What is a Chakra and Why It Is Okay To Talk About Them

Chakras are the primary centers or power in our subtle energy body. There are 7 primary chakras each corresponding the generalized colors of the rainbow ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). They are also associated with a specific aspect of our physical and spiritual bodies. The 7 chakras align with the energy channels (or nadis) in our spine. They are the hubs of our subtle energy body.

These 7 chakras are:

(from above the top of the head to the base of the spine)

The Crown Chakra – Color Violet – Just above your head
The Third Eye Chakra – Color Indigo – Located in your forehead
The Throat Chakra – Color Blue – Located in the throat
The Heart Chakra – Color Green – In your Chest
The Solar Plexus – Color Yellow – base of your ribcage
The Sacral Chakra – Color Orange – Belly
The Base/Root Chakra – Color Red – Groin

Image of woman with chakras overlaid. root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown.

This is a good place to step aside for a minute and discuss the model of the energy body. This is an area I had difficulty accepting when I first was introduced to the topic. I know that talking about energy can be a hang up for many people from a traditional western upbringing. The western treatment of the body as a purely physical creation leaves little room for talk of energy and the subtle aspects of the human body that haven’t been explained by science.

Ironically, growing up a Christian, which points to the spiritual body of human beings, talking about the energetic body was rather taboo. We were allowed to talk about the body in terms defined by the doctrines. Any other discussion was deemed “from Satan”. It feels funny even describing it now. Did I really grow up in a framework that considered a Chakra taboo? But the answer is yes, if it wasn’t explicitly discussed in the Bible, it was probably someone trying to lead me astray. Further discussion on this topic is appropriate for another time. Suffice it to say treatment of these concepts of metaphor helps put the model into the appropriate context.

So, my recommendation, to those that are being introduced to this topic for the first time, is to treat it as a metaphor. Even in hardcore scientific discussions metaphors are heavily relied upon.

For example, the model of an atom relies highly on a conceptualized physical construction of an atom. The description of atoms with shells of electrons and the protons and neutrons in the nucleus is a metaphor, or a model. Constructed to help people visualize the characteristics and behavior of an atom. Interestingly if you ask the average person they would say that this is what an atom actually looks like. The model of an atom has been derived from countless observations, experiments and experiences, but it is only a model. If we were able to actually view an atom large enough to be visible to the naked eye I am sure the appearance would shock you, differing dramatically from the artificial construction in your head.

We have never even seen anything as small as an atom, we’ve just observed its impact on the world.

I say all this to warm you up to the topic of chakras and our energetic body. If you dig into different belief systems, you will find discrepancies and even outright contradictions. These problems would appear to invalidate all such ideas. If this is a real part of the human body, why don’t they all agree?

The answer is, “Because it’s a model.” It’s a system of descriptions and details put together based on countless observations, experiments and experiences. The conflicting models were constructed by people looking at humans from different perspectives.

When you talk about the number of bones in a hand, how many kidneys a person has, or the number of teeth in your mouth, there is a discrete and precise answer.

When you get into the more abstract areas of our existence we have to rely on models and metaphor to explain what we see. This is where the chakras and subtle energy body exist, in the abstract. They are models constructed to explain behavior and observation.

According to traditional Indian medicine, the chakras are a number of wheel-like vortices or spirals which exist in the subtle body of living beings. Together they form part of the subtle energy body. The subtle energy body is made up of energy channels (or ‘Nadis’).

Though the model may not be an exact match, you can visualize the nadis in a similar way to our vascular system. But they are not directly visible in the same way that we cannot directly observe an atom.

Our blood flows through our bodies in big blood vessels (arteries) and then the blood flows out to smaller vessels to provide fuel to each cell in our bodies. The blood branches off into smaller and smaller vessels till at last the blood is delivered to each cell.

The energy channels work in a similar way we have the inflow and outflow of energy through the nadis (energy channels). The primary nadis runs up and down and spine and the other nadis branch off from here allowing energy to flow throughout our entire body.

In most ancient texts, the total number of nadis in the human body is stated to be 72,000. So the chakras are a core component of a model used to describe the subtle energy body.

It’s okay to talk about them, it’s okay to learn about them, it’s okay to share. The universe is vaster and more complicated than we can possibly imagine. Some day we may be able to directly observe what an atom looks like. Some day we may be able to directly observe a chakra. Until then, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So let’s keep discussion open and allow for any tool that can help us gain understanding.

Don’t be afraid, it’s only a model.

Namaste,

Kevin

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I love a parade

Happy 4th of the July to my U.S. readers. I just finished watching the 4th of July parade up here in Crescent City, CA. Fun parade and great practice being in the moment. A parade is a fun display of people supporting their organizations and you get to keep your attention right on the activity in front of you as it passes by. It’s easy to forget the activity just before it and not worry about the next coming float. Focusing on the people waving in front of you and enjoy the energy.

So for today I recommend you find a quiet spot and watch the world go by, even only for a few minutes. The past is gone and the future will tend to itself. Enjoy the now.

Namaste,

Kevin

The Purpose, Why Are We Here?

Before we all get too excited, I should start with the disclaimer, I haven’t figured it all out yet. So I don’t have the answer to life the universe and everything. But I do have some feel for what it isn’t. Possessions don’t seem to fill the gaps. Volunteer work is wonderful, but it doesn’t seem to pay the bills. And everybody seems to be running down a different path to the finish line.

We can’t all be pastors, stock brokers, software developers or restaurateurs. So what is the perfect job? The Perfect role? How do we connect the longing of our souls with the needs of this world?

Our primary job is to understand ourselves. For some understanding comes quick and their path is obvious. They see an automobile and want to learn everything about it and focus their life’s work on cars. Or they see a person building homes in Mexico and decide they must do whatever it takes to perform that task. Or they simply find something they are passionate about and connect with that. But for others, like myself, it takes time. It takes attention and inner focus to try to determine what drives you and how that could be applied to a vocation.

Slowly, through steps that felt like crawling, I came to understand the intersection of all my paths and my passion. I have gained enough understanding of myself to know what energizes me. I have developed enough vision to create a plan for how I can utilize skills and ability toward a path that I am best suited. And I have come to this place that I am now, writing to you.

It feels fantastic to be in this place where I am focusing my energies on realizing a dream of helping others live more fulfilled lives.

One of the most important part of being where I am, is accepting that I’ve only made one more step down the path. Next month or next year I may find I have to correct coarse, I have to re-evaluate what is working and if I’m still in my strength. But the steps must be taken and now must happen for then to occur.

I wanted to write this up, not just to tell a piece of my story, but also to encourage others to find their story. I believe that we are here in this life to discover our own personal story. Every step we take in our daily lives is part of our education. The mindful awareness of the lessons, as we are taught, can help us with our forward momentum.

I encourage everyone to continue down the path to determine why they are here as an individual. Identify your passions, abilities and the threads that tie your life so far together. Identify the patterns or themes. Don’t be afraid to ask for outside help and analysis. Armed with this information go forth boldly and exercise your passion.

I have this written on my office wall to remind me to be true to myself
“In a world where you can be anything… Be Yourself.”

Go out to the world and be yourself

Namaste,

Kevin

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Moderation in All things

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In meditation discussions today, when we talk about the moment we seem to revere it as the end all be all of existence. Most of meditation today, popular books, references on talk shows, and dialog in other forums focus on how we need to be in the moment. In a way, the world of meditation appears to be obsessed with that idea of the moment. But, in truth, we are creatures of balance. We require all elements, the past, the present and the future.

In general, I agree with the focus of meditation on the moment. But I also feel it is important for those beginning at meditation to be aware our lives are not all about the moment. I think the focus on the moment can be a stumbling block prevent those that can benefit from meditation from going further down the path of meditation.

Releasing expectations about the past and the future is fundamental to the meditation experience. It also helps us properly interpret those past experiences because they can be viewed through a clear lens when the mind is quiet. Our mind interprets everything we see and this can alter our perceptions and muddy the truth.

However, there are several negatives that can come out of the apparent obsession with the moment. As I mentioned earlier this focus on the moment can provide a roadblock to beginners entering the practice. Also the discipline of the moment, if improperly applied can lead to tension and stress. Momentary awareness must be applied with release and not tension.

I was recently with a friend who was very stressed and was using mindfulness and meditation to help with her stress. She was commenting how difficult it was for her to stay in the moment and verbally berating herself for not being in the moment. In this case, the obsession with the moment was in fact degrading the moment and not providing the desired benefits. We should not obsess about the moment any more than we should obsess about the past or the future. All three need to be in balance to fully and properly experience life.

Meditation and moment based awareness are crucial to proper interpretation of our experiences. But we are here to experience this world as beings that can prepare for the future and reflect on the past. Without utilization of these abilities we are not fully realizing our lives. If we never dealt with anything but the moment, we would never allow for the full expression of our human experience. Time is here as a tool for us to use. Learning from the past and applying that knowledge to our future is fundamental to progress and growth.

If you are going to obsess about anything, obsess on moderation and balance.

Yes, that statement is intended to be ironic. The real take away should be moderation in all thing especially balance.

Namaste,

Kevin

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Momentary Awareness

In my evening walk with the dogs, I came across a young couple out for a walk. I offered a friendly “Hello” and the response came from the young man of the couple, “Good morning”. I was immediately aware of the mistake offered by the young man. Being in a pleasant neutral place myself, I simply returned a friendly smile and I continued on my walk.

This experience immediately engaged my thoughts in multiple directions. First I felt pleased that I was in the moment enough to be aware that it was not indeed morning and that the young man’s mind was somewhere else entirely to have offered this greeting up. Additionally I was happy to have not been critical of the greeting. This would likely not have benefited our momentary friendship. So I was delighted that I managed to both be aware of the mistaken greeting, and aware enough to not offer criticism in response. I thought on this for some time as I walked away, pondering the dialog, the possible outcomes and my ability to stay in the moment.

It was some minutes later that I realized that I was about half a mile away from the lovely young couple and still talking with them in my mind. The dogs I was walking were still in the moment, the moment was continuing to occur around me, but I was no longer with it. A healthy appreciation of the present moment requires letting go of the past moment, so we don’t miss each moment as it occurs. If you never let go, you will never be in the moment.

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The Journey Continues…

ChakraCommunity.com represents the culmination of many efforts in my life to this point. It is the coming together of a dream and a vision to find something I am passionate about and engage in that activity for a living. I will share more of my story as the website evolves and my post continue, but suffice it to say, this is a big step.

I graduated college in the summer of 1995 and moved to the San Francisco Bay area August of 95 to begin my intense software career. I love software and working on computers, but the nature of the software industry and high tech at large always put me into a stress spiral. I am tenacious and bullheaded and I want to do things the right way. The nature of software is “Bugs Happen”. Designs will change, features will creep, communication will break down at some point in the development cycle a product will be released before it is ready. Tensions will raise… Well, I don’t want to get too far into the woods of developing software, the point is, if you’ve stuck with me this far, you know it’s difficult and that the demands are great, both mentally and physically.

So I came up with a plan, it started as a plan to get out of my stressful job in the software industry. As my awareness grew of what I was putting my body and mind through over the years, so did my angst for change and healing. Ironically this increased my stress, but it also served as the impetus to find a path and move on it.

I am the developer of several iphone apps and an android application which are tools to aid people in mindfulness and meditation. These tools have been adopted by many users and won favor in the mobile community. But the community is scattered and disconnected, and I feel I can do more. So my focus, as this moves forward, is to improve these tools and develop this community as a gathering place people to work on their spiritual path.

This is where you and Chakra Community come into play. I have built this website as a gather place for those I left behind, and the millions of others working stressful jobs and trying to manage their lives and their stress. This site is for you to come and learn from each other, to discuss the challenges you face and the triumphs you experience. I intend to offer guides and tools to enhance your mindfulness and awareness of the tensions we are under and the means of handing those tensions.

In essence, my goals is to help make your lives better.

Welcome to ChakraCommunity.com