Start with love, or start with pain. But for goodness sakes, for the sake of your life and soul, get started.
The “Chakra” system is several different things: a metaphysical “ladder” to spiritual enlightenment, a “map” of “energies” related to the acupuncture meridians of Chinese medicine, a diagram of psychological or social development comparable to Maslow’s hierarchy but thousands of years older. It’s also a terrific model of character development for fiction writers, but that’s another story.
On a spiritual/psychological level you can look at them as a series of steps which, on average, the typical human being traverses as they mature. Starting from the bottom, or “base/fundamental” they are Survival, Sexuality, Power, Emotion, Communication, Intellect, and Spirit. The idea is that if you satisfy the foundational “chakras” you automatically “evolve” to the next level. This is “awakening.” In other words,
- Muladhara (root chakra). Survival. At the base of the spine. Fear shuts down EVERYTHING. But it also empowers. The point being that when you are holding your breath, and your body is fighting for air, you will have a hard time solving a calculus problem. ANY time a political issue touches on survival, the conversation must be very calm indeed, or emotions masking as logic will rule the day.
- Svahasthana (sacral) Sex. After core individual survival, we have genetic survival, and all of the pleasure, bonding, status and other things that tie in due to biological and social evolution. Insanely powerful, and we’ve all experienced that sense that the Forebrain is shutting down and moral and ethical decisions become MUCH more difficult once you are turned on. Or am I the only one? Oops.
- Manapura (solar plexus). Power. Money, influence. Physical strength and authority. The ability to control your environment, to create change. To raise your family according to your values. Money is the most fluid form of power, the one we can pass from one person to another most easily, and a symbol of how the community values our personal expression of creativity and energy. Also the center of physical mass with huge martial arts applications: the Japanese “hara” and Chinese “Tan Tien” correspond.
- Anahata (heart). Emotion. Love.
These four are the most foundational. The others: Vishuddhi (throat/communication), Anja (Third eye/Intellect) and Sahasrara (crown/Spirit) are said to open naturally if you take care of these first four.
Guru Sri Chinmoy said that you can “awaken” starting from the base (survival) or from the heart (love). Which is better? I suspect that to the degree that he was correct, it depends on the person. (and by the way, I’ll repeat his warning: to NEVER attempt to “awaken” from the top down. This is the path to delusion on a massive scale, the creation of a reality map disconnected from either experienced or “deep” reality.)
What happens if you start at the “beginning”?
START WITH SURVIVAL. Survival concerns trigger fear, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. Fear is a message to fight or run, to pay attention. Non-clinical depression might be seen as fear without anywhere to run and nothing to effectively fight. Might as well curl up and die, right? So if you deal with your survival issues (food, shelter, reduction of pain) you automatically begin to seek pleasure, which will lead you “up” the ladder.
SEX is fun for primates. And one of the first things people seek after a life-threatening event, as it is an affirmation of existence….and also a continuation of the species. Not concerned with PERSONAL survival, we think about GENETIC survival. And stress relief. And bonding. Yep. One of the most important choices you make in your life is your circle of relationship, and your primary relationship for human beings is your mate, your sexual partner, the one you bond to to create a safe family for the production and raising of children. Even if you are beyond child-bearing years, or using birth control, or in a gay relationship, the wiring is the same. The pair-bond instinct is insanely powerful, and kicks in whenever you perform reproductive activity, or anything close to it. Be sure that your sexual pursuits are in alignment with survival (careful of disease, don’t mess with crazy people, don’t screw around with someone else’s mate) and the next thing up is power. Why? Well…
POWER. The protection of children. But also BEAUTY, a different expression of power. Anyone who hasn’t noticed that beauty and power/money tend to cluster together hasn’t paid attention. This might well be changing, but traditionally, the exchange was the more “power” (by cultural definition) a man has, the more “beauty” (by cultural definition) he has access to. And the more “beauty” a woman has, the more “power” in a partner SHE can attract. I used to think that this was only a male-female dynamic, but looking at the relationships of powerful gay celebrities, the precise same dynamic seems to crop up, so I think it’s just human.
Follow this, now: start with power. Survive, or nothing else gets done, right? Then expand to pleasure, and nothing feels as acutely good as sex, moment for moment. We’re wired up that way. But we have to pursue it in alignment with survival needs, or it will bite us. Sex leads to children, which must be protected, needing power. And power gives us access to more “attractive” sexual partners. These first three, understood, make perfect sense of about 99% of human behavior.
Then next comes emotion. HEART. Even arranged marriages, created for the survival and support of family webs, purely about maintaining society, lead to sex and pair-bonding. The production of children, which trigger memories of our own childhoods.
And here’s the thing: EVERYONE ALIVE TO READ THIS experienced love, nurturing, protection. “Failure to thrive” is a real thing. Infants given food and shelter but not cooed over hugged cuddled and kissed DIE. You might have no memory of this time, but it is there, perhaps hidden within layers of pain and abuse and neglect…but it is there. A physiologist might say that babies trigger the production of oxytocin, making us feel gooooood. And some of that “good” connects to our partner, which gives us a partner committed to our survival. The “Mastermind” principle from Think And Grow Rich is best primarily applied to our marriage partner, and there is nothing more destructive to our dreams than a partner who does not share our values and dreams and goals and core beliefs. Better by far to be alone, and “connect’ with our own hearts, the “child” within.
And if you do that, connect deeply, you have access to intuition, energy, and creativity. Programmed to move away from pain, we will start to apply that to survival. And we will then seek pleasure, which leads to power and partners. And if all of that is in alignment, we have a foundation that cannot be beat.
If YOU had no crippling fear around your survival issues, had access to pleasure whenever you craved it that supported your search for expansive power, and ALL of that was aligned with a sense of loving yourself…we are then programmed to love others (children and partner) which connects us to the world, which makes us see ourselves in the lives of others, and ultimately begin to seen communication on a deeper level.
But we don’t need to go to the 5th, 6th, or 7th Chakras. They will take care of themselves, naturally, if you have your pain, pleasure, power, and fear/love core all working for you. It is like taking the kinks out of wiring so that the power doesn’t create a “burn out” point. You aren’t fighting yourself, but are capable of fighting FOR yourself. And your family. And your dreams.
Imagine having such a foundation. You would begin every day with love and hope. From there, you are a “winner” no matter what happens, but also have access to all your creativity, your brakes “off” prepared to protect yourself from predators and capable of bonding to you the allies and partners who can protect you if you cannot protect yourself.
God, there is an infinite amount that could be written about this. But the Ancient Child and Heartbeat Meditation and the Morning Ritual are all designed to align you in this way, heal you so that you can have this foundation. You can get them for $1 at www.lifewrite.com.
We could go on, but I want to stop and ask if there are any questions about anything I’ve said here so far. How to implement? You could use the Ancient Child, connect with the loving younger “you” and awaken your protective urge.
You could start with the Morning Ritual, acknowledge your dreams, begin to take daily action and take one more step toward growth every day, while flooding yourself with faith and gratitude and energy.
Or you could begin with Heartbeat Meditation, simply connecting yourself to a source of loving emotion, which gives you the motivation to know you are more than your pain, which gives you the drive to heal and care for yourself as you would for your children, to seek pleasure in alignment with survival and loving values, to accept no partner who does not honor you and know that you will never hold a partner who is more together than you are. To acknowledge that you crave partnership that will motivate you to be the best YOU can be, to increase the value of the gift you give your lover. Which gives you a better life partner. Which leads to more security, more power and elegance in your life, greater joy and self-satisfaction, in a feedback loop, a positive spiritual/emotional spiral that is evolutionary in nature.
Oh, it all works together so well it is spooky. And you can experience it all just by committing to thirty days of positive emotions and focus. I hope you’ll give yourself that gift.
You’re worth it.