Episode 13: Chakras: Portals to Intimate Energy with Anodea Judith with PHDs in Psychology & Human Health, award winning author "Waking the Global Heart", visionary yogini for world healing, and international workshop leader.
Chakras: Portals to Intimate Energy with Anodea Judith with PHDs in Psychology & Human Health, award winning author "Waking the Global Heart", visionary yogini for world healing, and international workshop leader.
Announcer: This program is intended for mature audiences only.
Francesca Gentille: Welcome to "Sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra," bringing you the soul of sex. I'm your host, Frencesca Gentille, and with me today is Anodea Judith, who has doctoral degrees in psychology and human health, with life-long studies of alternative medicines, yoga, mythology, history, sociology, systems theory, and mystic spirituality. She is one of the country's foremost experts on the combination of chakras and therapeutic issues, and her passion is for the realization of untapped human potential. And that matches her concern for humanity's impending crisis, and she wishes that we would wake up in time.
Anodea Judith: Well, here's how I put it, that the body is like hardware, like your computer: your laptop or your desktop, or your Mac or your PC. And the mind is our software. The mind can change all our programs. And that software gets installed onto the hardware, and what allows those two to connect is the electricity running through the system.
Anodea Judith: The fourth chakra is the heart chakra. It's the middle one in a system of seven. And it's the element air. So air is soft. Air always seeks to find balance. There's just as much air in one corner of your room as there is in another corner. And likewise, the heart seeks balance, between self and others, between mind and body.
Anodea Judith: Way back when, when we were having babies right and left and a woman could have 10 babies, and start at age 12 and have 10 babies, and maybe die in the process. But then 10 more had 10 more, and then pretty soon you have 100 and 1,000; you can see where it's going. And I think that the men were going, "Oh my God! Don't make love to women! You're just going to have babies!" And that was the beginning of putting women down for sexuality, and the beginning of the separation of the genders. And then, when we got into Christianity, moral behavior was equated with what we did with our sexuality, and actually had nothing to do with how we treated each other.
Anodea Judith: So we are evolving and maturing into the heart chakra, en masse, as an organizing principle to society. And I call this the movement from the love of power to the power of love. And that's the subtitle of my book, "Waking the Global Heart."
Francesca Gentille: Thank you for joining us today, Anodea.
Anodea Judith: It's a pleasure to be here.
Francesca Gentille: Anodea, there's so many things that I want to ask you about how the chakras bring us closer together as people, what they are, how they help us heal the world. But first, I want to start with the basics, and really find out what is a chakra? And what do we do with it once we discover what it is?
Anodea Judith: Well, there's many ways to think of a chakra. And I'll give several definitions. One is that the chakras are chambers in the temple of the body. If we regard the body as a temple, which certainly, in Tantra practices and I think in any yoga practitioner, or anyone really waking up today, regards their own body as sacred, then the chakras are like chambers in the temple, in the same way that your house has chambers in it designed for a certain purpose.
Your kitchen is designed to handle food, and your living room is to entertain, and your bedroom is to sleep and make love. So the chambers in the body are all designed to have a particular handle, a particular kind of energy, such as earth, water, fire, air, sound, light, or thought. And then, from this basic elemental progression, psychological states correspond, and dates of consciousness and areas of the body, and ways of opening and closing, and exercises. And an entire discipline has really grown out of this.
Francesca Gentille: Now, are these real things, like if you cut the body open, you find them? Where does this concept of these chambers in the body temple come from?
Anodea Judith: Well, they come from the ancient tradition of yoga, and specifically from the Tantric period of yoga, which followed Patanjali. And as Patanjali was sort of bringing the energy up the spine, through withdrawal of the senses and pratyahara, and also from acharya, practicing celibacy, and it was pulling it out of the lower chakras into the upper chakras. The Tantric philosophy came along and said, "No, wait a minute. Let's not throw out the body in this attempt to find liberation. The body can actually be a vehicle for liberation. The senses can be a vehicle for liberation. Sexuality can be a vehicle for liberation."
And so the Tantricos were bringing the energy down the chakras as well as up. And what that gives you is dualities. And so the chakra system was really borne out of an integrating method for duality: masculine and feminine, up and down, mind and body, in and out. The chakras are portals between the inner world and the outer world. They're sort of like stained glass windows through which the light of consciousness shines out from your insides to the outside.
Francesca Gentille: I love that.
Anodea Judith: Yeah. There's many ways to think of them. And I also think of them as like programming that we carry in our body-mind complex. You're programmed in English, for example, which is why we're speaking in English right now. You might have a program of another language, but there's also language programs you don't have. You're programmed in relationships. And you have a relationship program, and then you meet someone else, and you say, "Gee, can I plug you into my relationship program?" And if one is gay and one is straight, then probably not. But if people have the same relationship program, then they can probably find places where that...
Francesca Gentille: And how does the chakra relate to this kind of programming?
Anodea Judith: Well, the chakra is a kind of programming. Well, here's how I put it, that the body is like hardware, like your computer: your laptop or your desktop, or your Mac or your PC. And the mind is our software. The mind can change all our programs. And that software gets installed onto the hardware, and what allows those two to connect is the electricity running through the system. In other words, if you have a power failure, it doesn't matter what kind of computer you have or how much software you have, it's good for nothing without electricity running through. And likewise, the mind and the body are connected by the life force energy.
So what the chakras are is they are organizational centers for that life force energy. And they're organized according to the programs we've been given. If we're talking about sexuality, you may have grown up with a program that says "sex is bad," and you may have grown up with a program that says "sex is beautiful and wonderful." And that's the same chakra, but it's different kind of programs that can be installed. And if you grow up with the idea that sex is bad, then you're going to shut down your second chakra. And in the chakra system, that's also the flow of water and emotions and the freedom of movement. So if you shut down one aspect, you're also shutting down the other aspects. Whereas if you had a different program, then that chakra might be very open.
So we can look at this, at each one of the chakras--our power program, our survival program, our vision program is programmed with everything that we have seen in life, our spiritual program (people that subscribe to different religions sort of subscribe to a particular program, whether it be Catholic or Protestant, or Muslim or pagan)--these all have kind of programs that we say, "Yeah, I'll put that program on my hard drive."
Francesca Gentille: I'd love to talk more about where these chakra program sources are. Where is this on the body, and how do we run that systems test? How do we assess whether it's working or not working? And what do we do to kind of have it work? After a break, and a word from our sponsor.
Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to "Sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra." Our guest today is Anodea Judith, who is considered the country's foremost expert on the combination of chakras and therapeutic issues. We're just talking about where the chakras are, and how do you assess if those programs, those chakra systems, are working or not working. And Anodea, where are they?
Anodea Judith: Well, first of all, they're not in physical space, in the sense that I can't dissect you and take a chakra out and hold it in my hand, any more than I could take out the feeling of anger and hold it in my hand; but we know we have that. So the chakras are energy centers, but they do have a location in the physical body, and that location maps onto bundles of nerve fibers that branch out from the spinal column.
So the first chakra is located at the base of the spine. If you ever lose your first chakra, all you have to do is sit down, and there, you're sitting on it and there it is. And it's related to the element earth. That makes sense: the earth is at the bottom. And it is also connected with the legs, the knees, the ankles, the feet. And it relates to our survival program. It's hard-wired into the nervous system, really, that we sweat when we're hot and we shiver when we're cold and we get hungry when it's time to eat and we yawn when we're tired. And all this is part of our survival program.
But of course, today, that also has to do with how we make a living and how we take care of our health and our home, and everything that has to do with the physical world. And that's all first chakra.
The second chakra right above that is the one usually connected with sexuality and emotions. It's the element water. And it's in the sacrum, and it relates to our hips, our low back, our abdomen, our womb, our sexual organs, whether we're male or female. All of that is part of the second chakra and its element water.
And so the second chakra relates to the dualities of ebb and flow, to being able to surrender to fluidity, to being able to feel emotions deeply but not be carried away by our emotions, and to allowing ourselves pleasure--sexuality, sensuality--because that is a way of enlivening consciousness through the senses. So when we're in pain or boredom, the senses shut down. But when we're in pleasure, whether it's the pleasure of someone's touch or the pleasure of beauty or the pleasure of eating a great meal or listening to music or seeing a beautiful sunset, when the senses open, consciousness opens as well. That's all part of the second chakra.
The third chakra is in the solar plexus. I say it goes in that whole band of the body from the naval up to the bottom of the breastbone, the sternum. And that is the element fire. And it's our "get up and go." It's our vitality. It's our will, our personal power, our self-esteem. And when that chakra is enlivened and we can stick to our plan, we live deliberately, we're effective in the world, we can be assertive without being dominating, and we have lots of energy.
The fourth chakra is the heart chakra. It's the middle one in a system of seven. And it's the element air. So air is soft. Air always seeks to find balance. There's just as much air in one corner of your room as there is in another corner. And likewise, the heart seeks balance, between self and others, between mind and body, between the internal parts of ourselves such as masculine and feminine or light and shadow. And so the heart chakra relates to love and to relationships.
Now we move into the upper chakras. We're past the middle now, and we move to the fifth chakra, which is in the throat. And logically enough, that relates to communication and to the element sound, to speaking our truth, to our self-expression, which is creativity, to communication with another, and to listening, which is certainly three-quarters of communication.
And then, above that, we move from sound to a higher, faster vibration, that of light. And we come into chakra six, which many people call "the third eye." And that's related to insight and intuition and our psychic sensing and imagination, visualization, and dreams. So that's where we say, "Oh, I see!"
And then, finally, the seventh chakra, at the crown, sometimes called "the thousand-petaled lotus," relates to consciousness itself, to pure awareness, raw thought, intelligence, sometimes reasoning, and sometimes the more transcendent kind of consciousness, and our connection to spirituality.
Francesca Gentille: And these are all up and down the spinal column, correct?
Anodea Judith: Yes. Not really in the spine, but you can think of them as right in front of the spine.
Francesca Gentille: And is there a practice or an exercise, if one of our listening audience wanted to find them in their own body, or work with their beloved to notice them or to enliven them in some way?
Anodea Judith: Well, you really have to get the energy going first. And you can get the energy going in many different ways. You can use the breasts. You can use sexuality. You can use dancing. You can use yoga, meditation. There's many ways to sort of get some energy going. And then you feel in your body, "Well, where is it going, and where isn't it going?" And where it isn't going, you know is where your blocks are.
But we have common experiences of the chakras that I'm sure everyone can relate to. We've all felt butterflies in our stomach at some time when we've been nervous about something; that would be third chakra. We've all experienced, probably, a lump in our throat at some point, when we had something we wanted to say and couldn't quite get it out. We've all experienced orgasm, hopefully, and that's second chakra: opening and release. We've all experienced, perhaps, the shaking in the legs when we're on the edge of a cliff or very high up in a building; that's our first chakra. Or that feeling in our heart when we fall in love. So we have common experiences for all of these chakras.
Francesca Gentille: And then in Tantra, in some of the other shows, we've talked about deep breathing into the belly. So that can help with the energy. We discussed a little bit about rocking, that that can help to start to move that energy. And they call it the heart salutation, placing the hand on the heart chakra in the center of the chest as a way of connecting heart-to-heart. And I'm guessing that we could also do that on other parts of the chakra system, placing hands and bringing that focus and attention. Do you find that to be effective?
Anodea Judith: Yes. Bringing the attention there is the first step. And what happens to bring our attention there, for instance, if we get sick and suddenly, "Oh my goodness, I have an ache in my back," that brings my attention there, because there's something that needs to have the attention of consciousness of the body. And a more positive way is to bring pleasure there, to each one of the chakras.
Francesca Gentille: And in our culture, we were talking about this a little bit before, there are a lot of blocks and a lot of woundings about our chakras and our ability to access them, especially the second chakra. Why is that?
Anodea Judith: Well, I think that goes back, historically, a long time. And I think it's very important that people understand it, in the context. I can only give my view on the subject, but I've done a lot of studying of history from my writings on the "Waking the Global Heart" book. Way back when, when we were having babies right and left and a woman could have 10 babies, and start at age 12 and have 10 babies, and maybe die in the process. But then 10 more had 10 more, and then pretty soon you have 100 and 1,000; you can see where it's going. And I think that the men were going, "Oh my God! Don't make love to women! You're just going to have babies!" And that was the beginning of putting women down for sexuality, and the beginning of the separation of the genders. And then, when we got into Christianity, moral behavior was equated with what we did with our sexuality, and actually had nothing to do with how we treated each other.
So it was OK to run somebody through with a sword if you were avenging your father, but it wasn't OK to touch a woman or see anything below her knees. So we had a twisted concept of morality, which I think we still have today. And in this time, people were literally punished, or humiliated or burned at the stake, for holding sexuality in a positive light. And this went on for so many generations that it's really gone underground so that it becomes part of the programming of the second chakra, without even realizing it.
And then comes along the '60s, and we start to wake up to our bodies and to the feelings in our bodies, and we get to a place where birth control is easy to obtain. And with birth control being easy to obtain--and this was actually before AIDS came along--then sexuality could open up again. But we still have all this baggage from times when sexuality was poorly understood and means of birth control were poorly understood, and it was made into a negative thing and then adopted by the church as a code of moral behavior.
Francesca Gentille: And in some cases, that period of burning people and true suppression went on for hundreds of years. But in some cases, it's gone on for thousands of years.
Anodea Judith: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: And it's just like you said, it's this cultural blockage. This is fascinating. I want to talk about this more after we come back from the break, once we realize that there might be some of these blocks in ourselves or our partners, and pretty much with all of us, we all have a little bit of this. How do we access the energy of the chakras? How do we work with it to heal these blocks and really get reconnected and have that energy flowing freely in our body. So we'll be discussing that a little bit more, after a break and a word from our sponsors.
Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to "Sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra." I'm talking with Anodea Judith, who is an award-winning author of several books: "The Yoga of Relationship," which won a Gold Medal Award, or her sexuality and relationship books, a Nautilus Award, "Waking the Global Heart," which also won the Nautilus Award for the best book in social change and a Silver Award in mind/body/spirit, and also who has an award-winning DVD which won the best animation for 2004, called "The Illuminated Chakras."
And we're talking about the chakra system, where it is, and how it can get blocked, and that it is blocked for most of us because of our history in the world. And what do we do..? Anything else about how to unblock it, and next steps for us.
Anodea Judith: OK. So if we consider the element water, water likes to move, and water follows the path of least resistance. The body is designed to experience pleasure. In fact, whenever we experience how we feel, or the body, we go, "Do I feel good? If so, I want to keep on doing what I'm doing. Do I feel bad? Well, if so, then I want to change what I'm doing." Right? So we're oriented to pleasure.
The quickest way to free up the second chakra is to give yourself permission, or to make it a point to bring more pleasure into your life. Now, that could be sexual pleasure, it could be getting a massage, it could be cooking up your favorite meal, going to a movie, sleeping late, reading a book; whatever brings pleasure to you. But especially for the second chakra, because really, the lower chakras are more body-oriented.
Pleasure to the body. Our nervous systems were designed for pleasure. Pleasure produces endorphins in the body. It's sort of like the oil that greases the gears and makes everything flow smoothly. So just finding out, what do you like? How much time do you make for your life and pleasure? Or do you work all the time? And so, that's the first step.
The second step is movement. When the second chakra gets shut down, because it relates to movement, people tend to get very stiff. Their hips don't move very easily. They have a lot of tension in the low back and in their legs. They move very stiffly when they go to dance. And we need to free up the emotional baggage that keeps us held and frozen, by moving. So put on some music and dance and move your hips. Do some yoga and do some forward bends and some hip openers. And find out what's in there. Make some sound and release what's in there. And just try to get some fluidity going in your lower spine. Those are two places to start.
And the interesting thing, the Sanskrit name of the second chakra is Svadhisthana. And that has two meanings. One meaning is "to stand in your own place." So certainly, that second chakra, for each of us, is a very personal chakra. It's my own place. I'm the one that feels my emotions. I'm the one that feels pleasure. If I make love to someone, I'm taking them into my own place. And that sexuality really needs to be defined by each person, not by any outside authority.
So it's to really get down into our own place: "What do I feel? What do I want? What's true for me? What brings my body pleasure? What do I need?" Those are the kind of questions to ask, in accessing the second chakra and giving yourself permission to free it up.
Francesca Gentille: I'm imagining that that would also be true for the rest of the chakras. If we notice that we're not speaking our truth, not following our path, not allowing ourselves to envision fully what it is that we want; that giving permission that you talked about sounds like a perfect foundational practice for each of us.
Anodea Judith: Absolutely. And I talk about the chakras, each one of them, as having rights. And for many of us, those rights got taken away from us as we grew up. So the first chakra is the right to have and the right to be safe. The second chakra is the right to feel and have pleasure. And so, many of us say, "You have no right to feel that way." And when we have the rights compromised, we have what I call the demon of the chakra, which is guilt. "Oh, I shouldn't want that. Oh, I shouldn't be turned on to this person. Oh, I shouldn't be angry. Oh, I shouldn't be so needy..."
Francesca Gentille: Ooh, ooh. Stop, stop! [laughs]
Anodea Judith: You ever have those thoughts?
Francesca Gentille: Oh, that sounds so terrible. [laughs]
Anodea Judith: And then the third chakra is the right to act, the right to our power. And we say, "Well, I have no right to fight city hall. Who am I to have a different opinion?" So, reclaiming our right to act. The fourth chakra is the right to love and be loved, and that's in whatever manner suits us. If we love someone of the same sex, we have the right to love someone of the same sex. If we want to love someone of a different race, we have the right to love. The fifth chakra is to speak and be heard. Sixth is to be seen. And the seventh chakra is the right to know and understand.
Francesca Gentille: All right. I love that you've created the Bill of Chakra Rights.
Anodea Judith: [laughs] I've never thought of it as a Bill of Rights, but you're right.
Francesca Gentille: Yeah. And I just invite us to breathe that in, that we have the rights to each, in a sense, power and each empowerment of our chakras. And when that happens, I feel such a sadness that, often, that isn't true for so many of us, but I love the vision that you're building, that it can be possible. And that reminds me of your wish that we started out with, that we wake up in time. When our chakras, when we've accepted the rights of each chakra and we know ourselves and are standing up for ourselves, what's next? What is the power? What are we waking up to?
Anodea Judith: Well, if we're talking, again, about the second chakra, and it being our feeling function, as Jung would say. Jung says that our feeling function is what gives us our values. So when we live in a culture that is denied sexuality and has denied the feeling function, then we live in a culture that has lost its moral compass and its sense of values.
But of course, we have blocks in each chakra, and I believe at this time on the planet, the chakras also act as organizing principles for society, and that we've been in this third chakra for the last 5,000 years. And we are now on a cusp where those elements of top-down power and authority and empire no longer work. And we are evolving a new paradigm, which to me is a paradigm of the heart. So we are evolving and maturing into the heart chakra, en masse, as an organizing principle to society. And I call this the movement from the love of power to the power of love. And that's the subtitle of my book, "Waking the Global Heart."
Francesca Gentille: So when we really start to balance and harmonize--understand that we have chakras, use them, harmonize with them, help our partner harmonize with them--we can start to shift from that culturally stuck place of the love of power into the power of love itself. And if you would just give us a moment of what happens with the planet when the power of love is what's really guiding us.
Anodea Judith: Well, first of all, we have a kind of abundance. The current paradigm creates a scarcity: those with power take more than their share, and then spend it sensing and policing and controlling, to keep other people from taking it. But the power of love, for example, if we had gone into Iraq and Afghanistan with bread and computers and medical equipment, we could've spent a fraction of the money and combated terrorism much more effectively than bombing them and creating more terrorists.
So it is that paradigm that comes from interconnections, and really, the abundance and that openness that comes when we have a state of love. We're not coming from an ego plane, but a sense of being connected. And of course, that's one of the beautiful things about sexuality is that it is such a profound connection, that we connect with our partner literally through each and every chakra. We share consciousness, and we get turned on by how the look, and we speak words to each other, and we have relationship and love, and there's an energy there, and there's pleasure, and we're sharing our bodies. So in sexuality, all of the chakras are exchanging energy and giving us a profound sense of connection. And when we feel connected, the heart opens.
Francesca Gentille: Anodea, I want to thank you so much for joining us today, giving us this information on the chakras, and how they can bring a sense of connection and the power of love into our lives. And if you want to learn more about Anodea, you can come to the website, www.PersonalLifeMedia.com. There will be transcripts from the show, websites about Anodea, how to reach her, her book.
Anodea Judith: And I also have my own website, SacredCenters.com, for chakra information, and WakingTheGlobalHeart.com.
Francesca Gentille: And Anodea's own personal website, SacredCenters.com.
Anodea Judith: Yes.
Francesca Gentille: And thank you for joining us today.
Anodea Judith: Thank you, Francesca! It's been a delight.
Find more great shows, like this, on PersonalLifeMedia.com