Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Integral Yoga – Every Moment is Prayer

The word Yoga simply means union. The moment of oneness with the absolute. In common parlance currently in vogue, the term has come to represent physical practices, asanas or poses and nothing more. The poses assumed by Yogis to gain control of the body are simply one small aspect of the vast number of spiritual practices called Yoga. The poses are from the branch of Yoga called Hatha Yoga.

Throughout history, humanity has experienced leaps in consciousness through revelation. Whether it is the prophet Moses, Jesus, Buddha or the founders of various other religions, awakening of the kundalini and subsequent ascension of the individual to a state of illumination is accompanied by revelations that then gather a following, become part of religious practices.

Depending on the era of birth, the geography of the individual, his level of education and creative abilities, there are wide variations in the resulting revelations. They all point to the same reality but they are all expressed differently. As mentioned in my previous post, these methods are ours to use as we see fit and the path taken towards self-realization which works for one most likely will not work the same way for anyone else. This needs to be understood before accepting a rigid set of techniques and before proselytizing others.
Row boats at parade rest
Tied at Mooring – Tranquil Summer Days
A better approach is to figure out what path best allows you to find inner peace and drop the external mask, the persona that obscures your inner reality for the sake of fitting in with the outside world. Sri Aurobindo, the Indian mystic and Ken Wilber, the modern day mystic whose ideas are the inspiration for the ''Matrix" movies are two proponents of an integral yoga. A collection of practices that address every aspect of the human state and approach the quest for self-realization as an incessant stream to be lived each moment rather than a set of rituals performed at a certain hour.

Classical yoga divides spiritual practices into four kinds of yoga. This classification is exhaustive. Nearly all practices and states of being, and methods of worship fall into one of the four categories, regardless of the religion of the practitioner.

The four paths of Yoga: There are four traditional schools of Yoga, and these are: Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Raja Yoga. While a Yogi or Yogini may focus exclusively on one of these approaches to Yoga, that is quite uncommon. For the vast majority of Yoga practitioners, a blending of the four traditional types of Yoga is most appropriate. One follows his or her own predisposition in balancing these different forms of Yoga:
Jnana Yoga: Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of the nature of our being by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities.
Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion, emotion, love, compassion, and service to God and others. All actions are done in the context of remembering the Divine.
Karma Yoga: Karma Yoga is the path of action, service to others, mindfulness, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions or karma in the world.
Raja Yoga: Raja Yoga is a comprehensive method that emphasizes meditation, while encompassing the whole of Yoga. It directly deals with the encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind.

The most common is the path of devotion, known as bhakti yoga. Praying twice a day, attending mass on Sunday, reciting the Lord's Prayer are all forms of bhakti yoga. This path, of faith, of absolute surrender to the divine is the most common form of worship. This may suffice for the average individual that worships out of a sense of social obligation, but not for the seeker on the path. Praying or meditating for an hour still leaves about 15 waking hours in the day that are not devoted to the quest. It is not just impractical to meditate or pray for hours on end while ignoring worldly duties, it is also unnecessary.

Leaves on pavement
The Rising and the Falling
We need to remember the underlying goal of all this effort. The final stage, commonly called enlightenment, is beyond understanding. One can't aim for it and set course like a ship sails to a port. However, we know that the way to this destination goes through a constant process of awakening the true self and staying awake. Constant mindful awareness to each action, constantly breaking thought patterns that take us away from the here and now. By becoming aware of the mental agitation, by becoming cognizant of the constant unrest within us, we learn to witness it. To separate, for the first time ever, the mental apparatus that thinks, from the true self that is the witness. It is not I that does the thinking. I witness the mind as it creates the thoughts. Each time I step back and witness the mental machinery, it is also a process of detaching oneself from that mental chatter.

Essentially, it is a process of removing conditioned responses and ingrained patterns that have long kept us enslaved. For the first time, we taste true freedom. A freedom from the human robot bound by those repetitive patterns and conditioned responses. A freedom to be spontaneous and "in the moment," seeing, for the first time, the world as it is, without the baggage of preconceived ideas, labels and notions of how the world should be. 

Integral Yoga understands the need to incorporate the different forms of yoga and devote each waking hour to the contemplation, service and realization of oneness with the absolute. Expressed differently, to know that one is a creation of that almighty intelligence, and can never be separate from it, one needs to provide methods that constantly awaken the consciousness from the slumber induced by our mundane "reality."

Balloon Festival
Motor Highway Fest
A kundalini awakening is simply an automated mechanism that takes over the psyche and goes about cleansing the soul of past conditionings and shows the individual how to proceed on the journey of realizing one's true self and union with the absolute. Some aspects of this process, such as revelation, are governed by the energy and require no assitance from the individual. Others require the ego to co-operate and surrender itself to the greater work being performed, knowing it will be completely dissolved at the end of the process. 

Knowing this, the various forms of yoga and techniques associated with them can be seen as methods of helping the individual see beyond the ego, to align the ego with the path of spiritual progress until it realizes its role as an interface with the outside world and not as the true self. At their most basic, methods of worship inculcate positive patterns into the psyche. A lifetime spent reciting a mantra and activating a state of surrender to the divine molds the brain, creating neuronal pathways that eventually allow the self to see itself clearly.

The best way to remove an ingrained pattern that leads us towards robotic behavior and prolongs the state of ignorance is to replace it with one that causes an upward spiral towards freedom. A pattern of repetitive behavior that eventually removes all patterns and conditioning. This is the true purpose of any method of worship. If a chosen method does not serve that purpose, it should be replaced by another, more effective one or augmented with other methods that achieve this goal.

It may seem like a contradiction in terms to advocate the use of ritual, repetition and conditioning if our final goal is to remove all such shackles, but it is not. It depends on the patterns we choose, how we practice, and why we practice a ritual.

It is important to have control over who programs your mind and what it is being programmed with. If I am doing it myself, aware of the effect of that course of action, I have a better chance of reaching my true self. If I allow friends, social groups, or worse, television commercials and the approval-disapproval control mechanism, high-school popularity contest that is the Facebook "Like" button, I remain stuck in the realm of ego, bound by the senses and the ego's craving for comfort and its tendency to create a false reality favoring a selective image of itself.

In future posts, I intend to write in detail about each path and how almost every action or thought can be a method towards the realization of the absolute.

Self-Remembering and Kundalini

Over the past forty years, I've witnessed the varying effects of Kundalini awakenings on many subjects, including myself. Each experience is unique — from the way Kundalini is triggered to the way the individual lives with it. Usually, the most stable experiences are those triggered by meditation. The ones caused by random events or stimuli are often temporary, and sometimes unstable, in that they come and go, often resulting in uncontrollable emotional shifts, especially at the beginning. However temporary or unstable, all experiences pose challenges to their subjects because of the variety of psychological, spiritual, and emotional states and conditions their subjects find themselves in as a result of a Kundalini awakening.

Are there rails in the sky, transport to heaven?
Train to Transcendence – Rails in the Sky
I receive many inquiries from people who think that, once awakened, Kundalini will solve all their problems. This is as unrealistic as it is untrue. Kundalini, in and of itself, changes the being, but does not necessarily hold forth the prospect of a better design for living. Neither as concerns the purpose of life or the ways and means of living it to the fullest.

First of all, what does living life to the fullest mean? Is it a winning formula for material comfort? A means to spiritual transcendence? A life of contemplation and retreat? Is it a catch phrase for feelings of entitlement, that because the subject has activated Kundalini, he or she is suddenly exempt from the stress and strain of everyday existence?

In the aftermath of a Kundalini awakening, everything seems to converge at once. People are known to become extremely sensitive to sensory
overloads: loud noises, bright colors, unpleasant smells, which, in turn, trigger emotional distress — anger, fear, and rage.

Yet, although you must come to terms with Kundalini in your own way, most likely, at the beginning, you will not know what to expect, you will not understand the challenges or the various effects of Kundalini. Your first challenge is to become an observer of this newly activated energy in your being, an occupation that takes time and concentration. Your mind will attempt to structure and classify, to understand what's going on, how to benefit from it, and how to control it. First of all, over time you will understand it as well as benefit from it, but you must learn to be an astute observer. Second, you can't control it, so don't try. Accept it.

As you observe the effects of Kundalini on your being, you will spend a lot of time coping with the physical and emotional changes you observe. Meanwhile, life outside your being goes on. At first you may not realize your perspective on material life is changing, that the way you've seen things up to the moment of your Kundalini awakening — your work, your relationships, your feelings, your world view, your priorities, your cosmology — has changed. What used to be important may be less so, and things you never thought about are suddenly foremost in your mind. There is a psychic and emotional restructuring as the Kundalini prepares you for the future, including modifying your DNA. You are likely to experience a number of new impulses, unruly emotions (fear, anger, even rage), notions that you could be doing more, that you should be doing more. Feelings of panic, feelings of being overcome, feelings of being possessed, feelings of being misunderstood or abandoned, feelings of isolation.

Frequently, subjects become lost in trying to elaborate some great cosmological design of existence. That's all well and good.

Meanwhile, life goes on. You realize that not all impulses are meaningful, that no matter how lofty these sentiments may be or how upsetting your emotional highs and lows, you aren't obliged to follow up on them. For reasons of character or personality, it simply may not be possible. In spite of Kundalini, you are who you are.
Master Lü-Tsu said, 'When there is a gradual success in producing the circulation of the light, a man must not give up his ordinary occupation in doing so. The ancients said, When occupations come to us, we must accept them; when things come to us, we must understand them from the ground up.'"
~ The Secret of the Golden Flower — Lu Yen - Richard Wilhelm, Translator

So if you find yourself wanting to heal the sick or run for Congress on an anti-nuclear platform, in spite of the fact that you've never done anything like this before, chalk it up to the over-stimulation Kundalini induces. Take your time; don't act impulsively. I'm not saying that if you have a real proclivity or talent for something new that you shouldn't pursue it, you should.

Don't try to do everything at once. It takes time to come to terms with a Kundalini condition; it takes time to learn to live with Kundalini. So take the time; don't get impatient. One of the secrets of life in the material world is self-control. Because of the on-rushing, all-at-once convergence of new energies, random impulses, and changing perspectives, you may actually become impatient and prone to lose control. Yes, in spite of the tremendous energy flow into your life, you may become impatient with the world and its imperfections.

That's part of living with Kundalini, and at the same time, inhabiting a body. If we didn't inhabit bodies, there would be no need for material attachments, negative emotions, war, greed, pride, fear, pain, etc. However, we live in our bodies with this newly awakened Kundalini energy and the world outside may overwhelm us with its pettiness, its selfishness, its foolishness. SO, how do we manage the situation? How do we cohabit with Kundalini?

That's where self-remembering comes in. Once you learn to practice it, it works alongside the Kundalini not only to temper your frustrations with the world, but also to control yourself in moments of stress and perceived provocation.
There are moments when you become aware not only of what you are doing but also of yourself doing it. You see both ‘I’ and the ‘here’ of ‘I am here’- both the anger and the ‘I’ that is angry. Call this self-remembering if you like."
~ Views From the Real World — G. I. Gurdjieff
How does self-remembering work? In moments of stress or negative emotion, you need to become the silent observer, both an actor in the play of life and an observer who watches how the actor behaves. Gurdjieff called this quality self-remembering; it has since been renamed mindfulness.

Self-remembering brings you back to yourself. What do I mean by "back to yourself?" You've probably heard idiomatic folk sayings like "He was beside himself" or "She was out of her mind." There are many sayings like this that denote an altered state of consciousness, a state in which the subject is so totally caught up in negative emotion, over-excitement, or stress that he/she loses control.

Next time you feel caught up, try this simple technique. Tell yourself: "I am here now. I am [Bill Jones]. I'm standing here in a line at the bank. There's an argument at the counter. I am here in my body. I do not react to what's happening around me; I simply observe. My name is [Bill]. I am observing myself standing here. As I stand here watching myself, I am in my body."

Immediately, you will feel a warming sensation, just by repeating the words: I am here now. I promise you will feel something akin to refocusing a telescope or a camera lens, as you focus from wide to narrow, then from narrow to wide. As you come back to yourself, your focus is both narrow and wide at the same time.

This technique controls impulsiveness. There’s a lot more to it.

If you’d like to try an exercise, there’s one on pg. 86 of The Backward-Flowing Method: The Secret of Life and Death. It consists of exerting control while dreaming — the point being that, if you can control your dreams, how much more control will you be able to exert while awake.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Spiritual Retreats are Like the Ocean...Dip a Toe or Dive Right In

I wasn't supposed to follow this path. I was brought up as a good Catholic girl. Mass every Sunday and regular reminders of how I would be punished by God if I didn't behave. However, in 1988 I discovered Buddhism and for the next nine years I studied the ideas and practices of Buddhism.
Venue of the 1st UK Kundalini Conference
Brighton Dome, April 2013

In 1996, I decided that it was time to throw away the books and commit myself to some serious practice. India seemed like a good choice as it was where the Buddha became enlightened. Who knows? Some of its magic might rub off on me!

I signed up for a 10-day retreat, Vipassana, or insight meditation, a supervised silent meditation practice. I arrived at the Thai monastery and queued up to register with 200 others. I was curious about the kind of people doing the same thing as me and I noticed they all looked pretty "normal." I can remember seeing some people walking in the grounds looking down at the ground. Why are these people looking down when it is such a beautiful day? I wondered.

Conditions were primitive. Judging by the number of straw mats on the concrete floor, there would be nine of us sharing a dormitory.The  day began at 5:30 am with a mixture of silent sitting, standing and walking meditation. The day ended at 10.30 pm. There were two meals a day, with fruit to eat during the afternoon. The only times the silence was broken was for a one-hour dharma (teachings of the Buddha) talks and two small group sessions. For the first couple of days, the different people on retreat intrigued me. I found myself mentally selecting those I would talk to when the silence was broken and we were allowed to talk.

Many people find one form of meditation easier to do than another and I was no exception. For me, it was the walking meditation that I found easiest, partly because the grounds surrounding the monastery were beautiful, but also because I found the sitting meditations very difficult. On some sittings I thought that the bell to signify the end of the session would never ring. Each meditation session was 45 minutes long. On day six I became aware that I was getting extremely agitated. The silence was beginning to get to me. I tried to fight it, to no avail.

By day eight I really thought I would have a nervous breakdown if I continued. At the end of day eight, I resolved to give up the fight and leave. The moment I made that decision I experienced a deep calm and peace; the moment I stopped fighting with my mind I achieved inner serenity. Surprised and delighted, I decided to stay and finish the retreat. This was a valuable lesson in two ways. First, it taught me how strong the mind is. Second, it taught me that peace comes not by fighting but by surrendering. The strangest thing of all was that after spending so much time waiting for the silence to be broken so that I could speak to other participants that when the silence finally was broken, I knew what I wanted to say, but somehow the words wouldn't come out. I was speechless!

On the spiritual path there are always temptations and tests and mine came on the last day. It came in the form of the idea to continue and do another 10 days. My reasoning was that since I was in this lovely state of calm, another 10 days would be immensely powerful. But I had promised myself that I would do 10 days and I decided not to break it. I will never know what I might have accomplished by staying for another 10 days, but I felt I would have been staying out of a kind of spiritual greed so it was better to be incredibly grateful for what I had been given and move on.

Silence has a powerful spiritually transformational effect. In silence the mind has nowhere to go and it eventually gives up to reveal a hidden state of peace and calm. But it doesn't do this easily. For me, a silent retreat was essential in breaking the hold the mind has over consciousness. Before I did the intensive 10-day silent retreat, I had been on the occasional weekend meditation retreat and had meditated a little every day, but it was subjecting my mind to continual silence, to the point where I became so agitated and distressed, almost to the point of exhaustion, that I finally gave up, inducing a complete shift of consciousness.

Looking back at that retreat: what I went through was a street fight with myself (my mind) and this is what I believe it takes to become spiritually awakened, to get into a street fight with yourself. But who wants to do that?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It Started in Madrid

I had given Caesarian birth to my twin boys six months prior and after several operations I was not recovering. Extremely thin, skin and bones, and very weak, I couldn't get out of bed on my own. No one really knew what was wrong with me apart from exhaustion and anemia. I couldn't eat. Food made me sick. And I was so cold I had layers and layers of blankets over me even though it was over 100 degrees on a sweltering summer Madrid night.
Barnicle Filter
Dream Horses

I knew somewhere inside of me I was probably dying, but I refused to go to the Spanish hospital, figuring I would probably not make it out of there alive. Strangely enough, I didn't care; I was so exhausted I just lay there waiting for something to happen. My husband at the time had been asked to translate from Hebrew to Spanish for a Kabbalist who had come from Israel. He was lecturing on the Kabalah for an international congress of shamans. This was the first event of its kind in Spain. My husband told the Kabbalist I was very sick and he wasn't sure I would make it. The Kabbalist told him, "I will do something for her."

I didn't know anything about their discussion. I lay there shivering and dozing off intermittently. In the middle of the night I was awakened by an extraordinary wave of heat surging through me. I started peeling off the layers of woolen blankets. Feeling warm again, I felt a sense of consciousness that seemed to be coming from somewhere and when I looked in that direction, in my mind's eye I saw the most beautiful light beckoning to me. Shining gold and rainbow with a definite feeling of extraordinary benevolence and peace. I was so weak I was barely aware of the beauty of the light.
It wasn't really raining; used a shower stall as a filter.
Rainy Dog

Yet, in that same instant I was reconciled with life in the complete knowledge that there was something else out there, something tremendously big. Prior to that experience, I was feeling extremely angry towards the Creator or whatever force there was out there as my life felt so difficult. I was struggling with great poverty, difficult conditions, two premature newborn babies. I didn't have the strength to take care of, yet I couldn't abandon them and with all this, my hopes to become a great flamenco dancer were shattered.

The sudden realization within my all cells that there was something incredibly big and powerful out there, so loving and peaceful, the knowledge that we are so much more than our ego persona and its desires was very impactful.

At the time I lived in the center of Madrid, barrio Puerto del Sol, calle Huertas. After that life changing experience, once I recovered a bit and was able to go outside again, the streets of Madrid seemed less dismal and glum, even the drug addicts in the park had their purpose. They were just people living out their lives. And the prostitutes at the corner of the street suddenly had their reason to be there. Even though I lived in the same outward physical reality, I now saw things in a completely different light. Everything had its meaning.

Even though my body was still very weak and it was hard to eat small amounts of food, my spirit was brimming with the incredible energy of trying out life and living it to its fullest. My life took another turn after that, but the knowledge that there was this Help stayed with me.

From that point on, I started recovering and my life and circumstances changed quickly, as if there was now a helping hand.
Curious cows
No 963

We received very generous help from a member of my then husband’s family. He supported us financially and invited us to come live in Los Angeles. He paid for our trip, and our house for a full year to get us started.

I was grateful to get out of Madrid, away from the poverty we were living in. I was glad for the chance at a new life, but the adaptation was difficult. I felt isolated because of the distances and I had a hard time understanding the way people thought.

I started teaching dancing, we were performing and giving concerts and we were able in better circumstances, away from poverty. I was still very fragile and my health was unstable. At the time I had a serious knee injury, so a few years after my arrival in California (CA), I was told by the foremost orthopedist and knee surgeon in CA that I would never dance again. Once again my whole life was shattered. At that time, dancing was my main purpose in life; I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Furthermore, my family depended on my teaching income and our performances.

I had tried many forms of healing modalities with no results. I was now teaching the steps sitting in a chair. I was wondering if I would I ever perform again and how I would make a living in the meantime. I was feeling very heavy, wondering why I had been taken out of one miserable situation only to be placed in another!

I remember staring out of the window one day and speaking to Creator and saying: "I give up. Lead me where you want. If you want me to dance, I will, if not, I won't. Give me something else to do."

Those words were real; I completely gave up at that point and put everything in the hands of Creator. Giving up dancing was the hardest thing for me to do; it was practically impossible to live without dancing. My life had no meaning.

But letting go that day somehow led me to Mexico and onto a new path. A few days later, a friend told me about the doctores. I received a “spiritual operation,” after which, my recovery was complete and I resumed my dance career, paving the way for me to dance on the best stages in the USA. I was dancing — satisfied with my career, the creativity, the music, the traveling and my to two wonderful boys. Yet something was missing...

A few special animals came into my life, and through them I discovered the gift of healing, an ability I probably had always wished for. It developed over years under the always kind and generous yet firm spiritual guidance of the "spirit doctors" with many tests and much questioning on my part, and sometimes miracles.

The miracles came bit-by-bit, but struggling with doubt was something I faced on a daily basis. I worked late into the night, doing long distance healings, at the same time continuing my dance career.

Working with animals became very important for me. The fact that a horse could walk again, gallop again, let alone escape euthanasia, mirrored my own recovery and my return to dancing. Animals getting better, eating again or feeling joy again, became my sole purpose.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is Kundalini Intelligent?

How Intelligent is Kundalini? It’s smarter than I am. I used to think I was the smart one. That’s because I didn’t understand the concept of the Primal Spirit as a component part of human ontology, even after reading The Secret of the Golden Flower (SGF) that makes the distinction between it (the Primal Spirit) and its polar opposite (the Conscious Spirit). According to the SGF, the Primal Spirit is the formative energy responsible for our embodiment. When the Conscious Spirit activates at birth, it starts recording and processing the endless flow of information taken in by the senses. And from this information it constructs our ego.

Wrap around conditioning
Bombarding the Senses

As babies we perceive the world around us and begin to formulate judgments and hypotheses about what we see, hear, and feel. This entity offering me her breast is warm and smells good and the milk it provides tastes good. Later on as we refine our ability to process information, we learn to abstract events and situations: this entity (which I now identify as my mother) loves me, or, heaven forbid, if the experience is unpleasant, if my mother doesn’t provide the comfort and protection I need, we attach negative labels: My mother doesn’t love me. My mother hates me. And the beat goes on, until we are fully conditioned by the world around us, and we have forgotten the energy that created us — the Primal Spirit. The ego wants it that way, wants us to suppress this knowledge, all part of a defense mechanism for survival in "so-called" real world.

At the age of 35, I raised Kundalini. Energy I didn’t know existed started flowing through a neural subsystem in my body. I could feel and observe it. Almost immediately, I realized that this subsystem was the Primal Spirit, the term I’d come across many times during my yearlong study of the SGF — without really understanding what it meant. To me it was devoid of any substantive meaning. But when it booted up inside me, not only did it energize my body, it healed and restored it. And I put two plus two together to make four, then five, then six, then infinity. Yes, the Primal Spirit deals in oneness and infinity.

Two are One in the Infinite
Two are One in the Infinite
Not only did this energy subsystem heal me, it did so intelligently. Which made me realize it had access to DNA and other evolutionary information about my being.

Of course, the ego doesn’t like this. And given its exposure to years and years of conditioning, it wants you to believe that “smart” starts and ends with It. No other entity is as smart as It is.

After a few months of living with Kundalini, I realized the Primal Spirit knew more about my actual Being than my ego (the Conscious Spirit) ever would. It didn’t take conditioning into consideration; it went about its business with the same determination it used to create my body — fixing its broken parts, reengineering its subsystems. After all the Primal Spirit built my body. It is master contractor, all other systems are subservient. Now, finally recalled to duty after a 35-year dormant period, it picked up where it left off at birth. Back then, the ego didn’t exist. And now that it does, it is incapable of admitting that it is a product of acculturation, conditioning, approval and longing. The ego is a master of denial.

How do I know any of this to be true? Think back to that primordial time in the womb. What is the brain doing during gestation? Is the left brain functioning? Is the right brain intelligent? Does the word intelligence have any meaning during the time in the womb? I surmise that the situation is pretty much like Jill Bolte Taylor’s account of left-right brain interactivity during her stroke:

"On the morning of the stroke, I woke up to a pounding pain behind my left eye. And it was the kind of pain, caustic pain, that you get when you bite into ice cream. And it just gripped me and then it released me. Then it just gripped me and then released me. And it was very unusual for me to experience any kind of pain, so I thought OK, I’ll just start my normal routine. So I got up and I jumped onto my cardio glider, which is a full-body exercise machine. And I’m jamming away on this thing, and I’m realizing that my hands looked like primitive claws grasping onto the bar. I thought “that’s very peculiar” and I looked down at my body and I thought, “whoa, I’m a weird-looking thing.” And it was as though my consciousness had shifted away from my normal perception of reality, where I’m the person on the machine having the experience, to some esoteric space where I’m witnessing myself having this experience.

"And it was all every peculiar and my headache was just getting worse, so I get off the machine, and I’m walking across my living room floor, and I realize that everything inside of my body has slowed way down. And every step is very rigid and very deliberate. There’s no fluidity to my pace, and there’s this constriction in my area of perceptions so I’m just focused on internal systems. And I’m standing in my bathroom getting ready to step into the shower and I could actually hear the dialog inside of my body. I heard a little voice saying, “OK, you muscles, you gotta contract, you muscles you relax.”

"And I lost my balance and I’m propped up against the wall. And I look down at my arm and I realize that I can no longer define the boundaries of my body. I can’t define where I begin and where I end. Because the atoms and the molecules of my arm blended with the atoms and molecules of the wall. And all I could detect was this energy. Energy. And I’m asking myself, “What is wrong with me, what is going on?” And in that moment, my brain chatter, my left hemisphere brain chatter went totally silent. Just like someone took a remote control and pushed the mute button and — total silence.

"And at first I was shocked to find myself inside of a silent mind. But then I was immediately captivated by the magnificence of energy around me. And because I could no longer identify the boundaries of my body, I felt enormous and expansive. I felt at one with all the energy that was, and it was beautiful there."
The above extract, already cited in Margaret Dempsey’s The Master and his Emissary post, highlights the operational differences between right and left brain functioning, reveals what happens when the left brain (the Conscious Spirit) shuts down and the right Brain (the Primal Spirit) is left alone to cope. Trouble is with the left brain shutting down, there’s not much it can do except to stand ready to merge the individual spirit with the infinite. In the womb, it's different; the left brain is barely operative while the right brain uses the evolutionary energy to create a new being.
Infinite Lines, each vibrating
Parallel Lines Meet at Infinity
So how does Kundalini manifest intelligence? It doesn’t know addition, it doesn’t memorize phone numbers, or do crossword puzzles. It does, however, know the human body. It does know evolutionary energy. It does know DNA, which it "invented" without having to read a textbook. In fact, text books are only now scratching the surface of what the Primal Spirit "knows."

In my case, it sent out feelers to inventory my body; it received the results, analyzed and interpreted them, then sent back the requisite healing energy to repair the disorder. In my book, that’s intelligence.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Call off the Spiritual Search...

...You already are what you seek
I have been on a spiritual path since my teenage years. From early on I knew there was a difference between being religious and being spiritual and I chose the latter. I had no idea what it meant or might involve. It took the form of a search mostly through Buddhism which I studied and practiced for many years. Then I went to India. When I came back, I didn't know what to do next. I had gone as far as I could with Buddhism. Pondering this one morning in my flat, I had a strong intuition about "giving up everything." Because of my many years as a "searcher" and my comfort level reading spiritual books and attending spiritual conferences, this was the last thing I wanted to do.
Looking for, but not finding
Parc de Chatelet, Paris - May 2013

The spiritual path is different from the religious path because there is no authority on the spiritual. You are your own authority, or more specifically, you must learn to recognize the still, small voice within; it is the only guide on the spiritual journey. So when my still, small voice instructed me to give up everything, I listened. I have some reservations about referring to a "voice talking to me" because of the association of hearing voices with a particular form of mental illness, but I must be true and authentic to what happened. So I listened, obeyed, and gave up the "search."

Then a few months later, I had the first of two experiences of energy rising from the base of the spine. This totally unexpected and unprepared (consciously) event turned my attention from things external to what lies within and that became my search. I now realize that searching for the source of an experience and getting hooked takes me away from the real goal which is the realization of self as THAT which was, prior to the "search."

I also see that a "search" is only purification. My time spent studying and practicing Buddhism wasn’t a search; it was purification of karma so I could take responsibility for everything that had happened to me. Training to teach Kundalini yoga was also a purification. The early morning intensive, eight day retreat — starting the day at 3:30am and ending at 11pm each night — wasn’t a search; it was a purification. Purification included anything standing between me and the realization of THAT.
Finding without having to look
Parc de Chatelet, Paris - May 2013
To see it as a search is to deny that we already are. We already are THAT and there’s stuff in the way that stops us from realizing THAT. Experiences are only pointers to THAT, they are not IT. So to search, which is very much what the ego wants to do, only serves to maintain the illusion of separation. There is no separation. We are already THAT which we are searching for, so all we need to do is watch how the mind wants to take us away from IT. Ultimately, it is all so simple. That is why enlightenment has always and ever will be heralded by laughter...the ultimate joke...searching to be THAT which we already are.

Kundalini provides an awareness that if we learn to observe the inner landscape, this "witness mentality" gradually allows us to realize that we are not separate from that which we seek.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Love and the Ego

People talk about the ego and its role in the kundalini awakening process. First off, you don't abolish your ego while in the physical body. You only seek to tame it and use it instead of being used and abused by it. The only way to abolish your ego is to destroy the physical body which we need as a vehicle in navigating the material world. The ego is attached to the physical body and nobody wants to die physically.

Instead, let's try to understand the ego and how it operates. The question I always ask myself about my actions and pronouncements is, How does this particular action or utterance affect the big picture? Positively or negatively? Useful or not useful? If it only helps me, it's an ego action. If it helps others or positively affects a situation, it's of the Higher Self.

The Universe makes the formula very simple. If our actions are positive and the change is directed outside ourselves towards other people, it triggers the principle of love and unity is attained. And the action induces the most bliss. If the action is directed towards the self alone and there is no focus outside the self, it is self-directed, and affects the ego. It attaches itself to our wheel of karma and binds the ego further, making the illusion of self greater.

So focus on making a positive change in other people for the sake of other people alone, and the ego is subdued and Higher Self exalted. If you ask yourself, what do I gain from this, question why are you performed the action. Sometimes it's as simple as hearing yourself speak. This is really hard work. To do it right you have to question everything constantly.

If you really intend to help other people, and your ego has come to terms with it, it's easier to do the right thing. And that's the best part.

The formula is counter intuitive for the ego. The more you help others and the less you focus on yourself; the more love and unity you feel with all things, the more bliss you experience. You may not believe it before you see it. The ego is faithless and when it doesn't get its way, it gets angry as a child who doesn't get what he wants.

The best actions are those with no attachments. If the ego has nothing to lose — as in the case of helping others — then it's able to be used by the Higher Self. If there is something to lose, the action is tainted and the principle of love is compromised. In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. You have to let go of one to achieve the other.
The snake (awakened kundalini) in its upwards flow towards the brain centers
The ego operates in terms of opposites. It wants to create pleasure for itself and avoid pain. Let's look at the two primary opposites that drive our lives. Pain and pleasure are different aspects of the same thing that depend on how the mind perceives the material world.

A full kundalini awakening creates a bridge between the conscious and subconscious minds. By bridging the conscious with subconscious, the swing from pleasure to pain increases exponentially, giving rise to mental ailments. However, in a kundalini activated person this process is only temporary. It serves to eradicate negative memories which act as a wall between the world of pure potential and the limits created by the mind in its quest for survival. 

The self that has survived is the Ego. With the influx of the kundalini fire within the aura, it slowly starts to dissipate. It exists in the waters of your body, in your memories. And what happens when you apply heat to water? The water starts to purge itself of impurities and they start to evaporate and leave the system. The ego knows this and rebels. It doesn't want to be subdued.

The eternal witness of the Now — your real Self — stands aside as the ego feels the pain of knowing that in its death, lies true life. It took many years for the ego to develop. As every action has an equal and opposite reaction, know that it will take many years for it to be extinguished. This is normal. Pain is normal. Once the pain of the ego is cleared, consciousness is free to experience the pure emotion of the Void, which is rapture, which is Nirvana.

Let's look at love in terms of how this particular emotion affects the mind and curbs the ego. Positive thoughts can only be induced by love. Love is the driving force that inspires one to reconcile a negative, fear-based thought. Love acts like the force of fusion between two opposing thoughts, completely neutralizing them and removing fear, the driving force behind all negative thoughts.

At the crown, this process is voluntary and continuous. Hence, the crown is considered the ultimate in consciousness and ego-less-ness. Fear exists only on the mental level of duality and can be likened to False Evidence Appearing Real. Or F.E.A.R. In other words, lack of understanding or improper interpretation of events. The only way to interpret an event is through love; lack of love creates fear, which creates karma since karma exists as a safeguard to our spiritual body or body of light or love. Karma may be likened to memories of events improperly interpreted due to lack of understanding, and the fear it created. Take away fear, you have faith. In faith, you find love. The ultimate in human understanding.
Alex Grey: Kundalini energy piercing the mind's eye and crown centers
A full kundalini awakening, one that is sustained in the head, is marked by two factors:
  • Constant vibration is heard on the inside at all times,
  • Light in the head is present at every moment.
Once this state is achieved, one can be certain that the bindu point at the top back of the head has been activated. The bindu point is the point of limitless existence. It is essentially The Void. The point of Non-Existence. In other words, Eternity.

Once activated, a person starts discarding old thoughts and emotions. This process is continuous once activated and it cannot be annihilated or stopped. It will do what it must with or without your involvement. The bindu is associated with memory, therefore by purging your memory, you are shedding the ego. You feel like you are losing your marbles because your ego realizes its losing its hold over the Self.

This is normal. It will continue until the Kundalini Fire has purged the ego and the light in the Heart shines forth and consciousness has been expanded. The best way to deal with this process is to let go. By letting go you develop faith which in turn extinguishes its opposite — fear, which subdues the ego since its fuel is fear.

By removing fear, you are left with its opposite — love. And once you are in love, you have safely traversed the mind-plane and entered the heart, the first point of non-duality. In this state, every moment is rapture, and Kingdom of Heaven has been attained. You sit at the right hand of God and are a King or Queen in Heaven. This is the truth behind all of Jesus the Christ's teachings. It is no wonder that Jesus is depicted as having a heart of gold and a halo around his head. He completed the kundalini awakening process and came to tell others of it. He knew it was the ultimate step to enhancing human evolution.
The flow of kundalini energy through the chakric points and the location of bindu point
The bindu is linked to the mind's eye as well as the second chakra which generates the fire of the kundalini when activated. The bindu when activated, releases emotional memories which serve to purge the ego over time. This process is seen in the mind's eye and is fueled by the area of the second chakra.

How to balance yourself? Learn to let go of trying to control your reality. By learning to let go, you will develop faith, which will serve to extinguish the ego over time. There are various other ways as well, but always check yourself by asking yourself: who is feeling the pain? Self or Ego? Over time you will polarize with the real self and pain and pleasure will both dissolve into an eternal rapture which is the Glory of God.