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Human Energy Systems

Energetic Pathways

Within the human body, aside from our physical networks such as the nervous system and cardio-vascular system, there are many systems that move energy from one place to another. The proper functioning of these pathways is vital to a healthy body and a healthy spirit. Listed here are a few of the most well-known systems:
  • Meridians :
    The meridians are a complex network of energy pathways that are responsible for the continuous flow of chi throughout the body. "Chi" (or "prana") is an essential lifeforce energy that nourishes and sustains each living cell and organ. Each meridian is associated with a different organ, and each organ may have several meridians that flow through it. Along these meridians are various points (called "acupoints") where the energy of that meridian emmanates outward. If a person is unwell in some way, the flow of chi through the meridians will be blocked, and it is by stimulating these acupoints that acupuncturists free those blocks and help re-establish balance and vitality in the body and emotions.
  • Chakras :
    The chakra system runs, for the most part, up through the center of the body along the spine; there are chakras both above and below the physical spine, but for the most part we focus on the seven major chakras that sit at points from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each chakra is an emotional center and is responsible for a different aspect of the human experience; each one also feeds energy to a different set of organs. Their shape—when seen from the front of the body—is that of a circular disk, which spins in both directions at once. When seen from the side of the body, their shape is that of a double-funnel, emmanating outward in front of and behind the person. The following is a quick run-down of each chakra's function:

    • 1st/Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine: Has to do with all aspects of our physicality, "hearth and home", and survival instincts.
    • 2nd/Sacral Chakra, located just above the pubic bone: Has to do with our relationships to the outside world, including relationships to loved ones, sexual partners, food, and money.
    • 3rd/Solar Chakra, located in the solar plexus: Has to do with one's relationship to him- or herself. One's sense of empowerment, worthiness, self-esteem, and confidence are all related to this chakra.
    • 4th/Heart Chakra, located in the center of the chest: This is the source, in the human body, of unconditional, divine love. However, most people's issues—and an identification with those issues—inhibit their experience of this chakra, and so instead they will feel the emotional component of their issues through the Heart Chakra.
    • 5th/Throat Chakra, located in the throat: Has to do with communication and creativity.
    • 6th Chakra/Third Eye, located between the eyebrows: Has to do with seeing and knowing, including psychic "seeing."
    • 7th/Crown Chakra, located at the crown of the head: Although there is a strong spiritual component to this chakra, and many have written about it as one's connection to God, activating the crown chakra will usually only lead to addictive states of "samadhi" (spiritual bliss), which actually has nothing to do with spiritual Awakening.
  • Kundalini :
    The kundalini is an energy channel that runs up the spine, originating in the sacrum. Its function is to feed and nourish the chakras and other energy systems. The kundalini channel is usually quite gummed up from the density of one's karmic body, which creates blockages that can lead to disturbing physical and psychic symptoms. Some yogic traditions try to create a sense of bliss by focusing the kundalini energy through the upper chakras, although this, by itself, rarely leads to actual Awakening. A healthy kundalini system will lead to a strong nervous system and physical body.
  • Nadis :
    The nadi system is an incredibly complex system of subtle energy that acts as an energetic nervous system, bridging divine energy into the physical nervous system. As an example of its complexity, each acupoint in the meridians will have about a thousand nadi pathways crossing through it.

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