Everything in life has a core. Every blade of grass, every tree, every animal, every cell, every finger and toe, and of course, our very selves. The planet has a core, and even non-living things like rocks have a core. The core is what is common to all existence. Everything expands and grows out from its core and contracts back into it. You could say that the core is the Divine at the center of the mystery.
The chakras are the Sacred Centers that align with the Divine in the deepest part of ourselves. This vertical core connects Heaven and Earth and links spirit and matter through the architecture of the soul. In many traditions the core is called the Axis Mundi, or axis of the world. In Sanskrit it is called the Sushumna, and I like to call it the Rainbow Bridge.
In the last blog I wrote about the Hindu myth of churning the ocean of milk, which is from the Mahabharata. Many of you wrote asking for more details. How does the ocean get churned?
In times of stress when something new needs to be born, at Vishnu’s suggestion, the Devas (gods) and the Asuras (demons) line up on either side of a mountain. The serpent king Vasuki, agrees to be the churning string, and wraps around the mountain with its head in one direction and its tail in the other.
But when they start pulling, the island begins sinking into the ocean. Taking the form of a turtle, Vishnu bears the weight of the mountain in his back. The churning continues and creates a deadly poison whose fumes threaten to destroy everything (think of our polluted world and airwaves from these dueling dualities). Lord Shiva gathers the poison and drinks it. His consort, Parvati, clasps his throat so it remains there (which is why he is sometimes called the “Blue-throated One”). Interesting that the name of the throat chakra (Vissudha) means purification!
Along with the poison, the churning produces the nectar of immortality. Of course, there are quarrels over the nectar, but Vishnu again appears as a beautiful maiden who finally tricks the Asuras into releasing it to the Devas, and all is restored again.
The axis upon which the mountain spins is the axis mundi. The cosmic serpent (think Kundalini) is wrapped around that axis, and it is here that we find the path to immortality, or God Realization.
Finding our core allows us to hold our center while the struggles of life go on around us. The chakras, as stepping stones up and down the core, are the gateways into and out of the core. They are the chambers in the Inner Temple, home of the Divine Beloved at the Sacred Center of the Self.
January 24, 2011