Friday, December 25, 2015

Noise

I’ve always been sensitive to noise. It can make life difficult in a crowded, noisy city, and can be challenging when kundalini has woken the deeper energies of the nervous system.


Edvard Munch (Norwegian,1863-1944) "The Scream”
The guy next door to me hopes to be a DJ. He practices his scratching very loudly and repetitively. At the moment he works on a building site, and can only rehearse of an evening, or on those mornings when he can’t face climbing into his overalls. He’s a nice man, but he doesn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much Romanian. When I talk to him about meditation, there’s a lot of hand-shaking, back-slapping and invitations to drink wine, but the noise issue doesn’t get resolved. I was faced with the problem of simultaneously handling Kundalini and dealing with his wall-rattling dub base without going insane, giving way to rage or moving house. It brought the issue of ‘First you do it; then it does you’ into sharp focus.

The mind that goes insane and gives way to rage is, strangely enough, passive. I go insane or give way to rage because my consciousness is the victim of the outside world, my brain is the outside world’s passive object. That’s why noise is so intrusive. My inner passivity is the reason that noise gets inside me, and can bug me, in a way that visual impressions don’t. I can live happily looking at an un-beautiful bedroom wall. Tired magnolia woodchip doesn’t do my head in, but when the wall starts to vibrate to Romanian drum and bass there’s a deep clenching of my nervous system that shuts me off from the world around me. This is the bodily reflex of the animal ‘fight or flight’ mechanism (‘fight’—break his door down with a sledgehammer; ‘flight’—move house.) This reflex, even the ‘fight’ part of it is, again, the result of an inner passivity. I want to sleep, relax, switch off, and I can’t. I flee from the possibility that there might be some inner state of permanent activity powerful enough to dispel or transcend noise intrusion (let alone other more violent intrusions). Yet there is such a state of permanent inner activity, and it’s name is Kundalini, Kundalini that isn’t resisted or which I don’t attempt to channel via the pingala nadi (which is when Kundalini burns and short circuits the nervous system).

When Kundalini overcomes the fight or flight mechanism and becomes a permanent conscious force (even at moments of intrusion) a strange state is arrived at. There is no otherness. The guy next door and his music are part of me. I willed them in the pre-natal state just as I willed my whole life and body, its strengths and weaknesses. Stated as a bare concept this sounds both bland and bizarre. But in fact, Kundalini can overcome otherness, and is powerful enough to overcome otherness, in a quite literal way. I arrived at a state in which I still felt the walls shaking, and the pounding of the music—nothing was shut out—but Kundalini changed the pounding and the shaking into manifestations of a silence that was welling up out of me. I heard the silence that the noise came out of and anchored myself in it. I felt no resentment of my neighbour, in fact, I could somehow feel him through his seemingly mechanical and, to me, inhuman, music.
There is a paradox in this—‘Kundalini does you’, but the ‘does you’ is in fact the awakening of a permanent inner activity.

The Shuragama Sutra speaks about ‘sense organs returning to their source.’ Each sense function (smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing and thought) has its place of origin in the subtle body. In the Tantras, this place of origin is called the tanmatra of a particular sense function. When Kundalini rises through the chakras, the physical sense functions return to their origins, and the tanmatras awake. Sound, as physical hearing, has its origin in the tanmatra of the throat chakra, where the source of space and time are also revealed (space and time bearing a distinct relationship to sound.) This is why sound can be particularly intrusive, because it disrupts one of our higher manifestations—our being in space and time (trapped in a room at one a.m with the walls shaking.) The Sutra says that ‘when one sense organ returns to its source, all six are liberated.’ Also: ‘If one wants to attain Samadhi, hearing is the best way to enter... How excellent is the contemplation of the world’s sound, a pure sound, like the ocean’s roar.’

One other, minor, issue is the effect of Kundalini outside of the body, on ‘the world’ and other people. I think it’s wise not to dwell on this side of things too much as there’s scope for both fantasy and paranoia. However, as regards my neighbour, I clearly needed to act outwardly as well as inwardly. One night, a little after midnight, I knocked on his door. I had to knock loudly because the music coming from inside was deafening, however I didn’t knock with my sledgehammer. My neighbour was performing his DJing to a roomful of his friends, and didn’t like me interrupting him. I felt both angry and scared (they were drunk). I said my piece, and a weird thing happened. I felt kundalini coming out of my words, and out of my whole body, and filling the room. My words were forceful, but not furious! I felt a wonderful relaxation and strength in the simple justice of what I was saying. And I could tell that they heard it too. In fact, they were aware that Kundalini was in the room. What ought to have been a shouting match turned into a dignified and friendly conversation. And they switched the music down!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Death Is Not Physical

In 1999, I was on a Buddhist Vippassana Meditation retreat when I experienced the rising of energy which I now know to be Kundalini. At that time I had neither experience nor knowledge that this energy existed in the body. The form that the energy took was a rising and falling that seemed to start from the base of my spine and rise up through my body to the top of my head and down again. As it rose I found myself being raised high and rocked from side to side. My feet were wrapped around my meditation stool so I knew I wasn’t being physically raised and rocked; the experience was purely energetic.

Turning my attention inwards and merging with the energy I allowed myself to go with what it wanted to do. I cooperated fully with it. There were no thoughts, no fears, just complete absorption in what was happening. I experienced this rising and falling of energy during a number of sitting sessions. It must have been around the sixth session that the energy changed its intensity and I began being lifted higher and rocked more violently. This made me think that maybe there was something that I was expected to "do." All was intuitive on my part because, after trying to speak with one of the teachers about what was going on in the meditation sessions and seeing her confused reaction, I knew that I was on my own. I was determined to see the process through to the end, whatever it might be.

I remember one vibration that made me feel as if I was being lifted very high, making me think, "If that’s what happens, okay." But I didn’t fall. When the next vibration came I suddenly remembered the Buddhist concept of surrender. Did surrender have something to do with this experience? I didn’t know, but I decided to give it a go. At the height of the next vibration I said "I surrender" and immediately the vibration died down. I was relieved and thought that was the end of it all. To my amazement, the energy rose again, now I felt this acute fear. I didn’t know what else to do. I had exhausted every technique I was familiar with and it wasn’t enough; the rising and falling of the energy wasn’t ended by "surrendering."

Since 1999, I have reflected on the fear I experienced during those moments when I realised that surrendering wasn’t enough to end the movement of energy up and down my body. The fear wasn’t all encompassing in that I could have opened my eyes and brought the experience to an end. It was something that I had to feel and experience and, having come as far as I could, I was determined to see it through. Looking back, it seemed vital to feel the fear and stay with the experience. I was fortunate because I didn’t have to "be" with the fear for very long. But for those moments of fear were paralyzing.

It was in that same sitting during the next vibration that I knew exactly what it was I had to do. I don't know where the realization came from. (Did submitting to the fear create the space for eventual clarity?) I don't know. All I knew was that I had to take my feet away from the stool when I surrendered so that I was totally vulnerable. This is why the rising and falling did not end: I was still holding on and what was surrendering was my ego. Again without any fear or thought about what I was doing or the possible consequences, on the next vibration when I was raised to the highest peak with the energy, I took my feet from the stool and said, "I surrender, but only to the Light." Why I said this I have no idea. I don’t remember seeing any light, or having any perceptions. I only wanted to be clear about what I was surrendering into. I didn’t want there to be any ambiguity about the surrender. Immediately, all of the movement of energy ended and for the remainder of the sitting sessions of that retreat, my meditations were once again what I was used to.

I have also pondered on the surrender and what it meant. There is no doubt that there was a sense of "going over" in that surrender, but over where and to what? Something died in me for sure and now many years later I think I understand what happened. I have never had a teacher or guru to ask about this, but in the last couple of years have been Graced to have been introduced to my Guru, who I intuitively recognize to be a great Realizer and Adept.

From reading His spiritual experiences and teachings I now recognise and accept that what happened that day wasn’t a physical death but the psychological death of the ego. This process happens gradually, and now so many years later, I see how the process unfolded and continues to unfold.

It began by my saying yes, by my staying with the process. This is why courage is so important if one is serious about Enlightenment. The process is an ordeal, it always was and it always will be, and it demands absolutely everything. Ultimately, it demands the sacrifice of the ego "I" or the egoic self. This is why when authentic realizers undertake the process with groups of devotees, you can count the number of devotees who are able to realize the process for themselves on the fingers of one hand.

Undergoing the psychological death of the ego is not easy, but once surrender is offered voluntarily, it then becomes inevitable. In my case, after the initial surrender, it was a case of painstakingly unconcealing how the ego had been put together to see that it is something that is constructed in language. Once realized, the ego can be voluntarily transcended. It is important (for mental stability) that it is transcended by seeing it for the made-up construct it is.

When certain things happened to me in life, I constructed Margaret as an ego "I" and I decided who I was and what my life would be in relation to that I. I don't doubt that without having first surrendered in that meditation session that this insight with its overwhelming resonance would not have happened. The ego would never have allowed it to penetrate, but being mortally wounded by surrendering many years ago, the experience was an "ah-yes-I-see-that" moment without any associated drama.

This is why a Kundalini experience in and of itself is not enough. In fact, it’s just the start. The energy must be brought to a certain point if it’s to play a role in the psychological death of the ego "I" — without which Enlightenment is not possible. Ego and Love cannot occupy the same space. Kundalini is a purificatory energy. What it purifies is everything that would might interfere with the death of the ego. In effect, what Kundalini is doing is preparing consciousness for the sacrifice of ego "I" so that a state of Love can emerge.




This is my last post for 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who read my posts during the year and wish you all a pleasant festive holiday season.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Being Overly identified With Our Beliefs

The commonly held definition of “belief” as found in the dictionary is: A firm opinion or conviction; an acceptance of a thing, fact or statement; a person’s religion or religious conviction. Some would argue that their belief is the “absolute truth.”  The question that comes to my mind when a statement like this is professed: If your belief is an absolute truth, then why does it sometimes change? Why does a transformation process like kundalini rising break down, modify, and even eradicate beliefs previously held? 


Over the years, my own beliefs have radically changed and continue to do so. I grew up in a family where religion was neither emphasized nor a concern, however, the culture of the Eastern Canadian farm community did leave an impression on me that continues to this day. My early identity was shaped by the families and neighbors who worked independently but at the same time depended on each other for many tasks that couldn’t be handled alone.
 
During my early working years in the city, through the positive influence of people who were important to me, I began a journey into the Catholic Christian faith tradition, which impacted and changed my life in a substantial way. By my mid-thirties, I was engaged in part-time ministry, as well as full time employment and family life. My identity was being shaped by many formation programs and retreats, as well as a ministry that moved me in a radically different direction from my days on the farm.  Christian meditation and meditation retreats became my means of maintaining a focus on what I thought was important. They were a way to affirm my beliefs in the Catholic faith. It’s not that I never questioned certain beliefs of the Church that made no sense; I often did. These apparent differences were dismissed on the basis that wiser teachers knew far more than I did; some things just had to be accepted by faith
In my mid to late fifties, Kundalini rising was the next dramatic turn that blew a hole into my many deeply ingrained thought patterns and beliefs. Kundalini leaves few stones unturned. Its energies modified and dismantled many of the images and constructs that had served to define my identity and that gave me a sense of who I was in relation to the world and those around me.  My identity had been substantially modified. Many of the beliefs that motivated me to act in a certain way disappeared. I was left confused and bewildered, but also with a great sense of spaciousness, wonder and freedom. The world as I previous saw it had changed, and I knew there was no way I could ever go back to the way it was before. And I didn't want it to.

                 
In her book “Returning To Essence,” Gina Lake describes beliefs as deeply held patterns of thought that structure our experience. She says that because we believe something, we behave accordingly. Most activities we engage in are based on our beliefs. Those who have different beliefs and values spend their time doing different things. Beliefs form the basis of our identity. They give witness to who we are. But when our beliefs change, our identity changes with them. She writes:

"Our beliefs actually create the situation they describe. That's why it is said that we create our own realty: Our beliefs determine our reactions to life and our choices and therefore our experience, and our experience reinforces our beliefs. Once you realize that, you can choose whether to listen to this version of you and of your life, or not."

All of this, if you think about it carefully, is tied to ego. Our ego is defined by the identities and roles that we assume, how we see ourselves in the exterior world. So our beliefs, when acted out in the stage of life, maintain this ego definition.


When I examine the patterns of change in beliefs in my own life, I must conclude that beliefs in themselves, like thoughts, are not the problem. The problem comes when we become too attached to them. When we become too attached to our beliefs, they may crystallize to form something that is rigid and inflexible. When we become too attached, there is a danger that they become our “absolute truth.”  This “absolute truth” then begins to prepare its defense to justify itself. There is a danger of becoming like the Scribe or the Pharisee we read about in the Gospels, a person who allows ego beliefs to become God; and then look, with judgement, at anyone who does not share that same belief. Are we not seeing this play out in the world today?

Our beliefs need to be examined often and treated more lightly. Those that no longer serve a useful purpose, that no longer lead to a further evolution of consciousness, must be let go, and replaced with something else. Where possible, kundalini would be glad to do this for us.

In meditation, we practice observing our thoughts, seeing them come, seeing them change, seeing them go. They are a phenomenon of the mind, empty of any permanence. We discover that we are not our thoughts. Our inner witness or observer gives testimony to this.
  

In the same manner, we must practice observing our beliefs. They come, they change, they go. They also are a phenomenon of the mind, empty of permanence. In this manner, our inner witness can become an instrument of compassion, not of judgement, with those who do not share our particular beliefs.      

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Kundalini

Can one person know everything there is to know about Kundalini? And if so, is there such a person? For instance, the other day I ran across some online wondering about the use of Kundalini in provoking and treating abdominal pain. Of course, all aspects of Kundalini interest me, but here was one aspect I had never encountered and had to admit I knew nothing about.

Pasted images on gray wall
Gray #1
I realized there are other kundalini-related topics that I know nothing about because they are not part of my experience, all of which points out the danger of offering advice about specific kundalini topics outside the ken of the "advisor."

I know a lot about kundalini. Most is specific to my own personal experience, which, although it shares many similarities with the experiences of others, is unique to me. I also know about a sundry and varied list of effects that my awakening has set in motion over the last 40 years. Many effects have to do with the current state of my body and the physical changes in my body that kundalini has induced since my awakening. Because of the variance in the state and condition of individual bodies, these effects are rarely shared. I have never met someone who said that kundalini affected their bodies the same way it affected mine.


Tati Store Window
Gray #2
I know a lot about Golden Flower Meditation (GFM), the method I used to activate kundalini, a method I've taught for 20 years. Yet, each time I teach this method, I am confronted by new challenges, participants' questions that were never raised before, questions I'd never encountered or thought about. And I had to find new ways of describing a certain technique, either because someone raised the question or a better way of explaining the technique suddenly became clear to me during the explaining.


Above the clouds Rt. 299
Gray #3
So, to sum it up, I know about my experience, the effects I've experienced, and teaching GFM. Even among these topics, there are various degrees of knowledge — things I absolutely know by way of experience, things that are almost impossible to communicate to others, things that I've learned empirically or inductively. Things I learned deductively. Things I can extrapolate on, usually items picked up in conversations with other kundalini novices, practitioners, and/or adepts. Hypotheses derived from the various changes kundalini has effected on my body. Some are hypotheses related to visions or intuitive data that kundalini has brought to the attention of my rational mind.

Yes, kundalini is always working in the background, moving thoughts, emotional states, and physical conditions around, toying with consciousness, allowing me to realize things that, in my pre-kundalini days, I never could have imagined, much less considered real and actual possibilities. Things already here and things to come. Creative things. Positive, inspired and inspiring things. Evolution hard at work, striving to avoid an imminent world collapse, as we veer — no, rush headlong — toward collective self-destruction.


PG&E Meter Board
Gray #4
So, why is kundalini important? Why should one limit comment on aspects of kundalini outside the range of the factors mentioned above? Because Kundalini is a biological expression of what Gopi Krishna termed the "evolutionary impulse." It is a subject so large that it cannot be "known" by just one person. It is also a means of changing the negative aspects of human nature and of jump-starting evolution. Its purpose is not to be trifled with...

Just as one engineer knows electronics, another knows construction, still another knows computers; kundalini has its compartments, its specializations, its properties. Whether this becomes a track worthy of further research is too early to tell. One thing is certain: each day I realize how little I know, and in so realizing I learn something new, not only about kundalini, but about myself.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Something Inside So Strong

Those who know music will recognize the title of this blog post as a lyric from the song of the same name by Labi Siffri. I'd like these words on my tombstone because they capture my whole life.

A couple of days ago, I received an email from a woman thanking me for writing Female Kundalini. She spoke about how my writing about the messiness of life had struck a cord with her. In turn, when I read her email, it struck a cord with me.

The spiritual path is messy; it messed with the life I would have had, had I never come into contact with this "other" world. It was this "something inside so strong" that chose my path; I was only along for the ride. Now I can look back, acknowledge, and co-operate with this "something," but for many years I was being chauffeured by the something, and the result of it was a messy life.

What do I mean by that? For many years, the more spiritual study and practice I got into, the more confusing and bewildering life became. I was dedicated to "something" I didn't understand, something nobody else seemed to understand, least of all, the people I encountered. As you can imagine, this combination made for a lonely life. Although if you knew me then, I don't think you would have noticed I was lonely. It is only with age that wisdom and understanding come. I now see and understand so much more than I did then.

http://bit.ly/FemaleKundaliniWhat is telling is that I have nieces, grand-nieces, and a nephew. Some of them are grown up now. I have never given any of them a spiritual book of any kind for their birthdays or Christmas, which, for someone as dedicated to the spiritual, is an exercise in self-control. Why haven't I tried to, if not indoctrinate them, at least, familiarize them with spirituality? Because the spiritual life is an ordeal. From the moment there's a glimpse of that "something," it's like an unconscious, yet overwhelming force that cannot be denied. It's a heart response. But a heart response is not enough; there has to be the ordeal of purification.

This means really taking on the ego "I," which isn't easy and is why I assert that so few do the requisite investigation that makes the difference in Awakening. The real purification is in confronting this separate and separative self which presumes itself to be different from SELF or from the field of Being. In order for any Awakening to be abiding and permanent, this presumption has to be investigated and exposed for what it is. Glimpses of the illusion of ego "I" from time to time are not enough.

We face an added urgency to recognize and deal with the ego "I" because the madness of the separate ego "I" threatens our world in ways and to a degree never before encountered. It is the responsibility of all of us who have awakened (or have a tacit understanding of) to the illusion of the ego "I" to be bold and create a movement of positive disillusionment with the ego "I."  This positive disillusionment with the ego "I" has to come about all at once in order to effect a new world order, one that is based on connection and union (which is our natural state) as opposed to the havoc and chaos being wreaked by the separate ego "I." Because of the level of entrenchment of this ego 'I' in the design of human being, this is going to take effort. But what's the alternative to the insane terrorism that magnifies the malevolence of the separate and separative ego "I."

I attributed the natural understanding I have always had to being right-brain dominant. In Female Kundalini, I write about my efforts to get validation for this view. Looking back at this was my way of keeping myself grounded. Seeing it as a right-brain phenomena and defining all realizers and saints as somehow being right-brain dominant was a way of continuing to function without being afraid. Looking back you could say that this way of thinking was disrespectful, but considering any other possibility while experiencing spiritual events and synchronicities would have been too frightening for my state of consciousness at the time. For many years, I attributed the things that happened to my being right-brain dominant and, in doing so, there was neither fear nor ego. How could there be ego if it was a "brain thing?" And so bizarrely, this rationale provided a refuge for me.

Perhaps, had I had a spiritual teacher or guru, I wouldn't have experienced the spiritual path as the ordeal it was for me. My spiritual authorities were the teachers I was involved with during my study of Buddhism. So, while there were some who provided answers, I met nobody able to perceive my level of heart consciousness...certainly nobody who was able to nurture it.

None of my teachers treated me in any way different to anyone else who was sitting at their feet listening to their words. On more than one occasion, I remember longing for some kind of recognition, which never came. Was this due to some lack of innate ability on the part of these teachers as to their states of consciousness? I don't know. Certainly, this type of perception — the ability to see into another's heart — is rare. Now, many years later, I am more aware, grateful my journey has progressed the way that it has, and happy that it's not yet over.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Going Back To Basics

In the search for the pathless path towards greater awakening, sometimes we find that much is gained by going back to the basics of meditation. The search, particularly if it is done through the Jnana path (the path of wisdom and self-inquiry) can often lead to frustration as we periodically discover that we have again missed the mark, or question whether we have moved at all in our spiritual quest. And what is this quest all about anyway?

purity of the lotus flower represents the pratice of meditation

The other day, I went through a simple exercise which brought me to an awareness that everything is all right just the way it is: I am all right just where I am. And the striving, and the frustration that results from ego involvement in the awakening process, is perhaps the very thing that must fall by the wayside. What I found most surprising about this simple exercise is that it contains nothing that I did not know before. I learned nothing new, yet it was renewing. I would like to take you through this simple exercise. 

First, sit comfortably in a relaxed but alert position, back straight. Prop yourself up with pillows if necessary. Allow the ordinary preoccupations of the day to settle down and subside. Look around you. Is the place familiar to you? If not, no matter. Begin to cultivate a sense of yourself as being present in that place. You are here in this one space. The world, and everything else in it, the sensible world, is outside you, around you.


As you close your eyes, direct your attention to your body. What sensations are you aware of: breath, heartbeat, feelings in your back and backside as it presses against the chair or floor? Visualize your breath flowing into your nostrils down the center cavity of your body, down to the bottom and up again. Tie your consciousness to your breath and pay attention to the circular flow of the breath (down, around, up).  If you pay further attention, you'll catch a glimpse of something deeper, two things:
  • The experience (the muscle sensation of movements)
  • And the “I” that is experiencing it.


Now along with the muscle sensation of movement (the experience) also note the river of thoughts, images, emotions that are probably coursing through the front of your mind.  You may try to stop this mental chatter, but you will probably fail. All these thoughts, images, memories, ideas, plans, whatever, will continue whether you choose to let it or not. This is how the mind functions. But now again, observe two things: First, this functioning of the mind (images, memories, ideas, thoughts, plans) as the experience, and subtly in the background, the “I” that is experiencing them. As you continue, the most intimate feelings and desires will occasionally be there like images on a screen, accompanied by the “I” experiencing, watching, as they pass by.

If you can remain in this quiet, relaxed but alert state, you may gain a deeper awareness of a sense of something very small growing in you — the experiencer.  Even though this “something small” has no volition or power of its own, it quietly observes and experiences all that passes by. If you look for this “something small” observer, you will find that it continually recedes further and further away.  There is no limit to this “I” that experiences. St. Francis of Assisi is noted as saying in this regard: “What you are looking for is what is looking.”

the rising sun, purity of the lotus flower represents the pratice of meditation

There’s a sacredness, a blissfulness, associated with this phenomena of looking for that which is looking, intuitively touching the experiencer. Once this blissfulness, sacredness is tapped into, one gains a sense of “presence” which can be known by many names. Some call it “Kingdom of God,” the light, wisdom, still or zero point. All these terms reveal different aspects of this Primordial Self, the experiencer.

An experienced meditator may be able to enter into this exercise with little difficulty. The biggest problem, however, one even an experienced meditator may continue to have, is maintaining this vigilance to his/her inner sacredness outside of meditation, which is most of the time. Pains in the body, past regrets, worries about the future, aimless daydreaming, endless striving, everyday pre-occupations and planning constantly interfere, acting as a whirlwind to keep us absorbed in the illusions of life that hide our True Selves like rain clouds hide the sun. The simple exercise of meditation is the only avenue to overcoming these obstacles.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

More About Death

"One other liberating experience related to OBE is that in fraternizing with death I discovered that it is only another aspect of life, another state of existence. For each one of us, death awaits, and this fact is an incitement to ask profound questions, relating to the unknown — paradise, hell, separation, or extinction. How can we find answers? OBE gives us answers through direct experience since I can enter and leave my own body, I can exist without my body. The death of my physical body therefore does not signify my end. I am able to think, feel, desire and act in other contexts than that of the physical world."
~ Akhena - Astral Consciousness: Out of Body Explorations

I second the emotion. Not only did I experience the same ah-ha realization apropos of death during an OBE (Out of Body Experience) at the age of 20, I encountered the same extra-corporal effect 15 years later after raising Kundalini. I was able to see inside my physical body, which led me to realize my being was more than my body — a series of ethereal body sheaths enveloped it.

These ethereal bodies are part of an invisible Energy Continuum (consciousness), which contains the past, present, and future of time and space, of which our biological form is only a limited expression.

At this point in the history of our science, we do not understand how the consciousness we deem a part of everyday life works, much less are we able to scientifically verify its metaphysical totality. But thanks to OBE, NDE, and kundalini, we can experience it. Verify it, no; experience it, yes.

In our present state, we talk of "losing and regaining consciousness" after getting knocked on the head or going into the operating room for a medical procedure. Mostly, we don't look beyond a very limited sense of consciousness. That is, up till now.

Meditation, yoga, mindfulness are changing this. As we pursue these various pastimes, disciplines, and practices and connect to a vaster sense of consciousness, we realize that death, like life, is a transitory state, and we are less afraid.

In 1947, when the poet, Dylan Thomas, wrote:
"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Didn't he realize that that the light doesn't die? The clear light that shines at the moment of death is a beacon leading you toward the Energy Continuum, the entry into a recycling process and your next incarnation.

Was it this light that beckoned John Coltrane to knowingly record a tune entitled To Be just days before his death? What a querulous, introspective title for the usually high-octane saxophonist! A mournful tempo, featuring unusual instrumentation — Coltrane on flute (an instrument he only played once) and Pharaoh Sanders on piccolo, not sure he ever played it again — the tune was mostly ignored by Coltrane fans, who were more engaged by his fascination with the innovative and frenzied Free Jazz trend at that time.
 
Relaxin between takes
John and Alice Coltrane

To Be is a long, slow piece that, for me, signifies the passing of the torch or the changing of the guard, a realization by the composer (Coltrane) that to be has metaphysical overtones — we come and go, pass and re-pass on this earth.

The head, featuring the flute and piccolo, is followed by a long Alice Coltrane piano solo; a Sanders, then a Coltrane solo. As Coltrane's line trails out — sort of expires — Sanders injects a lilting, melancholy phrase that reminds me of a warbling bird and has me visualizing the following scene in my mind's eye.


Pharaoh Sanders, tenor & piccolo; John Coltrane, tenor & flute; Alice Coltrane, piano & harp; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Rashied Ali, drums. Personnel for the album, Expression
Pharaoh Sanders, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali
I see a man sitting in a wooden garden chair, holding a cold drink on the armrest. The camera explores his face and his surroundings. The flowers, trees. His shoes. The back of his head and neck. Over his shoulder, the armrest and the drink. The arm goes limp, the drink topples over, and his arm drops. We hear a bird, the camera finds it and we listen. Cut to the dead man's face.

From this vision, while re-listening to this tune (To Be, the bird in the above scene), I imagine the death process and know that although the body dies, the essence that animates the body does not.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Kundalini and the Siva Lingam

The muladhara chakra at the base of the spine is the place of the Siva Lingam, specifically of the Siva Lingam called "Svyhambhu." "Svyhambhu" means self-subsistent, "that which arises without a cause." This refers to a physical reality. But how can it? The lingam is the phallus, the penis erect with desire. It’s a symbol of the male principal, a male principal that is present in women as much as in men. There seems to be a contradiction. How can the phallus be self-subsistent? How can the erect penis arise "without a cause," when the erect penis is the most conditioned of objects, evoked, aroused, brought into being, by touch, visual impression, smell, sound, taste, and, above all, by the presence of another person? And yet the traditional wisdom insists that it’s this very self-subsistent phallic presence at the base of the spine which awakens Kundalini.

Natalie book cover
In our squeamish, politically correct age, there’s a tendency to sweep this issue under the carpet by saying that the Lingam isn’t phallic, and that it can just as readily be symbolized by a hill or an egg standing on its bottom, or by any upright thing. But this is surely a cop-out, just as it’s a cop-out to say that the yoni, or female genital presence at the base of the spine, can just as readily be symbolized by a bowl or a valley or by any indented thing. Sometime in the future, researchers will prove the physical existence of both the Siva Lingam and the Sakti Yoni at the base of the spine, not as previously undetected bits of nerve tissue, but as quantum states, conscious particle forces, male and female, confined to the midpoint of the body. This can already be intuited in meditation, and seen at certain moments during sexual intercourse, when all the things that cause arousal— touch, sight, smell, taste, even the awareness of the other person — drop away as they are consumed by Kundalini, and all that remains is ‘that which is self-subsistent. When this happens during sex, the precarious clinging-to-self that causes climax is also consumed.

The Lingam is also found, in a different form, in the heart chakra, and in the forehead chakra. In the heart chakra it’s called the Bana Lingam. The Bana Lingam is the self-subsistent state at the moment when what drops away and is consumed by Kundalini is not just the touch, sight, smell, taste and awareness of the outer world (and other people), but the touch, sight, smell, taste and awareness of the inner world and of one’s own body (and of one’s self.) This comes with a sense of expansion and light.
 
Dance of the Itara Lingam
Crossing Over

The Lingam in the forehead chakra is called the Itara Lingam. "Itara" means "to cross over" or "to go beyond." The Itara Lingam is the self-subsistent state at the moment when it goes outside the body and mind into the cosmos.

Henry Miller said “You can’t argue with a stiff prick,” and got torn to pieces by feminists. If his “you” refers to a man overpowering a woman, then he deserved to be torn to pieces. If, however, his “you” refers to a man or a woman, confronted with this spontaneous arousal at the root of their being, then perhaps he was onto something.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Kundalini and Near Death Experiences

Over the years, I’ve read several articles about the similarities between Kundalini Rising and Near Death Experience (NDE). The similarities were not obvious to me until I read Anita Moorjani’s book “Dying To Be Me” which described her journey from cancer, to near death, and then to true healing.

Anita Moorjani book
 
Most people would look at life differently if faced with a disease causing death, only to return from that condition to full health. Anita described this return and the effect it had on her with imagery and description that impacts powerfully on the reader. But what surprised me most was its similarity to the life-changing experience of Kundalini Rising. While reading Chapter 12 called “Seeing Life With New Eyes” and Chapter 16 called “Infinite Selves and Universal Energy,” it was as if I was reading my own story.
 
Reading this book lead me to ponder the question: What is it about these two experiences that they should lead to a similar outcome or effect, even though they start at very different points? Let me summarize the conclusions of my pondering on this question:
1. Both experiences involve a surrender. Anita described this surrender as a “letting go,” and it wasn’t just a letting go of her body riddled by cancer and nearing death. More importantly, it was a letting go of all the conditioning, attitudes and human constructs created during her lifetime that kept her a prisoner (in a sense) to what she perceived to be the source of happiness, comfort and security. In her book, she affirmed many times that it was her previous attitudes, constructs and conditioning that were influential in causing the cancer in her body in the first place. This surrender, whether a NDE or Kundalini Rising, involves a life-death decision; and with that decision comes a willingness to:
  • let go of many of our deeply ingrained beliefs caused by a lifetime of conditioning,
  • accept what comes.
Anita Moorjani NDE

I experienced this life-death decision during my Kundalini Rising process, a willingness to accept full personal responsibility, to embrace the consequences of the decision, irrespective of the outcome. This “letting go” requires an insurmountable amount of trust. Where does this trust come from?
2. Both experiences involve an incredible outpouring of love or bliss, a sense of oneness and unity with all things, an encounter with the sacred. It is this outpouring of love and bliss, this sense of oneness that entices us away from our self-imposed prison walls that served only to create a sense of separateness.
 In Chapter 16, Anita starts out:
“During my NDE, it felt as if I were connected to the entire universe and everything contained within it; and it seemed that the cosmos was alive, dynamic, and conscious. I found that every thought, emotion, or action I made while expressing through the physical body had an effect on the Whole. In fact, in that realm of Oneness, it felt as though the whole universe were an extension of me. This realization has, of course, dramatically changed the way I view things.”


Anita Moorjani quote

It is this outpouring of love or bliss, this call to oneness that becomes the source of trust that allow us to abandon all previous false notions of comfort and security to embrace the uncertainty of what is to follow.
3. Both experiences result in a whole new way of seeing and of being. The attitudes, conditioning, and constructs of the old self are now seen for what they are. It is as if an inner searchlight has come on, and what was previous looked upon as a concrete reality is now seen for the illusion that it is. A new way of seeing the world is born and the old way crumbles away. Mind-you, many of our old habits are still there, but with the guidance from our new searchlight, we more easily see them for what they are, and abandon what is unnecessary more quickly.
 Again, Anita describes it well:
“Becoming entrenched in beliefs that no longer serve us can keep us locked in a state of duality and put us in a constant state of judgement. What we endorse is considered 'good' or 'positive,' and what we don’t believe in is not. This also puts us in the position of needing to defend our beliefs when others don’t agree. And when we invest too much of our energy in defense, we become reluctant to let go, even when our ideas no longer serve us. That’s when our beliefs start to own us instead of the other way around.

Having awareness, on the other hand, just means realizing what exists and what’s possible — without judgement. Awareness doesn’t need defending. It expands with growth and can be all-encompassing bringing us closer to the state of Oneness.”

Anita quote
 As we become more mature in our experience of Kundalini Rising, we gain greater trust to work in cooperation with what seems like the universal life-force energy that permeates everything, including ourselves, and in recognizing and letting go of the constructs that no longer serve a purpose.
4. Finally, both experiences lead to greater authenticity and wholeness. As explained by Anita:
I'm most powerful when I allow myself to be who life intended me to be — which is why my healing occurred only when all conscious action on my past had completely ceased and the life force took over. I am always most powerful when I am working with life rather than against it. Each one of us is a gift to those around us helping each other to be who we are, weaving a perfect picture together. Realizing that I am love was the most important lesson I learned, allowing me to release all fear, and that's the key that saved my life.
 
 The release of Kundalini energy in the subtle body system undertakes the systematic process of renovating and restoring, not only of the subtle body, but the physical body as well. It not only gives us an awareness of our intended perfect blueprint, but also begins to slowly erode the obstacles that prevent us from attaining it.