The 7th and final body Chakra is located at the top of the head, and is often called the Crown Chakra. This Chakra provides a locus for our Spiritual connection – it calls us away from the “religion” of the 2nd Chakra to the mystic perspective of the 7th.
From a Chinese perspective, the top of the head is the receptor of “sky” or yang energy. This energy flows into the body and is mixed with other energies, including “earth” or yin energy, which is absorbed through the feet.
Now, all of this is simply a metaphor for the status of being human – we who have “feet of clay” and our heads in the stars. Far too often, however, we’ve got our feet in the stars and have heads of clay. Not, decidedly, a good thing.
Within the Bodywork realm, we often look at exercises that ground people, while at the same time encouraging them to think of their upper body as being held up and supported by a “sky hook.” The idea is to keep the feet firmly planted on the ground, thus eliminating being “flighty,” while at the same time having a lightness and fluidity to the body as opposed to it appearing that the body is collapsing under its own weight.
Tai Chi, our present favourite martial art, is something we have practiced since 1994, off and on. It too is dedicated to balance – balanced chi in a balanced body. While the movements seem slow and graceful and effortless, as you become more proficient, you begin to realize that doing the movements correctly creates both tension (good tension) and healthy stress and strength in the body.
I wrote the following about this “tensioned” state in a book I’m writing and now editing:
Nope. This is the other kind of tension. God knows we are all tense enough. I mean the tension that exists between a thing and a thing.
What flashes into my head is a guy wire on a tent. There is the weight of the tent pulling the post inward. There is the post, driven into the ground, using physics and earth energy to pull in the opposite direction. In between the two stretches the thin guy wire. Properly adjusted, the forces that would cause the tent to collapse or be torn apart are brought into balance.
OK. So what? Well, doesn’t it strike you that most people are not looking for a balance between competing forces, but rather are looking for “no tension at all?”
But to carry my illustration further, let’s assume the post in the ground is “the way things are” and the tent represents “the winds of change.” Without change, the post is just a post in the ground. We can reflect on it and wonder as to its purpose, but there it is, doing, being nothing.
The tent, without support, will actually fall down and blow away. It is actually not a tent, but simply a piece of canvas. It only becomes a tent when put under tension. As it is with all tents.
As it is with life. Not change for change’s sake. Not dull routine. Life, under the tension of change.
Remember, back when you were a kid, and you tried something new and it didn’t work out, and someone said, “See? Better to leave well enough alone!” Most of us have received that message at some point in our lives. “Don’t rock the boat.” “Don’t make an example of yourself.” “Don’t call attention to yourself.”The funny part, of course, is that people seldom watch us that closely. Sure, if we do something big, or something we are working on explodes, (as my parents, reading this, grin nervously…) people will notice. But no one watches us all the time. Except us.
Conditioning, however, has as its goal our socialization. And that means behaving in a predictable way. No matter if the way we live, the way we are, is much less than whom we can be
.And then there is the infamous 5%. Most people who think about this reckon that 5% of the population ever figure out what’s going on. That 5% contains the non-conformists, the free thinkers – in short, the people who choose not to settle for the status quo.
Far from running from tension, the 5% create tension. They are willing to challenge everything. They look for the “improved way.” They recognize that there is no good, nor bad. There’s just stuck and not stuck. Rocking the boat has led to the invention of everything you see. Refusing to leave well enough alone has led to every profound change humankind has ever made.
Tension is the moment in time and space in between what is and what can be. Tension exists because someone chooses to propose an alternative, to wiggle the system, to look at life differently. It is asking, “Why not?”
The tension described is the actual state described in the yin/yang symbol. Each colour contains some of the other colour, and there is a balanced amount of both. However, and this is important, living a balanced life does not mean living a static life. The yin/yang balance is more akin to two people dancing than to two objects standing still.
The dance of life, then, which according to Chakra theory takes place along the spine, might be described as a dance of passionate groundedness. Too much of either throws the system out of whack. (medical term J ) In a sense, the whole person is (s)he who elegantly balances head, heart, spirit and body.
The Crown Chakra might be seen as the funnel into which the “higher” thoughts are poured. It is the locus of the pull to selfless service, the god-sense, if you will. It is here that we make contact with that which is “above and beyond” us. It is not for nothing that holy people of all religions are pictured with a nimbus or halo about their upper head.
Many people (especially “New Agers”) think that the goal of life is to distance themselves from earthly and bodily concerns. Certainly the catholic church specifically and Christianity in general are also guilty of this posture, as is Islam. It is assumed that the “distractions” of the body, of sexuality, of “the world” draw us away from god and from that which is holy. Mortification of the flesh, veils, celibate holy orders and a holier-than-thou attitude are the result.
In Indian thought, the mind, body, spirit, emotions and the pull toward the numinous (the holy) is seen as a dance. Tantra, which marries spirituality and sexuality, is seen as a path to enlightenment.
Kundalini yoga / breath techniques concerns itself with moving the prana (energy) from the base of the spine, (where it is visualized as lying, coiled and dormant) to the Crown Chakra and back, in a dance of fire and passion.
Pictured is the Vishwanath Temple—whose walls are festooned with endless couplings and groupings depicting the marriage of sexuality, sensuality, and Spirituality.
The Sufis, of which Rumi was one… were also totally into the marriage of heaven and earth, through their bodies and in their actions. Rumi writes:
The sun is love. The lover,
a speck circling the sun.
A spring wind moves to dance
any branch that isn’t dead.
Something opens our wings. Something
makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us.
We taste only sacredness.
I stand up, and this one of me
turns into a hundred of me.
They say I circle around you.
Nonsense. I circle around me.
Dance, when you are broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
The dance of life is a free flow. It is possible only with the removal of the blocks (physical and mental) that we put in our own way. Some are removed through disciplined and detached thinking. Some are removed by open and honest, non-manipulative loving. Some are removed through following a vocational and spirit-filled path. Some are removed through ecstatic sensuality and sexuality. And some are removed through movement, Bodywork and Breathwork. Again and again.
Seek the things you block yourself with, and seek guidance for their loosening and removal. Let it go. Dance on, dance on.