Introduction This book is presented as a guide for beginners. Yet we should not disguise the fact that the subject matter is complex. Indeed knowledge of the chakras was once handed on only from teacher to student through a closely guarded secret tradition. The secrecy was intended to ensure that this sacred knowledge was not abused. The closed environment of the ashram or spiritual retreat provided a safe atmosphere in which the unfolding soul might be nourished. The holders of the tradition were fully aware that spiritual growth brings its own dynamics. We need to admit at the outset that there is no substitute for the spiritual teacher whose wide experience and warm heart take the student into the tradition slowly and with care. Nor is there any substitute for personal experience. Awakening is never a matter of detached intellectual musing but a total and full encompassing encounter of heart, mind, body and soul. Only such intense experiences have the power to break into a new level of being. In the West, sacred knowledge is now freely available. The ashram has been superseded by the workshop. The impetus for the dissemination of teaching has moved from tradition holders to those who seek metaphysical knowledge. Our spiritual hunger is a sign of the times. We should not, however, confuse information about spiritual awakening with the process itself. Ideally the one is but a preparation for the other. Nevertheless information has its place. This book can be no more than an introduction to a vast subject. It will awaken you only through gentle but probing questions and guided meditations. It will initiate you into the complexity and importance of the subject, but it does not seek to be more than an overview. However, perhaps this little book will awaken you to deep questions and puzzling relationships. If so, it will have served its purpose, for a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Living Energies Many words of Indian origin have passed into the English language. The Sanskrit is now appearing in our vocabulary. It simply means 'wheel'. This symbolism tells us a great deal. The wheel is circular in shape and turns upon its axis. Each chakra is also described as a lotus, padma. The lotus, much like a lily, is an extremely beautiful flower with many petals. The chakra is similar to both the wheel and the lotus as it revolves around the centre and unfolds its individual vortices. It is clear that we are in the realm of the symbolic and the metaphysical, for by tradition we are using the language of analogy and metaphor, which is always the expansive vocabulary of spiritual experience. We may define the chakra as an energy centre which spins like a wheel and opens like a flower. Metaphysical concepts, however, do not belong purely to the world of spiritual experience; scientific enquiry has in many cases confirmed age -old beliefs.   Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama bridges the world of the scientific and the spiritual world with authority. He is both a scientist and a Shinto priest. Motoyama is the founder of the International Association for Religion and Parapsychology. Know Thyself - Delphic Injunction