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.