Sunday, November 13, 2016
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November is a month for study of Raja Yoga, a spiritual path often called the yoga of meditation. A raja yogi uses ancient, proven spiritual techniques to quiet the mind and gain control of her or his attention. Regular daily practice of concentration leads to meditation, which can reveal God and liberate you from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Yogis tell us there are seven centers of subtle energy in the body, three below and three above the Heart Center. All are potentially spiritual in their expression:
- Root Center (Muladhar chakra) — This first center is located at the base of the spine
- Sacral Center (Svadhishtan chakra) — The second is located below the naval in the sacrum
- Solar Plexus Center (Manipurak chakra) — The third is found in the center of the abdomen
- Heart Center (Anahat chakra) — The fourth is at the center of the chest
- Throat Center (Vishuddha chakra) — The fifth is in the neck above the collarbone
- Brow Center (Agya chakra) — Also known as the Third Eye Chakra, the sixth center is just above the eyebrows
- Crown Center (Sahasrara chakra) — The seventh is found at the very top of the head
— Adapted from Kelli Fox’s website
When your attention is directed primarily toward the three centers below the heart center, your life experience will be pretty much confined to worldly and sensual activities and pursuits. Practice of Raja Yoga can pull your awareness upward and, in time, open the Heart Center. It is then that spiritual progress — as defined by changes in your behavior and your priorities — begins.
Swami Vivekananda said:
“It is the heart that is of most importance. … He whose book of the heart has been opened needs no other books. … It is the heart that reaches the goal. Follow the heart. … It is through the heart that the Lord is seen, and not through the intellect.”
Swami Shivananda, one of Vivekananda’s brother disciples, taught: “All that one has to do is establish God in one’s heart by any means. Then, one need make no separate effort to build up a moral character. All such divine qualities as truthfulness, kindness, love, etc., then come to one as a matter of course.”
In this talk we define the seven energy centers in more detail, and explore how each chakra is part of our spiritual adventure. While each center is deeply related to all aspects of our lives, we can see why the swamis quoted above put so much emphasis on the center of the heart.