one of the seven modes of consciousness
“Now here is my secret, very simple: you can only see things clearly with your heart.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The fox from The Little Prince
In search of a model of
(Fludd, 1619) (Wilber, 1996)
What are the problems with the brain
being the seat of consciousness?
1. It’s a metaphysical assumption formulated by a number of
neuro- and cognitive scientists. Sometimes it’s treated as
a fact by many even though there is no evidence thus far
that the brain is the seat of consciousnesses.
2. Let us remember Max Velmans’s advice in Understanding
Consciousness: correlation and causation ≠ ontological
3. Scientism as the dominant strand in mainstream science
has not been questioning some of its dogmatic
assumptions, which has resulted in an environment of
confusion regarding consciousness studies to say the
4. To some physicalists, consciousness and the mind for that
matter don’t exist, so it’s irrelevant to even talk about
them, but we know from our direct experience that that’s
not the case.
Reductionism vis-à-vis Hinduism
• The reductionist view on consciousness and the mind is
that they are an illusion albeit a useful one, for they have
helped us—the human species—to survive and adapt for
• What we experience in our 3D reality through our 5 senses
is a representation of the noumenal world, which we have
no access to. We call that representation the phenomenal
world. Even though it’s not an accurate representation of
the thing itself, it is quite close.
• Interestingly, in the Hindu tradition the world we perceive
is considered an illusion known as maya. To reference
Edgar Allan Poe, maybe everything is a dream within a
dream, after all.
Do we live in a participatory
universe? And what would that mean?
It would mean that we are co-creators of the
All of what we scientifically know so
far is within the 4% below
And we still don’t know everything in
that 4%. I would even add that we
never will. It’s not pessimism, it’s just
the limitation of any field.
I propose, however, cooperation
between seemingly opposed
disciplines, such as science and
“‘Cooperation is a fundamental
principle of evolution,’ Nowak says
today. ‘Without it, you don't get
construction or complexity in life.
Whenever you see something
interesting, like the evolution of
multicellular creatures or human
language, cooperation is involved’”
Electromagnetic theories of
This is my assumption regarding
what consciousness may be.
The electric wave stands for the
brain (body) while the magnetic
wave stands for
What alternatives do we have to
1. Instead of the monist position of biological reductionism,
we can adopt the outdated position of idealism or reduce
everything to the mind.
2. Alternatively, we can adopt the Cartesian dualist model,
which is also outdated with its reliance on the pineal
gland as the point of interaction between the mind and
3. Velmans’s Reflexive Monism, however, may be the most
accurate explanatory model out there bridging the gap
person and 3rd
4. But I am, however, interested in a descriptive nondual
model, which is why I have adopted and adapted the
chakra system as a biosociopsychospiritual model of
• Chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or circle.
• “Subtle Energy” supposedly goes through the
seven main chakras.
• Historically, since their conception in the
Hindu tradition until today, chakras have been
believed to energetically regulate different
functions in our bodymind.
Criticisms of the chakra system
• The chakra system is perceived as a
pseudoscience by skeptics because there is little
physiological evidence that chakras and “Subtle
Energy” are real. However, there is a new branch
of psychology called Energy Psychology which
tries to investigate the nature of such Subtle
• Also, there is disagreement among scholars of
chakrology as to how many chakras there are in
the human body.
• I stick to seven because that is the number
that most scholars agree upon. But I ask: why
are there seven days in a week? Why are
there seven colors in a rainbow? And why are
there seven notes in the traditional Western
• I use chakras as modes of consciousness. This
is a metaphysical nondual descriptive model,
which does not pretend to be otherwise.
• Even though there is some research regarding
the neurobiology of chakras (see Maxwell,
2009), I am more interested in chakras as
metaphors that can have
Why the heart?
• Historically, the heart has been believed in different parts
of the world to be the seat of consciousness usually as the
compound heart-mind or heart-soul (Lind, 2007).
• To go back to my roots: “For the Egyptians, the brain (being
bloodless in death) was not important and was generally
ignored; the heart was the power of life, and the source of
good and evil. Thus, in their funerary literature, the Book of
the Dead, the heart was weighed, against feathers, to
determine the balance of good and ill at death.” (Gregory,
• Anahata (Sanskrit for unstruck) is the fourth chakra, so as a
mode of consciousness it’s exactly in the centre, which is a
very important location and we’ll soon find out why by
looking at some of the qualities associated with the heart
The Big Bang and OM
• In Hinduism, OM is considered the first
(unstruck) sound in the universe as a result of
the Big Bang. That silent mantra (or the sound
of the universe) is associated with anahata.
The two hearts
My metaphysical position is to
focus on heart-centered
consciousness and to expand on
the concept by investigating the
roles of the two hearts: the
anatomical and the
I also explore how they may be
connected. My emphasis,
however, will be more so on the
The three states of any chakra
• The chakras are modes of consciousnesses
between which we can oscillate. It is possible
to experience reality via all seven modes of
consciousness simultaneously, but that usually
requires a lot of training over time. Why?
Because all chakras would have to be
balanced if our perception of Reality to be
• The three states that each chakra can be in
are: under-active, balanced, or over-active.
• I use the model of triune consciousness (Tallon,
1997) to group the seven modes of
consciousness into three general categories of
action, affection, and cognition. I set an ideal
goal for each of the three dimensions if all
chakras associated with them are balanced. I do
this to overemphasize the interbeing, to use
Thich Nhat Hanh’s term, between all of the seven
modes of consciousness.
• Chakra 1 – 3: action: health: individual: dualistic
• Chakra 4: affection: happiness
• Chakra 5-7: cognition: peace: global: nondual
• The lower three chakras (1-3), which are more
physical, are associated with the greatest
tendency toward selfishness when imbalanced.
• The upper three chakras (5-7), which are more
spiritual, are associated with the greatest
tendency toward selflessness when balanced.
• Anahata or the heart chakra is associated most
strongly with the following two qualities: balance
Qualities associated with the anahata
mode of consciousness
• direct knowing and ego-transcendence
(Louchakova, 2007), intuition (McCraty et al.,
2004), compassion and wisdom (Bai et al., 2009),
synchronization and coherence (Bischof, 2008),
direct cognition (“The seven chakras,” 2011),
integration (Catalfo, 2006), intentionality (Tallon,
1997), balance (Judith, 2002), healing and
empathy (Nelson and Evans, 1996), self-
acceptance (Tomasulo, 2011), universal love
(Waldman, 1992), and transformation (Barrett,
Imbalanced vs. Balanced
• When anahata is over-activated, we may
experience ourselves being co-dependent,
sentimental, smothering, inordinately
responsible, and given to overdoing it and
burning out; however, when that mode of
consciousness is under-activated, we may
experience ourselves being hard-hearted, stingy,
uncaring, thoughtless, callous, greedy, and
calculating. On the contrary, when our heart-
centered consciousness is in balance we may feel
generous, compassionate, sensitive, showing
unconditional positive regard for others, and
caring of self and others (Catalfo, 2006).
Implications of a heart-centered
• Now, we shall look at the
biosociopsychospiritual implications of the
anahata mode of consciousness.
Biologically, the goal is health
"The heart generates the largest
electromagnetic field in the body.
The electrical field as measured
in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is
about 60 times greater in
amplitude than the brain waves
recorded in an
Ischaemic heart disease
• Usually due to coronary artery disease. It is the number
one cause of death worldwide amounting to 7.25 million
deaths according to the World Health Organization (2008).
• In the Science of the Heart (2001), researchers at IHM have
concluded that: “Scientific research now tells us plainly that
anger, anxiety and worry significantly increase the risk of
heart disease, including sudden cardiac death. Landmark
long-term studies conducted by Dr. Hans Eysenck and
colleagues at the University of London have shown that
chronic unmanaged emotional stress is as much as six
times more predictive of cancer and heart disease than
cigarette smoking, cholesterol level or blood pressure, and
much more responsive to intervention.”
Tools developed at the Institute of
HeartMath (IHM) to improve emotional
• Freeze-Frame (which stops stress by shifting
perception in the moment).
• Heart Lock-In (which establishes increased
physiological efficiency, mental acuity and
emotional stability as a new baseline).
• Cut-Thru (which extinguishes recurring,
intrusive thought patterns and emotions).
Socially, the goal is peace
model of Seven
Levels of Societal
Needs, which is
based upon the
Global Coherent Initiative
• “[W]hen enough individuals and social groups increase
their coherence and utilize that increased coherence to
intentionally create a more coherent standing reference
wave in the global field, it will help increase the global
consciousness. This can be achieved when an increasing
ratio of people move towards more balanced and self-
regulated emotions and responses” (McCraty et al., 2012).
• What is coherence? "Coherence is the state when the
heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and
cooperation […] It is a state that builds resiliency – personal
energy is accumulated, not wasted – leaving more energy
to manifest intentions and harmonious outcomes”
Healing techniques on
• Breathing through the energy centers, centering through the heart,
chakra meditation sequence, etc. (Hover-Kramer et al., 1997)
• Meditation as the key to the Eightfold Path and compassion as a Zen
principle of psychotherapeutic value (Mruk and Hartzell, 2003)
• Bhakti yoga and chanting through the chakras (Nelson and Evans, 1996)
• Prayer of the Heart (Louchakova, 2007)
• The symbolic act of incense altar offering (Meadow, 1993)
• Breath work: mindfulness of breathing or Anãpãnasati (Bai et al., 2009)
• Synchronization and coherence of body systems and biofields through
sustaining states of positive emotion and relaxation (Bischof, 2008)
• Balancing exercises include chest openers in yoga (Cobra, Camel,
backbends), mentally examining our relationships, and volunteer work
• The Arch Exercise (Judith, 2002)
• Self-love (Cohen, 2006)
• Quick Coherence Technique (“The quick coherence”)
How about an experiential
• Balancing our the anahata mode of
consciousness through chanting the mantra
OM or AUM: http://youtu.be/pyct8IVeDr0
The gesture Namaste
represents the belief that there
is a Divine spark within each of
us that is located in the heart
chakra […] namaste [Hindi]
literally means ‘bow me you’ or
‘I bow to you’” (Palkhivala).
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