Written by Shai Tubali
Chakras should, long ago, have been studied and examined as a scientific system with the same attention that many other observable layers of the human body and mind have received.
It is quite unclear how it is possible that a physiological system, which so many millions of people throughout history have reported about and which is perceived as an obvious direct experience of numerous people, has remained confined within the boundaries of the esoteric.
It would make sense that the esoteric field should include any claim of metaphysical or “out-of-body” activity, but certainly not a systematic and repetitive physiological activity which is unknowingly shared by so many as a similar and even identical experience. Unlike Kundalini, which is a physiological activity consciously accessible only to those who cultivate an exceptional level of meditative sensitivity, Chakras are completely within the reach of the common human. Indeed, in the human language they are hidden behind so-called metaphors such as “broken-heartedness” (as opposed to an “open heart”), “cold feet,” “weak at the knees,” “standing on one’s own feet,” “butterflies in the stomach,” a “strong stomach” (as opposed to “having no stomach for something”), a “lump in one’s throat” and the “mind’s eye.”
In the same breath, it is no wonder that Chakras have remained bound to the esoteric field alone. This is because instead of documenting them in a direct language, they have remained tied to traditional names, symbols, colors, mantras and Hindu and Buddhist mythology. This has greatly inhibited our ability as a human culture to observe them as a general human phenomenon that is relevant to far more familiar phenomena, such as the psyche’s structure, psychic development and the unconscious in Psychology, body-mind connection, human relationships, education, and above all – the understanding of the human existence with all its multi-dimensional complexity, which is often experienced as contradictory.
As a psycho-physiological phenomenon, Chakras are directly experienced as sensory centers which clearly come alive in response to stimulating situations and experiences in life. These seven centers are probably the most unmediated interactions of the human system with life. The intriguing question is, of course, how did such centers come into being within the human?
Here again, as previously discussed in terms of the tension between the spiritual and the scientific worldviews, there are two possible answers. The spiritual approach, which prefers viewing the human experience from above downward, would claim that the Chakras are a built-in system that existed even before our final physical appearance as a human body. Accordingly, the purpose of this system is to ultimately resume our connection with our super-human origin.
The scientific approach could suggest – and such an argument would be indeed just as valid – that it was a chain of evolutionary pressures that caused the emergence of such centers within the human, one after the other. First came the instinctive center designed for physical survival and tribal self-protection, and quite shortly after, a sensual center of pleasure and feeling was developed to enable a heightened experience of body and senses. Gradually, a center of individual power, will, competition and ambition formed to empower one in positioning oneself as a strong individual within society, and later, a center of emotion and sensitivity, environmental awareness, dependency and compassion emerged to support more complex human relationships. A center of higher communication, language and interaction of mutual influence for the sake of spreading information as well as cultural ideas then came into being, alongside a center of higher intelligence, inquiry, thought and contemplation, designed for understanding life inside and outside us. Finally, a center of meditation and a direct connection with the phenomenon of consciousness and the infinitely unknowable nature of the universe was established.
Observing the Chakras from the evolutionary point of view, they can be seen as layers of human perception and experience which appeared both one after the other and somewhat simultaneously, gradually bringing to fulfillment the complexity of human existence – an existence which embraces philosophy and action, willfulness and sacrifice, aloneness and belonging, eternal existence and simple mortal life, instinctive and physiological needs and a transcending human spirit.
Even if we adopted the scientific-evolutionary theory alone, it would be enough to reveal that the Chakras are a system through which one could look at the entire spectrum of human experience and its obvious and subtle relations with the world and the cosmos at large. Enabled by such a vision, we could fully grasp the human system, from the rather puzzling and multi-layered structure of the psyche to cultural phenomena, as a dialogue between the different Chakras.
All worldviews, perspectives and interpretations originate, in this sense, from the Chakras. Each worldview or perspective comes into being as soon as one watches the world and oneself through the eyes of a specific Chakra. With these lenses or eyes, a whole range of values, feelings and meaning follows. This is because Chakras are truly devices which connect us to what I call the “Seven Dimensions of Life.”
This makes the Chakras an ideal candidate for winning the title, “Theory of Everything” – the theory of all theories; a sort of super-concept whose power derives from the fact that it is not merely theory-based but experience-based and universally shared.
This super-concept is the ultimate integral approach, which holds within it an integrative answer to major questions in psychology, health, human intelligence, human needs, education, happiness, meaning, and the entire range of life skills. In this, the Chakras prove to be a highly effective system which enables a full vision of complex structures very quickly, thus making it possible to avoid mental contradiction and to harmoniously perceive each and every situation and challenge, from problems in our individual lives to political and social crises.
No doubt, the most impressive future contribution of Chakras will be to a psychological breakthrough: an effective comprehension of the psychic structure that could promote supreme wellbeing, happiness and meaning. In this sense, all the various psychological schools do not contradict each other at all but, really, beautifully complement one another. In reality, despite the divisiveness that the fragmented human nature adds to them, each one explores and treats one aspect of the psyche which can be easily reflected in the Chakra system.
When the Chakras are understood as the structure of human psyche, they can quickly teach us the nature of complete psychic health, which necessarily embraces all the possible components of our psyche: from its most instinctive foundations, which include primordial traumas, to the most refined needs of our emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing, such as emotional fulfillment, meaning, clarity of knowing and self-transcendence.
Chakras, as such, mark the way to an integral experience of life. They explain the different spiritual paths as complementary parts of one holistic path, just as they show how nationalities, cultures, philosophies and even types of personalities (which I define as the “seven personality types”) become much more meaningful and sensible when they appear to serve a greater whole.
Their greatest contribution to our future as a race still awaits us – their capacity to liberate human thinking from fragmentation in favor of the universalization of human existence and their ability to fully realize themselves on this marvelous planet.