In Season 2, Episode 19, Avatar Aang learns about 7 chakras from the mountain-dwelling Guru Pathik.
The guru teaches that Aang must open all his 7 chakras in order to control his Avatar state.
Of course, in the Avatar state, Aang became a superpowered entity – in various ways! But his lack of control over going in and out of the Avatar state was a problem for our hero.
Therefore, opening the chakras to build a stronger connection between his mind and body was the suggestion made for Aang to learn how to control his Avatar state.
And the lessons he learned from Guru Pathik can also be applied to our lives, here on Earth!
“You must first bring balance to yourself before you bring balance to the world.”Guru Pathik (Avatar: The Last Airbender – S2E19).
What Do We Know About The Avatar Chakras?
Information about chakras in the Avatar universe mostly come from Guru Pathik.
There is another Avatar universe reference to chakras, in The Rise of Kyoshi (a novel about Avatar Kyoshi’s teenage and young adult experiences). However, Guru Pathik provides the core knowledge and understanding needed to know the Avatar chakras.
In Avatar: The Last Airbender: Book 2 ‘Episode 19: The Guru’ (S2-E19), Guru Pathik explains the absolute basics of chakras to Avatar Aang.
Aang confessed that he didn’t know what chakras were; but he quickly learned from Pathik:
Aang: So chakras are like pools of spiralling energy in our bodies?
Guru Pathik: Exactly. If nothing else were around, this creek would flow pure and clear!
However, life is messy. And things tend to fall in the creek And then what happens?
Aang: The creek can’t flow?
Pathik: Yes. But if we open the paths between the pools…
Aang: The energy flows!(Avatar: The Last Airbender – S2:E19).
What Are The 7 Avatar Chakras?
Guru Pathik: There are 7 chakras that go up the body. Each pool of energy has a purpose, and can be blocked by a specific kind of emotional mark…
… be warned! Opening the chakras is an intense experience. And once you start, you cannot stop until all 7 are open. Are you ready?
In S2-E19, Guru Pathik guided Avatar Aang to open all of his 7 chakras, starting with:
1. The Earth Chakra
The Earth chakra is the Avatar universe’s equivalent of what we call the Root chakra.
In S2-E19, Aang (and we!) learn the following about the Earth chakra:
Guru Pathik: The first chakra is the Earth chakra, located at the base of the spine. It deals with survival, and is blocked by fear.
What are you most afraid of? Let your fears become clear to you.
*Aang sees Firelord Ozai, and screams*
Pathik: Aang, your vision is not real. You are concerned about your survival, but you must surrender those fears. Let your fears flow down the creek.
Our Deepest Fear:
People fear all sorts of things.
They fear change.
They fear failure.
They fear pain.
They fear death.
They fear loss.
But, actually, these fears are not our true fears. Above all, according to Marianne Williamson, our deepest fear is our infinite power.
This is one of the most inspiring quotes of all time:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God! Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love (1992).
According to Williamson’s philosophy, then, we all possess an inherent knowledge that we are capable of extraordinary things – that we are infinitely powerful.
And by not allowing ourselves to express our inherent, extraordinary nature, we cause ourselves to feel anxious.
And opening your Earth chakra can help with that.
How To Open the Earth Chakra:
So, while our deepest fear is our own infinite power, that fear can manifest itself in different ways.
That can be in the form of anxiety about an upcoming deadline…
Fear of failing an important task in our lives…
Or anything else that feels like it is crippling you at your very core.
Often, actually, people’s fears come down to an innate fear of death.
For example, anxiety about your job may derive from the fact that working your job is required to pay for shelter, food, etc. And such things ultimately come down to “not dying.”
Actually, considering death on a deep level is an excellent way to open your Earth chakra, and face your fears.
When you understand that death is not something to be feared, life becomes much more precious. And the preciousness of life puts your fears into perspective … it makes them seem very small.
Furthermore, death doesn’t need to be considered a dark thing – it can be thought of as a beautiful, liberating thing!
The fact that we must die makes life itself more valuable – the fact that we could die at any given moment makes our life all the more precious.
For a reflection on death, consider these questions:
What do you remember about before you were alive?
When we do eventually die, how likely is it that we will be aware of our current life?
Why would you think that death will bring about an experience any different to your pre-birth?
If you have some beliefs about what happens to your life energy after you die – such as going to Heaven, or reincarnating – that’s perfectly fine.
In any case, understanding that death itself is not a frightening thing is vital to opening your Earth chakra.
When you realise that life is a fleeting, rare, and precious thing, you don’t worry so much about worldly things. And then you might allow yourself to express the truest version of your own self.
2. The Water Chakra
The second chakra in Pathik’s teachings was the water chakra. The Water chakra is the Avatar universe equivalent to the Sacral chakra.
Guru Pathik: Next is the Water chakra. This chakra deals with pleasure and is blocked by guilt. Look at all the guilt which burdens you so. What do you blame yourself for?
Aang: I ran away… I hurt all of those people.
Pathik: Accept the reality that these things happened. But do not let them cloud and poison your energy. If you are to be a positive influence on the world, you need to forgive yourself.
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that Pathik did not specify the location of the Water chakra.
That’s because Avatar: The Last Airbender is a TV series for children! And the chakra that deals with pleasure is located in the sacrum – a part of the human anatomy that many professional children’s writers treat with caution.
We could debate about whether that is a positive attitude to take when representing matters of sexuality to children … but that is not for this article. And I’m sure you can at least understand why children’s writers treat the topic with caution.
Our Reluctance To Pleasure:
Humans refuse pleasure these days, quite habitually.
Hollywood movies, politicians, religions – and other culturally-significant institutions – have a tendency to teach us that seeking pleasure is a selfish thing. We are taught that anything good in life must be achieved via a struggle.
A good example of how this is applied in our lives is regarding “work”.
Society seems to want us to believe that work is something hard and serious – and often something we don’t want to do.
But taking that attitude makes tasks more difficult than they need to be!
What if, instead, we believe that work is just a simple activity that requires a focusing of time and energy? That would be very similar to ‘playing’, in fact.
When washing dishes, for example, we could rejoice in the fact that we are improving our living conditions – and that’s something that we want to do. As opposed to reluctantly washing dishes, and only doing it because we have to.
No, no! Actually, we actively want to wash the dishes. If we didn’t, we know what the outcome would be … and it isn’t good.
Same goes for our day job. Maybe there are other jobs we would prefer to work (and nothing is stopping anybody from taking even very small steps in the direction of securing such work!). But we work our day job because it feeds us – and we would prefer to be fed than not be fed..
A Joyful Struggle
It is possible for us to enjoy the everyday tasks that we might otherwise complain about. To take pleasure in the life that we are leading.
In the movie Life is Beautiful, the main character (Guido) is a Jewish father. He is taken to a concentration camp during World War II, along with his young son.
But in the camp, Guido convinces his son that the tasks the prisoners must complete are not acts of slavery … but part of a game.
And because his son performs his slave tasks with the mindset of “this is a game” instead of “this is slavery,” he actually manages to enjoy the concentration camp.
In the words of Alan Watts, then:
“Don’t make a distinction between work and play, regard everything that you’re doing, as play; and don’t imagine for one minute that you’ve got to be serious about it.”Alan Watts: Work & Play
Perhaps you cannot change you life, in the physical realms. But if you change your mentality, then the whole world can become a playground!
And you might be surprised how many opportunities present themselves to you when you adopt such a positive mindset. Even in the physical world.
How To Open Your Water Chakra:
It is true that there are certain things we do in our lives that we regret later. And sometimes we look back and say “I wish I’d have acted a different way from how I did act.”
But what use is it to dwell on our mistakes? Who benefits from you punishing yourself?
We have a choice every single day to be a certain kind of person.
Every single day we choose whether or not to smile at someone or to frown at them.
We choose whether to see our day-to-day tasks as “chores” or as “games” that we are playing.
To open our water chakra, then, we have to accept the mistakes we have made in our lives. We must learn to forgive and allow ourselves to go forward with a positive frame of mind and perception of ourselves. That is what serves us best. And everybody deserves that.
3. The Fire Chakra
Guru Pathik then taught the third chakra to Aang – the Fire chakra. The Fire chakra is the Avatar universe equivalent to the Solar plexus chakra.
Pathik: Third is the Fire chakra, located in the stomach. This chakra deals with willpower, and is blocked by shame.
What are you ashamed of? What are your biggest disappointments in yourself?
Aang: (recalls burning Katara when he first practiced firebending) I’m never gonna firebend again I can’t.
Pathik: You will never find balance if you deny this part of your life. You are the Avatar, and therefore, you are a firebender.
Shame vs. Guilt
This chakra shares some similarities to the water chakra, in that our belief systems prevent us from pursuing what we really want.
But shame and guilt are different.
Guilt is when you feel directly bad about something you did – a choice you made.
Whereas shame is where you feel that something is inherently wrong with you.
In Aang’s case, he felt guilty because he left his people behind and believed it was a poor choice.
But he felt shame because he believed he was incapable of controlling the destructiveness of his firebending abilities. He believed firebending was a curse that he could never use for good.
How To Open The Fire Chakra
As Guru Pathik pointed out, we cannot change our nature.
If you were born into a culture that you believe has caused horrendous atrocities in the world that’s not your fault! You shouldn’t feel ashamed of where you come from. You should behave however you feel is good – regardless of your background.
If you were born with a physical disability, that isn’t your fault! You should be brave, and (in the words of Tyrion Lannister) “wear it [your perceived disadvantage] like a badge of honour!”
Opening the Fire chakra, then, requires you to look at yourself – your qualities, your realities – and get comfortable with them. To open the fire chakra, you kind of have to learn to love yourself.
After that, you will be able to do the things you want to do without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.
If you love yourself and are able to perceive your flaws as features rather than disadvantages, then you can open your Fire chakra.
You are irregularly-shaped, perhaps. But in a unique and beautiful way! Like a cloud … have you ever seen a misshapen cloud?
4. The Heart Chakra
The Heart chakra is the Avatar universe equivalent of … hey! What do you know? It’s the heart chakra in our world, too!
Pathik: The fourth chakra is located in the Heart. It deals with love and is blocked by grief.
Lay all your grief out in front of you.
* Aang sees Monk Gyatso and the air nomads – his entire heritage that died without him. *
Pathik: You have indeed felt a great loss. But love is a form of energy, and it swirls all around us. The air nomads’ love for you has not left this world. It is still inside of your heart; and it is reborn in a form of new love. Let it flow away.
How To Open The Heart Chakra
This can be one of the most painful chakras to open.
Anybody who has experienced the death of a loved one or have been through a break up will understand why this can be painful.
But it doesn’t have to be.
We keep our loved ones alive by acting in ways that were influenced by them.
The love we have received, whether the sources of that still provide you with love or not, lives inside us forever.
For example, when a loved one dies, we still feel their presence in certain places. We still recognise their quirks in other people and places – their humour, their favourite music, their behaviours … their love.
And if you suffer a break up, whereby your ex-partner “does not love you any more” … well, the love that the two of you shared together never goes away. The two of you will always have that connection. And you can carry those experiences of love into your future relationships.
From past experiences of love, we have all learned what it is that we love about other people. Love given, then, is never love lost.
If you can recognise such things from your losses and grievances, you will be able to open your heart chakra. You will give yourself permission to love.
5. The Sound Chakra
The Sound chakra is the Avatar universe equivalent to the throat chakra.
Pathik: The fifth in the chain is the Sound chakra, located in the throat. It deals with the truth,and is blocked by lies – the ones we tell ourselves.
* Aang has flashback to conversation with Katara *
Katara: Why didn’t you tell us you were the Avatar?
Aang: Because I never wanted to be.
Pathik: You can not lie about your own nature. You must accept that you are the Avatar.
How To Open The Sound Chakra:
Opening the sound chakra requires bravery.
But that should be fairly easy after opening your water and fire chakras.
If you truly already accept yourself for who and what you are (including your flaws and mistakes) then being open and honest about those things should come naturally.
But it still requires some practice. Expressing our new-found understanding of our world and ourselves can still be a challenge. Especially when the people you are close to are not expecting you to behave in the new ways that you are going to.
Actually, when opening chakras and behaving in new ways, it is possible that you will grow apart from old friends. It isn’t that they are not good enough for you … it’s just that your social and spiritual needs from relationships has changed. And this is an opportunity for you to meet new people and start new relationships.
Changing old habits requires practice. But soon enough, when you experience the beautiful feeling of allowing truth to flow – even including the uncomfortable truths – you will understand that lies don’t serve anybody.
Telling people what they want to hear will only hurt them more in the long run.
We can open the sound chakra by being brave enough to express what we truly feel.
6. The Light Chakra
The light chakra is the Avatar universe equivalent of the Third-eye chakra.
Pathik: The sixth pool of energy is the Light chakra, located in the centre of the forehead. It deals with insight, and is blocked by illusion.
The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation. Things you think are separate and different are actually one and the same.
Aang: Like the four nations!
Pathik: Yes. We are all one people, but we live as if divided.
Aang: We are all connected. Everything is connected.
Pathik: That’s right. Even the separation of the four elements is an illusion. If you open your mind, you will see that all the elements are one; four parts of the same whole. Even metal is just a part of earth that has been purified and refined.
We Are All Connected
This is where things become a little more mystical!
No matter what you believe in – a Christian God; science; reincarnation – our interconnectedness is inescapable.
Understanding our interconnectedness is essential for opening this chakra.
– If you are a strict atheist, you can understand this by looking at the sun.
None of us here, today, can exist without the sun. We are inherently reliant on the sun continuing to burn. If it were to stop burning, your mobile phone or computer screen would immediately turn off … and you would know nothing about it!
And the sun is connected to all the other stars, scientifically speaking, as is suggested by the Big Bang Theory.
Everything is connected by space. And isn’t that quite beautiful?
– If you are a Christian, then the Bible tells us in several ways that we are all connected by our creator. All of us are expressions and children of God.
How To Open The Light Chakra
Opening the light chakra requires a deep, genuine knowledge and understanding that you are connected to everyone and everything else in this world – and even this universe.
When you truly understand that we are all cut from the same cloth, it becomes very difficult to hate anybody else. It even becomes very difficult to judge anybody else – because you realise that you are also capable of behaving in similar ways to those that you might judge.
And, ultimately, you realise that our existence is, in and of itself, a miracle. The experience of being alive at all is a blessing – God or no God!
7. The Thought Chakra
The Thought chakra is the Avatar universe equivalent to the crown chakra.
Pathik taught it in this way:
Pathik: Once you open this (last) chakra, you will be able to go in and out of the Avatar state at will. And when you are in the Avatar state, you will have complete control and awareness of all your actions.
The Thought chakra is located at the crown of the head. It deals with pure cosmic energy and is blocked by earthly attachment.
Meditate on what attaches you to this world.
Now, let all of those attachments go – let them flow down the river; forgotten.
Aang: What? Why would I let go of Katara? I love her.
Pathik: Learn to let go, or you cannot let the cosmic energy flow in from the Universe.
Our Attachments & Our Awareness
For many people, this can be the most difficult of all the chakra to unblock.
To unblock the other chakras, we are forced to look into “ourselves” – and we perceive “ourselves” as individuals.
As individuals, we are attached to many things. Our home; our family; our friends; our clothes; our food; our lovers … we have so many attachments! It might be impossible to list them all.
So to let go of our attachments, and allow them to be free – at the risk of possibly losing them forever – requires an incredible level of awareness.
Of course, not everybody wants to completely let go of their attachments. Not everybody wants to abandon their lives and go to meditate in the mountains for the rest of their lives!
But, actually, letting go of our attachments doesn’t require that.
Letting go of our attachments requires us to be aware that what we consider to be “ours” is not actually “ours” at all.
Your mobile phone is considered “yours” by society … but the universe could take that phone away from you at any second. Perhaps a mugger will take it from you; perhaps its battery will die an absolute death; perhaps a gust of wind will snatch it from your hand and throw it down a drain!
Similarly, our lovers are never truly “ours.” They may choose to leave us at any given moment.
And we should allow them the freedom to do so, if we are to be good lovers ourselves.
It can be so challenging to let go of things we care about.
To give a lover the freedom to leave you at any moment? That can create a level of insecurity that frightens many people.
But true love, really, is not about ownership.
To quote Osho:
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it, then it dies – and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”Osho Rajneesh.
Taking ownership of something changes its nature. But it’s also true that many of us would appreciate the same respect from our own partners – the freedom to leave, express ourselves!
A healthy relationship, with the purest and truest form of love, requires that kind of trust.
How To Open The Thought Chakra:
The universe works in curious ways To get what we think we want, we sometimes need to stop wanting it so much. We have to let go of our desperation – of our desires, attachments.
To open the thought chakra, we have to put our faith into the universe. We have to stop wanting so much. We have to give freedom to others that we expect them to give us.
And we have to stop believing things belong to us.
The only constant in this universe is change. We can’t cling to anything in this life, because they will inevitably be snatched away from us.
To open the thought chakra, we must let go. Once and for all.
The chakras of the Avatar universe are extremely similar to those in Hindu origin.
And you can definitely learn to open your own chakras using the guidelines provided by Guru Pathik!
Maybe you can’t enter the Avatar state … but you can certainly enter a state of consciousness whereby your ability to undertake tasks is increased.
You can become a stronger, more powerful version of yourself.
So what are you waiting for?!