The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

First chakra

This is the second major piece of the Lifewriting system (tm).  Teh yogic chakras are seven "energy" centers in the human body, representing seven different levels of growth and existence.  They are (from the bottom up)
1) Muladhara (survival)
2) Svahathana (sexuality)
3) Manapura (power)
4) Anahata (heart)
5) Vishuddhi (communication)
6) anja (intellect)
7) Sahasrara (spirit).
We will explore each of these separately, but together they compose the most complex model of human psychology in the known world.  What is said is that as the traumas and conflicts on one lower level, you automatically evolve to the next.  No one is perfect in all levels--such a one would instantly evolve beyond this plane of existence.  However, we strive to complete ourselves.  Characters in our stories should be given opportunities to learn the lessons that will raise them to the next level.  Our stories should be carefully matched to our characters to facilitate this.  On a mundane level, consider "Die Hard."  John McCaine has survival issues (Muladhara) when the building he is in is attacked by terrorists.  But he cannot cut and run--his wife's life is also at stake (Anahata).  His skills at fighting (Manapura) anchor him into the situation, and allow him to stay alive long enough to figure out what is going on (Anja).  So a very basic story, anchored in the lower chakras but enlivened with a genuine love connection, made a fabulous action movie.
Survival can also be the issue in a more profound, less action-oriented film.  For instance, "Terms of Endearment" deals largely with miscommunications between a mother and daughter (5th and 4th chakra) but evolves into a story dealing with life-and-death issues (1st chakra).  Almost all popular and successful films deal with the "lower" or "more basic" chakras of survival, sex, and power. 
this is a very important point: the more spiritual your story, the "higher" it wants to rise, the more important the "root" is.  The taller the building, the deeper the foundations.  If you intend to tell a tale of spiritual or intellectual growth, unless you ground it in the reality of sex, survival, or power, your chances of finding a mainstream audience are miniscule.  Look at your favorite movies that explore these lofty themes, and you will generally find lower-chakra elements that ground them.  Without this, you are preaching to the choir!
YOUR HOMEWORK:  Watch five of your favorite movies.  What chakras are primarily engaged?
In your own life, where do survival issues affect your emotions?  Your health?  Sexuality?  Intellect?  Survival issues will trump almost everything else.  Don't deceive yourself about this--you're only human.  Understanding where fear fogs yoru thinking is essential to growth and clarity.

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