Chakras: Energetic Portals
A more intrinsic level of evaluating and embracing energetic transactions in our bodies, and around our physical sphere relates to a set of energy portals called Chakras. Chakras are energetic centers in our body that are relational metaphor to our inner and outer worlds. In alternative medicine references, you may have heard someone comment, ‘oh your throat chakra is blocked’, or ‘your chi is out of balance’. These are examples of Chakra references.
Inherent within the human energy system are concentrated 7 primary vortices of energy. These portals influence grids; the seven chakras are the primary energetic centers-the major nexuses of energy distribution-for the rest of the human energy system. Located along the spinal pathway, each chakra is associated with particular organs, glands, nerve plexuses, and vibration. Each chakra is reference as associated with certain states of consciousness.
The chakras may be weak or strong, balanced or unbalanced. Just as massage can soothe an aching muscle or the right nutrient can stimulate a gland to function well, the chakras can be stimulated to influence energy flow. When the human energy system is working well, the body and mind are healthy, vital, and balanced. To attend to the chakras is not a diversion into some ephemeral realm of vague mystical mumbo-jumbo. The function of chakras affects every aspect of who we are and how we experience life.
(From Christopher Kilhem’s book the Five Tibetans)
The seven chakras lie along the spinal column and are connected by three energetic pathways known (in Sanskrit) as ida, pingala, and sushumna. The channels run from the base of the spine to the top of the head, conveying energy from one chakra to another. Sushumna, the central channel, is the energetic counterpart to the spinal cord and is the core channel of all energetic flow in the human energy system. Sushumna is the primary pathway through which energy flows from the base of the spine to the top of the head.
Kundalini energy travels through the sushumna, illuminating body and mind. The origins of sushumna and the other primary energetic channels, ida and pingala, are at the base of the spine, the location of the first chakra. Ida runs up the left side of the central channel; pingala ascends the right side. These two channels travel upward, intertwining with each other at each chakra. Their physical counterparts are the ganglionic nerve chains that run alongside the spinal cord. Ida is connected to the left nostril, and pingala is connected to the right. Ida is considered lunar in nature, while pingala is regarded as solar.
It’s interesting to note that the caduceus, the insignia of physicians, is a representation of these three major energetic pathways. Depicted as a staff with two serpents winding around it, and a pair of wings on top, the caduceus symbolizes the ascent of consciousness, from lower chakras to higher ones. The wings of the caduceus represent the two-petaled third eye, the wisdom eye or eye of revelation.
Description of the 7 Primary Chakras
The first chakra is located at the base of the spine at the perineum, the spot on the physical body between one’s anus and genitals. The energy flowing through this chakra is dense, vital, and powerful. This chakra is the closest to Mother Earth and deals primarily with the lowest vibration energy. This chakra is associated with all basic aspects of human survival, very primal energy. It is the root of our consciousness, thus corresponding location at the root of our spine.
Primary functions: survival, power, vital life energy, courage, elimination, awakening of kundalini energy
Associated color: Red
Associated organs: Large Intestine, rectum
Associated glands: Adrenal glands
Associated sound: LAM
Related nerve center: coccygeal, sacral plexuses
Sanskrit name muladhara
The second chakra is located just below the navel area, slightly above the reproductive organs and is fundamentally associated with creativity. Creativity is also seen here in the form of procreation and regeneration of which sexual energy is a core component of these actions. Sexual energy as creative force includes thought, feeling, behavior, dress, and when channeled promotes creative expression including, but not at all limited to, art, music, fashion, design. It is an all pervading force. The second chakra is a highly active center, the energy of which permeates virtually everything we do. It is fundamental to both basic creativity and higher ecstasy. The negative aspect of second chakra energy is that we can get ‘stuck’ in this primal, sexual force energy.
Primary functions-second chakra: creativity, procreation, sexual function, promotion of vitality, force
Associated color: Orange
Associated organs: Large intestine, bladder, kidney, sex organs
Associated glands: reproductive organs
Associated sound: VAM
Related nerve center: prostatic plexus/vaginal plexus
Sanskrit name svadhisthana
The third chakra, located at the solar plexus, is the center of the individual self. This center deals with expression, the individuation of consciousness that develops basic survival, sense of self as a unique being. It is the center of personal power and the origin of will. This chakra generates the drive toward self-assertion, personal determination and individual strength, preparing us to meet the challenges of living in the world. The center can be enormously powerful and is associated with personal charisma.
Primary functions – third chakra: will, personal power, digestion, assimilation of nutrients, understanding
Associated color: Yellow
Associated organs: liver, spleen, stomach, small intestine
Associated glands: pancreas
Associated sound: RAM
Related nerve center: solar plexus
Sanskrit name manipura
The fourth chakra lies at the point of the spine across from the sternum, center of the chest, and is considered to be the focal point of love and compassion in the human energy system. It is at the fourth chakra that human consciousness moves beyond self-centeredness into an expanded awareness of connection with the rest of the world. At the midway point between the lower three and upper three chakras, the fourth chakra marks the point of conscious departure from lower to higher awareness.
The energy that flows from this center is directed beyond personal survival to consideration of others. To gain access to the higher functions of creativity and awareness, one must ‘pass through’ the fourth chakra. This is the metaphor dealing with the heart; the fourth chakra is the transformation from primal, material based actions, desires, through the heart, the love aspect, to higher more esoteric, spiritual considerations.
Primary functions – fourth chakra: love, compassion, immunity
Associated color: Green
Associated organs: heart and lungs
Associated glands: thymus
Associated sound: TAM
Related nerve center: cardias plexus
Sanskrit name anahata
The fifth chakra is located at the spine directly behind the center of the throat. Through this chakra flow the energies for the higher functions of communication, creativity, verbal expression. The power of this chakra center is most notable in the activity of speaking. When the fifth chakra is strong one can speak with tremendous force and persuasiveness, and expressions will be dramatic, powerful, and deeply moving. This chakra is so potent that its force can be spellbinding.
Primary functions – fifth chakra: communication, truth, expression
Associated color: Blue
Associated organs: vocal chords
Associated glands: thyroid
Associated sound: HAM
Related nerve center: pharyngeal plexus
Sanskrit name visuddha
The sixth chakra is associated with the physic center and is located roughly behind the root of the nose, between the eyebrows and inward toward the center of the brain. Also know as the third eye, or wisdom eye, this chakra is the location of higher intelligence and clairvoyant vision. The third eye is the center of insight, an inner vision directed by wisdom and a deep understanding of the subtle forces at play in any situation. Individuals with this extraordinary vision are the few true clairvoyants, whereby the higher intelligence viewed by this fully activated chakra is expansive and intelligent. An open third eye also enables one to easily achieve desired outcomes that are positive and generative.
Primary functions – sixth chakra: insight, higher intelligence, clairvoyance
Associated color: Indigo
Associated organs: brain
Associated glands: pituitary
Associated sound: AUM
Related nerve center: cavernous plexus
Sanskrit name ajna
Located at the crown of the head, this chakra is commonly referred to as the crown chakra, center of cosmic consciousness. Directly opposed to the primal energy and position of the first chakra, the root chakra (earth vibrations), this chakra is positioned as the portal to all things from the heavens, celestial vibrations. It is an unconditional state of total fulfillment, the embodiment of total freedom, wisdom, energy, insight, and joy. Upon awakening the seventh chakra, one finds that cosmic consciousness is the natural human condition. Such awakening is usually the product of intense purification, inner refinement, and spiritual work; however, since cosmic consciousness, or illumination, or enlightenment, cannot be known by the intellect, one cannot say that there are only prescribed ways to attain this condition. The truth is genuine illumination can only be known through direct experience. In chanting this sound of OM is related to deep meditation, signifying gratitude for one’s life.
Primary functions – seventh chakra: cosmic consciousness
Associated color: Violet/White
Associated organs: brain
Associated glands: pineal gland
Associated sound: OM
Related nerve center: cavernous plexus
Sanskrit name sahasrara