Levels of Thinking and the Chakras
by Louise LeBrun
see also: other articles by Louise LeBrun
The following article presumes a working knowledge of both Logical Levels and the chakras. For those of you who would appreciate information in greater detail, there is much literature available on both subjects. My personal favorites are Robert Dilts for Logical Levels, and Anodea Judith and Caroline Myss for the Chakras.
Also, in the interests of both time and space (illusions though they may be!), it will become obvious that the extensive thought processes that gave rise to these insights have been abbreviated. My intention is not to give you answers, but to share the questions.
Your brain, as well as any other biological or social system, is designed to process information in varying chunks, or levels. These levels represent information processing from the very general to the very specific - or vice versa. Your brain has a predictable way of processing this information that relates to both the experience of thinking and that of being.
In the NLP community, the original thinking about these "logical levels" was that there were five levels of processing, each encompassed in the level above it. They are best described in the words of Robert Dilts:
"From the psychological point of view there seem to be five levels that you work with most often. (1) The basic level is your environment, your external constraints. (2) You operate on that environment through your behavior. (3) Your behavior is guided by your mental maps and your strategies, which define your capabilities. (4) These capabilities are organized by belief systems and (5) beliefs are organized by identity."
Since this work was done in 1990, these levels have evolved to include a sixth, spirituality. I invite you to consider the possibility that there is a seventh logical level so subtle that it has gone undetected, as it is the larger context within which several of the other levels unfold.
We know that we presume there to be seven major chakras. Over the past seven years of working in programs and individually with clients, particularly when I was working with the chakras, I'd notice that there were seven chakras and only six Logical Levels. How could this be? I was struck by the correspondence between the chakras and the Logical Levels, and felt certain that a pattern must be completing itself. As I played with it over the years, things began to fall into place.
The following very abbreviated and simple journey through the chakras and Logical Levels may encourage you to consider the correspondences for yourself.
The Root chakra is about being grounded. Naturally, it corresponds to the earth element. We believe that the very light, very fast energies move down from the Crown chakra through to the Root chakra, manifesting thought in physical space and time. It makes perfect sense that there is a connection between the earth element, the Root chakra and the experience of our personal, physical surroundings in their myriad manifestations. (Logical Level - Environment: Where and When.).
The second chakra is the seat of emotion in the body, often referred to as the watery area. Feelings are held in this part of the body. The element here is water, magnetic and with the power to draw to us experiences which allow us to notice the emotions that are held captive in there. Our behaviors are driven by our emotional states. Our sense of resourcefulness or resourcelessness leads to specific behaviors. (Logical Level - Behaviors: What)
The third chakra, the Power chakra, is the center of the ability to take action. It is from this area that I experience the energy that powers my capacity to act. The fuel (and the element) is fire, combustible and resulting in movement, either slow (embers) or rapid (explosions). The conduit for the expression of this energy - what forms the channel through which this energy can flow - is my capability, meaning my ability to determine the appropriate course of action into which to direct the powerful force of movement. (Logical Level - Capability: How)
And here's where things get interesting. The fourth or Heart chakra is considered to be the center of identity - but at what level? My belief is that the Heart chakra is the center of who I think I am, that collection of beliefs, values and attitudes that are the by-product of habituated responses and early cultural conditioning. But is it really who I am, or just who I think I am? Or worse, who I have been taught to believe that I am? The element associated with this chakra is the air element. Air represents movement and change. If the chakra is open and air is moving freely, then my beliefs are subject to movement and change, thus allowing for and ensuring growth and expansion. If the chakra is closed, or if my heart is closed, my beliefs, values and attitudes are like concrete - and have become immovable. We even talk about how the heart hardens, or turns to stone.
The fifth chakra is the Throat chakra, the seat of self-expression, the gateway for revealing who I am to the world. It is the way that I make myself heard in the universe. The element associated with this chakra is sound (sound waves). The sounds that we make, through speech or through the symbol of speech - the written word - are the physical impressions of our presence in the world.
The sixth chakra is the Third Eye, the center of ethereal sight. Through and with it, we can see beyond what is to what can be. The element associated with this chakra is light (light waves).
The seventh chakra is the Crown chakra, the center of spirituality, where we connect to something greater than our experience in the body. It is the point of entry of "source" energy into the various levels of the body. It is the point of contact between what I experience as "me" and the larger context of I AM. The element associated with this chakra is thought.
My belief is that the Logical Level of Beliefs, Values and Attitudes corresponds to the fourth or Heart chakra; that the level of Identity corresponds to the sixth chakra or the Third Eye; and that at the fifth chakra or Throat chakra lies the as-yet unnamed Logical Level of Choice (Which).
Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are always choosing. When we are silent, our absence of speech is a choice. Over the last years, I have been struck by two things in my programs: how common it is that people do not recognize they are choosing and that there are never any exceptions; and also that all behaviors have consequences, whether we notice them or not. So change does mean consequences, but there are also consequences associated with no change. This underlying process was completely transparent to those who were doing the choosing. Yet, at each of the Logical Levels, we are choosing.
I believe that at the Heart chakra level we carry the past of who we have been conditioned and taught to believe we are. We carry the conditioned responses that manifest through those beliefs, values and attitudes. And I believe that at the Third Eye, we carry the potential to "see" who we are capable of becoming; to recognize grace and perfection as our birthright; and to hold that as a model or standard for expression. At the level of the Third Eye, we can know our own magnificence.
The throat is the gateway to sound; it is the junction of the internal and the external; it is the point at which information from the Heart chakra collides with information from the Third Eye and its messages of possibility and magnificence. It is there where I must choose which will direct my life. It is there where this struggle is resolved and the resolution is put forward, into physical space and time, for all to hear and know; it is the point at which I either choose to decloak and move toward who I AM, or to stay cloaked, to await the next opportunity for expression - with these opportunities never-ending.
The first through the fourth chakras carry history; the sixth and the seventh carry possibility. The fifth chakra, at the throat, is the link between these points in time as well as the platform on which we stand in the "now". This platform is my connection to what I perceive as the outside world. As I stand on this platform in the present, do I speak from history or do I speak from possibility? As I choose mindfully, information from the higher chakras moves into the lower ones, disengaging me from multiple dualities and allowing for the integration, in the full body, of new insights.
The throat is the point at which we choose either to continue to repeat our experience or choose to make different sounds and create a new expression of ourselves. Do I continue to express myself from the Heart chakra, which carries history and training, or do I express my Self from the Third Eye, which holds and defines what I am divinely capable of? Do I express in a way that I always have-do I say yes when I want to say no because it is the nicer thing to do-or do I stand tall (notice the sixth chakra is physically higher in the body than the fourth) and express something that is much more a reflection of who I know my self to be - and to be capable of becoming.
If there is conflict between the fourth and the sixth chakras, there will likely be struggle in the throat. If the rules (in the fourth) always bump up against what I believe is possible (in the sixth) I get tension in the throat: which do I speak myself to be? When the path clears from the fourth through to the sixth, expression flows easily, smoothly - and is free to change as air moves through the fourth chakra, bringing new insights and awareness to beliefs, values and attitudes (for example, I have the right to change my mind.).
The throat is also located at the narrowest, and by extension, most fragile point in the physical body. Here, the spinal column and major arteries are at their least protected. In our decision to choose mindfully, we are at our most vulnerable and our most fragile. We risk taking what has been secret and making it public for all to hear, see and judge. We have laid ourselves bare.
This level of thinking has to be identified and articulated. It's huge in its implications, given that we are choosing at every level. The question then becomes: are we choosing mindfully, or are we mindlessly dancing to habituated responses? Positioning it at the level of the fifth chakra - a very high level - draws our attention to our vehicle for self-expression (sound and speech), as well as to the profound implications of choice, which are about identity, self, who I AM in the world.
Until we mindfully, consciously choose to be greater than our experience, our experience will be what defines who we are. And since our experience is limited, we too, will fall short of what holds power and possibility for us. To make choice a conscious, mindful volition at all Logical Levels is to bring out of the darkness the very act of power which, by default, is causing us to hold and maintain the status quo. Anything we can name, we can make real and visible in the universe. Once visible, its power can be tapped and expressed in a way that moves us even further into the Light.
LOGICAL LEVEL CHAKRA ELEMENT* Spirituality (Who Else) Crown Thought/Light Identity (Who) Third Eye Vision/Sight Choice (Which) Throat Sound Beliefs/values/attitudes (Why) Heart Air Capability (How) Power Fire Behavior (What) Second Chakra Water Environment (Where, When) Root Earth
*Please note that the word "element" is used loosely for purposes of drawing relationships among these three thought systems.
This article was originally published in the
Journal of the American Board of Neuro-Linguistic Programming,
Fall '97, PP. 3 - 5.
If you enjoyed this article, additional information is provided on the CD sets Pathways to Personal Power and Guided Reflections - Energy and the Chakras and also in the book Phoenix Rising also by Louise LeBrun
This article may be reproduced, provided it is reproduced in full with appropriate acknowledgement of the author, the source, and a weblink to www.WEL-Systems.com. In general, articles may be reproduced, provided it is reproduced in full, and acknowledge the source and copyright holder. Please check each article for any specific requirements on reprinting and/or publication including reviewing our copyright information.