Sunday, January 20, 2013

Do I Need a Teacher?

Two of the most common immediate after-effects of a Kundalini awakening — in the form of ideas that pop into the head — are:
  • Intense feelings that "I" need to do something that improves the condition of all mankind,
  • Overwhelming desire to meet someone in the form of a highly evolved teacher that knows much more about Kundalini than "I" do.
Both of these usually lead nowhere and here's why:

Gopi Krishna had these same feelings after his awakening in India in 1938. He searched the entire country without finding that authentic someone who truly knew more than, or even as much as, he did.
Kundalini is like the midst of the storm, a being tossed and turned before finding calm
Before the Storm
What he did discover is: it's up to the awakened one to fend for him/herself. Yes, we host a Forum, offer comment and such, but in the end, it's up to the individual because he/she can do a much better job of managing the Kundalini energy, once they submit. It's a long haul. It took me about one hundred days to awaken Kundalini via GFM, a time period that pales beside the 40 years I've lived with it.

I made up my mind early on that I would give into the Kundalini energy and find a way to accommodate its every whim. Why? Very simple. I realized it had my best interests at heart. That it could do no wrong. It was out to help me forge an "I" out of the "me". 
For good measure here's the account (excerpted from Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time) of my attempt to gather information about my awakening from Swami Muktananda at the moment of his leaving Paris for the US. This is not an attempt to denigrate his ability to confer Shaktipat; I know many people who he performed it on. Rather it is a parable on finding someone to guide you through. Thankfully the lesson I learned was I would have to become my own best teacher.
I have ventured forth in my newly purchased Quatrelle to witness the departure of Swami Muktananda. I’m not keen on the shotgun approach to finding a teacher, especially a sensation like Muktananda, surrounded, as it were, by layers of handlers who seem little more than glorified bouncers. Anyway, someone told me about him. So I thought—what the hell.
To enter the ashram, I have to stand in line and be screened. Waiting to enter the big room, I overhear his acolytes buzzing about who is going to ride with him in the car to the airport. That is the spiritual concern of the day. More like backroom political maneuvering—jockeying for votes, bargaining for influence.
And the prize? Proximity to the guru during the final trip to Charles de Gaulle Airport. The winners get to ride; the losers get to follow in a motorcade. Dressed in robes of saffron, white and red, they huddle by the door whispering and cajoling, earnestly vying to move up the ladder of distinction.

Attended by still more acolytes who buzz around him, the guru is seated on a platform in the big room. I watch him while the bouncers quiz me. I picture Milarepa alone in his Himalayan cave. Somehow, the two don’t jibe.
I have a vague idea about the questions I want to ask, but when I’m finally admitted to the big room, I see it may be impossible. First, I am one of a large group of people seated on the floor. I may never be recognized to speak because of the on-going ritual. All this makes me impatient, for I am only interested in knowing if the illustrious guru has some answers to my specific condition. The ceremony, trappings and schmoozing make me uncomfortable. I’m sorry that I’ve driven through all that Parisian traffic. And now I have to sit through the chanting, which I guess would have its place if the context didn’t resemble a White House press conference with its hubbub of kibitzers and white noise.
If any present are on a spiritual mission, personal or otherwise, I can’t detect it. It seems more like the worship of a particular personality, whose followers take their status from proximity to the Master.

I am probably missing the true meaning of the chanting, but the shuffling, the ritual mutterings of Muktananda, only underline the general impatience, as if everyone in the room is waiting for the mad scramble to the cars.
I can’t remember if he asks for questions, I just remember my hand being in the air at a particular moment and his pointing at me. The noise level drops to zero as I stammer forth. Can’t remember my exact words, only a paraphrase: “I recently spent one year in isolation, meditating. During this time hidden channels in my body were awakened…and eventually energy streamed into a place…a location in my head…that I can only call the third eye. Now, it continues on its own without my intervention, and my head cracks while it does…”

The Guru interrupts me. His acolytes turn their faces expectantly, as if ready to savor his reaction. My fellow floor sitters turn to stare at me.
“It is not possible. The head does not crack. There are no muscles in the head…” replies Muktananda.

Giggles and titters, as if the crowd were saying, “You don’t know that, stupid? Everyone knows that!”
“Then something is cracking in every room I’ve occupied…”
“It wasn’t your head.”
“It must have been the radiators then,” says someone in the crowd.
More derisive laughter. I’m not so much annoyed by people laughing at me as by the complete refusal to accept the possibility of a head cracking. That’s what growth is all about, from infancy to maturity—the head changing imperceptibly over time.
“That is impossible; the skull cannot crack,” he continues.
“But can it change its shape?”
“That is another matter.”
He whispers to someone behind him in a light green robe. Everybody rises. Question time is over.

In his denial, is he saying that it didn’t happen to him so therefore it couldn’t happen…period? I don’t put any limits on the power inside me. Obviously, once maturity is reached, cracking might be difficult, but not impossible. Being him, I would have wanted to hear more. Being me, I believed he could look at me and see my inner workings, and therefore know I was telling the truth.
So, I am disappointed, but not much. It only reinforces what I’ve learned. I figure I need a few experiences like this to learn to ignore conventional wisdom. In the solitude of St. Jean, as a kind of empirical detective, I learned to keep my mouth shut, perhaps by virtue of having no one to talk to. And now, reintroduced into the world, I am flush with success, like I have accomplished something—even though, in my heart of hearts, I know I haven’t. The road is never ending—for as long as I have the strength to push my body out of bed. It’s the same for the ordinary person as it is for the enlightened.
Good for you, I say to myself while walking into the bistro across the street from the ashram. You got laughed at and you deserved it. Now wake up, continue on your way, and forget conventional wisdom—even from the mouths of the so-called enlightened.

1 comment:

  1. I love this passage from your book. If i remember correctly, it was your reference to the cracking in the skull that made me write you an email and say 'yes, i have had that happen too'.

    On a side note, and without being disrespectful to Muktananda or his abilities (I do believe he had the power to give shaktipat) I must point out something Osho once said about Swami Muktandada. It must be understood that, like Gurdjieff, Osho was a prankster, comedian, and loved poking fun at some of the other enlightened masters of that era (my kinda guru). He once said, Muktananda being enlightened should give hope to everyone... in his words "If Muktananda of Ganeshpuri can be enlightened, anybody can be enlightened" :)