Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Supernatural And Metaphysical Unite!

Sad is watching someone thump his chest because he believes he's won an argument that's unwinnable. That's what the polemic concerning God vs. No God is, an unwinnable argument, a polemic.

In polemics the winner is the one most skilled in argumentation. Evidence, empirical or anecdotal, is not to be found, while shouting and obfuscation are ubiquitous and omnipresent. Invective, rant, tirade, broadside, diatribe, attack, harangue, condemnation, criticism, stricture, admonition, rebuke are its hallmarks. Ted Cruz is a master of polemics. didn’t have to read Cold-Case Christianity (CCC) written by LA cold-case homicide detective, J. Warner Wallace to realize that it was based on customer profiling and psychographic targeting with a liberal dose of the agent's and the author's crafting a clever non-fiction book proposal, i.e., that a veteran homicide detective could apply the principles and techniques used in solving cold cases to prove the veracity of the Bible. Trouble is, the author doesn't start from scratch; he has a foregone conclusion he is determined to fit his so-called researched facts to. I downloaded the sample pages, read them, saw where he was headed, and decided to pass on the rest. Nevertheless, the book is a big seller, which says more about the general lack of analytical skills than it does about the book's content. It tells us that people need constant reinforcements of their beliefs, and they are ready to accept them blindly, in whatever form they are offered — film, article, webpage, book.

Bart Ehrman's book Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible offers a more coherent appraisal of the Bible's content than CCC does, but whether you accept Ehrman's or Wallace's version of the facts is not the real issue. Both are best sellers. And both put forth arguments that are mere stand ins or straw men for the real issue: the God vs. No God argument. One side argues that, if they can verify evidentially the accuracy of the Bible, it then follows that God must exist; the other side argues that if they can disprove the assorted "facts" in the Bible, it proves that God does not exist. This is the straw man fallacy, which Wikipedia summarizes thusly, "The so-called typical 'attacking a straw man' argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition." Whether the information in the Bible is accurate or not does not prove or refute the existence of God.
This straw man approach is a new wrinkle to the old "There is a God" argument, the one which urged you to accept the existence of God on faith. But like that approach, it's beside the point. Whether you argue "Bible facts" or "faith," there's no proof that God does or doesn't exist. I'm not saying He doesn't; I'm saying I don't know. No one knows, and no one can prove otherwise.

The “faith" approach is more of a movement than a proof, a political groundswell with no rational basis. The "Bible facts" argument is moot because — even though it's a diversionary straw man tactic meant to bolster the less reasoned "faith" argument — it boils down to using the intellect in trying to prove, or disprove, the existence of God. I call this the outside-in approach. It is not possible to apprehend the supernatural — I prefer the term metaphysical — with the rational mind, from the outside-in. Not possible to use intellectual pyrotechnics or polemics to authenticate the supernatural or metaphysical. Authentication must be lived and experienced first hand.

There is an alternate: the inside-out approach, which uses Eastern energy cultivation techniques such as meditation, yoga, etc, to actually awaken the hidden subsystems of the human body, allowing the individual to experience metaphysical reality directly, i.e., to pass from the physical to metaphysical planes, and thereby bear witness to what I call the energy continuum — an expanded reality beyond the material world that contains that world and the worlds beyond all cosmological worlds. How far an individual goes with this type of practice depends on his volition and dedication. Let me add here one insight it has given me: the ultimate aim of meditation is to become more and more conscious. Enlightenment, therefore, is becoming fully conscious.

How did I arrive at this? Through a kundalini meditation that projected me into a vibratory state of such profound consciousness that I realized, not because someone asked me to take it on faith, but because I experienced it, that a hidden metaphysical reality does exist, that death is only an intermediate state. How unconscious I had been all of my life!

What sort of mechanism did this meditation trigger in order to accomplish this? It used the body's most powerful source — sexual energy. Quite simply, the energy source which creates life was rerouted and drawn up the spinal column into the brain. Since kundalini is a biological phenomenon, it needs to draw energy from a biological source in order to accomplish its purpose. That source happens to be sexual, the same energy source involved in procreation. How could it be otherwise? The energy used to create life is the same energy used in spiritual re-birth. What other source in the human body has the requisite energy to accomplish such a task? 

Luckily, I was in my early thirties when this happened. Plenty of time to learn from this process and to restore my body to its optimal condition. At first, the effects were physical; my brain and its casing were reshaped (strange how the physical awakens the metaphysical which in turn kick off a reconditioning of the physical). Gradually, as these metaphysical experiences deepened, I became more conscious, until I realized I was using only a portion of my potential, that full consciousness might somehow remove me from the physical world. As I said, becoming conscious is gradual and I haven't felt ready to make such an existential leap.

But whether it boils down to what Christians refer to as a supernatural experience or to the term I prefer, a metaphysical experience, my aroused kundalini showed me that while we can't prove the existence, or non-existence, of God, we have at our disposal a vast range of experiential phenomena, such as OBE, NDE, kundalini awakenings, etc., all of which are triggered by a voluntary or an unexpected summoning of biological energy.

With this type of experience, there's no need to thump the chest; winning the argument is not the goal here. Scientific evaluation is. These cases don't depend on polemics; they occur irrespective of cultural, language, religious, educational, or geographical differences and they share many of the same symptoms and effects. For the individual, it's a take-it-as-it-comes succession of phenomena in the laboratory of his or her own body, which, over time, also quiets the ego as it renews the being. For society, it's a piecemeal compilation of metaphysical accounts, which, as each anecdote is added, becomes an avalanche begging for a suitable means of scientific authentication.

The inside-out approach jettisons the whole baggage of conventional wisdom, polemics, and traditional religion. Christianity, which was turned into a political party by Augustine of Hippo and whose proponents/apologists and critics/detractors have argued God vs. No God back-and-forth for over two thousand years without making any progress, is an especially sad case.

Individuals, influential early Christians like Arius and Origen, who encouraged the direct experience of the inside-out approach — much in the mode of Buddha, Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, Milarepa, and Lao Tse — were systematically rooted out and persecuted by pro-Augustine spin doctors, a case well-documented in the Elizabeth Clare Prophet book on Reincarnation and Christianity. Yes, there are unproven hypotheses in her book, but the idea that Jesus was on a Buddha-like trip during his lost years, supports the notion that the major historical spiritual figures used the inside-out approach to arrive at the insights and fundamental practices that the religions named after them are based on. The outside-in approach didn't appear until much later when the various spin doctors began arguing the endless stream of dogma/doctrine, much to the chagrin of the real authorities on religious experience.

In fact, the supernatural yearnings Christians feel are a positive element; they need to join with metaphysicians to practice and pursue the inside-out approach that values energy cultivation and direct experience over polemics and the dictates of intermediaries, i.e., priests, spin doctors, theologians, and ecclesiastics.

Those who take the inside-out approach have made, and will continue to make, measurable progress in the practice and discovery of energy cultivation techniques which lead to direct metaphysical experience, the multiplicity of which is just beginning to be catalogued and authenticated, à la Michael Murphy’s The Future of the Body, a survey of consciousness and meta-normal experience.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Chinnamasta, The Sixth Mahavidya

I know that different peoples' experiences are different, but Kundalini, to me, always feels female. How sheer energy, primordial life force should have a gender I'm not sure, but perhaps the realities indicated by the words male and female descend into depths of being where the external manifestation — thoughts, feelings and even bodies — no longer count. Perhaps it's at these deep levels of being, and not in thoughts, feelings and bodies, that male and female fully fuse and that wonderful reality called the Androgynous, an achievement in both Tantric and Western alchemy, is achieved. Kundalini, as a female energy, fuses with Siva, the still point, timeless being. Certainly, the Tantras seem always to refer to Kundalini as She, not It. (She Who Is Outside The Universe, And Goes Upwards)
In this regard, icons of the Mahavidya Chinnamasta in Hindu Tantra are very revealing. The ten mahavidyas, or manifestations of the Goddess, represent the different stages of manifestation of Kali. And Chinnamasta, the sixth mahavidya is pivotal as She stands at the crossover point between the unmanifest and the manifest. Her transformation-icon also has deep erotic references. You can see one of these icons in Phillip Rawson's excellent book, The Art Of Tantra. It's an eighteenth century icon from Kangra titled Chinnamasta Arising From The Joined Bodies Of The Originating Couple.
Last Tango In Paris (1972)
Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider

At the bottom of the image a man and woman copulate on an eight-petalled lotus. They may be the "Originating Couple," but in this particular icon they look wonderfully human, and happy. They are entwined in sexual union, the man on his back (stillness, immovability) the woman lying full-length on top of him (movement and energy.) The Goddess stands on top of them. The portrayal is so vivid that one could almost picture the Divine Woman standing on top of two people making love, too real and intense to disturb them. The Goddess's body is red, and the Kali chain of skulls (the chain of time, birth and death) hangs round her neck, or rather round what's left of her neck, because in her right hand she holds a pair of shears with which she's just cut off her (crowned) head, which she holds in her left hand. Spouts of blood from her severed neck are drunk by two maidens, who symbolize the right and left nadis (pingala nadi and ida nadi). It's a violent and grotesque image that generates power on many levels. On one level, it's a dramatic portrayal of sexual transcendence, the copulating couple are real, human lovers, but their ecstasy has ascended the central channel (the susumna nadi) and instead of a physical climax has entered the "no-head" state of consciousness beyond the brain, beyond bodily thought or feeling, a state which is more, not less, real than the physical body.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Causal Body Control

Listening to a great musician perform (in this case Yefim Bronfman playing Prokofiev's Second Piano Concerto) one feels in the presence of a special act. It's not simply that this man has a stupendous technique (and gets his fingers around so many notes so quickly), amazing memory (he remembers the whole piece), and expressive power (he takes music someone else has written and put himself into it, play it as if it's his own.)

It has something to do with Kundalini, and how Kundalini adjusts the brain and nervous system from out of the subtle body, and takes consciousness beyond the subtle body to the causal body. Performing at such intensity and with such wholeness of being, the slightest inner movement of fear, nervousness, or self-doubt would bring the performance crashing down. To be in a state of consciousness that's beyond fear, hesitation or self-doubt, the brain must be functioning at a higher than normal frequency, a frequency at which the neural structures that register self are suspended.
(The minute self is allowed in it would surely say — God, what note's next? Where am I? I can't do it.)

 So the frequency must be high and clear of stumbling blocks. This is in fact consciousness of the causal body. In a way, it's a state without past or future (Help, the last chord was wrong. I'm scared of the big cadenza coming up) and yet, miraculously, the whole of the twenty-nine-minute-long piece is stored there. This means that the music, and Yefim Bronfman's way into it, is stored somewhere else. Outside the body, outside the everyday brain in a high frequency state, like some sort of ubiquitous cloud storage, that works more instantaneously than doubt, fear, dread etc. Something is clearly going on with the frequency of the electrical energy in the brain, which runs at around 49,000,000 cycles per second (about half that of light). When blockages are cleared by Kundalini, the frequency at which we are conscious soars.

This clearing and heightening can spread through every action in life. Walking through the market, buying holiday clothes for Thai New Year can be like a performance of Prokofiev's Second Piano Concerto. In the market, the problem is desire. Delicious smells from the charcoal burners. Some Thai guy singing like Van Morrison. Pretty girls. The blocked-up brain says: I want to get some of that chicken down my throat. I wish I could sing like a Thai van Morrison. That's fifty women I've just seen, that I want to sleep with but never will. When causal body consciousness is active, I smell something other than delectable chicken, I hear something other than an enviable voice, I see something other than a possessable body. What this something other is cannot be put into words, but it's there and it's real, requiring a higher speed or frequency of consciousness to stay with it. There's a wonderful lightness and freedom. The senses become more, not less, acute.

The other area where staying with the causal body is beneficial is in sexual relationships and during the act of love. JJ Semple writes in depth about this in Seminal Retention And Higher Consciousness. There are various techniques for prolonging the sexual act and suspending ejaculation, but the sine qua non is control from the causal body, and staying with the causal body. It's this meditative, and transcendence-directed action that lifts self-control above a mere struggle with oneself, promotes intimate dialogue and leads to a deeper immersion in the other.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Kundalini And The True Self

"We spend the first half of our life becoming 'special.' That’s part of the journey, part of our development. But in the second half of life, or when our journey of spiritual growth becomes apparent, being 'nobody special' allows us to become all that we can be. It’s the ingredient and paradox that gets our sense of self, alone and in relationship with others, out of the way so our 'True Self' can emerge. And it is a relief in every present moment to give up roles of who we think we are and instead just be."
~Article from Kundalini RisingBarbara Harris Whitfield

In my reading during the past few weeks from my “kundalini” references, I've discovered many articles and postings relating to the “ego,” the danger of ego inflation during the kundalini process, and the power of the healing that comes through an observing ego practice. Since the kundalini transformation process, from my experience, is a renovation of our subtle body system of which the ego is a part, this is certainly a subject of which we should be familiar.

It seems to me that key to the avoidance of ego inflation is the virtue of humility, a quality that is emphasized in all the major religions of the world. I’ve recently read that humility means: “Not” thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. This definition speaks so vividly of the purpose for daily meditation.

Meditation practice itself is a discipline of setting aside or passing by the “ego self” with all of its constructs, boundaries, defence mechanisms, and conditioning from past experiences, and entering the deep silence that exists at the centre of our being. Through my years of meditation, I've found this discipline to be foundational to my time of prayer and spiritual life. Barbara Whitfield describes the twelve characteristics of humility as: being open, an attitude of “don’t know," curiosity, innocence, a childlike nature, spontaneity, spirituality, tolerance, patience, integrity, detachment, and letting go, all of which lead to inner peace, a sense of gratitude and being “nobody special.” All of these words speak of the experience of meditation with its ecstatic surrender to the deep inner silence that exists at the centre of our being, a centre which many, including Barbara, refer to as the “True Self."

Kundalini rising is very different from the meditation experience. In the Kundalini transformation experience, the "ego self" is not temporarily passed by; it is renovated. The boundaries, constructs, defense mechanisms and cultural conditioning created by past life experiences are dismantled. It’s as if the old world views have collapsed, and we are left initially with a sense of no longer knowing who we are. I've described this experience previously as follows:
"Kundalini rising has left me with an absence of what I call “self-definition.” The ways I defined myself in the past, my self-concept, seemed to be gone. This not only relates to the way I use to see myself in respect to my work, but also in respect to church. My memory continued to be there in respect to all of these things, but I do not have an emotional connection with them in the same way. They seemed to have crumbled away along with the sub-conscious visions of crumbling trucks, buildings, earth, churches and crosses. Even my previous affective memories and concepts of God have collapsed, and there only remains the undefined, mysterious, expansive “Other,” beyond description and name."
I believe that in the restoration phase that is to follow this process of renovation, we must heed the message of the mystics and rebuild the new house, not following the directions of ego consciousness, but the humility of the “True Self.”

Buddhists call it the Bodhisattva Attitudes; Christians call it the Beatitudes. Both mean dedicating your life to others in the way you can enjoy everyday.

Seminal Retention And Kundalini

One way of telling if kundalini is genuine is by how it affects you after ejaculating.

For many men, an after-sex timeout to revitalize the body is commonplace, normal, and natural. For Kundalini adepts, however, sex has a difference-of-kind effect, usually characterized by a complete somatic depletion a de-energizing feeling that grips the whole body and demands more than just a little repose. It is this condition that both Gopi Krishna and I wrote about: he in Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man; I in Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time. Both of us experienced this effect and both of us noted the immediate need for nourishment as a means of reigniting the life force.
In the aftermath of my first post-kundalini sex, I felt as if I was imploding, as if the constant, daily rebuilding work kundalini was performing on me had been so adversely affected by ejaculation that I needed an immediate influx of pranic energy to reverse the threat to my somatic structure. I felt like someone had pulled the plug and the contents of my braincase were trickling down the drain. It was a feeling akin to fear or surprise, the type of sensation that grips the whole body in an instant. A panicky notion that I was dying. Food. I needed food. I went to the refrigerator and quickly gobbled four containers of yogurt, which started to repair the damage and eventually calmed me. Why does sex affect kundalini adepts like that? Simple…kundalini doesn’t like sharing transmuted sexual energy, i.e., the life force; it wants to send it all to the brain. Procreation is one thing; sexual sublimation is another. Ejaculation affects the newly anointed adept as it affected me and Gopi Krishna, and when it does, woe to he who ignores the signals.

Gopi Krishna explains:
"As we have seen in our previous discussions, it is not easy to prescribe behavior and diet for the future evolution of the brain. Although I also spoke about sex before, I now would like to be a little more explicit. Inasmuch as all our modem theories about sex, including the ideas expressed by Freud, do not take evolution of the brain into account, we can therefore say that they are incomplete.

"The moment it is established that the brain is evolving biologically, it will then be seen that a part of the reproductive energy is consumed in this evolution. I have given the proof, genius and the illuminated mind. For the last three thousand years the Indian savants knew it, as did the Greeks and the Egyptians. They knew that genius and illumination come from transmuted sex energy.

"Freud puts it in a different way. He says it is libido and that all creative activity and mental disorders arise out of the libido. But he has not defined libido. For him, libido is psychic energy in its subtle form, in its psychic form.

"But it has a somatic aspect also, as Reich correctly put it. It is anchored in the body, his libido. He has clearly mentioned this. But since science has no awareness of a phenomenon that has been in evidence for the last thousands of years, that it is the transmutation of sexual energy that leads to creativity, then naturally all current theories about sex are incomplete.

"What is recommended by some psychologists or by some clinicians about unrestrained sex is therefore not only fallacious, but highly dangerous for the race.

"In the ages to come, people will determine what part of the energy goes to the brain and what part they can utilize for procreative or for pleasurable purposes. There is no doubt that there is nothing in the world so enchanting, so alluring, so inspiring as sexual love. It has inspired some of the greatest thinkers. It is the women whom they loved who inspired some of the greatest writers, thinkers, politicians, conquerors of the world. There is nothing comparable to love for the happiness, health and evolution of mankind.

"But it has not to be abused, because this energy is designed by nature both for evolution and procreation. And evolution must have its share. It would be saner to conserve the energy, even to be a celibate than it would be to overspend it. This is the reason why celibacy has been recommended in religions. Otherwise there is no reason. Why should religion in some way insist that you have to be celibate unless the energy is used in some way?

"But we need not go to that extreme. The rational, normal, and natural course is to adjust our life so that we allow that part which is meant for our evolution to be used for that purpose.

"There are some facts that show that nature is always giving us warnings. For instance, many people, after the climax, after the expenditure of the energy, feel a sense of disgust or coldness, antipathy, or great tiredness. That is a warning from nature that they have overdone it. If, after the sexual climax, a man feels as energetic as before, it means he has not used or taken from the amount needed for evolution."
Why is this important? Because many people don’t realize that enlightenment or self-realization (that elusive state so many young people are searching for) actually has a somatic and metabolic component. They believe that enlightenment is attained through activities like prayer, mantras, faith, visitations and not through any contributions of a somatic or metabolic nature. But why wouldn’t an individual’s body be involved in all aspects of the evolutionary process?

People who say they believe that kundalini exists, but that it has no place in ascending to higher spiritual states don’t realize that kundalini is not something you believe in. It’s a physical actuality, like a heart attack or an orgasm. They may also still believe in holdover medieval myths that the body must be scourged in order to attain spiritual grace. Not so, if anything the body must participate in the process through yoga, meditation, and other energy cultivation techniques. Isn’t it ironic that reaching the sublime requires a contribution from our sexual apparatus, that the sacred is nourished by the profane?

Now, I’m not saying that everyone should be trying to activate kundalini — given its many unexpected effects that most people aren’t prepared for, most people shouldn’t — only that kundalini has played, and will continue to play, a crucial role in human evolution…and therefore more study must directed towards its true value.

So can the two purposes — evolution and procreation/pleasure — coexist? Can the trial and error quest for enlightenment coexist with what Gopi Krishna called unrestrained sex?
The answer is yes. And that’s where seminal retention techniques come in. Seminal retention allows you to conserve the seed during intercourse. Why would you want to do this? For all the reasons stated above, plus the fact that times have changed; the quest for self-realization should not attempt to repudiate the sybaritic tendencies and self-indulgent practices regarding sex in contemporary living, rather this quest needs to change its course. And that, dear reader, requires learning and practicing seminal retention techniques, which by the way, actually add to the pleasurable aspects of sex. 

Thankfully, this should be easy because adepts are always searching, never satisfied with pat solutions, always learning, never placated with easy answers. They've had their egoic tendencies stripped away by the fire of kundalini. They know that they know nothing. They know that the mainstream orthodoxies with their conventional wisdom and fear of new discoveries know nothing. These adepts figure things out by themselves; they are their own best detectives: Once having experienced the deleterious effects of ejaculation, it's not something you allow to get out of control. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Removal of Blockages: A Key To Exploring The Hidden Treasures Of The Mind

During a kundalini awakening, one of the most bizarre and surreal experiences is the snake moving through the spine. This is happening constantly. Not only does it move through the spine, it moves into the brain and constantly works on changing the physiology of your cranium.

Birds of a feather The interesting part, and one that gives you an idea of how the body/mind/spirit are all one, is how changing your brain changes your thought processes and how clearing blockages in your mind impacts the clarity of your thought processes. A lot of old, rigid ideas have to be discarded before the path of the chi energy is cleared and is allowed to flow through the nadis unimpeded.

What's interesting about the process is that initially it appears demonic to the person who thinks he is living in that body. The personality that takes the name and identifies with the education, cultural indoctrination, and accepted norms of "what should be" in terms of behavior in that society in that day and age. That person has to die. It is the repetitive inculcation of ideas that one parrots mindlessly, like an automaton, that grooves itself in the folds of the cerebrum and becomes you, your identity. It is a limiting mechanism. The limitations are the boundaries that lock you into a feeling of being bound within the confines of certain dos and donts of that individual and his social boundaries. We do it without even knowing we are bound by them.

When breaking these blockages, the energy has to remove your programming. The self, accustomed to the old ways, resists because taboos and restrictions built into the psyche make it seem absurd that the concepts so deeply ingrained are now being questioned and removed. Of course, once removed, it just opens up a vastly more liberating reality, but before removal, the conscious mind is reluctant to accept this because of the fear of the unknown.

Let me give you an example. Most of us have some form of religious taboo against sex. One does not visualize the enjoyment of the sex act as being congruous with attending mass or listening to a devotional or chanting of a mantra. In my mind, there was a distinct blockage that the energy was trying to clear and for that to happen, I had to break down the boundaries between the sacred and the profane. This involved having sex while listening to chants and mantras, right next to pictures of Gods and Goddesses.

I did it with feelings of shame, guilt and revulsion. Having done it, though, I overcame, once and for all, the feelings of guilt or shame and the triggers installed in me and became free of the invisible, totally manufactured boundaries between those two realms, things that were a result of my upbringing.

As a direct result of the removal of that blockage, it freed up the creative side of my right brain and gave me the ability to explore art and music as never before. How those two things were connected in my brain/mind, I as the conscious observer, have no clue. But once it was done, I no longer approached any of the things the energy was doing to me with fear or dread. I knew that to remove old programming was to remove fears and taboos. It wasn't about anything evil or demonic.

The idea of evil was a limitation put in place, a scare tactic. Its removal was only accomplished by facing the fear and transcending it. Once done, the blockage removed, many deeper levels of psyche, heretofore unexplored,
readily revealed themselves. The religious dogma had served only to keep them hidden.

The Way To Spiritual Freedom Is Counter-Egoic

The title of this post makes a big assertion and begs more questions than it answers. What do I mean by "freedom" and what is the link between it and egoity?

Many years ago when I was reading every kind of spiritual literature I could get my hands on I remember being irritated if I read a sentence like the title of this posta sentence with little or no explanation as to its meaning. I vowed that if I ever wrote spiritual articles, I would write plainly, taking the time to drill down to the core meaning. This is something that I have striven for in all of my writing. I am extremely lucky in that the editor of this website encourages this and to him I am extremely grateful.

Female Kundalini by Margaret Dempsey book cover
So why do I assert that the way to freedom is counter-egoic? By counter-egoic I mean going against the ego and egoic tendencies, rather than doing something I want to, only if I feel like it. What is the evidence for such an assertion? Very simply, it is the truth of my own experience. Experience in itself is not the path to spiritual freedom. All experience really does is provide one with the cachet to write from the point of view of and with the authority of one's own experience. It doesn't make that experience the Truth, but it does provide pointers on how to attain spiritual freedom, especially if one's own experience, though it be anecdotal in nature, is backed up by others with similar experiences.

I am confident enough after all these years to assert that I have won a certain level of spiritual freedom by which I mean a loosening of the consciousness from its identification with my body/mind. I have a tacit certainty that I am not my body/mind. I know this, not as intellectual fact, but as a realization of the heart. What I can say with absolute certainty is that this freedom has been won not by me indulging my ego and egoic tendencies, but by going directly against them.

Doing this in one's early years was a struggle and an ordeal because the frustration and confusion that accompanied those early years obscured any notion of improvement as to the shifting of my consciousness. Those early years left me feeling extremely drained and tired. What I didn't know then was that every time I disciplined my ego or egoic tendencies by acting counter-egoically, some aspect of my Being was actually being purified. This is why self-discipline — and let's face it, there is nothing more counter-egoic than discipline — has been so cultivated and so encouraged by every realized Adept who has Graced this earth. There is a need for clarification as to how "I" has been used in this paragraph. I once read somewhere that if you want to see just how big someone's ego is, observe the use of "I." In this paragraph, there is much use of "I." Indeed, it is difficult to write without using it. So I think it's important to clarify that the "I" that am referring to is the "I" of consciousness, not the "i" of the presumed separate and separative ego.

And yes self-discipline is unavoidable if one is serious about spiritual freedom. But there is another
counter-egoic tendency which is more subtle, but in my opinion, very effective and that is the counter-egoic tendency of integrity and keeping one's Word. Why this is subtle is because it doesn't always relate to the spiritual realm; it relates to one's worldly actions. What I discovered from my own experience is that this kind of counter-egoic activity is just as important as sitting down to meditate/study. This other kind of counter-egoic activity was very important in the weeks and months after Kundalini rose. The strong egoic tendency was to give up everything and become totally absorbed in the amazing thoughts and experiences that the energy was creating. The counter-egoic behavior was to say "no" to all of that and continue to work a boring 9-5 job in the face of an egoic tendency that absolutely did not want to. Over time, I found that as I went more and more against these tendencies, my insights and realizations became stronger.

These egoic tendencies are embedded in the design of every human being, which is why it takes so much concentration and discipline to go against them. The brain also serves them, so the challenge is huge. If spiritual freedom is not something an individual is striving for, then there's no reason not to indulge egoic tendencies except, in the long run, indulging such tendencies doesn't result in lasting happiness.

Also embedded into the design of the human being is resistance. It is a tool the ego uses very effectively. For instance, in the early years, I would say to myself, "I'm going to get up early tomorrow morning and meditate." The morning would come and the alarm clock would sound, and, as the thought of getting up surfaced, a stronger, more compelling resistance of not to get up appeared, and more often than not, I wouldn't struggle against the resistance. Then when I woke up again, I'd feel bad for not being strong-willed enough. This took away my power because it made me see myself as weak-willed, thus playing into the ego's game.

In fact, the resistance I felt is not personal; it is inherent in the design of all human beings. This insight gave me such freedom that the next time I experienced resistance I was able to transcend it. Resistance is going to arise; there's no avoiding it. What you have to do is recognize that it's there, that it's not personal, and then the reward for going against it will be experienced maybe not in the very next moment, but definitely...over time.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Kundalini And Evolution

The authors of the Tantras speak of history as a decline, a falling away from an original perfection. As the ones who revealed the techniques for awakening Kundalini, these authors ought to be listened to. What we call evolution, they call a darkening. What we call progress, they call a lapse and a forgetting. They depict human history as a stage-by-stage descent into chaos. These descending stages are the four "ages" of Hesiod's "Works And Days," the Ages of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron.

Natalie book cover
In the remarkably parallel Hindu picture, our present era (Hesiod's Age Of Iron, and the Age Of The Wolf of Norse legends) is called the Kali Yuga, the "time when Kali is wide awake," Kali being the female deity symbolizing the elemental, primordial forces, which become destructive when not balanced by a transcendent stillness. The Kali Yuga is a time of alienation from that which transcends the world, a severing of the links with the Primal Spirit, leading to the predominance of all that is merely material and physical. As The Visnu Purana puts it: " alone will confer rank; wealth will be the only source of devotion; need will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation..." Surely this describes much, if not all, of the outer social and economic world in our era. Far from evolving, we are descending. It's for this reason that there's been such a widespread current awakening of Kundalini, because it's on the physical body that Kundalini works, opening a sort of Last-Chance-Saloon path to transcendence, when the more ancient and more spiritual paths have been largely lost, and we're stuck in our own heads and nervous systems, floundering in the surrounding materialism.

That Kundalini heals and re-balances the body and brain is beyond doubt. I am undergoing this physical reshaping myself. However, as it goes on, I can feel it being resisted by forces from outside me, by energy fields in my environment. As my center grows more still, the powers trying to throw it off balance become more and more external, and more powerfully external. When Kundalini awakens, sensitivity to the surrounding energy field becomes so heightened as to be sometimes frightening. The Kali Yuga is right there in your face. An opaque being is standing an inch in front of your eyes. Personal weaknesses and problems become charged with a force they never had before, as if they too come from outside you, and are no longer merely the quirks, loveable or less so, of the guy or lady you used to be.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Spiritual Pursuits...Then and Now

In olden days, spiritual pursuit was more of an endurance trial-by-fire that required proving yourself before being admitted to the ultimate truths, as per the following example:
Knowing that his revenge was wrong, Milarepa (Then known by his boyhood name 'Fortuitous') set out to find a lama and was led to Marpa the Translator. Marpa proved a hard taskmaster. Before Marpa would teach Milarepa (c. 1052 – c. 1135 CE) he had him build and then demolish three towers in turn. Milarepa was asked to build one final multi-story tower by Marpa at Lhodrag: this 11th century tower still stands. When Marpa still refused to teach Milarepa, he went to Marpa's wife, who took pity on him. She forged a letter of introduction to another teacher, Lama Ngogdun Chudor, under whose tutelage he practiced meditation. However, as he was making no progress, he confessed the forgery and Ngogdun Chudor said that it was vain to hope for spiritual growth without the guru Marpa's approval. 
Milarepa returned to Marpa, and was finally shown the spiritual teachings. Milarepa then left on his own, and after protracted diligence for 12 years he attained the state of Vajradhara (complete enlightenment). He then became known as Milarepa. 'Mila' is Tibetan for; 'great man', and 'repa' means; 'cotton clad one.' At the age of 45, he started to practice at Drakar Taso (White Rock Horse Tooth) cave — "Milarepa's Cave," as well as becoming a wandering teacher. Here, he subsisted on nettle tea, leading his skin to turn green with a waxy covering, hence the greenish color he is often depicted as having, in paintings and sculpture.
~ The Magic Life of Milarepa
Contemporary seekers of enlightenment, truth, self-realization (or whatever term the current the spiritual authorities bestow on such seekers) would giggle at the prospect of building and tearing down towers and would quickly move on to the nearest strip mall offering kundalini yoga, a tee shirt, a yoga mat, and a 10% discount. Not so in yesteryear:
Marpa said to Milarepa, "I was very hard on you, but do not be distressed. Be patient. Teaching is very slow work. You have the energy to work, so build a tower of Sutra. When you have done that, I will instruct you and I will supply your food and clothing."
Western civilization is not cut out for "slow work." We want answers, shortcuts, formulae, handholding and all manner of emotional sustenance. After all, compared to the life of an eleventh century Tibetan, we're all fairly high maintenance.

Sure sign of spring.
Cherry Blossoms
Back then, the student stayed with the teacher/guide/guru 24-7, living in his house or boarding with a group of like-minded students. However long it took. Today, it's fitting in an hour of Tai Chi here and there, then back to the rat race.

California Street Garden Plant
So what kind of effect does the difference between the two paradigms have on the teaching?

1) Whether it's a weekend workshop or a Thursday night yoga class, there's an immediate dissipation once the practitioner is back on the street, in the subway or on a bus. A dissolution of energy. The student begins to question the process: as in "After all, what's the point?" "I won't be able to go next week because my daughter has a recital."

2) Motivation is eroded. It's normal. There's a lot of demands in modern life, and so little information on how to manage it. We might look around, pick a role model and follow it, but this is often hit or miss. So we end up wondering: I sit; I meditate, but nothing happens. How did I ever get involved with this stuff? Where does it all lead? How can it solve my problems?

"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they're here to stay."
 Yesterday -The Beatles

All manner of colors
No one to turn to for advice; no towers to build and tear down. And yet the towers are all there, in other forms, of course: bills to pay, dishes to wash, jobs to go to, meals to cook, beds to make, dogs to walk, intimate conversations to have. These are our towers. All we have to do is recognize them, changing the way we think about the various intrusions in our personal space and daily lives.

Mixed bouquet
Girl With Flowers
Once we're able to change perspective, the task is no longer drudgery, but an exercise in mindfulness. And once mindful, our deep breathing kicks in to lower stress, make us even more mindful, and we whisk through menial tasks joyfully.

Wooden fence, sidewalk, curb, and flowers
Four textures
Mindful, we no longer waste time questioning things that must be done and we see our daily life as an extension of the weekend workshop or the Thursday yoga class. The paradigm is turned around; the restlessness vanishes. It begins to make sense: That it's not so much about teaching as it is about learning to remember ourselves.