Chakras have obstacles as well as powers associated with them and are neither good nor bad any more than a physical body is inherently good or bad.
Chakras are energy centers in the body … and are often depicted as flowers. These flowers may be in bud form, opening, or in full blossom, implying that a chakra may be in different states of development, or may ache or be exalted. Saint Theresa of Avilla refers to these centers as interior mansions. I was shown them as walls with interiors.
There are many varying opinions and teachings on the subject of chakras. It may seem as though one must determine the right one to study or follow, but they are all really quite wonderful. Each one seems to address a different level or a different life situation or perspective.
Mystical writings sometimes differ in the number of chakras as well as in the number of times the evolutionary force, kundalini, is coiled at the base of this stack of energy centers—three and a half times, five times, eight times. Some systems teach three or four chakras, some seven, nine, and even twelve. Technically, all acupuncture points are also chakras. I believe that differences in teaching systems exist because of these different perspectives and the way growth and the evolutionary process play out from individual to individual. It doesn’t happen all at once—it’s a process of climbing from cliff to plateau, cliff to plateau, until we reach the top of the mountain.
When looked at closely, I find that no one is really saying anything different. Some systems compile things into fewer categories and use sub-systems, and consequently different names, to express the same thing. Some teach that the chakras are power centers, and some that they are obstacles. Some say they are activated by prana. Others say that only kundalini really affects the chakras in such a way as to evolve the being. Some teach that the chakras are pertinent to everyday life and are associated with the way we deal with it, while others insist that the subject of chakras is unapproachable as long as you live an ordinary everyday life in the world. I am convinced that all these teachings are true at different times and in different situations.
Characteristics of the Chakras
The interior of each chakra is a different color of light. Each has a different sound, a different geometric form, or pattern, a different teaching, a different ambiance, a different ‘feel’ to it. The core of each chakra is beautiful and blissful, and though it may seem strange and even impossible to believe, inside each one, there is a wise and loving Being.
There are different theories about the colors of chakras. Again, I think they are all true in their own way. The colors of chakras may change or be perceived ‘through a glass darkly,’ the glass (or veil) shaded according to the nature of one or more distortions present at the time, though I do think that ultimately there is some consistency in color when the chakras are ‘clear.’ To confuse things even further, each chakra is also associated with an element (earth, water, fire, air, ether), and each element is associated with a color.
At the core of each chakra is a single sound in a potential state in the same way a hole in a flute holds the potential for a certain tone. These core potential sounds are referred to as ‘seed sounds’. Each chakra is a focal point for subtle energy channels in the body, called nadis. Each chakra also has a certain number of pulsations, waves of energy, frequencies, or vibrations. The number of ‘petals’ to a chakra indicates the number of the main nadis that converge at that chakra as well as the number and type of sounds. That the number of nadis and the number of sounds are the same suggests a relationship between the two. The sounds are represented by letters of the Sanskrit alphabet—each letter is a sound, and each sound is a syllable.
The geometric patterns associated with chakras imply certain types of patternings and conditionings. By patternings and conditionings, I mean inherited and acquired impulses and dispositions, emotions, urges, thoughts, and beliefs. These responses function due to the stimulation of individual chakras. Chakras are stimulated by the senses coming into contact with something—hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling. The difficulties held in place by chakras begin to weaken once the divine energy reaches the sixth chakra.
Imagine that there are five primary chakras, the first five, a sixth in the center of your head that functions as your center of consciousness, and a seventh that is in the Absolute Realm (God, Truth) which is usually pictured at the top of the head implying that it is not ‘located’ anywhere. Each of the first five chakras represents a primary element: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Like their respective chakras, although they are distinct, they are interdependent on one another other just as they are in life, like pearls strung on a thread.
The Central Channel
The thread on which the chakras are strung is called the sushumna. It is the central nadi, the central energy channel, in the body.
From Living the Mysteries, Copyright ©1999,
Durga Ma and Terry Anne Preston, Ph.D.