Sunday, April 28, 2013

The First UK Conference on Kundalini

Brighton Dome Kundalini Conference

On Saturday 20 April, 2013 the first UK conference on Kundalini called Kundalini Matters: Science, Psychosis or Serpent was held in regal surroundings at the Brighton Dome in Brighton UK. 65 interested people came to hear seven experienced and expert speakers share their knowledge and experience around Kundalini and spiritual awakening.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny. In December 2011, I first had inner guidance to put on this conference  and every morning since that time my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night turned around the event. I have never done anything of that scale, so it was far outside of my comfort zone, but I felt a strong inner compulsion to do it and I put my fears to one side and forged ahead. When I was planning it in December 2011, I had no idea that 2013 was going to be the Year of the Snake, which is also the symbol for Kundalini. I didn't realize it was the Year of the Snake until the day before the Chinese New Year when I heard it on the radio.

The title for the conference reflected my own experience with this energy. I have written about being right brain dominant and as a result feel that there is a scientific link between this energy rising and right brain development. This hypothesis of mine has yet to be proved scientifically, but it feels right to me. In the weeks and months following Kundalini rising I remember being quite manic, convinced that there was a conspiracy around this energy and it was a big secret that all the religions were hiding. That was my brush with psychosis or mental instability. Then came the Serpent while I was on a Buddhist meditation retreat, where I lived a profound experience with this energy. I also teach Kundalini yoga.

The seven speakers were all chosen because of their familiarity with various aspects of Kundalini. The first two speakers addressed the serpent. Shiv Charan Singh, the founding director of the Karam Kriya School of Kundalini Yoga, spoke about mastering the serpent and drew on his own experience as well as yogic philosophy to explain the serpent energy. Kwali Kumara, who pioneered healing with snakes, spoke about the serpent as the symbol of enlightenment. To mark 2013 as the Year of the Snake she also brought two pythons that she took out of their basket and invited anybody scared of snakes to come forward and hold them to mitigate their fear. One woman did this and to see her delight as she transformed her fear was very moving.

Research is part of science and Steve Taylor, the author of two books on spiritual awakening and energy, gave a talk called "energy and awakening." He spoke about different kinds of awakening and the way energy manifests in each from his research.

JJ Semple, a familiar name to readers of this blog, spoke about activating Kundalini in a safe, permanent and repeatable fashion and he talked about the backward-flowing method, a technique used in this practice. Speaking from his own experience, JJ had everyone engaged. He provided a service to those thinking about intentionally raising Kundalini by asking them to think what living with an awakened Kundalini might be like. 

Addressing the mental health aspects of Kundalini - the fact that Kundalini awakenings are sometimes mistaken for psychosis - were two speakers from the Spiritual Crisis Network, an organisation that promotes understanding and offers support for those going through profound a personal transformation.  Frances Goodall, an integrative alternative health practitioner, gave a talk on her experience of Kundalini rising on a Buddhist meditation retreat and her story resonated so much with my own. Isabel Clarke, a director of the Spiritual Crisis Network as well as a consultant clinical psychologist, spoke about making sense of the experience and what might be happening in the grey area between a Kundalini awakening and mental instability. She spoke about two ways of knowing.

The final speaker, Sarah Culliford works as a psychiatric nurse. She gave a raw and moving account of her own journey with Kundalini, painting a vividly humorous picture about her believing she was the Virgin Mary about to give birth to Jesus and how she pulled herself out of this delusion to become the grounded and integrated woman she is today.

The contributions from every speaker were valuable and useful and those present were interested and engaged. Questions were asked and insights were expressed and it was an inspirational and powerful day for everyone. What was great for me was waking up on Sunday morning with no thought in my mind, just a deep feeling of  joy and bliss at having done something I wasn't quite sure I could do. Having done it I now know that ANYTHING is possible. It is so true what Napoleon Hill said in his book Law of Success "what the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve."

Writing this now, I don't intend to do another conference because the first of anything is special and can't be repeated, but my hope is that someone else will be inspired to do onenext year and that the idea is taken on to different countries so awareness of Kundalini can grow. In the Year of the Snake, Kundalini is a phenomenon whose time has come.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Astrology - Separating Science from Myth

Growing up in India, it was not uncommon to see people make almost every decision of their lives by choosing an auspicious time. You took your horoscope to the astrologer and he chose the optimum time for you to buy a house, a new car or to start a new business. Appropriate rituals and prayers were performed and the venture began on a good note, or so it was believed. To this day, most people match horoscopes with their prospective bride or groom to find out how the marriage will work out. I wouldn't say I was a believer, but I certainly didn't go against the grain. I followed along and never thought much of it. When I moved to the US, I started to question the tradition. I began to actively move away from believing in stars, planets and magic gemstones or rituals.

The kundalini awakening put things in a different perspective. Kundalini was also an event I had written off as superstition and mumbo-jumbo until it happened to me. After my awakening episode, I read over 200 books on the subject of spirituality, metaphysics, alchemy, gnosticism, the various religious texts of all major religions and as I have described before, they all started making sense on a deeper level. Among these books, I happened to read a few on astrology. This time, a lot of it made sense, more than it ever had before. I also could see the connection of the chakric system and the flow of chi and how it was affected by the movement of the heavenly bodies.

All existence is a harmony of congealed vibration. The larger the body, the greater the vibration and consequent resonance. Every planetary body, near or far, affects our energetic system. Our species evolved in this solar system with the celestial orbs and their vibrational hum as well as orbital pattern as an ever present repetitive cycle. Astronomy and astrology both evolved when man, through deductive reasoning, or due to revelations during states of expanded consciousness, divined this truth and started to connect the dots about the impact that these bodies and their movements had on our lives.

The signs and the planets that rule them

To be willfully blind to the effect of the sun or the moon on our daily lives is foolish. All life on this planet is possible only because of the Sun and the light we receive from it. The moon and its phases are directly responsible for the tides in the oceans. For a life-form whose body is 93% water, it is the greatest conceit to claim that there is no impact on his or her life as a result of the motion of the celestial bodies.

The astrology we see in popular culture, newspaper predictions for your sign, astrologers who have made it a business and offer "remedies" that help their financial position more than your circumstances in life, is nothing more than a parlor trick. There are hucksters, a dime a dozen, waiting to fleece you and keep you enslaved in constant worry because the next few months are about to be dire, as predicted by the stars. This level of astrology and the commercial enterprise it has become should be avoided at all costs. Not all astrologers are like that, of course, some are genuine students of the science.

To understand astrology and use it as a form of guidance, one has to learn the very basics and see the motions of the planets as a revealing mechanism that lays out the road-map for the path ahead just as a GPS device tells you that the next few miles are about to lead you to a particular town. How you get there, what you do once you are there and how to make the best of the circumstances you are presented with, is still up to you. What should be discouraged is a fatalistic "this will happen because the stars say so. There is nothing I can do about it" approach and/or the blind and naive faith placed in the astrologer to help you navigate the uncertainties of life.

The human soul and our consciousness are direct manifestations of the absolute, and as such are powerful. We may not be able to control natural events, but using our will, our intelligence and abilities inherent to us, we can definitely plan for those events, even make the best of them and thrive under the worst circumstances. Passive acceptance of foretold events is certainly the wrong approach. If the weather forecast says rain, I take an umbrella with me. I don't worship the meteorologist or say "He's wrong most of the time. Why bother?" How I use the information given to me is totally under my control. Even in the worst phase of misfortune, one can choose the time to rid oneself of old, detrimental habits and recognize opportunities for creating a sound base to build the next phase. Times of tumult and change can reveal inner fortitude and make you stronger.

Before we get into any deeper discussion on the subject, I'd like to present some concepts regarding how the planets affect our lives.

First of all, the persistent myth that you are a certain sign needs to be debunked. For example, a person says "I am a Taurus." One goes on to read the qualities for a Taurus in the daily horoscope and believes oneself to be that. The power of suggestion is a very potent force, especially if it makes you appear in a good light. Let's think for a minute what it means to be a Taurus or Pisces. It means, depending on the system of astrology being used, the sun or moon was in a quadrant of space that has been assigned to the cluster of stars that we call Taurus or Pisces. Since the sun or moon have the greatest effect on a person's life - more than any of the other planets - we use them to define that individual's astrological sign. However, each person on this planet has all the planets in the solar system in their horoscope. There is no choice. Jupiter did not take a vacation to Andromeda when you were born. When someone says, "I have Saturn in my horoscope. It brings me bad luck." I've got a news flash for you. Every single one of us has Saturn in our horoscopes. What they mean to say is that they have Saturn in a position that will affect their lives "adversely." It doesn't mean that some horoscopes are devoid of Saturn's influence.

Similarly, every sign is present in your horoscope. A horoscope is simply a divison of the sky into 12 zones and the assignment of planets to each zone based on their location in the sky at the time of your birth. So you are not just Taurus, you are all 12 signs. Taurus has your sun or moon in it and you are more likely to possess the qualities described by it, but that could change dramatically based on the other planets and their placement in your chart. The chart is important, not just one sign in it. If you read the horoscope for Taurus in the newspaper every day and find it lacking in meaningful advice, it's because you are getting the advice equivalent of Punxatawny Phil, the weather predicting groundhog that looks at its shadow and forecasts the length of winter season on February 2nd. each year.

When you were born, the planets were in a certain position in the sky. These positions are cast into a chart, dividing the earth's position in relation to the signs and your planetary arrangements positioned relative to the signs. After that, it is not a matter of conjecture. Each planet follows a cycle of rotation around it's axis and around the sun. They have been following the same path for millions of years. The predictive aspect of astrology just co-relates how the proximity of a heavenly body to Earth in the course of its movement around the sun and gives you an analysis of how this event affects events in your life.

It is also based on empirical evidence collected over several centuries by people who recorded the events connected to the movement of the planets and the sun and moon. Before the modern era, there was no differentiation between astronomy and astrology. A scientist curious about the stars dabbled in both. What's fascinating is the ancients that developed the science of astrology did so without the benefit of modern telescopes. They knew that the Earth was round, revolved around the sun and were advanced enough to have discovered the exact orbitals of the planets. The ensuing period of darkness and ignorance led to a re-discovering of this fact by Galileo. This had been common knowledge in Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Greek and Indian cultures thousands of years before his re-discovery.

In a previous post, Margaret Dempsey mentioned the coming of the Aquarian age. This is a fascinating phenomenon that has very real astronomical significance and effects not just on your personal astrological chart, but on all humanity and signifies major upheaval at the planetary level. The Earth, in addition to its diurnal (daily) rotation upon its axis and annual rotation around the Sun, incurs a precessional motion involving a slow periodic shift of the axis itself: approximately one degree every 72 years. This motion, which is caused mostly by the Moon's gravity, gives rise to the precession of the equinoxes in which the Sun's position on the ecliptic at the time of the vernal equinox, measured against the background of fixed stars, gradually changes with time.

Chakras and their corresponding planets

In graphical terms, the Earth behaves like a spinning top, and tops tend to wobble as they spin. The spin of the Earth is its daily (diurnal) rotation. The spinning Earth slowly wobbles over a period slightly less than 26,000 years. From our perspective on Earth, the stars are ever so slightly "moving" from West to East at the rate of one degree approximately every 72 years. One degree is about twice the diameter of the Sun or Moon as viewed from Earth. The easiest way to notice this slow movement of the stars is at a fixed time each year. The most common fixed time is the vernal equinox around 21 March each year.

This astronomical event triggers changes in events on the planet. The planetary alignment now changes and the "flavor" of the next era is decided by the sign it now points to. We have always known this and ancient seers and adepts wove these concepts into popular mythology and theological canon. Abraham, represented by the bull, Moses by the ram and Jesus by the sign of the fish points to the astrological symbol for the era that they represented. When Moses was said to have descended from the mountain with the ten commandments (c. 17th - 13th century BC, the end of the Age of Taurus), he found some of his followers worshipping a golden bull calf. He instructed these worshippers to be killed. This represents Moses "killing" the bull, ending the Age of Taurus and ushering in the Age of Aries, which he represents.

Aries represents a Fire symbol as well as bold actions, a lot of these behaviors can be seen during any age. However, the themes emphasized during this age relate to courage, initiative, war & adventure. Nations during this age, such as the expanding empires of China, Persia, Greece and Rome, are often cited as examples of the archetypes of Aries in action.

The Age of Pisces is characterized by the rise of many religions such as Christianity (founded 1st Century), Islam (founded 7th Century) and Buddhism (founded 6th to 4th Century BC), all resulting from the "spiritual" nature of Pisces and its ability to go beyond the boundaries of the physical world. The Age of Pisces is marked by the continuous research of humanity about the truth hidden behind what's perceived by five senses.

From the kundalini perspective, as seen in the diagram above, every chakra corresponds to a planet. Our bodies are a mini-cosmos by themselves and our solar system is reflected within the physical body. The root chakra is controlled by Saturn and corresponds to the signs Aquarius and Capricorn ruled by Saturn. In astrology, Saturn is known to be the ruler of basic needs such as food and shelter, and sure enough that is reflected in the lowest chakra and its significance in our lives. The sacral chakra is controlled by Jupiter, ruler of Pisces and Sagittarius, relevant to creative energy. Mars, representing action and willpower controls the solar plexus chakra. Venus, no surprise, governs the heart chakra. Mercury, the planet of creative expression, the one that gives us the "gift of the gab" rules the throat chakra.

The sun and the moon rule just one sign each. Leo and Cancer, respectively. This reflects as the essential duality, the yin-yang, coming together of polarities represented by the third eye chakra and the coming together of the sun (pingala) and moon (ida) nadis. The coming together of these nadis at the third eye leads to unity with the divine, the meeting of shiva and shakti, of yin and yang, the 'Israel' state (is = isis or feminine, ra = sun or masculine energy, el or elohim is the absolute). The crown chakra is beyond the solar system and represents only the descent of divinity into the human soul, or ascension of the soul to unity with the absolute. It is not represented by a celestial body.

The north node (rahu) and south node (ketu) from vedic astrology, themselves seen as 'grahas' or planetary bodies, are simply the upward and downward motion of the kundalini energy related to the waning and waxing phases of the moon.

"The dashas are the unravelling of karma through time." A quote by Indian Vedic astrologer K. N. Rao. We need a map to navigate through space. Just as important is a map to help us navigate through time, namely the period ruled by a certain planet termed "dasha." A dasha is a period of time in your life when one planet controls your destiny. Its impact is stronger than the other planets in that period. I have found this aspect of astrology to be the most important when it comes to charting a roadmap to your life, especially during a kundalini awakening, it is helpful to see which planet holds sway for the next period of time. It made my life easier to be forewarned of danger and rough patches ahead. Life would be very tough if all our karma was dished out all at once. By means of astrology one has a chance to know what will unfold when so we can make the best of the opportunities given to us.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Enroute for UK 2013 Kundalini Conference

I'm headed to Lombard Street's finest, the Surf Motel. Poised to take off for the 2013 Kundalini Conference. Hats are flying off heads. At the foot of Franklin, a guy in a wheelchair loses his to the wind. Once it hits Market, I think, it's going all the way to the Castro. Luckily, a young lady, good Samaritan runs it down. As he wheels to reach her, the wind takes him and they sprawl together on the ground.

Convenient to Union and Chestnut Streets
The Surf Motel, Lombard Street - San Francisco
 Wind even more devilish when we get to Lombard. Once installed, I'm thinking about Kundalini and human energy potential, reading the book on Earthing. What a simple concept, phrased as, could there be a relationship between illness and our no longer touching the earth, due to what Clint Ober calls the most dangerous threat to health — the rubber/plastic soled shoe.

Now on the plane. Half empty. Good for sprawling out. Think about scientific tests we could use to verify the presence of Kundalini. Could we test for hormone content? For enzymes?

Arrived this PM in Brighton. Dined with speakers: Steve Taylor, Isabel Clarke, Frances Culliford, and host, Margaret Dempsey.

Lively discussion on Kundalini, Spiritual experience and psychosis. Evolution of the human brain and other topics.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Floating the Spirit Towards Other Sentient Beings

We all have the ability to float our spirits towards other sentient beings and other realms of existence in order to capture what is going on and to interchange one with another. This beautiful interchange often happens without our noticing. When we actually notice, we perceive images thoughts and feelings, be they physical or emotional. To me, that is the real interconnectedness linking us all. We experience it all the time, only we are not aware of it.
Animals perceive the various layers of human behavior
Animals perceive the various layers of human behavior 
Granted the "gift to interconnect" as a child meant I developed an awareness that an interchange was going on and from that, I was able to grasp these "intangible codes" (thoughts, images, feelings) and translate them into coherent language.

Can anyone learn to do this? It depends on his/her desires and needs in life. Developing the ability to see, hear, or feel has more to do with refining oneself than anything else. But the more one realizes the Not-self, the more this ability becomes clear, coherent, and precise.

That is why I consider animal communication a spiritual practice. To me, it leads to work on oneself, to living in stillness, to observing ethical standards and acting gentle on a daily basis. Without this side of the equation, the information received is more superficial and the exchange is less deep and precise. The gift blooms naturally.

Nevertheless, even though I adore communicating with animals, I have never considered developing any ability as an ultimate goal in life. When I was a flamenco dancer, I had strength, speed and agility because my body was my instrument. Animal communication is similar; I have developed the skill set the instrument needs.

An ability is like a cherry on the cake, it looks pretty, it's fun to eat and and it tastes sweet, but it is not the cake. To believe that the goal is obtaining or having the cherry is misleading.

In the first place, beginning communicators becoming enthralled with their own visions and perceptions is not helpful for the animals. It may make them feel important and special. The result is their interpreting reflects their own beliefs and ways of thinking, not the reality of the situation. They lose the simplicity and the "realness" of the exchange. This leads to emotional distress for the guardian and to cases of animals suffering needlessly or being euthanized too early.

In the second place, it is misleading for the person to think his/her perceptions, visions, and words are IT. Animals perceive the various layers of human behavior and they don't brag about their abilities! Inconsistent human behavior is quite natural to them because they live completely in the moment without endless analyzing or projecting their emotions onto others. Their perceptions are built in, part of their instinct or survival mode, yet very subtle and fluid in essence. They expand and contract according to the situation at the moment and the needs of the human being they share their life with. The cherry is just an addition — the Self. The cake is the substance. The cake is the real thing — the Not-self.

Practicing stillness and focus is the key to animal communication. It is not about emptying the mind as it's impossible to empty the mind.

Practicing stillness and focus allows the spirit to exchange with the animal in that space outside of time. If those two elements are not present, then it becomes fantasy, interpretation according to one's emotional state, thoughts or beliefs at the time.

Practicing stillness and focus is like a clear path without hurdles or obstacles. It allows for a simple exchange, as if you were sitting with a friend having tea and chatting.

Practicing stillness brings with it the ability to hear and understand other sentient beings, but more than anything else, it puts you in touch with who you are and makes you realize that it's all the same.

Boldness – Born of Compassion

In the early hours of one morning this week, I received a text from a woman distressed about the effects of rising energy that occurred while she was on a Buddhist meditation retreat. She asked if I could help her. As it was too early for me to do anything constructive, I drifted back to sleep.

On waking again, my first thought was of this woman and I immediately thought (more of a sudden insight than a thought, really) that what had happened to this woman was a shift of consciousness from the left brain or not-Self to the right brain or Self. Her experience resonated with me because it was exactly what happened to me when I was on a Vipassana meditation retreat in England during 1999. However, I had almost 1o years of Buddhist training and philosophy to support me when the energy rose; this woman was not as fortunate.

Ask and it Shall Be Given Unto You
Ask and it Shall Be Given Unto You
In the past, intense spiritual practices might be undertaken, but, contrary to today and to the despair of the practitioners, those practices usually didn't result in profound spiritual experiences. This has changed. Today intense meditation like Goenka can be done relatively safely with the knowledge that the effects of energy work bear much quicker results now than before. This shifts responsibility for informing students about the dormant energy and its effects on to the teachers of spiritual practices so that students are aware of its power and risks before undertaking it. Is this information given to students at their first meditation evening or yoga class? I don't think so. Pity, because students need to gird up their loins. The spiritual path is not a path for the fearful.  

When Kundalini rises in those who are tentative the result is often fear and confusion. The shift that happens must be put in a context if it's to have a chance of not overwhelming or terrifying practitioners.

How did I learn about the emotional and psychic shocks associated with rising Kundalini? In the laboratory of my own body, of course. My conclusions are based on a combination of my own experience and intuition.

Consider that the left brain is the ego or not-Self and the right brain is the Self. Kundalini creates a shift from left to right and then acts to bring left and right into balance. If the student knows this, he/she then realizes the energy is evolutionary and needs to be co-operated with, not resisted or fought against.

Having a context in which to put spiritual experience is very important to understanding, accepting, and co-operating with the process, as well as to allowing the energy to do its healing and transformative work. Without this context, spiritual practice can be a bewildering, scary experience that happens unexpectedly without the subject even being aware this energy exists, much less how its arousal will change the Being — physically, mentally and spiritually in the weeks and months and, indeed, the years to come.

If practitioners use the shift of consciousness from the left to the right as a model for understanding the "benign intentions" of the Kundalini experience, it will permit them to allay their fears and celebrate the moment of shifting consciousness.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Limitless Potential and the Power of the Human Mind

I recently watched the movie Limitless again for the third time. When it first came out, I went to see it out of a sense of curiosity. The premise seemed interesting. Regular-guy writer takes miracle pill and becomes superman. It blew my mind to see the similarities between the movie and my Kundalini awakening experience. Of course, films are exaggerated for dramatic effect, otherwise we wouldn't go to the movies. Basically, the film shows us Bradley Cooper, a struggling writer, who's just been dumped by his girlfriend, meeting a friend who gives him an experimental drug that will supposedly make him smarter.

The first few scenes after he takes the pill reminded me of events as they unfolded in my apartment right after my awakening. The director uses a cool effect to convey the new person the Cooper character becomes: everything lights up and shines with an otherworldly glow. The writer sees his life as if he is observing a third-person stranger.

"Who lives like this?" he asks himself, looking around his shabby apartment. Then, after seducing his landlord's wife, he cleans his apartment and types out his first novel in a matter of a few hours. No, these things didn't happen to me. Like I said, it's a movie, exaggerated for dramatic effect.

What did happen was a feeling of living like a drone, a cubicle-robot living out a wind-up toy existence. I felt as if my life up to that point had been a waste. I had frittered away valuable time and energy on things that were not important. I was wasting energy on trying to be someone I ought to be, not using enough energy discovering who I actually was. I did go out and invest in paintings, upholstery and furniture to spruce up my apartment. Incense and aromatic candles became a part of life. I didn't type out my first novel in one day, but at the behest of the inner voice that grew steadily louder, aligned with the energy and was running my life on a day-to-day basis, I went out and spent every dime of disposable cash on the latest digital Nikon SLR, the D50 along with the lens that came with it.

The rational part of my brain kept asking why I was doing it and in the past, that side would have made me re-think the "foolish" decision to splurge on a new toy. This time, I knew it was the right thing to do. Literally, since the day I got home with the camera, I started creating outstanding images.

In my previous attempts at photography, I was okay at best. Every so often I made a good image, good by amateur standards, but nothing mind-blowing. This time, like Bradley Cooper's character in Limitless, my mind was able to connect the dots, know what to believe, what books to read, how to develop a technique, and most important, how to visualize. Little hidden things became obvious. Composition rules made sense instinctively.

By this time, the energy had begun re-engineering my neuro-biological morphology in earnest. The body would contort like it was possessed. Among the revelations I had was the ability of the mind to work miracles using the body as it's tool. The same body as before, the same human being, but with a totally different operating system, re-jiggered to work more efficiently and see more clearly. Watching Limitless made it easier for me to convey it to others. Basically, the Kundalini energy takes you and makes you a better version of you.

In the film, when a gangster takes the magic pill, he becomes a smarter gangster and thinks up better criminal schemes. The basic person remained the same. His tendencies and attitudes did not change, he just became better at doing those things. After a Kundalini awakening, however, you don't merely become a better gangster or writer, you change totally and fundamentally.

The person that existed is erased completely because, for the most part, the ego — blockages created in our psyche by past traumaARE the limiting factors. Suppose you were humiliated as a child, told you would never be a good singer or painter and every one of your paintings was ridiculed, it would set up a blockage in your mind. Whether on purpose or unintentionally, someone created a block in your mind that made you feel inferior and stopped you from attempting to be good at that activity ever again. This became part of your personality. Every subsequent action was limited by that event.

When the Kundalini goes to work on your psyche, it removes these blockages. So, if in the past, your potential was limited by the opinions of others and you were made to believe yourself inferior, the energy shows you these thought patterns for what they are and eliminates their effect once and for all. When that blockage is removed, you are no longer stuck in the realm of "this is why I can't do it" and jump into "oh, this is easy and here's how to do it," not because you are suddenly given that ability, but because the barriers to accessing that information or mind-set are suddenly removed. Your inability to see yourself as a great artist was an illusion. Re-enforced over several years, that ability remained dormant and your soul became miserable because the conscious mind had prevented it from expressing itself to its fullest extent.

At this point, you are thinking, Can I access the untapped potential within me? Can I use methods to harness the totality of my mind? Does it only happen to individuals with a Kundalini awakening?

Yes, you can use methods to access your inner abilities and no, an awakening is not a prerequisite, but it is extremely helpful to have had one. However, understanding that the mind is a powerful tool, knowing how to reprogram it to assist in your development, as well as knowing how to eliminate harmful blocks and programs installed in it, is the first step in the right direction. As has been re-iterated on this blog over and over, knowing is not enough, one must apply. Nothing happens miraculously. The steady application of sound principles brings results. A Kundalini awakening may have been a miraculous event, but the wisdom received from it and your ability to apply it to everyday human experience is still something that requires effort and a willingness to break out of your comfort zone.

John Baines was a master of hermetic science. This is related to the kybalion, a philosophy based on the power of vibration that understands reality as a vibratory experience. Here is an excerpt from the book, The Secret Science by John Baines.
"Only upon understanding that everything that exists in the material sense is only mental energy whose vibratory wavelength has decreased until it becomes solid, can we then understand the importance of studying and educating the mind.

"The brain is similar to a radio transmitter which constantly sends out and receives radio waves. Of course, thought waves are much more subtle and powerful. All thought is electro-magnetic energy of a high vibration. The brain is a powerful generator of energy, whose vibratory wavelength depends upon the degree of culture and intellectual development of the individual.

"The mind is the doorway to what is known as the fourth dimension or plane of energy. Everything that can be imagined by man is a reality on the plane of energy and therefore can be accomplished in the material realm. Upon thinking, an emission of electro-magnetic energy is produced which gives rise to a being possessing a certain degree of consciousness in relation to the individual's mental and psychic state at the moment it is generated and it will become a true offspring or child. All our habitual thoughts are mental offspring, and as children do, they must nourish themselves from their parents. Accordingly, we can understand the truth of the aphorism which says, 'as a man thinketh, so shall he be.' These mental children are the ones who will decide the future destiny of an individual, bringing him 'good or bad luck' in accordance with his vibratory quality."
The mind is a powerful tool. If we choose to believe we are limited, and that lesson is drummed into us by our detractors, we will fulfill that destiny by believing what we are told. The instructions we give the subconscious mind immediately set out to create that reality for us, manifesting itself in many different ways. If you visualize yourself becoming a great painter and consume yourself with the study of painting, things start to move in that direction immediately. You meet the right people, you encounter the right circumstances and go in the direction of that destiny.

As Baines states further in his book:
"If an individual could at any given moment concentrate all his mental energy on one single aim, he could achieve miracles. In reality, we see that our minds jump dizzily from one thought to another during the day, and there is no rest even during sleep at night. This continuous wandering gives rise to a fantastic waste of energy, yielding in the individual a state of scattered energy. To achieve a better life, we must gain dominion over the imagination so as not to create a hard and negative fate, because all thought is materialized. One who thinks he is persecuted by bad luck for example, places himself in a state of negativity which breeds misfortune and misery. One who possesses little self-esteem, transfers these thoughts to others who in turn will think little of him."
As I stated in a previous post, the analogy of a cassette tape is appropriate when talking about the mind. Erase the old you through a practice of meditation and create a new you by visualization techniques, affirmations and by surrounding yourself with individuals and groups that vibrate on the same plane as you do — places, events and people that foster a higher vibratory state — full of joy, energy and passion.

The right way to use affirmations is to state them in the present tense. Not "I will become a great painter" but "I am a great painter" or "I am on the path of becoming a great painter." These affirmations repeated with conviction and a sense of gratitude send the right message to the subconscious mind. It is very important not to perceive the intended outcome with a sense of longing or yearning. It will latch on to that emotion and bring more yearning into your life. A sense of gratitude for already having received your gift and the feeling of enjoying it will manifest itself in that reality.

There are  books on "the law of attraction" and guess what, they all operate on this very principle and they work. Why? Because our minds are very powerful devices once we know how to harness them to our purposes.

Most often, we spend our lives allowing our minds to be programmed with random thought patterns that happen along. We let commercials tell us what to buy. Well, guess what? They work because of repetition. You have had the same junk food restaurant jingle stuck in your head for years, blocking a part of your brain that could be used to store information about mixing the perfect ochre for a scintillating sunset you are about to paint. We allow our mind to be fragmented with various distractions, the internet, television, tabloid news. None of these help us achieve our goals, but they do keep us stuck in the mindless consumer avatar far longer than necessary.

We are not careful about allowing harmful people into our lives. Some people tote a negative energy field wherever they go. They make it a point to drag others down with their comments and take pains to make sure others never have a positive, cheerful attitude. It is important to not only avoid such people, but to counter their suggestions with a firm attitude so they know their suggestions are unwelcome and have no effect on your state of mind. This action cancels the energy transfer between the two souls at the energetic level and allows you to remain at your higher vibratory state. Most of us never think beyond "oh, so-and-so is just a miserable person," but it is important to actively avoid such people or create a mental wall so their attitudes do not permeate your energy space.

If we treat the mind with respect and are careful about what we let in, there is no limit to what we can achieve with it. It is an infinite resource for achieving our highest potential. Make the best of it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Animal Communication 101

I was raised between Paris and a Spanish island called Formentera, one of the Balearic chain, whose better known sister isles are Majorca, Minorca, and Ibiza.

Formentara, Spain

While we were in Formentera, we lived on a farm with an island lady named Manuela. She was a payesa which is what the local women were called. The language they spoke was Payes, a derivative of Catalan. As I was a foreigner though, I spoke Castilian Spanish with the island people, but I understood Payes.

On the farm, there were goats, donkeys, sheep, pigs, rabbits and chickens. Animals were raised to be used for farm work or eaten. There was no other purpose for having an animal. Even the dog and the cats were not real pets, they had a duty: to protect and chase mice.

When I was small, I could "sense" the thoughts and feelings of these animals. I never thought of it as something special or different. It was completely normal to me. That was how the world was supposed to be. This "sensing" would appear in my consciousness either as images or feelings in my body, sometimes as whole sentences. The animals didn't speak to me in English or Spanish; my brain translated these sensations into sentences.

As a young kid, my beloved island was my playground and I was immersed in playing, going to the beach, bathing in the sea with my twin brother and a Spanish girl of our age, Carmen. We would spend hours searching for sugus (spanish candy) that our parents hid in the stone walls, making beaded necklaces from the seeds of the trees called Sabinas, which we sold to the tourists in the restaurants on the beach for a few pesetas, playing games with pieces of wood we found in the field. Anything would do, as our imaginations could turn anything into a game.

My parents would often read or write, or spend the warm summer evenings outside discussing philosophy with friends.

Yet, my brother and I lived in Manuela's house. We shared the island meals and listened to the adult conversations, which had nothing to do with the world of my parents.

Manuela was a peasant; she couldn't read, although she was learning to by reading the Bible, a Spanish translation of the King James Version. Painfully, she stumbled over each sentence. To her, the world of the Bible was very true, as if it existed parallel in time to her simple existence on the farm. She could not differentiate past and present history, fantasy and reality. Oddly enough, on the island the payes only spoke in the present, the simple past and future. To her, the Second World War had not ended. This threw us all into a strange time warp. My mum would desperately try to give them some history lessons, always in vain.

As I was assimilating this richness of colors and different cultural ways of thinking, my consciousness would always extend to the animals. I could feel them even when I lay down in bed at night gazing at the ceiling. I would sleep in the room where they fermented grapes in big bowls to make wine. Through the bubbly sounds and the acrid scent of the fermented grapes, I could extend my spirit across the courtyard to the spirit of all of the animals on the farm.

I sensed how they were at that moment, what they were thinking and feeling, and if they were suffering. Unfortunately, I couldn't do much for their discomfort, or change their fate; all I could do was understand.

In those days I never really thought about the origin of this ability, nor did I analyze it, as to me it was natural. My spirit was able to float softly far away, around and into the spirits of animals, plants, and even people. This energy continuum we experienced together was beyond time and space, it was a beautiful intangible, ethereal, a luminous dimension where understanding and connectedness pervaded.

I loved going "there;" it felt so fluid — far away from the density of my body and "waking time." It felt more "real" than than "real time," deeper and more profound. Sometimes I would be gifted with receiving a perception, an actual understanding of "being-ness," or the actual essence of an animal. I called it the "signature." This perception would appear like a shooting star, extremely beautiful, yet impermanent, a brief glimpse of how all life is interconnected! I desperately tried to grasp its luminescence, but it would quickly escape me.

Yet this signature — this "essence" — that I so briefly perceived remained inside me as the lingering scent of a flower. I sought for it all my life and I seek it in my avatar as an animal communicator healing extremely sick animals. It bloomed through extraordinary blissful experiences, but its fragrance is impossible to hold on to.

Today, as an animal communicator, I am asked to resolve situations: cats that are scared or peeing, dogs that are jealous, aggressive horses that refuse to jump or spook easily.

The situations are often reflections of the deep unspoken emotions of the humans around them. My role is to reveal the source of the "issue" by penetrating many layers of blocked emotion. I love doing this, it's like peeling an onion to get to the core.

Yet, what fascinates me and keeps me going is the uncharted territory below the issues — the thoughts, the emotions, the feelings of people and animals alike couched in that impossible-to-grasp signature — the essence of being, the energy behind all nature, the most beautiful thing you could ever dream of.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How Right/Left Brain Affect Spiritual Practice

When I was training to teach Kundalini yoga, one of the qualification requirements was to do a kriya (a set of postures designed to have a specific effect on the body) for 40 consecutive days. Because Kundalini works primarily on the nervous system, the number of consecutive days that one practices a certain kriya or meditation has a definite effect.  According to Yogi Bhajan, who brought Kundalini yoga from the East to the West, there is a natural 40-day rhythm to the habits of the body and mind. It takes 40 days of consistent practice to break a habit or for Kundalini to act on the nervous system. It takes 90-days of consistent practice to establish new neural pathways (a new habit) and 120-days to establish that habit permanently.

Altering the alter ego
Kundalini Resolves Conflicts of Being
The 40 days have to be consecutive, so if I missed one, I had to begin all over again. Since I wasn't sure about my ability to sustain this, I decided to start the day after my first weekend of teacher training in December 2010. The purpose of the kriya we selected was to strengthen and balance the third chakra and it involved lots of abdominal exercises, which have never been my favorites. The third chakra which I have written about in other posts is all about power and will.

The 40 days were to run over Christmas of 2010. The day after Christmas 2010 my dad died. In the days following his death I continued with my kriya. On the evening we brought him home from the hospital to spend the night before being buried the next morning, which is customary in Irish funerals. I went to bed at 12:00am — got up 3:00am had a cold shower, did my kriya and then I sat with my dad, playing all the music he loved until my mum got up at 8:00am in the morning and we buried him.

I finished the 40 days, so euphoric at the end. It wasn't easy, especially the final five days. I had battled with my mind, which had had enough of it. Yet, the thought of beginning again — if I missed one day — acted as such a spur, that on the last day, even though it was late in the evening when I completed it...I did it. It was done.

Looking back, I can see how the right and left brain played their respective roles. In the early days of doing the kriya, it was all fresh and new, pure experience, the domain of the right brain. Then, as the days wore on, I saw how the left brain began to categorize the timing of certain exercises so I could recognize when a certain point in the music arrived, indicating there was only one minute before the timer was due to go off, signifying the end of a particular exercise. I could also see how, as the exercises in the kriya became more familiar and automatic, more thoughts would surface — mostly on how bored I was. It was like the left brain used the vacuum created by the novelty of becoming familiar with the kriya to bombard me with thoughts.

When something is new, fresh, unfamiliar, the right brain uses spacial and muscle memory to grasp the whole, and then, as the operation becomes familiar, the elements of that experience are "processed and managed" by the left —categorized and made familiar, which, counter-productively, it would seem, renders the experience lifeless and inert. For me when this happened, the kriya became something I did rather than experienced.

Perhaps it's inevitable that the left brain does this with any new experience; perhaps it's a way of making space for the right brain to take on new experiences. From my perspective as a right-brain dominant individual, it is only since Kundalini rose that I have been able to find the words to describe my experiences. Kundalini has activated more of my left brain so I can now order and make sense of my experiences and for this reason I have come to realize its value in expanding consciousness. Without the input of the left brain, there would be no art or poetry, only experience without expression, which is fine if you want to be a mystic, but not so fine if there is any inclination to inspire people about what's possible.