At a Tensegrity gathering in Barcelona, 16 years ago, an assignment was given to answer the question, “Who am I?” A deadline was assigned by which answers were to be submitted via email. No suggestions were given as to how to navigate locating an internet cafe—there was no Wi-Fi in those days—nor how to communicate if you didn’t speak Spanish.
As I recapitulate the experience today, I know what my honest answer should have been, “I’m a terrified little chicken, reticent to assert myself, to be imperfect, to not be on time.” I believe my ‘enlightened’ answer at the time was more like, “I’m an energetic being who is going to die,” taken directly from the Shamanism Catechism 101 crib sheet!
The truth is that though the more honest answer reflects both my survival fears associated with the first chakra, as well as my ego Soul assertiveness issues at the solar plexus chakra, the answer I gave also reflected a center of who I am at the third eye chakra, though at the time this was not a place I could volitionally rest in.
We are beings with several dimensions of awareness. We may habitually occupy but one or two of those centers, but even A Failed Christian, as Nick Lowe sings of himself, can be stirred to a higher spirit center when the choir sings in harmony.
The chakra system of ancient Hinduism is a useful structure to identify the various centers of consciousness in the human body. More precisely, they refer to energy centers in the etheric body, a subtle body that energizes the physical body through the activity of kundalini, the active force in human life. I refer to this subtle body as the Soul, which is comprised of the little soul of the subconscious, the ego Soul, and the high SOUL who resides in infinity.
At the levels of the first and second chakras, we are purely animal instinctive beings, almost exclusively controlled by our DNA, ancestral history, and the archetypes of the collective unconscious. This is the domain of the dweller I have referred to in recent blogs, the conservative autocrat only focused on the rules of survival.
At the level of the third chakra, we have the birth of consciousness where the will and the ability to choose over nature’s dictates are discovered. Nonetheless, ego Soul at this level has a very narrow narcissistic worldview: ME!
At the level of the heart chakra, ego Soul comes in contact with high SOUL, the love and truth of infinity, which expands its horizons to include itself as only a part of a greater interconnected reality.
The divisiveness of the solar plexus warrior is supplanted by a greater love for all beings as part of a greater wholeness.
The chakras above the heart center are increasingly associated with the high SOUL dimension of our whole Soul being. Consciousness at the third eye or crown chakra offers direct access to interactions with beings in infinity, such as in channeling, as well as provides the respite of deep detachment from the affairs of time and space, as one rests in the perspective of heightened awareness.
Meanwhile, back in time and space, we have Western thinking, which is obsessed with progress. Goals are broken down into smaller logical objectives, successive stepping stones that culminate in achievement of the established goal. This linear ascent model dominates our definition of progress. We constantly judge ourselves and are judged by others by the quality and status of our ‘progress.’ Perfection is reaching the completion of the goal with maximum efficiency.
The truth is that this measure of progress is only relevant for a part of our multidimensional being, who we really are. Our root chakra is obsessed with survival. Our solar plexus may be obsessed with winning. Our heart may be concerned with doing the right thing with compassion. Our third eye might view the multidimensional synchronicities of this current wave of energy. Our crown chakra might be dreaming the dream we are currently living.
Progress or growth clearly involves an integration and blending of all of these dimensions of awareness to realize the fullness of Self. Furthermore, kundalini herself directs where and how our journey will unfold to discover the fullness of who we really are. The way of kundalini is not simply one of vertical assent or of logic.
In traumatic recapitulation, kundalini might first take one to an early childhood memory and next to adolescence, and then zigzag back to childhood, then forward to early adulthood. If one expects a logical time progression one is sure to be disappointed and, in fact, one can get caught in a depressed mood through a judgment of failure.
Kundalini has its own internal reasoning, which is impervious to the constraints of logical order. This is also experienced physically. The mercurial path of kundalini might go from a third eye intense headache one day to a pain in the big toe the next.
The path seems more about clearing space at one level and then returning to other levels to trigger and address older issues whose time is due. Perhaps the path is similar to a Rubik’s cube, where progress requires movement at different levels at different times. Guidance here is to suspend judgment and trust the process.
So, who am I really? Seems the current working definition is a multidimensional being, whose centers of awareness are getting to know each other. Good luck with solving the puzzle!