Monday, February 25, 2013

Changing Human Nature

Once invited to a writer’s forum, I thought it a good idea to read a book written by Matthew Fox, another member of the panel. I wanted to see if there was any synergy between us. The organizer suggested his book, Creativity. I’m glad I asked because I found the synergy I was looking for, a section on human nature in which he listed a series of attributes that we ideally should not exhibit:
  • We are not consumers,
  • We are not addicts,
  • We are not passive couch potatoes,
  • We are not boring,
  • We are not cogs in a machine,
  • We are not lazy,
  • We are not destroyers.
Unfortunately, although we ought NOT to exhibit these attributes (consumer, addict, boring, cogs in the machine, lazy, destructive), we still do. At the moment, in our present state of consciousness, we are mere aberrations of the ideal human nature Matthew Fox believes us capable of.

I happens mostly in winter
North Coast Winter Sky
Ouspensky said, in our present state of consciousness we are asleep; we are machines; we are incapable of true knowing. So, how do we change our human nature? How do we stop feeling like “cogs in the machine?”

Remember 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece? Remember the much talked about black monolith that appears in the midst of a primitive tribe?

Walking out of the theater I had something no one else in my group of friends had. I knew what the Black Monolith meant. I was certain that it signified a dramatic shift in consciousness, a symbol for man’s first instance of self-awareness, a parable describing the discovery, the use, and the development of tools. Self recognizing other for the first time. Man, in effect, becoming modern man. The moment homo added sapiens to his pedigree. And if you think about it, the modern space shuttle is but a mere extension of the bone picked up by the primitive tribesman in Kubrick’s film. In fact, there has been a greater lapse of time between the origin of man and the discovery of that first tool than the lapse of time between the discovery of that primitive weapon and creation of the atomic bomb.

In the intervening thousands of years since that primordial moment — the hand reaching down to grab the bone at the same instant the grabber realizes its deadly purpose — there has not been another existential leap of consciousness of the same magnitude. No new black monolith. No moment of greater self-awareness spreading like wildfire through the entire race. Sure, technology has moved ahead at a rapid pace, but outside of the development of the prefrontal cortex (the region of the brain devoted to higher cognitive functions), the development of the other lobes of the brain has been minimal. It’s often said that man’s decisions are still governed by his animal brain — emotions and feelings overruling rational centers.

What does this have to do with changing our human nature? In order to change our human nature we have to change our state of consciousness.

The reason human nature varies so greatly among individuals is because human nature is subordinate to the individual's current state of consciousness. The higher the state of consciousness of the individual, the nobler his nature. Unfortunately, the aggregate state of human nature at the present time has created a world of financial collapse, war, greed, illness, obesity, addiction, wide-scale sexual slavery, racial hatred.

Violent emotions, selfish habits, negative outlook, addictions, aggressive personalities, faulty mental processes have created a "lowest-common-denominator" behavioral standard. Often, we exhibit negative behavior out of frustration, because we feel like "cogs in a machine." We may even hate ourselves because of failure. That's when the trouble starts because: all violence is self-hate. Failure is not non-fulfillment; it is a learning opportunity.

In order to survive the changing conditions of overcrowding and diminishing resources, we can and must eliminate the negative aspects of a nature that makes us feel like cogs in a machine.

But we cannot change human nature by any traditional or orthodox means. Not by prayer, not by good works, not by psychology, education, philosophy, law, medicine, science, politics is human nature changed. Don’t believe me? Ask Mao Tse-Tung, the most dedicated social engineer of the last 100 years. The Cultural Revolution in China attempted to exorcise commercialism, venality, greed, and selfishness. It failed miserably. To change our nature we must change our consciousness, which varies greatly from individual to individual.
"Thus in life there is ever the intellectual and emotional nature — the mind that reasons and the mind that feels. Of one come the men of action — generals and statesmen; of the other, the poets and dreamers — artists all."
~ Sister Carrie – Theodore Dreiser
Kundalini wants to balance natural tendencies, to make the manager more poetic and the artist a better organizer. Does it always work this way? Can I predict how Kundalini might affect you? Of course not, but I can show you how it affected me.

My books are about transformation. But so were the Middle Ages — about scourging the body in order to transcend it. My work isn’t about scourging the body; it’s about perfecting it in order to transcend it, in order to develop and maintain perfect health, mental awareness, and higher consciousness throughout life, and on into future incarnations.

You see, we’ve moved beyond a purely religionist definition of transcendence. Transcendence can be as simple as surpassing one’s early circumstances to become an artist, or as elaborate as dying on the cross. We now know — or at least we should know — that there is something beyond the physical, and we don’t need prayer to invoke it. We can reach out and grab it. That is, we can take an active role in the process of connecting with the energy continuum. That is why my books are also about the biology of consciousness, about first principles, if you would, the steps to implementing our transformation in the space of a single lifetime. We can use this process to heal and perfect our beings.

As Vivek Govekar stated so eloquently in Kundalini - The Catalyst for Evolutionary Leaps in Consciousness:
"Unless there is a framework for scientific research that both provides support to those undergoing the trauma associated with the event and also carries out an in-depth analysis of the abilities, revelations and changes brought about post-awakening, we are missing out on valuable opportunities for using this phenomenon towards it's intended goal, the benefit of mankind."
So 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 changing our state of consciousness. How? Kundalini stimulates neuroplastic activity in the brain and, as a consequence, changes our very Being. All 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 my 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. If the above were possible, it would have happened already because we've been doing these things for a long time...without much success.

And you can't grasp it intellectually. Why? Because you can't see the mountaintop until you're on top of the mountain. And you can't get there without climbing!

As Bruce Lee said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

You have to involve the whole being. How did I do it? I mastered three powerful meditation techniques: diaphragmatic deep breathing, control of heart rate, the backward-flowing method and, lo and behold, I was there, standing at the threshold of a new being. There are other ways, all with the same goal.

The goal Vivek pointed to in Gopi Krishna's great hypothesis:
"The aim of the evolutionary impulse that is active in the race is to mold the human brain and nervous system to a state of perception where the invisible world of intelligent cosmic forces can be cognizable to every human being."
That is your true birthright: ever expanding consciousness — a process that has taken us "from hapless bystanders, surviving the vagaries of nature and at the mercy of circumstances, to users of tools, taking charge of our own destiny, almost immediately." A process that will take us even further in the future.

Many refuse to recognize that the process is only underway, that in spite of the strides we've made — from caveman to modern man — there is a long way to go. They think we've reached the pinnacle of evolution, that the physical, material world is all there is. They pooh-pooh Near Death Experience and Kundalini states, don't think "meditation techniques, hallucinogens, yogic breathing practices, tantric sex" amount to muchIn so doing, they deny their birthright, much the same way Esau — succumbing to his all too frail human nature — denied his.

But objective study of metaphysical states is happening. Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, studies what people experience in that period after their heart stops and before they're resuscitated. This includes visions such as bright lights and out-of-body experiences.
"The experience that people have is very personal and it's very real to them. So, for most people who've gone through these experiences, as far as they're concerned, what they've experienced is absolutely real. They've described and seen something of the other side. Now, for those of us who haven't had the experience, it's impossible to verify that, but in the same way that, for instance, if a patient comes to me and says, 'I have depression,' it would be completely unacceptable for me as a physician to simply discard that experience and say, 'Well, I don't think [so]. You may feel that you're depressed, but actually it's an illusion of having depression or you're hallucinating. Your depression, it's not really real.' So we have to remember that to the people who've had the experience, it's real to them."


'What we study is not people who are near death,' Parnia tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. 'We study people who have objectively died. ... And therefore what we've understood is that the experience that these people have of going beyond the threshold of death, entering the period after death for the first few tens of minutes or hours of time, provides us with an indication of what we're all likely to experience when we go through death.'
"In his new book Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death, Parnia examines the experiences patients describe, but whereas much discussion around the experience of death has been philosophical or personal, Parnia is looking at the subject scientifically.
"'One of the big problems that we have,' Parnia says, 'is that because we've never had a science, we've never had an objective method to go beyond the threshold of death and study what happens both biologically and from a mental and cognitive perspective.'"

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kundalini - The Catalyst for Evolutionary Leaps in Consciousness

2001 - A Space Odyssey, the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, is one of my favorite movies of all time. It begins with a scene depicting ape-men surviving in a brutal prehistoric landscape scrounging for food, fighting a rival group of apes. Suddenly a black monolith appears and an ominous sound emanates, a whirring drone-like hum.  


2001 - A Space Odyssey
Apes watching monolith
The apes watch it, transfixed. Whatever knowledge the rock imparts to those creatures, it sends them hurtling towards evolution, eventually leading to their taking the human form we now inhabit. They go from hapless bystanders, surviving the vagaries of nature and at the mercy of circumstances, to users of tools, taking charge of their own destiny, almost immediately. 

The culmination of events set in motion by the appearance of the monolith is shown in a flash-forward to an imagined 2001 (the movie was made in 1968, before man landed on the moon) with space stations and an expedition to the moon where another monolith has been discovered, which eventually pushes the humans in the movie to the next higher level of evolution. The film is a fascinating twist on the sci-fi genre, mixing elements of old-school space exploration themes with deeper ideas about the human quest for a greater understanding of the psyche and the collective consciousness, and our sometimes uneasy co-existence with the technology we have created.  


Astronaut watching monolith
After my Kundalini awakening, it became obvious that higher levels of consciousness are already at our disposal, hidden deep within the dormant parts of the brain, waiting for a spark from the proverbial 'philosopher's stone' to set in motion events that are the equivalent of the apes staring at the black monolith, grokking information, ascending to a higher state.

Gopi Krishna presents a convincing argument that the awakening of the kundalini has been responsible for all exceptional genius and their consequent achievements through the ages. He went through a spontaneous kundalini awakening as a result of the practice of meditation. It was his hypothesis that throughout history, mankind has been assisted by a few extraordinary individuals, touched by the divine spark, each expressing this leap into a higher realm through his or her own unique and individual set of gifts. The famous examples, those we call prophets, Buddha, Jesus, Abraham, Nanak, Mahavir started religions that have large followings to this day.  We can also add to that list artists, musicians, writers and scientific thinkers, people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Newton, Mozart, Van Gogh. 


God creates Adam - Michelangelo

Gopi Krishna states in his book Higher Consciousness and Kundalini:

"The aim of the evolutionary impulse that is active in the race is to mold the human brain and nervous system to a state of perception where the invisible world of intelligent cosmic forces can be cognizable to every human being. 

"Can there be any more powerful factor to remind us that we are in a state of constant transition toward an unknown destination than the picture of our primitive ancestors of less than ten thousand years ago, working with instruments of flint to fashion their weapons and implements of stone, living in caves, sheds, or skin tents in a rough, savage way of life so abhorrent to our current tastes that, even if experienced in a dream, may cause the horrors of a nightmare?


"With the transition that has occurred clearly before our eyes, we can easily infer that not even in their wildest fancy could those leading that barbaric mode of life imagine their distant progeny in the present state of glamour, abundance, and luxury we enjoy today."

Coincidentally, Stanley Kubrick later chose, in 2001 - A Space Odyssey, to contrast those two states of man, the modern version, at the peak of technological progress, and the primitive man-ape of a few thousand years ago. More intriguing is the use of the mysterious black monolith to underline the evolutionary leap between those two states of consciousness. Maybe Kubrick was one of those people blessed with this gift and chose the cinematic medium to express it, just as Gopi Krishna used his books, Da Vinci and Michelangelo used art and Osho used the spoken word. Kubrick certainly qualifies for the title of 'extraordinary genius'. 

Gopi Krishna states further:

"Why research on kundalini is of utmost importance for mankind at this stage of its evolution is because it can directly lead to the awareness of the fact that Revelation, to which paramount importance was attached throughout the past, is as essential for the welfare and progress of the race as genius and intellectual talent and that the Serpent Power is the organic source behind it all. 

"Contrary to common belief, the real object of yoga and the transcendental states of consciousness to which it leads is not merely to experience a state of bliss or to perform miraculous feats but, what is of the highest importance, to open new channels of perception by which Revelation and jnana (perennial wisdom) become possible."


We have not progressed very far in terms of scientific research since Mr. Krishna penned those words. However, more and more people come in contact with meditation techniques, hallucinogens, yogic breathing practices, tantric sex, which lead to the awakening of the kundalini energy.  


Chakras
Unless there is a framework for scientific research that both provides support to those undergoing the trauma associated with the event and also carries out an in-depth analysis of the abilities, revelations and changes brought about post-awakening, we are missing out on valuable opportunities for using this phenomenon towards it's intended goal, the benefit of mankind.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The First UK Conference on Kundalini Takes Place Two Months from Today

Two months from today brings to fruition a strong inner instruction I received to organise the first UK Conference on Kundalini -  in 2013, the Year of the Snake, no less. When this instruction was first given to me, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Organising a conference was so far out of my comfort zone it seemed impossible. But then I recognised that I've experienced Kundalini energy myself, so from that standpoint the conference would be authentic. In January 2011, I set to work booking a venue and contacting experts on the subject.

The Year of the Snake - 2013

My aim is to cover a variety of topics related to personal experience, not concepts, theory, academia. Kundalini has taught me that the experience becomes knowledge only when the energy rises. Thus the unknowable becomes knowable. Until that point we are dealing with second hand accounts and opinions, not experience, and I want this conference to be about experience. 

For me, the title of the conference Science, Psychosis or Serpent represents the ways that Kundalini manifests itself. There are eight speakers:
  • Author JJ Semple will discuss his Kundalini awakening in scientific terms and give a demonstration of Golden Flower Meditation, the method he used to raise Kundalini permanently and safely,
  • Catherine G. Lucas, founder of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network, will address coping with psychosis and how to avoid confusing it with Kundalini,
  • Isabel Clarke, a consultant psychotherapist for the NHS, has written a number of books exploring the link between psychosis and spirituality,
  • Sarah Culliford, a psychiatric nurse, will explain the effects of Kundalini on her personal and professional life,
  • Frances Goodall speaks about her own Kundalini experience and how it enriched her life,
  • Yogi Master Shiv Charan Singh, the founder of Karam Kriya Yoga school, will share his personal experience with Kundalini Energy and how he managed to balance it while enjoying the benefits of a life filled with greater clarity,
  • Using a live snake, Kwali Kumara, who does yoga with snakes, will speak about the serpent as the symbol of spiritual enlightenment,
  • Steve Taylor will present his research into 33 cases of spiritual crisis/awakening and will speak about the energetic link between these experiences.
The purpose of this conference is to raise awareness of Kundalini, the dormant energy at the base of the spine within all of us. It is our natural evolutionary energy and is not to be feared.

I want to demystify unexpected shifts of consciousness and remove the uncertainties surrounding Kundalini. And although I would like to show the link between Kundalini and altered states of consciousness, this might be a bit too ambitious for a first conference because feeling the energy rise and observing its impact on the brain requires a high level of awareness of the inner landscape. So, for now, this will remain an unvalidated hypothesis I continue to work on.

Roll on...Two Months Time. There are a few places left, so if it's something you would like to be a part of go to our dedicated website and book up.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sexual Sublimation

Sexual sublimation, the process of distilling sexual energy and drawing it up into the brain, is the basis of Kundalini activity, which, in one way or another, is the basis of self-actualization. I say this because the Kundalini experience takes many forms, probably because the sublimation process takes so many forms. Hidden channels can open in various ways, triggering a flow of sexual energy to the brain. If you read, Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time, you are aware that I took the backward-flowing path — a relatively structured, formal path — that consists of drawing distilled seminal fluid up the spinal column to the brain.
The Backward Flowing Method"For a week I observe my breath circulate in the opposite direction without noticing any effect. The mind goes on autopilot and I go back to my uninspired routine: walking, cooking, meditating. Then, two weeks later, about the length of time it takes the backward-flowing method to become permanent, there’s something new. On the day in question, I feel a sensation at the base of my spine like the cracking of a small egg and the spilling out of its contents. For the next month, I observe the fluid-like contents of the egg trickle out of its reservoir and slowly begin to climb my spine. What is this fluid? I can’t describe it exactly. It seems to emanate from the base of the spine and press upward. Each time I sit to meditate, it has risen a half an inch higher."
This approach is derived from ancient Chinese texts, specifically The Secret of the Golden Flower. It took about three months for this process to complete. I never felt sexual arousal; I felt a benign hydraulic sensation, as if a liquid was slowly climbing up my back. Contrast my experience, which could be described as "verging on the machine-like," with Dale Pond's account:

"With that, my eyes rolled upwards and began to flutter and I became very sexually aroused but there were no thoughts of sex involved. I began to feel a rising sensation from my genital area and as the sensation neared my heart, it began to beat incredibly fast. I thought if it beat any faster it would leave my body. Then it was as if my mind was being pulled into the tiniest black hole and all of a sudden with a burst it was as if I had expanded and entered the universe. I felt as if I were one of the stars. They were everywhere glittering beside me and then I saw the moon in all its brilliance hovering in the distance. However, not having the discipline that is needed to stay with this experience, my attention went to the sexual feelings below and I felt what was once the rising sensation, begin to descend downward where it had originated. I then opened my eyes and everything was vibrating in and around me. I closed my eyes again and the experience started all over. When it was finished or should I say when I was exhausted, I opened my eyes to find my body in a state of vibration. I just sat there for a moment full of awe and wonder at what had just taken place in my interior."

Although it is experienced in many different ways, the sexual energy is always involved as Kundalini rises. Is awakening always accompanied by sexual arousal? Is there a link between Kundalini and sexual awakening? All legitimate questions. One thing is certain: It must be summoned, whether by intent, such as meditation, or by accident, and it must get to the brain. How do I know this? I know it first hand; it happened to me. What else accounts for the spontaneous eruption of neuroplastic energy that revitalized and re-engineered my physical body? What other phenomenon could regenerate a degenerating body? What other power could quick start a non-existent creativity?

Many persons, including Gopi Krishna and myself, have written about a lessening of desire once the sexual sublimation process kicks into high gear. Is this a physiological or a psychological effect? Does it last or does it dissipate? That, like every other effect of Kundalini, depends on the metabolic, somatic, psychic structure of the individual. As for me, I can confirm that desire fluctuates, depending on how much sexual and psychic fuel the Kundalini process needs at any given time. Remember, it's not up to you. Once Kundalini becomes active, you no longer DO it; it DOES you! However, if you've activated Kundalini in a safe, permanent fashion, it is benign.

So how do we really know the effect sublimation has on the bodies of those who trigger it? An article in Current Biology, Volume 22, Issue 18, R792-R793, 25 September 2012 gives us a hint of this:

Male sex hormones are responsible for shortening the lives of men, a new study has suggested. The evidence comes after careful study of genealogy records of noble members of the Imperial court of the Korean Chosun dynasty (AD 1392-1910)."

What is this article really saying and how do its findings relate to Kundalini? The article tells us sexual hormones that remain is the prostate region can turn against the body. It stumbled on a rather drastic solution — castration. Now this wasn't determined by an experiment set up in the Chosun dynasty: people were castrated back then for political and social reasons. But the records left by this practice — comparing castrated men to intact men — yielded data for a modern day study that tells us about effects of hormones on men's bodies as they age.

So, is there another solution to avoiding a "shortening the lives of men" besides castration? Ancient adepts learned that sublimation, the practice of redirecting sexual hormones to the brain, was a powerful factor in longevity, in effect, a substitute for castration. People frequently ask me about the optimal time in life to begin Kundalini meditation. I tell them at the end of useful child bearing might be a time. This study sets another criteria: a reasonable period before prostate damage occurs — at a time in a man's life when family responsibilities are lessening and the "rest-of-life" challenges begin to surface. In fact, the two might work together as a kind of life plan for better senior living. We certainly don't think castration will make a comeback, in spite of this study! But years of creative fulfillment? That's worth considering.

Imagine that you came home one day to find the cat sitting at your computer sending emails. That's the same kind of change that occurred the moment man used the first tool. An outside witness — say an interplanetary observer — would have been astonished. This bestial creature all of a sudden using a club to fight off invaders? What caused it? How did the brain suddenly make the connection? What made the synapses fire? What made the hand suddenly reach down and pick up a club at the very instant the brain realized its deadly purpose? The leap from using tools such as fire or clubs to creating art is a short one — once consciousness kicks in. Sexual energy has two purposes: reproduction and neuroplastic brain development, aka, Kundalini activation. There must be a balance between these two ends. Imagine if everyone took to raising Kundalini to the exclusion of reproduction, civil society would collapse. But think about evolution for a moment. Where is it headed? Look at the millions who are striving for spiritual release.

ARE Evolution and those attempting to raise Kundalini not headed in the same direction? Google the term Kundalini. Thousands of websites with their own interpretations. Why, all of a sudden? To what evolutionary purpose?

You only need to look at the world around us for the answer. How long can we go on this way? Exhausting our resources, killing and fighting, shouting and screaming, overcrowding and wasting. Look at how evolution is responding to this turmoil. It's sending millions to Yoga, Kundalini, and the like. Imagine, then, that the ultimate in neuroplastic brain development might be the bodiless brain or the ethereal brain or the bodiless being? If we were to exist in bodiless form, what happens to all our problems? Suddenly, they don't exist. Suddenly, we are free. Will it happen tomorrow? Don't confuse evolution with history; the two are not synonymous. It took us millions of years to evolve into our present form. It may take another million to get to the next stage, but evolution is trying to adjust, trying to keep us alive.

One of the big differences among realized practitioners is permanency of Kundalini energy. In some, the energy keeps pumping slowly and continually, like the dependable oil well that never seems to dry up. In others, it comes and goes. Regardless of how the energy acts upon the individual, regardless of the metanormal gifts it bestows, its origins are always sexual. The wonder of it: that our bodies are able to repurpose our reproductive energy into something sublime! No wonder Gopi Krishna writes about Kundalini as being the source of Genius and Religion!

One thing is certain: because Kundalini is related to sexuality, it is difficult to talk about in an everyday social context. A friend of mine says those who don't succeed in raising Kundalini are blocked at the 2nd chakra. "I was just supposing that MAYBE people were blocked at the second chakra because they gave away their power... Dunno if it's a fact. Seems possible if not probable however, considering the way we treat sexuality in most places across the planet. We don't even use the proper names for our genitals when talking to little kids, and we hate disclosing our bedroom practices in front of others, sometimes even to our partner. We're sort of encouraged to be simultaneously ashamed of our sexuality while at the same time we are bombarded with imagery that uses sex to sell... It's a strange world."


SO, would being more open about sexuality help us to achieve spiritual release? Are two such seemingly unrelated subjects intimately tied together? Most meaningful Kundalini literature says they are. And isn't there a price to pay for seminal retention? Good question, because Kundalini doesn't like sharing the Life Force energy.

Nevertheless, if there's one chance in a hundred that something is stuck or blocked because of sexual repression, you need to rethink your sexuality. The last thing you want to do is give away your power instead of using it yourself.

What about those who attempt to raise Kundalini, who work diligently and sincerely at it, but can't seem to get there? I'm not talking about dabblers; I'm talking about those who work hard, follow every step of the method, yet ultimately fail — for whatever reason.

I can only conclude that, no matter how fervently they strived, the distilled sexual elixir was not disposed to climb or to be drawn up the spine into their brains. For more on the conditions for activating kundalini, read How Do You Know if Kundalini is Active.

But is not activating kundalini really a failure? Should not making the Olympic team after putting forth the requisite effort be considered a failure? Failure is part of life.

Whether for anatomical, biological, or Karmic reasons, some make it and some don't. Is it because some little valve at the base of the spine got stuck? I don't know. Whatever the reason, the inability to activate Kundalini shouldn't be considered a failure. Many principles are involved: method, state of mind and body, age, health, discipline, Karma. Sure, it means a realignment of goals, but I never intended to activate Kundalini and yet I did. Why did it happen to me — a person who kind of backed into it — and not to others? I don't know.

It turned my life around, both physically and psychically. Yet it has made me wholly abnormal and different. Perhaps, it happened because the Karmic rulers knew I could withstand the stress of abnormality, but others who strove more ardently than I did, couldn't. Again I don't know.

I do know everyone is meant to follow a specific path. But it's only a single lifetime, after all. Many more to come. Don't be impatient.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kundalini...The Year of the Snake

When I received inner guidance urging me to organize the first UK conference on Kundalini in April 2013, I had absolutely no idea it would take place in the Year of the Snake. When I learned Sunday, 10 February marked the first day of the Year of the Snake, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck prickle and I knew without any doubt that this conference is meant to happen in this year.

Kundalini is often called the sleeping snake

Kundalini is often called the sleeping snake because it lies dormant at the base of the spine. It is also called the serpent and is the symbol for spiritual enlightenment. Why? Why a snake and not another reptile or animal?

One reason is the way Kundalini wraps around the spine. It is said to be coiled three and a half times around the spinal cord with its mouth opening into the spinal column. When it rises, it assumes the form of a snake. I have recently seen a video of someone having a Kundalini experience and what impressed me was how the energy moved through the body. Snake-like, it struck at points corresponding to the locations of the chakras in the subtle energy body. Interestingly, the energy seemed to go no higher than the throat chakra in the video. But the force of the energy was enough to jerk the subject's entire body.

Another explanation for the snake being the symbol of enlightenment might be the way it sheds it's skin. Kundalini rising shifts consciousness so that the old is left behind in much the same way as a snake sheds its skin. The old must be either cleared or transformed to make room for the new. Kundalini works to repair, strengthen and balance the nervous and glandular system thus renovating the body and mind.

So to all those who will be celebrating the Year of the Snake and that includes me! Have a wonderful celebration.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kundalini...How and Why It can Go Wrong

Kundalini is our basic evolutionary energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine in the first chakra called Mooladhara, or the root chakra. When consciousness is at a certain stage of development, it rises to accelerate the process. It marks the shift from the fourth human kingdom to the fifth spiritual kingdom. First there is mineral, then plant, then animal, finally human and we move into the spiritual through the vehicle of Kundalini.

When Kundalini is activated by exceptional means, i.e. by trauma or shock, it tries to move up to meet Shiva in the seventh chakra at the crown of the head. Normally, it should progress through the central Sushumna nerve in the etheric energy web of the spine. Finding its way obstructed by blocked energy in the first three chakras, it moves up through the side nerves, either Pingala or Ida. When it moves up through the Pingala nerve, the subject feels heat and when it moves up through the Ida nerve, the subject feels cold.

Neither of these is the correct way and neither reaches the crown of the head to enable the seventh chakra to open to receive the descending Kundalini. Descending and ascending together completes the energy circuit the awakened Kundalini uses to travel around the body via the nervous system, which must remain unobstructed for Kundalini to manage its work.

That is why I put so much emphasis on self-development and self-awareness work because it is necessary before thinking about raising Kundalini. 'Know thyself' is essential for a successful Kundalini rising that leads to a spiritual awakening and not to a fragmentation of consciousness from which it is difficult to return back to normal everyday life and consciousness. It is unfortunate that so many on the spiritual path do not want to take the time to complete this necessary stage. I admit it is difficult. Stirring up repressed psychological elements is not pleasant, but refusing to confront them keeps energies blocked in the chakras with no hope of real spiritual awakening.

In my own case, I did this self-development work after Kundalini rose, but I had been studying and practicing Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism for almost 10 years before that, so I had been preparing myself unconsciously to withstand the force of Kundalini. When it rose, I was ready...to a point, but there is no escaping the necessity of doing self-awareness work.

Kundalini is only concerned with truth and authenticity. When we have the courage to face the truth about ourselves and our lives, the Truth sets us free. Kundalini can then work the way it was designed to. Without self-awareness work Kundalini continues to affect the nervous system in various ways without reaching its ultimate goal of spiritual awakening and self-realization.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waves of Reality - Big and Small

The nature of a wave can be described using wavelength and frequency. Using music as an example, lower octaves, the deep bass sounds, are waves with longer wavelengths and shorter frequencies. Higher octaves, the kind of sound that breaks the wine glass in movies, have shorter wavelengths and greater frequencies.


The kind of sound that breaks the wine glass in movies have shorter wavelengths and greater frequencies.
Wavelengths and Frequencies

As shown in the figure above, the lower octave waves in Figure A complete one wave cycle at 50 Hz while the waves in Figure C have a much higher frequency and shorter wavelengths.

In an earlier post, Margaret pointed to the nature of the lower three chakras. These are the chakras in the earthly realm. I have written about the significance of the number 33 and it's relevance to kundalini in an earlier post. The three lower chakras represent, respectively, the elements earth (base chakra), water (sacral chakra) and fire (solar plexus chakra). This is a progression from slower, 'denser' vibrations to faster and more fluid vibrations.

As described before in my post 'The Divine Vibration', all existence is manifested as vibration. We come out of the primal big bang. All of the universe is sound or 'nada brahma' in sanskrit (nada - sound, brahman - the universe). This vibration descends from the fastest to the slowest from the crown chakra down. To the human being having a kundalini experience, however, reality unravels from the lowest to the highest chakra. 

The initial explosive opening of the holy grail or kunda (the terms mean the exact same thing and are interchangeable. The chalice or grail reference in Judeo-Christian spirituality and the word 'kunda' or pit in Sanskrit. A concave holding vessel). Then the rising of the 'holy ghost' up the spine, and it's ascent upwards into ethereal realms upon being cleansed of 'sin' or past conditioning and trauma.

My exploration of Indian classical music reveals that the lower octave sounds activate the lower chakras, the middle octave activates the heart and throat chakra and the highest octave notes activate the upper two chakras. 

Kundalini awakenings are classified into two categories:
  • permanent, the energy flows through the spine 24/7 for the rest of your life; 
  • temporary, there is an awakening for a brief period, and then the energy becomes dormant once again.
In my experience, the difference between the two is the piercing of the heart chakra. If the awakened kundalini is able to pierce the heart chakra, the awakening becomes permanent.

In my own case, after the initial awakening described here, I was in an awakened state, hyper-aware of everything. In the frantic search for answers, I ran into literature that explained this fact to me. At that point, I was determined to do whatever it took to make sure my awakening was permanent. The energy kept moving up and down my spine those first three months and I was constantly going into trance states, my consciousness totally moving with the energy, feeling each part of my body, opening blockages and unlocking more and more of my true self.
Ascension
I realized that even after changing my diet and not making any efforts towards helping the energy, it was still flowing through me. It dawned on me slowly that I had a permanent awakening and that this was not going away. This realization caused both relief and apprehension. Relief because I got what I wanted — a permanent experience of the divine within me; apprehension because I realized it came with no finite end-point. The energy continues to do its work today as I type this.

Going back to the nature of waves, it can be said quite literally that the coarse manifestation of the divine, the densest waves, create solid earth. Not the planet, but the state of solidness, the element earth. At the highest level, the fastest frequencies manifest as thoughts, emotions and sensations. This state of emanation, from nothingness to existence at its most solid and palpable is represented by the Hindu symbol AUM, seen in the figure below.
Hindu symbol AUM
AUM
We reside in the 'waking state' in the earthly realm. Kashmir Shaivism describes the human experience as a cosmic interplay of the different levels of vibrations, creating the sense organs, the activity associated with those organs and the divine will that allows the eye to see, the nose to smell and so on.

We are basically consciousness trapped in a body of congealed waves, given the outward appearance of a limited human body with it's limited abilities. After an awakening, pure consciousness, from the higher vantage point beyond the corporeal amalgam of sense organs, witnesses the being that lives in that limited state.

This is the best way to describe my experience immediately after my awakening episode — the highest level I had attained up to that point in time. I was lucky enough to find the right books, websites and personal accounts and managed to put these words together. This description in no way does the experience justice, but is the best I can manage.

The following diagram from Kashmir Shaivite cosmology elucidates this concept further. In Kashmir Shaivism, the term Shiva is used interchangeably with the term Brahman and they both mean 'the absolute'.  The use of these terms should not be mistaken for the deities Shiva or Brahma used in popular Hindu mythology.
Shiva is used interchangeably with the term Brahman
Kashmir Shaivite Cosmology
I won't go into detail about the different terms used in the above diagram, other sites explain them much better and in more detail. I am only trying to connect the AUM diagram with the one above as being two ways of showing the same thing: the descent of divinity into limited-ness, multiplying waves creating complex states of reality, sense organs, the canvas as well as the images on the canvas that then forms our reality, perceived by the limited human sense organs. We call this our waking reality.


Ultraviolet and infrared exist but we cannot perceive them without the use of special instruments.
Light Waves
Sound is just one way of representing this reality. Using light waves as another example, we see the human experience as a limited existence between the confines of violet (crown chakra) and red (base chakra). We know that ultraviolet and infrared exist but cannot perceive them without the use of special instruments.

Just as the earth is round but appears flat to our eyes, we live guided by our senses, unaware that our higher spiritual reality only becomes apparent when the noise fed to us by our surroundings is bypassed. This state is achieved through a practice of meditation.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kundalini and the First Three Chakras – Physical, Emotional, Mental

Every human being is composed of three energy bodies. The physical, subtle and causal. Kundalini together with the three major nadis or nerves, the Sushumna, Ida and Pingala along with the seven vortices of energies called chakras are located in the subtle energy body. The movement of Kundalini while felt by the physical body is actually happening in the subtle energy body.

Kundalini works by unblocking energy trapped largely in the first three chakras, the physical, emotional and mental. Energy trapped in these chakras is produced during the first 21 years of life, if one were to click a shutter and freeze the energy in a snapshot at that point. At birth, the energy flows freely, but an event, which may or may not be associated with physical, emotional or mental trauma, causes the energy to get stuck.

By the time we reach 21 years of age, the first three chakras can become quite blocked. The unblocking of the energy at these chakras unifies the physical, emotional and mental, balancing the personality. There is a subtle energy web called the etheric which separates the physical from the emotional and this is burned away by the Kundalini, resulting in harmony between body and emotions.

So how do we go about unblocking the energy in these chakras and is it done before or after Kundalini rises? In my case, it happened after my Kundalini rose. Kundalini led me to do an intensive, transformative self-development training. I was able to identify specific events in my life where the energy had become frozen and, through summoning the courage to face these events, the energy was unblocked and released at a conscious level. For me, this was a process of becoming conscious of and taking responsibility for the decisions I made that froze the energy physically, emotionally and mentally.

The longest period of my spiritual journey was the unblocking of energy in the first three chakras. After this, because of the relatively unimpaired status of the remaining four chakras, the energy traveled upwards and downwards with ease.

Energy trapped in the first three chakras — the physical, emotional and mental — cleared by Kundalini
The Chakras
I teach Kundalini yoga because it allows me to direct this energy intentionally, to clear out these blockages without the suddenness of a full-fledged Kundalini rising. Through a gradual process like Kundalini yoga the energy becomes unblocked, safely and naturally. The individual becomes aware of the intended purpose associated with these chakras. For example, feeling more:
  • Secure, confident of one's place in the universe — a result of unblocked energy Kundalini in the first chakra,
  • In control of emotions and able to identify emotions that come up without feeling the need to act on them — a result of unblocked energy Kundalini in the second, emotional chakra,
  • Assertive and increased sense of self — a result of unblocked energy Kundalini in the third, mental chakra.
Shifts happen in the world as a result of working with Kundalini energy through yoga and meditation. I discourage flights into altered states of consciousness because they are not permanent, unless the groundwork of clearing out the blocked energy from the first three chakras has been completed. Without clearage all that is possible is a glimpse of the consciousness that characterises the energy from the other chakras. And a glimpse can be unsettling, in terms of the ability to feel grounded and stable in the here and now.