The Five Elements of Nature and the Chakras
Soundarya Lahari: Thou art residing with Thy Lord (The spirit) in the thousand pedaled Lotus, having pierced through the Earth situated in “Mooladhara”, the water in “swadhisthana”, the Fire abiding in the “Manipura”, the Air in the “Anahata”, the Ether above “Vishuddha” and “Manas” between the eyebrows “Ajna” and thus broken through the entire “Kula Path”. – Adi Shankaracharya
The chakras represent amps of our reality. The five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether form one of the most important aspects of our reality. The chakras are the portals through which we connect and communicate with everything in our reality. Each chakra is linked to one of the fire elements. The significance of this connection can be understood in the light of the qualities of each element.
“Heaven and Earth last forever. The reason why heaven and earth last forever is that they do not live for themselves. Hence, they last forever. Therefore, the True Person leaves self behind and thus is found in front, is not guarded and thus is preserved, is self free and thus is able to find fulfillment.” – Lao Tzu
The first chakra – Muladhara Chakra is linked to the element Earth. It provides the foundation for our existence in physical reality. It is related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. When activated, this chakra brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence.
“The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to it is content with the low places that people disdain. Thus it is like the Tao.” -Lao Tzu
The second chakra – Swadhishthana Chakra is linked to the element water. It is related to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement, when activated. This chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and ability to accept change.
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life” – Buddha
The Third Chakra – Manipura Chakra is linked to the element Fire. The energy that sustains all life on Earth comes from the Sun, which is a huge ball of fire. We can see why fire has been associated with power since ancient times. This is the origin of the terms, “Fire in the belly”, “fiery speech”, Fiery Temperament”, etc. The Manipura Chakra rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism, when activated; this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power.
“Those who awaken never rest in one place. Like swans, they rise and leave the lake. On the air they rise and fly an invisible course. Their food is knowledge. They live on emptiness. They have seen how to break free. Who can follow them” – Buddha
The Fourth Chakra – Anahata Chakra it is linked to the element air. This chakra is related to love, and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body; male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. When activated, this chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, and have a deep sense of peace and centeredness.
“The one thing I am certain of, both logically and emotionally, is that nothing stops at death. All our clusters of self are reorganized in different farms. Your collected wisdom is not lost in the either; it feeds the root of humanity, builds verse upon the ancient epic, it carries with you in whatever, wherever you might find yourself.” – Buddha
The Fifth Chakra – Visuddha is linked to the element ether. This chakra is related to creativity and expression. The universe was created out of the nothingness. Therefore all creation and expression has to begin from that empty space, in any musical instrument, the sound is always produced from the empty space. Thought, word, and deed are the three stages of creation. Word represents the expression of intent, which is a very important step in the creative process.
This is the sixth chakra, and is not linked to any element, it is related to the ability of seeing the un manifest. It represents the ability to see everything as a part of a greater whole.
This is the seventh state and is not linked to any element and relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It represents the state of awareness of being one with all that is.
Chakras and Seven Identities
We are essentially non-physical beings. However, we all have chosen to live in this physical reality. The physical plane is also known as the “plane of demonstration” and this is where we demonstrate what we have learned so far. Every reality has its own operating framework and it is therefore important that we master its rules. At the same time, we should also stay connected to all aspects of our larger reality. To do this, we adopt different identities where each identity connects us with one aspect of our larger reality. Chakras are a very important aspect of this larger reality as they represent intersection points to the various aspects. Each chakra is connected to a specific identity. To become complete individuals we need to become aware of all our identities, and all the identities need be to be awakened in a balanced manner. Understanding these identities and their relationship with chakras helps us to know ourselves better.
First Chakra – Muladhara: Physical Identity, Focus on Survival
This Chakra is connected to our survival instincts and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. The focus of this identity is on survival in the physical plane. This gives birth to our physical identity.
Second Chakra – Swadhisthana: Emotional Identity; Focus on Desire
Beyond the need for survival is the need to relate to our environment in ways that are not for the purpose of mere survival. For example a child needs food when hungry, and that is survival. Wanting a particular type of food is desire. The focus of this identity is on fulfilling desires, and desires give birth to our emotions. This gives birth to our emotional identity.
Third Chakra – Manipura: Ego Identity, Focus on individuality.
Beyond desire is the need to be recognized as someone unique. The focus is now on developing a unique personality. This gives birth to our ego identity.
Fourth Chakra – Anahata: Social Identity, Focus on Acceptance
Beyond the need for individuality is the need for a sense of belonging, the need to love and loved, the need to accept one self and others. This gives birth to our social identity.
Fifth Chakra – Vishuddha: Creative Identity, Focus on Creativity
Beyond the need for acceptance is the need to express one’s creativity. This is the feeling of wanting to increase the value of our lives for ourselves and others. This is when we wish to align to our life purpose which is unique to every individual. This connects us to our creative identity.
Sixth Chakra – Ajna: Archeted Identity, Focus on “Seeing the big picture”
Beyond the need for creativity is the need to understand our relationship with the universe, to know where we fit in, where others fit in, and where everything we perceive fits in, this expands our perception, and we begin to “see” beyond the physical. We begin to understand archetypal levels in the universe. This connects us to our archetypal identity.
Seventh State – Sahasrara: Universal Identity, Focus on Nirvana. Beyond state where one understands universal archetypes is the state of supreme realization. One realizes the connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, space less, place of all-knowing. In this state one realizes that. “I am all That Is”. This connects us to our universal identity.
Chakras and Seven Stages of Soul’s Evolution
Every soul that incarnates in the physical plane goes, through several incarnations on its path of evolution. The cycle of evolution starts when the soul emerges from the source. And completes with it returning to source. The whole cycle is like a learning game. There are seven stages of soul evolution during which soul needs to master specific lessons. Each stage is ruled by a particular chakra.
Infant souls are new entrants to the physical plane. They are like the explorers and adventures. Their main goal is to master the skills required for survival on this plane. Everything that they do is primarily survival oriented. They can even kill if their survival is threatened even remotely. Their actions are driven by instinct. In that sense, they are closer to the animal consciousness which also operates on instinct and is based on survival. They live close to nature and live in groups and they are ruled by the Muladhara Chakra which is their connection to Mother Earth.
After many incarnations as an infant soul, the soul has adequately learnt the requisite survival skills. It now wants a more structured life wherein there is an opportunity for learning how to become disciplined. Structure helps them to feel comfortable in the world. They follow rigid rules of dos and don’ts. They are usually obsessive about clearness. Respect for authority is an important attribute of this stage. Hence, they rarely question the rules, they blindly follow them. They are fiercely loyal to the point of being chauvinistic. They tend to follow rituals. They are yet to learn to take responsibility for their actions. They find it easier to be told what to do. Baby souls are very passionate about the work they do. They are also very emotional people. The Swadhisthana Chakra rules this stage with its relation to emotions.
Having mastered the infant and Baby Soul issues of survival, discipline and order, the sights are fixed on how to become powerful in the world. A young soul typically has little respect for anyone whose ideas are not their own. Competition is the keyword for young souls, and the only thing that matters is winning no matter what the cost. They do not question the ethics of their actions. The motivation is to become powerful, not surprising then, that this stage is ruled by the Manipura Chakra which is related to power.
After succeeding in its quest for power, the soul begins to feel a vacuum, it realizes that despite all that power and success, it is still not satisfied. It feels that something is still missing. Questions like “who am I?, and “Why am I here?” begin to pop up frequently. The quest to find it true identity begins now. It begins to understand love through relationships. Seeing another person’s point of view becomes possible as people become deeply immersed in relationship issues. Suddenly it’s clear that everybody has feelings, and these feelings are usually either interesting or unavoidable. Most of the relationship issues are found in the mature soul stage. All this relates to the heart chakra or Anahata chakra which rules this stage.
After the Matura soul stage, questions like “what is the meaning of Life?” and “What is the connection between all that we see?”. Begin to arise. On deep inner levels, old souls perceive the interrelatedness existing among all people. Preferring their own unconventional pursuits, they often seek the path of least resistance as far as work, so that all energy can be poured into spiritual development. They will try to find work that supports their personal growth: counseling, teaching, fine arts, gardening and carpentry being some favorites. Creativity and expression are the attributes of an old soul and these relate to the vishuddha chakra which rules this stage.
Transcendental Soul and Infinite Soul
The last two stages are rarely found in physical existence. They however incarnate in the physical plane to teach and bring about Global change. Examples of transcendental souls are “Budhisativas”. Examples of infinite souls are the great masters like Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tzu, and Jesus. Both transcendental souls and infinite souls have already completed their incarnations on earth. If and when they incarnate on the physical plane, they do so by choice, not out of necessity. The Transcendental soul resonates with the Ajna Chakra, and the infinite soul resonates with the ultimate state of the Sahasrara.