Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Comparison...

I was relaxing and listening to music and letting my mind run free the other night when I had this thought. It might already be well known or at least already written in many places. I don't know. I'll do some research into it when I have more time, but I do know that this wasn't in any of my college text books.

Abraham Maslow was a 'founding father' of psychology. He developed a personality theory based on a Hierarchy of Needs. Here is an illustration:




Eastern spirituality and medicine involve the idea that our bodies have energy centers called chakras. Each chakra relates to a particular need or drive. When a chakra is out of balance (either spinning too fast or too slow) we have physical, emotional, or mental issues. This is a very basic description. Here is an illustration of the chakras:



It occurred to me that they are almost exactly the same. The function of the chakras and the level of needs correspond as you ascend the hierarchy with the 'peak experiences' on the top being what happens when your chakras are all in perfect balance (or all of the 'lower' needs are met). I wonder if Maslow studied Eastern theories. I really must do some research so I can find out if he did. Part of me wants to think that I'm just really slow in making this connection. It's interesting anyway, and I will be thinking on this more.

7 comments:

Kevin said...

I believe Maslow did venture beyond occidental thought, but I'd have to check as well. Either way, I missed this comparison and it looks like I'll need to do some research, too. Where did this come from? I always think about Yoga or meditaion, but never quite get to it. And Maslow I haven't read about in some time. I had a relationship class in high school where we dealt with him extensively, but it's good to get it back in my head after so long and so much other stuff that fails to cover so much with such few, concise steps.

michelle chained said...

An interesting connection between Maslow and the Chakra system. Although, with Maslow's once you have reached the top, you either decend through the levels or start at the bottom again, each time you go through the levels you are exploring them at different levels of the psyche, or at different spiritual levels. You don't just do them once, if you did you would die because then there would be nothing left to learn in life.

Rae Ann said...

Kevin, where did what come from? Sorry, I'm not sure what you're asking there. This was something that popped into my head the other day. Just a random thought.

Michelle, of course you can't go through those steps only once. I don't have linear thinking like that. It is a constant endeavor to work through ALL the levels. I just thought it was very interesting that Maslow's hierarchy corresponded so closely with the chakra system. I kept my explanations short and simple in the post because I didn't have a lot of time to go into more detail.

madman said...

OH--you mean it's not one step at a time--I've been stuck on the sex chakra because I didn't want to give it up! I'm going to start on that personality thing today!

Rae Ann said...

Oh, man, you crack me up!

Nick Danger said...

RA, Once again you have stimulated much thought. I have been pondering this coupling of eastern and western thought. I have always thought Maslow was a fuck. (much like the kids I knew in high school that joined drama club) However I am slow to dismiss ancient teachings from southwest Asia. The animists beliefs (and political systems) are more aligned with what I dig. I am fascinated by what you have observed.

Rae Ann said...

Mr. Danger, I concur that Maslow and many of the other early psychological theorists were fucks as you say. They all were very sexist in their ideas. It seems like I recall reading in school that Maslow actually said that women were incapable of achieving self-actualization. These men were products of their time and society. However, it seems like too much of a correspondence to dismiss the 'truth' of his hierarchy when you see that it is so similar to the much older Eastern thought. I've been doing some deep chakra work on myself lately and maybe I should make a post of that.