Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Having lived such a long time in a #Christian bubble, it has been an enlightening experience this past year to step a bit out of my comfort zone and explore spiritual beliefs around the world. While still a novice, I am intrigued by the concept of #chakras. Certainly even western medicine acknowledges various energy centers within the body, which can be the foundation of #acupuncture, #reiki, #forestbathing or #grounding, #yoga, #meditation, healing touch, sound and magnetic therapy, #tapping, #aromatherapy, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Qi Gong, Shiatsu, Trigger Point Therapy, and so many more healing modalities I have yet to explore. It's a complex issue as western medicine has certainly provided a significant amount of literature in support of these modalities, but understanding exactly how they work is more a mystery.
The Christian belief system often places energy healing into a New Age philosophy and makes the claim that this is in opposition to trusting the Lord to be our great physician. In fact, many commentaries on this topic will argue that "God does not want or expect us to help ourselves. He is the source of life, of all that is good and true." Would this not then oppose all western medicine has to offer, including diagnostics and pharmaceutical therapies?
One has to find their own comfort zone and utilize a discerning heart, but it has been helpful to me to explore these different approaches to healing so I can test them against my own specialties and understandings. It is my belief that we have such little knowledge about this world, our bodies, and even spiritual understandings and when we aren't unfamiliar, it is easy to dismiss the unknown as something evil that stems from demonic doctrine. I've therefore approached my exploration with a cautious curiosity, recognizing that it is an honor to have the ability to explore ancient knowledge. I've always had a passion for integrating a balance of both science and art into my practice, but this does require a significant amount of discernment. I trust my clients can discern their own path through the various healing modalities, both within and outside of western medicine.
Elizabeth Gilbert shares about her neurologist friend in her very popular book, Eat Pray Love, "he was always agitated by this idea of the chakras, that he wanted to actually see them in a dissected human body in order to believe they existed. But after a particularly transcendent meditative experience, he came away with a new understanding of it. He said, "Just as there exists in writing a literal truth and a poetic truth, there also exists in a human being a literal anatomy and a poetic anatomy. One, you can see; one, you cannot. one is made of bones and teeth and flesh; the other is made of energy and memory and faith. But they are both equally true' (p 159)."
What is a Chakra?
Chakras are understood to be energy vortexes along the spine that energetically move in a clockwise motion, similar to tornadoes south of the equator. We find vortexes throughout creation, in our lymph and circulatory system, in the sap of plants and even within #quartz #crystals, and in our bodies of water, weather patterns, and throughout the universe. Each are thought to offer balance and within our bodies, these release #toxins and help to cleanse.
Have you ever noticed how some people build you up and some wear you down? Environments can be this way too. Some areas are peaceful while others are exceedingly energizing, for the better or worse? We do feel this energy and have an intuitive sense of how some people, things, and places improve how we feel, while others are more draining or disruptive. We've also come to understand that plants and even water can be altered by the energy to which they are exposed. The chakras are thought to help us release some of that energy, just as our gastrointestinal system releases the foods we ingest.
These chakras then may play a role in our emotions, hold or release past traumas, and assist in releasing toxic burden. If these vortexes are blocked or impaired, it would seem appropriate that they could cause issues in the physical body. Balancing these would be part of maintaining optimal wellness. Finding what brings balance is an individual exploration which is continually evolving.
Each of the chakras have a varying frequency or vibration and are therefore, represented by a varying color. Generally, these chakras will relate to food, herbs, and crystals of the same color as they are also linked to the elements of the earth. These chakras also relate to various organs, body systems, and matters of the soul.
Our Bodies are Designed with Healing Energies
The concept of energy centers within the body is a wide held belief of many ancient cultures. The Indians have a chakra system which are thought of as magnetic centers. Chinese medicine highlights twelve meridians or energy pathways. Jewish mysticism, also known as #Kabbalah, offers a geometric grid along the body called "sephirot" or power points. The Greek chakra system is similar to the Indian one, with a few differences. It seems our bodies could certainly have a similar energetic system or #polarity to what was created throughout our universe. Energy pathways need an optimal path for proper functioning.
The Indian chakra system offers the root or red center at the base of the spine and similar to a tree, this root system allows for interconnectivity within the body. The orange center is the supportive chakra where basic functions of survival and reproduction are focused, similar to the heartwood within a tree. The yellow chakra is associated with digestion or the reconstruction of energy for use throughout the body, similar to the cambium cell layer of a tree which creates sapwood. The green chakra is associated with the passage of energy or oxygen and blood circulation, as the inner bark. The blue chakra is linked to absorption of physical needs through the mouth as the branches carry nourishment to the tree and the indigo chakra is similar to the tree absorbing sunlight, as this is the chakra that allows one to perceive beyond itself. The last chakra, the #crownchakra, is typically associated with the brain or the overall photosynthesis for the tree.
If we, as Christians, require very specific scientific proof to make clear the integrities of an energetic system, is this not putting too much faith in man's science and allowing this to separate the Creator from His healing creation? It can be hard to believe in something that isn't visible to the eye, but perhaps the evidence is there? If appreciating these polarities within your body as part of the created design for healing by the Lord, then your heart is focused on Him.
I find it intriguing that there are connections to our Creator via the chakra in that the number seven has represented completion, wholeness, and divine perfection. God worked for six days and rested the seventh day, the day of completion. There are seven lampstands in #Revelation, which are symbols of spiritual light shining out to a spiritually dark world. When the Holy Spirit enters us, we now have true light and are no longer filled with darkness. Light contains color and with these vortexes as beacons of light, vibrating a spectrum of color, might there be possibility that tuning into our own needs and energy balances keeps us in balance so we can best work to His glory?
Maintaining an Energetic Balance
Our body works towards #homeostasis so these energy centers are designed to self-balance but certainly, circumstances can disrupt this balance. There are many recommendations here and like all other aspects of #holistichealing, there is no quick fix and the answers are already known to us. We must eat well, sleep sufficiently, ground ourselves in #nature, and process our traumas. For some this might come through specific #herbalremedies, others through diet changes. Some find healing with #crystals or #essentialoils, each a product of our created earth. Avoiding man manipulated toxins and chemicals is important. Integrate a detoxing regimen into your seasonal routine.
Identify toxic relationships. Spiritual health is also vital for complete wholeness. Bitterness, fear, anger, grief, regret, harmful habits and self-criticism are toxic and in themselves create energy imbalances. You bring about what you think about, right? Speak goodness into being. Take time to relax. Spend time in nature. Take walks in the forest or along the beach, chill by the lake, hike around the bird sanctuary at Eagle Creek, and appreciate the great wonders of nature. Find contentment in the stillness.
Utilizing Your Third Eye to Shift Your View
The third eye is rooted in the pineal gland, and is your sixth chakra or energy center. It is considered the "sixth sense." There are many theorized uses of the third eye many of which discuss enhanced ability for understanding hidden connections and gaining insight about yourself and the world around you. #Empathy is thought to be centered in the third eye. I've heard this described a bit like when you see your child playing and an accumulation of factors lead you to believe someone is about to get hurt if the circumstances don't change so you intervene in the events unfolding. You have a sense of the projected potential, or a sense of where the energy, motion, and activities will flow through time.
We don't see energy per se, but we can see the results of this energy. The third eye processes this information and overlays that with our senses in such a way that we can interpret and interact with energy in a more precise manner. We've all had a sense about something or someone we could not explain. The third eye is our mind trying to communicate something with us that is understood without utilizing our higher brain. It is the time we listen in #meditation, as opposed to talking in #prayer, that we mature our sixth sense or third eye. This allows us to see ourselves and the world through new eyes.
Have you ever been in a tough situation and quickly felt like your bind was the result of someone else's actions, but after some time of reflection you were able to accept your role in the circumstance? When we can see circumstances outside our #ego, through a higher consciousness, from a shift in our vision, we begin to awaken a bit spiritually. Our greatest power to change ourselves is found in our ability to see beyond the story we tell ourselves.
Whatever you give your positive or negative attention you energize and bring to life, for better or worse. If you bring your attention to any point of your body, you energize it. We feel this in our movement practices. If we focus mentally on one body part we have a more keen sense of it. "Whatever you focus on, you fortify" as #BaronBaptiste has said, creator of power yoga. The opposite is also true; whatever you ignore will atrophy.
Setting the Right Intention
When we come to our yoga mats, most especially in a vinyasa class, we are often asked to set our intention. My boys journal their intentions daily. Vinyasa is the word Indians use to refer to the right intention leading us to the realm of flow. We are utilizing stillness of mind, breath, movement of our body, and grounding in our #vinyasa yoga flows to put forth, with "right intent," what is is we desire for ourselves and others. We really can transform our body, our lives, and our worlds. A shift in our vision is required. We must first look inward. There is a certain leap of faith we must take. We don't necessarily need to know if there are seven energy vortexes within our bodies but we do need to trust that transformation of ourselves is possible. We must not simply approach complete wellness intellectually, but also with heart. We need to shift from seeing with our literal eyes to also using our spiritual sense or our third eye.