Meditating on the Skeptical Chakra: Observations and an Interview from Equilibrium Kinesiology
The following embedded audio clip is an interview with Sonia Macaro from Equilibrium Kinesiology, where the author of this guest piece, Ted Janet, partook in a “guided chakra meditation”. It will also be made available as a bonus episode of The Pseudoscientists podcast.
What is not covered in the post-guided chakra meditation class interview above, I will attempt to detail here. Since I felt note-taking might throw the participants off, I am depending entirely on memory which, as we know, is a dubious reporter. I therefore invite Sonia, or those who were present should they read this, to correct any of my assumptions or recollections.
I got word of this class on Facebook. Sonia is an acquaintance who I’d met at a couple of parties. She published a status critical of conventional medicine, specifically antibiotics. I inquired further, and soon received the following invitation:
Hey Ted Meditation Wednesday 12/12/12. So it will 12th Chakra High Self Connection. Christ Conciuosness. This is a Magical Date making for a MagnMagical Empowering Meditation. Plse RSVP to let me know u will b joining in. Thankyou. Keep Shining Love the daY!!** [sic]
Well, if that doesn’t sound like fun…
I usually interview skeptics, and it’s easy to turn up with yo-yo eyeballs and a backhand cheat sheet of logical fallacies. I decided if I was going to do this, I’d try and get on side and really empathize with what they were doing.
The cast consisted of myself, Sonia, and three other women. I was told to grab a cushion and get comfortable on the floor, somewhere between the astrology charts and magic stones. Sonia put forward the disclaimer that her knowledge is entirely subjective, derived from “innate wisdom, not books”. What followed I can only describe as avalanche of non-sequiturs. This is what I think I understood:
- The planet, like the human body, has chakras. We would have all noticed the increase in sore or irritated throats of late (just generally). This is caused by rising political tension in Gaza. The Middle East is apparently the throat chakra of the world.
- Aches, pains and illnesses are symptomatic of emotional problems, which can only be reconciled by meditating on the corresponding chakra. Modern doctors cannot negotiate the spiritual and therefore their remedies are suspect.
- The Mayans never predicted the end of the world, only the end of their calendar. Nevertheless, this is a still a time of shifting energy currents which we should choose not to interpret as the end of the world.
The meditation itself was a guided tour of the chakras. I understand the goal to be getting the body in alignment with the Earth chakra. We were encouraged to visit different spiritual planes. One, I recall, was the realm of fairies, djinns and other mythical creatures. (I thought of Dobby!) One realm hosted the archangel Michael.
Towards the end Sonia got up and hit a gong over our heads three times, then sprayed us with incense. My eyes were supposed to be closed, but in a flicker I saw her in what appeared to be some form of dance.
As a closing ceremony, we were gathered in a circle to hold hands and hum. On the third hum, one of the attendees collapsed. It was serious so that I just about called an ambulance before she asked me not to. Sonia meanwhile, had run to fetch a special incense which she would then light and wave around. After a few cups of water, the woman was fine. Sonia attributed her fainting to a kind of spiritual energy whiplash. At least that’s how I understood it. The woman then casually added that she had chronic illness.
Sidestepping claims of the existence of chakras, the guided meditation did encourage different approaches to introspection and created a calming, reflective atmosphere. At one point, we were asked to think of a time when we had been hurt or traumatized, and then make peace with it. It’s easy to see how guided meditation of this form may be appealing and have its benefits.
The danger, then, is in the sly dismissal of convention medicine, and in the insistence of using paranormal machinery to explain natural phenomena. I would hope the enthusiasts out there could find a way to enjoy this activity without having to invoke the supernatural, or mount feeble challenges to science-based medicine.
If anyone is interested in investigating further or attending one of Sonia’s classes, information is available here.
[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by nyxie]