Vishuddha Chakra - Throat Chakra

Commentary: The Throat Chakra is located in the lower throat, at the level of the thyroid gland, the larynx and the carotid plexus; and near the brain stem, our 'reptilian brain'. The name stands for purity, ritual purification, terms that in Sanskrit are charged with meaning, because Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are fascinated by - and sometimes even obsessed with - purity. To any Indian who has even the slightest inclination towards the spiritual, or even a common sense of self-worth, the morning and evening baths are holy rituals. And when Indians go to market to buy ghee (clarified butter), be it for use on the altar or in the kitchen, their main concern is not whether it tastes good, but whether it is shuddha. Perhaps because the concept of purity is so central to their spiritual lives; or because there is no country in the world where adulteration is so common as in India. The great guru Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, by all appearances not very pure himself (check the internet for stories about his 'chakra feeling' with female disciples), has a beautiful explanation for the Throat Chakra's place in the chakra system: "After love has made its entry (at the Heart Chakra, tH), there is innocence and purity - never before. Only love purifies, nothing else has this capacity. Love makes beautiful all that is ugly, clean what is dirty." Note: this is the first of the higher chakras, and the first to be developed during awakening of the higher self. In the Western world, the great majority of people show little development beyond the Heart Chakra. Radiant higher chakras are found mostly in people whose life is dedicated to serve others, reflecting the classical Vedic concept of seva, and in people who have taken time off from the world to review their place in it.

Personal aspects: This is the chakra of communication, with purity as its underlying concept - the philosophy being that expression is appropriate only when purity has been achieved. We find the profane version of this thinking in the popular expression "Oh Lord, please help me to keep my mouth shut, until I know what I am talking about." In Indian thinking, purity is never a final state, such as the purity of a diamond, but always the result of cleansing, purification, the core of most Hindu rituals. To achieve purity, conscious effort needs to be made, an inner process aimed at removing impurities, just as a good housewife cleans the ghee by spotting particles of dirt and removing them. Or, to use another recurrent metaphor from classical descriptions of the Vishudda, just as we counteract the effect of poison with an antidote. Through this process all negative and noxious life experiences are absorbed and permutated into positive energy. By purification, an exalted state is reached, a state so beautiful and delightful - so shudda - and so highly charged with energy, that we feel a strong urge to talk about it. With the ultimate goal to share this state of bliss with others - just as we see in Christian evangelising. Negative development: Lying or hiding (falsely describing) one's emotions blocks this chakra, resulting in a loss of communicative power.

Corporate aspects: On the most basic level, the Throat Chakra is the energy centre that determines how well we communicate. Speech is our dominant mode of self-expression and because man is a social animal, success in the world is largely determined by our verbal skills. Highly talented people with limited communication skills often fail to realise their full potential, whereas people with lesser talent who are verbally deft often achieve more than expected. At a higher level, the Throat Chakra may be seen as the node that connects our inner being and our physical body. The Throat Chakra manifests itself in our desire to make a contribution of true value (sense of purpose), and in general for a way of life which embodies values beyond personal well-being, pleasure and recognition. This manifestation is a fundamental aspect of enlightened leadership. It becomes tangible and visible in a conscious striving for a better world, and in the establishment of relationships based on shared values. Whenever we speak of our longing for a sense of purpose, for work that allows us to make a difference, it is the result of our Throat Chakra opening up. In organisations, it is first noticed in greater internal cohesion, as the result of collective passion for shared values, communicated with a clear voice both internally and externally - and ultimately in a shining corporate personality, marked by authenticity and the energy of people who do what they believe in. Negative development: As above. Lying and dissimulation, as also depersonalisation (requiring employees to be other than they are) block this chakra. This invariably leads to loss of communicative power. For organisations the effect of lying (in all its variants), even if only to the outside world, is internally destructive and creates external liabilities.

Challenge: To master your own inner content and its expression in the outside world. In other words: the challenge here is to transpose the energy of the Heart Chakra to a higher level, at which work becomes an expression of inner growth. (There is no dilemma here, if you want to grow, there really is no other way.)