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?

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 !