THE THOUSAND-PETALED LOTUS – Tapping into this great field of consciousness causes it to descend, where it wraps itself around existing structures and becomes information. information is the perceived lines of order that make up one’s personal operating system.
The universe is just the way we think it is—and that’s why.
At last we culminate the sevenfold journey, climbing to the thousand-petaled lotus blooming at the top of the head. Here we find the infinitely profound seat of cosmic consciousness known as the seventh or crown chakra. This chakra connects us to divine intelligence and the source of all manifestation. It is the means through which we reach understanding and find meaning.
As the final goal of our liberating current, it is the place of ultimate liberation. Like a king whose crown signifies order in the kingdom, the crown chakra represents the ruling principle of life—the place where the underlying order and meaning of all things is ultimately perceived.
It is the pervading consciousness that thinks, reasons, and gives form and focus to our activities. It is the true essence of being as the awareness that dwells within. In the unconscious, it is the wisdom of the body. In the conscious mind, it is the intellect and our belief systems. In the superconscious, it is awareness of the divine. In Sanskrit, the crown chakra is called Sahasrara, meaning thousandfold, referring to the Infinite unfolding petals of the lotus.
Its petals bloom in fractal-like patterns upon patterns. infinitely embedded in each other, drooping down like a sunflower to drop the nectar of understanding into the awareness of being. Each perfect petal is a monad of intelligence, which together form the gestalt of an overarching divine intelligence—sensitive, aware, responsive, and infinite. Its field is delicate, the slightest thought will ripple through the petals like wind in a field of grass.
The shining jewels deep in the lotus shine forth only in a state of ultimate stillness. To witness this miracle is profound. When we reach this level, the seed of our soul has sprouted from its roots in the earth, and grown upward through the elements of water, fire, air. sound, and light, and now to the source of all—consciousness itself. experienced through the element of thought. Each level brings us new degrees of freedom and awareness.
Now the crown chakra blossoms forth with infinite awareness, its thousand petals like antennae, reaching to higher dimensions. It is this chakra that yoga philosophy has deemed to be the seat of enlightenment. Its ultimate state of consciousness is beyond reason, beyond the senses, and beyond the limits of the world around us.
Yoga practice advises withdrawing the senses (pratyahara) in order achieve the mental stillness necessary to perceive this ultimate state. Tantric philosophy, on the other hand, regards the senses as a gateway to awakening consciousness.
Chakra theory tells us that it is both—a stimulation of intelligence to give us information, and a withdrawal to the interior where information is sifted into ultimate knowledge.
Our thousand-petaled lotus must keep its roots in the Earth to maintain its blossom. The element of this chakra is thought, a fundamentally distinct and unmeasurable entity that is the first and barest manifestation of the greater field of consciousness around us.
Accordingly, the function of Sahasrara is knowing—Just as other chakras are related to seeing, speaking. loving, doing, feeling, or having. It is through the crown chakra that we reach into the infinite body of information and run it through our other chakras to bring it to recognition and manifestation.
The seventh chakra relates to what we experience as the mind, especially the awareness that makes use of the mind. The mind is a stage for the play of consciousness, and can bring us comedy or tragedy, excitement or boredom.
At Sahasrara, we are furthest removed from the material world—and with it the limitations of space and time. In this sense the seventh chakra has the greatest versatility and can encompass the greatest scope of any of the chakras, hence its state of liberation.
Within our thoughts we can jump from ancient Stone Age to visions of the future. We can imagine being in our backyard or think of a distant galaxy, all in a mere instant. We can create, destroy, learn, and grow—all from a place existing within and requiring no movement or change without.
Some say Sahasrara is the seat of the soul, an eternal and dimensionless witness that stays with us throughout lifetimes. Others say it is the point through which the divine spark of Shiva enters the body and brings intelligence. It is the master processor of all awareness—the gateway to worlds beyond and worlds within, the dimensionless circumference that encompasses all that is.
However we choose to describe it, we must remember that its scope is far greater than our words can convey. It can only be experienced.
The Universal Force is a universal Consciousness. This is what the seeker discovers. when he has contacted this current of consciousness in himself he can switch on to any plane whatsoever of the universal reality, to any point, and perceive, understand the consciousness there, or even act upon it, because everywhere it is the same current of consciousness with different vibratory modalities —Satprem, on Sri Aurobindos
Each of the chakras is a manifestation of consciousness at different layers of reality, with earth being the most dense, and the seventh chakra, as its opposite, the pure unmanifest consciousness, known in yoga philosophy as purusha. At chakra seven we must now ask the questions:
What is this thing called consciousness? What is its purpose? How do we tap into it? These are certainly big questions, and ones which have been asked by men and women since the beginning of time. And yet, to enter our last dimension—the dimension of mind, awareness, thought, intelligence, and information—we must begin the inquiry, for the very faculty that is asking is consciousness itself—the object of our quest.
It is when we ask ourselves, “Who is minding the store?” that we look inside and notice the awareness within. It does little good to gripe about the store’s contents without asking this question. if we want a change, we must be willing to take it up with the manager. Some call this the witness, an aware being that is always present in the mystery of the Self. To witness our own awareness is to begin to fathom the mysterious possession of consciousness. This phenomenon is nothing short of miraculous.
A faculty that we all have—but cannot see, touch, measure, or hold—is the indelible reality that makes us alive. Its enormous capacity for regulating the body, playing music, speaking multiple languages, drawing pictures, reciting poetry, remembering phone numbers, appreciating a sunset, solving a puzzle, experiencing pleasure, loving, yearning, acting, seeing —the faculty of consciousness is endless in its remarkable abilities.
To really turn our gaze of attention upon this miracle is to enter the endless unfolding petals of the lotus, and the true source of the Self. That Self maintains a storehouse of memory, a set of belief systems, and a capacity to take in new data, while somehow integrating all this information into a coherent sense of meaning.
This search for meaning is the driving force of consciousness and the search for the underlying unity of experience. When our own lives have meaning, they become part of a larger structure. When something lacks meaning, it doesn’t match up with anything. Meaning is the pattern that connects. It brings us closer to unity.
From the mundane to the mystical, the search for meaning is behind most activities of the mind. if your boss is cross with you, you might ask, what does this mean? is she having a bad day? Is it something you did wrong? is she expecting too much from you?
Once we discern the meaning of a situation, we know better what to do, or how to operate, and we can again flow with the situation. This gives us our basic operating system. It connects us to an overarching sense of order, which can then integrate the rest of our experience into wholeness.
Consciousness is a force, related to the sattva guna. This force is one of unity, order, and organization. It is the design, the pattern, the intelligence. From crisscrossing wave forms in the brain to the structure of molecules, buildings and cities, consciousness is the ordering principle inherent in all things. Existence itself is but a vortex of conscious organization.
Tapping into this great field of consciousness causes it to descend, where it wraps itself around existing structures and becomes information. information is the perceived lines of order that make up one’s personal operating system. The very act of thinking is the process of following lines of order.
As vehicles of consciousness, our natural inclination is to express that information—to use it and manifest it. The ultimate expression is physical form, yet it is the most limited. Because of its limitation, consciousness, after manifesting, wants to free itself from the binding of the physical and return again to its source—the nonphysical, where it can play in its infinite diversity. So the nature of consciousness is to both manifest and liberate, the eternal dance of Shiva and Shakti.