How Should I Awaken the Crown Chakra?

Question

Hello. I was wondering which meditation is best when trying to awaken the crown chakra.

—Nicole, Ireland

Answer

Dear Nicole,

The crown chakra is the seat of the soul: access to it is one way of describing the goal of enlightenment. Blocks to enlightenment can be described as those vrittis and samskaras (representing past karma) that are lodged all along the astral spine below the crown chakra, especially from the medulla oblongata downwards. Thus the crown chakra is not usually approached or accessed independently.

Paramhansa Yogananda taught that when the sense of ego has shifted from the medulla to the point between the eyebrows and resides there permanently, a subtle channel opens up from there to the crown chakra. Accordingly, he did not give us chakra exercises specific to the crown chakra. Instead, we treat the point between the eyebrows (kutastha chaitanya) as the “temporary crown” (a dental pun!). The spiritual eye is the literal and figurative point of focus in all the meditation techniques Yogananda taught.

In Raja Yoga it is taught that enlightenment precedes liberation. One can have past karma to work out and yet have achieved enlightenment. Enlightenment can be described in many ways, some more loosely than others, but let us say that enlightenment is to have achieved nirbikalpa samadhi and become a jivan mukta: a freed soul. Once enlightened, the jivan mukta can work on releasing identification with past actions (past karma) quickly or slowly, doesn’t matter because the state of nirbikalpa is permanent and one feels one’s freedom even in the conscious state during daily activities. (By contrast, the initial state of sabikalpa samadhi is temporary; one returns to ego consciousness after the seemingly trance-like state of sabikalpa).

All this having been said, there’s nothing “wrong” with feeling the energy of the crown chakra. Swami Kriyananda would sometimes visualize Yogananda in lotus pose sitting on his head during his meditations! The soul, residing in the crown chakra, is uninvolved in our actions, whether past or present. The soul is unaffected by our karma; it is eternal, pure, ever-existing, ever-blissful. From our standpoint (wherein we have yet to achieve realization of our true Self AS the soul), the soul is almost more like our guardian angel (if that helps you in any way).

Like Krishna in the Mahabharata, the soul stands ready to offer us guidance whenever and to the degree we seek attunement with its perfection in God. So relating to the crown chakra is a good thing and should be done in a personal or meaningful way, not to the “crown chakra” as if it is a mere “thing” like a genie in a bottle or a soda pop machine standing ever ready to dispense sweetness.

Nonetheless, it is relatively more effective (because more accessible to our consciousness and energy) to focus our attention at the spiritual eye, the point between the eyebrows. This can be done not just in meditation but during daily activities. When speaking with a person, look at their spiritual eye and address their higher consciousness there at that point. You may have some very interesting experiences.

In this practice, we can feel an immediate upliftment of energy and consciousness (whereas the crown chakra tends to be more distant most of the time). This part of our brain is associated with high functioning, executive function, concentration, creativity, and intuition.

We can send out healing prayers and energy through this broadcasting station for which the receiver is usually in the heart, though sometimes at the point between the eyebrows. When I jog around my neighborhood, I place my awareness at the spiritual eye and intuitively my “vision,” field of awareness, expands to 360 degrees. It is a remarkable practice. Much more could be said but enough for now! OK?

Blessings and joy to you,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA
www.Hrimananda.org