If you've never even heard of chakras, well, color me surprised. I grew up familiar with the term and a passing knowledge that they had something to do with new age weirdos and were usually illustrated on pictures of naked people. Now that I am a New Age Weirdo, I know a lot more about what chakras really are, and how the relate to our lives.
Have you ever heard an electrical transformer blow? If you have, you're no doubt familiar with the feeling of a mild wash of panic and, if it was close enough to you, a subsequent bit of darkness, at least until the electric company comes out and fixes it. Our major chakras are our bodies' transformers. Each one services a neighborhood of your insides (and some of your outsides, but we'll get to that later). Each chakra is aligned with a gland or organ and, interestingly, queues up well with our geometry, too. There are several chakra traditions; they vary around the world and have different names. Here in the wild, wild west, we tend to favor the seven Hindu Chakras. Other traditions suggest there are as many as twelve, and most agree that those are just the big ones - the transformers. The body is teeming with little ones, too (all the little houses that need their lights on). Here's a pretty good rundown of the chakras for you, which I stole from the innerwebs -
While it's typical to hear the chakras described as 'wheels of light', they are in fact more band-like. See the drawing on the right of this photo that I snagged from my own Reiki teacher, Brad's, site?
we've established that we're really just very astonishingly organized and compressed energy, it's not such a leap to understand that up and down our forms, are the major power sources. I used to wonder how anyone could know these things even exist, much less what color each one is, but it turns out, they're easy to see.
You have to relax a little, and commit yourself to paying attention. Take any feeling you like and focus on it. Feeling love for a someone? Pride in an accomplishment? Fear of some unknown? Go ahead and let that flow for a moment, and close your eyes. Let your mind find where that feeling makes an impression in your body. Don't even try to tell me it doesn't, because you know it does. This is why we say things like "I have butterflies in my stomach!" and "Oh, that breaks my heart". So, where is your feeling? Got it? Now home in on it. Put your hand over that spot. What color is it (the spot, not your hand)? It might take a minute, and don't try to make it a color, it'll show up. When I do this, I nearly always find that the color matches the chakra that's in play (which you determined when you put your hand over the spot that's feeling the feeling).
The chakras seem unknowable and fantastical, but when we pay attention, we can see them. When all is well in our bodies, these transformers hum along at a perfectly tuned frequency, and we are healthy and content. When all is not well, one of our transformers can blow, and leave us in a bit of darkness. Left unattended, that blown transformer can lead to other blown transformers, as the system begins to shut down on us. With just a bit of care, though, we can keep our chakras working the way they're meant to, and in turn, we'll find our physical bodies have a natural wellness about them, too. In future posts, I'll describe more about the histories and traditions surrounding this energetic system, each chakra's job and some ways we can keep them balanced and functioning.