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THE CHAKRAS

CHAPTER ONE

THE BASIC POLARITY


Position of the Seven Major Chakras along the Spine.

In order to understand the chakras or vital force centers and how they relate to each other and to the whole of one's being, one must first begin by studying how the essential polarities of Spirit and Matter come into existence.

 

The Trinity.

Any manifestation that takes place must result in a polarity or duality; if such a polarity does not occur then there can be no manifestation. The relationship between these two poles is the third aspect of the Trinity.

To prove this point, let us take any simple action as an example and see how the principle applies. Suppose the reader now says to himself `I will close this book'; in doing this he manifests an activity and thus brings into being a polarity of subject and object. The subject is `I', the object `the book', and the relationship between them `will close is the verb. If the reader should consider that this is merely playing with words let him try to think of any action that does not fall into these three parts and he will find that this is impossible.

Thus in the manifesting of any activity this threefold division is inevitably and inescapably produced and nothing can actually happen or take place in the world of name and form which does not take this triple form. This is the Trinity which is fundamental to so many religions and metaphysical systems and philosophies of the world, such as the Christian Trinity and the three gunas of Hinduism.

Names for this polarity are numerous, and we are accustomed to such terms as: Life and Foon; Spirit and Matter; Perceiver and Perceived; Self and Not Self. We also use the terms Unity and Diversity because the subject or perceiver is always one whereas the objective or perceived side of life is always diverse. This is often represented by the symbol of the wheel.

If we consider the subject, verb and object aspects of the Trinity to be `I am that', then the `I' or perceiver at the centre of the wheel is one, but as manifestation occurs and life moves out from that central point into its objective form, diversity must inevitably come about. Thus at the rim of the wheel the spokes must be separate but at the centre they must be one. Therefore in its objective form, life will involve relationship and separation and all that goes with this: such as cause and effect, time and the law of becoming, birth, death and rebirth. This is the objective aspect of `I am that'; whereas at the subjective level there is only the consciousness of pure `I am' with no objective side. Therefore there is no experience of change, time, separation, relationship and those aspects of the objective side of life.

It is not difficult to think of numerous other terms used for this essential polarity, such as Good and Evil or God and Devil, depending upon the religious or metaphysical system concerned. There can be no complete system of metaphysics or science of life which does not include this polarity. The Chinese terminology for these polarities has an especial merit as the words Yin and Yang express through their actual sounds the principles they define. Yin is essentially a subjective sound whereas Yang is an objective one. These sounds are reflected in the English words `spirit' and `matter' also involving the narrow or subjective i and the broad or objective a. Also in the words `this' and `that' which likewise express subject and object. The words `thin' and `fat' have similar characteristics - the fine subjective i having a higher rate of vibration than the broad objective a.

Naturally any experience in order to have a significance must have two poles or possibilities between which it can occur; therefore the whole of life is really the varied experiences resulting from the interplay or relationship between these poles. One may illustrate this by a simple example such as that of a game or sport played by two players or teams. If one of the two parties always won there would be no significance or worthwhile experience gained from it; or if one party always lost the same would apply.

The significance of the experience of playing it derives from the open possibility of either losing or winning the game. Similarly in life, all the experience through which we grow and evolve derives from our being placed within this polarity of Spirit and Matter, Yin and Yang, Self and Not Self, and the way in which this relationship plays through our consciousness. These polarities, the subjective and objective sides of our being and their combinations, permutations and intermediate stages constitute our total experience and is sometimes called the 'Dance of Yin and Yang'. We shall refer to this in more detail in later chapters.

 

Eastern Religions.

Life, therefore, is both an upward and a downward process: flowing out from its source into manifestation and returning to its source with an added experience gained from that descent. In Christian terms, the soul returns with its harvest of experience 'Bearing its sheaves with it'. Traditional Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism are principally concerned with what one may term the withdrawal aspect of life through detachment of the spiritual principle from its involvement in the form or material aspect.

These religions are mainly laying emphasis on the joy and bliss which is experienced when the soul is able to withdraw from its attachment to the personal self and achieve union with the higher spiritual principle within. The word 'personal' derives from the Latin persona meaning a mask and its use therefore indicates the transient or unreal nature of the lower self as being something which we put on at birth through which to express ourselves but which is not our real Self.

This union with the divine principle within us, our higher or real Self, is termed yoga in Hindu metaphysics. The word 'yoga', in fact, means union. It comes down to us in the English word 'yoke'. The Latin word yugum is derived from it and gives us the English word 'conjugal'.

In the Muslim religion the concept of union is expressed through the term Islam, meaning surrender of the lower self to the higher divine principle in oneself Self-surrender is an essential of all mysticism, and Christianity has expressed this concept as Communion or the Mystical Marriage.

Other philosophies, particularly Western ones, are more concerned with the aspect of bringing down the spiritual principle and expressing it in form through creative activity.

Neither of these is wholly right, or rather, each expresses a partial truth and so each is right only within its own limitation and both are necessary parts of the whole process of Life. Life is therefore both descent from one's source and return to it, and ideally one should balance the two processes. These two aspects may be termed magical and mystical, the path of descent being magic and the path of return mysticism.

 

Phases of Life.

Most of us will not find it difficult to recognize types of people, either living or historical, who strongly embody one or the other of these aspects. Great spiritual teachers, yogis and saints are those on the mystical path whereas those such as social reformers and great inventors are mainly on the magical path, expressing spirit through form. We recognize too in ourselves these principles in our moods or states of consciousness which predominate at different times. At certain times we may seek solitude in deep meditation or communion with nature while at others we may feel the urge to express ourselves through creative activity at the material level, or by communication with others. Of course at the spiritual level no otherness exists so that the principle of communication no longer applies because one is experiencing oneness with all Life.

Our experience is a vibration between the two poles of Aloneness when at the spiritual level and Togetherness when communicating at the personal level in a group or partner ship. Aloneness derives from All-one-ness which is the experience of wholeness or integration at the spiritual level.

These phases of life may correspond to age, sex and other factors, which are continually changing in emphasis according to the flow of life's becomingness. The rhythms or cycles which occur as the life force relates between Yin and Yang are of great importance to the serious student who seeks to know himself. They are sometimes referred to as the Tattwic Tides. Further reference to this will be made in a later chapter.

Men and women on the whole find it difficult to balance their lives and find the right relationship at any one time between the polarities in themselves. Life does not stand still but is a continuous flow or vibration between the poles. Therefore every moment of time brings a new relationship - a new experience and a new activity needed on the part of each person to fully live that experience.

Arthur Koestler expressed this as an apparent conflict between the principles in his essay 'The Yogi and the Commissar' as typifying spiritual and material man. Most people tend to remain at one level only; to be able to move between the two poles at will requires skill and discipline. They finally learn that the two principles are not adversaries but in reality are the closest of allies and they are able to balance, keeping their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground, continually drawing on spirit and expressing it through form. When one principle is pursued too strongly there is always the tendency for the energy to swing back to the other in order to balance. This explains the sudden changes which seem to occur in people's lives.

For example, men and women who are disappointed in physical love often find the energies reacting from the lower levels and swinging upwards so that they become intensely spiritual, for a time at any rate. And on the other hand, men and women who push themselves too hard towards the spiritual plane often react by having the energies swing down into strong physical and material desires.

The old saying 'The greater the sinner the greater the saint' or vice versa is equally true whichever way round it is expressed.

Now let us try to take these principles a stage further and see how numerologically this trinity or triplicity gives rise to the numbers 4 and 7. From the essential or primordial unity we have seen how three must always arise in manifestation and from this triplicity a lower quaternary is born. This is so because three principles can only group themselves in four further combinations in which none of the original three is repeated.

Thus if we have A, B and C these can only combine as AB, AC, BC and ABC. The higher triplicity, 3, and the lower quaternary, 4, make 7. It is thus that mathematically and by a further stage of densification spirit descends into form and the number 7 is manifested, bringing the important sevenfold divisions in colour and sound and giving us the seven levels of consciousness in man (that is the seven chakras) with which we are now concerned.

 



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