is the realm of "samadhi" or enlightenened awareness. At this stage, the yogi may go into a state of suspended animation for long periods of time. The lesson here is to choose to leave the bliss of pure consciousness and return to physical awareness.
From this point on, if the individual chooses to return to their body, then the Kundalini begins her descent back down all of the chakras. When she has made a complete return trip back to the mooladhara chakra, then the person is considered a "siddha," a complete human. This is the state of the Avatars like Krishna, Buddha, Jesus etc...
Notes on Spiritual Powers (Siddhis):
Often times when a chakra is opening, a person may experience "Siddhis" or spiritual powers such as: psychic awareness, healing powers, levitation, etc.. However, it should be noted that these powers are usually temporary and are the result of karmic release. They do not represent spiritual enlightenment. In fact, these siddhis are a challenge. If the individual becomes too attached to the power of the siddhis, then they can enmesh themselves deeper into karmic attachment and they will get stuck in that particular awareness. Often times, they are deluded into believing they have achieved enlightenment resulting in pride and excess ego. The power from the siddhi can create a distorted greed which will create many more negative karmas that they will have to work through in successive lives. The yogic understanding of a demon is actually an entity that has become addicted to their illusory power and this makes them distorted and destructive. This is why spiritual masters discourage people from seeking powers. If you experience these kinds of powers, it is best to leave them alone and let them fade so that you can move forward in the quest of Moksha or release from re-birth.
What many people may not realize about supernatural powers is that these abilites are the result of past karma. They do not signify spiritual enlightenment. If one uses such powers, they must only do so out of an honest desire to help.
For instance, if someone acquires a supernatural gift of healing, it may very well be because that person needs to reverse some negative karma attached to harming others in previous incarnations. Any person that he or she heals with their powers are believed to be people whom they had harmed in a previous life. The healing is merely a balancing of a karmic debt that was owed. In such a case, a person cannot take any credit or feel spiritually superior because it was their previous cruelty to that person which needed to be healed. In such cases, if the individual becomes prideful of their supernatural ability, they may use their power to control or abuse others. If this were to happen, then the person would be causing even further spiritual harm to someone they had already harmed in a previous life. You can imagine the kind of karmic debt that this person is creating for themselves. This is another danger of misusing spiritual powers. Such a person should never use their powers unless it is absolutely evident that the Universe is directing them to balance out a karmic debt. Otherwise, the possibility for serious spiritual harm to both parties is very real.
Chakras: Myths and Facts...
There is a lot of misunderstanding about Chakras and their role in spiritual practice. Popular New Age teachings have watered down the traditional meanings of these terms. This is done by lumping the different kinds of bodily spiritual vortexes into one diluted mess. According to my research and personal experience, there are three kinds of vortexes in the human body.
The tree types of bodily Energy Centers are:
Click on each word to read about Dan Tiens and Vortexes on their respective pages.
Common Chakra Misconceptions
some of the common misconceptions about these Energy centers:
Stimulation vs Opening of Chakras:
This important distinction helps to underscore what is really going on when someone has an emotional experience as they meditate on a chakra. All of the chakras are operating on some level with everyone. We can stimulate a chakra by meditating on it or on its associated emotions or properties (i.e. color or mantra.) And this practice can be successfully used to enhance our lives. But this is mere stimulation of the chakra as opposed to actually opening it. Opening of the chakras above the navel is permanent and radically life changing. If someone's life takes a radical shift toward higher consciousness, (i.e. a murderer has an epiphany and becomes a saint), this is likely the result of a chakra opening. If someone experiences powerful emotions or feelings of spiritual enlightenment, but their life does not significantly change, then they are merely stimulating the emotions and properties of a Chakra. While it is indeed, valuable to experience these temporary shifts of consciousness, they are not complete openings and no profound significance need be attached to these temporal experiences. This does not minimize the usefulness of meditative practices devoted to the chakras. We all use all of our chakras all the time. So, these meditative practices can be very helpful and fulfilling. Some practices for stimulating chakras include.
Common Chakra Myths and misconceptions:
Myth #1: Chakras are energy centers inside the body.
This is probably the most widely believed new age myth about chakras. In order to work with these energy centers, we first need to know where they are in the body. They do not exist in the physical body. They reside on the periphery of the energy body. They are actually projections onto the aura like movie film on a screen. Deep inside the spinal column, Kundalini energy illuminates certain clusters of energetic plexuses. When these energy centers have been illuminated, they "open" and project the specific vibration of spiritual light out into the aura which vibrates on a particular frequency that is mirrored in a specific spiritual, emotional and psychological plane of existence known as a Chakra. These "wheels" appear to spin which is why they were called "wheels" (Chakras) by those early yogis.
Myth #2: A person can choose to open any chakra merely by meditating on its physical location on the body.
Once again, this is another widely believed myth. We can influence the chakras, but not by merely concentrating on areas of the body. Regions of the body that are associated with each chakra (i.e. heart, 3rd eye, etc.,) are where the chakras are projected from, but simply by concentrating on any particular area will only stimulate Prana (Life Force Energy) and blood flow to these areas of the body. The meditator may feel sensations in that area or in the surrounding organs and perceive that he/she is "opening" the chakra, but this is merely the result of physical sensations brought about by their concentration. The concentration on a bodily area may also result in a temporary experience of different emotions connected to a certain chakra, but once again, this is a superficial, temporary phenomenon and does not reflect an actual opening of a Chakra. It is however, possible that the individual is stimulating one of the three Dan Tiens (energy reservoirs) in the body and mistaking the dan tien stimulation for the opening of a chakra. This is very common.
However, chakras themselves can only be opened as a result of a profound shift in consciousness. This is usually a process that involves the opening of karmic blockages that can only be released as a result of awareness of deep life lessons. Meditation can certainly aid in this process, but the actual opening of a chakra involves a total shift of awareness combined with profound life-style changes. Mere concentration on a physical area of the body is not enough by itself to produce this profound shift of awareness. If concentration alone does trigger a chakra to open, then this indicates that the chakra was on the verge of opening and this is the last step in a very long process that might have taken lifetimes to achieve. If mere meditation does indeed open a chakra, then it was a long time coming and would have happened on it's own at any time. It just needed a slight "nudge" to get the process started.
Myth #3: Chakras and Dan Tiens are merely different cultural words for the same energy vortexes.
This is also a very popular new age misunderstanding. This belief is usually held by neophytes who have only read books or websites about these energy centers and are attempting to make generalizations based on incomplete, superficial understandings. Very often these books and websites themselves are written by individuals who also have an incomplete understanding of Chakras and Dan Tiens and the misinformation is spread further. This is understandable. It is tempting to want to find commonalities between cultural energy practices. The idea that a person can simplify these different cultural spiritual terms into one common definition helps to demystify them and make them seem easier to experience, but as with these other myths, it shows an incomplete understanding.
Chakras are psychic energy projections resulting from Kundalini energy moving up the spinal column. Dan Tiens are physical Life Force Energy reservoirs found inside the body. Chakras cannot be opened through mere concentration alone. However, Dan Tiens, on the other hand, can be stimulated and strengthened through mental concentration and meditative techniques focused on certain areas of the body.
Myth #4: Kundalini is the same as Qi
This myth is usually believed by the same people who want to equate chakras with Dan Tiens. This is a tempting and understandable mistake, but it reveals a fundamental lack of knowledge about the nature of these energies. Qi energy is the term used by Taoist mystics to define Life Force Energy. Qi and Prana are the same type of Energy. Prana is the Hindu equivalent term for Life Force Energy.
Chakras, Prana and Kundalini are terms found in Hindu mysticism or Yoga to define psychic vortexes, LIfe Force Energy and psychic/karmic energy respectively. Qi is the Taoist term for Life Force Energy. It is true that, generally speaking Qi, is the same as Prana. But Kundalini is different from LIfe Force Energy. Kundalini is Karmic/Psychic Energy.
Qi and Prana are related to the Dan Tiens whereas Kundalini is related to the chakras.
Dan Tiens and Chakras do overlap in places, but they are different. Chakras project the light from energy vortexes stimulated by Kundalini. Dan Tiens are Life Force Energy reservoirs.
Chakras and Kundalini are both terms derived from Hindu yoga. If the Hindu Yogi masters who discovered chakras believed that Kundalini was the same as prana, they would not have invented an entirely new term called "Kundalini." Since they invented a completely new term called "Kundalini," it stands to reason that logically this must be a completely different type of energy and, indeed it is. And if anyone does any serious study into this energy from traditional Indian sources, they will learn that there is vast difference between Prana (Qi) and Kundalini. Now, it is true that Prana can help in stimulating Kundalini, because prana is fueled by breath. Breath control is necessary for mastering different states of mind which are necessary for mastering emotions.
In upcoming advanced lessons in Sun-Wheel-Magick, we will explore all three types of energy vortexes in the body and how we can access them and utilize them for our Magickal training.
For more information, click on CHAKRAS.
More links on each Chakra (Coming Soon)