Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kundalini and White Tantra Yoga

On Saturday, I attended a day of White Tantra Yoga. As a teacher of Kundalini yoga, continuing professional development is required by the Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association, and completing this day would give me 10 CEU points. I last attended this day two years ago when I began Kundalini yoga training. I had never seen myself as a yoga teacher, but an active Kundalini changed that.

I have written in this blog about my study and practice of Mahayana Buddhism, being motivated solely by my love of the Buddha and everything he said. I had no idea that there was anything beyond this on the spiritual path. So when the Kundalini energy rose during a meditation retreat, I experienced the bliss of the ignorant in that I had no idea what had happened because my mind had no label for it. I was happy enjoying its effects.

Then, one day I found a book, opened the pages and read about this energy called the mind had a label and it went to work producing all kinds of thoughts about being special and having experienced something which wasn't that common. I came out of this ego inflation much humbler, said to myself if I have experienced it, then it makes sense that I should teach it and so I became a Kundalini yoga teacher.

During my time studying and practicing Mahayana Buddhism, I have always struggled with meditation. The duration of each sitting seemed so long. I preferred the practice of mindfulness. I didn't have a label for it either at the time, but being aware of everything that went on within me at all times was a process I discovered on my own through intuition. As for formal meditation, to be totally honest, I have always struggled with it and still do.

The first White Tantra Yoga day I attended two years ago with its 31 minutes and 62 minute meditations was a total nightmare. I was stressed from beginning to end. It was such a shock to my mind, I wound up in McDonalds eating a fishburger (I still ate fish then), chips and a milkshake. The following year I didn't attend this session because the memory — of how awful it was — was still fresh. This year I reasoned that since I had been teaching for almost two years, getting up and doing my own practice — including meditation — maybe I would be okay if I did it again. So I registered, not feeling very happy about it, but also feeling compelled by some force.

I arrived on Saturday morning early and soon the sea of white that are Kundalini yoga teachers and practitioners began to form. I sat at a table looking at happy and friendly faces, wondering to myself what is was that makes me so uncomfortable around the yogi atmosphere, at the same time I feel so committed to Kundalini because I have experienced it. Something just didn't feel right. We started the day with a 31 minute meditation. The aim of White Tantra is to dissolve/transform blocks in the subconscious and the meditations can only be done under the supervision of the Mahan Tantric who was beamed out by video over a huge screen giving instructions for how to do the meditation.

During these meditations I battled with my mind about the usefulness of what I was doing. Anyway, I participated fully in every one of the meditations and to my relief there was only one 62 minute meditation during which my focus became scattered.

I completed the day happy and relieved, and without going to McDonalds, but since then, feeling restless without knowing why. I haven't been able to get up and do my early morning sadhana which until this day I looked forward to.

This morning I was thinking about it. What came to me was the word "responsibility." The spiritual path requires taking responsibility for every area of life. During the transformative self-development training I've done in the past, I got to review events during which decisions I made either limited my possibilities or caused me trauma, which up to then, I had refused to acknowledge. The act of examining these events and the decisions I made as a result freed the unconscious energy so it could be transformed. It takes consciousness to be responsible.

And this is the dilemma I face about any practice that claims to clear subconscious blocks. How can they be cleared if responsibility is not taken? I was never good at taking things on faith; I need to know for myself how transformation and its derivative, the expansion of consciousness, happen. It's not enough just to tell me that attending this day to do these meditations suffices.

From my own experience I know that it is only when I face up to myself and stop running away — which first occurred after Kundalini had risen — that I take responsibility, not to make either myself or others appear wrong, but in just being aware that my consciousness has shifted and expanded.

Once again I was faced with a familiar dilemma, namely accepting what I have been told...versus...what I have experienced, and they couldn't be more different.

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