Information Guide Series: Part 5- History of the Chakra System: Western Influence
Hello, Posters. Thank you for taking time to read another installment of my Informational Series. As you have seen previously, I have taken time to discuss the history of the Chakra System and the influence each culture had on the knowledge we are aware of now. In this article, I will be discussing the Western influence.
As many know, information regarding non 'traditional' spirituality and medicine that exists in the Western world was borrowed from Eastern philosophies and teachings. In terms of medicine, the Western world further developed these practices with technology; the same applies for the Chakra System.
It appears that the Western society developed their own ideologies of the Chakra System with the dominant help of the Hindu model, but of course the Buddhist model is used to an extent, as well.
Instead of thinking of the Chakra System as purely spiritually driven, Western scholars went a step further and studied how Chakra flow can be a result of certain biological factors; '([e]very thought and experience you've ever had in your life gets filtered through these chakra databases. Each event is recorded into your cells (Myss, 1996).'
As we've seen with previous models, the main chakras appear to be lined with the spinal column. Consciousness starts with the head (where the brain is located) with all the models I have discussed so far. Western scholars noticed this trend, and with our advanced medical knowledge, have inferred that it is logical to assume that neurological factors play a key role in the Chakra System.
Certain bodily functions within the brain are used as a parallel reference to certain chakras.
1. Endocrine System- Western scholars have noticed that the lower chakras are situated on key endocrine glands withine the Endocrine System. The most famous of these gland is the pineal gland, which is logically assumed to be a key factor in the behavior of the 'Third Eye' Chakra.
2. Nervous System- Like the Endocrine System, the chakras are also aligned with nerve plexuses (intersecting nerves) that are along the spinal cord. It is also logical to assume that the more important chakras are located in the head, because that is where the brain is located; the brain controls the functions within the spinal cord (Nervous System).
Chakras and Their Biological Parallels:
1. The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara): Parallel to the Pituitary Gland. This gland secretes neurotransmitters to the rest of the Endocrine System; it also connects the Central Nervous System to the Hypothalamus. The Hypothalamus is regarded as one of the most important parts of the brain (located at the forebrain, below the thalamus) and it controls basic functions. Without this part of the brain, your body couldn't survive. The Pituitary Gland is also known to control consciousness.
2. The Brow Chakra (Ajna): Parallel to the Pineal Gland. This gland is known as a light receptor and secretes the hormone melatonin, a hormone responsible for controlling sleep and waking up. The Pineal Gland is also responsible for sending messages between the conscious mind and subconscious mind. You can look in my previous article for the 'Third Eye' to find more information on the Pineal Gland functions.
3. The Throat Chakra (Vishudda): Parallel to the Thyroid Gland. This gland is located at the base of the neck and is known as the controller of growth and maturation (puberty). The hormones secreted by the Thyroid also aid in regulating heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy (metabolism). A daily intake of iodine (found in most salt) is needed to keep the Thyroid healthy to avoid goiters (note that a HEALTHY intake of iodine (salt, sodium) should be taken.
4. The Heart Chakra (Anahata): Parallel to the Thymus. The Thymus is located in the chest and is known as an element of the Imune System. It is also part of the Endocrine System. Functions within the Thymus help the body fight diseases and control stress (cortisal, GH, norepinephrine, ect are examples of stress hormones).
5. The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura): Parallel to the Islets of Langerhans (regions in the pancreas that contain Endocrine cells that produce hormones), the outer Adrenal Glands (adrenal glands are complex glands within the Endocrine System, located near the kidney; controls steroid hormones and epinephrine), and the Adrenal Cortex (is located by the Adrenal Glands; responsible for secreting steroid hormones). In relation to the Chakra System, all of these components play key roles in digestion.
6. The Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana, Svadhisthana, Adhisthana): Parallel to Sexual Hormones involved in the Reproductive Cycle (Estrogen, Progesterone, ect), the Genitourinary System (includes all reproductive organs involved in reproduction and aids in the formation and voidance of urine), and the Adrenals. From this information, one can logically assume that this chakra is about sexual health and reproduction.
7. The Base Chakra (Muladhara): Parallel to the Perineum (region between the genitalia and anus). The gonads (organ that produces gametes; a testes OR ovary) and the Adrenal Medulla (responsible for the flight-or-fight instinctive behavior) are said to be located within this region, as well. The muscle in the region of this area (the bulbospongiosus muscle) is said to control ejaculation within males.
This is about all I have for Western influences. If you have questions about one of the concepts or biological factors associated with the Chakra System, please let me know in the comment section and I will address your question with an answer I gain from the best of my knowledge.
Thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this article and learned a few things you may have not known from it. I have one more article regarding the history articles I've done, so sit tight.