Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Kundalini And Food

One way of telling whether kundalini is active is your body's response to intercourse. When I read Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man, it settled any remaining uncertainties about what had happened to me. No further doubts remained, not after I read Gopi Krishna's somatic reaction to an unavoidable ejaculation. No questions, no doubts. I'd had the same reaction after ejaculating for the first time since my kundalini became active, an event described
 in Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time:
My head is imploding and the elixir is being summoned to my brain for life support. I curl up in a fetal position. To no avail, my nerves are like an electrical fire searing the very conduits that enclose them and there isn’t enough elixir to cool them. I sit up, unable to slip from dozing into sleep. I am wide awake. Certainly, if I try to lead a normal sex life, I’ll simply exhaust my resources. Every factory runs on power; this one manufactures its own. And the conduits, which convey the energy to the replenishment points, are burning up. For one thing, they need nourishment. I can feel the elixir waning and, as Gopi Krishna put it, ‘a tongue of golden flame searching my stomach for food.’”

“Are you okay?” asks Martine.
“You think I’m a freak.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Do you have any yogurt?”
“I think so…in the fridge.”


Naked, I stumble to the fridge and grab a Yoplait. Four containers later, I feel somewhat calmed. Martine comes into the kitchen and stands by me, softly massaging my shoulders.

“How do you feel?” she asks.
“Better.”
“Do you think you can sleep?”


Back in bed together, after another episode of involuntary movements, Martine gets to witness the ultimate in CPR. I say this only figuratively, for how can she see the muscle walls of my solar plexus open and the Pranic energy stream forth enroute to the third eye? Yet, as we lie there, I sense her watching me, wondering if I am in the grip of some sort of fit. Nevertheless, she is fascinated, as if hoping to catch a glimpse of the power that is tossing me around her bed.
~ Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time (2008) - JJ Semple
Why is this relevant? I get many inquiries from persons trying to determine whether their kundalini is active — a determination I'm not always able to make, given the mostly meager information communicated to me. Sometimes, all I can muster is an un-educated guess, which, because of its shaky fundaments I rarely proffer to the person who's inquired. Better to not get involved if what I suggest turns out not to be; I don't want to steer anyone wrong.


North Carolina dog
Boy & Dog

A person has to be his or her own best detective and not assume that I, or anyone else, is capable of getting inside another human being in order to witness what is going on. I'm not able to, and I would distrust any claims to such powers, especially if money was involved. I'm not saying it's not possible, but all I can do, even with the best of information, is make an educated guess. There are, however, certain other commonalities, which, if experienced and described to me in detail, I feel able enough to offer a determination.

Nevertheless, if you've not had the type of reaction described above, two possibilities exist:
  1. Not every kundalini awakening causes the type of reaction suffered by me and Gopi Krishna.
  2. Your kundalini has not yet awakened.
One point Gopi Krishna made when I met him in Kashmir in the summer of 1977 was that once kundalini clears all blockages, the body can withstand ejaculation.

As far as other ways of determining whether kundalini is active, I have written about them previously — a post that includes some difficult to answer queries/comments.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Get Over Not Being Famous

After every wanton mass-murder shooting comes the wringing of hands, the invocation of prayer, and a search for a deeply-buried motive, “Investigators are sifting through the evidence, on-line and in the assailant’s home, trying to ascertain why this shooting took place.” As if the current event is somehow not connected to similar events…

Sad, because the motive is woven into the fabric of our social norms and our collective consciousness and is not so deeply buried. So what is it? Simply that all violence is self-hate — a condition we should be aware of, but, due to the following tendencies, we like to keep buried.

First comes the psychological environment we live in, whether we’re deeply affected or just marginally. And that is the winner/loser paradigm which guides the very formation of our egos and how we perceive ourselves. Of course, we would be the last to admit that a thirst for recognition and its offshoot fame were part of the psychological elements that shape our egos.

Why do we base our self-image on these things? Because the winner/loser paradigm is all around us, manifested so perfectly by a president that dotes on the superficiality of image, dispensing and condemning, the latest being his erstwhile Attorney General, who he loved to humiliate publicly.

Some people play the game, excel at it, others give it a good try, but most fall by the wayside into different degrees of indifference and self-loathing, and it’s in that category we find the embittered ones who act out!




A friend of mine ventured that those to whom real fame comes are blessed with a combination of vision, charisma, and chops, in that they are very good at what they do. They excel because of talent; fame comes later. These people are rare — the ones whose talent is so great they don’t even think about fame.

His comments are illuminated in Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” in which Trigorin, a famous writer, foreshadows his destruction of Nina, at the same time his mistress, Arkadina, an actress, destroys her son’s confidence, ultimately driving him to suicide. 

NINA. That was my dead mother’s home. I was born there, and have lived all my life beside this lake. I know every little island in it.
TRIGORIN. This is a beautiful place to live. [He catches sight of the dead sea-gull] What is that?
NINA. A gull. Constantine shot it. 
TRIGORIN. What a lovely bird! Really, I can’t bear to go away. Can’t you persuade Irina to stay? [He writes something in his note-book.]
NINA. What are you writing?
TRIGORIN. Nothing much, only an idea that occurred to me. [He puts the book back in his pocket] An idea for a short story. A young girl grows up on the shores of a lake, as you have. She loves the lake as the gulls do, and is as happy and free as they. But a man sees her who chances to come that way, and he destroys her out of idleness, as this gull here has been destroyed.



Because they are secure in their talent, Trigorin and Arkadina, the two famous people are heedless of the hurt they inflict, even on friends and family members.
NINA. I knew we should meet again. [With emotion] I have come to an irrevocable decision, the die is cast: I am going on the stage. I am deserting my father and abandoning everything. I am beginning life anew. I am going, as you are, to Moscow. We shall meet there.
TRIGORIN. [Glancing about him] Go to the Hotel Slavianski Bazar. Let me know as soon as you get there. I shall be at the Grosholski House in Moltchanofka Street. I must go now. [A pause.]

NINA. Just one more minute!

TRIGORIN. [In a low voice] You are so beautiful! What bliss to think that I shall see you again so soon! [She sinks on his breast] I shall see those glorious eyes again, that wonderful, ineffably tender smile, those gentle features with their expression of angelic purity! My darling! [A prolonged kiss.]

The Act III curtain falls.

Two years elapse between the third and fourth acts.
Act IV takes place during the winter two years later, in the drawing room that has been converted to Konstantin's study.
Nina and Trigorin lived together in Moscow for a time, during which she had a child by him, who died, after which, he abandoned her and went back to Arkadina. Nina never achieved any real success as an actress, and is currently on a tour of the provinces with a small theatre group.
Secret yearnings for recognition, daydreams of command performances keep us motivated through our twenties, that is, if we haven’t already dropped out or ruined our lives because we couldn’t face the truth or couldn't accept the fact that we would never be famous. 

Of course, it would be simplistic to assign complete blame for violent incidents to lack of recognition and validation, but like John Waters, I believe there is both smoke and fire in the way a society writes off individuals as losers.

So when an individual realizes that fame isn't happening, he/she feels cheated and finds refuge in our cultural orthodoxies: television, Internet, gambling, porn, fundamentalism, and materialism. And what symbolizes material prominence more than possessing a gun?


In their deep subconscious, many people accept not being famous and get over it. Others desperately wanting a recognition that isn’t forthcoming, begin to doubt and hate themselves, and as a result, act out a mass-murder event as the means and the end to 15 minutes of fame and the solution to their self-loathing. Imagine being a person who's just mass murdered. What does he tell himself? "Wow, I just murdered X number of people so I could be famous for 15 minutes." The feeling, and the lack thereof!


Again, blaming lack of recognition may sound simplistic, but when you examine more primitive cultures, you wonder if they even have a word in their language for “fame?” Not so much nowadays because primitive cultures have also been infected by the ruling orthodoxies of the day.

When people spend most of their day toiling the soil, hunting for food, or pounding out tortillas, they have less time for self-examination. Nevertheless, demographics show a greater incidence of mass-murder events in developed countries than in less developed societies. What’s more, if a mass murder were to occur in a less developed society, I warrant they’d have both a logical and swift way of dealing with it. Unlike the USA whose ruling class trots out the same platitudes each time a lethal incident takes place.

Everything’s changed. And yet, hark back to the 1940s, to societies that had never seen a white man. Their codes of ethics regulated life for centuries without members going postal… How do we get back to a state of such grace, where self-worth becomes a societal absolute?
You may never be famous, but you are not a loser. If you need 365 reasons to validate this postulate, check out Kundalini Musings.




Friday, October 12, 2018

Alone And Unloved

I wonder if it's possible to feel un-alone and loved without undergoing a change of consciousness? I remember a period in my life — after boarding school and military service — when, for the first time, I was turned loose to my own devices, i.e., I was "free" to come and go as I pleased.




No longer was my daily schedule regulated from above by parents, teachers, or sergeants. No longer was my room, board, travel, and entertainment paid for.


Disaffected Youth - JJ Semple, 1960s something
If I didn't have a job, I wouldn't eat. If I didn't get out of bed and go to work, they'd evict me. If I didn't go out in search of friendship and sex, I would remain friendless and unrelieved. Of course, there was always the people at work, but at my first two jobs in photography labs, I spent six hours a day in a darkroom. Lots of time for fantasizing and daydreaming about why I was miserable and what I might do to turn my life around, but not much for pursuing relationships or expanding my social life.

It's that way for many. Witness the following:
"I'm very good at being chatty, I can talk to anyone, but that doesn't mean I'm able to have those lasting relationships with people," says Michelle. "You can be in a group and it can be intimidating because you're conscious of not letting people get to know the 'real you'.

"I would say I've always had an element of feeling lonely. Ever since I was a teenager, I've always felt a little bit different and separate from large groups of friends, but in the last five years it's crept in more."

Michelle has experienced anxiety and depression which she finds can amplify her loneliness because she finds it hard to articulate negative emotions.

"If I'm in a group I often find myself saying 'I'm great' when people ask how I am. It's almost like an out-of-body experience because I can hear myself saying these positive things, when I'm thinking about how I struggled to get out bed yesterday. It's the loneliness of knowing how you feel in your own head and never being able to tell people.
"
 ~ "Surrounded by people - but I feel so unloved" - The Loneliness Experiment - BBC
 So I enrolled in George Washington University. And instead of nothing and no one, there was suddenly too much. I became even more frantic. If I wasn't seeing someone or going somewhere, I felt alone and unloved. 

Close to the university at 25th. Street and Pennsylvania Ave. across the street from St. Stephen-Martyr Church, I had a great one-bedroom apartment for $90/mo. (now, 50 years later, it's the Avenue Suites, Georgetown). Another classic Washington row house bites the dust.



Parties and a series of girl friends; minimalist, yet tasteful, furniture, the apartment was equidistant from my two favorite Pennsylvania Avenue bars: Brownley's to the right and the One Step Down to the left, hot spots I'd repair to for a round, or several rounds of drinks, if I wasn't seeing someone. At last call, I'd lurch my way home from Brownley's in the snow through a messy construction site (the Washington Circle underpass was being built at the time).

I was feuding with St. Stephen's. Their noisy bells waking me at early hours...so I'd put a large speaker on my window that blared Thelonious Monk at the ringing bells. At one party I suddenly had the thought that all the guests were having more fun than I was, so I ordered everyone out. That was my life: too much to drink or smoke and a feeling that I was missing something, that somewhere people I knew were having more fun than I was.

And so it came to pass...getting tossed out on the street. I was having a bacon, egg, and English muffin brunchfast one morning when the door started being knocked on. I opened it and three burly men with moving equipment brushed by me and started packing everything up. I and my household and my tasty breakfast were out on the street in less than ten minutes.

It's not that I couldn't have raised the $90.00, I just didn't want to be bothered. By the time I came back with a borrowed truck, most my possessions had disappeared.

The story made the bar circuit with me for a week, until I grew sick of it and sick of my life.

Within five years, I had moved to Paris — practicing yoga and meditating. When kundalini awakened two years later, I immediately felt unbounded. It had always been me and everyone else, and why couldn't I be as happy everyone else seemed to be?

No anxiety; it had faded away. No why-was-I-so mixed up; I no longer was.

I didn't have to work at getting adjusted like so many of my contemporaries who'd spent fortunes on psychs. Kundalini had effected an organic change — the physical actions of yoga and meditation had opened up the metaphysical. My consciousness had changed, and along with it, my Being. Washing the dishes became the same as going to a party.

Sure there was a long adjustment: learning to live with kundalini is a long process, affecting the somatic, metabolic as well as the emotional and the cognitive. I was no longer spiraling downward.
GROSS: You know, early in your career, you said that your work is really about the sadness normal people feel because they're not involved in show business.
(LAUGHTER)
WATERS: Somebody said that was the snottiest thing I've ever said. I didn't mean it to be snotty. But I believe that - that most everybody secretly imagines himself in show business. And every day on their way to work, they're a little bit depressed because they're not. People are sad they're not famous in America.
~ Terry Gross Interview with John Waters - "Cult Icon John Waters On Breaking Taboos And Embracing Villains" - Fresh Air, NPR

Monday, September 17, 2018

Living With Kundalini

One of the most neglected aspects of kundalini is not the mystical aspects associated with awakening it, but rather the aftermath and the challenges of living with an active kundalini. Each time I reread what I've written about my own tribulations and the accounts of others, I have to admit there's a lot I don't know. After 50 years of living with it, I still learn everyday.

Yes, there are synergies and similarities among adepts. The feeling of unboundedness is universal and immediate, on the other hand, there are so many health variants. Can any one person know all there is about kundalini? 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.
 ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Lilly
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.


https://amzn.to/2L7eRoH

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.

https://amzn.to/2scvzL1
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.

https://www.kundaliniconsortium.org/2016/08/is-compromise-possible-kundalini.html

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:

http://amzn.to/2qk5Aix

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?