by Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati
One of the distinctive aspects of the present era is that large numbers of people are beginning to seriously explore their own Being. As well as the far reaches of outer space, many are starting to turn inwards and explore Inner Space as a means to improve the quality of life. This trend, part of the ongoing process of evolution, is exciting and will enrich our lives. If humanity is to survive, I believe that this quantum change in human motivation and aspiration is necessary. Furthermore, Yoga will play an important role in this process of "unfoldment".
We can expand awareness of our Inner Space by working with and gradually understanding the different levels of human experience and behavior. These levels are mapped out and defined by the Chakras, the energy centers within each of us which influence our level of vitality, emotional responses, mental processes, perception and states of Consciousness. They operate throughout the entire spectrum of each human being; on a physical level, they correspond in the main to the sites of the endocrinal glands and nerve plexuses. Human life, to reach its highest potential, requires an awakening and expression of all these Chakras. This is the path of Yoga.
It is particularly interesting if we correlate these Chakras to the Consciousness of humankind as a whole and the changes that we are experiencing in society and in the world. We may think that trying to understand social, political, world and family events in terms of the Chakras is rather narrow. However, if we realize that the overall quality of life depends on the quality of each one of us as individuals, we can see why the Chakras are so significant. We are not puppets on the stage of world events, but are participants; it is not good enough to point our finger at others and blame them for our current problems. We can influence events, even world events, but first of all we need to improve the quality of our own being. Can we hope for world peace if we are in turmoil ourselves ?
At this point, it is pertinent to mention the "Morphogenetic Field Theory" of Rupert Sheldrake which suggests that when a critical mass or number is arrived at, the whole of a species (any species: animal, insect or human) is changed. He points out that when one member of a species discovers something new - a new pattern of behavior or of attitude - it teaches its neighbors, family and tribe. They "catch" the new behavior directly and teach others. When a "critical mass or number" is reached - i.e. when a critical number of individuals have incorporated the new behavior into their life-style - suddenly EVERY member of the species starts behaving the same way without being taught by anyone.
Applying this to humans, one can conceive that when a "critical number" of people start to explore the Inner Space of their own Being and open up their Chakras to a more refined level, this could bring about a sudden or flash change in human nature as a whole.
By considering the Chakras individually, we can see the change in Consciousness which is required if we are to move into the next century without destroying ourselves.
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