Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Thousand-Petaled Lotus

When we reach this level, the seed of our soul has sprouted from its roots in the earth, and grown upward through the elements of water, fire, air, sound, and light, and now to the source of all--consciousness itself, experienced through the element of thought.  Each level brings us new degrees of freedom and awareness.  Now the crown chakra blossoms forth with infinite awareness, its thousand petals like antennae, reaching to higher dimensions. --Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith, pg. 320
Last year I went to a retreat in southern Arizona, a yearly event with my husband's law firm.  We get to stay in lovely hotel rooms, eat gorgeous meals, relax at the spa, and golf in spectacular surroundings.  As usual, I shunned golfing and signed up for a full body massage, my favorite thing on the planet.  And since my husband did not want to go to the spa, I found myself with an extra time allotment.  I had never had a facial, so deciding to try something new I put myself in the schedule.
Carefully choosing the simplest line of products the spa offered, I laid back and started talking with the esthetician as she was working.  Partway through our session she asked if it was okay to "work on my chakras".  I tried not to roll my eyes as she got out her chakra stones, reminding myself that I did not know anything about chakras that I had not heard from skeptics or pop culture.  Either way, I would have a personal experience with chakras that I could draw on for information.
The stones clinked into her hand out of the drawstring bag.  She told me that if I had a chakra out of balance then I would feel the stone as being either hot or cold.  She started with the Root Chakra and worked upward, setting a semi-precious stone over each one on top of the sheet that covered me.  I know now that in yoga practice pranic energy in the body can activate dormant spiritual energy called Kundalini, visualized as a snake coiled up in the first (root) chakra at the base of the spine that, when roused, can move upward passing through each of the lower chakras until becoming one with Crown Chakra.
Halfway there, when we reached the Heart Chakra my skin was exposed and the stone felt cold on my skin.  I internally harumphed and thought "of course it feels cold on my skin, it's a stone". Throat Chakra felt neutral.  Third Eye Chakra felt neutral.  After each placing of the stone, she read a small paragraph from a paper explaining what the chakra meant, what color was associated with that chakra, and which stone she was using.  We had reached the final chakra.
I could not have prepared myself for what that last stone-placing would be like.  She took out an amethyst and said that Crown Chakra was associated with knowledge, intelligence, and oneness.  As she started talking she took the amethyst and gently drew a circle with it on the top of my head.  I flinched as the stone drew that white hot disc on my scalp.  The burning felt bright, like looking into the sun.  I was stunned, though I did manage to explain what had just happened.  The only direction I got that day was to "look into balancing your crown chakra".
Since then, I have pondered what my surprising reaction to that amethyst was.  I have since been to a chiropractic appointment where my coronal suture (the top of my head) was very tight and required a shoulder and neck adjustment.  And just last week I got a(nother) massage and the therapist said I have one of the tightest scalps she has ever worked with.  The universe seems to be trying to send me a message: "fix your head!"
Did the amethyst just feel hot because I have tension in my scalp?  Maybe.  Are chakras more than they seem?  Probably.  I cannot deny that I have been profoundly affected by that experience, especially as it keeps resurfacing in my life.  I even have a crown chakra necklace I wear most days, reminding me of my true nature.  My resolutions for the new year are in a similar vein too, to increase mindfulness through daily meditation (and then tweet them under #meditation365).
I have always known that I should meditate, but I never saw the glaring need until this year.  As a survivor of abuse I have a few post-truamatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.  I have noticed a correlation between my general stress levels and the severity of my symptoms.  I have also noticed a correlation between managing my stress with meditation and being able to sleep well, eat well, and make progress on my weight loss goal.
Physiologically, the crown chakra relates to the brain, especially the higher brain, or cerebral cortex.  Our amazing human brain contains some thirteen billion interconnected nerve cells, capable of making more connections among themselves than the number of start in the entire universe...Our brains, as instruments of awareness, are virtually limitless...From within, we access a dimension that has no locality in time and space...In other words, we carry the whole world inside our heads.  --Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith, pg. 321
I will continue to find connections between my body, mind, awareness, health and spirituality.  What kinds of connections have you, dear readers, found on your spiritual paths?
(cross-posted at The Exponent

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