The Visible Man
I'm revisiting a book I started to read a couple years ago, "Eastern Body, Western Mind" by Anodea Judith (aff. link).
It's a lovely explanation of the chakra system from a western psychology perspective.
So much information and levels of understanding, and like most books I pick up, a particular wording or phrase will jump out at me and fit an image I've been trying to articulate.
Like this one: "..the body cloaks the invisible soul and reveals its shape and expression."
In and of itself it has little to do with the chakras, but, for me, it speaks volumes on how the body/mind connection is revealed in our forms, as well as giving a perfect illustration of the visibility and nature of chi flow.
The physical body can be seen as a vehicle for our souls, but it is also the densest manifestation of all the energy we are comprised of, and the clearest expression of our energetic make-up.
Opposite of how a container will define the form of whatever liquid is inside, our energy patterns define the shape of our containers.
Judith's statement called to my mind an image of The Invisible Man... transparent and undetectable.. but now, throw a sheet over him. Or even better, spray-paint him. We can now see his posture and features, facial expressions, details. But we know that the spray paint itself, like the physical body, is not 'him', it's simply revealing the state of his energetic formation.
And like the Invisible Man, we are energy contained in a physical structure that takes on the state of how that energy flows, beginning with conception, and to a large degree, conforming to our thought patterns, our emotions, our view of ourselves and the world as we grow older.
The corollary to this is that the energetic system can be affected in turn by actions we take to the physical body.
Some of our energetic expressions are permanent. But our physical bodies have a degree of plasticity as well, and can be molded and reformed with bodywork, yoga, and other work that creates shifts in our emotional and psychological states.
And in Judith's book, she recommends a number of individual approaches for healing each chakra that will not only balance the energy system overall, but positively affect how that energy ripples out through the physical form.