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The Chakras

By: Shirley MacLaine

A Rainbow of Expression

What we are

What we experience

What we can be

Is the reflection cast

by the human rainbow.

Just as there are seven levels of consciousness, seven ages of man, seven colors in the rainbow color spectrum, and seven notes on the Western musical scale, there are seven primary chakras in the human body. We cannot see the soul or measure the aura of human energy, nor can we measure these centers. But we know they exist. These centers are called chakras, translated from the Hindi to mean “wheels of energy.”

The chakras represent the subtle anatomy of human beings just as the physical organs represent the gross anatomy. The subtle and the gross are connected. There are seven endocrine glands, which correspond to the seven chakras. Therefore, our bodies (the vehicles through which we express ourselves) reflect the balance or the imbalance of subtle and gross anatomy. If the spiritual is out of kilter, ignored, or misused, it will show up in the physical - not the other way around! The physical (gross) is a reflection of the spiritual (subtle).

Western systems of thought, dedicated to “rational” provability, to the measurement of progress by the wonders of technological development, have lost recognition of the chakra wheels of energy. But the ancient Oriental masters were adept at this spiritual technology. Happily, this knowledge and understanding are finding new recognition in the West. Here is a summary of what I learned in my travels through India, the Far East, and the Himalayas.

According to the masters, the soul creates the body in accordance with the laws of the earth plane, in order to provide a “house” for itself in this physical dimension. The physical body thus gives the soul the opportunity to be focused in time and space. The chakras govern this physical reality because the seven centers of consciousness are the areas through which the human personality experiences itself. The chakras, then, are both a communicative, and a controlling link, connecting the soul entity (the Higher Self), the personality, and the body that the soul has created through which to express itself.

Since this human personality is the medium through which we communicate with one another, recognition of the chakras and the various energies they hold and connect to is essential to an understanding of what human expression in the physical is all about.

It was helpful for me to think of my body as a musical instrument inside of which were seven notes, seven different rates of vibration, and a spectrum of seven colors. If I played only one note or focused on one color all the time, my instrument would be monotonous and boring. But learning to work with all of the notes, colors, and vibrations created a harmonious kaleidoscopic work of art. I learned I could work with my musical instrument and play harmonious music for myself.

The seven chakras of energy are not in need of opening. They are always open, spinning, and in complete harmony. It is our minds that are closed and don’t recognize their harmonious importance and existence. Therefore, we don’t work to open the chakras; we work to open the mind to recognize the chakras. That is why the basic steps of meditation are so important.

Our personalities become a product of the recognition allowed by our minds of chakra “language,” or energy, and are rich or limited, open or closed, to the degree of that recognition. The more we work with the spiritual dimensions of our beings, the more we are conscious of the chakras, the more attuned and centered as human beings we become. When we attune the conscious mind to the spiritual energies of the chakras, the mind itself begins to expand with an awareness of its own higher consciousness. So it is through the chakras that we fully integrate mind, body, and spirit.

Our physical sciences look to biological and physiological patterns of data as the source of the human personality, but when we align our chakras we are integrating a memory of our soul’s experience, which allows our personality to manifest - make visible - the aspects that make it unique. The human personality then emerges as an expression of the soul: the body is merely the vehicle, or temple through which the soul incarnates and expresses itself.

Since the chakras are created with soul energy, when we attune to them we are attuning to the specialized centers that have shaped our characters and our natures each time we have entered the physical plane to learn and experience. The more we are attuned to the unique energies within our bodies, the more we can open our consciousness to the higher resource to which they are connected and of which we, and they, are a part.

The more we are connected to higher resources, the more infinite we become as human beings. Carl G. Jung claimed that the chakras were the gateways of consciousness in man, receptive points for the inflow of energies from the cosmos and the spirit and soul of man; that the chakras are always aligned with the Divine God energy because they are the creation of the soul.

The ancient masters claimed that good health depends upon the correct alignment and functioning of these seven etheric energy centers: that the union of spirit and matter manifests as consciousness in the physical, and the seven chakras govern how our consciousness is experienced in the physical body. How then to open the mind to the energies of the chakras?

When I was in Egypt I learned that during the time of the pharaohs the ancient function of crystal gemstones was to heal and to provide amplification of each appropriately colored chakra center while meditating upon it. The value of these gems increased through the ages. They seemed to be precious not only because they were rare but also because they were needed as healing tools.

The ruby, I learned, was used to heal problems governed by the red, base chakra

Topaz and carnelian were used to heal problems governed by the orange, sexual chakra Yellow sapphire and citrine were used for the solar plexus

Emerald for the heart

Blue sapphire for the throat

Lapis lazuli for the third eye

And amethyst for the crown chakra

White diamonds, which include the light of all colors, became the gem that usually surrounded the others for even further amplification.

The greed for gemstones, then, seemed to be originally based upon the desire for amplified health and balance. The nature of crystals and gemstones had a more intimate connection with our lives than I had thought.

I felt as though I was unraveling the real reasons why so many human beings were fascinated by and driven to possess jewels. They seemed to unconsciously understand that these many-faceted gems were a gateway to increased consciousness, possibly tools for health, the light to understanding self. Gemstones seemed to have properties that were useful in projecting thought forms and storing thought forms dealing with broad universal consciousness.

In nearly all cultures they had been used for centuries as healing tools. They had been used as a point of focus in meditation and had been one of the primary substances in confirming the vibration and concept of invisible or ethereal energy.

I learned that the use of crystal gemstones went all the way back to the ancient civilizations of India and beyond. Then they were regarded as cornerstones for the process of thought amplification, whereby, with applied electromagnetic voltage, one’s brain waves could be broadcast through the ethers. All gemstones are crystals. Red crystal gemstones contained fire energy. Blue crystal gemstones, water energy. Clear crystal gems such as diamonds, air energy. Gemstone crystals with two colors represented a balancing of energies.

Gemstone crystals were also planted alongside seeds and when meditated upon would significantly increase the speed and size of the seeds’ growth. Gemstone crystals, said the books, had their own rates of vibration, just as everything does. A slow-vibrating gemstone was a wonderful tool for deep meditation.

Gemstone crystals with a faster vibrating spectrum helped people to relate to higher levels of cosmic consciousness.

Gemstone crystals were used to increase the effectiveness of many other therapies. For example, if acupuncture points were stimulated by stainless steel needles with part of the shaft coated with a gemstone crystal, there was an enhancement of the therapy’s effectiveness. This is because the life force stimulated by the manipulation of the needles would help dispel the negative energy blocking that point.

To attune to the seven chakras more quickly, people would lie down and place a gemstone on each chakra desired and tune in to the corresponding color and vibrational frequency. The gemstone accelerated the amplification of the consciousness to each chakra. That is how, in fact, gemstones became so valuable. They had the healing powers that corresponded to the chakras.

The process of aligning the mind, body, and spirit through meditation and visualization with the aid of a gemstone crystal makes you an active healer of your own malady. By calming and stilling the mind and by allowing the integration and intervention of the spirit, you become a more fully realized human being, recognizing that you are functioning on a spiritual as well as mind and body levels. Therefore, through the activation of your conscious awareness, you are affecting your body.

With the increase in spiritual awareness, the human being unifies and raises the body frequency, which in turn manufactures an increase in energy flow.

So, meditation with color visualization, meditation with colored stones placed on the chakra centers, and the ingestion of colored-gem elixirs are pleasant and subtle ways of self-healing and aligning the mind, body and spirit.

In order to understand the meaning of aligning the chakras, it is necessary to understand the area of physical consciousness that each one represents.

For me, the seven chakras can best be identified by using key words that represent the emotional issues associated with each chakra. The function of the physical glands associated with the emotional issues of each chakra then becomes clear.

The first chakra, also known as the base chakra or root chakra, is located at the base of the spine and is defined as the chakra that governs one’s understanding of the physical dimension. It is the grounding chakra—that is, it grounds one in the Earth, it puts both feet on the ground, it is pragmatic, ultrarealistic, the “survival” chakra responsible for our balance and our attitudes toward fight or flight. It is therefore the chakra that externalizes as the adrenal gland, and it also governs the functioning of the kidneys and the spinal column. It is esoterically perceived as red. It is referred to as the survival chakra because it is through this center that we feel fear or anger when threatened.

The second chakra is the sexual chakra, the chakra of creativity, located in the reproductive organs (the ovaries in the female and the testes in the male). It is the color orange and governs one’s creative attitudes in relationships, sex, and reproduction.

The third chakra is located in the solar plexus. Its glandular externalization manifests in the pancreas and it governs the action of the liver, the stomach, gallbladder, spleen, and certain aspects of the nervous system. This chakra is the clearinghouse for emotional sensitivities and issues of personal power. Its color is seen as yellow.

This third chakra gives all of us more problems than any other because it is essentially the “seat of emotional living.” Out of unbalanced emotions come ulcers, digestive problems, and liver, spleen and pancreatic troubles. The positive and negative energy polarities are located in the solar plexus chakra, which, when balanced, is bi-polar, meaning that the positive (masculine-yang) and negative (female-yin) are perfectly harmonious. When a person crosses his arms in front of his solar plexus, he is blocking off the energy of that potential balance by adopting a defensive posture; or to put it another way, he is protecting his feelings by crossing his arms.

When a person is overwhelmed with emotion there is an automatic triggering of an almost involuntary act called crying. When tears well up, if allowed to proceed, they often lead to sobbing. The physical act of sobbing produces a gentle - or sometimes not so gentle - massage of the solar plexus. The deep and heavy sob caresses the solar plexus, which can then relax, releasing the pent up emotion that it was unable to process in the first place. “Having a good cry” enables the third, yellow, chakra at the solar plexus center to reestablish its balance and release itself from emotional overload.

The fourth chakra is called the heart chakra. Its glandular externalization manifests in the thymus. The fourth chakra governs the heart, blood, and circulatory system. It has a strong influence on the vagus nerve, located in the brain, and also governs the immune and endocrine systems. Its color, usually seen as a vibrant green, depends on the level of clairvoyant perspective from which it is viewed.

When I began meditating on the heart chakra, I soon realized that the key word was acceptance - acceptance of others, and acceptance of the love within self. It is often said that when we pray we speak to God. When we meditate, God speaks to us. Achieving true meditation on all the chakras is a path to complete inner peace.

The Sanskrit word for the heart center is anahata. It means, “that which is ever new, that which is self-sustaining.” Through the heart chakra we “fall in love.” Instinctively, when we recognize the attraction in another we move from the heart chakra down to the yellow solar plexus chakra of emotional integration, to the bright orange sexual chakra, which is motivated by love, and finally to the root chakra, the warm red energy that inspires us to settle down, to ground ourselves in the Earth with this person.

The Eastern mystics say we define our personalities through the heart chakra, which they believe is the core of the soul. The soul manufactures the “forever hormone” which, when experienced, keeps us feeling forever young through love.

The “forever hormone” is said by the masters to emanate as energy from the heart when one is in a state of love. This energy hormone nourishes all of the lower chakras, where we feel insecurity, survival needs, and fear.

It is amusing to me that we never “go (up) in love” - we always “fall (down) in love.” To me, that is the intuitive recognition of the soul attraction first experienced by the heart chakra, which then spills down through the energy systems of emotion (third chakra) and sexuality (second chakra) until it becomes anchored in the Earth (first chakra).

The fifth chakra is the throat chakra. Its focal point of activity is the thyroid gland and it governs the lungs, the vocal cords, the bronchial apparatus, and metabolism. This chakra is usually seen as blue. It is the center not only of expression and communication, but

of judgment.

I find that it is extremely important to work with the fifth chakra these days because individual self-expression without judgment is the task of balancing a free democracy. We feel the urge to tell the truth as we see it. But we should try to accomplish this without judgmental condemnations that hurt others. Again, when we remember that what we perceive in another is a reflection of ourselves, we become less judgmental. So when we freely express harsh judgment of another, we are in effect talking about those aspects of ourselves that trouble us the most. I find that when I feel negatively judgmental about someone, by examining that feeling in meditation on the fifth, blue chakra. I usually achieve better understanding of my own communicative dynamics and better judgment of what to say and what not to say to others.

The sixth chakra is located in the center of the forehead. It is better known as the third eye and externalizes as the pituitary gland. Its color is usually seen as indigo—a deep, vibrant color composed of red and blue. Primarily it governs the lower brain and nervous system, the ears, the nose, and the left eye, which is the eye of the personality.

Idealism and imagination center in the sixth chakra, which also reflects inner vision and governs the outer expression of that inner vision. The mystics say that to access a limitless potential of thought it is necessary to “tickle” the pituitary. They accomplish this through visualization in meditation. They focus on the third eye and allow their inner vision to be limitless.

The seventh chakra, or crown chakra, is located at the top of the head. Its color is seen as violet or sometimes white. It externalizes as the pineal gland and governs the upper brain and right eye. Within the crown chakra are the counterparts of all the other chakras. It is the chakra that speaks, in combination with other chakras, to unlimited consciousness and Divine purpose. It is through this chakra, they say, that one reaches, ultimately, the feeling of integration with God.

The upper three chakras form what is known as the Golden Triangle, which represents a triad of energy reflecting the perfection of cosmic harmony in a balanced way, which then infuses the neurological, or nervous system, within the physical body. A kind of esoteric pumping effect occurs whereby three harmonious cosmic energies are “milked down” through the entire chakra system to the root chakra, which grounds the harmony and thus provides a feeling of security. Thus reinforced, the cosmic energy travels back up the chakra system until it reaches the crown chakra again and the cycle is complete, whole. The energy is, as it were, plugged in, the circuit connected.

When all the chakras are recognized and aligned with the conscious mind, the consciousness of the individual is expanded and made more aware of the energy sources available for good health and happiness. An imbalance in the chakras (or more precisely, imbalance in recognition of the chakras) disturbs and blocks the flow of energy within the consciousness and properly functioning physical health becomes distorted.

Yellow is a sunny color. The sun is the source of our warmth and power. It makes us feel good. It lightens our spirits. We cannot be without its warm yellow light for very long. It is possible to create the feeling of a warm internal sun with the power of visualization so that the sensitivities we feel can be reassured by the acceptance of our own personal power, which is the governing province of the solar plexus chakra. When that occurs, the stomach, liver, gallbladder and spleen are relaxed and vibrating at a more even frequency and our problems of egotism are reduced.

By bringing in some orange, we merge the creative and sexual energies of the second chakra into the sensitivities and personal power of the third chakra. If we mix red along with this balance we are grounding our understanding of the emotional balance achieved into our physical relationship with the Earth, which contributes to ridding ourselves of fear and other fight-or-flight conflicts of the first chakra.

So the panoply of emotional and physical issues that we express through the seven chakras can be modified, balanced, and aligned by consciously playing with the color vibrations of the rainbow, using our body as an instrument. Colors are at our disposal every moment of our lives and are in fact operating and spinning in harmony whether we consciously recognize them or not.

Once again, we are what we are consciously aware of. To be more aware of the value of our chakra system is to be more aware of our internal power. And to be aware of internal power is to understand the potential for external power. We can create whatever we want on the exterior by recognizing what power is hidden on the interior. The game of life then becomes how we create that power externally and what we do with it when it is ours, which brings us to an examination of the four chakras above the solar plexus.

Since the fourth chakra governs the heart, when we meditate and visualize the green of it, we are in effect stimulating it to be more effective in governing the love feelings that also harmonize the immune and endocrine systems. The radiation produced by love flow can heal the entire body.

Meditating on the heart chakra will help the process of learning to love oneself so that the love of others is more possible. The self-confidence derived from it will carry a subtle vibration that will be felt by family, friends, and co-workers. We receive from others what we have already seen and created in ourselves. An inner security will create security in others. All of that centers in the heart. Sometimes when I am working with my chakra meditations, I infuse the green of the heart chakra into the yellow of the solar plexus before I move the mixture down to the orange and red chakras. There are so many ways to play with this kind of color therapy that it becomes an adventure within the theater of my own consciousness. Soon I begin to feel the differences in color vibrational frequency, and I operate accordingly.

For example, the colors I choose to wear during the day have a decided effect on my consciousness. To wear bright green is a definitive statement because of the frequency attached. People speak of being green with jealousy because they feel deprived of attention and love.

When we are red with anger or fear, we are feeling the symptoms of the fight-or-flight first-chakra syndrome. To wear red when feeling anger only reinforces the feeling unless mixed with another color. To counteract it with heart green helps quell the rage with the vibration of the heart.

The fifth chakra, known as the throat chakra, is one all of us would do well to recognize and meditate upon. Since it is the center through which we communicate and express ourselves, it is also the center through with we formulate judgments of others. It also governs the organs that translate air into expression: lungs, vocal cords, and the bronchial tubes.

Since this is the chakra of judgment and expression, when meditating it helps to literally let go of any ill feelings we are harboring toward anyone. I usually begin by asking myself why I feel resentment. Is it crushed expectations? Bitterness born out of rejection? Do I feel cheated in some way? Whatever. In so many ways we feel alienated from people because of a buildup of anger in our own minds. Thus, we become bonded to those people through anger, which serves only to perpetuate the ill feeling.

To let go sounds simple, and actually it is simple - but it is not an easy thing to do. We cling to hate, or anger, as to an anchor. And indeed, feelings do anchor us. Anger gives us a dramatic role, fires us up, creates energy, and defines a relationship. It even anchors us with the unconscious fear of what will fill the gap if we get rid of it! But when we are able to let anger go, relief floods in, love flows in. When we see that love is the glue that holds everything together, we realize it is the channel of communication between souls, not just between people. The same judgments we made that were rejected by others will now be understood and welcomed because the new energy behind them is positive. In fact, we will know better when to speak, when not to, and how to do it with more influence because we are anchored in love.

Whenever I’m feeling that I’m not understood, I meditate with blue on the throat chakra in order to clear out the blockages, which prevent me from being clear. If it’s a sexual misunderstanding, I mix orange with it. If it’s an emotional problem with my own personal power, I mix yellow with the blue. And if I want to be especially loving in the way I tell someone the harsh truth, I mix heart green with the blue.

Blockage in the throat chakra can also be caused by fear of speaking your own truth. To constantly attempt to please others while sacrificing your own true expression can develop into a deep frustration of communication.

Every time I am about to say something harsh about someone, I try to remember to visualize blue mixed with a beautiful heart green before I speak. That way, I not only spare them my harshness, but I spare myself the karmic inevitability of my harshness returning to me.

Of course, most of the time I am so caught up in m own judgment and the need to express it that I forget. Much of this can be alleviated by the discipline of meditating on each of the colors the chakras represent as a path to the feelings you want to explore. Soon your awareness expands to such an extent that in applying it to your life you find your experience of living has improved. It has improved because you are consciously acknowledging alignment.

To me, the miracle of it all is that the alignment is always there whether we are aware of it or not, but only through “conscious acknowledgement,” only through deliberate recognition of our natural harmony, do we derive its strength. We are what we’re conscious of.

The sixth chakra is the third eye or face chakra. It is located behind the center of the forehead, a very visible area. It is the chakra that governs the way we present ourselves to the world. If our faces are pinched with worry and anxiety, they can be relaxed by meditating on the color indigo, which allows us to resonate to our inner vision, our idealism, and our imagination. Since the third eye chakra externalizes as the pituitary gland, it governs much of our lower brain and nervous system. This chakra also controls all of our incoming and outgoing thoughts and visions. It is the center of the eye of awareness.

The energy from within can be used any way we wish. Our choice of thoughts is what determines its external manifestation. Through our third eye we can harness and orchestrate our God-given energy within.

I use the third eye (sixth chakra) meditation whenever I want to manifest an outer vision for myself. The tapestry potential of painting our lives with color and feeling is unlimited, and the more I work with the spiritual metaphysical elements of vibrational energy, the more I accomplish and the more fun it is.

The seventh chakra has the highest vibrational frequency of all. The color violet oscillates faster than any other single color, which stands to reason because the crown chakra is the center for final Divine integration. The higher we go, the more clearly can we see where we come from. This is true physically and spiritually.

Seen from the crown chakra, anger gives way to understanding, hate gives way to love, possessiveness gives way to freedom.

From this vantage point it is easier to see how dark emotions of fear, depression, hatred and so on sap our energy, which ultimately results in illness.

Problems that have loomed gigantic now seem silly, not because they are smaller, but because we are bigger than they are.

Seeing our existence in this new light makes possibilities limitless. And it develops a sense of compassion for others who don’t see it yet. You see yourself in them and you remember how difficult it was. People’s actions are always determined by the way they see themselves in the world.

It is said that when someone experiences the violet flame, he or she is resonating in total alignment with the God force within.

When my chakras are aligned and cleansed, I usually combine all the light frequencies of each color together and above my head I visualize a bright and brilliant white light. White light is the combination of all light frequencies.

The white light that many people describe during out-of-body experiences could be said to represent the infusion of all emotional frequencies, which, when perfectly realized, become the essence of God.

Therefore, when you surround yourself with a bubble of white light, you are in essence surrounding yourself with the light of God, in the center of which you are always protected, loved, and in turn loving.

Once again you become that which you visualize God to be. It might seem implausible or irrelevant to discuss visualization and meditative techniques in a world that appears so hopelessly lacking in spiritual recognition, but it is for just this reason that such techniques for spiritual discipline become more and more necessary. Without the acknowledgement and conscious awareness of our sadly unrecognized spiritual technology, we will, it seems to me, become more and more isolated from our purpose in being alive. To be separated from the knowledge of one’s destiny and purpose is truly a disaster.

More and more people are awakening to this. More and more people are scientifically, socially, politically, and economically seeing themselves not only as physical and intellectual beings but spiritual beings as well. Maybe even fundamentally spiritual beings.

We are in an age of enlightenment now, which means, “to be in knowledge of.” We are becoming more “in knowledge” of ourselves. It doesn’t matter if a person is a Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Jew, or an atheist. There is a wealth of knowledge to be tapped. The individual has his own relationship to the God within, irrespective of the church he belongs to. The power within is an untapped power available to all of us who seek it for whatever use we want or need to make of it. None of our institutions are addressing themselves to that truth.

Each individual has the right and the duty to use the potential knowledge of harmony and alignment within. We are at a crossroads of integrating the physical and the spiritual, with the role of consciousness just beginning to be understood.

It is time for spiritual technology to become specifically understood and taught. Use of meditation upon the chakras allows a person to envisage the world that lies within and to benefit from it.

So use your gemstones, crystals, and your sacred geometric forms on your chakras and find a happier more balanced you. I do!



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