In the West, we’re most familiar with the seven-chakra system from Indian philosophy. There are teachings that describe more energy centers. The eighth chakra, also known as the Universal Heart, is where you are one with the divine.
Like so many things in life, “the truth” comes in many different versions. We human beings have created systems for everything, so that we can map the reality we observe. The chakra system is one example. In the West, we’re most familiar with the seven-chakra system from Indian yoga philosophy. But there are also teachings based on five, six, eight, nine, twelve, thirteen and even twenty-seven chakras. So which chakra is the eighth? It depends on the culture or tradition it comes from.
The growing interest in chakras beyond the familiar seven demonstrates that we are in the process of expanding our consciousness. We feel the need for broader connection, a wider focus than our individual lives. We are increasingly aware that everything is connected to everything else, that we’re part of some form of Creation, and that we’re creators ourselves. Creators driven by love and shaped by love. That’s what the eighth chakra is all about.
If the seven chakras are located at 1. the tailbone, 2. the base of the spine, 3. the navel, 4. the heart, 5. the throat, 6. between the eyebrows, and 7. at the crown of the head, where can you find the eighth chakra? Again, this chakra is not so much a place as a state of being. It doesn’t really have a physical location. But to make contact with it, it can help to have a place to focus your attention. Different traditions tell us different things about where that place is. Some say it lies somewhere between the heart and the throat. Others believe it’s at the base of the skull, at the joint between the atlas and axis vertebrae. The Inca shamans see the Wiracocha as a shining sun at the border of your luminous energy field, or aura, about thirty to fifty centimeters above your head. Yet another way of looking at it is to focus on the image of a flame in the center of your head. And you can also imagine the eighth chakra as a space in your heart.
Spiritual seekers from many traditions have made contact with the Heart dimension in all kinds of ways. We are fortunate that today we can draw on all those traditions. Many roads lead to our destination. The first step is to calm the chattering mind. The mind receives a constant flow of information from our senses, especially the eyes, which often flood us with visual experiences. The senses keep pulling us into the outside world, as it were, while we experience heart consciousness mainly in and from our inner world. Letting go of your thoughts about the past and future, setting aside your ideas about who you are — that’s what the eighth chakra is all about.
Whether you do this through yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, prayer, ceremonies, rituals or creativity does not matter. These are just a few of the many ways to experience silence, which is everywhere. The point is to find your own way of connecting with it. Dancing, going for a walk or playing violin — any activity you love that absorbs you completely can take you to that place. The challenge is to stay there a little longer every time. It’s a question of practice. The more often you do it, and the more we all do, the more we open to a world of justice, compassion and equality for all living beings.
Text: Ingrid Melenberg
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