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.

02 September 2014

When Kundalini Arises

When kundalini energy arises there can be bliss and chaos as the body adjusts to a new vibration.
To the extent you can relax and let go into the energy it is likely to feel better and be less troublesome, but the truth is the function of kundalini is to clear out all the old debris of your history, so any unfinished emotional or psychological issues are going to arise to be made conscious and resolved.

When an initial arising moves all the way through the body there can be great joy and ecstasy and an altered world view that makes you feel completely at one with the world.  This is an experience that will pass in a few hours or a few days, and most people feel confused and sad when they return to the felt sense of the former self. This energy is not about becoming high and joyful and staying there.  It is about transformation. Just as any reconstruction begins with a deconstruction, so does personal transformation.

The activation of kundalini is an invitation to awaken to your true nature, that which lies beneath the psychological self you have constructed since birth to fit in and cope with the life you were given.  Each of us has a unique set of circumstances because our history varies, but whatever is held in the body/mind will be subject to this transformation process, until at some point consciousness is able to be known in its primal and original form, as the vast and empty spaciousness in which all is one potential.

We cannot make this happen because the "I" that would try to manage it is not able to go along on this journey.  The I we believe ourselves to be is a collection of assumptions, beliefs, feelings, impressions, opinions and memories that are in continual movement (chances are you do not think now the way you did at age 5 or age 20, because more data is in the system an old patterns died). "I" is a verb, not a noun, not a concrete and immovable object.  It is a sense that holds a collection.  This is greatly challenged in an awakening process and so you feel unstable, uncertain, and sometimes afraid of how you are changing. You are entering into a mystery, where perceptions change, emotions can be erratic, and you often feel unfamiliar to yourself.  But along with this can be great waves of love, blissful sensations, insights, and moments of stillness and peace.  A few people may hear an inner voice that says something like "Peace be with you" or "This is all okay". Just remember that all that arises passes on, and that the reason that most of what arises happens is so that you can see through it and realize -- oh this too is not what I am.

Learn to be present in the moment where you are and not dwell on old patterns and memories. Learn to bring energy into the heart which will deepen the sense of appreciation and gratitude for the present moment. Learn to accept with equanimity what you were in the past with all its shadow and challenges and be curious instead of afraid about who you are becoming. Don't let the mind jump to conclusions.  Ask it to relax and just see what happens instead of projecting possible scenarios.

Consider moving more from intuition and from the heart rather than the old ways of decision making. Take care of your body and stay in alignment with your deepest truth and authenticity. These are the ways to support the process and eventually return into a lasting presence and inner peace.

25 August 2014

Kundalini: Fascination & Resistance, Control & Letting Go



Question from a Seeker:
I’ve been spiritually seeking for a number of years and one thing that really seems to bother me is this fascination with Kundalini. I was fascinated with these Kundalini sensations because of the orgasmic oneness and union that accompanied them.  Recently I'm also interested in working on my humanness and cleaning up all the messes associated with that. I am less interested in mystical states of permanent bliss or unity. The problem is that my ego/mind has started tempting me to have Kundalini experiences and I’ve been feeling this energy in my body (particularly in my face area), which is difficult to avoid. When I follow this energy and try to keep my mind concentrated on it for too long, I get panicked and it feels like my body is going to explode/die if I continue, so instinctively I stop and try to move on. But the energy keeps interfering with my ability to enjoy life and to live freely. This seems to be the main thing that keeps the ego sense of me alive and well (the other thing is probably a fear of utter despair and depression at seeing my illusions shattered,) I recently found that if I stop trying to control these energies I feel better.  Is it better to just let them happen or to try to stop or manage them?

Response:
Kundalini is the life force experienced as a subtle energy running through the body and you are right in your discovery that the easiest way to live with it is to relax and let it move as it seems to want to.  Usually if you just lay down on a bed when it starts it will shake you up for awhile as it removes stresses out of the system and opens up stuck areas in the body, and then it stops after a few minutes, or feels just like a quiet hum or vibration the rest of the time.  It can feel blissful (but won't always) when you let it move and cause a lot of discomfort if you contract against it.  It can also be scary when it is intense but if you can substitute curiosity and openness for fear it will go much better for you. It is not especially useful to concentrate on it or try to intensify it, much better to kind of shrug it off and wonder what the energy might be trying to clear out now (you won't often know).

It is also very useful to clean up any "messes" in your life, practically speaking.  Stress, toxic habits and relationships, stuck anger and resentment and other divisive personal issues give the subtle body lots of issues to work out and make energy releases, emotional upheavals and even pain more challenging in this process. Think of kundalini as trying to make you very open and free internally, keeping all your channels open, and having to clear out any negativity or suffering that is in the way.

Other than "cleaning up your life," the ego, which is just your mind identifying with your thoughts about it, needs to let go of trying to control this or any other aspects of the spiritual process. You are new to this process and it is here to support shifts and changes in consciousness that will allow consciousness to awaken to itself -- there is nothing in it for the ego, which is why resistance comes up. If you are on a spiritual path and do regular silent sitting or meditation or even prayers of gratitude, this will further support an awakening.  If you are doing lots of energy practice, using drugs or following shamanic, breathwork or other intense practices you may raise more energy than you want to handle and more mental confusion along with it.  You might get some value from reading my two new books "The Kundalini Guide" and "The Awakening Guide" that are designed to help people understand and support the awakening process.  You might benefit from listening to the talks at www.adyashanti.org as Adya is a wonderful teacher of awakening. This process will interfere with your fun-loving life and ultimately demand you align yourself with the most authentic and natural path within you.

You will learn to find peace and happiness within, but first any beliefs and illusions that contradict what is true will be challenged until you see them clearly enough to let them go. 

The longing of the heart to know truth or know "Who I am" or know God -- however you would phrase the longing that has drawn you into spiritual practice -- is an important aspect of awakening.  Trust that rather than your thoughts about what it means.  It is a mystery just how we awaken and what we discover, one the mind cannot grasp.

It is rare for someone to stop this process, although occasionally it will stop temporarily if the major stressors and preoccupations of living become overwhelming.  But learning to understand and support it make it a lot less challenging and open up more opportunity to find bliss and joy as the body and spirit become more open and alive.   

20 August 2014

When Energies Arise


When the energies of kundalini first arise many people do not recognize them as an accompaniment to the process of spiritual realization.  These energies curling up the spine or raising heat and jerks and strange body movements sometimes occur during meditation, or following yoga or Qigong or breathwork, and even happen spontaneously without any discernable trigger activity.  Even in those who are doing practices that encourage spiritual awakening they are often not recognized for what they are -- the subtle energy field clearing away stress and old patterns and opening channels for the awakening of consciousness.

Our bodies are our vehicles for consciousness and awareness to experience itself in the flow and experiences of the human condition.  The life force caught hold as we were conceived and moves through us throughout our lives. This force is both energy and consciousness and when we awaken spiritually it intensifies and expands and shifts our perception and experience of what we are and how creation appears. This shift is called awakening in non-dual circles.

It can take months and years for a kundalini process to mature, as the energy may wind slowly through the body, rise and fall intermittently, and flush out emotional, physical and psychic issues that have been dormant or repressed.  So it is disruptive and frightening for some people.  The fear is often because of the strangeness and the unfamiliarity of the random movements and experiences.

Fear creates contraction and this promotes more releasing of stress, so the sense of difficulty can be increased.  I suggest if this is happening to you that you substitute the energy of curiosity for fear, and relax into what is happening, as this can help the releasing in the moment to pass through more quickly. Fear is just a thought followed by energy.  It will not serve you in this process.

Although for some people kundalini awakening is primarily gentle or energetically blissful, it can be challenging for others to accept and live with the challenges of this process, and nearly impossible to make it stop once the energy has opened as far as the throat chakra. Before then stopping all energy and spiritual practices, eating root vegetables and protein, or doing grounding practices like gardening may help the energies calm down a bit. There can be brief energy releases that are known as prana-tattva (in yogic science) that happen only once or rarely -- this is a release of a blockage or stress held in the body and are not the same as kundalini arising. If the energy stops completely it was originally not a full activation but just the preliminary pranic releases.

If you are in the throes of this experience you may find my books  The Kundalini Guide or The Awakening Guide helpful as they were written for  those who need to understand the changes that support spiritual awakening and offer methods that help it happen with less confusion and discomfort.   Yes, awakening brings bliss and insight and an internal sense of being love -- but for this to happen everything that is not so peaceful needs to be released.  If you have longed to know Truth or what is God or what this human existence is about and followed spiritual practices to get there, you need to learn to accept with equanimity the process of transformation.

07 August 2014

The Power of Kundalini


There are many myths associated with the awakening of kundalini energy.  Some people expect to receive extraordinary powers, heal all illnesses, or live eternally if they are able to stimulate the full arising of this energy. They may also think they can fly, walk through walls, and communicate usefully with other dimensions. But in meeting with 2000 people over the years who have awakened kundalini I have never seen these kinds of conclusions.
           
In a small number of people there may be the emerging of psychic or healing capacities, but I have met psychics and healers with no known memory of a kundalini awakening, so kundalini is not essential to these powers.  I believe that certain capacities of the brain or energy field are activated as the energy moves through them that awaken these abilities. Some people will feel a connection to their lineage, or teachers who offer helpful guidance at times, who appear other-dimensional. A few may see visions or struggle temporarily with an apparent entity, but this is rare and often related to trauma in their histories or to practicing occult arts. Those who are reported to fly have learned extreme bouncing techniques that make the body temporarily weightless in obscure yoga systems (I saw such yogis in a video once and it did not seem a very valuable talent for everyday life!)  Most who discover these periods of having new "powers" find they fade away over time. For a few they become a new expression in their lives.

A more realistic vision of this energy is to consider the rumors as metaphor.   Kundalini initiates a healing within by clearing away the debris of false perspectives, negative conditioning, and self-images that are illusionary.  It opens the psyche to healing itself of old wounds and relieves the body of the stressors of contraction.  It makes it possible to remember your true and unconditioned nature, the essence of which does live eternally. It annihilates the mind's preoccupation with fantasy and irrelevance.  The extraordinary gift of spiritual awakening is the return to a natural life, one that is embodied with openness and peace, and the ability to respond to what arises without the angst and drama created by the conditioned mind. One can become more awestuck by the beauty of simple things, more compassionate without the entanglement of suffering, and more relaxed about life and death. This may improve creativity, authenticity, health and longivity. This is the freedom we call happiness or peace.

Kundalini arises in response both to energetic shifts in the body and to a deep longing of the spirit or consciousness to know Truth or God or simply to end personal suffering.  It cannot be forced or passed on by someone else, except in rare cases where the individual is very ripe for awakening.  But energy processes, yoga, Qigong, meditation, being with another who has awakened energy, and a sincere desire to open the heart all can play a part in awakening by making us grace-prone (as Adyashanti has labeled the readiness for awakening). Kundalini is said  by yogis to be curled energy at the base of the spine holding our pranic energy flows in stasis, and when it unwinds itself through the body it triggers many changes in both the sensations and the consciousness, leading one gradually into a transformation of perspective and functioning in the world. The writer Stu Sovatsky, who also worked with kundalini for many years, compares this to a second puberty. Like the first, where we begin and where we end is unpredictable, and the process can be challenging.

If you long for spiritual realization the awakening of kundalini is useful and probably unavoidable, whether it is a gentle or an intense and overwheming process. To the extent you can relax and be present with whatever it offers it will move forward into its natural conclusion.

If you need to know more you might enjoy my new books  The Kundalini Guide and The Awakening Guide (av. at www.amazon.com) where I have mapped the territory as best I can and intend to provide a vision and support for the changes sure to come.

30 July 2014

Kundalini, Consciousness and Yoga

Many people enter into kundalini yoga practices with the idea it will make them healthier, more attractive, more alive energetically.  These can be gifts of this or other form of yoga, which are ancient practices that make the body more limber and the spirit more peaceful.  But for some these yogas will also open up the potential for the deconstruction and transformation of the identity with the personal self.  This may sound appealing to a few, but it can actually be very challenging and disorienting because in can uproot all your beliefs, defenses, and ways of looking at life, and also trigger massive energy releases, and unfamiliar feelings and sensations.

If your life is not aligned with Truth this awakening of kundalini can change your lifestyle radically. It is not commonly understood that a full realization of who we are and a remembrance of ourselves as "nothing" and "All" does not result in an improvement in the "personal" self but a dissolution of attachment to that "self". It is not as if you forget who you have been, but you begin to see the world and your human-ness through new eyes, to stop arguing with the world and all its foibles and disasters, and to live in response to the moment around you -- in the NOW, as Eckart Tolle has pointed out.  This shift does not come easily for most people, but is a gradual movement that requires consciousness of how thoughts move to entrap us into identity every day. Many feel awake and open occasionally, and irritated to be trapped in old patterns the next moment. To the extent we are flexible and committed to awakening not only our energy, but our consciousness, we can learn to flow with the ups and downs, the emergence of repressed memories, and the changes in our lives. It is useful to enter this process with appreciation for the gift of life and who you are because the overlay of self-criticism or fear of the world will inhibit your ability to become the free spirit you actually are. Our essence, and our participation in the fullness of the human experience is a great gift not to be discarded as we feel the wonder of simple beingness that plays beneath the surface.

The true function of kundalini awakening is to prepare our energy field to become open and available to the realization of Truth, to the sensate and energetic knowing of our participation in all that exists.  It initiates a journey and a passage way beyond good health and longevity (which are not guaranteed in a physical form, but inevitable for the spirit.)

Having just published "The Awakening Guide" and "The Kundalini Guide" on Amazon I seem to be on a writing binge right now so I'm putting out articles often on my Awakened Living blog at shantiriver.wordpress.com, sending articles to various e-zine sites, am learning to use twitter, and linked-in more efficiently. I hope my words reach those who need them -- those on this journey to self-realization. Please pass them forward to anyone who needs to know.  My websites hold many basics but I hope to keep updating on the blogs. Comment and question where you can if it feels useful to you.

16 April 2014

Dear Readers,
As you may have noticed this blog has not been updated for many months, but I am back now and with great news.  I just published a NEW BOOK  on amazon.com and Kindle  called "The Kundalini Guide"!  It is based on my 25 year experience of doing assessments for over 2000 people who have awakened kundalini energy.  It will be available in print by the end of the April 2014 and as an e-book by April 25.  A second book "The Awakening Guide" is on its way.  I have been working with these two books for over five years and hope they will be the kind of companion and support that people in a spiritual awakening process need.  There are many issues that arise and are usually a surprise to those who pursue self-realization.  These include psychological and emotional upheavals, energetic phenomena, non-ordinary moments of expansion or emptiness or visions -- almost anything may arise and not many spiritual communities have the knowledge to help people move through them.  I hope these books will offer the insight and general guidance that lead to the awakening of Self (as it is known in Advaita Vedanta) or True Nature (as the Buddhists call it).  This awakening is really a remembering, it is an opening of our inner recognition of Oneness with everything, and the possibility of seeing our life and our world through the eyes of pure consciousness or presence.  This is a life-altering event that frees us from the constrictions of our conditioning, and allows us to live spontaneously in the flow of our life experiences. Kundalini is the energetic aspect of awakening, that prepares our subtle body for this awakened consciousness.  I hope you read my books and comment on Amazon or your own blogs if they are useful to you, and if they awaken more questions for you please send them to my blog, which I will be updating each week.

Another announcement!  I am offering a weekend workshop on Living With the Kundalini Process in Ashland OR on May 9, 10 and 11, 2014.  It will be a small group for learning and sharing.  If you wish to join us please contact me at kundinfo@mindspring.com and I will send you further information.
Blessings to all of you !

29 March 2013

Kundalini: An Invitation to Truth


Kundalini arising is an invitation,  truly a doorway, into knowing what you are, and realizing or remembering the true nature of existence.  This is why the energy is called divine.  It is the energy of the source of life that enabled you to exist as part of creation, and when it activates it is possible for consciousness to shift in such a way that it recognizes its true nature.  It shows you that you are not the thoughts in your head, and patterns in your life that you previously identified with.  

Some people have a glimpse of  the infinite, the truth that consciousness exists beyond any boundary, long before they have a kundalini arising. They are given a hint about who they are. It may change their life, or it may pass through as simply an unusual moment, never forgotten but never taken to heart. But most people seem to have the arising of this energy of the life force known as kundalini, prior to the awakening of consciousness. It supports them in becoming Self-realized.  It invites them into awareness of the infinite.

Naturally kundalini energy is frightening to the mind of many people, because it challenges our belief in the uniqueness of our own identity, and it  is beyond the understanding  and the cultural perspective of  the mind.  It feels sometimes as if you are losing your mind and your  understanding of who you are, it disrupts and reorganizes your energy field, and it may even cause physical discomfort as it moves through areas of your body that have latent physical issues or  stored emotional content. It can look and feel "weird" and if the body has experienced physical or sexual abuse, or traumatic emotional and physical events, it can cause the release of the old memories and sensations held in the contracted energy field.  So for some people this awakening is a more challenging event than for others.

You might think of kundalini awakening as a clearing process that is designed to enable an open, clear and compassionate perspective of life and death, and to feel the essential bliss and connectedness of all things. In some people it also powerfully opens the heart to love.  For these transformations to happen all the thoughts, points of view, memories and stored traumas in the body need to be released.  You cannot do this yourself.  It is done through you by the energy, in its own timing.   If you have done clearing through therapy or body work in the past this can be useful, because there is less "stuckness" in the old conditions and more acceptance of letting things go.  And usually with therapy one learns to release self-judgement, which is an important prerequisite in this process of awakening to what you really are.

Our true nature has no judgment and no resistance to life. Waking up is not an abandonment of life as it is, but an expansion, so that consciousness sees the inner-connectedness, the oneness, underneath all the diversity of expression in the world.  Without judgment there is still a responsiveness, a deep feeling can move through related to compassion for the suffering in the human condition, and action can emerge spontaneously, the form having great variations among different people. Great laughter and joy can arise in seeing clearing how we have missed the truth for so many years ,and ignored the clear evidence of our own eternal consciousness. Even in the joy we can still feel strong compassion for the confusion that all humanity shares. 

Unfortunately, not everyone who awakens kundalini will awaken to Truth.  There are many cul-de-sacs in the process caused by cultural and community biases and ignorance of the process, fear of the unknown (which one must enter without reservation at some point), the tendency to regress into self-doubt, or attachment to old patterns of being that are not released.  One needs to learn to listen to their deepest inner truth, to take care of their physical and emotional needs, to surrender completely to the energy flow,  to be willing to love unconditionally -- one is invited into many experiences the mind might resist.  Some people feel like they may be losing their sanity or even their life.   There are many fear-based stories about kundalini which sometimes amplify these doubts and fears.  And there are risks to health if one is pushing the process, continues using recreational drugs, or ignores basic health habits.  It helps to have some objective support and guidance in case you become inflated, disoriented or overwhelmed by emotional shifts. (all of which may happen for limited periods of time). It helps to have a spiritual orientation and basic self-respect and love.

Some people are concerned because their financial situation does not support them and they feel unable to work.  It is helpful if one has a lifestyle and workstyle that are compatible for their spiritual life, that sustains them through these transitional times.  If this is not available they can only seek inner wisdom to find a way through life support by using available food pantries and community dinners, volunteering  service in a meaningful way,  living in yogic communities, or returning to families for help.  In most cases if one is unable to hold their regular job, a small amount of work that feels aligned with one's true capacity is helpful.  The body/mind will benefit from some kind of focus and balance during this awakening.  This is not about abandoning the body/mind or the personal life you have been given, only giving up identification with it as "all" you are. You are still obligated to care for it.

Poverty during a kundalini process may be no worse than poverty for a myriad of other reasons.  For hundreds of  years Zen monks who sought awakening chose poverty, although they were in a community that respected this option and helped to feed them. I cannot say why one person is thrown into this situation and others are not -- some might say it was a choice from a previous life, or a piece of karma to be finished, or a teaching about a certain perspective of life, or a pattern or belief that needs to be relinquished.  It may be caused by apparent outside circumstances, (all of us can find societal reasons), or for psychological reasons, but it is your mind that attaches a  personal meaning to it.


I was once in a workshop with a nurse who reported a very traumatic childhood including early rape and pregnancy, prostitution, drug addiction and living on the streets before her world shifted  in her twenties and she was able to move into school and a career.  As I felt into the trauma of that life and youth what I saw was that she went through that so that I would not have to.  Each of us fills a spot in a massive and eternal mosaic of life experience.  There is no ultimate reason or why explaining why some have such difficulties -- it is just so.  Humanity is still in an evolutionary stage, and has not yet embraced unilateral kindness and health.  There is suffering and we all are part of it.  Waking up will only make it better.  Kundalini arising, and its  greatest gift,  a clear perception of the nature of existence and the releasing of our identification with thoughts that cause suffering will, as the Buddha said, wake up the world (a piece at a time).

If you are  truly in this process it will not let you go (although you can resist endlessly) and keep inviting you into your deepest potential for knowing Truth.

05 February 2013

Dear Readers,

I have not been very constant in my attention to this blog, but it seems in one place or another I have already said so much about the kundalini process.  Please go to my websites www.kundaliniguide.com or www.awakeningguide.com if you want more in-depth information.  Someone asked who my webhost was and it is ixwebhosting.com.
I usually recommend people who have had a kundalini experience also go to the website www.adyashanti.org for an understanding of what it means to wake up spiritually, because there is  a profound shift in perspective and in how one sees the world and oneself when there is a glimpse of the Truth that comes with awakening, and there can be a time when many adjustments are happening.  The nondual teacher, Adyashanti, has the most clear and helpful wisdom regarding awakening that I know of, and although he does not speak much of energy he deeply understands the awakening of consiousness that people are invited into when their kundalini energy activates.
Kundalini is the energy of consciousness, our own life force.  When it activates it seems to cause a clearing process, where our internal wiring is being undone and reworked.  In practical terms we could say all our old ways of thinking, our convictions, hang-ups, fears, self-image are being stripped away. If there are toxins in the body from drugs and alcohol they seem to need to shake themselves out along with fears, stress and darkness.

The energy is attempting to turn over and release all the old holding and memories that cause us to be unavailable to fully live in the moment, in the NOW of life.  Consciousness is attempting to be open and free of the illusory separate self. It is as if the intention is to live in the simplicity, stillness and wonder of each moment, without all the mental clutter that dominates most of our lives.  It is not that thinking is no longer available, but it is less clouded by all the personal doubts, assumptions, judgements and fears that our personal sense of  "me" seems to carry. When we step away from our separate self and rest, even momentarily, in the openness and presence that is prior to thought, our consciousness and our energy begins a change that can lead us ultimately to a stable inner peace.
But just as it has taken decades, perhaps even lifetimes, to create all these assumptions about what we are, it can take a long time for these to fall away, and for every part of us to wake up to our true nature.  This is one reason that the phenomena that come with kundalini awakening is challenging for many people.  It is not an easy thing to let drop all the assumptions and belief structures we have wired into our system since birth.  It is disconcerting to consider we do not know what we are or what we will be like if these old patterns fall away.  There can be moments when the mind is clouded and old emotions are flowing through us spontaneously.  It takes what might be called a stability of spirit, a trust in the emptiness, a willingness to just be present with what is while at the same time taking good care of our body and our basic needs as best we can, during this period of transition.  It is important to be present in the world rather than just escaping it, but not to be caught in mental judgements about it.  Look for the beauty and miracles of living.  Move back out of thought long enough to see what it is that is observing thought, what your essence is if you do not believe that thought or take it on right now. Can you tolerate the stillness that you are? can you bring awareness into the heart and see the world from a new perspective? This energy is about transformation and it is neutral, that is, a potential of human experience inherent in each physical body, just as oxygen is part of air. It creates and destroys what is ready to be transformed.   We are not in charge of it but we can be in right relationship with it.















25 July 2011

Dear Anonymous

Kundalini is the life current. Or we might say the life force. When it intensifies or awakens itself our subtle body goes through many changes. Sometimes it happens after years of preparation and other times it is a spontaneous awakening. Sometimes it triggers shifts in consciousness that might appear to be depersonalization or a lack of personal identity.

You ask why anyone would want this. People who long for self realization have no control over the longing. It may happen before or after the activation of kundalini. It is like The sexual drive It simply arises at a certain stage of life in some people. Others never become interested and have a passion or focus or other things. It is not the ego that wants self-realization. It is the deep true Self wanting to be liberated from the contractions of the conditioned persona that a person carries, which is usually the cause of unnecessary suffering. Some say they want to end suffering. Some feel a need to know if there is a God or they are wanting to know the meaning of life. Most spiritual seekers do not realize the depth of the deconstruction that spiritual awakening brings, and the true nature of surrender, until they are very deeply engaged in the process It can move from great transcendence and bliss and joy to a feeling of falling apart very quickly. It is not a mistake when this happens. It is the just the way it works for most people

If you have seen clearly that you are not the separate self but are the life force or universal source or spirit (whatever you might call this which is unnamable), and know you are only wearing the cloak or playing the role of a human identity, the mind might react with terror or sadness or some other emotion to pull you back into old patterns. This understanding is very threatening to the ego structure. Some people feel pulled back and forth for years between old patterns of identification and experiences of pure consciousness

There is no question that when awakening happens there can be a loss of drive and of interest in the things you used to enjoy and identify with. This is a very common concern. It is like a whole layer of who we are just falls away. Most people have to find their way into a new way to live. It helps to remember to just be in the moment with what is with consciousness and heart rather than thought. It helps to get out into nature or to explore a few activities you feel drawn to. It helps to set an intention of living in a way that feels intuitively authentic for you and give up concerns about what other people think. You may realize that how you see the world is not the way the mainstream of our society sees it and this can feel lonely to the mind, so it helps to find community and read teachings by those who share your perspective. You can reenter society, work, school, and old activities but you may not feel as engaged in these things as you did in the past. If something feels important or right to do you can learn to consciously lean in and do it even if there is an underlying detachment. This feels better than complete lack of involvement in life. If you do this you will eventually find those activities that are a good fit for you. It is like learning anything. You can learn how to live with life and enjoy other people even though you feel somewhat uninvolved. You can find joy and compassion and curiosity and love in new and unexpected ways, especially if you are just present in the moment with what is! If you can allow your heart to be open, eventually there can be a deep relaxation in just being who you are with no concern for an image and the end of a running dialogue in your head about what you should or shouldn't be.

Often those who go through these changes need to be more grounded, more fully present in their bodies. You can use your intuition about how to eat but it is very helpful not to use intoxicants or drugs and to be sure you get enough protein. You may feel inclined to be vegetarian but if so plan a healthy diet with protein it. Your general health and any challenging issues with digestion may require dietary changes everyone is different in this regard so I cannot make specific suggestions. If you have concerns you might see an Ayurvedic practitioner who can look at your body type and energy and tell you specific suggestions for balance. If there is a lot of energy you may feel extremes of hunger or no appetite at all for a while. There are numerous variations in what the body wants and needs at this time. If the energy is very intense some yogis recommend drinking warm milk with sugar and ghee in it, saying this is a calming drink, certain herbs and oils help with calming the energy down and some yogic asanas are useful for stretching and opening the body so that the energy becomes more harmonious. Many people feel a need to avoid stressful and crowded environments, at least temporarily

You may feel you have had an experience you would like to avoid, feeling you had no true desire for it. But in fact something drew you to the practices that triggered it Even though the result was not what you had thought it would be. You can try to reenter your old life or you can look for the teachings that will confirm your experience and support a new kind of life. You can see the experience as a great blessing and a gift of insight meant to happen in this life or you can put it on a back burner and see it only as a passing phase. Often spiritual growth takes place in spurts and a deep experience is followed by some years of ordinary living and then another leap happens later in life. I would say that is how it was for me, with several distinct stages between the ages of 28 and 60. Everyone has a unique journey in this process that is really only leading us back to our Self, which we come to see was here all along.

You might find the writings of Adyashanti ( esp. “Falling Into Grace” or “The End of Your World”), or Jeff Foster (“An Extraordinary Absence”)helpful. Both had awakenings as young men and describe their way of finding how to move in the world through their writings.

16 July 2011

Dear Anonymous,
I can't say if this is kundalini without knowing a lot more about you. But generally kundalini energy begins by what feels like an eruption of energy moving up the spine or from the feet and causing involuntary body movements. You are experiencing shifts of consciousness, which are often experienced in what is called "awakening" where one begins to experience themselves as pure consciousness and realize that everything is this, and where the boundaries seem to dissolve. This also happens sometimes when people use hallucinigins like LSD or mushrooms, or pot. Some people experience it in a way that is called disassociation by therapists, and this is a psychological condition that especially occurs when someone is under a lot of stress or anxiety or unconsciously wanting to avoid something that is difficult to face. It happens often to children who are being physically or sexually abused. And a few people just naturally tend to experience it. (These are kids who are called day-dreamers in school or who seem not quite present in their life). If these kinds of issues are up for you it might be wise to speak with a counselor or therapist. If not, and the experience is an aspect of spiritual awakening, perhaps if you stop doing any concentration practices and you get more grounded in the world -- making sure you eat well, avoid intoxicants or drugs, spend time walking in nature, doing physical activity i.e. sports or dancing, the phenomena may stop or become less frequent. Since it is already fading away I think there is a good chance it will pass, at least for the time being. However, in many cases once kundalini activates it does not stop moving through the body and one feels tingling, vibration, involuntary movements and other odd experiences at least occasionally. These do not harm you but they feel disorienting until you get used to them. You are also experiencing what yogis call sense withdrawal, where you do not feel clearly the sensations in your body. This is experienced when yogis do certain types of breathing and concentration practices and is part of the path of some yogas which lead to the realization of Self as pure consciousness.

Since you are young and starting school and since your experience is more about shifts of consciousness than energy events it seems possible you can move out of this experience if you just put your attention on other things. This is called "grounding". Getting more in touch with your body connected to the earth!

You ask where this is going. Ultimately a spiritual awakening leads to a felt sense of being in the world but not of it, although paradoxically knowing the body/mind as part of nature. It's a sense of being a spirit embodied. It opens up compassion and appreciation of beauty and love as well as an acceptance of what is. In the end it makes you feel kind of empty and quiet inside and this feels very free and open. But it usually dulls the drives and egoic motivations that are so much a part of western culture, and pulls one more toward a spontaneous and intuitive life lived in the moment. This experience happened very suddenly for Tolle, who I am very familiar with. But he was an older person at the time with his schooling behind him. Almost everyone else I have ever met or spoken to have spent years in this process, after awakening, and only gradually coming into a natural and comfortable life. If you feel you want spiritual direction and awakening at this time in your life I recommend you connect with the website www.adyashanti.org, as Adya is a teacher who speaks very clearly about the process of awakening in ordinary life. His books and tapes could be very helpful. These changes are much easier to deal with when you let go of fear and just see them as part of your own growth process; in the way that going through puberty changes you, so does the awakening of energy and consciousness.
If you want the experience to stop, the most useful things you can do are to take good care of your body , learn more about spiritual awakening, get involved in things that interest you, and stop doing any practices that seem to make you uncomfortable. You might try working in a garden or on cars, or baking bread -- concrete, sensate experiences. If you want to follow this new spiritual direction the suggestions are the same but you may also want to learn a little yoga (telling the teacher you need to ground!) and learn to relax with the process, substituting curiousity for fear.
I wish you well on your journey. Bonnie

13 July 2011

No matter how our health and spirituality function, even when we are perfectly well, struggling with poverty makes life more difficult. But certainly in the east many who have spiritual awakenings are very poor, and live as sadhus moving among ashrams or living on the streets. This activation of energy is about the transformation of consciousness and the opening of the body into a very simple and natural relationship with nature and life. Rather than the external life, it is more about an inner process that has the potential to make someone more okay with how things are, more attuned to the flow of life as it is, more peaceful. It is the mind that struggles and rages with the inequities of life. This process is trying to pull one into a part of themselves that is quiet, open, compassionate and simply present without all the intense feelings generated by thought.

If there are severe physical difficulties it is usually due either to mental anxiety or fear of change, an underlying physical difficulty or limitation, an underlying psychological challenge (e.g. long term depression, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, PTSD), an unhealthy diet or the use of drugs. I have met many people from all levels of society with kundalini activations, and the energy itself can be confusing, shake your body up, take you into altered states, and cause heat and odd spontaneous movements at times. But it does not by itself cause pain and illness. It can aggravate an underlying condition, and it can cause adrenal exhaustion if there is too much energy intensity too often, and it can cause headaches. (you need to bring energy down, more into the heart or belly if there are headaches). In a few people who are very sensitive it is very draining and debilitating. If the energy is stuck in the lower chakras it can cause sexual preoccupation or stomach discomforts. It needs to move up and through the whole system.

If one has an income source or someone in their life to support them it is a great blessing when the need is to rest and be away from the intensity of the working world. Many people find they cannot sustain the kind of work environment they had been adapted to prior to awakening, and seek ways to simplify their lives. It is essential to find a lifestyle that is authentic for you. Although triggers that seem to cause awakening can be identified, no one can say exactly why some people activate this transformation and others never do, but it seems as if it was just meant to be in this lifetime. The intention of this process does not seem to be about destroying your life so much as opening your consciousness to feel itself as one with all things, relaxing into just being, and awakening to the unlimited potentiality and expression of consciousness. Your identity is challenged and those things you think you are (female, male,child, parent, worker, profesional, rich, poor, inadequate, smart, healthy, ill --everything) are seen to be temporary appearances while underneath it all is a quiet spirit and presence that is the true "I" and knows it is only temporarily playing this role. This awakening is not something the mind can decide or understand,and certainly not control when it happens, but it is something consciousness itself realizes as part of the whole experience of spiritual awakening. The kundalini is the life force trying to make realization possible. It doesn't care if you are rich or poor -- it wants you to become awake.

There is very little opportunity in the west to find understanding and support for this process. It is totally out of the mainstream direction and thinking of our culture which is built on the glorifying individual success and accomplishment. So people experiencing it can become very frightened and alone and this makes the struggle even more difficult. But what is needed is an internal meeting of the process, time to ground yourself walking in nature and being quiet inside, a simple diet with a protein source that helps you ground, an ability to listen deeply to your own inner guidance and to trust the process. None of these things cost money. You can also find companionship on the journey on the web, read the teachings of spiritual masters like Ramana Maharshi or modern teachers like Adyashanti, and if you are well enough you could do some service in the world that you feel called to. You can do a simple meditation of just sitting in presence. There is much access to resources today that did not exist even 15 years ago.

I know it sounds crazy to the mind but there is an old saying "What you resist, persists" Once we stop resisting our circumstances, and stop "arguing with reality" (as Adyashanti puts it) all that energy that goes into anger, disappointment and longing for something to be other than it is can be released. Then we can find a new deeper creative energy within us and begin to take small steps in the direction our heart is leading us, and positive changes can happen in our life. Sometimes our old patterns of how to make things happen just don't work anymore but we keep looking at life from an old position and can't see other alternatives. Awakening to your true nature, and relaxing into just being-ness, can offer a whole new perspective.

People enter this process with many issues -- not just limited resources or poverty. Some have disabled relatives they care for, or alcoholic partners, or cancer, or abusive situations that need to be addressed. I have known people whose homes were flooded or burned to the ground. Anything in our external life can be a hurdle that feels like the kundalini process is just too much to deal with, but it is actually an invitation out of that identification and into a realization of the part of us that is not suffering, that is awake and present in the now of living. From this place it is easier to see what needs to happen and not be overwhelmed by it and thus to make changes that serve our lives. It is not thought and mental activity that frees us-- it is spirit.

09 June 2011

Two-Day Kundalini Workshop Available
If you are having experiences with kundalini energy and would like a workshop that focuses on living with kundalini energy and sharing experiences with others I am planning a kundalini workshop Sept 24 and 25, 2011 in Ashland, OR. I will offer an overview of the process and approaches to harmonizing the energy as well as an exploration of the true function of kundalini arising -- the clearing process that opens you up to major shifts in perspective and the embodiment of an awakened life, the opening of the heart and the inner peace that is possible when this process completes itself. This is a two day program from 9 to 6, with 2-hour lunch breaks and will be limited to 12 participants. The fee will be $100. For more information and registration contact me (Bonnie) at kundinfo@mindspring.com. This program is offered instead of the retreat previously announced in this column. To get here you will need to fly into Medford OR, about 15 miles from Ashland.

Kundalini awakening triggers a releasing process for most people -- the clearing of the subtle or energy body. It is as if all of our conditioning, beliefs, and identifications are woven into our energy field and the heightened movement of kundalini is trying to clear out this field, leaving it open and relaxed and making consciousness less subject to holding positions, identifications and reactive patterns we have had all our life. When this shift to openness occurs the mind is more quiet and consciousness more present in the moment, more available to intuitive truth, more likely to move through the heart as love and compassion and appreciation for life. Kundalini awakening is not about power, except for the natural power that comes with authenticity and acceptance of what is, the power to be free of our personal conditioning. It is not about becoming "saintly" but about becoming present, relaxed and in tune with the earth and the natural potential of living in harmony with ourselves and others. When there is sincerity and a commitment to living from Truth each individual who truly awakens finds a unique way of expression in the world, coming from being in tune with an authentic movement deep inside. Some people find a deep healing of emotional and physical issues as the awakening unfolds, but often there is an amplification of challenges during the clearing process. It is as if everything comes up to be met, to be seen clearly and to be released.
Sometimes this clearing and energy awakening occurs before the shifts of consciousness called "awakening" or "realization", for many reasons such as a great shock, an emotional overload, a near-death experience, an intensity of devotion or meditation, doing energy practices such as QiGong, kundalini yoga, martial arts, Reichi, breathwork, yoga breathing practices,tantra or concentrated psychic work. Occasionally it activates in a dream, or with a strongly energetic transmission like Diksha or with a guru. This opening stimulates a great shift in the psyche, the energy field, sensitivity, the release of old memories and many other phenomena as defined on my website, www.kundaliniguide.com.
Sometimes this clearing and energy awakening unfolds after a shift of consciousness that might happen spontaneously or in a meditation retreat or lengthy practice. One might suddenly realize the "Truth" of who they are and feel absolutely free for a while, just open and joyful and connected to everything. Then the clearing begins later, and it is likely this person may feel they have "lost" something. But in fact this is the natural progression -- the passage between seeing the "Truth" and living from it in a stable way. It is like clearing out the house in preparation for moving to another country. Everything must be seen and dealt with. If there is a lot of trauma in the personal history this can be especially challenging and therapy may be helpful as old repressed material arises. If there is a heavy use of drugs or alcohol there can be much need of toxins to be released from the body. It may feel like an invasion but it is actually the true source of your being attempting to transform the old patterns and limitations created by conditioning in this life and perhaps even conditions brought in from other lives.

The more you can relax and allow this process space in your life, and the more you can release fear about it, the easier it will become and the more likely the possibility of noticing the bliss inherent in these energy releases and shifts. You may become more "vata" in the Ayurvedic way of seeing things (Indian medicine system), more light and airy and less focused. So grounding activities can be helpful such as being in nature, gardening, baking, and creative activities. If you are vegetarian it is important to get protein into your diet from beans and root vegetables. Ultimately it is about living on this earth while knowing you are spirit, rather than escaping into a transcendent dimension. You can't be free if you are trying to evade life. Freedom is knowing your true nature and living your human experience with no objections. Being willing to BE. For most people it takes some time to find their way to this quiet joy and presence and the alignment with the Truth they have realized.

I wish you all joy on your journey and that the moving process opens you up to a new world.

20 May 2011

Dear Maria in the Phillipines,
I am writing you on my blog because your email would not work so if you wish to continue a conversation please send me a corrected email address.
Yes Reiki can trigger an activation of kundalini energy or a release of pranic energy that helps to keep opening the body and consciousness and feels like kundalini only not as intense.So can sincere devotion and meditation. I have found this especially true in the more advanced levels of Reichi initiation. Reichi generally opens a specific energy pattern rather than kundalini but in someone who is ready for awakening it can spill over to the kundalini force at the base of the spine. Kundalini is the way the subtle energy body responds to the shifts in consciousness that comes with spiritual awakening. It moves up from the base of the spine and intensifies the energy field in the entire body. If you just relax into it and trust it and don't "work" with it to try to push it there does not need to be any problem, although it can bring a lot of unusual phenomena, as described on my website. Sometimes it brings up old emotional issues as it seems to be a clearing process for our conditioning and a way that stress is released from the body. Devotion and a stable spiritual practice can be very helpful in this process. It ultimately takes us into a life that is lived more directly in the moment, more with presence and inner peace.