Most people who practice yoga have heard about the 7 chakras, but what is their succinct definition?
This was the official one given in my Philosophy of Yoga undergraduate course: Chakra or Cakra (wheel in Sanskrit), in its principal esoteric connotation the word denotes the psychoenergetic vortices forming the major “organs” of the life energy or prana body.
A general understanding of the Western yoga practitioner would go something like this: “the chakras are whirlpools of energy located along your spine or mid-line that represent different levels of consciousness.”
In other words, a layered map of human energetic anatomy.
Ask yourself, can you physically locate the chakras in your body?
Besides visualization, do they actually exist?
I personally cannot answer the above questions.
And I think it can be more useful for the practitioner of yoga to view them for what they are: symbols. Symbols of a kind of lens to view the world through.
The 7 ‘Vortices’
Seven is a powerful number that contains just enough information to make a complete system.
Easily remembered, easily digestible.
I think this system is so appealing to the West because it is so elegant.
“Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat.”
Symbols are excellent intellectual tools. They are devices capable of encapsulating and hierarchically organizing vast amounts of data. The 7 chakras are extremely descriptive of the human experience in my opinion.
So what do chakras have to do with our lives then? Besides realizing their presence in deep contemplation, what other uses does this map have?
I think the answer has to do with evolutionary tendencies. These nodes of energy are both individually indicative of what makes up a human being’s inner psychic structure, as well as collectively indicative of the human race’s level of conscious awareness.
Face it: Human Beings are still evolving.
Make no mistake, humanity is having growing pains right now. We are leaving maladaptive evolutionary patterns behind. A new human is being born.
This map can be useful in understanding our current situation in 2016.
As I see it, we as individuals, and as members of our extended tribes need to step up our intentional action. How will this manifest in the world?
Looking at the global situation, let us apply the chakras to civilization’s evolutionary status.
Here are my 7 Chakras of Global Action
Muladhara or ‘Root’ Chakra
Element Earth Color Red Governs security in the physical sense: adequate food, shelter, resources, etc.
According to thought leaders such as Buckminster Fuller, we have had the resources and capability to provide everyone with a basic set of life-sustaining commodities since 1950. The time to champion abundance and responsible management of global resources has come.
Svadisthana or ‘Sacral’ Chakra
Element Water Color Orange Governs relating, creativity, and our ability to accept new experiences.
We can treat each other with the common, creative dignity guaranteed to all human beings. We can learn to relate beyond boundaries such as ethnicity, language, and nationality. There are no real racial or gender boundaries inherent on planet Earth, and thus the recognition of One Tribe will be an evolutionary event.
Manipura or ‘Solar Plexus’ Chakra
Element Fire, Color Yellow Governs action, self-worth, and ego-consciousness.
The individual is the smallest unit of polity, and therefore the one most capable of creative activity. Now, in the age of technological availability, we can claim our own power as individuals, professionals, artists, visionaries, and conscious creators.
Anahata or ‘Heart’ Chakra
Element Air Color Green Governs love, our capacity for joy, and inner peace.
The Earth is changing, and it’s become apparent in her species’ die-offs and climate change that it is certainly human assisted.
We will have to learn to evolve sustainably with her or perish as a yet another empire out of balance with its environment. To adapt to our situation in the 21st century, we need to learn how to love our home planet as ourselves.
Vishudda or ‘Throat’ Chakra
Element Ether/Sound Color Blue Governs expression, spreading of truth, and communication.
We need open transparency from our governments and leaders. The era to banish lies and corruption in the service of humanity has come. Becoming servants of Truth, many of the glaring problems faced in politics will vanish in its simple presence.
Ajna or ‘Third Eye’ Chakra
Element Void Color Indigo Governs intelligence, intuition, imagination, and discriminating decision-making.
To guide and heal, we must reclaim our ancient ancestors’ birthright: that of the wisdom traditions and knowledge of the universal laws. It will take a tribal reawakening, and the utilization of the oldest healer archetype, that of the shaman, in order to redeem the soul of the West. It begins with the awakening of the intuition.
Sahasrara or ‘Crown’ Chakra
Element Space Color Violet Governs receptivity to the divine, connectivity to the network of all life, and spiritual awakening.
At “the end” of most spiritual paths, one will always encounter this sense of cosmic bliss. Once we realign with our destiny as a species, as stewards and caretakers of this precious garden world, then we will begin to usher in positive global change mediated by technology, sensible policy, social media, and intentional community action.
I find that the 7 Chakras are powerful mental and embodiment tools for experiencing “higher” consciousness. For my own practice, they provide a bottom-to-top, yet also top-to-bottom perspective on the complexity of our inner world.
The chakras contain broad information about the layers of the human experience as well as the general trends in culture. Building from the physical ground of material existence up to the most esoteric, this system truly reflects a deep understanding of the human psyche.