T he symbolic representation of the Chakras are everywhere! As tapestries they hang in wellness centers, in your local yoga studio, and maybe you have seen them creating a pattern on the wall of your therapist’s office. Even if you don’t know what they are you identify them as the rainbow of lotuses illustrated as being somewhere in the human spine. Artists have depicted their fantastic array of colors with glitter, sequins, and embellishments. To some degree, the artists got it right––the chakra system is at its core a contemplation on beauty. On the other hand, the Chakra system has more profound meaning, compared to the spiraling open of consciousness represented as a system of unfolding lotuses. It is a system of subtle and archetypal weaving of energy which when explored grants one the opportunity to become more observant in one’s own life.
Observation, contemplation, creativity, and self awareness when done consistently is sadhana, a practice. Harish Johari (a tantric master and sacred artist) says that “the fruit of yogic practice (sadhana) is the ability to rise above afflictions and to transcend the cognitive faculties, the perceptual world, and the attachment to the body and the senses. It provides the mind with habitual one-pointedness, undivided attention, perpetual peace, change in behavioral patterns, and finally, enlightenment.” Therefore, engaging in a practice via the chakra system, supports spiritual growth and can provide clarity to align to dharma, your soul’s purpose.
My own engagement with sacred art came at a time when I was empty—making “art” had plateaued. Creative stagnation settled in, and I was unable to move into the regular, effortless rhythm of creation I was used to. However, the pain of not fulfilling my own purpose was too great, eventually impelling me to embark on a journey to find a solution. This pilgrimage led me to a yantra painting, a different way of creating. This disciplined practice merged beauty, mantra, image, archetype, energy, ritual and deep reverence.
Through the process of making a yantra, creativity again nourished my soul. When creating in this manner I have the potential to connect with the archetypal realm. Creating art that has been excavated by ancient rishis or seers via meditation is like tapping back into that source of divinity. Peter Machard describes how the practice of sacred art can lead one towards“real knowledge of truth through intuitive understanding…thus art becomes a means for educating and healing people emotionally.” Forming a relationship with this internal system of energy and integrating various modalities of creativity, supports the journey of creatively healing––connecting to a greater source to empower our unique mission in the world.