Chakras & Awakening
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
In the yogic tradition it is taught that there are 7 main subtle energy/power centers in our bodies known as "chakras". They start at the base of the spine and proceed like a pyramid upward from 1 through 7, peaking at the crown of the head. Translated from Sanskrit to English chakra means wheel.
Do you choose to think of the chakras literally or not?
It doesn't really matter as far as I'm concerned. I'm interested in the practical application they can offer for our daily lives when their overall themes and experiences are brought into awareness and worked on consciously.
How do they work?
Within each of us, these power centers can be in or out of balance, essentially functioning well or not. Each center works independently but also in a system together. In some cases on the extreme side, certain chakras can feel like they are shut down all together or conversely, that they are cranked up so high that they throw the rest of our systems out of balance...like that guy in a band who wants to steal the whole show and forgets that he should be rocking his role in the team.
Are all 7 chakras turned on for me?
Good question. Did you see the 2017 Spider-man Homecoming film? In this telling of the story, Tony Stark, the brilliant inventor and guy behind Ironman takes an interest in young Spidey and ends up making him a pretty epic superhero suit. Peter Parker wears the suit for a while before figuring out that there are advanced built in features that he was unaware of while operating in "training wheels mode".
Consider that most of humanity is operating in "training wheels mode" to a certain degree In regard to their chakras. Even within the features that we know a lot about, if we don't take the time to master them, we are still not operating optimally, and fall short of our potential, which doesn't feel good. Then keep in mind all the advanced features waiting to be discovered...
How do the chakras relate to spiritual awakening?
People throw around the term awakening in various spiritual traditions and can mean different things. In my own experience: Awakening, or waking up can be seen as an art more than a science (hence "Art of Waking Up") and is ultimately the practice of balancing these inner energy systems, especially as the ones at the top become activated and we exit "training wheels mode", keeping with the metaphor.
For instance it's pretty common that people get a taste of certain chakra 6 experiences and go around proclaiming their enlightenment to whoever will listen in one way or another. This is nonsense and not the whole picture. I say this as a person who was deep in that noise in 2007 when I first accidentally switched "training wheels mode" off so to speak and was flooded with "spiritual" experiences that I had no context for.
Generally there are a range of practices we can do to get ready to exit "training wheels mode" and activate chakra 6 and 7 more fully, but in the end we can't force a mystical experience. Those come in their own timing. We are ultimately riding the waves of what's to change in and around us daily. Learning to balance, embrace, embody and GROUND all of the energy, or power within is the key to thriving in the vast ocean of existence we find ourselves swimming in.
What are the 7 chakras?
Check out these other posts for the detail, today we’ll just do a quick name drop:
Having awareness around what each power center is related to can help us take practical actions to bring those parts of our lives into balance. Much like a dashboard, we can check in with each energy center and its related life themes to see how we are showing up in that area of our lives.