Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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.

1 comment:

  1. "Second, you can't control it, so don't try. Accept it." yup. totally agree. great post. this will clarify a lot of misconceptions people have about the process.