Contemplations on consciousness
From traditional rishis to modern-day gurus, pretty much every second person has sung high praise of the practice of meditation. There is no doubt in the wisdom of these words. However, from acquiescing its all-encompassing benefits to truly understanding and embodying them, requires a journey. This is no linear evolution of the human mind, reminiscent of space and/or time continua, but something further rooted in a consciousness that’s almost primordial, yet automatic.
It’s complicated. It took the Buddha years under a pipal tree to get it and women and men have devoted their entire lives to it. In the extremely short span of my own practice, I found meditation to be an intensely personal experience. It’s something the body, mind and soul have to be ready and willing to experience, and mutually reinforce. But it has always been something that has fascinated me, kept me wanting to know, understand and experience, more. The fulcrum of this curiosity has been the chakras, something that seemed almost mystical in my imagination. The seven hubs of essential life energy, the chakras are intricately connected to all aspects of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical planes of existence. My tryst with them started through a glimpse at a few basic chakra meditations in a yoga class in London, opened up though work with my yoga guru here in Bombay, and has deepened with Swami Saradananda’s book.
Chakra Meditation is a must-read for anybody who has even had a fleeting whim to explore the chakras. Clear, concise and easy to read, in it, Swami Saradanada teaches every aspect of chakras, from basic to profound in a holistic way. Chakra theory is explained as the principles of energy being connected in and flowing through the three types of bodies—physical, astral [soul, spirit, that which reincarnates, the subconscious] and seed body [karma, past, deep unconsciousness]. In essence, the energy or prana that flows through the nadis or channels and concentrates in the chakras unites the physical conscious, subconscious and unconscious. As explained more eloquently in the book, meditating on chakras means exploring consciousness as a whole and activating its power to bring balance and well-being to one’s life.
While philosophical ponderings of this sort might get some ticking, for the more practical amongst us, the best part of this book is Swami’s primary focus on practice. This includes separate chapters on each chakra with several meditations to activate its energy characteristic. In addition, every chapter is accompanied by information on tools that enhance the chakra journey such as yoga postures, chakra-friendly foods, essences, essential oils, crystals, gems and stones.
The breadth of knowledge and teachingin these pages is incredible; the depth of passion and simplicity is moving. It’s difficult to read about a meditation and not try it out instantly in wonder. It’s a book that once you have leafed through, and explored at your own pace, you will want to keep in close proximity to take yourself through the many paths it leads to consciousness.