This is an English version of an earlier article in Spanish.
The chakras are areas of our bodies lined up along the spinal column. Visualizing these areas, we can identify concepts and examine our thought patterns and behaviors from different points of view.
Depending the source, there are five, six, or seven chakras. For me there are six, and my ideas about the chakras are mine. They work for me. If there’s any basis in the ancient traditions it’s because I read something and forgot, with the passage of time, where and when. Really, perhaps I ought not to call them chakras, but here they are as I understand and visualize them:
- Presense: in the base of the spinal column
- Intention: just above the belly button
- Pleasure: in the solar plexus
- Feeling: in the heart and lungs
- Truth: in the throat
- Consciousness: in the head
Presence is that we are. We have a place in the world. We exist. We take up space. That we are here is a fact. We are here. In our mother’s womb we had a presense. Our mother took note of us when we moved and when she moved. From that moment we began to have presence. It is a fact that we are here in the world and that we are a part of it until we are no longer. To deny that or attempt to take it away is a capital crime. Our presense is a birthright. Here we are. Deal.
Our presence is our grounded base, our connection to the earth and our extension into the space of and around our bodies. We are rooted in our presence.
Intention is located at our center of gravity. If we were floating in space, all of our movements would rotate around this point. When we walk, this point is balanced in forward motion. When we push on something, we need to push on something else opposite this center. Otherwise we will topple or move away. Our center is the focus of attention in the practice of Tai Chi.
At the center, we have intention, because intention is movement. Whether physical or verbal, when our intentions are expressed through our center they have power, equilibrium and balance. Our intentions are more powerful when applied from our grounded presence through our center.
Pleasure is appetite and gratitude. It is desire and appreciation. It is motivation, the motor that drives us toward what we enjoy, what we desire, what we like. The most gratifying aspect of meditating and living is pleasure– pleasure of being, pleasure of feeling, pleasure and gratitude.
Our feelings are our radar. When we feel angry it is a signal that we have encountered something unjust. Anger communicates a need to do something to confront it, and communicate the injustice that we feel. Fear is an indicator of something unfamiliar that requires careful, attentive navegation. Anger and fear together signify danger. Anxiety indicates a need to explore and understand from a place of safety. Happiness indicates a good place and freedom to enjoy pleasure. Feelings of contentment indicate that we have found our home.
The chakra in our chest helps us check-in with our feelings. Checking in with our feelings gives us information about our environment– warning when things are not okay, calm when they are, and everywhere in-between.
Our truth is the power to say what we need to say, to communicate our feelings, desires, intentions, and that which we need to communicate to achieve our goals. It signals our perception of whatever situation or experience. It is our truth the way we see it.
It is not to say everything that we think. It is to say that which we need to say. When we communicate, it’s best that we don’t lie to others or to ourselves. The knowledge of our own truth, that we don’t lie to ourselves, this is the most difficult and the most important.
Conscience is the knowledge of ourselves, our thoughts, actions, and perceptions. When we hear music ar when another person is talking to us, for example, to be conscious that we are listening signifies that we are paying attention. If we have other thoughts we realize that we’re having other thoughts and return to paying attention.
As such, there is perception and consciousness of perception. There is seeing and being aware that we are seeing, tasting and being aware that we are tasting, breathing and being aware that we are breathing. On a third level we know that we have this consciousness. Consciousness is our wholeness, the total of our being and knowledge of our being. With consciousness we experience presence in our lives and the whole of life around us.
Sit quietly, breathing deeply in and out at a rate that doesn’t cause you to hyperventilate or feel short of breath– calm and relaxed breathing in and out. On the intake of breath, trace the chakras moving down your body from head to tail– Consciousness, Truth, Feeling, Pleasure, Intention, Presence. On the release of breath, trace the chakras moving up your body from tail to head– Presence, Intention, Pleasure, Feeling, Truth, Consciousness.
Feel free to hold attention on any or whichever chakra while continuing to breath gently and fully in and out. Be conscous of its place in your body and the significance it has, what it brings to you, and what it tells.
With practice, it is possible to readily “check-in” with the chakras when stressed or challenged, to find guidance and power from within.