Monday, September 17, 2018

Living With Kundalini

One of the most neglected aspects of kundalini is the aftermath — how to live with it. I've written about it, but each time I reread what I've written, things I've learned in the interim stand out starkly, and I have to admit there's a lot more that I don't know. After 50 years of living with it, I still learn everyday.

Sometimes, other kundalini people's experiences seem so different. Yes, there are synergies and similarities. The feeling of unboundedness is universal and immediate. But can any one person know all there is? I doubt it; the topic is too vast. In fact, if someone claims they know it all, beware...

Still, I keep writing about the euphoria as well as the dangers. Here's a 2014 excerpt from my book The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini.
How do you live with a Close Encounter of the Third Kind? Answer: You live differently. In the case of Kundalini, you may not build a giant mud castle in your living room, but it will change your perspective, your thinking, your temperament, your body, your outlook, your very soul — which mixed together constitute what I call your being.
In the first place, if you activate it, you will have to adjust to living with it, and that, sad to say, is something many don’t consider beforehand. Too bad, because once it arrives, you’re stuck with it.
Now I didn’t think Whoa, I’m stuck with this. I welcomed it! But I had to learn to live with it on its terms. And that takes time. Kundalini affects your being, your consciousness, your emotional compass, and perhaps, most immediate, your sexuality.
If you are already stable and mature, you stand to gain immediately. You will make better judgments and better decisions. If you are unstable and immature, it may take a while to clear old conditioning. Not the fault of Kundalini, you may simply need more time to recognize that you can’t control it because you haven't been able to control yourself.
You must listen to it and adapt to its dictates. What kind of dictates? Kundalini doesn’t like foreign substances, including alcohol, all kinds of drugs, prescription and otherwise. It doesn’t want you to “waste the seed.” It needs your vital energy for sublimation purposes, to nourish your brain. It doesn’t like heavy food and overeating. You might even experiment with a largely vegetable and fruit diet, just to see how you feel and then compare it to your previous diet. Yes, I had to learn this bit by bit, to live with it, to integrate it into my daily life (aka: on-the-job training).
It helped me improve my relations with others, helped me engage in mature interpersonal relationships, especially with a spouse or partner. It’s a long, tiring journey from the rim to the center; you need all the life skills you can muster — all the support systems available, which means acting and responding to others as the Golden Rule dictates: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Not all paths are for you. However, some are, especially the one that is yours. But others are not. In fact, you may be better off not taking any path rather than taking the wrong one. In the final reckoning, it’s not questions and answers or intellectual analysis that will guide you, but your heart — that little voice inside you. But that, too, may be changed — you may not recognize your emotional responses during the initial period. You may even feel hostility, paranoia, and detachment — before the force is able to break down your resistance and show that you are not a separate being, unconnected to the rest of creation.
The one thing about that little voice — the more reliable you are, the better the voice serves you. And that means life-skills mastery: knowing right from wrong, listening to your body, treating others as you would be treated.
If you're struggling with this, there's some timely help out there in the form of a self-paced course by kundalini adept, Corinne Lebrun.

Corinne is a great resource; she puts her heart and soul into this course.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Laboratory of Your Own Body

What do you think of your body? I know, it's just there and you're stuck with it. Perhaps you admire it, perhaps you don't. Feelings about it run the gamut...from pride to shame to I've-gotta-do-something-about it! Ever hear of Dr. John Lilly?
Lilly was a physician and psychoanalyst. He made contributions in the fields of biophysics, neurophysiology, electronics, computer science, and neuroanatomy. He invented and promoted the use of an isolation tank as a means of sensory deprivation.
Lilly's eclectic career began as a conventional scientist doing research for universities and government. Gradually, however, he began researching unconventional topics.
In 1953, Lilly began a job studying neurophysiology with the US Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Corps. At the N.I.M.H. in 1954, with the aim of isolating a brain from external stimulation, he devised the first isolation tank, a dark soundproof tank of warm salt water in which subjects could float for long periods in sensory isolation. Lilly and a research colleague were the first subjects of this research.
Lilly's research stepped outside the conventional gamut of idealizing one's body into the realm of using the body as a laboratory, something all of us do without realizing it. Only Dr. Lilly took it to the extreme, sometimes spending days and nights in his isolation tank after having ingested a hardy dose of LSD.

That the body is a laboratory is something I became aware of long ago. Once I started to meditate, this realization jumped to the front burner, becoming ever more salient as my kundalini activated.

August 3, 2018 - JJ portrait
August 3, 2018 -  JJ iPhone self-portrait
Everything I was exposed to — diet, temperature, altitude, energy sources, sleep changes, exercise — had an immediate effect on me. And unlike "normal" people, I could feel each effect in real time. All of which made me more aware that life is a living experiment in evolution, and you can choose to evolve or devolve. In one way or another, we are all guinea pigs for evolution.

So when I visited the hospital on July 16th, exactly two weeks after my cardiac incident for a stress test, I was ill-prepared for the experiment I was to take a part in.

When I got there, they first jammed an IV into my arm (they love having those things dangling so they can keep filling you up with chemicals).

Then I waited for an hour, which was followed by being sent to a machine that resembles an MRI bed, but larger. They shoved me in and started a large box above me rotating in small increments, taking pictures of my heart.

After leaving that room, I waited another hour before being told to go to the treadmill room, where I was greeted by an assortment of nurses and technicians who placed sensors all over my back and chest. There was a short wait for the doctor whose role was overseeing the whole test.

The point is: get on the treadmill and walk/run until attaining a target heart rate. Of course, there's a formula for this: 220-your age x 80%. In my case, 220-80 x 0.8 = 112. My starting heart rate was 49.

I got going. They raised the incline to 10% and sped it up after a minute or two. "Okay," they said, "we're taking up again now. You've got to get up to 112." But I couldn't get up higher than 82.

They decided to fix that. "We're going up to a 20% incline and speed up the treadmill."

"Hey," I said, "I'm practically running now. It hasn't been all that while since my attack. I don't feel up to running uphill."

"When was your heart attack?"

"Exactly two weeks ago."

"Well, it may be too soon after an attack for the treadmill. No matter. We have an alternate test. Stretch out on the table alongside."

With trepidation, I got up, laid down on it. The nurse attached a device to the IV hanging off my arm and squeezed off some liquid.

"This simulates the treadmill."

I started to say that, given my inability to raise my heart rate, it might be better to use MPH than heart rate to calculate meaningful results when all of a sudden, I froze up. My mouth tried to form words, but nothing came out. I felt a unendurable pressure over my whole body, like I'd been given a KGB death-simulation, confession serum. I couldn't speak or move. I was locked in death throes, no spasms or writhing, just locked stiff. 

Immobilized and suspended in pain, would I have confessed? Probably, if they'd been agents of  a totalitarian regime, instead of nurses. Had Dr. Lilly felt the terror I'd experienced?

"Don't worry, it only lasts two minutes." Unable to speak, I'm thinking, Lower me into the grave when it's over.

I couldn't tell them to stop, my mouth muscles wouldn't obey. Thankfully, it did start to wear off, not all at once, only gradually. They sent me to the cafeteria after a while, all the time mumbling among themselves about maybe (yes, the ever-present spoiler 'maybe') it had been too soon for such a test.

 I was still shaking in the cafeteria as I sat down to devour my chicken and broccoli, which helped to calm my stricken body. 

One thing certain, that stuff had immobilized my kundalini. It came back to operational strength only after two days.

You never stop using the body as a laboratory, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Stupid Equals...Heart Attack

This headline isn't an analogy, or some sort of quip. Heart attack isn't a term to be bandied about. The words, "You've had a heart attack" are some of the least welcome you'll ever want to hear.

Blood-pressure gauges and  heart monitors
In the Hospital

And I had one, July 2. Out of stupidity? Perhaps. All I know was I confused kundalini symptoms with those of a heart attack? How could this ever come about, you ask? Here's how... 

Over the last two years, kundalini has moved massive amounts of energy into and around my left shoulder in an attempt to widen the muscles of that shoulder. I can feel it at work. At the same time, an artery to my heart had evidently started to clog. 'Why' was never fully determined.

That Monday, I awoke, took a shower, started to work but began to feel the type of sensations I'd associated with the kundalini work underway, only this time it was really active, shooting around my arms and shoulders, until finally locking into an area covered by football shoulder pads and it was painful: chest and back, six inches down both arms.

Very painful. And unlike previous what-I'd-call flashes it didn't go away, didn't subside. At first, I tried to ride it out, didn't want to bother my wife if it was eventually going to go away. It still thought it was kundalini.

I jogged and stretched trying to make it go away. But the pressure was to much, like it was being applied from both sides at once — from the inside and from the outside.

The notion this can't be kundalini started to take shape and I woke my wife, who, quite predictably, freaked out, but, like so many heroic women, once she understood, knew exactly what to do.

We piled into the car, and off to the hospital. Only problem...they didn't have a cardiac unit at that hospital, but did in the other hospital, 15 minutes away. So they packed me into an ambulance and away we went.

The drill — switching hospitals — was very efficient. The last thing I remember on the way to the operating room was the doctor telling me, "You've had a heart attack. We're going to place some stents in your arteries to restore blood flow." I had no idea what a stent was...

When I woke up, I felt great. I even got up and walked around the ward with the nurse that afternoon.

So here's the stupid part. When I was able to recall some of the events of the past two years and think things over, I realized that two separate processes had been at work in the same area of my body for the last two years — kundalini and artery blockage. Only I didn't know about the latter because, at first, the sensations I was feeling were consistent with kundalini energy movements I'd become accustomed to for the last 50 years. 

The following day the doctor came in with test results, telling me that my heart was in good shape, that I should have a good recovery. I could go back to work the following Monday.

When something like this happens, it's too bad you can't mention kundalini and be understood, that medical science wants no part of the "evolutionary energy."

But Kundalini didn't cause the attack; it's not responsible for the condition of my arteries, or any other organ. That I let my arteries deteriorate is no one's fault but my own. Cholesterol? Perhaps. Genetics? Possibly. The wear and tear on a 80-year-old body? Maybe.

One thing that did register, not that heart attacks are not to be feared, but that there are degrees of intensity. And I'm thankful to have undergone one that, at least for the time being, appears to be less critical. I still have a lot of work to do. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Birth And Rebirth

Most of us believe we understand "birth," by virtue of being born, giving birth, witnessing a birth, or viewing, reading materials on the subject of birth. "Rebirth" is a more problematic subject.
Almost a platitude, the term has religious as well as social and psychological connotations. And yet, most people believe in some sort of rebirth although they'd be hard pressed to describe how it actually works.

If a person is Christian, resurrection is a ready-made paradigm for rebirth. But, it too, has its problems, as explained in Elizabeth Clare Prophet's book, Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity.
"The New Testament presents conflicting views of the resurrection. It in turn reflects the variety of Jewish resurrection concepts. Some Jews believed that only righteous Israelites would resurrect. Some thought the resurrection would be on earth, other in paradise. Some thought the resurrected would have physical bodies, others that their bodies would be transformed into spiritual bodies.

"Which of these views did Jesus espouse? Or did he have a different vision?

"The conventional Christian view of the resurrection as a single event at the end of time derives in part from Revelation, which tells us that the dead will 'stand before God' and be judged.

"If the resurrection is a single event at the end of time, why were saints and martyrs raised ahead of time? And were they in physical or spiritual bodies? Clearly, the Bible reflects several ideas about resurrection that were current in the authors' day."
Reincarnation is as different from resurrection as Buddhism is from Christianity. Instead of the resurrection concept of the physical body being raised up to heaven, reincarnation proposes a transmigration of the soul into a new body, whose conception and incarnation takes place in the womb of new mother and is followed by physical birth.

Rebirth is neither reincarnation nor resurrection. Nor is it physical rebirth. It is, however, a spiritual birth process that resembles physical birth in many ways. How can this be?

Very simply they resemble one another because the same ontological agent, kundalini, "manages" both birth and rebirth. There are differences, as we shall see later on. First, however, let's delve deeper into the true nature of kundalini. 

Kundalini is the biological life force energy in your body; it functions in two quite different states. In its creative state, it’s known as Kundalini Shakti — creative in the sense that it shapes your very substance in the womb. After birth, it works in the background as Prana Shakti, the maintenance state of kundalini. And unless it reactivates involuntarily or you reactivate it intentionally through the practice of a reliable method like Golden Flower Meditation (GFM), it remains in the background throughout your life. Think of it as a racing car that’s idling; the motor’s turning, but it's not going anywhere. It manages your body’s autonomic functions: cell division, breathing, blood flow, digestion — without you’re being aware of it or appreciating it. Like a computer routine that works in the background, it’s there. If it stopped working altogether, you’d be dead.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, kundalini is never dormant, never completely inactive. It’s either in a maintenance state (Prana Shakti) or a creative state (Kundalini Shakti) during your lifetime:

  • During gestation, it's Kundalini Shakti, the creative force, responsible for your incarnation, 
  • During so-called “normal" life, it's Prana Shakti, maintaining your autonomic functions, until, 
  • Upon reactivating, it takes over once again as Kundalini Shakti, the super-conscious creative life force.

Most people don’t realize that kundalini resides within them in one state or the other. They are simply unaware of its actuality and its potential. Which means, of course, that they may never “re-activate” it either spontaneously or otherwise, not unless they learn how to induce a Kundalini awakening through meditation practice. Even then, the outcome is never certain. There's a quantum or karmic aspect to the process.

At birth, Kundalini sort of hibernates. Why? Because the wonders of the material world ignite our senses and we start to process and explore its delights. We let the thrall of the material world take over our thoughts and emotions. We become Ego driven, seeking mastery over all. Only the spiritually motivated become curious about the metaphysical aspects of Creation. Only a few seek to discover their hibernating birthright — Kundalini Shakti. And it’s a shame, because...

We are all perfect at the split-second moment before conception, a magic, quantum moment when consciousness becomes flesh, a process the Bible expresses thusly: And the Word became flesh. Of course at that moment, like a building before the foundation is laid, our beings are only blueprints, i.e., the Word. These blueprints — the numinous plans for our incarnation — are perfect. At the moment of conception — the moment the egg is fertilized by the sperm — the body begins to take shape, i.e., becomes flesh.

It’s the moment when, were you able to stand over your perfectly drawn blueprint, you'd wonder if it will be executed faithfully. That’s the job of Kundalini Shakti, the creative agent responsible for not only providing the raw energy for your incarnation — not a simple task when you think about it — but also for creating the blueprint, the master plan for your embodiment and your ultimate Being.

Until the moment of birth, Kundalini Shakti controls your growth. The moment you are born, you become "materialistically" conscious and kundalini — your natural life force — hibernates. Heredity, environment, and those aspects unique to your DNA take over the direction of your life and the formation of your physical body while in the background, Prana Shakti manages your body’s day-to-day, minute-by-minute maintenance functions.

Nevertheless, even though Prana Shakti toils away in the background, Kundalini Shakti waits for you to activate it. A popular explanation, really a misconception, says that if kundalini is not awakened, it is dormant, completely inactive. If that were true, we’d have stopped evolving. Kundalini's maintenance state, Prana Shakti, is always functioning. It’s actively at work on you now, maintaining your autonomic functions.

Once reawakened in a later life, Kundalini Shakti starts to effect changes to your nervous system, somatic structure, your metabolism, your genetic profile, and sometimes to your anatomy. It doesn’t stop there. Some changes occur gradually — deep psychological, cognitive, emotional changes, for example, take years to assimilate. Abilities and talents surface on their own; suddenly you’re speaking a foreign language, playing an instrument, or manipulating large numbers in your head.

So how do birth and rebirth vary? Gestation takes place in the protected environment of the mother's womb. Barring harmful influences — medical, organic, environmental, or other — affecting the mother's well-being, the baby is born as perfect as possible.

In the case of a Kundalini Shakti rebirth, the process takes place in the open air instead of surrounded by the amniotic fluid in the uterus. What a difference! The perfect environment of the amniotic fluid as opposed to the New York Subway or some aleatory location. Which is safer and more conducive to growth? A leave-taking from your mother's womb or your exposure to elements you suddenly realize are toxic?

And that's why when Kundalini Shakti rises in the mature individual, he or she becomes sensitive to loud noise, bright light, noxious smells, etc. — just as a baby might. Blast loud music, bright lights, foul smells into a nursery and any baby immediately starts to cry.  What's more, the nine months of gestation that a baby experiences are transmogrified into many years of adjustment for the fully-grown kundalini initiate.

It's important for anyone contemplating kundalini to know this. Most don't. It's no wonder many complain of sensory overload.

There's one other important similarity between the two, whether:

  1. The formation of the being — embryo to fetus, to fully formed infant — takes place in a controlled environment, or,
  2. In the second instance, after many years of life.

In both cases, Kundalini Shakti uses the original blueprint for your perfect being to conform your flesh and blood to said blueprint. 

In the case of a baby immersed in amniotic fluid this is no great challenge; the fetus' physical constituents are as malleable as the mature individual's are rigid and resistant to modification.

Nevertheless, when Kundalini Shakti rises in later life, it starts conveying life force energy to parts of the mature body that do not conform to the blueprint. The conforming process can cause discomfort and, in some cases, pain. One more reason to explore the consequences of activating kundalini and doing thorough diligence before you begin to arouse it.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Serpent Power As Consciousness

The Serpent Power by Sir John Woodroffe (pen name Arthur Avalon) published in Madras in 1918 is one of the earliest authoritative texts on Kundalini in English. It consists of translations of the Sat-Chakra-Nirupana Tantra and the "Fivefold Footstool," the Paduka-Pancala Tantra, plus a long and complex attempt to explain Kundalini in terms of the scientific knowledge of the early twentieth century (pre-quantum mechanics) in terms of latent energy and its setting in motion. 

Sir John Woodroffe, Arthur AvalonThere are many interesting references which are helpful, and sometimes baffling, in regard to more modern accounts of Kundalini. For instance, there are descriptions (and black and white photos) of yogins demonstrating the various asanas. One thing that puzzles me is that in these, more traditional, Indian Kundalini awakenings the body is said to become extremely cold, that investigators touching the practitioner will feel a physical chill similar to that of a corpse, with only a small area of heat (life force) remaining at the very crown of the head. This is, of course, a literal embodiment of Kundalini as being a death, or near-death state. The practitioner is in the "turiya" state of coma that is beyond deep sleep. This contrasts with modern accounts, and my own experience, of extreme heat throughout the body. There’s another interesting footnote, about sex in a Kundalini awakening, which is worth quoting in full (p. 189 Dover edition): “…the yogin must resist women… there is a connection between semen, mind and life. In the early stages of Hatha yoga the heat goes upwards, the penis shrinks, and sexual power is largely lost. Coition with emission of semen at this stage is likely to prove fatal. But a Siddha regains his sexual prowess and can exercise it if there is control of ejaculation…” This is more in line with modern practitioners’ experience, though perhaps the threat of death is poetic overstatement.

What impresses me about this quotation, and The Serpent Power in general, is its insistence on Kundalini as mind, and not just as a physical phenomenon. I think it’s important, in these extreme "turiya" states, when the world drops away, that consciousness is maintained, and that one has some sort of inner resilience that keeps consciousness going, even when consciousness has no object. Otherwise, the experience could be dangerous. This, I know, precludes an ultimate scientific and empirical examination of Kundalini, simply because consciousness comes before analysis and therefore can never be fully analyzed and explained.

Nevertheless, it's important to insist (as Sir John Woodroffe does in The Serpent Power) that Kundalini is essential consciousness. This insistence protects the precious value of Kundalini from criticisms like the following: I was recently reading a Christian Pentecostal writer attacking the practices of an extreme Pentecostal minister, Rodney Howard-Browne, at whose meetings worshipers "filled with the Holy Spirit" laugh hysterically, roll around on the floor, become physically overheated, speak in "tongues" and generally behave as if intoxicated. This so-called "Toronto Blessing" is a clear case of mass hysteria stirred up by a manipulative orator. The rational, and clear-headed critic of these excesses whom I was reading, (arguing the proper Christian doctrine that faith does not demand "signs" and "wonders"), witheringly compared them to Kundalini arousal, the New Age antics of overexcited heathens. This is, of course, absurd, but one needs to keep in mind that Kundalini is the awakening of a higher consciousness, not a lower, purely physical one, in order to rebut such charges.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Purpose of Life

Nothing like starting the day by tackling a weighty subject such as the meaning of, or the purpose of, life. But that's the way it usually happens: kundalini drops the spark of an idea into my consciousness and I find myself trying to put meaningful words around that spark.

If I were to say that the purpose of life is to become more aware, would you say that's lowering the bar? Notice I don't say the purpose is enlightenment. That might be too difficult to defend as there's a lot of uncertainty as to what enlightenment actually is.

Awareness, on the other hand, is a simpler concept.
"In the normal state of awareness, our consciousness seems to be a small bubble in and around our head. When we look out, we see a universe of staggering proportions in which we are dwarfed into utter insignificance. In the mystical state, the position is reversed. The individual consciousness perceives itself as being a drop in an infinitely vast ocean of awareness, and the phenomenal universe becomes dwarfed into near insignificance. The transition from the normal to the mystical state has sometimes been likened to that of waking up from a dream. In a dream, we believe that what we are experiencing is ‘real.’ But when we wake up, we realize that the waking state is more ‘real’ than the dream state. Similar is the case when we go from the normal state to the mystical state."
~ Consciousness: The New Paradigm - Bradford, Michael. (p. 91). Institute for Consciousness Research. Kindle Edition.
So if we can expand that "small bubble in and around our head" to become more aware, rather than less aware at the end of life than we were at the beginning, does that not constitute a life whose purpose has been consummated. Can we say then: The purpose of life is to become more aware over the course of a lifetime.

In fact, doesn't just thinking about awareness make us more aware, as this Google Ngram seems to propose:

Google Ngrams Track Word Usage Frequency
Notice how the usage frequency of 'awareness' dips around the the time of 9/11. Does that not bear witness to a mounting incidence of extremism which gathered momentum around that time — a time when civility and manners went down the drain, taking a backseat to alienation, wanton violence, ideological fanaticism, and, finally, the Dogs of War.

Individuals targeted other individuals simply because they wore turbans. A man or woman as a human bomb became commonplace.

Apologists ascribe these incidents to religious fervor, but more often the bombers are revealed to be unsophisticated youths manipulated for political purposes.
"One consequence of the materialistic view of science is that since we are extinguished at death, there is no incentive to limit our behavior according to any moral or ethical standard. The only reason left to live is to enjoy life as much as possible, as any actions taken in this life, whether good or bad, could have no consequences once we die."
~ Consciousness: The New Paradigm - Bradford, Michael. (p. 174). Institute for Consciousness Research. Kindle Edition.
When people get caught up in a fever of settling imagined scores and resentments, the small bubble gets even smaller. And that's what we mean by becoming less aware —a limited paradigm composed of more 'self' and less 'other.'
"We all have a set of beliefs about how reality works. The various faiths of mankind, and science too, each have their own general perspective on how Creation happened and continues to unfold. This perspective is called a paradigm.
"The structure of each person’s paradigm is a result of their upbringing, education, faith, and/or knowledge of science, combined with the experience of the world that they have throughout their lifetime. Each person’s paradigm determines what he or she believes to be possible, or not possible. Paradigms are very useful, even essential, as they give us a framework that we can use to function in the world in an effective manner.
"For the vast majority of people, their paradigm is generally taken as a given. In other words, it is accepted as true, without need of proof or validation. As a consequence, few people — scientists or otherwise — actually stop to seriously question the validity of their own particular paradigm. Most people also do not realize that their paradigm is based on assumptions that they are not even aware they are making.
"Each person has her or his own unique paradigm. Throughout life, we are constantly coming into contact with others who have a paradigm that is different from our own, to a more or less degree. Human nature being what it is, our usual response is to reject those paradigms that diverge too far from our own. This is also usually the case when we are presented with factual data that contradict our own paradigm."
 Consciousness: The New Paradigm - Bradford, Michael. (p. 17-18). Institute for Consciousness Research. Kindle Edition.
Recent history is as rife with examples of persons becoming more aware through spiritual practices, as it is with persons with mental health issues or political motives believing mass murder, war, and acts of terror serve some greater purpose.

Is there any justification for a school shooting? Does the school shooter leave this earth with greater or lesser awareness?

What about the politician, the money lender, the star athlete, the inveterate gambler, the NFL fan, false guru, well-meaning gossip, the scientist whose inventions kill millions?

How does one become more aware over a given lifetime?

It's not a one-time, momentary cataclysm; it's a process open to anyone and everyone:

How do I know? I started at the bottom; that's how. I was an "outer-directed puppet" with "no inner aim or real will." Asleep for most of my life, yet harboring some spark that led to eventually becoming an "inner-directed, cosmically oriented man," when I look back over my trajectory, the distance between my beginning state and where I am now seems greater that the distance between Earth and the stars.

What stage are you at?

Saturday, May 5, 2018

In The Beginning was the Word: Music, Lyrics and Revelation

            ‘Woe to the downpressors
        They will eat the bread of sorrow
        Woe to the downpressors
        They will eat the bread of sad tomorrow’
        ~ Guiltiness - Bob Marley

       ‘Rockets, moon shots
        Spend it on the have nots
        Money, we make it
        Fore we see it you take it'
        ~ Inner City Blues - Marvin Gaye

Words reveal ideas, truths and concepts through layered meaning and context, and this can be heard at its most powerful in musical lyrics. Certain musicians have sung powerful lyrics about life, love, and change and I contend that these people are reaching depths of emotion that, when manifested through words, engage with audiences in similar ways that some prophets in the past did.

I suggest that these musicians are following in the shamanic traditions of the past, with one foot in spirit world and one foot in the real. I believe that we are living in a new spiritual reality. Here the shamanic, devotional, and esoteric practices of the past have been transformed into contemporary artistic movements.


Revelation — the divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence.

Revelation is traditionally given orally. A prophet (who is, I suggest, a highly enlightened shaman) discloses a new and important spiritual insight or foretells the future in front of the people. People would usually rejoice, weep, or have some kind of an emotional reaction and then create followings around this person sometimes using imagery of the prophet as means to worship.

Concept: Sameer Patel
Design: Nazira Hanna

At the core is a connection between an individual who is orally transmitting words and an audience. Sometimes these words are sung, for example, it is is said that Mohammed sang the words he received from Gabriel and the audience who first received this words were enraptured. Sometimes the words are poetic for example the Indian epic The Mahabharata which also contains the Bhagavad Gita was originally an orally transmitted poem. I contend that prophets had the ability to fully control their voices, convey layered meanings, which helped people transcend the relative nature of reality to understand higher truths. These prophets understood that use of melody, rhyme, rhythm, and meter added layers to words that accentuated the meaning and understanding and, in certain cases, helped people achieve transcendental changes. On a subtle level, I believe that prophets of the past, especially in the West, channeled energy downwards from the crown, and, they may not have been born with these gifts, but realized them from a full and transcendent spiritual awakening.

This type of channel from the higher more cosmic chakras gave the prophet the ability to talk about spiritual insight and prophetic visions. Some mystical awakenings were truly creative. For example, take the 12th century mystical poet Rumi, especially after he was awakened by the wandering mystic Shams. When the words were transmitted in the fullest way, the people hearing them experienced ecstatic responses including emotional releases, shaking, and for a few, even awakenings.

Now contrast this with a few modern day singers — rappers and musicians. These people have the ability to use their voice and engage audiences en masse creating powerful emotional responses. These artists and musicians have a deeper connection with something greater that allows them to express music, lyrics, and words which resonate emotionally and spiritually with audiences.
Using posters and merchandise, their fans build shrines in their houses to these artists;  they attend their concerts when the artist is in their city. They may claim the artist’s music changed them or helped them feel better emotionally.

As in the introduction, I believe that some of these musicians are unknowingly akin to modern day shamans with one foot in ‘spiritual realms’ channeling truths to reality. They experience complex emotions, perhaps by delving into dark recesses. They are inspired by dance, mind altering substances, and their connections to their people, culture, and their origins.

Rather than organized religions codifying this oral tradition, it is the modern corporate and economic system that now takes and disseminates these words to the masses. It is my belief that these musicians, without the proper awareness or guidance — in a contemporary secular system where the spiritual model has been replaced by a commercial one — may suffer a number of destructive  repercussions if they use their talent for purely personal ends.

Modern day artists need to understand the value their gifts and, if they choose to commoditize them, they need to be more attentive to their own energies and the people they choose to work with. Indeed, it is worth noting that in the past certain self-proclaimed prophets were not able to handle their gifts, one example exists in the apocryphal stories of Simon Magus, a man who had spiritual gifts and was happy to show them off, but not the strength of character to stay detached from his siddhis.

On the subtle, energetic level both the prophets of old and certain modern music artists have opened their throat chakras, sparking the ability to envelope words with power and meaning. Most of these musicians are not on the same level as the enlightened prophets of the past, however, these similarities exist for a reason: these musicians are spiritually connected people manifesting truths audiences want to hear. Unlike the prophets of the past, these modern artists drive their energy from the heart chakra.

The Heart-Based Model
The modern Kundalini movement is based on a new model that has the heart and creativity at its center, rather than a model with an
upwards or downwards energetic movement. Instead of rapturous stories about the love of God channeled from "above," these artists with their heart connections transmit stories about the love of others — humans, individually and collectively — and all the associated tumultuous emotions that this love brings out. Modern musicians and artists who are born with awakened throat and heart chakras are able to mesh their voices with emotional, layered, and meaningful words from their experiences that connects and resonates with others: some artists who've  experienced heart-based Kundalini awakenings express their spiritual essence through art and creativity.

I maintain that we have subconsciously moved our spiritual systems into everyday art forms and the industries that surround them. In the past, people worshiped gods and spirits; now teenagers worship rock stars by streaming the music, buying the merchandise, and attending concerts. What they are really doing is connecting with the spirit of the music and the words. As society secularizes love, we transform our prophets into profitable artists who sing about the love of a woman or a man rather than the love of god, but in essence we are still searching for that connection to the divine.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Blockages, The Eye Of The Needle

There can be a moment in a Kundalini awakening when the overall awareness of the developing powers that Kundalini induces — a deeper insight, a greater left-hand speed on the piano, even the power to not let minor irritations turn into full blown arguments —  when everything gets blocked. The awakened energy seems to have lost contact with the things that we hold precious — writing a good book, doing something worthwhile in the village, even making love with the partner we love — and there’s a frightening sense of an explosive energy that’s going nowhere and has no outlet. This can lead to disorientation of the sense of space and time.

The Biblical saying about a camel passing through the eye of a needle (to enter heaven) comes to mind with this sensation of overload, too much energy being forced through too confined an opening. Interestingly, the tantric texts speak of a series of smaller, threadlike nadis within the spinal Susumna Nadi, the brahma and citrini nadis, as fine as ‘the thousandth part of the thickness of a hair’ where the Kundalini energy is at its purest and most intense. When a blockage arises here one feels immensely spaced out, possessing huge energy yet unmotivated, as if there’s the merest needle’s eye between the Heart Chakra and the Brow Chakra for the Kundalini to get through. In traditional wisdom the Visuddha, or Throat Chakra, is called the "Threshold." When it’s blocked, there’s a feeling that the world of the senses has become unreal.

This calls to mind the fact that our sense of place — our position here and now in space and time our is the thing that separates us from the All, from transcendent reality, separates us more than thought or emotion do. I find, personally, that my strongest memories (when the past is most present) are memories of places, rather than of events, or even people. It’s as if the feeling of the body in time and space, at a certain moment and at a certain place, is the closest that memory (and all thought is memory) can come to shared transcendence, and the direct experiencing of the energy continuum. Blake’s words in ‘The Mental Traveler’ are telling:
‘For the eye altering, alters all,
The flat earth is rolled into a ball…’

The ‘flat earth’ is the here and now as it is given to us — what I perceive looking out of my window — and is closer to the reality hidden behind appearances than my mere mental knowledge that the earth is round and has a lot of people on it, none of whom are me. In ‘Milton’ Blake writes:
‘The Sky is an immortal tent built by the Sons Of Los (divine imagination)
And every Space that a man views round his dwelling place
Standing on his own roof or in his garden on a mount
Of twenty five cubits in height, such space is his Universe:
And on its verge the Sun rises and sets, the Clouds bow
To meet the flat Earth and the Sea in such an ordered space:
The starry heavens reach no further, but here bend and set
On all sides, and the two Poles turn on their valves of gold;
And if he move his dwelling place, his heavens also move
Where’ ere he goes, and all his neighbourhood bewail his loss…
…As to that false appearance which appears to the reasoner
As of a Globe rolling through Voidness, it is a delusion…’
This, clearly, is not scientific, but I think it expresses a truth about the borderline between sense experience and transcendence, and the way that the sense of separateness that Kundalini overcomes is rooted in time and space, and in every specific moment of space and time. Similarly the brahma and citrini nadis that are both ‘fine as the thousandth part of the thickness of a hair’ and where the Kundalini Energy is at its purest and most intense, are the threshold where Kundalini, as pure consciousness, consumes this or that thought before it arises.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Announcing Kundalini Musings (2018)

Kundalini was first discovered by the ancients during religious or ceremonial practices — before science existed. It has retained its religious roots; it is still part of some religious practices. For example, meditation — an integral part of many religions — can induce kundalini safely and permanently.
Nevertheless, more and more people now acknowledge the awakened kundalini as science with its own anatomical, physiological, and embryological phenomena. Why? People have realized that kundalini is a biological process, not a belief system.

For example, if you’re a Buddhist, you can be converted to another belief system. You can change your mind and become a Christian or a Jew. You cannot be converted to kundalini any more than you can be converted to an orgasm or a heart attack. They are biological processes, not belief systems. You don’t “believe” in the physiological channels, chakras, nadis, or energy centers known to kundalini adepts. They are fact. Someday, science will acknowledge this, just as a growing number of people who’ve awakened kundalini have.

Moreover, because it’s a science, kundalini is not about bliss states, even though a kundalini awakening often induces behavioral states, not dissimilar to religious ecstasy. I believe this is due to the fact that kundalini opens up vistas of higher consciousness that most people never experience — states which are so breathtaking and so different from “normal” consciousness that people tend to believe they’ve been catapulted into a kind of wonderland or Oz.

Most initiates understand that kundalini opens new vistas of human cosmology, metaphysics, and higher consciousness and under its thrall they are tempted to describe their experience to friends, family, and even to strangers. I've spoken with many individuals who've attempted this, only to find that listeners turn a deaf ear. What they're not aware of — especially in the first rush of kundalini ecstasy — is their descriptions are usually incoherent. This is normal; everything seems to happen at once. Standard vocabulary is rarely up to the task of describing the kundalini phenomenon.

In these instances, however, not only does the individual lose credibility, the whole topic of kundalini tends to attract further scorn, skepticism, and ridicule. Kundalini doesn't need this; there are enough outsiders who already doubt its actuality. It's better to pause before blurting out. Sometimes it's better to say nothing — get your bearings, study a bit until you've had time to assimilate the overpowering effects of kundalini.

And that's where this book comes in. It allows both initiates and adepts to grasp the totality of kundalini experience. Although kundalini is too vast a topic for any one book to be hailed as definitive, Kundalini Musings (2018) both clarifies and demystifies kundalini, explaining in simple everyday language not only the more abstract metaphysical aspects of kundalini, but also how to awaken it permanently and how to live with it.

The metamorphosis kundalini imposes — whether immediate or gradual — can be difficult to accept and integrate into your life, making you easy prey to impulse, instability, or inertia. Sometimes, things go badly.

In my case, although I didn't plan it that way, sometime around 1965 I found myself on a solitary path, gradually intensifying my efforts to awaken it and marveling as serendipitous happenstance propelled me forward.

I was in my mid-twenties then. Within seven years I would upend my mostly conventional life, undergo a complete metamorphosis, culminating in a permanent kundalini awakening.

It's been over 40 years since that day. Now in my 81st year, I believe it's fitting to feature everything that kundalini has inspired me to accomplish and to experience in one book. That said, the process never ends so I'll continue to study the effects of kundalini on myself and on others. Kundalini Musings is a compendium of my first 50 years with an active kundalini. I'm sure the next 50 will be even richer.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Kundalini And Ancient Science

Although a modern scientific investigation of Kundalini activation is essential in our scientific age, I don’t think we should forget the value of the ancient science, set out in the Tantras, The Secret Of The Golden Flower, and hermetical texts, that first elucidated the Kundalini event. We should acknowledge the importance of the seer/scientists of Tradition, because their insights are often a help in orienting oneself during the crises of a Kundalini awakening,
 This is particularly the case with the guidance offered by the doctrine of the chakras and the Great Elements. A lot of people undergoing an activation experience visual disturbance and digestive problems. The two functions, sight and digestion, are related. The Tantric system explains this by allotting to the third, belly chakra the element of Fire, the influx from transcendence of a fiery, purging and consuming force. Modern man is very visually oriented. The cortices of the brain that deal with eyesight are dominant. This perhaps explains how an awakening can become painful if we seek to force the energy upwards too quickly without dwelling in the ‘darkness visible’ and emotional vortex of the belly. This can lead to hallucination, an impulsive driving of what is essentially unconditioned consciousness into visual images, a forcing of the energy outwards into material manifestations of the pingala nadi.

The importance of the fourth chakra, the Heart Centre, is obvious, as the ‘place’ or ‘state’ or ‘gear change’ where human centrality is revealed (the higher chakras being, in some sense, more-than-human.) If the rising Kundalini bypasses this chakra, which can easily be the case, as this ‘place’ feels like a loss of identity, then the higher influxes can become deranged. It’s said that, at the moment of death, the life force gathers in the heart before exiting through the top of the head. I don’t know anything about this from personal experience, but I'm convinced that preparing oneself for death, a healthy experiencing of ending in everything and at every moment, takes place in the heart chakra.

As a general rule, a lot of the problems reported with Kundalini activations, are the result of unresolved, outwards directed, conditioning being carried upwards into the higher chakras, where it runs amok under the sway of the increasing energy.

The throat chakra is a case in point. In the traditional system this is said to be the ‘place’ or ‘state’ where space/time enters the material world out of transcendence. This is obviously unsettling, because to experience the place and time I’m in (sitting on a balcony in Thailand) as — not my ordinary aggregation of eyesight, touch, taste, sound and thought — but as intense and unconditioned energy can be disorienting. It’s like being here and being nowhere at the same time. Rational constructs about how time and space are perceived, or analyzed ‘scientifically’, aren’t much help either.

The sixth, Brow chakra is called the Command Chakra, and there’s a stability and certainty here (the certainty that Kundalini isn’t a malfunction or hallucination), except that, according to the ancient tradition, the Command is not mine, it lies beyond my will, and has been working all along, and all the way up from the base of the spine, without my clear perception of it. ‘It (or ‘She’, I feel the ancients are right in making Kundalini female) does you.’ This, again, is challenging, because it could be seen as a denial of one’s free will. I want to participate ethically in the world, and be a force for good of my own free will, but how can this be if my mental, indeed physical, make-up and destiny is being formed by something whose essence is outside me?

Again, an ancient tradition — the doctrine of prenatal destiny — can help here. We have chosen this time and this place to be this particular person in a former state of being. This is most definitely not reincarnation as it’s ordinarily understood.

There can surely be no transference of the personal ‘I’ from one lifetime to another. The personal ‘I’ dies just as the body dies and the senses die. What carries over into the future, and out of the past into the present, is energy, and impersonal patterns of energy, which have their own form of will and choice. There seems to me to be a far greater chance of freedom in this traditional teaching — impersonal though it is — than in the modern neo-Darwinian reduction of life and evolution to the blind working of genes under natural selection. The denial of free will in much of modern scientism is an issue that the vocal advocates of neo-Darwinism sidestep. The ancient doctrines face the issue of death and ending more honestly than the selfish gene.