An excerpt from Anahata
By examining the spiritual heart we can begin to understand the reasons for the limitations the egocentric “I” notion that distorts the pure reflection of pure and infinite consciousness (“Hunab Ku” in Tantra Maya or “Shiva” and “Atman” in Indian tantra) in the human mind. Within the spiritual heart exist the roots of our divided and fragmented modern consciousness but also the qualities of compassion, understanding and unity with the true “I” within. All of the expressions of the so-called “vortexes” are balanced by understanding the spiritual heart, what yogis call the Anahata Chakra.
I prefer to use the term “vortex” instead of “chakra.” The traditional symbol of the Anahata chakra is a lotus flower with 12 petals. Each “lotus petal” is literally a subtle energetic vortex spiraling out of the greater vortex or “lotus,” like many small tornadoes that group together to form one giant vortex. These petals or minor vortexes are known as vrttis- vortexes of mental energy. These vrttis implicitly vibrate the entire mind and body and explicitly qualify them so as to express particular states of thought and emotion through our biological entity. Vrttis are the fundamental intelligence behind our thoughts and feelings, the hidden programming of human cognitive and emotional life that vibrate the entire mind- body system. Vrttis are invisible quantum “tornadoes” whose subtle activity cascade down into expressions of the physical world through one’s body. The complex biological processes in the brain and endocrine system channel these mental tendencies into physical expression. Grosser mental frequencies correspond to more instinctual tendencies while finer mental frequencies express more refined and humanely conscious tendencies. The Anahata Vortex, in the center of the chest, is subtle like the higher vortexes with their finer, cognitive tendencies, but at the same time has grosser qualities like the lower vortexes (at the navel and below) that express more instinctual and egocentric tendencies.
Up until the Anahata Vortex the human being is but a “raging bundle of desire in a dying animal,” to use the words of Yeats. The Manipura Vortex (at the navel) gives one an intimation of the infinite with its infinite desire for expansion, but falls short of the pure conception by projecting infinite desire on finite objects. The Manipura is still governed by ontological hunger with its accompanying cravings, demands, and impositions on the objective world. It can ask “how?” and then proceed to manipulate and maneuver the external world according to its internal desires, but it lacks the self-reflective conscience to ask “why?” or “what for?” in a deeply moral sense. The Manipura Vortex is balanced only when it is under the guidance of the more conscious and moral Anahata. It should be very clear to the reader that much of the present day ills in our materialistic and capitalistic pseudo-culture are due to the over activation and exploitation of the Manipura Vortex.
“Anahata” means not harming and it is at this layer of mind that truly rational, self-reflective, compassionate, and judicious human qualities begin to emerge. It is the vortex located in the center of the chest and is often referred to as the “heart chakra.” It is the fulcrum on which rests the directional flow of the human mind. Below here the mind moves outward, toward matter. Here and above the mind can move inward, toward pure Spirit, toward Hunab Ku.
The Anahata Vortex is associated with the Intuitive Mind (Vijinanamaya Kosa), the layer of mind associated with intuition and the aerial factor. Instead of the Anahata Vortex via the Intuitive Mind being associated with the vibration of form, like the Manipura, it is here associated with the vibration of touch or impression. With the Anahata’s functioning on this higher, elemental level it receives the subtle impressions, in the form of abstract ideas and intuitive feelings, which emanate from objects. It has the possibility of perceiving a deeper idea of the essence of the object thought or felt upon, be it an object in nature or another living being. The thought forms or archetypes of the Manipura, creative level are but manifestations of the original, formless ideas as they exist in the Vijinanamaya Kosa. The Intuitive Mind is the realm of pure ideas that Plato, Socrates, and the ancient Greek philosophers inquired about.
Although the Manipura Vortex (3rd Chakra, the “City of Jewels”) and the Creative layer of mind associated with it are endowed with intellect and creativity, the mind is still too preoccupied with the fiery, impulsive propensities that keep the mind moving outward, into the senses, which thereby prevent a deep, rational, and intuitive understanding of self and world. The Manipura is about self- acquisition while the Anahata is about self-actualization. Due to the relative lightness of the aerial factor and the self-reflective propensities associated with the Anahata, the mind is here able to reflect and gaze upon form from a more enlightened vantage point. If the Manipura level of mind is likened to a fire that not only enlightens but also consumes the realm of form, the Anahata is like the lightness of a supine cloud that drifts languidly above the multitudinous forms in nature.
The Anahata is only the beginning of a non-attachment that leads to a transcendence of the separate, phenomenal self. The individual ego and will are still present but much more self-reflective and non- impulsive than the Manipura. Here the ego and the will become an object for the understanding or discriminative mind to reflect upon. And it is because there is now an abstract self concept that is rooted deeply in the Intuitive Mind , the personality (Aham) can not just be conscious of the desires and propulsions in the sub-conscious mind, but also redirect those very same tendencies to more conscious and intelligent outlets. With this capacity to consciously redirect the propensities that fetter the mind into crude mental limitations, the Aham personality is then able to reflect more upon the nature of itself. There is therefore a much greater manifestation of the pure and limpid I-feeling at the Anahata. Instead of the self being bound up and defined by the restless, incessant activity of the ego or doer-I, the sense of self is now more of a witness of the ego’s activity. The “I” is still bound to the ego to a degree but it is lucid enough to know that it is independent. This deep sense of “I exist” or knowledge of self existence can question what tendencies lead toward an inner state of harmony and self understanding and which ones lead one further into spiritual and psychic bondage. In short, a deep sense of morality and conscience is born here; one much deeper than a mere superego that was imposed from without at the Manipura level.
It is at the Anahata that we see the first manifestations of dharma or psycho-spiritual movement, the movement of the mind toward the spirit. The sense of self abstracted from the senses and extroverted will can more freely pursue the inner life and seek higher meaning. It can understand the way the Tao or the moral order of the universe functions so as to conform the individual will with that cosmic will. The mind begins to understand that it is only through becoming a responsible, conscious, and whole person that there can be any real meaning in life. The life lived only through the senses and passions and superficial form is now seen as a great bondage that can never bring any deep fulfillment.
As mentioned above, the Anahata is only the beginning of self-transcendence. There is the abstracted feeling of the “I” that is ultimately independent of all objective qualities but the identity is still bound and mediated by subtle mental concepts defining the nature of self. There is not yet the undifferentiated and pure expression of the eternal I- feeling unmediated by the self-referential concepts of the Aham. Although there is a great degree of the pure I-feeling present the mind still uses concepts to refer itself to the objective experiences that it is attached to (the memories, personal history or self-narrative, self- defining characteristics, intellectual and emotional qualities, etc).
It can be said that the Anahata Vortex is the occupation of the mind with the “I.” The ego or Aham is not necessarily seeking to indulge in its limited self, but seek its origin in the I-feeling. The problem comes about when this fascination with the nature of ones consciousness is projected into one’s finite self-concept. All of the growth energy of self discovery instead goes into some form of egotism. Vanity, narcissism, selfishness, and hypocrisy are the results.
Half the 12 vrttis of the Anahata are “positive,” growth promoting vrttis and the other half are “negative” or at most neutral, self-justifying defense tendencies that perpetuate the ego’s limited boundaries instead of expanding and refining them. There is still a limited and bounded sense of self, but with the potential to discriminate between vice and virtue. There is also still the boundary of self and not self to be overcome, although not as marked as in the Manipura and Svadhistana. Harmony, balance, and proportion are key elements in this fulcrum that is the Anahata to help determine what is growth-promoting and virtuous (self, or good for the self) and what is vice, or inappropriate for spiritual self-growth (not self).
In the Anahata there appear to be two hexagons. Really, there is one. They seem different because one moves clockwise or centrifugally, and the other moves counter-clockwise or centripetally. Here we can see the fundamental yin-yang or centrifugal-centripetal interplay of the universe at work within the human mind. Together these forces combine to make the Anahata Vortex. These are 12 points at which the balance and imbalances of the human consciousness may express themselves in a refined way. When there is perfect balance and there is no escape through any vortex or vrtti in the 12 vertices, Shiva (Hunab Ku) always enters the human mind through the spiritual heart with its neutral force of consciousness or citishakti. Citishakti is the Consciousness that controls Shakti, creative energy because this divine creative energy has its essence in Shiva, or Consciousness. Shiva and Shakti are
like fire and its capacity to burn; they are completely and eternally inseparable. All creation in this universe is due to the activity of Shakti and the conscious base of Shiva that silently witnesses the play of creation while at the same time offering its being as the essence on which Shakti may create. The right side of the Anahata is dominated by the solar or centrifugal energy of Shakti. The left side of the Anahata is lunar or centripetal Shakti. The centrifugal force under the control of the witnessing entity of Shiva becomes the Son, the primordial creative expression of the Supreme Consciousness within the human and personal medium. It is for this reason that the Vedantic sages meditated on the right side of the spiritual heart, the nexus of where the super-personal Atman “touches” the personal and human.
The left side of the Anahata is the “Mother of God”, the centripetal energy of Shakti that always brings the expressions of the Son (the centrifugal movement of creation) back to the neutral force of Shiva- Consciousness. The centripetal force never lets the centrifugal force become entirely lost into manifold expression and always brings it back to center. Together, in balance, these binary forces of creation manifest in the human being to the grade that there is a balance in the 12 vortices or vrttis at the 12 vertices of the 2 hexagons. When there is less duplicity, arrogance, vanity, and selfishness(negative vrttis), and more love, discernment and faith (positive vrttis), then the process of the unification of the microcosmic consciousness into the Macrocosmic Consciousness of Shiva is well under way. It is here in the spiritual heart of Anahata that the nameless, transcendental godhead may evolve a name for itself, for us, within each of us.
The Dynamics of “Ka” and “Kha” through Hope And Worry
The vrttis or vortexes of the microcosmic mind are subtle sounds that result from the tension of internal and external mental movements. They are evolutionary efforts to guide and direct the microcosm in its march towards union with the macrocosm through yoga. These sounds are subtle in that they are vibrations created from tensions in the psychic, non- material realm. They are heard through deep concentration. According to tantra, are the 50 fundamental mental vibrations of the human mind that when spoken audibly form the Sanskrit alphabet. Vowel sounds are causal and unmanifested ideas in the Macrocosmic Mind. They are beyond time and space. Consonant sounds are effects of the causal mind that control the manifestation of more tangible tendencies of the microcosmic mind. This is the reason that in tantric meditation much importance is given to the use of mantras which are intelligently organized from these fundamental sounds.
The sound “ka” is the first sound at the 12 petaled lotus of Anahata Vortex. “Ka” is the first consonant to break out of the causal sound matrix, or logos, of Shiva. With this sound vibrates the great idea of hope, that everything created comes from bliss. At the anahata level of consciousness we are so aware of ourselves and our world. It is important that our lives be meaningful and useful and move in a spiritual direction. True hope is the practical knowledge of “I am That”. The eternal I-Witness, the Atman, sustains and guides my every movement. It is knowledge that everything that comes my way, comes from Shiva. Eventually this pure movement of “ka” weakens and is distorted, then we put our hope in relative issues, in our petty ego, in religion, politics, or the like. Hope is divided by worry, doubt, and fear that our meaningful reality structure will not endure. Worry is the second vrtti of the Anahata Vortex and will always counterbalance hope until hope is honed into a pure and unwavering Self-confidence. Together, these two vrttis represent the fundamental duality of modern human consciousness. Hope is “ka”, and worry is “kha”.
The fundamental lunar, centripetal, and introverted sound of “ha” descends to ka, thus making “kha”. The lost mental movement that has dissipated into false hopes is brought back to center with the addition of “ha” to “ka”. “Ha” has the capacity in and of itself to bring any errant microcosmic movement back into balance. “Ha” controls the internal, centripetal movement of the mind. It is an aspirant, exactly between the end of the vowels and the beginning of the consonants and thus functions as a mediator between the visible and invisible, the causal and the manifested effect. The following vrttis that continue to unfold reflect this dual movement of an externally-moving consonant paired with the internally-moving “ha” to balance that consonant’s movement when it weakens.
The function of the microcosmic mind is always the medium between the inner identity and its outer world, be it a physical, mental, or spiritual worlds. The Manipura (3rd vortex at the navel), with its craving and blind attachment, attempts to will desired things into being. With the qualities of the Anahata previously described one would expect to find a vrtti that helps bring an inner desire into being in a more discerning and less impulsive manner. Hope is the inner belief that what one truly and deeply needs will manifest itself into being. With the purest hope there is no manipulation by the will to bring the event about, but the self rather relies on the power of belief and faith to bring wish into reality. So the medium of the activity of this vrtti (as well as others in the Anahata) is neither through the sensory and motor organs nor the imposition of will, but through the eminence of intuitive thought.
Of course people often hope for selfish and trivial things due to the pull of the Manipura vrttis on the Anahata, but the propensity of hope potentially has the sublime function of giving one an inner sense of knowing, despite any lack of empirical, sensory experience. When the Anahata is purified it has the capacity to understand the meaning and ideal of form in the deepest sense. When the heart is pure one can intuit the underlying meaning of a given situation. Here one’s own elevated thinking can apprehend the subtle, cosmic intentions that are being thought into being by the Cosmic Mind. An inner sense of certainty ensues from this along with the belief that goodness will somehow come to fruition, despite the limitations of the personal will to force it into being.
The power of faith or hope is one of the most profound capacities of the human mind. The reason that faith has been so highly regarded as a great virtue by all of the so-called higher religions is that it places the power of will into a force higher than the individual will and egocentric authorship. It thereby helps to bring about the realization that the cosmic will is supreme and gives one even greater faith in the benevolence of the cosmic moral order. This inner, intuitive certainty further inspires one to transcend the turmoil and incessant anxiety of a self separated from Shiva, the Supreme Self.
While hope gives one the secure conviction that their own welfare is dear to Shiva and thereby relieves the perpetual burden of a fearful, limited self having to pine and struggle to assert its identity by coercing and shaping the objective world to its will, worry is exactly the opposite. When one is worried or excessively concerned over an event or an inner ability there is a lack of faith or hope that things will turn out for the good. The outside pressures or the internal inadequacies seem to be the causal factors regulating life instead of a hidden, intelligent order. And because of this concern over the preponderance of outside circumstances and a lack of inner strength and confidence, the fretful ego may resort to its habitual methods of asserting itself. Instead of a reliance on dharma or Tao to bring things into fruition the worried and separated ego reverts to using its own isolated will, mundane intellect and Sensory Mind. Instead of the ego relying on the guidance of the quiescent eternal “I” or conscience, it uses its own mental projections of the objective mind to fulfill its own end. Here the fulcrum has shifted toward the negative pole. The pressures and strains of a more complex consciousness aren’t directed to one’s own higher intelligence and therefore the higher mechanisms (hope, discrimination or rational judgment) aren’t used to cope with the contradictions and limitations of the separate self. Instead the ego may lean on its old habitual behavior patterns to deal with the more complex struggles that a higher consciousness must bear. Here we have the misplaced situation of a mind capable of deep and abstract thought but only using those deep and idealistic thought processes to think about the difficulties of a situation while the activity used to solve the issue come from a lower, previous levels of awareness.
This paradigm is exactly the issue plaguing the present level of human evolution. The upper end of the bell-curve of human consciousness is in- between the stages of the Manipura and the Anahata levels of development. Although there is a great degree of this new-found self- awareness and rational intelligence, it doesn’t yet understand its own true significance (as well as that of others) and how to apply this knowledge to the world at large. How else can one explain how intelligent and relatively civilized people use their shrewdness and technological understanding to ruthlessly exploit nature, manipulate economic forces at home and abroad, and wage war over oil? This leap in awareness at the Anahata is certainly the saving grace of humanity but if that awareness doesn’t incorporate and integrate the previous mental structures (the Manipura and Svadhistana), then all sorts of complex mental issues arise, such as duplicity, selfishness and repression. This will be a common theme throughout the Anahata Vortex: whether one uses one’s higher intelligence to continue developing psychologically and spiritually or whether this greater development of consciousness and intelligence simply becomes a tool to exacerbate, exploit and perpetuate the impulsive vrttis (craving, blind attachment, sadism, etc.) of the Manipura.
An excerpt from Anahata