The Chakras
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 Page 6 of Nine


Understanding Chakras



The term "Chakra" is very trendy these days.  But most people have only a pop-culture understanding of them - which is a euphemistic way of saying no understanding at all.  The chakras are not really the "thing" - the key to health, happiness, growth, self-improvement and realizing your full potential comes from understanding energy flows; not chakras.  What you really want to understand is how to open up the sushumna nadi so that kundalini energy will flow from your perineum to the top of your head.



The Sushumna Nadi


Okay, so what's the sushumna nadi?  Funny you should ask.



The sushumna nadi is an energy channel that runs through your body from the bottom of your crotch up through the top of your head.  In the picture above, it is represented by the skinny white vertical pole running through the middle of all of those circles.  "Nadi" just means energy channel.  It is the same in concept to a vein or an artery, but is easier to visualize as equivalent to a "meridian"; one of the channels that the acupuncturist utilizes.  A surgeon can cut you open and look all day long; he will not find a nadi or a chakra.  Neither will he find love, goodness, peace, anger, fear frustration, kindness . . . Are they in there? 







Energy falls up.  All energy is the same; mass = energy, and energy = energy, but the energy that can run upwards through this nadi is called kundalini.  We are designed so as to freely promote the flow of this kundalini up the sushumna nadi.  Some of the chakras are represented by the circles in the picture above.  You can't really draw a picture of a nadi or a chakra, because they are not physical things - just like you cannot draw a picture of peace.  But you can draw of picture of how nice things are as a result of their proper functioning.


If you go to yoga class, the teacher may speak of moving kundalini energy up your spine.  That is technically incorrect, but it's a good way to think of it. On the following picture you can see the medical symbol (called "caduceus") is made in the image and likeness of the sushumna nadi - and the snakes' seven crossing points are chakras.  Both of these things are analogous to the spine, and they run along the spine, but they are not the spine.  In fact, most technically, kundalini does not rise up through the sushumna, because there are other nadis sleeved inside of it.  In the interest of time, space and simplicity, we are leaving out some of that stuff here.  If you want to know more, read my book!




There are a few other things to mention.  We have hundreds of chakras - chakrettes and chakritas and so on - but only six of them are along the sushumna, with a seventh just above.  There are two other nadis - called the ida and the pingala that wrap around the sushumna.  You can see them on the right, but they are easier to see on the caduceus - they are the snakes.  We have upwards of 72,000 nadis in us.


Have you ever been in a chemistry lab and seen the distillation process?   This is a good way to think of kundalini (or kundalini sakti).  Kundalini is made to steam up the sushumna and and condense its way back down again, over and over is a process of continuous refinement, purification and evolution.  But kundalini does not flow up most peoples' sushumna nadis at all, because its flow is crimped off by these things called chakras.    It is noteworthy that most peoples' so-called "kundalini risings" are actually various forms of nervous breakdowns, quirks, needs-for-attention, fabrications, hysteria episodes and so on.





Kundalini yoga is tantra yoga.  So if you are in to chakras, you are practicing tantra.  Tantra is not what you think it is at all - it is not about sexual positions and things like that.  In fact, the Tantra Swamis are celibate - virgins!  But they do understand their sexual energy.  In fact, they understand it as something completely devoid of libido.  We'll discuss all of this in a couple of pages.


Yoga, by the way, is not an exercise class.  Only the uninformed see it that way.  If you want buns of steel and six pack abs, find a nice Pilates class or practice aerobics.  Most yoga taught in the West is not yoga at all - it's more like "yogacise" or "yogaerobics".  If your yoga class is giving you six pack abs and buns of steel, it isn't yoga.


Tantra is mystical, magical and powerful - it is the basis of Vedantic mysticism.  The word "tantra" means "to weave". The word yoga means "union".  Tantra is all about weaving together diverse energies.  As is the case with any high-voltage wiring, if you are not properly grounded, you can electrocute yourself.









To get energy to flow up the sushumna, we must unclog the crimps.  Now we are to the point where we can briefly describe chakras.  First some advice - get your mind off of your third eye chakra.  The only chakra you need to know anything about is your root chakra.  We will devote the entire next page to the root chakra. 


See this fellow on the right?  The seven main chakras are represented by the full-color circles.  Think of the springy things that come from them as "energy in / energy out" portals.  The sushumna is the vertical line through the chakras.  Kundalini energy flows upwards.  Each of those chakras constitutes a crimp in the energy hose.  We must unclog the hose from the bottom up. 


Think of the sushumna as a water hose.  The spigot is at the root chakra (the red circle) in the perineum.  The object is to get water spraying out the top of the head.  So even if chakras 2 through 7 are wide open, if the first one is closed, you get zero flow.  Don't focus on anything else until your root chakra is open.  How can you tell?  If you can't tell, it's not open.






What follows is a very brief and extremely oversimplified description of the seven main chakras.




Root Chakra (Muladhara) -

The root chakra is unlimited power.  When the root chakra is open, you can do anything!  Why are you so disempowered then?  Because the root chakra is also the chakra of anger, fear, frustration, hatred, jealousy, envy, and all of the "gritted teeth" emotions. 

The root chakra is not about the tribe, identification, your sweetheart, world peace, or anything else.  It is about you and life.

The root chakra maps to the physical body, and is the only chakra you really need to know about.  See the next page.



Sacral Chakra (Svadhistana) -

The second chakra is all about healthy relationships with healthy, available people; friends, soul-mates and life partners.  If you cannot maintain close friendships, you need to look at your second chakra.

The second chakra is not the so-called sex chakra, as many will tell you, but if you have good relationships, then one of those wonderful relationships will be with a romantic partner.

The second chakra maps to the emotional body, and has to do with tactile feelings.



Solar Plexus Chakra (Manuipura) -

The third chakra is the refinery.  The first two chakras are the power, and it is the third chakra that forges that power into usable energy.

The third chakra is the "live and let live" chakra.  When your third chakra is healthy, you are neither controlling nor manipulable.    Predators and victims are both people with dysfunctional solar plexus chakras.

The solar plexus chakra maps to the mental body.



Heart Chakra (Anahata) -

The fourth chakra is the "root chakra to the spirit".  In all of the power and control of the first three chakras, there is no real compassion, sweetness, kindness.  The heart is where the softer side of us manifests.  Whereas the second chakra is the ability to connect to a few close friends, the heart chakra is the chakra of compassion towards humanity.

The dysfunctional heart chakra is the land of depression, sadness, low-self-esteem and other deflating emotions.

The heart chakra maps the the astral body.



Throat Chakra (Vishuddha) -

The fifth chakra is the chakra of expression and discretion.  The fifth chakra is the ability to speak the truth always, but always lovingly and with care for the feelings of others. 

When the throat chakra doesn't function, you find yourself gullible, and unable to express yourself clearly.

The fifth chakra is the chakra of the ethereal body.  You don't need to know what this means.  Go back and focus on your root chakra.



Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)

The sixth chakra is the chakra of clarity, focus, concentration and intelligence.  If you go through the proper channels, by the time the third eye is open, you may begin to be able to see the unseen, hear the unheard and know the unknown.

Most people who talk about opening their third eye define themselves as being full of malarkey.  The people who are opening it are not talking about it.

The sixth chakra is the chakra of the celestial body.  You don't need to know what this means.  Go back and focus on your root chakra.



Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) -

The crown chakra is the chakra of universal consciousness.  People who have opened their crown chakra don't say anything about it, so for the rest of the population, everything is speculative.  It is the chakra of the ketheric body.  You don't need to know what that means.



Chakras - Health and Healing

There is a common misconception that chakras map to our bodies in some geographical way; that all chest pains are heart chakra problems, headaches are third eye problems, and so on.  This is not the case.  In fact, the root chakra is the chakra of the physical body, and therefore ALL physical ailments -  from sprained toes to migraine headaches - are root chakra problems by definition.

Emotional problems have a second chakra component (and a root chakra component).  Mental problems have a solar plexus chakra component (and a root chakra component).  By the time we reach the heart chakra, our issues become more of compassion, spirituality and transcendence, and beyond the scope of "not being sick anymore".

The whole world of kundalini and nadis and chakras defies the analytical western-mindset cause-and-affect approach to things.  That level of analysis leads us to isolate, classify and categorize, while understanding the chakras is all about unifying and smooshing things together.  Again (and again and again) if you are working on being free of some sort of sickness or physical/emotional/spiritual impediment or limitation, think in terms of energy flow, and not of isolating.  Leave the world of, "Is this an emotional problem or a physical one?" and unify.


The root chakra is the chakra you need to understand.  To learn just a little about it, click the button below.



Page 7 - The Root Chakra



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