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1 The latter question, the question of understanding, forced philosophers and scientists to make a huge epistemological shift. Philosophers and scientists alike had to admit that we could only approximate knowledge of any system—that exact knowledge was not possible, as every aspect of every system and network, be it the human body or the universe, relied on the cooperative functioning of its many parts.

The Chakra S ystem

The word "chakra" arises from the Sanskrit for "disk" or "wheel," and describes an intersection of spirit and body. The chakras have been a part of Eastern mystical practice for many centuries, dating back at least to the Upanishads (a Hindu sacred text, one of the first places the chakras were mentioned). They are important tools for healing, meditation, and energy work, and people of diverse traditions all over the world have learned to use the system in a variety of beneficial ways.

Traditionally there are seven major chakras in the body; there area also minor chakras in the hands, feet, and other points. The seven principal energy centers are part of a greater column of energy running vertically through the body, also called the sushumna. Each chakra absorbs and transforms a certain type of energy, governing different parts of the self: instinct, emotion, psychism, spirituality, and so on. The sum total of energy transformed by the chakras creates a flow in both directions along the sushumna.

Chakras can be open or closed, healthy or "diseased," depending on the overall state of a person's well-being and the habits and circumstances that person is involved in. For example, a person under a good deal of stress in the workplace might have problems with the third chakra, which governs personal power and the Will. Chakras are interdependent; if one is clogged or closed, the others will not function properly, as the flow of energy throughout the self is disrupted. Though many spiritual practitioners place more focus on the upper chakras (the mind and spirit as opposed to the lower, or physical body), all seven are of equal importance in the quest to become a whole, self-actualized person.

There are many ways to work with the chakras, to cleanse or repair those that are not in full health, and to strengthen the self as a whole through all seven. The chakras are often visualized as either spinning spheres of colored light, or as lotus flowers, with the petals open or closed depending on the state of the chakra. Each chakra has a color associated with it and a number of other associations much like the four Elements in Wiccan practice.

by Dianne Sylvan

Mantra 101

Mantra 101

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