Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bright and Dim Levels of Chakras

I believe it is dangerous and handicapping to say -- as many in the New Age movement do --  "We must learn to COME FROM our upper chakras, and no longer come from our lower chakras." That arises from a worldview which includes a split between mind and body. 
It is even more dangerous to try to LIVE that way, thinking it is "the spiritual way to live." If you are a spiritually-aware person and your life is not working well on the practical level, read on here and you might discover you have some illusions.
The chakras are like the engines of human-embodiment life, transformers stepping down the voltage of higher-vibrational energies into the lower-vibrational energies we need to live our embodied human lives. Like a prism, they break the white light of Divine Light/Life Energy into the colors of the most basic aspects of our functioning. We need every single one to be fully operational, for us to fully function in this life in this world as humans. Spiritual energies are not just located in the heart and higher chakras; spiritual energies are the actual energies of each and every chakra.
Thus, in this perspective, there is no directionality or progression of "holiness" FROM the lower TO the upper chakras. That fallacy of evolution or directionality underlies most of Tantric sexuality practices as well as lots of Eastern religious thought. Each chakra has its own purpose and its own energy that it transforms from higher dimensions to our dimension, and all are equally "spiritual." Each chakra has its own unique frequency which expresses and supports and is the activity of its purpose in our lives.
"No directionality or progression" does not mean there is not a flow of energy up or down the body from chakra to chakra; clearly there is, and in between as well. The flow of energy up and down the body among the chakras is good, the flow is healthful, the flow needs to be free in BOTH directions. That is simply healthy energybody functioning.

By  “no directionality or progression” I mean that the “higher” chakras are not automatically and universally more spiritual, better, more evolved, closer to God or to godliness. Nor are the lower chakras more “base,” or automatically darker, or less refined, less evolved or spiritual, or less godly. Any chakra can be more or less of any of these.

Thus in Tantra, when they talk about taking sexuality as an automatically “lower” vibration –- lower in every sense of the meaning –- and moving it up through the other chakras, refining, ”purifying” it til it reaches the “purest” crown chakra –- that to me is a very mistaken notion. Since each chakra can be its pure version or impure version, going “up” or “down” has nothing to do with purifying or impurifying energy from one chakra to another. 

That said, if we use the rainbow color metaphor for chakras, red is certainly a slower vibration than violet, and we normally associate slower vibrations with density, dimness, contractedness, negative emotions, and decreased consciousness, thus less of “godliness.” 

So there must be SOME kind of difference between lower and upper chakras, but I will have to say I have not yet concluded what that difference might be. 
However, each chakra definitely has its own higher/Light Side/Bright Level and lower/Dark Side/Dim Level vibrational levels of functioning. The bright level has more of the Light of life and existence functioning in us, through us, as us. We glow more with life. Our lives are more vivid, more alive; our lives work better. That's what "brighter" chakra levels do.  The “brighter” or more open or clear the chakra, the more of the Divine Being/Light/Love is flowing into and AS the activity/expression of that chakra in the world. "Dim" does not mean "less active;" it means less of the Divine Light/Love energy, just like a dimmer light bulb.
What has happened in the mind-body split is that the lower chakras are characterized as ONLY their dim/dark aspects or levels, and the upper chakras are characterized as ONLY their bright/light aspects or levels. This error, of course, wreaks havoc with our everyday lives and with our spiritual development.
So to say we "must come from our upper chakras and not our lower" opens the door for a life filled with terror, disempowerment, lack of will--a life that doesn't work in this world--and also opens the door for some "very bad" folks who are "coming from" the DARK levels of their upper chakras! Even to say "We must come from the heart" needs specification. Lots of people's hearts are not in a condition or vibrational level we would want THEM to be coming from!
Also, as long as one is alive, all chakras are indeed functioning, though perhaps not very brightly, and perhaps not in their highest vibrational expressions. It is incorrect to assume that people who are functioning with dim lower chakras have no functional upper chakras. Those are just dim, as well!!
There is a widespread nonacceptance of the true purpose, role, and power of the lower chakras. This results in many people not being fully embodied in this body, not fully accepting embodiment, their soul not fully occupying and operating the lower chakras, due to a falsity, an illusion, in the understanding of the nature of these chakras. This is quite handicapping to a good life, a full life.
Because for so long on this plane, the functioning of the lower chakras in humankind in general was even dimmer than the functioning of the heart and upper chakras, there is a widespread illusion now that this difference is intrinsic, that the upper and lower are inevitably incompatible, that there is no Bright or heart-full kind of functioning of the lower chakras nor is there any Dim functioning of the upper chakras. 

Nothing could be further from the Truth as I see it. In fact, human embodiments are evolving toward One Chakra, in which all chakras merge and function together as One, not just compatible, not just integrated! It's time to end the illusion of separation and embrace a life that includes the full functioning in full harmony, in full integration, of each and every chakra.
All this is an oversimplification of a complex subject. Below is almost the standard over-simplified list of chakras. There are many more chakras, smaller ones, located at various points all over the body, which I shall not discuss. Also I am not going to discuss how or why chakras get to be bright or dim, and I am not going to discuss the dimness being not only less amount of light but also distortions of light.




First Chakra


A sense of living in a world where it is safe to be, and safe to be oneself; the sense of living in a benevolent universe conducive to one's survival and even wellbeing. Feeling one has the right to exist. Enjoying the physical external world, finding it workable, beautiful, and a source of delight and wonder.
The sense of having a functional body. Exuberance. "Joy of life." A sense of flowing, of forward movement in life. Groundedness.

Terror, ultimate separateness, insecurity,  the sense of living in a malevolent universe. Feeling un-nourished, unsupplied, unsupported. Feeling one has no right to exist. Lack of acceptance of embodiment. The sense of living in an alien or hostile or unfriendly or unworkable world. Rejecting the physical external world. The sense of having a nonfunctional body, or impaired or diminished body. Severe depression. Experiences of starvation, poverty. Paralysis. Experiences of one disaster after another. Chronic diseases. Possibly allergies.

(not on most chakra charts)

Sexuality as a natural part of life, an expression of life energy, as an arena for caring and even for a spiritual path. Creativity of all kinds. Centeredness.

Sexuality as an arena for playing out dark aspects of other chakras: power games, seeking reassurance, etc. Sexuality disconnected from relationship with others. Sexuality as a life energy repressed and erupting in harmful or illness-producing ways. Lack of vitality.

Below navel
Second Chakra


Knowing one has the ability to do things and be effective in creating, carrying out or manifesting whatever one wills to do; personal empowerment, the sense one can be efficacious, successful. Unconditional joy. Life Energy Center.

Fear, powerlessness, helplessness, victim-identity. Fear of one's own power from past abuses of power. Frustration. Anger. Seeking "power over" others. Domination through actions. Living through others. Energy vampires. Depression. Feeling dominated. Avoidance of responsibility. Feeling overwhelmed. Life as effortful, struggle. Feeling blocked in life. Feeling defective, broken, deficient. Despair.

Solar Plexus
Third Chakra


A sense of personal will. The ability to determine and know what one wants. Enthusiasm. Motivation. Self-determination. A healthy "ego." Knowing what is beneficial or harmful to self.

Drifting, being too influenced by others, codependency, alienation from self. Denial of own wants. A dry, "unjuicy" life. Merging into a cult or group and submission to their agenda. Lack of motivation. Living vicariously through children, grandchildren, etc. Not knowing what one wants, thus career-jumping. Putting others always first. Not paying attention to self.

Fourth Chakra


Love, connection, caring, relating, belonging. The sense of loving life, the external world, and one's own body. Ability to embrace, to nurture, to protect. All the flavors of human love. Love as a state of Being, not just a human emotion: unconditional love.

Playing the martyr, neediness, emotional unavailability, sense of isolation or disconnection, emotional shielding or numbness. Hating life, the world, one's body. Feeling unworthy. Protection against emotional pain, criticism.

Fifth Chakra


The sense of being safe to and able to express oneself, to communicate, to speak one's truth, to express and manifest what one wills. Talking.

Domination through expression (threats, intimidation) or silence: steamrollering and overriding others' expressions, or withdrawing into one's own world. Extremes of extroversion or introversion. Biting one's tongue. Resentment at self-inhibition of self- expression. Sneaky and indirect communications or expressions.

Sixth Chakra


Wisdom, understanding, insight, mental functioning, knowledge. Ability to "see through another's eyes." Clairvoyance, clairaudience, inner knowing. Inner visions. Visions as plans. Telepathy. Full Listening, full apprehending, full perceiving, and full recognizing.

Psychic attack, black magic. Manipulating others by sleight-of-word and "snow jobs". Dazzling people by mental displays, using intelligence as a weapon. Rationalizing. Guilt. Repression. Judging self and others. Living in the mind, avoiding other levels of experience. Being too deliberate; lack of spontaneity. Control trips (different from power trips.) Mistaking the map for the territory. Righteousness. Feeling bad, wrong, or evil. Self-blame.

Back of head just above neck
(not on most chakra charts)

Intuition, guidance from and merging with non-physical Beings such as Guides, channeling, spiritual healing done by full-body channeling of healing Entities

Psychic domination and manipulation of others. Initiation or experience of possession. Deliberate falsification of "reality" to manipulate someone. All the "evil shaman" stuff. (These can all involve the Sixth Chakra as well.)

Top of Head
Seventh Chakra


Connection with the higher dimensions, cosmic connection, identity as a Larger-than-human Self. Feeling integrated with all of existence. Ultimate "belonging," ultimate support. Ability to accept "what is" and yet be in Ultimate Creativity. Vast perspectives, a cosmic sense of inclusiveness, ability to embrace diversity and apparent paradoxes. Cosmic bliss. Unconditional peace.

Denial of any consciousness above the human mind. Fear of anything above the human mind. "Running on ego," and feeling alone, overwhelmed, exhausted, and terrified by total-responsibility for one's life in a world ultimately out of one's control.

Three important aspects of our functioning are not mentioned above because they are combinations:
Passion (sexual or as extreme enthusiasm/commitment) is probably a combination of perineal, navel, solar plexus, heart, and throat chakras.
Empathy is a combination of heart and forehead as well as probably navel (second) chakras. It is more than the ability to see through others' eyes, because it involves feeling through their hearts and bodies as well.
Compassion is also a combination of heart and forehead chakras. Compassion involves empathetic feeling combined with perspective. Possibly the crown chakra is also a necessary component of true compassion.
Some miscellaneous further thoughts:

I would like to add that sexuality as an expression of multi-dimensional Beingness, when actually integrated with "spirituality," is an all-chakra experience, not just one chakra, not even just the perineal chakra and/or second chakra combined with the heart chakra. 
I would also like to say a few more words about the One Chakra mentioned briefly above: as the veils of forgetfulness and illusion are removed from our consciousness and we move back into our natural state of God-realization, the various chakras begin to merge and blend, so that every function is performed all over the body, and cannot be distinctly associated with any particular body part or location. This is a very different experience, which each of us adapts to as part of our individual spiritual evolution.
The interconnectedness of chakras is promoted by their brightness, their healthiness. And interconnectedness, ease and openness of flow, is a healthy thing.
Open vs Closed Chakras
Many people regard a healthy chakra as “open” instead of, or in addition to, being “bright.” I have thought and sensed about that, and I think openness and closedness of a chakra is somewhat related to health, in this sense: a healthy chakra is flexible, can be opened or closed to any degree, with ease and freedom, depending on how appropriate the situation is. There are some situations in which one wants to keep one's energetic radiations/expressions pulled in, and others in which one wants them to radiate out to the max. The only problem is when a chakra gets STUCK open or closed. Does that make sense?

A stuck-open chakra leads to energy drains, lack of appropriate personal boundaries, weakness, ill health. A stuck-closed chakra leads with being withdrawn, ineffective, unpowerful, no empathy, and ill health. That's my impression, anyway.
One can see chakras as clear/blocked, and more or less active, and sometimes energy mostly inward or outward at the moment. These are all metaphors, as is Bright/Dim and open/closed. If a chakra is completely closed/blocked/inactive, I think, the person is not alive! These “engines” are all necessary to being alive. So it's really a matter of degree. 
There are circumstances in which it is not appropriate or optimal for a chakra to be operating in outward expression at full blast, and just as our eyes close sometimes, so the chakra decreases the energy of its expression outwardly, while maintaining its full “brightness” inwardly. This is not the same as becoming “dim” in the sense I mean it in this blog. Also closed does not mean “blocked.” 
Here's a very brief other kind of description of the main functions of each chakra. 
There are many many such descriptions, often very different from one another. These I have adapted from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Jo Dunning.

These form answers to a series of questions about self and life, starting with the most basic which must be answered first. Each one can be answered only in terms of the answer to the previous one. Each chakra has a unique and valuable function in our lives. 

Will I survive? Am I safe? Will my existence last? Will this embodiment continue to exist for awhile? Will my needs be met? Is the universe in which my embodiment exists friendly, or hostile, or in different to my existence?

Now that I feel reasonably safe, do I have any ability to do anything? Do I have any influence on anything? Am I empowered to act and change and create?

If I have the ability to do something, what do I want to do? What do I will?  What will or want or desire is being me, flowing through me, seeks expression as me?

FOURTH CHAKRA  “I connect.”
Where do others fit into my wanting and willing to do something? How do I take others into account? What is my relationship to others, as I can and I will? What is my feeling-connection to the Whole, as I can and I will?

FIFTH CHAKRA  “I express.”

Now that I am safe, and I can, and I will, and I relate in all that, how do I express my will, put it into manifestation? Do I express my abilities and my wants as separate or part of the Whole?

SIXTH CHAKRA   “I know.”
What wisdom or knowledge do I bring to bear to shape and influence and help choose my expression? How do I express what I know? Am I expressing blindly, or guided by what I know and by my wisdom, combined with the Larger Wisdom available to me? Do I “know” as separate, or as part of the Whole?

Am I separate from everything else, or am I – and all of my safety, my ability, my will, my relating, my expressing, and my knowing – in a vast context of which I am one expression and one part? Is my true and largest identity a part of the Whole. How do my safety, my ability, my relating, my expressing, and my knowing embody the Largest Self I AM?

The I AM of Chakra 7 returns to the I am of Chakra 1, but in more Wholeness, more Unity of the embodiment with the All. The I AM self-identity is more than, vaster than, the I am self-identity, but it includes the I am self-identity. Both are equally “true” and equally important.

If I could map this into the chart above, I would, but it seems a different way of looking at the chakras.
by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
"Amplifying Divine Light in All" is a completely independent church fostering empowerment of people to co-create loving, thriving God-realized lives, and wellbeing for everyone, on a clean, peaceful Earth.
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