Our bodies are fueled by energy. We are not talking here about the energy which comes from food, ie., caloric energy, but subtle energy.
What is Subtle Energy?
Behind our biological system is a force that is invisible to the naked eye. This force, in Yoga, is called ‘prana’, or universal energy. In Chinese mysticism, it is called ‘qi’. It goes by many other names in other traditions and religions.
How can we prove the existence of this force?
Proving the Existence of Subtle Energy
Subtle energy can’t be proved in a gross sense, because it is too faint to register on scientific and medical instruments. As a basic law, to identify something, one must utilize tools that correspond in subtlety and complexity with the thing. The claim about subtle energy, prana, qi, mana, or whatever you may call it, is that it is infinitely subtle compared even to electrons. Hence, it can’t be proven with scientific instruments.
Reasonable proof can, however, be deduced and derived. We borrow from quantum physics to do this.
- It has been proven that electrons behave differently, if they are simply observed by living consciousness. There have been studies in which electrons have been placed in a room behind glass, where no physical intervention is possible, and the electrons behaved differently if someone was present watching them. This alludes to the existence of consciousness beyond the physical; it suggests that there is already a force within us that can’t be scientifically quantified, but can impact matter all the same.
- It has been proven that thoughts influence your biology. There are studies that have been conducted where water crystals have been observed under different conditions. These conditions are not temperature or pressure, but the presence or absence of happy emotions in proximity. The results were that ‘happy’ emotions formed more aesthetic crystals.
- It has also been widely observed that patients tend to get better, to the point of remission of life-threatening diseases like cancer, if they are loved and cared for and have a positive outlook towards life. Surely, something subtle that we can’t touch or feel is behind this.
- It appears that everything in this universe can be reduced to its finer components. Matter is made of atoms, atoms are made of electrons, protons and neutrons, protons and neutrons are made of quarks, and electrons and quarks are made of a particle called ‘higgs boson’ (nicknamed ‘the god particle’). We discovered electrons in 1897, quarks in 1964, and the higgs boson in 2012. It is quite likely that we will keep discovering finer and finer particles in time to come.
So, it is not illogical to assume that there is a bridge between matter and the relatively intangible universe of consciousness and thoughts. It is very likely that consciousness is one of the finest ‘things’ in the universe.
Therefore, while it is impossible to explicitly prove, beyond doubt, that subtle energy exists, quantum physics gives us clues that there clearly must be some kind of subtle energy that influences consciousness and thoughts.
This is the same energy that many religions and spiritual practices expound as prana, qi, mana, or light. It influences our thoughts and consciousness, which in turn affect our biology.
Chakras: The Body’s Energy Vortices
The chakra theory of energy, which pops up amongst unrelated religions and theories as well, states that we have hundreds of subtle energy centres in our body which spin at high frequencies, each different in its frequency than the next. Of these, 7 are the most influential and relevant.
The Color of Chakras
You can notice that the ‘VIBGYOR’ spectrum of light corresponds perfectly with the colors of the different chakras. The root chakra is red (the last letter in the spectrum, which represents the most gross level of consciousness), the sacral is orange, the solar-plexus is yellow, the heart is green, the throat is blue, the third-eye is indigo, and the crown is violet. This is no planned conspiracy; yogis thousands of years ago discovered the colors of chakras in deep meditation where they saw visions. This is because spiritual light is a refined version of visual light. Purple is the highest visible vibration, and in the inner realm, is the highest vibration of spiritual light as well. Red, on the other hand, is the most gross vibration. You can use the color of a chakra as a tool during meditation to visualize the chakra you want to heal.
The Root Chakra
The root chakra is said to be a red spinning ‘lotus’ at the base of our spine, and is masculine because it collects energy from the ground (via chakras in our feet), and feeds it to the other chakras in our body. Its element is earth. It is responsible for our physical well being, sense of security (financial, physical, or otherwise), and physical sense of presence in the world.
The Sacral Chakra
The second chakra, the sacral chakra, is an orange colored lotus near our genitals. It is considered to be the seat of the subconscious mind in our bodies. It is responsible for desires such as sex and for tasty food. It is a feminine chakra, which means that it receives energy from the root and from the universe around it, rather than sending energy outwards. It is responsible for our emotional well-being.
The Solar-plexus Chakra
The solar-plexus chakra is a yellow chakra located in our stomach region. It is where your will and confidence originate. When someone says they ‘know who they are’, they have a strong and healthy solar-plexus. Conversely, when someone feels that ‘they don’t know who they are’, it means this chakra is weak or damaged. Responsibility, accountability, and the ability to face challenges head on, are all signs of a healthy solar-plexus chakra.
The Heart Chakra
The fourth chakra is the bridge between the lower 3 and higher 3 chakras. It is the chakra of the heart. We move now from gross aspects of consciousness, such as our physical and emotional wellbeing and our sense of will, towards something more subtle. The heart is our connection with the divine. It is the center of unconditional love, as well as the seat of our higher existence (soul) in our body. A weak or blocked heart chakra results in a person feeling existentially isolated, depressed, and that they are not loved or cared for. A strong heart chakra manifests as unconditional love, forgiveness, and a sense of higher purpose in our everyday existence.
The Throat Chakra
The fifth is the throat chakra. After the third chakra, we have left the domain of the gross and are venturing into the dimension of etheric energy; energy that is beyond the physical realm and is connected to very subtle aspects of individual and universal consciousness. The throat chakra is blue in color and is the home of self-expression. Singers, influential public speakers, and anyone who can change the way you think or feel through their words (written or spoken), has a strong, healthy throat chakra. If you, instead, feel that you are unable to express your true self to others, or have a weak or hoarse voice, you might have a weak throat chakra.
The Third-eye Chakra
Next is the third-eye chakra. This one is closely linked with your mind, and is located in the head area, between the two eyes and near the pineal gland. The color of this chakra is indigo. It is the ‘command center’ of your energy system, and corresponds with our biological command center, the brain. Scientists discovering and inventing, to find the truth about something, or scholars amassing knowledge, both have active third-eye chakras. Where the throat chakra is about speaking the truth, the third-eye is about discovering it. It is the center of insight and intuition.
The Crown Chakra
The final chakra is the crown, and is the most mysterious of all. Some religions believe that the purpose of human existence is to align our other chakras and our minds with this one, so that energy may flow to it sans obstruction. It represents our connection to higher intelligence; to the will of the universe. A person who is suddenly, irrationally, inspired to move to a new city because they felt strongly that they would have a better life, and indeed move and experience a better life, are moved by higher intelligence via the crown chakra. A weak crown chakra results in one feeling lost, disconnected, and purposeless in life. A strong one results in a feeling of universal oneness with the force behind all intelligence and life, and a sense of everything making perfect sense all the time.
More Blogs to Come…
These are the 7 chakras: the root, sacral, solar-plexus, heart, throat, third-eye, and crown. They each carry a different vibrational frequency of prana, qi, or mana, and are responsible for a different aspect of our consciousness.
We will go further into the details of each chakra in our next few blogs, including how to diagnose and treat them when they are weak.