Monday, June 13, 2016

Beyond the Relaxation Response (Part 1)

Until recently, meditation was considered a “spiritual” activity, a perception that caused many people to turn away from or avoid it altogether. In the 1970s, however, research led to the development of the Relaxation Response, Dr. Herbert Benson’s technique for promoting stress reduction and worker productivity. By borrowing techniques from Transcendental Meditation and other Eastern meditation methods and re-purposing them, Dr. Benson discovered a creative way of popularizing meditation.

My own research has uncovered benefits that go way beyond the Relaxation Response, and point to meditation as much more than a spiritual activity: it's physical exercise, albeit, a less-is-more form of aerobics, which, by the way, if practiced scrupulously, leads to metaphysical encounters and higher consciousness.

By adding one simple step to the Relaxation Response, or any other serious meditation method, I have designed a system with tangible therapeutic and restorative health benefits. I call it, Golden Flower Meditation or (GFM), not for religious or spiritual affiliation reasons, but out of deference to the ancient Chinese who developed and practiced the method.

The key to GFM is “the backward-flowing method.” Adding this one step to a meditation practice like the Relaxation Response opens the door to a safe, permanent Kundalini awakening, after which, self-healing, higher consciousness, stable life style, and emotional control are probable by-products.

After researching energy cultivation techniques for many years — and getting nowhere — I obtained a copy of The Secret of the Golden Flower, an ancient Taoist text from a stranger. Eventually, I spent two years mastering the intricacies of the method, especially the arcane “backward-flowing method.” Ultimately, success unleashed a powerful transformational force that rooted out all traces of illness and malformation in my body.

Through GFM my nervous system was stimulated such that the natural chemical substances of the body were recombined and used for healing. Is this remarkable meditation technique capable of bestowing similar therapeutic benefits on all those who master it? I believe it is. As long as the method is implemented correctly, many disabilities related to the nervous system are susceptible to treatment by this method. No, degenerative illness like heart disease and stroke cannot be cured by GFM because, just as the term degenerative suggests harm done to the body by poor diet and bad habits cannot be reversed.
If the Relaxation Response establishes a healthy climate for combating stress, consider the extended benefits of GFM. GFM is not only about becoming a healthier person; it's also a useful ingredient in the pursuit of self-actualization. Once the practitioner has mastered GFM, his ability to avoid addiction, to make well-reasoned decisions, to manage health, and to live naturally will improve dramatically. Who is suited for GFM? I believe it particularly interests doctors, trainers, researchers, scientists, nurses, students, laymen in all walks of life — in hospitals, businesses, universities, schools, progressive learning centers, and clinics.

Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a time is the story of my discovery of the “backward-flowing method.” As for "the secrets," this book is not a laundry-list of techniques; it's an account of one individual's trial-and-error discovery and practice of GFM. Why take this approach? In teaching the GFM method, I've discovered that:
  • People are impatient; they want get to the payoff without putting in the work. The method is a series of dependencies. You must master each step in turn; you cannot skip steps,
  • In the past, even though I offered a meticulously prepared list of steps and how to apply them, many people either got lost, misunderstood, or misapplied the steps in practice,
  • The book allows would-be practitioners to get a sense of what's involved, not only in the practice of the method, but also in what to expect afterwards. I've been living with kundalini for 40 years; that prospect is not something to be taken lightly. 
Although some of Dr. Benson’s acolyte’s have divided the method into many sub-steps, Benson describes the critical steps as being:
  1. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word, "ONE", silently to yourself. For example, breathe IN ... OUT, "ONE",- IN ... OUT, "ONE", etc. Breathe easily and naturally.
  2. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating "ONE." With practice, the response should come with little effort.
He sums up the two steps as follows:
  1. Focusing the mind on a word, phrase, or sound.
  2. Passively disregarding interfering thoughts.
According to various write-ups, “Herbert Benson, M.D. coined the phrase (Relaxation Response) after studying people who practiced Transcendental Meditation (TM). Benson took the principles of TM and removed them from their Eastern religious context in order to make them more accessible for westerners.

“The Relaxation Response represents a form of meditation which has been practiced for many years. The technique can be found in every major religious tradition. It is a simple technique, but it is not easy to practice or to incorporate into your life. You will find your mind wandering, and you will probably find it difficult to set aside the time to practice. It feels like setting aside 20 minutes a day to sit and do nothing."

“If you incorporate this or any relaxation technique into your life, you may notice at least the following four benefits:"
  • "You will gain increased awareness of whether you are tense or relaxed. You will be more "in touch with your body."
  • "You will be better able to relax when you become stressed-out.
  • "You may even reduce the resting level of your autonomic nervous system - walking around more relaxed all the time.
  • "Your concentration may improve. By repeatedly bringing yourself back to the meditation you are strengthening the part of your mind that decides what to think about.”
That’s a third party take on the Relaxation Response. The big news here is his finding that meditation impacts health in a positive manner. This is no surprise to those already familiar with meditation, but the scope of Benson’s project, its scientific methodology demonstrates the enormous potential of meditation.

What about Benson himself? What does he think? According to him, “The Relaxation Response seemed to cure or help any medical condition or illness to the extent that condition or illness was caused or exacerbated by stress. Because this physiological state was accessible to everyone, I became convinced that the Relaxation Response was the opposite of, and perhaps the antidote for, the stress-induced, fight-or-flight response.

“I found that anyone who employed the two steps could elicit the physical changes of the Relaxation Response.”

More important than his health claims is Benson’s insistence that meditation induces physiological changes, or transformation.

First of all, whether a basic meditation method like the Relaxation Response contains two steps or two hundred, its immediate purpose is to produce the physiological change and transformation observed by Dr. Benson. So instead of judging a method by the number of steps, we need first to understand the physiological changes a basic two-step method hopes to induce and how efficient that method is in inducing them.

The physical changes produced by a basic two-step meditation method are:
  1.  The development of systematic diaphragmatic deep breathing.
  2.  The use of diaphragmatic breathing to control heart rate.
In a little while I will propose a third, and even more powerful transformational step, but first I want to discuss the two steps mentioned above, both of which require physical intervention on the part of the practitioner.

In Step One you encounter the notion of diaphragmatic deep breathing or the training of the diaphragm to regulate and improve your breathing. Unfortunately, since you cannot control or even isolate the muscles of the diaphragm directly, you must find a "handle" that allows you to do so indirectly. That handle is the belly or abdominal muscles.

 If you push the belly out to pull in air on inhalation and pull the belly in to expel air, you are embarking on a regimen of abdominal and diaphragmatic calisthenics. Starting this activity for the first time — whether sitting, walking, or lying down — you may feel a burning sensation. That is the muscles of the abdomen and diaphragm telling you that you're breathing correctly. Using the belly muscles is like pump priming, i.e., using the handle of a pump (the belly) to activate the pump mechanism (the diaphragm). More on the method and the importance of "centering yourself."

Step Two uses the acquired diaphragmatic deep breathing skill as a means of slowing down the heart rate, which has the effect of relaxing the body, hence the achieved goal of the Relaxation Response. Again, since you cannot influence or control the heart rate directly, you must use a subterfuge or "handle" to accomplish it — in this instance, you use your mastery of Step One (diaphragmatic deep breathing capability) to make the breathing more profound and more regular. What do I mean by more regular? Regular means both rhythmic and deep.

Because you’ve acquired the diaphragmatic deep breathing skill, you can now take in more air during each breath cycle. How does this work? Shallow breathing merely fills the lungs. Deep breathing fills the lungs, the diaphragm, the belly, even pockets behind the kidneys. With diaphragmatic deep breathing you not only take in more air, you slow down the inhalation/exhalation cycle to the point where breathing is entirely silent. The Secret of the Golden Flower says, “Only the heart must be conscious of the flowing in and out of the breath; it must not be heard with the ears.” Like the diaphragm, the heart is a muscle you cannot isolate or control directly. Once again you use a “handle” to control the heart (the source of emotion). As The Secret of the Golden Flower says, “The heart cannot be influenced directly. Therefore, the breath-energy is used as a handle."

Stay tuned for Step Three: The Backward-Flowing Method (to be continued).

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Blind Men And The Elephant

Throughout the ages there have been adepts who have realized the true nature of reality. Over the 30 years or so of my spiritual seeking and searching, I have read books by and about many of these individuals and there was never any doubt that each one experienced a reality that I could only intuit from the words they wrote.

Ramana Maharshi head shot
Ramana Maharshi
And yet the nature of that experience was different for every realizer. This left me asking the question how can so many realizers have such different experiences and in some cases different ways of explaining the one reality or enlightenment? This was certainly something to ponder.

As human beings we experience at three different levels. Experiences in the Gross realm take place largely in the body. The next level of experience occurs in the Subtle realm, characterized by phenomena, yet to be scientifically verified, such as mysticism, NDE, OBE, dreams, astral travel, visions, kundalini.

Finally, there is experience in the Causal realm which is where the ego 'I' originates. It is also the source of attention. Experiences in any or all of these dimensions are not enlightenment. When I first heard the parable of the blind men and the elephant, I had a palpable and immediate insight that the elephant was a metaphor for enlightenment and each realized adept had only perceived one aspect and then proclaimed it to be the whole elephant.
Writing and speaking from my own experiences and insights — realizations gained from these sources, as opposed to being theoretical and/or philosophical hypotheses — have always been important for my own integrity as a spiritual writer. And so I look at the nature of my experiences in these three domains and how sensing one aspect of the elephant fully convinced me it was enlightenment.

The experiences I'm talking about relate to the esoteric path of spirituality as opposed to the exoteric path of religion. It is also not a linear path; the Subtle/Causal can occur alongside the Gross, but the Subtle experiences are not consciously accessible in the beginning.

Experiences in the Gross realm occur largely up to the age 21 although nowadays many twenty-somethings don't actually reach that age until a much later date. Nevertheless, these physical, emotional, mental experiences occur as the ego and egoity develops.

Physical also spiritual beings
While engaged in intensive self-developmental training for five years, I examined areas of my life where I felt a loss of freedom, power, and self-expression due to circumstances and events in my past, whose meaning I then shifted to other causes in order to free myself from the hold these experiences had on me. During my time in this training I was definitely gripping the leg of the elephant and declaring it to be enlightenment or freedom from suffering. At that time, this was Enlightenment for me and I told everyone who would listen that it was!

The Chakras
The Body's Chakras
Prior to this, I'd studied and practiced Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, which allowed me to understand that any path where the attention is turned inward stimulates Subtle realm experiences. On many a retreat, I remember participants sharing what occurred in the class meditations, members reporting how they'd "seen" lights and colors and my feeling baffled and somewhat envious as my meditations were nowhere near as blissful! Now I understand that this phenomena is the nature of the Subtle, which, for some reason, I didn't have access to at that time. Later, I was to experience the Subtle in its strongest form — the arousal of Kundalini with its attendant release of energy.

I now realize I held back from pursuing the Subtle: there was something I felt I couldn't trust myself with. Had I had these lights, visions, and mystical experiences, I might have gotten stuck there! Plus, my heart told there was more to it. My reluctance to engage in this realm is why I haven't had many experiences of this type and why I groan inwardly every time someone mentions "seeing angels." In the past I am ashamed to say that I was dismissive of everything to do with revelations like this. Now I completely accept these kinds of experiences as valid and originating from the Subtle realm.

Open hand vs. Closed fist
The Causal realm is where one adept claims the source of the ego 'I' and root of egoity as well as the root of attention dwells. Because of my lifelong struggle with ego, I decided to investigate his claims and despite the communal damage that devotion to a Guru often arouses, I became a formal devotee of this realized Adept because of the clarity with which He writes about this dimension of experience, and the fact that it can only be felt. He speaks at length about the ego knot that defines this realm and how it is only when the ego knot is released that there is Enlightenment. According to my Guru's analogy, before attention is freed from this causal knot the human being is like a closed fist — separate, but after the ego knot breaks, the closed fist becomes an open hand and the separation is no more.

Profound as this is, it is still only another part of the elephant because the elephant itself has four additional states within its own state: Divine Transformation, Divine Transfiguration, Divine Indifference, and Divine Translation. Another reason I became a formal devotee of this realized Adept is because these stages resonate intuitively. These stages exist not because this Adept was a great thinker, but because every word He's written comes from His experience. For me, this realized Adept has not only grasped the whole elephant but IS the elephant.

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.