Science vs. Mystics?

Image

I have often heard the word “chakras” and never really understood what that was. Maybe because this term is often misinterpreted or misused. Maybe because I was not ready to ‘hear’ it…

Recently, during a yoga class, my teacher started to explain how our life is led by inner energy (the same that makes our body alive) and how this energy revolves around the spinal cord.

She went on telling us about 7 energy centers, or ‘wheels’, the chakras in fact. These are aligned from bottom up, inside our body, from the coccyx and perineum area (the base of our column) up to the crown of our head.

7 centers which respond and correspond to different levels of our awareness.

It was a real “aha moment” for me! This all sounded familiar, though not exactly the same of what I had learnt when I was a university student and had to study about behavioral psychology. So, I listened more carefully…

My teacher went on explaining that each center/chakra is connected to our being on several different levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. And that when a chakra center is out of sync (it could be either over- active or under -active, congested or blocked) we feel it on a mental, emotional or physical way.

Does the so called “being out of sync” provoke a state of need?

What pushes us to strive for balance? And what is ‘balance’?

Years ago, my exam in behavioral psychology was greatly focused on the theory of the Hierarchy of Needs, as developed in the 1940’s by A. Maslow. My yoga teacher’s words were strongly resonating with that theory.

As Maslow puts it:

What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.

My yoga teacher explained that the chakra theory sees us move from the lower chakra to the higher in search of the realization of our most true self.

Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, and Self-Actualization needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

Chakras theory and Maslow theory did sound similar to me!

Here a very concise summary of both:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Seven Chakras
Self actualization (morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts 7th Understanding, will, self knowledge, higher consciousness

6th imagination, awareness, self –reflection, intuition

5th power, self –expression, deeper connection to others

Esteem (confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others) 4th Love, self-acceptance, balanced perspective, compassion
Love & Belongingness (family, friendship and sexual intimacy) 3rd Wisdom, esteem, power and position
Safety & Security (of body, resources, family, health, employment, property) 2nd Order, love and belonging
Physiological needs (breathing, food & water, air, sex, sleep, excretion) 1st Life, survival and safety

What strikes me the most is that what scientists like Maslow have found out about mankind (a principle on which academic and business circles still rely on nowadays), is something that has been in human experience for a long time, for thousand years…

At the end, both theories point to human beings who strive for higher levels of creativity, health and self- fulfillment, and this tendency is natural and essential.

Both science and mystics have come to the same ground point. Man is One.