This is my philosophy: a balanced approach to living. The most useful model I've found is the chakra system: not taken in its esoteric entirety, but rather as a guideline for staying in touch with the most essential areas of life.

Many have used a seven-part model for outlining desirable functions: The Seven Laws of Money, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. By identifying the key areas of life with specific points in the body (whether real or imagined), it's easier to remember and reference them at any time. For more details see the Chakra Chart below.

My chosen categories are loosely based on traditional correspondences. The first, root chakra at the base of the spine has to do with health and basic survival. The second, in the lower abdomen, represents job and lifestyle. The third, at the solar plexus, is the place of individual will and also movement outward into the world. I call the fourth area Networking for now but it might be called LoveLife in a future issue, as it goes with the Heart chakra. The throat is the avenue of creative expression; to hear trees sing I play the drum. Communication (writing, in this case) proceeds from the insight of the "third eye." And the spirit flows through the top of the head, the crown, to connect us with the cosmos.

There's much overlapping among these arbitrary categories. Anyone can use a personalized version suited to one's own different priorities and life interests. The areas I've chosen reflect both my own personality and the areas I've identified as most important to include in a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle in full connection with the physical, economic, political, emotional, creative, mental and spiritual dimensions of our world.

--Nowick Gray

Chakra Chart

Chakra: Root Abdomen Solar Plexus Heart Throat Third Eye Crown
Traditional survival procreation will love creativity insight cosmos
Realm physical economic political emotional creative mental spiritual
Life area health home politics relationship arts writing spirituality
Julia Cameron health possessions leisure relationship creativity career spirituality
Steven Covey self family social personal community world cosmos
Abraham Maslow life security belonging affection respect self-esteem self- actualization
Deepak Chopra potential giving karma first effects intention detachment purpose
Nathaniel Brandon awareness acceptance responsibility esteem assertiveness integrity purpose
Dominguez and Robin self job others community expression world inner peace
Positive emotion energy excitement pride empathy ecstasy beauty joy, calm
Negative emotion anger impatience indignation grief disappoint- ment anxiety emptiness
Needs and Activities food, water, fuel, exercise, habitat shelter, heat, clothing, work, land friendship, cooperation, community family, relationship, leisure, travel creativity, social life, arts and media reading, writing, discussion, news solitude, spiritual practice, nature, ritual, peace and freedom

Quests for Identity and Other Addictions...featuring: The Seven Addictive Identities, and their natural-universal antidotes

Chakras: Tools for Transformation - focus on Root Chakra

Chakra Meditation: A Guided Visualization


A note on the authors listed above:

I have taken some liberties in assigning the seven-part models of various authors to this chakra system. Readers are encouraged to go to the originals!

A note on application of the model:

While walking toward the pass today, I found a new lightness in my step allowing me to stop falling through the hip deep snow. I came to walk on top of it with a kind of revelation about my usual mode of consciousness, so often preoccupied with what my activity is accomplishing. Now I saw the sevenfold arrangement of things "to do" in a new light:

The lower three chakras represent energy channeled from below, the earth: to satisfy the needs of my own survival, to secure livelihood and family integrity, and to make efforts on a community scale to satisfy my personal desires. The fourth, the heart connection, represents the balance point, the letting go of attachment to these things and the harmonization instead with the energies of others. Then the higher three chakras allow energy in from above, to flow through me as a channel. No longer do I need to feel responsible for generating energy here, in music or writing or spiritual work: but rather to feel myself as an opening, a channel, to clearly let through in pure expression what inspires me and the world from above. What moves the world.

I recall sensing suddenly the enormity of the world, of nature immediately around me as I walked, forgetting myself. In the higher chakras this is precisely what is so often taught and so seldom mastered: a self-forgetting so as to purify the channel. There is no need to strive for accomplishment in these areas, the creative and communicative and spiritual. The discipline and work ethic applied there will create a certain amount of results, perhaps, for money or personal satisfaction; but far more rewards of all kinds will flow, and the productions themselves will have more quality and integrity, if the striving self simply gets out of the way to allow the greater powers to exercise themselves. The discipline comes simply in consistently remembering this lesson.


A further note, circa summer '96: Holding the balance among seven or a dozen activities and approaches to living is one thing. Holding the balance with that balance is just as important. In other words, avoiding the danger of getting too caught up in the accomplishment of (or failure to accomplish) the various tasks that arise. Being able to step back and let life come forward with its own demands and obstacles and fateful new opportunities, and letting those merge with the pattern of goals already set. Being able to step back even further to relax and watch the show. To breathe, and appreciate. To reassess, and reevaluate. To flow, both with the rush of life in its full profusion, and with the timeless emptiness of the whole: the sense a moment of dawn can bring, even as the sun prepares its latest show.

© Nowick Gray

Quests for Identity and Other Addictions...featuring: The Seven Addictive Identities, and their natural-universal antidotes


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