How the Chakras Are Explained in Various Esoteric Traditions

How the Chakras Are Explained in Various Esoteric Traditions

The chakras, or sacred spinning vortexes of energy, translated from the Sanskrit language as simply, wheels. Chakras are an energetic phenomenon with different intellectual notions, dependent upon the wisdom tradition you reference. While their power to shape your world-view is fascinating, it’s the cross-realization from China, Tibet and India, which merits discussion. Whether you’re referring to the lower dantian, or the lower three chakras, use the wisdom traditions, in to purify energy and help it to rise.

Carl Jung Explains Eastern Thought to Western Minds

The chakras were realized Qigong, Taijiquan, yoga and other shamanic practices. The power of kundalini and the presence of chakras is understood, in ancient Christian Gnostic teachings. Some may even argue that Christ’s teachings were more ‘Eastern’ than many modern churches would like to admit. Furthermore, even Jung and Freud understood chakras and kundalini energy.

Jung seamlessly explained the correlations between the I-ching, Zen, Buddhism, and Indian conceptualizations in “Western Consciousness and Eastern Insight”. In fact, ‘yoga’ is a term that incorporates all eastern teachings, according to Jung. He even gave lectures in 1939 in Zurich on Patanjali’s yoga sutras. In almost every school of Eastern thought, the terms moksha, samadhi and nirvana are used. These overarching terms, join the understanding of chakras and meridians, in Japanese and Chinese medicine, as well as Indian yoga.

Moksha: release from the cycle of birth and death as the result of karma.

Samadhi: A state of intense concentration gained through meditation. Interestingly, in the Indian concept of Samadhi, the word also means a funerary moment. This is the symbolic death of the ego, in order to attain liberation.

Nirvana: the transcendent state wherein one is liberated form karma.

The chakras are the centers of spiritual power in the body that can be awakened through meditation. Qigong, aromatherapy, reiki, acupuncture, yoga, mantra, the use of sound, martial arts and other alternative healing modalities awaken the chakras. The point of these practices is to purify the energy that runs through these spinning wheels in the body. In Eastern traditions, reality is experienced as a conceptualized realization, and not a direct experience dependent upon the energy flowing through the chakras. Depending on our level of realization, we have different experiences.

As one purifies each of the seven centers, they can look forward to the following realizations:

A balanced and purified Mooladhara chakra

This chakra translates as a connection to the earth. We have complete trust that all our needs will be provided. When balanced, we can laugh and play with joy and without shame. We have no prejudice or conditioning which inhibits our full expression of joy (like a child). Ironically, it is the innocence of a child that allows us to have direction and purpose in life, and to reach toward goals with full expression and utter abandon. The legs and feet, which are governed by mooladhars chakra, are in full health when this center is balanced.

A balanced and purified Swadhistana Chakra

This chakra translates to being like water. We are sexually and creatively alive. Our creative gifts rise to the forefront when this center is open and balanced. We can connect to each other and be flexible with ease. Our tongue and hands are in full health. We enjoy a great sex life and fertility when this chakra is balanced.

The third spiritual center, Manipura

this chakra offers balance in our egos and intellects. It controls the cerebellum and frontal lobes, which are important brain centers for music and speech. The pancreas, liver, and gallbladder are also governed by Manipura. When this center, also called the solar plexus, is balanced, you know yourself well. You can also enjoy healthy teeth, bones, cerebral health and digestive health when this chakra is in balance.

The Dantien

These are the lower three chakras, also known in Chinese, Japanese and various martial arts as the lower dantien. Before we can start to concern ourselves with higher spiritual pursuits, these lower chakras must be purified and balanced. The following chakras, forming the middle dantien, are responsible for governing the emotional energy of the body. They are called Shen in China and Japan, Thuk in Tibetan traditions, and Anahata in the Indian tradition.

The fourth spiritual center, Anahata

This chakra is our gateway to completely realized compassion. In a poetic interpretation of the Sanskrit word, Anahata means unstruck, unhurt or unbeaten – like a drum or musical instrument. But as far as spiritual realization, it means that you can love without worrying that you will be hurt. You love with abandon and without fear. When the energy of the lower three chakras is balanced and you start to ‘come into your heart,’ you no longer have to crawl through karma. You can start to live through grace. Vibrate joy and therefore draw experiences of love, prosperity and sharing into your reality. You can also enjoy heart health, a regulated thymus, circulation and respiratory health as well as rib, esophagus, hand and arm health.

The fifth spiritual center, Vishuddha

This chakra is the center of expression. Often called the purification center, the throat chakra is associated with giving voice to our hearts desires. It is the center of our eloquence and will. Ideally, it joins with heart-felt compassion, gained through an opening of the Anahata chakra. When this center is unbalanced it is said that we experience decay and death. When it is open, our full creative force is given expression. A properly open and balanced Vissuddha chakra gives us vibrant youth and freedom from diseases of many varieties. All organs associated with speech and hearing are positively affected by the balancing of this chakra. These include the throat, ears, nose, the endocrine system glands including thyroid and parathyroid.

Ajna chakra

This chakra is our gateway to higher wisdom – it actually translates from the Sanskrit language to mean summoning, or command. When energy rises to the third eye, we are able to summons our higher intelligence at will. This is the awakening of our intuition. The ajna chakra is associated with the pineal gland. This is a small pine-cone shaped gland in the brain. The pineal is said to allow access to alternate spheres of consciousness, like a wormhole that opens doors to other worlds. In Qigong, this is the highest energy center (dantien). It is responsible for converting shen into wuji – or the infinite void.

Sahasrara, the crown chakra

This chakra is the meeting of Shakti and Shiva, or male and female dominant energies. Here we have cleanse the entire energetic system enough to finally become aware of all things and nothing. Our emotions, feelings, interpretations and impressions are said to dissolve into perfect blissful union with the Infinite. Here there is not longer an individual self, only a complete awareness of the Whole. If one chooses to stay incarnated in the physical, while energy is open and balanced in this chakra, the game of life can be played without pain or pleasure. One will also be above the monkey mind, being pulled in a million directions.

In Conclusion

There is complete peace, and complete awareness. Often, in the Indian tradition, it is said that one experiences Sat Chit Ananda, or all present, all conscious, everywhere knowing. You are everything so you can experience no lack. The pranic energy of the body reaches its highest point and rests there. This enables a practitioner to experience this blissful state of awareness.

Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one must take care of mundane needs before self-actualization and then transcendence can occur. All eastern methods, from yoga, Qigong, Kung Fu, Taoist meditation, the Tibetan rites or the Christian Gnostic practices, were meant to gently guide the pranic energy along the path of the chakras, until it reaches its final apex.

Christina Sarich is a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studying Lao Tzu, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rob Brezny,  Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World.

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