Chakras and Mindfulness
Summary: A meditator asks Sathi about the connection between the chakras (energy centers in our bodies) and mindfulness.
Sathi begins with a little background about the chakras and how they are energy points in our physical body. He talks about the common misconception of thinking an unsettled body means an unsettled mind, a stressful mind. We think that if we can settle our body, our minds will be settled. But, the reality is the other way around. An unsettled mind means an unsettled body.
Ayurvedic medicine or naturalistic medicine describes the chakras as the energy centers of the body. Energy is physical. It is not part of the mind.
Our mind is the software. Your body is the hardware part. But, you can recognize a lot of energy in your body. The spiritual community follows along with these Ayurvedic methods. They found out the various ways to stimulate our inner organs, your inner physical body to overcome some physical challenges. This can be seen in the practice of yoga.
There are many different forms of yoga in the United States. But in India, there are four levels of yoga. The fourth level, Kundalini, is the practice of connecting with the chakras. You are learning to stimulate certain abilities of your mind and your body beyond the ordinary levels. That is where mindfulness connects with the chakras. Kundalini is closer to mindful meditation methods and some meditators have found that as a path to practice meditation.
[Sathi]Any questions or suggestions for discussion? [Meditator] Where do the chakras fit in with mindfulness? [Sathi] We need to understand the background of the chakras. When we pay attention to ourselves or others, especially others. When you see someone you see their physical body. Appearance and what this person does. The way this person talks. We recognize this physical body. Not only recognizing it but coming into judgment by seeing somebody’s outside [appearance]. You will say handsome, or beautiful; tall or short; good, bad. All of those things you will decide after seeing this physical body.
Even when you look at someone you recognize. The education level of this person, how gentle, or how smart, how much wealth. All of this you recognize by seeing someone from [their] outside [appearance].
We don’t have the ability to see anyone’s mind. That is why you can easily hide your true self from others. You can pretend. Maybe inside you have a lot of anger. Maybe inside you don’t like somebody. But, you can have a smile on your face and present yourself totally as somebody different.
When you recognize somebody from outside, you don’t see how others are pretending or acting. That is why we pass judgment on this outside appearance.
If I bring you into the next step. Just think about how much you are paying attention to your physical body. You are trying to take care of your physical body, your appearance. You are trying to maintain your physical health and strength, ability, and appearance. That is what we are trying to do. When you say, “I’m trying to take care of me”, mostly you are talking about your physical body.
When you talk about peacefulness, happiness, joyfulness, then you are talking about your mind. How do you want to make yourself happy? You are trying to make yourself happy by supporting your physical body. You would by a TV. You would watch a movie. You will go for a meal. That is how you think you can make yourself happy. That is how you are trying to make another person happy, by doing one of those things. Movies for your eyes. Food for your body. We think our mind is happy as long as you can support your body. We think happiness comes through your body. That way we are giving a lot of power into our physical body. We think that our mind has access through our body.
Mindful communities mainly thought that happiness comes from your body. As an example, when you talk about relaxing your mind, calming your mind, letting go the stress of your mind, ordinary people thought that by relaxing your body, you can make your mind relax. That’s why some people when they have stressful minds, they go for a massage. Because you feel this painful body.
When you have this stressful mind. This unhappy mind. The stress comes out through your painful body. Simply, when your mind becomes unsettled, your body becomes unsettled. But, in the ordinary world, we think about this the other way around. We think an unsettled body means an unsettled mind. We think that if we can settle our body, our minds will be settled.
But, the reality is the other way around. An unsettled mind means an unsettled body.
In the spiritual world [using] Ayurvedic methods – Ayurvedic is the word we use for medicine – for physical health that comes from naturalistic treatments. They talk about the main areas of the physical body. They recognize those areas as a doorway to your energy.
When you talk about the word energy, it is totally subject of the physical body. It is not a part of your mind. For those who have done physics, there is a description of energy. It is a physical thing.
We cannot use our body without our mind. Our mind is the software. Your body is the hardware part. But, you can recognize a lot of energy in your body. The spiritual community follows along these ayurvedic methods. They found out the various ways to stimulate our inner organs, your inner physical body to overcome some physical challenges.
If you have a pain on your hand or a very painful shoulder. When you have pain there I’m sure even you cannot think of anything else. Your mind does not settle. It is very painful. What do we do? We take pain killers. When we take pain killers, does it solve the trouble? No. It only makes your body numb. You don’t feel the pain anymore and you stop complaining. You don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to talk about it because you don’t feel it. The source of the pain is there. The only thing is, you don’t feel it.
Once, when you don’t feel it, what happens? You support your body to heal by itself. As long as you are fighting the pain, that fight increases the physical challenge.
So, what’s more powerful here? When your mind doesn’t pay attention, your body can heal itself. But, when your mind pays attention, to pain, the body has a difficult time healing.
The people who pay attention to the physical body found out the most effective places in your body regarding those energies. When you want to see something clearly, you just focus with your eyes. But, if you really pay attention, the middle of your eyes is where there is a lot of stress. That is why people, who are doing documentary work, or when you are reading or paying [close] attention to something, you begin to have headaches. Especially in the front part of your head. There are certain chakras that are recognized, certain energy points in your body that you use. It is very powerful with each human being.
The top of your head. In between your eyes. The chin, throat, your heart. Your belly button, and then your genital area. Those are the areas that are recognized as the most powerful areas of the human body. These are called chakras.
When you pay attention to those areas, you can focus [on] yourself. When you focus or pay attention to your heart, you can center yourself in your heart. When you focus yourself in between your eyes, you can center yourself in there. The top of your head. You can center yourself in there. If I ask you to focus on your hand, it is not as easy as focusing on your heart. If I ask you to focus on your belly button, then it is easy to focus there. Those are the main energy points that work with the physical body.
In the yoga tradition, it comes from this Ayurvedic background built with the physical activities or exercises to maintain your well being or physical health. There, they talk about chakras.
The question is, “What is the connection between mindfulness and the chakras?”
The yoga tradition has four levels and the fourth level is called kundalini. In America we have a lot of words for these things without knowing the steps and everything. You have Hatha yoga (body-based exercises) and Bikram yoga (hot yoga) and so many words, and it has broken into so many pieces when you talk about it. But, kundalini is one of the deepest levels. Kundalini is practicing to get into the chakras. From there you are learning to stimulate certain abilities of your mind and your body beyond the ordinary levels. That is where you use mindfulness. It is closer to mindful meditation methods and in the past some meditators have found that as a path to practice meditation.
So, that is the relationship.
Any questions or any thoughts? Again, I would say, that by practicing mindfulness toward those chakras, nobody can overcome anger or gain peacefulness, or purify the mind through those things. It is only about stimulating your physical abilities of the body. Body and mind.
Is it beneficial? Yes, it is a beneficial practice for your physical body.[Meditator] So, is it kind of like the intersection between the body and the mind? [Sathi] Yes. [Meditator] And they are all along the spinal cord. [Sathi]Yes. Yogis have done those practices especially when they recognize there are some physical challenges. They select one of those chakras as a weak chakra and they are trying to stimulate or make that chakra strong in order to overcome that physical challenge.
Recorded on December 3, 2019, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Mankato, Minnesota.
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