In traditional teachings around the Chakras, there is often an emphasis on learning about esoteric meanings and associations, signs, colours, smells, and so on. As such, we won’t be commenting on Sanskrit Names, ancient symbols, colours, corresponding musical notes, Vedic Mantras, essential oils, crystals, minerals, and astrological signs. These are readily available with a simple Google search.
Here at HQ-Holistic Intelligence, we’re more focused on a practical approach to help you get to know yourself as an energy being and to harness that energy to help you to co-create your experience of life. This article provides a simple overview of the 7 Chakras and how they impact us on a day-to-day basis. To explore each of these Energy Centres in more depth, please see our Resources and Courses.
1. PHYSICAL CHAKRA (ROOT/YOUR BODY)
Let’s take the first chakra – the root. When we’re born we engage with the world through the root chakra (the data centre of the physical). We don’t yet have an intellect, so we can’t rationalise or think about the world. We can’t speak, so we can’t ask questions either. We are wide open to life, so our understanding of this new world we’re born into comes purely from our physical experiences.
These early experiences of how it is to “BE HERE” physically will have profound effects on how you relate to your physical body and to the physical world around you – for the rest of your life.
Imagine yourself as a new born baby. You’re helpless and vulnerable. Like most of us, you probably came from the warmth of your mother’s womb into a cold, bright room which was the complete opposite of your experience in the womb. Straight away your body registers the difference. It pulls away from the coldness , the brightness, the slap on the bottom and the cold steel of the doctor’s stethoscope. Already the root chakra is contracting and closing a little – because the body doesn’t feel nourished and supported by this new environment. Without love, food and warmth, the body feels threatened. The energy of the root chakra begins to constrict because it doesn’t trust this new world.
We’ve all seen those videos, of babies who were never held or nurtured by their parents or by the environment – babies who grew up in war zones or sterile institutions. Those babies and toddlers don’t trust that they will be fed when they’re hungry and looked after when they need warmth and soothing. Their root chakras are closed already – and they will have difficulty feeling safe enough in the world to fully individuate or relax deeply. Their main issue as they mature will be to centre and to ground themselves – because it’s very likely that their energy will be anxiously scanning their environment for danger over and over again – even though, logically, there’s no threat to their survival.
2. MOVEMENT CHAKRA (SACRAL/EMOTIONS AND NEEDS)
Now we get to the second chakra. We’re still less than 12 months old and we begin to explore our physical environment by moving. We move towards pleasure and away from pain, as all sentient beings do. But what happens if, for instance, we can’t move away from the pain? What happens if, when we cry and express our needs and desires, nobody comes to soothe us and look after us? Or worse, what happens if something or someone in our environment is causing us pain and we’re powerless to stop it? We are still unable to defend ourselves in any way, and all we can do is shut down against the pain in order to try to somehow not feel it.
The only way we can do this is to close down the second chakra. We cut off the pain and the emotional anguish by closing off or tensing our muscles and storing the pain in our unconscious. Already we’ve started to close off from life itself because life is painful. Being open is painful. Being vulnerable is painful.
Then, as we get older, we create all kinds of drama and distractions in our lives that take our attention away from this pain – but this also prevents us from experiencing life in its entirety. We may keep ourselves very busy all the time. We may become workaholics, addicted to substances, addicted to being perfect, or having everything in our lives look perfect. We will do anything to avoid the pain – especially the pain of believing that there’s something wrong with us and that there’s something painful about living on this earth.
Even at an early age, we can get very used to stopping the flow of energy during or after a painful event because it’s only “defence” we have. That energy remains frozen in time, in our emotions, in our bodies and, even though we mature into adults, we unconsciously carry those damaged parts of our psyche around inside us. We have frozen the painful events in both energy and time and this is what we call an energy block. That part of us stays locked inside, frozen, until (and if) it thaws out. It will be triggered time and again as we enter into relationships, fight with authority figures, create drama, blame others – anything at all so that we don’t get too close to the pain.
Running away from pain can become the main driver of our lives even though we don’t know it. Many of us live out of these energy blocks, not realising that we could have a very different experience of life. We are continually interacting with each other from the unconscious pain that we carry around with us.
When the energy in an interaction is intense, we can easily switch from one wound to another, making any meaningful communication very difficult. One minute we love the person so much (maybe too much, losing ourselves IN the love) and then, when the other person triggers our pain, we lash out at them! Deep down, it’s a relief to be able to lash out and dump our pain on someone else. The problem, of course, is that our behaviour will eventually drive them away. If someone gets too close to us or to our pain, we will stop them before it gets too much. We’ll distract or avoid or pretend. We’ll withdraw or lash out, creating even more pain than was caused by the original wound.
A simple example will illustrate this. Many of us were separated from our mothers at childbirth or soon afterwards. Perhaps she went to hospital to have more children, or perhaps you yourself were sick and were taken away from your mother. As a very young pre-verbal child, you experience this as abandonment – and you unconsciously carry that wound into adulthood, always expecting that, if you love too deeply, the one who loves you will abandon you.
You stay stuck in an object relationship dynamic, based on the child image of mother – and always fearing that the worst will happen. You end up (unconsciously) treating your partner as someone who will abandon you, so you’re always afraid to get too close to them. This makes you harder to love, and the other may eventually withdraw. As you feel their withdrawal, your belief that “they will leave me” is triggered and you become suspicious and needy at the same time.
Unconsciously you’re putting excessive demands on your partner to prove their love. You may even accuse them of seeing someone else, or not loving you, or even planning to leave you. This unconscious behavior may actually provoke your partner to eventually leave you. Now you’ve proven to yourself (or more accurately, to your 1-year old self) that yes, you’re unlovable and yes, you will be abandoned. And so the cycle continues until and if you become conscious of your wounding, and decide to lean into the pain for the first time – with support of course.
It’s tricky when you first see these things clearly because the tendency is to blame yourself. If you can NOT do that, and, instead, open up compassion for your damaged self, you are half-way there.
3. POWER CHAKRA (SOLAR PLEXUS/EGO)
The abuse of power is endemic in our society and has been for centuries. We often think of power as “power over’ – things, people and situations. But that’s not power. That’s control. Women, races, poor – they’ve all been controlled by powerful forces which, at their root, were deeply afraid and couldn’t allow others to simply be themselves. Witch-burning, racism, oppression are all examples of this – a power that’s derived from controlling others, in order to feel safe.
What we’re exploring here is a deeper power, which has nothing to do with control of your outer environment. It’s the power TO BE YOURSELF just as you are in each moment – naked and vulnerable, foolish and wise – all of YOU. It’s the power TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, TO SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY, to be open about your desires. It’s the power to be clear about your boundaries, to speak your truth, to be open about your needs. It’s the power to be proactive (the opposite of reactive) – so that you are actively engaged in using your gifts to create a better world for yourself and others.
This Chakra is seen very clearly in young children of two or three years old when they have temper tantrums – explosions of energy that the young child can’t contain. They want something (Second Chakra) and they take action (Third Chaka) to get it, but then a parent says “No”. Perhaps they had stolen a biscuit or grabbed a knife to play with. They have begun to exercise personal power ,but they don’t yet understand that actions have consequences. They simply want what they want – and when it’s forbidden, their energy erupts.
If the parent gives in to the anger tantrum then the child learns that anger and a loud voice work really well to get what they want. On the other end of the spectrum, if they cry uncontrollably and get what they want, then the child learns that crying and moaning work really well to get what they want. In both cases the child will grow up with a control issue – controlling either through a personality that dominates or passively controlling through “poor me” or what is often called victim consciousness. It’s a tricky time for parents!
If this Chakra is underactive, you may feel like a victim in the world, powerless in comparison to other people and life circumstances. You may have a habit of giving your power away to others – just to make sure they like you, or to keep the peace in your relationships, ignoring your own needs and desires.
If the third Chakra is overactive you may be a very busy person who is always on the go – apparently strong on the outside with an expanded ego, but also deeply afraid of feelings and vulnerability.
4. HEART CHAKRA (RELATIONSHIPS/ACCEPTANCE/LOVE)
We now know, scientifically, that there is really only energy (which some people call Universal Energy). It vibrates at many different frequencies that range from low to high, from the density of Earth through the diffused nature of sound, all the way into the ethereal realms of light. If we relate this understanding to ourselves, we see that at the lower end of the spectrum is our body and at the higher end is our consciousness. In between lies the heart – the bridge between those two worlds. It’s also at the centre of our ability to love – and remember that love doesn’t mean only love for others, it also applies to self-love and self-acceptance.
This energy centre governs how we relate to ourselves and also to others. In today’s busy world we don’t fully value spending the time it takes to relate deeply and fully. We don’t communicate openly about our desires, our needs, our hopes, and dreams. It’s as if we are afraid of being authentically ourselves. The question “How are you?” is so often answered with a flippant “Fine” or “Grand” or “Not bad”. We rarely reveal what’s actually going on inside. We seem to fear deep intimacy, a word that can be broken down into the syllables “in to me you see”.
Yet we also long for intimacy. We long for acceptance and love. We desperately want to reveal ourselves to another, and to set ourselves free in this intimate way. This is a common blockage in the Heart Chakra – where two parts of us can pull in opposite directions. We want to be loved and understood but the reality is that we don’t fully love or understand ourselves yet. So, each time we get close to another, we pull away.
The journey into the heart involves becoming intimate with self AND other, knowing and honouring our boundaries, needs and insecurities. If we can become truly intimate with ourselves, we can offer that intimacy to someone else. But if we can’t love ourselves, that level of intimacy will be impossible. If that’s our reality, then we need to start somewhere else – with complete acceptance of where we are. Slowly and gradually, we can move deeper and deeper into self-acceptance, and then on to forgiveness, healing the past we have carried within us – so that we can move forward into a more loving future.
5. THROAT CHAKRA (EXPRESSION/CREATIVITY)
When we enter the realm of the Fifth Chakra, we’re challenged by the deafening noise of our modern world. House and car alarms, aeroplanes, cars, trucks, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and an ever-increasing array of social media which bombard us day and night, if we let them. Notifications, ringtones, SMS, email – it’s easy to see how difficult it can be to tune into our own voice. We’ve lost the intimacy of deep stillness – and many of us don’t even know what we want to say or express. Others are simply afraid to speak the truth. Yet more have lost the connection to their own individuality and authenticity.
Communicating who we are can come in many ways, but it always includes listening – both to others and to your inner promptings. In the noisy world we live in it’s often the loudest that get the most attention. Here we may meet our fear of speaking up more strongly or, alternatively, we may need to leave room for the other to speak. We may need to learn to listen both to ourselves and to others.
In the Throat Chakra we also meet our self-expression, and how that was shaped during our upbringing. Do we have secrets? Was lying a part of our upbringing? Are we afraid to express our truth? If we have deep self-acceptance (4th Chakra) then we don’t need to hide or deny the truth. We can creatively allow our feelings and individuality to be expressed in whatever shape is needed – words, art, poetry, music, and so on. Our self-expression will not be based on what we think others want to hear, and our creativity will expand as a natural expression of our individuality.
If we feel safe and secure in the world (1st Chakra), then the voice will come from that deeper place and others will sense that. If we are able to accept and honour our feelings (2nd Chakra) and if our self-definition is strong (3rd Chakra) then we will still be able to express our truth even if it shakes things up a little – but also we will not need to convince others or try to make them see it our way.
When our hearts are open and unafraid we may find ourselves saying things that wouldn’t normally be said – for example “I love you” – a challenge for some people to say and for others to hear.
With an open Throat Chakra you express your feelings, thoughts, and inner knowledge freely and without fear. Your creative juices begin to flow as you develop an inner honesty with yourself which you easily transmit to others. Your voice is full and resonant without needing to dominate. Your listening skills continue to improve, as you hear not just what is being said but, and sometimes more importantly, what’s NOT being said.
6. THIRD EYE CHAKRA (INTUITION/CREATIVITY)
The internet has opened up a whole new world of image conscious people. We are bombarded by images that tell us how we should look, what should be important to us, how to behave, what to buy, and where to be seen! Our minds are easily programmed by all of the subtle advertising and marketing influences all around us, whether we’re surfing the Net, reading our notifications, or moving around in the city.
We’ve become so used to thinking about our self-image – how we dress, what the latest cool hairstyle is – that we forget that it’s only a self-IMAGE. It’s not actually who we are. Like it or not, we’re constantly changing. We run the risk of becoming even more addicted to our image of the perfect body or the image of what a successful life looks like. This is what happens when our consciousness gets wrapped around what society has told us is an acceptable image. As we strive to build this self-image, we reinforce the idea that it’s what others think about us that’s important – and we don’t really see how we are with ourselves, let alone what we’re doing to ourselves.
These images are reinforced by the world we live in, and it becomes very difficult for us to realise how much we’ve been influenced by the prevailing culture, and to re-evaluate what images work for us.
A healthy Sixth Chakra sees beyond the programming of our culture and upbringing, while having a clear vision for the direction of our lives. This moves us from living in an unconsciously reactive mode to a consciously creative mode.
As we do this, we begin to see patterns of behaviour – our own, others, and those of society – and we can choose what works for us and what doesn’t. We are developing the ability to see beyond, to see within, and to experience those “aha” moments which we need in order to create internal change.
The thieves of the Sixth Chakra are “Delusion and Illusion” and they will always hold us back unless we become more conscious. If we’re in tune with our true vision it will have purpose and power in it, and will lead us forward. But when we’re delusional, we often think of how something “should” be. If all of our energy is invested in maintaining this illusion, everything becomes food for its survival. The Coronavirus pandemic showed us how easy it is for us to seek out any evidence that supports an illusion – while ignoring any evidence to the contrary. Another example would be a hypochondriac for whom even a sneeze is proof of illness.
Our illusions have a lot of power unless we allow ourselves to question them. Once we have an open and clear Sixth Chakra, we can move beyond any fixations and enter the strange worlds of clairvoyance, seeing auras, and developing a strong intuition that we can trust. If we get to this level of spiritual growth we need to have consistent grounding practices, because it’s easy to get “lost” in these etheric and trance-like worlds. Our lives can become overly chaotic and ungrounded unless we have stability in the lower chakras.
7. CROWN CHAKRA (WISDOM/UNIVERSAL MIND)
On a personal level, our Crown Chakra is the seat of Wisdom. On a more cosmic level, it’s also where we enter into the mystery of God, Universal Mind, union with the Divine. These and hundreds of other names can only point to it – you have to experience it for yourself.
On the personal level, we see that the Crown Chakra is where our thoughts originate and where we put meaning on everything that happens to us. On the more cosmic level, we see that we can think anything we want. It’s our choice.
The thief of this Crown Chakra is “Attachment”. We can easily become attached to concepts, opinions, and beliefs – which means that our minds stay closed and trust only what we believe to be true. It seems easier for us to stick with our beliefs – even if we call ourselves religious or spiritual. We freeze our beliefs, rather than opening to the higher wisdom of the Divine. The strange paradox here is that we don’t realise that letting go of fixed beliefs is an important step towards true liberation.
If we find ourselves attached to a belief and find it difficult to let go, it’s a good practice to go deep into meditation and ask ourselves some questions that take us away from the fixed position of “I” – and into the witness state, which can provide tremendous insights into why we’re so attached to our belief or opinion.
At this level we finally transcend the ego identity of “I” , entering into a world where we see everything as connected. We develop a Holistically Intelligent way of knowing ourselves and our place in the world. We see energy manifesting at many different levels deep within us. We see our thoughts as energy. We feel our emotions as energy. We relate and create with this energy. The more conscious we become, the more we co-create with Love and Intention.
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