I’m wondering if you could say a little more about “how to suffer legitimately?” I’m not sure I understand how you mean that, but I want to, Thanks.
I also wanted to respond to a few things you’ve said here, notably about the chakras (but also re: Tolle and Gangaji). Contrary to what many people believe, the chakra system is not a “new age” invention. New Agers have borrowed liberally from ancient fields of knowledge to fashion their piecemeal spirituality and healing orientation, and because most people are not aware of some of these ancient practices, they maybe think New Agers have just invented a few things. (Adulterated and tainted a few things perhaps, but they didn’t invent them.).
Take for example the use of crystals which many people think of as a New Age thing, but this is not a new phenomenon, as shamans, for instance, have used crystals in healing and divination and other work for thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of years. But New Agers and shamans have different ways of treating crystals; whereas New Agers tend to publicly display their crystals and expose them to sunlight for “cleansing,” shamans who work with crystals typically do not expose them to the light of day or to the public eye.
The chakras as centers of vitality/consciousness, far from being any recent development such as with New Agers, are mentioned as early as the Vedas, Indian scriptures thought to be between 3,000-4,000 years old. But the chakras are not known just in Hinduism or other Eastern spiritual or yogic traditions; certain tribes in the U.S. and Mexico also have chakra systems.
Among the Huichol Indians of Central Mexico, for example, the chakras are called “nierikas,” or doorways/portals to “other worlds.” There are just 5 chakras in the Huichol system (5 being their sacred number); located at the coccyx, the stomach, the heart, the eyes, and (surprise, surprise) the cheekbones! (from which the Eagle’s wings emerge, the eagle being one of the Huichols’ primary spirit allies, serving all members of the tribe).
In terms of the yoga chakra system, there are said to be many chakras, but 7 major ones, located in the subtle body and corresponding in the physical (gross) body to:
1 the coccyx (Muladhara chakra, “root support”)
2 the pelvic area/reproductive organs (Svadhistana chakra, “abode of the shakti”)
3 the area of the navel (Manipura chakra, “gem”)
4 the heart (Anahata chakra, “unstruck sound”)
5 the throat (Vissuddha chakra, “pure”)
6 the third eye, just above and between the eyebrows (Ajna chakra, “command” center)
7 and the crown of the head (Sahasrara chakra, “1000 petals”)
The chakras are often represented as lotuses (hence, the 1000 petals) or mandalas. Chakra, by the way, means “wheel” or “disc.” A chakra is where prana (vital energy/life force) concentrates and spins in a circular motion; prana radiates out from the chakras into the entire system.
Without getting too technical, suffice to say, each chakra has a number of associations, depending on the chakra system/tradition. For instance, there will be a male and female deity associated with them, a seed mantra/subtle sound, a geometric figure and color(s) and certain “properties.” Also associated with chakras 1-5 are an element, an animal, a sense power (e.g. seeing, and color-as-such, for the 3rd chakra), a power of action (e.g.reproduction and sexual enjoyment for the heart chakra), and a bodily substance (e.g.bone for the 5th chakra). And chakras 1-4 have psychological qualities associated with them.
In other words, the chakras are actually a pretty sophisticated system for people who choose to work with them as part of their spirituality as well as in healing (and to show just a bit of that sophistication is why I’ve given as much detail here as I have).
And this is without even considering the chakra system as another holarchy, a la Integral stages of development.
While I have not read Anodea Judith, when she refers (per your quotes) to the chakra system taking you to a “larger and larger perspective,” or she refers to them as “stages of history,” think of the stages of individual and cultural development we talk about as Integralists. ‘Stages of history’ is, to me, just another way of saying ‘stages of cultural development.’ The chakra system lines up pretty well with the stages of development (e.g. the archaic stage of development is all about survival, and the root or 1st chakra is too–hunger, food, survival; the rational stage of development emphasizes equality and the relational heart and this has a correspondence with the 4th or heart chakra, etc.)
As for what she says about the “ladder of chakras inside your soul,” how I interpret this is that the chakras, which are hierarchically arranged, reside in our subtle body, and the soul is associated with the subtle body and subtle state of consciousness (whereas the gross/physical body and gross state of consciousness are associated with the ego, and the causal body and causal state of consciousness are associated with spirit).
As for Tolle’s awakening, which occurred at the edge of a suicidal depression in which he recognized two of himself (the “I” who could no longer live with “himself”) and queried as to “which one is real?”–and found with this thought that his mind/his thoughts stopped, and he was then “sucked into a vortex of energy, a void”–this was of course, in my language, a spontaneous gift of spiritual awakening into the causal state. He did however, according to his writings, afterwards read a lot of spiritual literature and also studied with various spiritual teachers.
And as for Gangaji, what I have heard her say is that she received spiritual transmission from her teacher Papaji, who also instructed her in “just stopping,”–stopping the seeking, stopping the thinking, just stopping. Her primary practice seems to have been not meditation, but inquiry.
If I understand these types or mechanisms of awakening, I have no doubt that Wilber does too, you know? I think you might really appreciate Wilber’s “Integral Spirituality” book, and also, “Grace and Grit,” if you haven’t already read it, which says a lot about suffering within the context of an “amorous” relationship.