Throat or Vishuddhi Centre: Themes and Practices
In general we are following the vertically ascending order of centres in the yogic tradition. In the last section of homework on the heart, we looked at one ordering of Sufi lataif or centres which includes a horizontal line of three lataif at the level of the heart: Qalbiya, Ruhiya and Sirriya. You can see that the Throat or Vishuddhi chakra has some correspondences with the latifa Ruhiya.
Meaning of the name Vishuddhi in sanscrit: shuddhi means ‘to purify’: this is considered the chakra of purification of poison (ajna purifies karma; manipura purifies thought). Shiva’s mastery is such that when he drinks poison, by which one may understand all attacking and destructive forces in life, he is unaffected.
Connect with this centre and its energy through:
Element: ether, also called space or akasha
Colour: green (Pir Vilayat); blue and green (theosophists); smoky purple, violet (other traditions)
Sense: hearing. Sense organ: ears
Work or active organ: vocal cords
Ether or akasha is the fifth element. When the four previous elements integrate into a state of balance, they are resorbed into ether, making the transition into a higher level of harmony, consciousness and being. Ether is associated with the state of purity and peace.
Spirit and purity: this is the place of interface between matter and spirit, and is referred to as ‘the gateway to white light’. The centre is associated with the Holy Spirit, the Most Holy, with pure revealed knowledge and inspiration. Its development allows high, pure energy to be drawn into all bodies, subtle and physical.
Sacred breath: the Holy Spirit is often described as breath, as breeze, as wind.
Vibration: at the level of this centre, the spirit is ‘descending’ from the dimension of pure consciousness which is formless, into that of vibration which creates form. Sufis call the purest world of vibration ‘the symphony of the universe’; its sound is ‘abstract sound’; all space is filled with it. The vibrations of this sound are too fine to be audible to the material ears and are perceived by cultivating the inner sense of hearing. The process of creation and incarnation result from vibrations acquiring increasing density.
Creativity: through love and power, intention (whether conscious or unconscious) may crystallize vibrations into fields, thought and form.
Communication: crystallized forms and thoughts may be communicated through this centre as silent intention, or as sound and word. These forms and thoughts create vibrational fields which affect the heart, mind and life force of the receiver and the communicator. It makes for authentic communication with the other.
Voice is a human instrument of vibrational creativity. Voice forms vibrations into audible sounds and words, communicating vision and intention. The voice may penetrate to the heart of the listener; the voice may give expression to emotions rising in the heart, including prayers and devotional songs.
The word: when formed with pure intention and devotion, the word increases the power of communication. ‘A living word is life itself’ (Hazrat Inayat Khan).
Associated qualities: calmness, serenity.
Patanjali taught that: Through concentration and meditation on the throat centre, one obtains unshakable patience.
‘By constantly concentrating his mind in this Lotus, he becomes a great sage, eloquent, wise, and enjoys uninterrupted peace of mind…He could move the three worlds were he to get angry…huge power.’
Doubt, lies, lack of alignment with truth: these block the inflow of pure spirit.
What might be the effect of the current explosion in communications technology?
Associations in the physical body: Throat, voice, lungs, thyroid
Throat: i. Physical posture may constrict the throat and its energy
ii. Suppressed feelings, problems and conflicts, conscious and unconscious, are often
blocked at this level, affecting energy, life and consciousness.
Thyroid is the gate of communication for the body between above and below: between lungs and digestion, breath and food, spirit and matter.
Thyroid may become over-activated by the heat of suppressed emotions and eg by a drive to push oneself to compensate for negative self-image and judgements at an unconscious level (hyperthyroidism).
Thyroid may slow down with discouragement, coldness and disengagement from life (hypothyroidism).
[Note: there may be many other reasons for thyroid imbalance]
This centre is associated with spiritual rebirth.
There is a disarming from the defensiveness of the ego so that relationships with others are characterized by openness and trust at the level of the spirit.
Problems may be dispelled when all is verified through clear conscious experience and meditation.
The level of consciousness of this centre has no distinct worldly characteristics.
Practices for the throat centre
1. Over many months, gently release physical tensions in your throat area: with soft movement, massage and breath, release tightness in throat, neck and shoulders.
Many carry tensions in this area, which may be expressing blockages at energetic, emotional and deeper levels. These may become more apparent to us as we bring our awareness to this area. If there are tensions, allow them to come and to go like waves of the sea.
Allow yawns to soften any tension, if they come naturally; allow your breath to gradually soften your throat, neck and shoulders. Never force anything, just staying aware.
2. Pay attention to the colour green visible in the outer world. Be aware of it throughout your day eg in vegetation, in water, in the sky, in some stones, clothes, painting and lights.
With your subtle inner sense, experience the colour green as vibration.
For one week.
Repeat with the colour blue.
3. Pay attention to your ears and to your sense of hearing. Listen to all the sounds around you, the denser and the more subtle ones.
Shift your primary awareness from looking to listening: as you look at a person, object or scene, shift to sensing these through your inner sense of hearing, sensing them as subtle vibration.
4. Behind and within all sounds, open yourself to the symphony of the universe.
Practice for listening to the symphony of the universe
Take 15 or 20 minutes sitting:
Listen to all the sounds within you – your breath, heart-beat, the sounds of your organs, of your cells….
Then, step by step expand your listening:
Include the sounds just around you….
Include the sounds in the room….
Include the sounds in the building
Include the sounds on the street
Include the sounds in the village or town
Include the sounds of the whole region
Include the sounds of the whole country
Include the sounds of the whole continent
Include the sounds of the planet
Include the sounds of the solar system
Include the sounds of the galaxy
Include the sounds of the universe
Sit in this attunement opening into ‘abstract sound’.
5. Wazifa practice: Ya Quddus – O Most Pure, the ever-purifying One.
Ya Shahid [pronounced Ya ShaHEED] – The divine Witness. ‘All faces are His face, and from all lips it is His word that comes’ (Hazrat Inayat Khan).
6. Purify each centre with sound: starting with the Crown centre, chant Ya Quddus three times in each centre, descending to the Base centre. Then chant Ya Nur, divine Light, three times in each centre ascending from the Base to the Crown centre.
Chakras are said to be shaped like cones, with one cone opening to the front of the body and another, connected to the centre of the same chakra, opening to the rear of the body. Notice how sound clears, brings life to each chakra and sets it rotating and radiating.
7. Meditation on the Throat centre
The centres must first be purified as in 6. above.
Meditate in your Heart centre in the centre of your chest, relaxing, breathing, releasing, receptive, aware. For 5 minutes.
Then move the focus of your breath and your awareness to the Throat centre, meditating here for 5 minutes.
Remain aware and gentle with yourself.
8. This excerpt of a poem by Rumi may inspire a meditation on breath, purity and the Holy Spirit:
Right now – feel the breeze from
the spiritual North of divine life!
The air is becoming fresher,
like the purity we feel at dawn
when a gentle wind blows,
polishing the atmosphere.
So let the breeze of the divine breath
polish your heart.
Every sadness will lift.
In the pause where your
breath stops, just for an instant,
you may just dissolve into Holy Spirit. Rumi: Come Up!
9. Inquiry to help to clarify the intention for our journey towards finer and purer consciousness:
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What is my purpose?
(Such questions to be held in the awareness of the heart, avoiding the ego’s mental approach).
10. Sounds for the Throat centre:
Pir Vilayat gave: ‘ou’