18 September 2015

Chakra Experiences in the Awakening Process

I've been seeking a deeper understanding of the chakras this week, preparing for the second class of my new webinar program on Living With Kundalini.  I've started this webinar to bring people together from all over the world who are living with spiritual awakening, most of whom have felt isolated in the process.  There are 21 people in the current class, from parts of Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and now that I am learning to navigate the internet meeting approach, I can see the many gifts of bringing people together in this way, and I hope to offer more classes.

            There are many books and discussions of chakras, and it can be overwhelming to sort out how they actually impact a person's direct experience.  I am reframing  this understanding in a way  that  I feel will be most useful for those going through a spiritual emergence,  or who are in a kundalini process.  So I've woven my own perspective of watching thousands go through awakening, with the classical  teachings of Kundalini Tantra, and written an essay for my website www.kundaliniguide.com. It's called Chakra Experiences in the Awakening Process.

            Having so much information about chakras can be confusing, and often it is very esoteric, so a reader misses the profound implications of how their function actually relates to spiritual awakening.  For example, the second chakra, which is usually understood as related to sexually and procreation, is also the seat of deep collective unconscious material.  So if in your awakening there is an eruption of demonic images, or overwhelming fear, it is likely there is energy being released as kundalini moves through this area. If a few weeks earlier you have had a blissful opening to expansive bliss (6th chakra) you may be shocked and appalled to find these darker energies appearing in dreams, visions, or emotional upheavals.

             Chakras, with all their symbols, represent vortices of energy where  physical and subtle bodies intersect with consciousness, and each of the seven usually identified as most significant in spiritual awakening, have unique energies and hold patterns in our psyche.  A few of these, from the base upward, are our foundational sense of being in a body (1st), our sexual and collective  instinctual energies, (2nd) our sense of power and capacity in the world (3), our ability to love, be creative and feel compassion (4th),  our potential to discriminate and deal with the opposites (5th), and our capacity to know cosmic consciousness and our true nature (6th and 7th).

Various spiritual traditions focus on different chakra areas for awakening but ultimately everything we hold comes to the surface to be transformed and awakened as well. We might wish this would happen in an orderly fashion but it does not -- energy returns over and over to complete deeper levels of clearing in our bodies.

            So if you wish to understand more about how your chakras are related to you own spiritual awakening, or if  you just  you wonder how they might influence how you function in everyday life,  you may want to read the new essay on my website: Chakra Experiences in the Awakening Process.

12 September 2015

Physical Challenges With Kundalini Awakening

As Kundalini energy moves through the body various issues, even pain, can arise in chakra areas.  Usually a person who has activated kundalini has not prepared themselves in the ways recommended in classical kundalini yoga.  Some systems say 12 years of preparation is required before the energy is awakened if all is to move smoothly, and this is done through physical cleansing practices, strict diet requirements, gradually adding more advanced breathing practices, sitting in specific yogic styles, and releasing various egoic tendencies through obedience to the teacher and system. It is clear that 99% of those who activate this energy have not done these kinds of preparations and are not interested in doing them. In some cases, yogic masters say that a person who has activated energy spontaneously must have done lifetimes of work previously for this to happen. But our present bodies have not been present during all those lives, so they need adjustments and releases. 
My perspective is that many factors come into play to cause a person to be available to this opening (which I have enumerated on my website and in my books) but most often there is a long and gradual process as the subtle body energies, physical body, and psyche adapt to this new energy flow. One must be patient and take time to address old psychological issues and to adjust their life to the new patterns the kundalini energy is calling for.  So when there is pain in the body that doctors find no reason for or heat arising, or strange  blockages where energy seems to be stuck this is because some clearing is needed since it was not done before the awakening.  Some spiritual seekers believe that an awakening will erase all past psychological issues, but if this should happen it is only temporary. Some old beliefs, preferences and habits will fall away or transform, but deeper issues will then come to the surface, and the energy must return to clear the blocks that were created by these experiences.  For an awakening to become stable and comfortable it appears that we have to see through all our old patterns, holdings and attachments, recognizing they are not definitions of who we are.  Until this happens we are likely to feel divided, or caught in "I got it. I lost it" syndrome, seeming to fall in and out of positive awakened states.
One commenter asked about pain in the neck and shoulders that seems to have no medical source.  This is the area of vishuddha, the throat chakra. There are several possibilities for this kind of pain.  Energy is often blocked here because most of us spend a lot of time holding back our self-expression or our emotions. It's as if everything unsaid is locked into our subtle energy field.  Sometimes spiritual seekers believe they should never feel anger, and so when something outrageous happens to them they swallow their feelings in order to be "spiritual" and forgiving.  I met one person who seemed to have tourette's symptoms as his face jerked spontaneously, but once he released anger these problems went away.  One does not need to act out the anger, but simply find a safe way to move it out of the body through expression by yelling (at no one) or writing and just fully acknowledging it.
Another reason for pain may be an old injury that has been locked in the system and needs to be released.  Kundalini seems to be trying to remove anything tight or damaged in the body. Some call these blocks. Wherever your energy seems stuck and keeps returning to with jerks or discomfort over and over is generally seen as a block, caused by physical or emotional holding from issues in this life or possibly a previous life.  Sometimes it is even an issue related to your birthing experience, or your mothers experience when you were in the womb. Also a stiff neck may be caused by the way it has been held for years, and gentle body work can help to open it.  Cranial-sacral work or acupressure might be useful.
In yoga there are 3 major "granthis" or "knots" in the body which must be released in this process. These are believed to be points where the power of ignorance and attachment is particularly strong.  One is in the solar plexis area, where we are attached to pleasure, material things, and having things go our own way; the second is in the heart area where we are attached to our emotions, certain people, our personal visions and passions; the third is in the the third eye area where a person may open and then become attached to psychic powers and attribute them to their personal identity.
So as energy moves through to change consciousness and make your energy field as open as possible, these are a few of the clearing challenges that may arise.  They can be addressed through therapy (if it is rooted in a past traumatic experience), using sounds such as the Bij mantras to open chakras, yoga postures that are for stretching and relaxing that area, meeting the pain directly with presence and love, guided imagery, acceptance and surrender and in other ways that you might intuitively discover.  Taking good basic care of the body is important in this process and releasing personal demands that life be just the way you want it -- learning to live in the flow of the river -- as the Taoists say-- is helpful.  This is why quieting the mind or at the least not being driven by thoughts, can be helpful.  Our thoughts are often focused divisively, telling us what is wrong and worrying about it, blaming us and others for it. Bring awareness down into the heart or the belly and see if you can be present more fully where you are at any moment.  This calming will support the opening of intuition which may be able to suggest some new directions to resolve those challenges in your process.

16 July 2015

Living With Kundalini Weekend Workshop

You are invited to join a small group program on 
Living and Thriving After Kundalini Awakening
with Bonnie Greenwell 

August 28, 29, and 30 in Ashland, Oregon.

LOCATION: SHANTI RIVER CENTER, 300 E, Hersey, Suite 2 Ashland Or.
HOURS: Aug 28, 7 P.M. TO 9 P.M. & 9 A.M. TO 6 P.M. AUG 29 & 30 -- 2015
$200 fee, plus you may arrange your own housing. Details to be sent on request.

Bonnie is a transpersonal psychologist and a non-dual teacher in Adyashanti's lineage who has worked with spiritual emergence and kundalini issues for over 30 years and is the author of "Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process", "The Kundalini Guide" and "The Awakening Guide" Please contact her at kundinfo@mindspring.com if you wish to register for this special program.

This valuable weekend workshop will help you understand and gain positive tools for living with the activation of kundalini energy.
The opportunities in this small group include
·      Discussing your concerns and questions with others who understand because they have had this experience.
·      Hearing both yogic science perspectives and modern interpretations of the inner revolution triggered by the kundalini process
·      Finding clarity about the function and purpose of this awakened energy
·      Learning tools for helping your mind, body and spirit live more comfortably and harmoniously with spiritual awakening.
·      Discovering the grace of fulfillment in the kundalini process.

You will be responsible for finding your own housing for this program, which is held in a charming tourist town with numerous hotels and B and B's. To fly you would come to the Medford, OR airport, 14 miles from Ashland. Information on housing and travel will be sent with registration confirmation.

08 July 2015

The Crucible of Relationship in Spiritual Emergence

So perhaps you have had a shift of energies and perspective, and you are wondering how it will impact your significant relationships. You seem to no longer be caught in old familiar patterns and you are facing non-ordinary energetic rushes, emotional clearings, internal vibrations and a sense that nothing really matters in the way it used to.  And now your partner is wondering what has happened to you and why you are changing.

There are several levels of spiritual awakenings but the two shifts that have the most challenging impact on relationship are the awakening of kundalini energy, which plunges your energetic system into many new phenomena, and the realization of consciousness in its vast and unbounded state of being the All, which transforms your understanding of who and what you are.

The shifting in energies, called kundalini awakening, changes how you feel, as it revs up and redirects subtle energies, shaking out the body, raising heat, and sending out rivulets of bliss or spasms of pain.  The subtle body is restructuring itself, releasing old contractions, moving you from one emotion to another, even triggering moments of unfathomable sadness or irrepressible joy.  Whatever you were like before this arising of kundalini you are not the way you were, and this is very disconcerting for the family and friends. In addition they may sense your energies and be uncomfortable around them, and be upset that you have lost interest in sex and socializing.  You will very likely feel that no one understands what you are going through. (This in itself is an important concept to release -- that you need to be understood.)

If you have had a spiritual realization, a sense that you are not your small identity but instead are an indescribable awareness (at least when you are living in the moment) the chances are you no longer feel needy, no longer want to carry on as if little things mattered, and no longer enjoy bonding by discussing mutual problems and practical issues around the house.  You may be drawn into nature, or meditation, prefer silence to the television or the social events, hate going into crowds and big box stores, and generally appear to be a different style of character than you were before the awakening.  Partners get alarmed when this happens.  Work may also suffer as you can't concentrate the way you used to, and care little about doing anything that seems superficial.

Although I could (and may) write a book on the many changes that might influence your relationships, for this moment I offer just a few suggestions for reorienting your life.

Understand you do not need to leave a relationship that holds value, love or meaning for you just because of these changes.  But if it is toxic, draws you into substance abuse, or feels abusive you may need to leave in order to sustain your sense of presence.  It is a false perception that someone who is enlightened ought to put up with anything.  Awakening can be a call to action as well as a call to acceptance.  In other words, you need to support your awakening by doing what feels right to you.  You need to take time to consider whether this is where you want to be -- for many reasons you may feel drawn to stay, and for others you may be drawn to go.  Just be sure if you want this relationship that you consider the following questions:
1.  How can I help my partner live more comfortably with the changes in me?

Even if you do not feel needy anymore (and many relationships are built on mutual need) you can want to be there -- because you feel respect, love, stability, partnership, mutual values related to your kids, or an opportunity to face the parts of you that are not yet awake!  Living with another brings up many hidden patterns within us that may not have shifted in the initial moment of awakening, and still need to be seen through as part of the old identifications.  If your partner senses you are no longer needy, let him or her know you want to be with them.

No matter how you feel, your partner may still need something from you.  What are you willing to give?  Let him or her know.  Be sensitive and supportive.  If you are in the energetic phase you may still need something from others -- what are you able to ask for and show appreciation for if it is given?

2. How can I speak of what is happening without using exotic and incomprehensible terms?

You can speak of the physical impact of your meditation practice being felt as energy, you can speak of mood shifts that feel a little disorienting and try to find a sense of humor about it, you can lean more toward curiosity than fear in speaking of the process, and you can be very clear that you do not need to be understood. Do not expect someone who has never experienced this to understand it.  If they are fearful it is because they care about you and want to fix it, but as you know they cannot.  This is very uncomfortable for people who believe they should fix things.  You may have to find new ways to approach asking for what you need from the relationship, and become very alert to how you can support them in adjusting to it.  Find someone to talk with that understands the experience, such as a spiritually oriented counselor or a friend on a similar journey.

3. Why is everything I used to care about falling away?

It is inevitable that old identifications and patterns collapse.  You may not have expected this when you began spiritual seeking, so now you are shocked.  But the old you was built on conditioning, defenses, distractions and memories that are no longer so relevant.  The needs of your body may be different -- for example, you may need to give up alcohol, mind-altering substances, red meat, over-stressing yourself physically or mentally,  and other patterns because you notice you feel lousy when you do them.  Your subtle and psychic energy is focused now in one direction, rising or descending through the chakras to promote healing and clearing of old beliefs, patterns, traumas and emotional wounds. Your energy field is more sensitive and picks up the fields of others more readily. Eventually in a full awakening there is a rising of internal energies (think of it as the life force) until there is a realization of your true essence, and consciousness awakens itself.  This is followed by a gradual coming alive of the body in a new way through which the transformed consciousness can be expressed.  In the process the sense of an "I" fades or becomes irrelevant and all it has been attached to gradually drops away.  The uniqueness of what you were, your preferences, and your skills are not lost but these are held more lightly.  Many relationships thrive with these changes but some cannot.  You will have to stay conscious in your relationship to help it endure, if that is what you wish.

4.  Can I use relationship to keep evolving?

Relationships with partners and families are primarily what will offer you opportunities to grow further, let go of more attachments, and develop compassion and sensitivity to the human condition.  No matter how awake you are or how distracted by the ups and downs of your spiritual emergence you are still located in a human body and human world.  Take time to lean into this as if it mattered, because to only be awake when you have escaped out of life is to only be half-free.

The heart opens when it breaks, the mind opens when it truly is present with another, and enlightenment stabilizes when you can be available to what is, free of compulsion but willing to meet the dance of creation however it is flowing for you.

When your anger or sorrow, irritability or demands, and other inconvenient emotions are triggered (after you thought they were gone forever) here is an opportunity to see what may lie still in the dregs of your unconscious waiting to be liberated. 

Relationship can be a significant part of the spiritual journey to wholeness and peace. It offers grounding.  It provides allies in the world of form and offers multiple ways of seeing into the delusions of thought.  The role of celibacy in the Indian tradition may be necessary for young men entering monastic orders, especially if they practice complex breathing and pranic energy exercises to activate energies.  However  marriages are an important aspect of life for many Buddhist masters, Sufi mystics and Cabbalists in the Jewish tradition as well as the scores or ordinary people who are awakening today.  What is important is recognizing what is right for you, and even this changes from time to time.  If you are in an awakening process it is time to recognize and honor your own autonomy by listening to your deepest Truth. Being at peace in relationship may be your final crucible.

02 July 2015

Energies of Evolution

If you are having experiences of energy winding or rolling up your spine, creating involuntary spasms, and rippling in strange ways through your body, you are possibly one of thousands each year experiencing what is known as a kundalini rising or awakening.  You may feel frightened or disoriented by this non-ordinary shift, but if you can relax with it and understand it as simply a dynamic of your own evolution it can become a treasured ally on your spiritual path.

When we understand that all of creation is formed as molecular structures, mostly space and energy manifest in a multitude of forms, it becomes easier to meet the empty/spaciousness and the enhanced vibrational energies that appear in our bodies, and face all the changes they invite.

There are many reasons people suddenly have these shifts and awakenings.  Often an intense spiritual or energy practice will open the body to the heightened energy known as kundalini by the ancient founders of the yogic system.  Sometimes an intense concentrated period may activate this sleeping power, even such innocent practices as biofeedback, meditation, prayer, love-making, or the charge projected by the touch of another person who has this awakened energy. In the thousand reports I have collected over the last 30 years many people write of spontaneous awakenings, sometimes in moments of great interior stress,  or while using plant medicines or psychedelics, or while sitting in silence at retreats.  So if you are feeling as if your energy field has jumped from 110 to 220 or even 2200 you are not alone, although unfortunately you live in a culture that is totally unprepared to understand the power and potential of this experience.

If your experience plunges you into fear and anxiety, if it explodes you into ecstasy, or if it hits the brain centers that produce imagery you will likely be afraid you are losing your mind, and if you meet up with the wrong therapeutic model others will support this interpretation.  But some part of you will know this is real and it is meaningful, even while the mind freaks out about it. If you can just be curious and open instead of afraid and contracted this will help it calm down considerably. You need to nourish the witness within you, that which is simply aware.

Kundalini energy is an aspect of your own life force.  It is what happens when the normal pranic energy field or bioenergy of the body is infused with a powerful rush of energy from the base of the spine, the feet, or occasionally pours down into the body through the top of the head.  Naturally you are startled.  Even people in spiritual communities who have longed for awakening for years can be both astonished and terrified by this new dimension of interior activity.  It was a naive assumption that spiritual awakening would be a sweet, simple release into peace and harmony and improved character and life would be forever blessed.  It is true that awakening leads ultimately to peace and harmony, but it does so by stripping away every identification we hold dear, and releasing every old bit of suffering and confusion, all of which was held in our minds, bodies and subtle energy fields.  It tries to release all stressors and heal all wounds, in the process freeing us from our assumed self image and personal history.

I have come to see kundalini as essentially a clearing out process, and then an opportunity to live from clear seeing and presence, which doesn't change the content of life itself, but profoundly impacts our relationship to it.

Whether kundalini activation is sudden and traumatic, or slow and gentle, it is almost always a factor in a full spiritual realization process.  It may initiate the process of consciousness awakening, or it may fall into place after an initial shift of consciousness into the recognition of It's true relationship with what we might call Source or Universal Consciousness, (that which cannot truly be named, but we try!)  This might be called the non-dual experience, and to the mind it might feel empty and unbounded while to the spirit it is felt as unlimited spaciousness and dissolution into the whole (or some such image).  Utimately awakening is the stable recognition of what is awake in every moment here and now, and not the dramatic experiences, visions, insights, dramas and traumas that may accompany it for awhile.  All experiences will pass.  More will appear. Life is awakeness moving through experiences. Awakening helps us to take it more lightly, to feel peaceful even when we're not, and to find beauty in the every day forms we encounter.

If you are in an energy awakening process and would like to be part of a small-group weekend workshop in Ashland, Oregon, planned Aug. 28, 29 and 30 please let me know. I offer this program once every year or two and will be happy to send you more details.  My email is kundinfo@mindspring.com. You may also find helpful my new books "The Kundalini Guide" and "The Awakening Guide", available on Amazon and Kindle.

07 June 2015

Kundalini Internet and Residential Programs Available

To Explore Kundalini and Meditation I am offering several programs this summer and Fall,
drawing from my books  "Energies of Transformation""The Kundalini Guide" & "The Awakening Guide".
Of special interest to my readers will be Living With Kundalini, available in two programs, an internet gathering or as a residential weekend in Ashland, Oregon. 
The internet program will meet the 1st and 3rd Fridays of September, October and November from 12 noon to 1:30 Pacific time.  You may join us from anywhere in the USA and Canada, and much of Europe if you make adjustments made for your time zone. The fee is $50/month for 2 sessions a month. To register email Bonnie at kundinfo@mindspring.com.  Here are the details:

This Zoom Internet program will be available to no more than 20 people who wish to learn more about the kundalini process, share information and concerns with others who are in this process, explore ways to help the process become more calm and effective, and feel less isolated in the changes they are experiencing. This will be a live meeting where you can meet others through the web who are in this awakening process.

There will be six initial sessions, each including a 30-minute talk and an hour of sharing on a video meeting hookup through Zoom. You will be given a code to connect easily into the Zoom video chat room. Zoom is free for you. Topics will include an overview of how the energy works in the subtle body, how and why awakening happens, the categories of experience that are reported in this process, the challenges and the blessings of the process, and ways to move from energy chaos into spiritual realization.   Those who wish may be paired with a partner for conversation between sessions, suggestions will be made for writing, and your questions may be submitted for shared discussion.
30 minute talk and 1 hour of sharing

If you work with people in this process and you would be interested in a second group for doctors, psychologists, LPC's and other professionals please let me know as I may set up a second series for professional training.
Aug.28, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., August 29 and 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Shanti River Center, 300 E, Hersey, Suite 2 in Ashland OR.           
$200. fee
You are invited to come to Ashland and attend a weekend workshop with Dr. Bonnie Greenwell designed to help people understand and gain positive tools for living with the activation of kundalini energy.
The opportunities in this small group include
·    Discussing your concerns and questions with others who understand because they have had this experience.
·    Hearing both yogic science perspectives and modern interpretations of the inner revolution triggered by the kundalini process
·    Finding clarity about the function and purpose of this awakened energy
·    Learning tools for helping your mind, body and spirit live more comfortably and harmoniously with spiritual awakening.
·    Discovering the grace of fulfillment in the kundalini process.

I am a licensed professional counselor with a Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology, and also a non-dual teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti.  I have specialized in and trained therapists to work with spiritual emergence issues for over 30 years. This workshop is  opportunity to understand the changes of energy that accompany awakening and meet others who are also in this process. Private sessions will also be available for an additional fee the day following this event if requested.
Ashland is a delightful town to visit with theater and a lovely park and many places to stay, including camps, hostels, hotels and many Bed and Breakfast places.  You would fly into Medford OR, about 15 miles from Ashland.and should arrange your own housing.
To register send me an email at kundinfo@mindspring.com, and I will respond with further information.
Camp Latgawa in the mountains of southern Oregon
Friday Sept.25, 10 a.m. until Sunday Sept. 27, 2 p.m.
$265 including shared room (2) and all meals
This weekend is an opportunity for silence and for deepening of your spiritual intention and  meditation practice, for self-reflection and  for falling into openness and grace. The emphasis will be on meditation, and finding inner stillness and presence.

After our initial introductions and opening Friday lunch we will hold silence  until Sunday at lunch, except for satsang sessions where you will hear dharma talks with non-dual teacher Bonnie Greenwell and be able to ask questions.  Interspersed with guided and silent meditations, there will be free time for you to journal or paint, walk the labyrinthe, hike to a waterfall, or sit for additional meditation time.  Qigong will be an option before breakfast in the morning.

This program will be held in a rustic camp and beautiful mountain setting, about an hour from Medford airport in Medford, Oregon.  You are asked to bring a sleeping bag and pillow.  We will arrange shared transportation from the airport if needed.

For further information about the camp or retreat site or to register, contact the organizer, Becky Hale, (541) 601-3084 or bec.hale4@gmail.com

Science & Non-duality Conference
       I'm pleased to be included among the speakers at the Science and Non-Duality Conference at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose next October 22- 25.  This is a great event bringing together many non-dual teachers (several from Adyashanti's lineage) with scientists from varied disciplines to explore the commonalities of our perspectives of consciousness.  For information and to read about all the speakers go to www.scienceandnonduality.org.

17 February 2015

Living With Kundalini

One of the greatest challenges for people who have activated kundalini energy is anxiety related to the odd, stressful, embarrassing and occasionally painful phenomena that may arise.  Since anxiety makes this experience more difficult, here are a few notes on ways to release the anxiety and find more balance and harmony in the midst of this process.

1. If you have a history or trauma or abuse the energy may be triggering sensations that felt invasive and painful in the past.  Emotions may arise even though you do not recall the cause. Sometimes the body stores memories that the mind does not recall.  If trauma is part of your life history find a therapist to talk through old and difficult history.

2. Make a ritual every morning for when you awaken instead of lying  in bed worrying – get up right away – and decide what would lift your spirits such as  play some music you like, take a shower, start an indoor garden with pots of flowers you tend, dance, talk to a good friend, sing, give yourself a mantra such as I am free, whole, available to love and enjoy my life– you create it.  You may feel resistance to lifting yourself out of the anxiety and have to force yourself at first, but if you want to be well you have to learn to live in a new way.  You were happy for a while so you have that capacity and you need not to let the fearful side of yourself (the pain body as Eckhart Tolle calls it) overrule you.

3. One of the truths that awakened people know is that No Thought is True! Thoughts are just neurons firing, usually based on past conditioning.  You need to question any negative or fearful thought. It is just the mind carrying you away to a place that is hurtful.  When you have a fearful thought, Can you try to bring your attention to the moment instead – that mean to bring awareness into the heart and feel your feet on the ground, look around the room and feel you are there right now, and that nothing bad is actually happening, ask what is needed right now and move into the here and now.  Put something uplifting or beautiful in each room of your house.

4.  If you do not already meditate, learn to meditate or sit in silence, bring awareness into the heart or belly. Find the natural stillness deep within.
There is a good meditation article and DVD available by adyashanti at www.adyashanti.org.

5.  If you are dealing with excessive heat avoid caffeine, spices, wine and other alcohol and honey.  You might get a book on Ayurveda that has a test you can take to tell you your body type, and see if there are food recommendations for that type.   Usually people in this process tune into their bodies to see what feels right regarding eating meat.  When you have indigestion look at what you ate that day and see if you can avoid it for awhile.
To calm heat and energy try taking a bath with Epson salts in lukewarm water, going for a walk or even a jogging run, putting attention into the heart and imagining love flowing out on the exhalation, or distracting yourself with some activity you enjoy.

Try a cooling breath – stick out tongue and curl it.  Breath in through the mouth over the tongue. Close mouth and swallow, Slowly exhale through the nose. Try this 2 or 3  times when you feel the heat.

6.. Find something to do each day that you love and  look forward to.  Experiment.  It might be art, baking something new, connecting with a special friend, a dance or gentle yoga or deep relaxation class – when energy awakens it draws us to live an authentic life – to be really true to ourselves.

7. Do not place attention on any fearful message passed on by someone else – avoid projections that are not based on deep wisdom and experience related to this process. Be careful about who you follow on the internet – if they are trying to recruit you or frighten you they are not working in your best interest.  This is not being caused by some outside energy or anything wrong you have ever done.  It is your own life force which is in a process to help you become free of your old patterns, identifications and suffering.

8. Insomnia is a common problem associated with kundalini.  There is more energy in the body and it tends to become active when you are trying to relax.
However in our culture millions of people have insomnia – mental preoccupation and worry is a major factor. Here are  a few general rules for managing  it.
Have a completely dark room.
Do not use computer, phone or electronics for two hours before bed.
No caffeine.
No sugar in evening and eat lightly at night.
Some people do find some good wholegrain bread is helpful in evening.
Count your breaths backward from 100 to 0.
Go to bed at same time each night.
If you lay awake a long time, just get up and do something else such as read a comforting or boring book for a half hour. (Or scrub the bathroom floor – this will be a disincentive for staying awake!)
Get more physical exercise.
If you are worrying about something write it down and put it aside.
Listen to a relaxation tape.  Sounds True has an insomnia set of DVDs that has general information and relaxation meditations.
Try Tranquil Sleep – a melatonin mix that is over the counter at health food stores like Whole Foods.  It’s a chewable tablet. Take it 2 hours before bedtime.
Ask your partner  to give you a food massage – or share this with him or her.

9.  Your interest in sex, food and socializing may go through radical ups and downs.  This is common during this process depending on where the energy is working.  It is a time to explore autonomy – really following your own inner guidance about what is best for you.  These ups and downs will level out eventually.

There is more guidance for people in this process in my new books The Kundalini Guide and The Awakening Guide, available on Amazon and Kindle.  This experience is a natural correlate of spiritual awakening, and as you learn to live with it you are likely to find bliss moments, and surprising insights arise.  Learn to ride the waves and come to understand what spiritual awakening is really all about.

08 December 2014

Kundalini and Awakening

Whether you have activated kundalini energy through practices, meditation, or for no logical reason you can imagine, the most important thing to know about it is that this is a passage into  a new understanding of who and what you are. Perhaps the caterpillar feels just as shocked when it finds itself in a cocoon, nor knowing it was it’s own making.

Kundalini is a sanscrit word meaning coiled, an aspect of the prana or life force in every human body that is said in yoga science to be held at the base of the spine, an invisible energy coil holding the entire energy body in stasis while we live, and freeing itself from our forms when we die.  If it erupts during our lifetime it brings about a dramatic restructuring of our energy field and our consciousness.

This transformation of energy can feel blissful in some bodies and stressful or terrifying in others.  How we experience the changes depends to a great extent on how psychologically open and flexible we are, how traumatic or unhealthy our previous lives have been,  whether we have old injuries or toxins that need to be released from our systems, whether we have an understanding or spiritual support in our lives, and many other factors.  It helps if we know some techniques to balance and release energy, release stress from our lives and we learn how to take good care of our bodies.

Kundalini can feel  stuck in various parts of the body as it works to undo old conditioning or heal wounds, physical or psychological.  It can cause shaking, jerking,  vibrations, heat flashes, itching, tingling, appetite shifts, insomnia, mood swings and many other strange symptoms.  Since many of these conditions can also be signs of other issues or illnesses it is useful to consider factors that can be the source of a sudden arising of  kundalini energy. Usually a first arising is noticed, either as a dramatic force of geyser-like power moving up, or a swirling rolling movement through the body, or a sudden forceful rising from the base into the belly, heart or throat area. More rarely it opens through the entire body and seems to pour out of the crown of the head. Or it can be a steady jerking unlike anything you have felt before.

Usually kundalini awakens following energy or meditation practices, done seriously and consistently for a long period of time. It can also follow a near-death experience or a traumatic emotional loss in which you go the depths of  grief or despair.  It can arise when there is great devotion to a spiritual being, or while being  enraptured by chanting or focusing on inner sound.  Sometimes contact with another person with active kundalini will cause it to stir and activate.  It may happen following a profound shift of awareness, where you  momentarily do not feel your self to be your old identity, but rather detached awareness, presence, no one in particular or part of everything.

Kundalini is the subtle energy accompaniment to the shifts in conscious awareness that are known as Self-realization.  We are molecular structures infused with awareness, with consciousness that moves through these structures and moves our thoughts, feelings, sensations, knowledge and understanding from one point to another.  We have come to be identified as the condition of our body and mind – a certain race, sex, nationality, family style, medical history, education and emotional conditioning. Some of these characteristics are in our DNA, and many are part of our learned identity, formed of the particular opportunities and experiences we  have accumulated.  We each have a unique identity and it feels very separate from everyone else’s.

All of these aspects of identity are invisible, known to us as thoughts and flows in our energy body.  (No one will ever find your identity in an autopsy.) It’s as if we are a computer shifting all of this data around.  When kundalini opens and begins to move through the system it is challenging and disorienting,  as it clears away much of our identity,  opening our body to a different kind of experience, one we might call prior to identification.  It will eventually lead us to know ourselves as awareness without identity, which is a knowing that feels eternal in nature, and free of the stuck patterns in our history.  It can be very frightening to feel something in us letting go of us.  In western cultures we tend to believe this must be a sign of mental illness, but when kundalini is the catalyst it is a sign of spiritual awakening.

You will not lose your ability to know who you are, or how to behave, or where you live.  You will likely lose your attachment to it, and to anything in your life that is not wholly authentic for you.  So if you are in a toxic relationship, a job you hate, or a lifestyle that is not serving you these things will press upon you until you change. (It is a myth that if you are spiritually awake you can tolerate anything).  On the other hand, whatever arrives in your life for you to deal with you will address with more dispassion and clarity, whether it be change, illness, or loss.  Awakeness is simply being present where you are without resistance, but with greater clarity about how to respond.

Awakening does not mean you will have no moral compass.  It is just a different frame of reference – based on what is needed, and the understanding all of us humans are One in this creation together.  It becomes literally painful to steal, lie or harm another.  If you hold on to those types of old patterns you simply lose the awakeness and sink into a much darker place.  This is possible.  More than a few so-called spiritual teachers have succumbed to it.

You can’t use awakening to enhance the ego, and keep the awakening.  The part of you that will grasp to be someone special is not the true nature but the egoic nature, and if it gains a foothold you will be caught in a half-way world like limbo, having the energy and awareness to touch a few people but without any sense of an inner stability, and lacking  the clarity, love and compassion to help you navigate wisely in the world.  I do not believe such guides are internally at peace for if the egoic mind is ruling the life this is just is not possible.  The true nature known in the awakened state is at peace with itself and the world.  It is a natural relationship.  It feels pain when physically ill, and sadness over losses and the great disasters mankind brings upon itself, but it does not linger.  It knows how empty human preoccupations are and how spacious and limitless consciousness is.  It knows we are This.

So eventually if you have awakened kundalini this is where it is trying to go.  Along the way you may experience fear, challenge, beauty, joy, greater vitality, exhaustion, feeling out-of-your-body, and returning into a new enlivened relationship with it. Almost anything can happen.  It helps to trust the process, to see fear as only a random energy you need not put attention on, to take good care of your body, to find ways to be more grounded, to be willing to know yourself as energy and spirit, to sit in stillness or in nature every day.

I hope if you are in this process you will check out my two new books “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide”, self-help books based on conversations with many other people just like you.  When I first wrote about kundalini there was no web, and only obscure books spoke of it.  Today it is popping up all over the web. Not everything you read on the web will be accurate. Do not let it frighten you, and do not run off and join a cult.  Listen to your heart and gut and rest in the truth within yourself, and do what you must to support your life in this amazing and fortunate process.

If you have questions this blog is a place to ask them.  Please include your age and any spiritual or energy practices along with your question as it helps me better understand why you may be having the symptoms you describe.