Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Chakras And The Two Trees (Book Chapter)

                                      This series of posts is part of a book. See outline here.





The Sanskrit word chakra means “wheel.” The chakras are perceived as swirling vortexes of energy. The vortex is one of the most powerful forces in nature, and this vortex motif appears everywhere, from twisting galaxies to tornadoes, the shape of the DNA double helix, and the serpentine path of the rising Kundalini. The chakras are believed to be the doorways to divine consciousness and are centers of transformation. They essentially knot the physical and etheric bodies together, and they exchange energy and communication from physical to nonphysical (ethereal/spiritual) and back.
There are seven major cerebrospinal chakras, beginning at the base of the spine and going all the way to the top of the head. Their common names are: Root Chakra, Sacral Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra, Heart Chakra, Throat Chakra, Third Eye, and Crown Chakra. Each one correlates with a different color of the rainbow, beginning with red at the Root Chakra and ending with purple at the Crown Chakra. Yogi Bhajan also taught that the Aura is a chakra, the eighth, and the color associated with it is white. Though the chakras are ethereal, they are real, and some people are able to see them with their spiritual eyes. The ancient prophet Ezekiel recorded a vision in which he saw “living creatures” (cherubim) [1] with different colored “wheels” inside of them that were the colors of the rainbow.
And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up . . . for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:19–21; see also Ezekiel 10:17)
And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward . . . as the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain. (Ezekiel 1: 27–28)
The chakras are indeed “the spirit of the living creature.” When the chakras are open and balanced, the Kundalini is able to rise, which allows a powerful transformation, good health, and happiness. When the chakras are weak or closed, unhappiness, misery, and disease can result.
To understand the chakras fully, we must go back to the Garden of Eden and the two trees planted there.
The Tree of Knowledge
When Adam and Eve partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, our planet became a polarity planet, with “opposition in all things.” Some Christians condemn Adam and Eve for the Fall, believing that were it not for this transgression, mankind could have existed forever in Eden. However, Latter-day Saints have an enlightened and different perspective about our first parents and the choice they made in the garden. Latter-day revelation makes clear that the Fall is a blessing, without which humankind could not have come into existence. The Fall was the process by which Adam and Eve became mortal [2], meaning  they were physically changed. Blood began to circulate through their veins, and they became subject to death, but this change also enabled them to give life. “Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption” (Moses 5:11)
Like Eve, I cannot discuss the Fall without rejoicing in the Atonement. Of course, an all-knowing and loving God foresaw Adam and Eve’s choice, and He had already prepared a way for Adam and Eve to reenter His presence. As part of God’s great plan, we were given the freedom to choose between good and evil, and we were also given a Savior and the ability to repent. It is through Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement that human kind’s fallen consciousness can be re-turned to God and our bodies will be changed again and become immortal.
Before the Fall, I believe the chakras may have existed in some form, but they did not become the powerful centers of transformation that they are today until after the Fall. As mentioned, the chakras are swirling vortexes of energy. A vortex, the most powerful force in nature, is caused by opposing forces, like the clash of cold and hot air that creates a tornado. Thus, the polarity force––opposition––makes the chakras swirl [5].
I am awed by the brilliance in God’s design. The bitter consequence of the Fall is the very thing that can be harnessed to create the power to overcome it. It is through the pressure of opposition and faithful obedience that potential and growth are created. Transformation occurs in the same way through the science of Kundalini Yoga. The two opposing forces of the prana (life force) and apana (destroying, eliminating force) are harnessed by pressurizing them below the navel, within the temple of our body. Through this process, we can open and balance the chakras and unlock the Kundalini (the divine True Self) and raise it back up to the higher centers and to God.
The reason I refer to this form of yoga as a technology is because the word technology means: the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. The purpose of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, sometimes called “the science of God-realization” [6] is the same as God’s purpose for temples and sacred ordinances: to bring humankind back into the presence of God. In The Temple and the Body chapter, you will read more about the similarities between these two technologies.
Because God is an all-knowing God and also the Creator of our bodies and ethereal anatomy, it makes sense that He would have the technology to help Adam and Eve awaken and return the sleeping Kundalini. And it is quite possible that before He sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, He gave them a little bit of this sacred technology. Later, when they proved trustworthy and faithful, He gave them more light and knowledge.
You may understand this concept if you are an endowed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and go to the temple often with an awakened understanding of what we do there. I will cover this concept more throughout the book, particularly in the temple chapter.
For now, suffice it to say, when we combine a raised consciousness with the power of sacred ordinances that God has revealed in His latter-day temples, we can rise to a level of purity and power that is above and beyond the façade of polarity (maya), we can literally come into the presence of God, and we can become like God.
The Tree of Life
That brings me to the other tree: The Tree of Life. In its simplest symbolism, this tree represents eternal life and the presence of God. When Adam and Eve partook of the other tree and fell, God barred them from the Tree of Life to prevent them from coming to God on their fallen terms. He did so by putting two barriers between them and eternal life: “I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way to the tree of life” (Moses 4:31; cf. Genesis 3:24).
Since eternal life is the ultimate goal of God’s plan of happiness for His children, there must necessarily be a way past these two barriers. The first barrier mentioned is cherubim. Cherubim are sentinel angels; they guard the way to the presence of God. To pass by them, we need the appropriate technology. We can receive this technology in the temple when we make covenants. As alluded to above, Adam and Eve received their first bit of this technology when they made their first covenant[7] before they left the garden.
However, even with the technology to pass the sentinel angels, there is still the flaming sword. Nephi and Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life suggests that the flaming sword may represent the justice of God [8]. As we know, the justice of God cannot allow sin. To come into God’s presence, one must be pure in both mind and body. If there is any enmity, ill will, or hostility toward someone or something, it will make the nervous system weak and unable to handle the glory of God. One will quite literally fry, and enmity is the fuel for the fire.
I like the way LDS scholar M. Catherine Thomas explains the weakening effects of enmity in her book Light in the Wilderness:
Enmity makes us impure and corruptible. The reason that beings with enmity will be destroyed seems to be that enmity decreases a person’s ability to endure holiness, being in a contracted, self-absorbed, toxic, and blind state. The nervous system of a spiritually underdeveloped person cannot withstand the higher energy field of purified beings and conditions. Enmity then puts us at risk and makes us perishable in the presence of holiness.[9]
So we must purify our bodies of enmity and anything warlike. We purify ourselves with the help of Jesus Christ and through consciousness. The unconscious mind, as discussed in the chapter on the mind, is a receptacle of many impure things. Purifying the unconscious mind is a much bigger job than it may seem. Most of what is in the mind was planted and programmed without us realizing what was happening, which is why we need a powerful technology. M. Catherine Thomas further explains:
If we are feeding too much, through whatever medium, on the world-mind and its thought-world, which is characterized by enmity and self-seeking, the Natural Mind will be our reality and will run us. We will not have the inner power to abandon ungodliness and to be lifted up in Christ and filled with His love. We must do an energy exchange by chasing darkness with light and consciously choosing the energy that will hum throughout our soul.[10]
The sacred technology of Kundalini Yoga purifies the subconscious mind (which I believe to be seated in the Heart Center [11]) and strengthens the nervous system, which is the base power. The nervous system and its ethereal counterpart, the nadis, look like a tree [there will be a cool picture here in the book.] branching out from the spine. The nervous system has been likened to a Tree of Life by many people, as it is the system that brings life and energy to the whole body. But as mentioned in the Kundalini chapter, most people never access most of this divine energy.
When the body-mind becomes purified, when the nervous system becomes strong enough to accommodate more energy, and when all the chakras are open and the Kundalini has risen and stays risen and balanced, many amazing things happen. A person becomes awake, born of the Spirit, and Christ-like attributes flow naturally. The impossible becomes possible, and the veil of maya is pulled from our eyes. The façade of our separateness from God is removed, and the world of opposites begins to fall away. "[12]
When a person is thus spiritually and physically enlightened, the chakras, to those with spiritual sight, have the appearance of fire. The ancient prophet Daniel describes this phenomenon in his vision of Adam: “I beheld . . . the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire” (Daniel 7:9).
This powerful energy flowing through the nervous system gives life to the tree of life and the flaming sword within us. We become joint-heirs with Christ. Achieving this state is possible in this life and much faster than your previous experiences may have taught you. As you will read in the temple chapter, it is essential that we do all we can to merit this awakening (which comes by grace) while still in our physical bodies.
Nephi gave us the path to the tree. The path is straight and narrow (obedience, the spine). And he gave us a guide (the iron rod, or the Word of God.)[13] The Word chapter explores how sacred, highly vibrating keywords or mantras fit into this picture and how they work in conjunction with the gospel knowledge you already have.

My Flaming Sword

A few years into my journey with Kundalini Yoga, I had several devastating life events happen around the same time. Most were beyond my understanding, but my reaction was not what it might have been a few years earlier. I went immediately into a neutral, meditative mind. All was darkness around me, but I stayed in the light of God’s love and prayed to “see things as they really are.” Things got darker and heavier. I went deeper. For twelve days I hung by a fingernail over the canyon of doom. I clung to faith and hope.
Then one night, in the middle of the night, I heard the word of the Lord tell me that because I had struggled with a dark presence that had possessed my body for many years, he would now cleanse me from it.[14] After twelve full days of fervent prayer, twelve years of unexplained torment were over. The next night, in the middle of the night, I felt a burning sensation going up my spine and out the branches of the nervous system in a tree-like pattern across my back. It felt like marbles made of fire were trying to squeeze through tiny nerve-sized canals. At first, I was afraid it was darkness trying to get in again. Then, I was inspired to sit up straight and do Breath of Fire.[15] In less than a minute, the energy quickly moved through the rest of the nervous system without pain. It felt like my nervous system had just recalibrated and rebooted. I felt great for days after.
For many years I had been adding more and more light to myself, but only after casting out the devil was my Kundalini finally able to flow completely freely through my already-strong nervous system. It was amazing. Keeping it up was an interesting battle during that dark time in my life, but I endured. Shortly thereafter I began to experience an outpouring of spiritual gifts and visions. Many nights I felt Christ come personally to heal me or be with me. One night, I discerned with my spiritual senses that God wanted to give me something: a flaming sword. I didn’t understand it then, but I accepted it. He commanded me to wear it on my back and not to use it unless instructed. I imagined placing it, like an arrow, in the quiver of my spine.
Only recently have I come to understand the implications of this symbolic vision. Though I am not yet perfect, I have been given access. I had the impression that this experience may have been the transition from growing “grace for grace,” which implies an exchange, to growing “grace to grace,” implying steady incremental growth that is given. Each day, as I choose to partake of the fruit, more cells in my body are changed.
[1] Ezekiel 10:20.
[2] The Church of Jesus Christ f Latter-day Saints, “Fall of Adam and Eve,” accessed March 8, 2014, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/fall-of-adam-and-eve.
[3 &4 ] Used in a sidebar not shown here.
[5] 2 Nephi 2:11–16.
[6] Paramahansa Yogananda calls it “Kriya Yoga” and “the science of God-realization” throughout his book The Yoga of Jesus (Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007), and I like the second term.
[7] This first covenant was the one in which God promised Adam and Eve a Savior if they promised to obey God’s laws and repent when they erred. The technology they received is sacred and only revealed in the House of the Lord.
[8] Royal Skousen, as part of his critical text project on the Book of Mormon, has reached the conclusion that 1 Nephi 12:18 in the original Book of Mormon manuscript (which still exists for that passage) says the following: “And a great and terrible gulf divideth them yea even the sword of the justice of the eternal God” (italics added). Note that this text differs from our current edition of the Book of Mormon, which reads “word” instead of “sword.” This passage describes that which divides the wicked in the “great and spacious building” from the Tree of Life, namely, “the sword of the justice of the eternal God.” Combining Nephi’s descriptions of his (and Lehi’s) vision of the Tree of Life, we have “the justice of God” represented as both a sword and a flaming fire—combined, a flaming sword.
[9] M. Catherine Thomas, Light in the Wilderness: Explorations in the Spiritual Life (Salt Lake City, UT: Digital Legend Press, 2010), 152.
[10] Ibid, 160.
[11] See the Mind-Body-Spirit Chapter.
[12] The scriptures say there must be “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). The prophets were, of course, speaking in the context of the world of maya. Opposition is not needed in the higher realms. Once a person has achieved the level of purity that qualifies him or her to stand in the presence of God, the need for opposition begins to diminish, along with its effect on the body/mind. We know from Biblical and extracanonical sources that the bodies of the extremely pure are changed (e.g., St. John, the three Nephites, Enoch and others) so that they are no longer subject to opposition in all things. It is my opinion that after this change, eternal progression occurs by harnessing the same principles of polarity, but only the purest forms of polarity, such as the male and female polarity, which is used to create spirits and worlds—hence the importance of eternal marriage. I discuss this further in the temple chapter.
[13] 1 Nephi 11; see also 2 Nephi 9:41.
[14]You can learn more about dark spirits and interference on page xx.
[15] Instructions on how to do Breath of Fire are on page xx.


1 comment:

  1. This is cool Felice! I love the imagery of placing a flaming sword on your back-- on your spine. That is powerful.

    ReplyDelete