Chakra Series: Chakra Seven

By Todd Mangum

The Sanskrit name of the seventh center, sahasara, translates roughly as “the thousand-petaled lotus.” The first chakra anchors the roots of our being within the Earth. From the crown chakra flowers our consciousness with which we can become aware of and begin to comprehend the cosmos.

On crystal clear nights with my feet planted firmly on the ground and looking toward the heavens I often contemplate our place between the atoms and the stars. The magnitude of both boggle my mind. On rare and special nights I really understand how our individuality is only a matter of perspective. Where does the autonomy of each of our individual cells end and where do we as humans begin?

We are the omnipresent energy fields we call subatomic particles. We are the atoms which form the molecules which link to become the cells we identify as life. We are also the single-celled organisms which coalesce to become the organs and structures we call our bodies. The bodies of every single organism, within our priceless biosphere, each become one individual cell each within the body of the being Gaia, our Earth.

We, the living Earth, are one of 10 electrons encircling our radiant Sun. Our solar system is just one of the innumerable atoms composing the body of our galaxy, the Milky Way. This magnificent spiral galactic being which the Maya named Hunab Ku is but one among many diverse universal citizens.

I am always amused when I hear of our valiant search for intelligent life in other parts of the Universe. With millions of starry eyes, the heavens blink back at us. The Universe itself is intelligent life. Life is everywhere, permeating everything. There is nowhere life is not.

The words matter and maternal share a common root as do the words pattern and paternal. For millenia people have glorified heaven and the power and pattern of the Father and denigrated Earth and the forces within matter of the Mother. We have forgotten that all Matter is alive and that all Life matters. Consequences have been catastrophic,

Our purpose as humans precariously perched between heaven and earth is to materialize spirit and spiritualize matter. The balance point between these two realms is within the heart chakra. It is from here that the next level of creation will unfold. This momentous event will occur when this beautiful blue-green jewel, Earth, awakens to the awareness of itself as a single conscious entity in the same way we now perceive our own human individuality.

We are all a part of and active participants in this ongoing transformation. From our crown center we can perceive all this, but it is through our heart center that we will manifest it.

The endocrine glands which interface with the seventh chakra are the pituitary and the hypothalamus. These two glands together with the pineal, the gland of the sixth chakra, orchestrate the hormonal symphony of the human body. The hypothalamus could be considered the composer, the pituitary the conductor and the pineal the metronome.

The hypothalamus acts as the central command center receiving, transmitting and integrating complex communications among multiple centers in the brain and the rest of the body. It coordinates our thoughts and emotions with our endocrine, cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems. Its messengers include neurotransmitters, which influence our appetite, thirst, sexual behavior and emotional responses. The hypothalamus is connected to the pituitary by a thin stalk through which it transmits messages and transports “hormone-releasing factors” which control the stimulation or inhibition of all hormones secreted by the pituitary gland.

The majority of hormones the pituitary produces each specifically regulate only one or a pair endocrine glands. Other hormones influence very specific functions such as the production of breast milk, uterine contractions during labor and keeping the body’s water in balance.

The pituitary’s preeminent hormone, however, is growth hormone (GH). Unlike the other pituitary hormones, which act only at specific sites, GH exerts profound and powerful effects throughout the entire body. The major action of GH is the stimulation of bodily growth from infancy into late puberty. GH production declines steadily each decade thereafter until, at very old age, it nearly vanishes. GH, however, is still very active in adults and protects nerve cells against degenerative disease and death, maintains bone density, counters fatigue, boosts immunity, increases lean muscle mass, reduces fat, improves skin tone and integrity and enhances many aspects of psychological well being. It is easy to see why GH replacement is gaining popularity as a rejuvenation therapy and is being promoted as the fountain of youth.

GH is released predominantly during anaerobic exercise and deep stage IV sleep. Even though GH levels wax and wane quickly its profound and powerful effects are enhanced by a very potent hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is produced by the liver in response to GH. IGF-1 levels can be measured by a simple blood test and is the only dependable way to determine accurate GH levels in the body. IGF-1 levels can be used to determine the need for, or to monitor, GH replacement and enhancing therapies. Excessive GH and IGF-1 have been associated with an increased risk for breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer in addition to causing carpal tunnel syndrome, excessive muscle mass, and joint and muscle pain.

Synthetic GH has recently become widely available and is being used for a variety of medical conditions. It is currently indicated for adults and children with documented GH deficiencies and in the treatment of AIDS wasting disease. It is active only in the injectable form. The price, however, is exorbitant, making it an option only for the well-insured and the wealthy.

Beware of products claiming to contain GH in an oral or “homeopathic” form or those that promise to effortlessly stimulate its release. Most will have infinitesimally little or no GH at all. GH taken orally is immediately digested and inactivated. Although there are specific nutrients that can enhance GH release, they need to be used at appropriate times and in adequate doses. These include specifically the amino acids arginine, or­ni­thine and leucine. For GH to function optimally, however, it also needs a harmonious balance of all the other endocrine hormones. Quality protein, carbohydrates and fats and a host of other supporting nutrients including vitamin C, pantothenic acid and potassium are also needed for optimal GH output.

To balance your seventh chakra and ensure optimal GH release requires both movement and motivation as well as sitting in stillness and silence, doing nothing.

Tao abides in non-action,
Yet nothing is left undone
—Tao Te Ching, excerpt # 37

Location: crown or top of the head.
Governs: the integration of the central nervous system with that of endocrine glands.
Main issue: understanding.
Externalizes: as the pituitary and hypothalamus glands.
Element: thought.
When balanced: we know.
Color: a harmonic of VIOLET.
Key words: awareness, intelligence, memory, cosmic consciousness, universal mind, unity, oneness, silence, spirituality, soul and celestial.
Influences: the central nervous system including the cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, spinal cord and the skull.
Deficiencies: manifest as memory loss, personality changes, cognitive impairment, confusion, alienation and a loss of meaning in one’s life.
Excesses: appear as feelings of spiritual superiority, ungrounded and spacey behavior, feeling as if one’s head were in the clouds, or in being overly intellectual.
Imbalances: will manifest as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stunted or excessive growth, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, seizures, dementia, depression, learning disabilities or multiple endocrine abnormalities.

The chakras are a meta­phy­si­cal system of the body from the yogic tradition, used in both religious and medical Hindu and Buddhist canons. The chakra energy centers are usually depicted as seven lotuses of rainbow colors arrayed along the spine and up into the head. Under­standing of this system has long been used both to heal illness and to promote spiritual enlightenment.
Todd Mangum, M.D.’s series on the chakras explains how this conceptual framework can be used to expand our understanding of how our bodies work. He covers the traditional and contemporary interpretations of the chakra system corresponding to various systems of the body.
To be healthy is to have a free and balanced flow of energy through the body. Engaging this powerful symbolic system can help us to achieve and maintain health in a far more nuanced and active way than Western medicine can by itself.

This article was originally published on September 29, 2013.