The Chakras – Part 4

The spirit that moves

On a clear night in 1925, Pak Subuh was out walking alone, when he became aware of a bright light above him. As he wondered about this, the bright light came towards him and touched the top of his head, immediately causing him to tremble and shake. He thought he was ill and went home, surrendering himself to death. But instead of dying, a force took hold of him and led his body and thoughts into a spontaneous movement outside his conscious volition. Later he became the leader of a world-wide Brotherhood, Subud, the members of which also experience spontaneous movements after being ‘opened’ to the Life Force or ‘Power of God’. This opening is said to occur when the influence or force is passed to the one being opened.

Franz Anton Mesmer, experimenting with magnets as a means of healing, found that many people began to tremble and shake when these were applied. As he experimented further, he came to see that the same thing happened even when no magnets were used. The trembling and shaking led to people having what he called healing crises – that is, emotions or fears which had caused psychosomatic illness were experienced consciously and thus removed, resulting in a cure. People flocked to him for treatment, and he found it sufficient to touch them or come near them, to start this quivering or emotions.

Like Pak Subuh, he felt that a power, that he called ‘animal magnetism’ passed from him to the patient. Also like Pak Subuh, he felt that the power that was released in the person, was the power of life, the same power that moved the planets. Extraordinary and well authenticated cures were produced. The same applies to members of Subud but the members go beyond ‘cure’ of illness. Through constant surrender to the power that moves them they move on to find spiritual growth.

Surrendering the conscious mind

In 1922 Dr. Wilhelm Reich started his work as a psychoanalyst. Gradually over the next few years he developed his technique of helping a patient to drop psycho/muscular tensions. He found that as these tensions were released, the patient began to tremble, shake and convulse, as the ‘life force’ was released in them. These are so like the convulsive ‘healing crises’ of Mesmer, there can be little doubt that similar forces are at work.

In the experience of Pak Subuh it was only when a person completely relaxed or surrendered their conscious will, that the power could be released in them. With Mesmer, his techniques produced a state where the conscious mind yielded and relaxed to the influence he brought to bear on them. The common denominator is therefore the relaxation or state of surrendering the conscious mind to the innate power within.

Throughout the ages, when men and women have surrendered their conscious hold on themselves, an inner power has often arisen and caused them to tremble, shake or feel strong vibrations through their being. Edgar Cayce advised a man who had begun to tremble when reading ‘Varieties of Religious Experience’ that he knew of several who had experienced a similar state: Swedenborg, as he studied, Socrates, as he meditated; Paul, when he fell from his horse; Buddha when he meditated in the forest. A man who often meditated describes it as follows:

“Sometimes I am aware of my whole body vibrating for many nights consecutively. This is not simply my own impression, as my wife can actually feel the physical vibration. Also it sometimes occurs that I experience this as an energy reaching out to P. and weaving in with her own energy. This too is a shared experience, though not always. As this has gradually developed I can’t help wondering what the further stages of its development will lead to. Sometimes in deep sleep I am aware of what this energy is doing in my being, how it is flowing and where blocked. But for long periods I then lose any awareness of it.”

The Pentecostal experience described in the New Testament also tells how the disciples who were gathered in the ‘upper room’ were spontaneously moved and looked to others as if they were drunk.

In the seventeenth century, the Quakers were said to ‘quake in the sight of the Lord’, and many ancient races, experienced spontaneous movements in their dances or ceremonies. I was present when a man relived traumatic experiences from his childhood, and this was precipitated by the trembling.

This was recently mentioned to a Zen Buddhist monk, who said that in Zen training such shaking sometimes occurs and is a sign of cleansing of past shocks and emotions. Undoubtedly, this has occurred in Christian monasteries, but unfortunately, the people were often thought to be possessed of the Devil, and tortured or killed. Where it occurs in modern psychotherapy it is simply called ‘abreaction’, and not persevered with. Only Subud and Wilhelm Reich, have used it as a long term method to bring personal development or growth. Both George Fox, founder of the Quakers, and Pak Subuh developed healing ability, prophecy and ‘openings’ to knowledge coming from an intuitive source.

Unfortunately the medical profession has no awareness of this at all, as shown in the letter at the end of this feature. Therefore many people are led to believe they are sick in some way.

However, past cultures nearly always connected this trembling with an opening to the divine. Reich and Mesmer simply described it as the cosmic life force. See The LifeStream

But what has all this got to do with chakras? When we open to the kundalini and it begins to work on us, developing our being to a higher pitch of expression, the spontaneous movements or emotions are one of the possible results. At first this is experienced as a form of cleansing. Past painful or negative experiences are brought to consciousness as their results are healed. Cayce says ‘In meditations, some individuals experience a vibratory sensation which seems to move the body from side to side or backward or forward. This may become a circular motion within the body, bringing a fullness and whirling sensation in the head.’ The reason why these movements, often dramatic, have been mentioned so fully, is because although they only occur in a few cases, if they happen without being understood, they can be very frightening, and make a person believe that he or she is ill. That is not the case.

Inner moods

Returning to the Root Chakra (the four-petalled lotus,) it is basically the doorway or source for the creative power or sound of the Word to act upon us. As can be seen, people experience the entrance in different places. Pak Subuh had his initiations through the head! But the root chakra represents potential that has not yet expressed.

Perhaps it is safest to think of the chakras as inner moods, soul conditions through which we can discover various aspects of ourselves. The soul mood of the Root Chakra is Earth; receptiveness, fertility, submissiveness, and offering of self as material for the Word to act upon. This enables or attracts the Power to express or incarnate itself more consciously into our life. This Lotus is the centre dealing with our physical relationship to our life of sensual awareness. Therefore, as it opens in us we become very much more conscious of the physical pain others suffer.

This centre is also sensitive to our own hurt, and can be felt to close or tighten when we are hurt, or to open when relaxed. Another of its petals is sensitive to the state of other people’s relationships to Life – whether they are open or closed to the Word at a physical level.

Reich describes a block at this pelvic level showing as a retracted pelvis, buttocks being pulled back: tense muscles at the base of the abdomen; a contracted anal sphincter muscle; often constipation, little or no sensitivity in genitals, and so on. These are usually quite unconscious, but can sometimes be brought to awareness by tensing the rectum and genitals many times during the day, and learning to drop the tension. It is then noticed that a tension exists in these organs most of the time.
the six petalled flower

Now we come to the Swadisthana Chakra, just above the genitals. The lotus has six petals of a vermilion (Yoga) or orange (Cayce) colour. Each lotus emits a colour and sound – mantra – which is an aspect of the one creative Word, just as the spectrum or rainbow shows aspects of light. The Shat – Chakras – Nirupana says, ‘He who meditates upon this stainless lotus, which is named Swadhishthana, is freed immediately from all his enemies (i. e. his six passions) .. . He becomes a Lord among Yogis, and is like the sun illuminating the dense darkness of ignorance. The wealth of his nectar like words flow in prose and verse in well reasoned discord’. Its element is water.

The centre of creation and destruction

The action of this lotus appears to be connected with the plexus hypogastricus, and thus to the genitals. It is the centre dealing with creation and destruction, attraction and repulsion, thus links with the creative action of the sex organs, and the breaking down, and ejective process of the bowel. Just as the Root Chakra was the centre of sensuality, this the centre of sexuality.

Edgar Cayce says:

When we attune ourselves to the Infinite, the glands of reproduction may be compared to a motor which raises the spiritual power in the body. Understanding the influence of the testicles or ovaries helps us to understand the work of this centre.

As the hormones are produced in greater amounts at puberty by the sex glands, our secondary sexual characteristics arise. In the man this is the growth of hair on the face and body, deepening voice, development of musculature, deepening of chest, growth of sexual organs, hardening up of the body and arousal of sexual desire.

In the woman this shows as growth of pubic hair, development of breasts and hips, a rounding of the body, arousal of tenderness and sexual longing.

If the sex glands of male or female are removed before puberty, or fail to function properly, these characteristics do not appear. The sexual organs remain small, the voice never polarises, the person is sluggish, the men given to fatness, the woman to facial hair and mannishness. The males become rather female, the woman rather male, and both given to vindictive and petty schemes.
Growth of personality

The personality growth that occurs as the sex glands mature, is not just to do with sexual desire. Also comes a greater sense of beauty, the development of religious feeling, greater personal awareness and idealism. The eunuch is lazy, suspicious and undependable, whereas the sexually active person is more loving, energetic and creative. The gonad centred male is lean, mentally alert, creative, idealistic and attractive. The woman is curved, tender, mentally and emotionally active over a large range and attractive sexually.

We tend to think of castration as a physical cutting away of testicles or ovaries. Unfortunately, we can be castrated and yet maintain the physical organs. This occurs when we ‘cut off’ our sexual feelings through fear, guilt, shame or misplaced religious idealism. This effectively deadens the lower chakras and does not allow them to develop. The higher chakras ( i. e. higher up the body, not higher in purpose) can still develop, but they function in an unbalanced way.

A friend recently mentioned an Indian guru who said one must never ever think of lower chakras because it was sinful to do so. The reply was that as the Root chakra is the centre of power, the Svadhishthana of warmth, relatedness, and creativeness, this would make him very idealistic in an abstract sense, but without the power to bring his ideals into physical realities, and lacking the warmth to relate well to people and have them understand him. This, it appeared, was exactly the guru’s problem.

Powerful sex drive

To kill our sexual feelings is to murder a part of the creative Word (GOD) in us. On the other hand, there is a tremendous power in the sex drive. So powerful can it be in fact, that many have felt ‘possessed’ by this force, and attributed it to the Devil. The attitude being, ‘this force overpowers my ego and sense of self control, therefor it must be evil as it threatens me.’ But as we gain humility, we rephrase it, saying, ‘My ego had so ruined the equilibrium of my being, that my sex drives seem more of an enemy than a friend, like a fire on the carpet instead of the grate.’ The fear in the past, has been that if the sexual desires were released, the result would be licentiousness, rape and sexual abandon.

In fact, quite the reverse is true, as can be seen from the absence of crime, homosexuality, rape and sexual criminality in unrepressed societies. It is the pressurised and guilt laden instincts that became criminal and destructive.

Therefore, in the development of our lotuses, the aim is not to kill out or repress sexual feelings. Rather, it is to release them and then hold them out to be directed or used, by the highest in you. Pak Subuh says that in the beginning this is not always easy, and when sexual desires are experienced, offer them to God, and in this prayerful and loving attitude, have intercourse.

As we become more aware of the Life Force in us, we will find our sexual feelings naturally directed and harmonised with the Infinite within us, instead of being aroused only to be a desire for gratification. This must not be understood to mean that the Infinite kills our sexual desires. It does nothing of the sort. The sexual instinct is an expression of Life in us, but often we use it for our own ends. What happens is that the Creative Word in us takes over the direction of sexuality again, and arouses it in its right context. This, needless to say, is in connection with love and tenderness – not lawlessness.

When these forces are brought in harmony with your total self, regeneration of your being begins to take place. Without the sex urge, humans have only the instincts of self preservation, desire for food and animal comforts. With sexuality a whole world of new relationship begins, that opens up the way for yet finer feeling. Like a plant, it is difficult for the blossom to open unless the stem has grown from the roots deep in the earth.

Letter received by Yoga and Health magazine in response to the article.
Dear Editor, Chakras

It was with much interest that I read the article by Tony Crisp in the May issue of YOGA & HEALTH concerning the Chakras.

Many years ago, over a period of about two years, I had constant experiences of the shaking and trembling which Mr. Crisp described in his article. I was very young at the time, happily married with a baby daughter, and although considered to be highly strung, was neither repressed nor mentally disturbed.

These ‘attacks’ would come upon me almost every night. I would be quite relaxed … and then the quivering would start, very gently at first. It would begin in my toes and then gradually work upwards throughout the whole of my body until it increased in intensity until I seemed to be one great overwhelming vibration. At this point I would feel that something or some power was trying to take over, and I would sweat with the effort of holding onto myself. There seemed also to be a great void full of brown light opening beneath me into which I could feel myself sinking.

I saw several doctors and specialists (my family were very worried about me) but they could find nothing wrong; the symptoms were something they could not account for at all, and they eventually decided that my strange condition was due to ‘nerves’.

Eventually the experiences ceased, but very soon afterwards, I began to be very interested in Yoga with which I have now been actively associated for nearly twenty years.

Deep within my heart, I knew that what I had experienced all those years ago was not due to ‘nerves’, and am now convinced that, had I not been overcome with fear, I would have been fortunate enough to undergo some enlightening spiritual experience.

Because of this knowledge, although practising Hatha Yoga for physical and mental fitness, the real area of my interest lies in the study of Yoga as a whole … as a way of life and as a path towards enlightenment and liberation. And I know too that the experience I had thought to be meaningless and frightening had after all a meaning far beyond my comprehension. Thank you Tony Crisp for confirming and deepening my belief. Mrs. J


-Geoff 2011-02-09 21:10:07

Thank you for this article, Mr Crisp. It is very pertinent to my current situation and will lead me to the practical exploration of avenues that I have only read or thought about previously.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-02-15 10:39:19

    Geoff – Thank you for your comments on The Chakras. Such responses are good to get.


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