Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kundalini and the Now

If your goal is enlightenment, why would you bother with kundalini? After all, even its proponents admit there are risks involved in raising kundalini. Things do go wrong: the practitioner never achieves his goal, the energy never awakens, it awakens in some frightening manner, or some sort of psycho-physical damage occurs.

Besides, aren't there are other ways of achieving enlightenment? Which causes me to rework the following saying: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone to achieve enlightenment by this or that process or method." In short, I wish people would stop talking about enlightenment as if it was like learning to drive a car.

It isn't. In the first place, no one has ever defined enlightenment. It's a condition everyone claims they'd be able to recognize should they run across someone who is enlightened. A highly subjective claim.

Secondly, designating or labeling a person as enlightened is also problematic. Is the so-called enlightened one actually enlightened or is he/she just a spellbinding talker?

Eckhart Tolle says, "The enlightened person’s main focus of attention is always the Now, but they are still peripherally aware of time."

Like Gandhi spinning cloth, an almost inconceivable way of life for the westerner.
Gandhi Spinning
Which would seem to point out that the more you stay in the Now, the less likely you'd be to talk a lot. In fact, wouldn't someone in the Now live a fairly uncomplicated, simple life? All the better to stay focused on the Now. Simple actions = fewer distractions. Like Gandhi spinning cloth, an almost inconceivable way of life for the westerner.
"So do not be concerned with the fruit of your action — just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord. This is a powerful spiritual practice. In the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most beautiful spiritual teachings in existence, nonattachment to the fruit of your action is called Karma Yoga. It is described as the path of 'consecrated action.'"~ Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (p. 68). New World Library. Kindle Edition.

When Tolle talks about staying in "the Now," he is repackaging "mindfulness," which itself is a rediscovery of Gurdjieff's "self-remembering" — the idea of freeing oneself from psychological time.

"The time-bound mode of consciousness is deeply embedded in the human psyche. But what we are doing here is part of a profound transformation that is taking place in the collective consciousness of the planet and beyond: the awakening of consciousness from the dream of matter, form, and separation. The ending of time. We are breaking mind patterns that have dominated human life for eons. Mind patterns that have created unimaginable suffering on a vast scale. I am not using the word evil. It is more helpful to call it unconsciousness or insanity."
~ Tolle, Eckhart - The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (p. 67). New World Library. Kindle Edition.
How difficult it is to stay in "the Now" can once again be compared to a camel's passing through the eye of a needle. It's very difficult, and very painful.
"If you're in an environment that is ninety-nine percent bliss and one percent pain, the pain actually represents reality to you. You need to look for it and need to find it. Most of the time, we're in so much pain that that's not an issue, but sometimes things go really, really well. In our tradition, we say that when you are in that kind of situation, you need to be aware of the whole situation and not fixate on the bliss or try to perpetuate it, but actually to relate to the pain in the bliss. It is said that there is no one-hundred percent happiness, that even in a so-called bliss state there is always a shadow. I know that anytime I've experienced something like that, that there is at least the fear of losing it somewhere on the periphery of that experience. In Buddhism you have to pay a lot of attention to the shadows in any situation you're in - not because you're torturing yourself, but because that represents the earth, that's the ground. In our tradition, pain is the vanguard of enlightenment. Pain is ego's response to Reality."Caplan, Mariana - Halfway up the Mountain: The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment (pgs. 448-454)

Attaining enlightenment — whatever it be — is so complex, yet so simple. The catch being that for most people the Simple is, and always will be, out of reach.

How does kundalini fit in with enlightenment, the Now, and nonattachment?

Very simply, it brings to bear the organic, somatic, metabolic, and hormonal resources of the body, allowing the mind and ego to rest while it does the heavy listing of staying in the Now. Kundalini creates a new Being dedicated to returning You to your true self, or should I say your true selfless state.

Don't expect, however, that once active, you can just relax and let kundalini take over. Leaving aside the risk aspect of awakening kundalini, taming the ego work is never finished. Nevertheless, kundalini does jump start the process. 
"How do we change our consciousness? That’s the purpose of Kundalini — a powerful, yet dormant mechanism in our beings that allows us to realize our full potential. Kundalini is the motivating catalyst behind the transformational experience. It's the key to our changing our consciousness. How? Kundalini stimulates neuroplastic activity in the brain which, as a consequence, changes our metabolism, our organic and hormonal structure. Overtime, our behavioral aberrations vanish. We are no longer cogs in the machine.
"So how do we change human nature? We don’t. We run an 'end run' around it; we change our state of being, our consciousness. How do we do this? By raising Kundalini in a safe, permanent fashion. How does this work? My books detail the process, but the upshot is Kundalini produces an entirely new being.
"It’s an active process. You can’t pray for it to happen; you can’t do it by reading philosophy, by undergoing psychoanalysis, or becoming a scientist, lawyer, or doctor. You can't even grasp it intellectually. Why? Because you can't see the mountaintop until you're on top of the mountain.
"You have to involve the whole being. Master three powerful meditation techniques: diaphragmatic deep breathing, control of heart rate, the backward-flowing method and you’re there, standing at the threshold of a new being."~ JJ Semple - Changing Human Nature

Staying in the Now and Kundalini are complimentary partners in the great work of returning to the simple, non-attached life. Stay simple and you'll stay focused.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

All Things Bow Down to Love

All things bow down to love. All things.

It's the glue that holds us together, the fuel that gives us wisdom, knowledge — the motivation that makes us strive for greater things, the bond we share with everyone on this planet. We share it with animals, we share it with all living things, yet like bratty children we disrespect it; we judge, we persecute, we accept Fear as the building block of our life. FEAR. False Evidence Appearing Real.

Fear occurs when our Willpower, which is inherently Divine, decides it wants to perform an action in the name of Self-Love or the Ego and not Universal Love. This event then gets lodged in our water element and attaches to our wheel of karma to be shed in the future when again faced with the same type of event where the mind has to choose between Ego or Universal Love.

Such is the Law. As Above, so Below. As Within, so Without. Karma is cyclic. It repeats itself until corrected. This physical life is but a test — a game. To win the game you must grow your love in your heart and conquer everything that stands in your way of Universal Love. Jesus did it. Gandhi did it. Buddha did it. Mother Theresa did it. So did countless others. And to this day all spiritualists aspire to be like these men and women. Why? Because our souls recognize that these people got it. We look at them as examples and try to be like them. Its natural for us. Organic.

As we expand love in our hearts, we expand the light radiating from within. (Image taken from
Love is the Building Block of Life

This body was given to us as a vehicle in this physical world. Yet, some treat it like it's a final goal. But when you sleep at night, where do you go, what drives you? In the Holy Qabalah the body is called the Nephesh. The Ego is the body. There is no separation. You cannot conquer your Ego and live in the physical body. It is impossible. Jesus himself, one of the greatest men to live on this planet, if not the greatest, did not conquer his ego until the point of physical death. He only guided it. His second last sentence on the cross was, "Father, why have you forsaken me?" This was the last thing his Ego ever said. And it was followed by, "It is finished." The last thing his Higher Self or God-Self ever said before actual physical death.

See, you are truly a dual self. The Ego, and the Higher Self. But one comes from Self-Love. The other comes from Pure Eternal Love. And the purpose in overcoming the pains of this world is to learn to live as the Higher Self guiding the Ego and the physical body and making it perform actions in Its name. When you do this your chakras expand, your aura expands, your consciousness expands.

If you don't do it, you stay functioning at a lower level of vibration, and as this happens, the Ego gets a greater hold on you. The Ego's greatest feat is making you think that You are the Ego. Think about it. It seeks to deceive you. It seeks to manipulate you. It seeks to confuse you and dominate you. It belongs to the realm of the Moon and illusion, hence it is found in the water of the body, which comprises 93% of the body itself. This physical water has a correspondence with the Elemental Water and as mentioned previously the person's individual Karma is linked to this element. It is an emotion. But not pure emotion such as Universal Love, but Ego-tained emotion which the Ego uses to find itself in. The Ego is the body, but its fuel is karma. True Will or God-Self is a Fire, it is Solar in nature and belongs to the Sun. It is Light, it is Spirit, it is real. It is who You really are. Not the body, but the spark from the Sun. The Soul (Sol). Fire is non-dual. It is Truth. It is True Will.

You are pure consciousness is localized in a physical body for the duration of your time on this planet as an organic human being. The love we feel in our emotions, the crosscheck of reason and wisdom builds inside us as we grow spiritually. It's a game, and the purpose of this game is to learn, to expand consciousness, to expand love, truth, knowledge, wisdom. The interpretation of life's events takes place in the Mind. The Mind is the connecting link with Spirit which is Fire, and Body which is Water, which is Ego. Hence Hermes Trismegistus' exclamation, "The All is Mind, the Universe is Mental."

If you can understand that the Mind is the connecting link with Spirit and the Ego, then you have your answer as to how to tame the Ego and grow the Spirit. Learn to control the thoughts of the Mind and by controlling those thoughts you control the actions of the body in the material realm, and you will grow in Spirit and go further away from the lower Ego. Remember you cannot extinguish the Ego entirely, this would result in physical death, but you can grow so far away from the Ego that its impulse doesn't reach you emotionally and you are fully functioning in the Universal Love and draw all of your life inspiration from there.

Ego as the illusion of seperatedness of Self with the Universe. In actuality it is all One, and we contain the whole Universe within ourselves. (Image taken from
The All is Mind, the Universe is Mental

The ego feeds on fear; fear of death, fear of life, fear of difference, fear of individuality that was embedded in us when we first saw ourselves in the mirror as something separate from the rest of the world.

Ask yourself, are you separate? You are a compilation of the 5 senses of the body and the 6th sense of the Mind; the link that connects us to the to the Eternal Spirit, the Spirit which is the emotion of Love we feel throughout the day. When you are wronged, forgive. When you are judged, forgive. When you are persecuted, forgive. Don't take on the burdens of others, the weight of their heart, Don't take on their karma of hate, their karma of fear, their ego of illusion of who they think they are.

If you react to them, you are instantly taking into your aura this lower emotion that the Ego uses to define itself and associate with. By doing so, it grows in power and attaches this life lesson to your wheel of Karma which, due to its cyclical nature, will repeat itself in the future until you get it right. This is why Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek."

When faced with it literally, the energy of this lower emotion bounces off your aura and is taken back into the aura of the person who sent it out. This then makes them even more angry and they try to repeat the process again until they win or go completely crazy right in front of you. Over time, you can take control of this process completely, and although it's difficult at first, it gets easier with practice.

You could say anything and everything to Jesus and he would not retaliate if it was something meant to unsettle his Ego. On the other hand, don't confuse this with weakness or a lack of willpower. Remember what Jesus did when he saw merchants using the House of God to make financial profit by selling items to the public. Remember always that every action yields an equal and opposite reaction. People who do things to hurt others are to be corrected until the negativity they are causing is neutralized.

The first lesson of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn is, "Allowing evil to go unpunished makes you its accomplice." It is our duty to intercede if we see negativity directed at the well being of others. Otherwise, we become a part of it. This is also Love, it is Love of humanity to makes us protect him/her and fight for them when needed and necessary. Love lives in Truth. And Truth is like a lion, once released it defends itself. Hence its power in revealing all things hidden.

Things that are against Truth are against Love. Love uses Truth as its medium to know how to behave in the world. The spiritual path of Love comes with great responsibility. First, you learn to function in Love. After you have accomplished that, you learn to use the Ego to fight for Love. This is called Spiritualizing the Ego. It is a higher form of transmutating the Ego, making it do God's work while in the physical body. This naturally occurs after you have learned to control your thoughts, your actions, and perform actions in the name of Love and Truth. Over time, you lose sight of the body-Self and function at the level of True Self and its connection to all living things. Don't be underestimate the challenge; you will be tested until the day you die. It becomes easier once you learn to control the lower form of the Ego.

The more consciousness resides in the True Self, the less it does in the body-Self or Ego (Image taken from Alex Grey's depiction of kundalini awakening)
Awakening of Kundalini: Expansion of True Self as reflection of Universal Self

You were born alone; you will die alone. One day you will be in the ground, the skeletal remains of your once former body. Your Spirit will live on, your Love will never end. You will become absorbed into the cosmic consciousness, the same consciousness that gave you physical life and let you use that body for a duration of time on this planet.

So don't spend this life persecuting others, judging them, or thinking you are better than they are. Your bank account, your clothes, your house, your car; it's all stuff you borrowed in this life. Don't grow your financial riches and die in fear. Grow your love and die happily knowing that you played the game, and you won. It doesn't matter how you lived your life until now, what matters is how you live your life from now on.

We all play a part in this kingdom of Love. It's actually very easy. The next time you think about benefiting yourself and satisfying the desires of your physical body, ask yourself how you can benefit another.

Their race, their nationality, their accent, their place of birth is part of what makes them unique in a beautiful way. Yes, there is war, yes, there is starvation, the rich rule the world, the poor suffer. But YOU have a choice, a choice that starts now.

Change the life of one person and you change the world itself. I am no Christian, I am no Muslim, no Buddhist, no Jew. I am a Universal Man. Black, white, brown — whatever! it doesn't matter. We were born, we will die.

We take part in this beautiful game called Life. Don't let your legacy be your bank account or the ways in which you fed the desires of your physical body. Let your legacy be the depth of your love. How deeply you forgave, how deeply you understood another's pain, and how hard you fought for your virtuous convictions.

Remember always that you are not a physical person having a spiritual existence, but a spiritual person having a physical existence. Hear it, understand it, integrate it, make your life better, make others' lives better. Know that you make a difference. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Election Day in Narnia: The Kundalini Candidate

"The ancients said, When occupations come to us, we must accept them; when things come to us, we must understand them from the ground up. If the occupations are properly handled by correct thoughts, the light is not scattered by outside things, but circulates according to its own law."
 ~ The Secret of the Golden Flower
Whether you're a Pundit or an everyday citizen, at some level, you have probably become infatuated by the 2016 presidential campaign. The candidates' public and private lives have been been shaken and stirred from just about every perspective — with one exception. Which one is the kundalini candidate? In which one, if any, does the life force burn brightest?

2016 Presidential candidates
Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson
Let's take them in order, the first being Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton
Hillary is a "policy wonk," denoting, I suppose, that she's wrapped up in the memorization, the understanding, and the discussion of issues and their consequences — more interested in moving pieces on the chessboard of domestic and international affaires than in inner contemplation. She's an intellectual, a quality for which she is reviled and hated by the forces who disagree with her. Nevertheless, according to The Secret of the Golden Flower that's not necessarily a bad thing: "If the occupations are properly handled by correct thoughts, the light is not scattered by outside things, but circulates according to its own law."

In other words, a person with limited contemplative capacities can still lead an effective life — be an effective leader — if his/her "thought process" is not scattered, which in Clinton, it seems, is a matter of whether she's leading or running behind.

After the first debate, when she was anointed the winner, her physiognomy and psyche changed. No longer were bothersome things happening to her, no longer did her responses seem erratic and hesitant. No more "basket of deplorables," a remark that "echoed Mitt Romney’s comment of four years earlier that 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes and thus were unlikely to support his candidacy." No fainting at ceremonies. In fact, she no longer appears rattled by attacks on her support of the Iraq war, her email practices, her involvement with the Clinton foundation, or her Benghazi connection. A big change from earlier weeks, when she appeared to be compounding each misstep with an even worse followup.

What would this mean if she became president? Perhaps it means that relying on intellectual capabilities alone — without a spiritual wellspring to fall back on — she would be fine as long as things were going well, but if things headed the other way, she would become unglued. As long as the demands placed on her could be solved by intellectual prowess, she'd be fine, but when events did not follow the playbook she's memorized, she might become easily rattled and overwhelmed. No one can say for sure, but just look at George W. Bush's first forty-eight hours after 9/11. Would Clinton lose it? Or would she take control?

To some degree, Hillary Clinton's vulnerability does render her more human than Trump, but does that qualify her for the high office?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump, on the other hand, would sit down at the chessboard, knock over his opponent's King, then order a missile strike against all the countries on his shit list. Whatever else he may be, Donald Trump is a high energy person. Trouble is, his energy appears to be active in the wrong channels, which manifests itself in an inability to focus, listen, or control himself. In short, to "adequate" his response to the issue, event, or circumstance at hand. He doesn't respond so much as react, which has him playing defense most of the time. Defending himself instead of proactively addressing an issue.

Because she was able to entice Trump into defending himself on the tax and other issues, Clinton now continues to lure him into situations that are not only unrelated to governing, they are also a waste of valuable time. That makes him easy to manipulate, and instead of recognizing his predicament, he doubles down on irrelevancy, lashing out against those — no matter how lowly — who oppose him.

Donald Trump would be the same person when things were going well or when things were not going well, which is to say that it would be all about Donald Trump. His salesmanship, his claim to being smart because he's escaped paying taxes, his wall, his invincibility, his long fingers. He's a narcissist à la Christopher Lasch's classic book, The Culture of Narcissism: "Notwithstanding his occasional illusion of omnipotence, the narcissist depends on others to validate his self-esteem. He cannot live without an admiring audience."

Narcissism aside, would he be a good leader in a 9/11 event? Something would be done, that's for sure. Something grandiose. Question is, would it be anywhere near the best case scenario? It's not possible to tell; certainly his followers see him as a panacea, but so did Mussolini's!

Like so many who start out following one voice — Trump was supposedly a democrat to begin with — he seems to be at war with the various tendencies inside himself, frequently alluding to how much he's going to do for ethnics and the poor, at the same time he reviles immigrants.

Again, The Secret of the Golden Flower offers insight: "When occupations come to us, we must accept them; when things come to us, we must understand them from the ground up." The Donald often brags about how he learned the construction business and the negotiating and financing of deals from the ground up. Could he learn the presidency in the same manner? Or are the vicissitudes of the two jobs so different as to render him incapable of ever being able to function as president? Especially since he's in denial about crucial issues such as climate change.

It seems to me that a great president must be a great soul. Does Donald Trump qualify? He's certainly not the most mindful candidate.

Jill Stein
This lady's claim to fame seems to be the fact that she's run for office many times, but never won:

  • Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2002,
  • Massachusetts House of Representatives candidate, 2004,
  • Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth candidate, 2006,
  • Town of Lexington Town Meeting Representative, 2005 and 2008,
  • Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2010,
  • Presidential campaigns: 2012 & 2016
She's a progressive on all issues. Among others, Stein has voiced concern about wireless internet (Wi-Fi) in schools, saying,
"We should not be subjecting kids' brains especially to that... and we don’t follow this issue in our country, but in Europe where they do, you know, they have good precautions about wireless. Maybe not good enough, you know. It’s very hard to study this stuff. You know, we make guinea pigs out of whole populations and then we discover how many die."
Gary Johnson
I got to watch a tiny portion of Johnson's Town Hall episode. Once again he got caught in the headlights, unable to answer a question on foreign policy. The media love jumping on a candidate for this, but most of what happens during a presidency is unexpected, and therefore cannot be dealt with by rote. I'd rather have a level-headed person who feels a situation, sizes it up, and knows what to do.

Johnson did wax voluble on one subject: the legalization of marijuana. That's where I felt his passion the most. For his enthusiasm on this issue to get him elected would take a miracle.

The Elephant in the Room: Bernie Sanders
Sanders may be the most mindful of all candidates. Unfortunately for him, he lost in the semi-final. Nevertheless, it's funny how both frontrunners keep citing Sanders and paying tribute to him. After all, during the primaries, polls had him beating all Republicans by a wide margin. He would have turned out a lot of voters.

Is Sanders a great soul? The fact that he's fought so long for so many overlooked issues bears witness to his integrity, but I like to see someone in action before handing him my vote.

Only Gary Johnson (governor of New Mexico) and Donald Trump (as head of his dubious NYC empire) have any executive experience.

While it's probable that persons-we've-never-heard-of might be really good at the job, they are not on the ballot. Our job is to pick the best of the four, even though there's no clear-cut kundalini candidate. Let's hope the winner rises to the challenges of the job as a select few have done in the past.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Kundalini And Out Of Body Experience

My first Out Of Body Experience (OBE) occurred when I was 21, lying in a George Washington University hospital bed after a appendicitis operation for which I was given a morphine injection. I wrote about it in my book, Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time, from which, the following excerpt is taken during a visit to the hospital by my girlfriend at the time, Madeline:
JJ: “I was in this half-state between sleep and waking. A great glowing light filled the room. Suddenly, I was floating upward. When I reached the ceiling, I realized I could steer myself. I’m having trouble though. I command myself to roll over and I’m looking down at my physical body, asleep in the bed, and I realize that I’m in an altogether different body.”
Madeline: “So?”
JJ: “So I stayed up there watching my body asleep in the bed. I knew I could leave the room, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to get back. I knew I’d see amazing things, but I figured I had to return to my body, that I wasn’t ready to take off and leave it.”
Madeline: “Hummph.”
JJ: “Well, it opened my mind… Perhaps, I shouldn’t say ‘mind’ because the mind may not be part of it.”

Until my Kundalini awakening fourteen years later, I had no further OBEs. Since activating Kundalini, I've had numerous Astral Body experiences and am now able to put myself into the state at will. How is that possible? OBE can be learned. Yes, you can train yourself to leave your body at will. In my OBEs, I have experienced many of the effects listed in Akhena’s book, Astral Consciousness: Out of Body Explorations, Life Force Books (2016), namely, the abilities to:
  • Fly like a bird and even visit outer space,
  • Walk through solid objects like walls, ceilings etc,
  • Meet loved ones who have "passed on,"
  • Grow spiritually and gain awareness of your True self,
  • Visit the Akashic Records and see the past and the probable future,
  • Increase your psychic abilities,
  • No longer fear death,
  • Become a better problem-solver,
  • Become a better person in all areas of your life,
  • Engage with the pet (especially your cat) in an OBE,
  • Heal yourself physically and mentally.

Is an active kundalini necessary for OBE? It certainly doesn't hurt. Many kundalini adepts have shared most of, if not all of, these effects. But is it absolutely necessary? Aren’t the effects of an OBE a subset of Kundalini effects? Given the large number of OBE accounts over the centuries, I think they are. People have been experiencing OBEs without ever knowing about, or even having heard, the term Kundalini. In its own right — Kundalini is perhaps more difficult to activate, especially on a permanent basis.

Again, I experienced the Out-of-Body state spontaneously, and also as a result of kundalini. Perhaps, my first experience acted as a "warm-up" — a signal that this faculty would lie dormant until my meta-body was sufficiently reprogrammed, in my case, by kundalini, a condition that would eventually enable me to summon my Astral Body at will.

Only recently with the explosion of self-realization studies has a critical mass of interest in both OBE and Kundalini appeared, which has led to OBE self-learning materials, such as those developed by Akhena.

Should you become interested and wish to explore OBE, one critical point to remember is: You retain conscious control over all your impulses. Just like my experience in the George Washington Hospital when I decided to pull back, you can exert the same kind of control. In other words, you can move forward incrementally, only undertaking OBE as you are able to master your emotions: fear, anxiety, etc.

What's special about Akhena's book? I went to France last January to meet Akhena and to discuss publication of her book in English in the US market. We talked about the many books on the subject already on Amazon US. I asked her what was special about her book. It was then that she told me about her courses on OBE given around France and about her ongoing work with students. I was impressed by the fact that the information in her book had been field-tested over many years of working with students.

I didn't have to ask her what was special about her: it stuck out. In a word it was her authenticity. I meet and talk with many people about meditation, NDE, OBE, mindfulness, enlightenment, and kundalini. It's easy to distinguish a genuine seeker from boastful pretender. Detached, yet present, emotionally composed, Akhena acts as a receiver and transmitter of metaphysical actuality and she has proven her capabilities over many years. She not just someone who's written another spiritual book; she's successfully taught others to use her methods and techniques.

Meeting her was enough to convince me. I decided to publish her book, despite the congested state of the OBE book market. It's that important of a book...
10/07/2016: This Title Goes live on Amazon
Since awakening my Kundalini 40 years ago, I have mastered the techniques and highly endorse OBE as a means of spiritual development. Once you master it, there's no limit to the insights into the cycle of life and death that an OBE bestows on you, the traveler.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Dream Energy

One of the strongest impacts Kundalini has on me concerns the way I sleep and the falling-asleep and waking-up processes, and I wonder if other people have experienced the same thing.

Natalie by Paul Lyons
During the day Kundalini strips away anxieties, irritations and fears. When Kundalini’s at hand, it’s easy to see, almost visually, a big package of angst or negativity welling up from your stomach and to simply look away from it and let it turn into simple, pure energy, part of the continuum. Kundalini certainly improves task-oriented functioning as well as clarifying one’s position in the world at large.

At night, asleep, the energy’s just as strong, but it works differently. For the last couple of years I’ve been waking up to find myself pinned to the bed by a sort of shining stillness. There are no thoughts or feelings, just a bright force holding me still in the position that I’ve happened to wake up in (either flat on my back, or mostly on my right side, stretched out fully, not curled up). If I’ve got to go to work, be on the train in twenty minutes, think about placing an order with the builders’ merchants, tell my customers I need some more money — this stillness gets wasted. But since I’ve been back in Thailand with my wife and only teaching two days a week, I’ve been able to let this waking stillness, breathing very slowly and deeply, Kundalini intense and bright, take its own course and take hold of me. It usually lasts for about an hour. I have the feeling that I haven’t dreamed much, or at all, during the night (though, of course, it’s hard to say for sure) and that this bright stillness is dream energy, the subtle energy that would normally have gone into dreaming, but which has stayed in its raw, unmanifested state and hasn’t somehow allowed my brain to make dream narratives, faces, or places out of it. I checked this out in some books and believe that this bright still energy is what in Tantra is called tejas.

Psyche discovers her secret lover is Cupid

After an hour or so the stillness starts to burn, the Kundalini heat becomes more intense, thoughts start up, and at a certain point I reach a sort of overload, and it’s time to get up. But what then becomes crucial is that this prone, lying-down state of the last hour gets balanced by some uprightness and concentration. So, after a wash and ten minutes on the balcony getting used to looking at things again (mountains, a river, a singlet used to clean the floor) and listening to things (birds, insects, someone panel beating up on the highway), I sit in straight-backed, upright meditation for another hour. The stillness and the Kundalini are much the same but, for me, there’s something vital about being centred and upright (not lying down any more.) In alchemy, the prone position, symbolised by a horizontal line represents the Waters and Cosmic Female and the upright position, symbolised by a vertical line, represents Fire and the Cosmic Male. I have a hunch that there’s a lot in this and would be interested to know whether other people have experienced this same altered relationship between sleep and wakefulness once Kundalini is activated.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Is Compromise Possible? - A Kundalini Worldview

With tropes like, "'This is the dirtiest campaign ever' being amplified to a fanatical degree by the Media and the Internet, it's possible to think it may be so, until you remember the pundits have been saying the same thing about the last several election cycles and presidential campaigns. So I think it's safe to predict that the next election cycle will sink to even lower depths, waste more time that could be used for getting things done, and throw away more money for the wrong reasons.

It's not so much about the beliefs and positions of the left or right as it is about the growing distance between the two camps that's making compromise close to impossible. So what's wrong with that, what's wrong with opposing camps raining down invective and hurling personal insults at each other?
Black Lives Matter in an America Made Great ©JJ Semple
Is Compromise Possible?

You've heard the expression, "It's not personal; it's business." It's an expression that makes a lot of sense when applied to the nation's business, the business of running the country, which amounts to government doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people, even if that sometimes means doing nothing. Personal connotes doing something for your own immediate gain; business connotes a rationale that involves something larger than the individual.

Sitting around the table negotiating takes patience, civility, and a degree of mutual understanding — what George H. W. Bush called a kinder, gentler mindset — the capacity to put oneself in the other's position. So what's happened to cause our society to move from positions of relative cooperation to total estrangement? Not that the political forces in this country didn't oppose one another's policies. They did. But when things were on the line, they compromised.

Estrangement leads to perpetual gridlock, a condition that's expanded geometrically since the 1970s, one we'd almost forgotten about it, except to use as a talking point when blaming the other side.

Can anything short of a Napoleon-like dictator get the nation focused on fixing the things that need fixing? That's what Donald Trump is telling us: that only a strong leader can put things right. But we know what happens when a country resorts to a so-called strong leader.
Bun-Hur: avoid the remake
Crowning the New Savior

The people who wished for it soon realize they got more than they bargained for. There's a memorable passage on the subject in Elia Kazan's Viva Zapata! (1952), a film that tackles ambition and abuse of power:
Zapata (to his followers): You always look for leaders, strong men without faults. There aren't any. There are only men like yourselves. They change. They desert. They die. There are no leaders but yourselves. A strong people is the only lasting strength.
"A strong people..." How did we lose our strength? I'm not talking about military hardware, world hegemony, or economic supremacy; I'm talking about integrity. And when you succumb to every temptation out there, you do lose it. I've summarized this issue previously; no need to repeat. Only to add to the above that we're not alone; the rest of the world is right up there with us, chasing the same illusions: money, power, wanton sex, domination, self-aggrandizement — all the elements Freud said destroyed a man. And if they can destroy a man, they can destroy a nation, a world, a planet. Just look at the frequency and prevalence of incarceration, addiction, war, new diseases, racial hatred, sex crimes, wanton violence.

I used to believe the rapid increase in kundalini awakenings would somehow put us on the right track. No more. Why? There doesn't seem to be enough time to slow down the headlong worldwide rush to self-destruction.

Not by any of the accepted orthodoxies can we change course:

Religion can't do it: There are more religious wars now than ever before, and on a grander, worldwide scale.

Education can't do it: There are a lot of intelligent people, but the true test of intelligence is not IQ; it's what you use your intelligence for. The more people who graduate; the more they disagree; the more they indulge self-interest.

Politics can't do it: Any institution beholden to money and driven by it is bound to fail.

Science can't do it: It's one step forward and two steps back. For every Salk vaccine we get napalm and the atomic bomb...with runaway profit margins. A cure for every ill, never mind the side effects.

If these orthodoxies were capable of change, they would have already changed things — they've been at it long enough. My guess is, over time, our brains become hard-wired in one of two ever-more-bitter positions: Right becomes Alt-Right and Left becomes Alt-Left. Over generations this breeds a strident, militant, self-righteous inflexibility.

Kundalini can change this wiring, rewiring the brain to a more flexible worldview, a more temperate, more tolerant human being, one whose consciousness extends beyond the puny, insubstantial ego. In order to do so, time is essential; it also running short.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Color Red

Color symbolism is important in Tantra. Color exists on a spectrum that is both "horizontal" (the infra-red spectrum) and "vertical" ( in which color modulates from the visual, via imagination and hallucination, to color that symbolizes transcendent realities.

Red signifies fire. The pingala, or sun, nadi is fiery red because, when Kundalini ascends the pingala nadi. She is the fire that underpins materiality and physical manifestation. This is why, in the pingala nadi, Kundalini can become a consuming force, an unbearable heat. There is a significant moment in Gopi Krishna's Kundalini awakening (described in Kundalini, The Evolutionary Energy In Man) when, exhausted and feverish, almost at the point of death from Kundalini's rising up the red pingala nadi, he makes a last-ditch inner effort and rechannels Kundalini into the ida, or moon, nadi (its color is white) where manifestation is female, interior, sustaining and cooling — and by so doing Gopi Krishna saves his own life.

Front Cover of Paul Lyons' novel Natalie
In alchemy, the initial awakening, after the "separation of the mercury" (the ability to sustain consciousness in the subtle body, or female state) is called the albedo, or white work. After this stage comes the rubedo, or red work, the more challenging task of sustaining consciousness in the fiery forces that underpin physical matter and one's own physical body. The red work is done in the pingala nadi, the white work in the ida.

Red is also associated with the belly chakra and its fire, where prana (the force directed at transcendence) and apana (the force directed at physicality) are mixed to create the "Blessed Inner Heat" that Milarepa speaks, in fact, sings, of. Interestingly, the inner woman, or shakti, whom Milarepa evokes and celebrates he calls the Red Dakini, the shakti of material manifestation.

Tantra in the movies
Last Tango In Paris (1972)
Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider

There is a fascinating correspondence between Milarepa's red dakini and a passage from Dante's Vita Nuova. There is evidence that Dante, the great medieval Italian poet, was a member of the Fideli Amore, or "Love's Followers," an esoteric group that practised an alchemical/sexual awakening comparable to Milarepa's. Dante describes how Love appeared to him in a vision as his "Lord" (the transcendent Siva or Real Self) "the memory of whose being maketh me shudder:"
"In his arms methought I saw one sleeping, naked, save that she seemed to me to be wrapped lightly in a crimson drapery; whom, gazing at intently, I knew to be the lady of the salutation (Beatrice), who the day before had deigned to salute (save) me. And in one of his hands methought Love held a thing that was all aflame; and methought he said to me these words: Vide Cor Tuum (Behold Thy Heart)."
 This is a wonderfully powerful symbol, the after image of a true vision: Love holds in his arms a naked woman (shakti stripped of all conditioning) who is wrapped in a crimson drapery. What he has awoken (or better, what has greeted him) is the inner woman or shakti who is found the red bloodstream of the physical body. This "woman" is the Kundalini, union with whom, goes beyond physical sexual intercourse. She is woken in the heart that is "all aflame." The shakti of the breath, on the other hand, is wrapped in a white "drapery."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Like-Minded People

"Groups don’t think, act, or have motivations, only individuals
do. Each individual is different from every other. How can we fit
in one world? There isn’t much in common when you extend the
relationship beyond the one of mutual self-interest, so someone
will have to sacrifice. Any relationship should last only as long as
it is beneficial for each party. Intimacy needs to be cultivated and
~ How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World — Harry Browne
Like-minded people are the basis of groups, but finding and maintaining like-mindedness over a period of time is an illusion, bolstered by the urge to fulfill certain needs. Don't think so? Look at the divorce rates. What starts out as a testament to like-mindedness ends up in a lawyer's office because like-minded people are needy people, and needs diverge over time. How do I know this? I was conditioned to be needy; we all are. Our cultural markers direct us to identify with the needs of others, and, by extension, subsume their needs as our own — as if what others have is somehow more desirable than what we have.

To see this mechanism in action, look at popular culture. For example, the highly-regarded HBO television series, "The Newsroom."
"In 'The Newsroom,' Emmy-winning executive producer, Aaron Sorkin, uses the operation of a fictional cable news network as the heart of the story, with Jeff Daniels portraying the network's lead anchor and leading an ensemble cast. Episodes are written around actual recent news events, reported by a staff that takes its collective responsibilities seriously, but corporate and commercial obstacles — plus entangled personal relationships — fly in the face of their public mission."
While the show venerates the news gathering process, it revels in the vicarious interplay of the characters' compatible and incompatible needs, leaving the viewer withfield guide to neediness. In fact, "the entangled personal relationships" segments occupy more screen time than the news gathering segments do, and are so entangled it's amazing that these hard-charging producers and reporters get any work at all done.

It's not that those segments are less interesting or less well constructed. It's that any personal neediness a viewer might have is amplified by a parade of familiar tropes in each of the character's relationships. At one point, there's a play within a play in which one of the neediest characters encounters a "Sex And The City" tour bus that's hosting a guided tour of locations featured in that show. Need on top of need on top of need.

Cast clapping after another scoop in HBO's "The Newsroom"
HBO's "The Newsroom"
In this sequence, that character, Maggie, who lives with co-worker Don, who she doesn't love, is given notice after a YouTube video in which she confesses her love for co-worker Jim, who she does love, goes live and is viewed by Don who tells her their relationship is over. Maggie locates the woman who posted the video and beseeches her to remove it. At the same time, Lisa, Maggie's roommate, dates Jim, much to his chagrin because he loves Maggie.

Maggie discovers that Lisa has also seen the video and now wants to end their friendship. As the downtrodden Maggie ponders her next move, a double-decker tour bus, with Sex and the City plastered all over it, appears on the roadway alongside her. Frustrated by Jim's reluctance to commit to a relationship with her and anguished at his persistence in remaining quasi-faithful to Lisa, Maggie rails against the injustice of her plight to the tour bus passengers on the open-air, double-decker bus, only to have Jim emerge from among the amazed passengers, aghast at the melodramatic nature of her indelicacies. Jim, it turns out, is on the bus because a colleague had suggested he get in touch with his feminine side.

So...for starters, Maggie needs: Jim's love, Lisa's friendship, and Don's respect. She also wants to move up the ladder professionally, is frustrated that she's been unable to pull off her Don-to-Jim switcheroo in classic Sex and the City fashion.

How does this affect the viewer? Without being aware of it, the viewer is sucked into a cesspool of neediness. Why can't I have job like that? Be chasing a guy while another guy is chasing me? Vent my frustrations on the street from time to time? I deserve better; I NEED better!

Groups are unproductive because everyone goes full-speed ahead; everyone wants to impress, to prioritize their particular laundry list of needs.

In life, needs compete. And the more ardent the competition, the less likely the individual is to slow down and take stock. Who has time to be mindful of his or her neediness when 15,000 new Hillary emails are made public? Who has the time or the inclination to be mindful?

Mindfulness is being aware that you are You in the present moment, in spite of what else may be happening around you. It's not something that comes naturally; you have to learn and practice it. You have to acquire the ability to slow down, much as you do when you meditate. 

Mindfulness is an extension of meditation, a practice you can call upon to recreate the meditative state at the first sign of provocation, turmoil, or stress...if only you can remember to do it. That's the hard part: remembering yourself! Nevertheless, once you're adept at remembering yourself in the present moment, you can extend your practice of mindfulness to include being mindful of superfluous needs that may be controlling your thoughts and actions. You can bring them to the fore, turn them around, examine them in all their aspects, and then dismiss them forever.

Being mindful is being present in the Now, and still getting your work done! Your actions are, in a sense, purified. You become unattached to the outcome, more aware of how you are doing at a given instant and less attached to the goals of your actions.

Woody Allen is a past master at using his characters to portray neediness, right up there with Anton Chekhov. In Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) his leading character's needs lead him into the murkier regions of the soul including murder-for-hire and the need to rationalize it.

In The Seagull, Chekhov's Boris taunts the beautiful young aspiring writer/actress, Nina, in this passage, using her as a metaphor for both the seagull and the girl:
Boris: This is a beautiful place to live. [He catches sight of the dead sea-gull] What is that?
Nina: A gull. Constantine shot it.
Boris: What a lovely bird! Really, I can't bear to go away. Can't you persuade Irina to stay? [He writes something in his note-book.]
Nina: What are you writing?
Boris: Nothing much, only an idea that occurred to me. [He puts the book back in his pocket] An idea for a short story. A young girl grows up on the shores of a lake, as you have. She loves the lake as the gulls do, and is as happy and free as they. But a man sees her who chances to come that way, and he destroys her out of idleness, as this gull here has been destroyed.
And so, over the course of the play, he does exactly that — destroys her with Iago-like "motiveless malignancy."

Both Allen and Chekhov introduce us to the fact that because art comes to the artist intact — as a result of their talent — artists tend to become heedless of the strivings of others. Witness Boris's wanton destruction of Nina and Irina's belittling of her son's writing. Thanks to an innate talent, the artist's needs of self-expression are taken care of, so they must manufacture new needs, exemplified in The Seagull by the artistic characters unconscious destruction of the weaker characters.

What does this have to do with kundalini? Kundalini not only leads to mindfulness, it overhauls human nature, allowing you to become less attached to real or perceived needs. Moreover, it puts "like-mindedness" in perspective, that the urge-to-merge is largely an illusion, that you don't have to run alongside a tour bus blurting out your despair. That being yourself with yourself in the moment is satisfaction enough.