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.

03 April 2011

I will be offering a workshop in Ashland Oregon on May 14, and 15.2011 titled "Living With the Kundalini Process". This is a two-day event providing information useful to anyone experiencing kundalini energy or who works with others who experience it. The second day will allow time for personal exploration of your process. Ashland is a great town to visit and is famed for its theater and parks. There are many places to stay here. So contact me by April 30 if you plan to be here. My email is kundinfo@mindspring.com. The event will be $80 if prepaid. I can also be available for private sessions the Monday following if you request this.

The arising of kundalini energy can be a life-changing event. For some it is felt as a very positive and beautiful opening which heightens the senses and the ability to clear the mind and feel great joy and gratitude in life. But eventually for most it triggers a de-construction of our way of perceiving our world, our concepts and belief systems. It supports a shedding of old ways of being and old patterns locked in our system from our conditioning and the difficult experiences of our past. We can feel like we are coming apart and losing our sense of self -- which we are. In some people this energy movement and the subsequent deconstruction is a very gradual process, supported by our meditation process and even psychotherapy if we are involved in that. But for others it seems sudden and chaotic and therefore frightening. It helps greatly to have an understanding of how this process works to our greater benefit, and to discover that at the core we are not the personal self we have tended to identify with. When we realize what we truly are it is called "waking up" or "self-realization" -- it is the realization of what really exists behind the personal self that is not ever going to change or dissolve. But it can be very disarming for the mind to get glimpses of this because the mind's functioning as director of our lives is threatened. We begin to see we are not our thoughts and become less inclined to believe them, less likely to be distracted when they arise. Something else that is indefinable arises within us that is much more attuned to the moment, to the impersonal experience of now.

When someone awakens out of the dream of the separate self the kundalini process works more subtly in the background, and if there are energies releasing, or burning off old conditioned blocks in our psychic system we feel appreciative and curious rather than frightened, because we can clearly see the function is to make us more free and open and harmonious within.

Eastern spiritual systems set up this process of awakening as a goal of all practices, and see it as the greatest gift in any life. Buddhist monks take a vow to liberate all beings. Why would we need to be liberated? Because this is the only way to clearly see the source and radiance of all existence and to live in harmony with it. This lack of clear perception, and our entanglement in all the fears, rages and greed that overwhelms the planet, is the cause of suffering. Getting free of it is not an easy task, but our energy bodies are designed to lead us there. Eastern practices deliberately aim at opening these bodies along with shifting us out of our mind so that we can see the Truth. But thousands of people have this energetic opening without any conscious attempt to trigger it -- it happens for many reasons that the energy activates and begins the process of transmuting itself into a new clarity and presence in the world.

It is clear that some people write about kundalini as a danger or a dark force. This is because they do not understand the highest potential for transformation that it offers, and instead see only the destructive experiences it brings for some. Also, like any energies on the planet, a few people work to use it for power and manipulation of others. There are specific dark techniques for this, and those who use them generally end up in trouble psychologically, spiritually, physically and karmically. They are not happy and useful contributors to the society. They have twisted their lives out of fear and a drive for power, in the same way that nuclear energy has been used for total destruction out of fear and a drive for power.

If you are in an experience of intensified and rising energy it is not inherently dangerous. It is a neutral force of transformation and change. If your intention is health, well-being, freedom, love, and above all the longing to know what is True this energy will support those changes.
If you are driven by fear, anger, revenge, and a need for power over others the energy may end up wearing you down completely and distorting the true potential of your life. This is not to say that some fear in the process is natural. But to the extent you can turn it to curiousity, or even trust in the vast potentiality of the universe it will become only another energy to release, letting you become vulnerable to the grace of knowing who you really are.