Western cultures are increasingly accepting of the fact that we have an energetic system that influences our experience and wellness. Even though the interaction isn’t seen, much like gravity creating tides at a beach isn’t visible to the naked eye, the results are evident in our daily lives. Anxiety affects the adrenal glands and eventually our vitality. An irrational fear can put the entire system on alert and deplete our immunity, or a positive attitude can move disease into remission. There are myriads of examples of how the body, mind and energetic system weave together and affect wellness.
Over 4000 years ago, schools of yoga in India started referring to this energetic system as the chakra system. Chakra is a Sanskrit word translating to “wheels of light.” Seven main chakras—electromagnetic hot spots—are used to access vital life force and create harmony for wellness. Life force is represented as a serpent that moves up the length of the spine. The asanas (yoga positions) and breath work in yoga are intended to balance this life force as they strengthen the physical body. Because of yoga’s popularity and use of the chakra energy system, this is the language most familiar in west. Each chakra has a specific body location and particular influence on the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. If you would enjoy more detailed information on the chakra system and how you can create energetic balance, the ChakraEnergy.com website is an excellent resource.
In addition to the Yogic tradition of chakras, there are many other philosophies that integrate the mind, body and spirit with a similar energetic system.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine calls our innate life force “chi.” It flows through a complex network of pathways, or meridians, and is accessed at certain points. Acupuncture stimulates or releases from these access points to create balance in the energetic system and the whole. Tai Chi and Qigong are traditional forms of movement and meditation in China that, like yoga, are intended to move and balance our vital energy.
- Kabbalah, the mystical tradition of Judaism, has a system that is very similar to the Hindu chakra system. Spheres (sefirot) represent the balance of the world and the energy of the body. They are traditionally mapped on the Tree of Life, grouped into seven levels with remarkable similarities to the chakras.
- The ancient Goddess cultures of Europe are some the oldest known belief systems. Serpents are the symbol of energy that “awakens dormant life power and moves it forward and are intended to simulate the process of becoming.”
- In the Egyptian Book Of the Dead, the energy body is referred to as the sekhem. The text describes how life force runs through the channels in the body and is increased through breath work.
- The Hesychastic tradition of the Byzantine church developed a meditation practice that combined the Jesus Prayer and intentional breath work with attention to different parts of the body to increase consciousness and Divine connection.
- The indigenous people of Australia have a cross tribal belief that the Rainbow Serpent is the source of all life. Images of this serpent have been found in rock art that is up to 6000 years old. The colors associated with this life force serpent are the same as those attributes to the seven chakras.
- Numerous native traditions in both North and South America speak of the energy field that radiates from the body. The Hopi and Cherokee also describe them as spinning wheels along the spine.
This knowledge has been pervasive throughout time and across the globe. Accessing the energetic component is often first priority. This is not esoteric but instead for practical purposes, as the energetic will be more easily affected. As physics attests, things solidify and become less mutable as vibration slows. The energetic level is like a vapor.When a vibration slows enough to be a mind/emotion issue it is like water. When the vibration slows even more into the physical it will be solid like ice. Its easier to affect vapor than to chip away at ice. Its also easier to balance an energy imbalance than to wait until it becomes an emotional or physical manifestation.
Unfortunately, Western culture has become notorious for waiting until an imbalance becomes a physical symptom. We are just starting to re-learn there is a stage before the ice, with attention towards nutrition, sleep patterns, emotional well-being, and physical activity. All of these, and more, affect the natural balancing of our energetic system and our whole being.