Sunday, September 29, 2013

Near Death Experience (NDE) and Kundalini

Individuals who undergo a Near Death Experience (NDE) report a number of effects encountered during and after the experience. The same goes for those who undergo a Kundalini experience. What's interesting is that some, but not all, of the effects are the same; there's a definite overlap, even though they are different experiences.

For the moment, however, no physical science is able to attest to the certainty of the effects as reported. They lie outside what is perceivable with our five physical senses, and therefore what is perceivable with scientific instruments at this time. In other words, the effects experienced during these events take place within the metaphysical (meaning beyond the physical) dimension. In the future, who knows? Perhaps instruments will be capable of penetrating beyond the physical universe. It is not a question of belief; it’s a question of technology.

Anyway, because NDE reports are so similar — in spite of the origins, locations, backgrounds of the participants — various university psychology departments and university hospitals are now saying that these anecdotal accounts are not only NOT imaginary, but also that the subject is worth investigating. First among these is Doctor Sam Parnia:
"Not just my study, but four others, all demonstrated the same thing: People have memories and recollections. Combined with anecdotal reports from all over the world, from people who see things accurately and remember them, it suggests this needs to be studied in more detail."
As a corollary to this evidence, it follows that because the NDE and Kundalini share effects, it is worth studying the Kundalini experience as well, using all and every current and future method/technique.

According to Sri Ramakrishna, “A man's spiritual consciousness is not awakened unless his Kundalini is aroused.” Kundalini is the motivating catalyst behind the transcendent experience. It's the key to our changing our state of being. How? Kundalini stimulates neuroplastic activity in the brain, and consequently, the ability to see and experience life beyond the material, physical dimension.

How do we know this? The effects induced by Kundalini are akin to those of the near death experience (the NDE). Kundalini shares a subset of effects with the NDE. NDErs frequently return from their experience with residual knowledge of the metaphysical dimension. What’s striking is that these types of experiences are commonplace, and, one to another, very similar in nature, in spite of the individual's age, cultural background, geographical location, or religion. The individual returns with a greater understanding of his/her connectedness, enhanced creative impulses, the experience of being bathed in a strong white light, and the intense certainty that there is no death. According to Moshiya de Broek:
"The common points are: traveling through a tunnel, life passing in revue and meeting loved ones. Most of them also speak of a heightened awareness in which they seem to enter an all-knowing consciousness that seems to know the answer to each question mankind has ever asked."
Moreover, the individual often returns with a feeling of no longer belonging to the physical world, or at least a feeling of the severe limitations of this world. Kundalini shares all these effects.

Cosmic Consciousness
The NDE offers a strong argument for disembodied cosmic consciousness. Again Moshiya de Broek:

"These experiences happen during a time that the heart and brain show no activity on either the ECG or EEG scales (a flatliner). That some might argue the stop of blood flow does not mean there cannot be some weak electrical activity deep within the brain — an EEG only measures the electrical activity on the surface of the brain — is for the moment beside the point. They should ask, according to neuroscience, is there enough brain activity to constitute being consciously aware? Decidedly, those types of brain activities appear totally absent in these patients. In fact, there is another problem which would seem to contradict present scientific insights: at a time when awareness should be reduced, if not totally absent, patients actually experience a clearer, wider awareness both in seeing and in hearing, although with a lessened brain activity. Present science says that it is improbable for someone to experience awareness with the absence of measurable brain activity."
The majesty of ancient redwood forests
In the redwoods

If this is true, it means that our consciousness, or some portion our consciousness, resides outside the brain, outside the body, in a metaphysical dimension, unseen by normal people. If a person is deemed clinically dead, yet is able to observe goings-on in the physical world as well as the metaphysical, there has to be a strong case for disembodied cosmic consciousness. It would be one thing if a report of this nature came from a single individual, but that is not the case. Thousands, as cited above, have reported the same states, the same effects. And if NDErs can observe metaphysical activity during metanormal states, why shouldn't the Kundalini practitioner, who shares many of the same states and effects, be capable of this, and even much more? If NDErs can experience super-consciousness in a "brain-dead" state, why not suppose that Kundalini practitioners, with their super-stimulated brains, could experience a much greater set of metanormal effects? And if they do experience super- or cosmic-consciousness, wouldn't this activity actually transform DNA over time. A super form of neuroplasticity that ultimately influences evolution by modifying DNA. All these changes in the brain are the result of an evolving consciousness, all of them eventually passed along to future beings in our DNA.

How does the NDE compare with Kundalini?
People who have experienced one or the other phenomenon share many of the effects mentioned above. However, in the case of permanent Kundalini, there are some effects that the NDE does not share. Kundalini triggers a superset of metanormal effects. By stimulating neuroplastic activity, Kundalini triggers autonomic self-healing mechanisms, restores health, and transforms consciousness. As opposed to the NDE, with Kundalini, brain cell regeneration is a constant. Why? The Kundalini process uses distilled sexual energy to refresh brain cells. Kundalini revitalizes the entire nervous system. It would seem impossible for an Alzheimer’s disease to exist in a permanently awakened Kundalini body. This sounds like an extreme statement, obviously one in need of peer review. But if we concede to the Kundalini practitioner the ability to experience metaphysical activity, especially since they, by definition, live in a permanently metanormal state, shouldn't a brain stimulated by life force energy of sexual sublimation evolve? And shouldn't these evolutionary characteristics be passed along to future generations?

What's more, with Kundalini there is a change in the decision-making and lifestyle processes. That is what happens with a change of consciousness. The old individual is reborn in a Karmic sense. He or she is able to see and understand, sometimes for the first time, the moral and logical implications of each decision. Gone, one-by-one, are the old addictions, the old habits, the old conditioning, and the old emotional prisons. Finally, this new state of consciousness effects an overhaul of human nature. Over time our perverse and negative emotions vanish. We are no longer cogs in the machine.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Renegade Among the Realized

I’m still trying to get my story straight. It’s not easy because the story is based on a series of metaphysical experiences. And the distance between what I make the experience out to be (my story) and the actual experience itself is separated by a great gulf. I know what happened, continues to happen. But transposing my experiences into a story — a form for general consumption — involves a bunch of linguistic gyrations too vast to bridge that gulf. A polyglot lexicon of everyday vocabulary, spiritual terms from various traditions, and my own attempts at finding better ways of expressing the ineffable. The need to structure that which has no structure, a process more about the rules of story telling and self-promotion than about the experience. Getting the story straight is a pain in the ass, and an impossibility.

No matter how carefully I pick and choose each word, no one language applies. No matter how detailed, how specific, the experience is never encapsulated in the story. Instead of getting closer, I actually increase the distance between the listener and myself. It’s no one’s fault; it’s the way it is. You can’t tell someone to work harder at it; it either comes across as a kind of grokked whole or it doesn’t. The It of is either transferred or It isn’t. And if It isn’t, it’s my fault.

We’re dealing with two realities. The mutability of the story and how it ends up being about the telling of it as opposed to the actuality of the experience which is all about Nothing, Silence, Love, and Oneness.

The phrase through a glass, darkly comes to mind:
“For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Is St. Paul talking about being conscious of consciousness in this passage? Because that’s the goal — being able to transfer consciousness, the inkling of its actuality, or some wee aspect of it, enough to get the listener going.

How do people communicate even a tiny shred of their metaphysical experience to a broader audience? How do they put the “story” wrapper around the experience? It isn’t through words. I know because most people are like me: they hear a lot, but retain very little. No one really “gets” the words on a one-to-one basis, matching the word-label to the experience-actuality.

Is there any incremental way of transferring actuality? If I could sit in a room with a group, turn down the lights, expel the white noise, not rush things, and speak only as images come to mind, I might achieve clarity. And then again, probably not. I might end up falling asleep.

But if I didn’t have a story — some bunch of words, no matter how incomplete or unsatisfactory — I wouldn’t be here in the first place, writing on this blog trying to explain all this stuff, which never happened because there is no me, only It. My story is only my experience, which can’t be encapsulated.

But if it weren’t for my experience, there wouldn’t be a story. And since something DID happen, I cannot NOT be here. Something happened, and I’ve been trying to put labels to it ever since. Which hasn’t been much fun. There is no language for it. No verbal, No! Too many words from too many different languages. So Babel-like, the more I try to perfect the story, the further away I get, the more confused I am, the harder it is to remember the experience because the experience can’t be told, only felt. And the story part anathematizes feeling. The more I try, the further away I get from what I really want to say.

The last time I put my story to an audience was a failure. Part of it was my trying to finesse it, actually making it worse. Another part of it was standing in front of an audience, feeling hopeless about the process. A process is usually something one someone transmits to another someone. It either happens or it doesn’t. Usually, by non-verbal means.

It happened to me that way — through meditation and Yoga. It’s happened to others since the beginning of time. There aren’t many of us so we tend to feel special without any real reason.

We’re not. Our only specialness is, perhaps, a biological leakage of fluids to the brain that opens super-consciousness, sometimes permanently, sometimes temporarily. Like something that happens to an old man during the night, leaking into his Depends. That’s all it is: a biological accident. A valve opening, releasing an elixir, stimulating the brain. Or is more than an accident? That consciousness came first and preceded all. That the ancients then discovered doorways into pure consciousness, one of them being Kundalini. They discovered that Kundalini energy is included in the body to serve an evolutionary purpose. If it didn't serve a purpose, it wouldn’t be there. Evolution would have eliminated it. That we could activate through the practice of various techniques.

Faces Tell Stories
Do these awakening experiences mean that DNA can be changed in one generation? No, not absolutely, but these experiences are not opinions or abstractions; they've occurred in the bodies of men and women all over the world. Does achieving clarity for even a single moment mean I have to buy every teaching of every tradition? Reincarnation, for instance?

I had a biological accident; elixir leaked into my brain, causing an experience, which triggered nothingness and clarity and love. And now I’m being asked to buy into reincarnation?

Do I buy into reincarnation then? I don’t discount it. The experience made it a distinct possibility. Landing in a vast energy field as I did — immersed in It — a tiny vibrating speck of It. Alive through all eternity came to mind. Without ever having witnessed a reincarnation, my mind grokked it. I call them my first realizations: the immediate workings of the mind after the experience, the first words after wordless immersion. Images becoming thoughts: no death, a cycle of life, energy vibrating, transforming. Not the rational mind at work, but a right-brained transference of images to thought.

You don’t need a guru for this, but people will say you’re not realized if you don’t have one. You don’t need to belong to a group for this, but people will say you’re not enlightened if you don’t. I don’t have a guru, don’t belong to any group.

 I'm not enlightened, I'm realized, which means I realize I'm not enlightened.

Don't take this too seriously; it's just more of the story.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Being Human Is Only a Game

Lying in bed one morning this week just before fully waking up, in that state of no-thought for a few seconds, I realized that life is nothing but a game. Letting this realization permeate, I had the insight that in the beginning there was NOTHING but the I AM, pure undifferentiated space. After a time the I AM got bored with being all there was and decided to create a game by dividing itself in two, the 'I AM' and 'I AM NOT.' So like a cloud that splits itself into two, the I AM split into two and became a game where one part played the other, i.e., I AM vs. AM NOT.

Neale Donald Walsch

Many years ago I read Conversations with God-Book One by Neale Donald Walsch. Since then, I have reread it at least seven times because its ideas resonate so deeply. I realize I have been pondering the ideas contained in this book for many years which is why my experiences jibe so completely with a book the author claims is a direct communication with the Divine through automated writing.

On page 22 he says, "In the beginning, that which Is is all there was, and there was nothing else. Yet All That Is could not know itself — because All That Is is all there was, and there was nothing else. And so, All that Is...was not. For in the absence of something else, All That Is, is not."

But this was no fun because I AM or, the all that Is, knew it still was. It knew that it was also I AM NOT, so it had to make the game more exciting and the I AM chose to forget it had created the I AM NOT and the whole game of being human began: seeing through the illusion of the I AM NOT to reveal the 'I AM,' out of which paradoxically the I AM NOT came anyway.

This is why sages have said that we end up where we start because there is nothing but awareness, or I AM. We are all the I AM and we have created others and the world as the 'I AM NOT,' but that is an illusion, a game every human being plays at. In spiritual awakening the game is seen for what it is as a sardonic cosmic joke played on human beings.

And yet the game remains hidden. As Kundalini gradually rises, the game is revealed as a game, at least that is how it happened for me. Before Kundalini rose, I had read about the 'Divine Leela' or the Divine play, but I didn't understand or realize its significance. The realization came out of the rising energy. Others have realized "the cosmic game" without attributing it to Kundalini, which makes me think that the ultimate realization is not dependent on Kundalini rising and it is I that made the link causal, i.e., the ultimate realization being the result of Kundalini.

But what if it's not. What if it's the result of learning to be self-observant? Being careful to be honest and authentic about what resonates for me as truth and what I can validate by my experience.

I remember a spiritual teacher once saying, "So you want Enlightenment, then you must be prepared to get into a street fight with yourself'." You have to stop projecting blame on others and turn the light inwards — be honest about what is going on inside yourself. Getting into a street fight with yourself or the I AM NOT means the end of blame and the beginning of responsibility.

It's not easy, for taking responsibility doesn't mean turning the blame on yourself either. This is a mistake I made for many years, blaming myself for everything.

People have said I was too hard on myself, and looking back I can see that I was. I was trying to rid myself of ego! By blaming myself for everything, putting myself down at every opportunity, and being annoyingly humble, I thought I could purify myself. Lurking beneath this false humility was a quietly growing spiritual ego that looked down on those not following a declared spiritual path. Thinking back on my folly, I cringe as I write this. But as other contributors to this blog have noted: authenticity and honesty, as well as vigilance and awareness, are required on this path. Now I am much kinder to myself and life is magical and wonderful in so many different ways.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cobalt Blue: Book Review

There may be others, but Peggy Payne’s novel Cobalt Blue is the first fictional account of a kundalini awakening I’ve run across. And while its authenticity might be questioned — the author has not had a kundalini awakening — there are many fine elements, both in the writing and in the plotting of the story.
Peggy Payne

Upscale vacation communities like East Hampton, NY, Provincetown, MA, Carmel and Laguna Beach, CA, Honfleur on the Normandy Coast, and in this case, Pinehurst, NC have their pecking orders of artists living off the tourist economy. Andie Branson, the heroine, is one of them. And, like most artists that never challenge the big time — New York City, Paris, Los Angeles, where artist’s reputations are made — Andie is facing a mid-life crisis, questioning not only her ability as an artist, but her lifestyle and relationships as well. Her whole backstory is closing in on her when she starts experiencing a series of strange impulses.

Cutting to the chase, it’s probably no surprise to readers who’ve read the reviews that the impulses gripping Andie are triggered by a spontaneous kundalini rising. In order to understand how they affect Andie, it’s necessary to understand a little more about kundalini. How, when, and where it occurs. What effect it has on the subject.

Kundalini rising is the result of distilled sexual energy being channeled to the brain. The triggers are numerous and varied. Sometimes it’s the result of Yogic or meditation practices; sometimes it occurs when drugs are ingested; sometimes during sexual intercourse; sometimes it happens spontaneously, when an individual knows nothing about it and is not expecting it. This is Andie’s case.

How it affects each subject is also quite varied, the first symptom usually being ecstatic states of bliss, as the individual experiences the exaltation associated with super-consciousness. No self; no other.

Living with kundalini is quite challenging; the subject may experience a variety changes in consciousness, including the heightening of artistic skills. No matter what triggers it or what the subject experiences, sublimated sexual energy is always present, for kundalini is a biological activity, which, once activated, functions autonomically. The subject has no control over it. What is the purpose of kundalini? In a nutshell to help the subject overcome the conditioning the Ego imposes. Desires, longings, cravings, dissatisfactions, ambitions are all fruits of the Ego that the senses cook up for us. I must have it, I must belong, I must be recognized, I must be reckoned with, I must be obeyed. This is something I know about; I activated kundalini while practicing meditation in 1973 and have lived with it ever since. It has literally torn me apart and put me back together the right way.

Having no first hand experience with kundalini, the author chose her conceit cleverly. Because no one ever knows beforehand how kundalini will affect a given subject, the author was free to pick her own trigger and her own effects. So why not choose some that most people associated with kundalini have never heard of, or even dreamed of? Who knows? Anything is possible with kundalini; it could happen that way. Even though I — in my forty years of living and writing about kundalini — have never encountered the specific impulse Andie is stricken with, I have encountered an almost unlimited variety of impulses?

What about Andie’s impulses? You ask. Well, since kundalini is the conceit — the MacGuffin — driving the action forward, why not let the impulses Andie experiences be expressed as nymphomania? I am not using the term in a pejorative sense; I have no quarrel with the author on this count. She works it into the plot quite effectively. There’s no seduction, no preliminaries. I’m not even sure we should call it nymphomania because Andie is operating in a parallel universe; definitions we use in our universe don’t necessarily apply.

Andie simply lifts her dress, exposes her charms, and the encounter is on. Primitive matriarchal selection of a sexual partner, and, according to the author, it’s kundalini doing the driving, the only mandate being it must be performed instantly and on the spot. Who am I to say it’s not possible — that a given person could not be psychically, metabolically, and somatically endowed like Andie is?

“Cap’s hand brushed her hair the same second his lips found her other breast. “God!” rose up in her throat. Anyone could hear, in the store, on the street. But it didn’t matter; they all were her friends. A small typhoon was turning in her middle. She let Cap shuck her out of jeans and thong, and with his full weight, roll her out on the couch, smell of mildew puffing up from the cushion. Troy’s warmth still near, her face pressed against the side of his leg. She was swamped with love for him, for them both.”

My only question is: who’s doing the choosing? What neuro-biological dynamic pushes Andie to consummate wanton, random, one-time, sexual liaisons? Is it Andie, the ego-defined persona she was before kundalini? Is it the kundalini energy manifesting itself as Andie, the nympho? Or perhaps the kundalini has liberated her ego-bound, ego-delimited persona, allowing Andie to override social and moral inhibitions?

In any case, Andie begins to realize it’s not possible to operate that way in society. In developing the struggle Andie faces to control her impulses, the author has intuited an authentic aspect of the kundalini energy at work, namely the feeling that normalcy is not the way life ought to be lived, that there is a new being inside impatient to express itself, guided by a power that has no use for social convention.

An alien force is guiding Andie, and that also rings true; kundalini feels like an alien force has taken the subject over. Andie lets the energy guide her. In her art, in her dealings with people, in her choices about life, in her random couplings. It takes her art to a higher level, lets her realize that the limits she’d operated under previously were ego imposed. The real Andie is being born. True, she has to master the impulses, and she finally does.

All this against a background of interesting characters, the main plot point being a commission Andie is handed to paint the portrait of North Carolina’s right-wing US Senator, Billy Sylvester, a character probably based on long time NC Senator, Jesse Helms. What’s gratifying about the author’s portrayal of their relationship (Billy is one of the few male characters Andie doesn’t fornicate with) is both: 1) how she refuses to depict Billy in black and white terms, as an all negative character, and 2) how the power in the relationship shifts from Billy to Andie, as she asserts her new kundalini-infused persona.

Her nipple had a nice sore feeling, alive and sensitive. She could dispense with her brushes, with fingers even, and paint with that nipple, dip it into a puddle of color, the cool of the oils pulling the flesh to a point. Then she’d touch it to the canvas, holding the breast with her hand or drawing with only the motion of her body, breasts, belly, hair…

Billy had walked away; his back turned to her still, he’d stopped in front of a window. When he turned, she could barely see him, the sunlight at his back. His face, as much as she could see, still blank.

Andie, I’ll need you to leave this here, so I can show it to the committee.

His voice was flat. He hated it and he wasn’t going to tell her face to face.
I can’t do that.

Her throat was tight now with panic; she’d stood here indulging fantasies and putting herself in danger: was she mad?
This still needs a lot of filling-in, she tried to speak slowly, low-pitched, with confidence.
Final notes:
  1. I never was able to connect the title, Cobalt Blue to the story.
  2. As the topic gathers critical mass, I'm sure we'll see more kundalini novels in the near future

Stars: ****°

Friday, September 6, 2013

Raja Yoga: Preparing the Body-Mind for Divine Grace

In the last few posts, I have attempted to explain the different kinds of yoga practices for achieving union with the absolute. The series began with an explanation of Integral Yoga and a deeper analysis of the different forms of yoga that can be integrated into our daily practice, namely Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. This is the final post in the Yoga series.

As mentioned here, awakening kundalini can be a trigger for an ecstatic experience, a brief glimpse of the absolute when the mental barriers of limited individuality fall away temporarily. All spiritual methods are different ways of stilling the mind to get back to that state of emptiness. As defined by Patanjali, Cessation of the mind is Yoga. Probably the most simple and elegant definition of Yoga. When the mind stops, reality is experienced. The ego, a collection of selective memories that form our self-image, our ideas about social status and our place in that hierarchy, are all mental projections. Once they drop, along with the constant mental chatter, Yoga is achieved.

I have been asked about methods for awakening the kundalini and these last few posts are my attempt to answer those questions. I personally awakened mine accidentally, without following a set of practices. However, the awakening leads to insights about the nature of the mind and how one attains the state of emptiness or samadhi. A kundalini awakening takes the mind out of its conditioned state and returns it to a state of child-like innocence, receptive to divine grace.

Awakening kundalini is not in our hands entirely; Karma is an essential factor in the equation. Although not everyone is chosen to receive this blessing, no one is excluded from putting practices in place to create the right circumstances for an awakening.

Opening the infinite
The Heavens
By practicing methods that ingrain positive habits, you allow illusions to drop, the mind to cease, karmic loops to close. An intellectual understanding of the process will not achieve this. If the power of all your actions and thoughts is harnessed and directed towards an awakening, only then can you make progress. It's the purpose of Integral Yoga. Regardless of whether these practices culminate in a kundalini awakening or not, the methods will help you achieve inner peace, release stress and create a balanced, better adjusted human being.

There is significant overlap in all these methods. Choosing the right action requires mindful awareness. It combines Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Surrender to the divine, knowing that each action is an offering to Him allows me to work at my passion with total devotion. When I take a photograph, I become one with that moment. I am completely absorbed in that moment of zen where the object, the observer and the act of taking the photograph are one indivisible whole. The devotion to the task at hand IS devotion to the almighty. This is both Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. This is the goal behind the practice of Integral Yoga. To bring the mind to a stillness, to realize the union with the absolute that already exists, using every action, every thought, every moment in the service of this goal.

Once these practices are put in place, every action achieves a greater significance. Nothing is mundane. Everything is sacred. Every day is a holy day. Naturally, one elevates his or her vibration. Life is seen with a feeling of awe. It is lived as art, as poetry. Each moment is lived for its own sake, knowing that each moment carries the potential for samadhi, for union with the absolute. 

The ego-driven human being is a jumble of contradictions, frustrations and misery. The misery comes from pursuing fantasies. Buy this car and it will make you happy. Drink this beer and you will be attractive to women. Oh, you MUST buy this phone if you want to hang with the "in crowd," scream the commercials. 

The ego responds, luring you further and further into illusion, away from the stillness within. Happiness is not outside. It is within. Craving breeds more craving. Each material acquisition only whets the appetite for more. Once you fulfill your desire, you are happy for one moment, before once again craving the next shiny object. Mindfulness makes you aware of the incessant craving and the underlying misery. This awareness rises, the more you observe each moment, the more you meditate. The less you are affected by external temptations, the less stress, misery and frustration you accumulate.

So far, in these posts, I have talked about Yoga without a single mention of asanas or poses — most people's definition of Yoga. Raja Yoga addresses that. Commonly, the asanas or poses are performed for health reasons, rendering you fit and free from disease.

However, the real purpose of performing the poses, as I discovered after my awakening, is getting the body ready once kundalini awakens. The kriyas that occur afterwards are involuntary and require a limber body, able to perform difficult postures as the energy clears blockages. Being unable to bend and stretch as needed is very painful and potentially damaging to the body. 

In fact, all three practices: breath control, poses and meditation are equally important in preparing for an awakening:
  1. Not knowing the proper breathing exercises prevents the release of blockages in a safe and efficient manner.
  2. Being in good shape, as opposed to being over-weight, out of shape and reluctant to perform physical exercise, is crucial to avoiding disaster during or after awakening. 
  3. Performing only the poses may make you extremely fit, but your mind will not be ready for the trauma an awakening brings. Being a meditator with an unfit body may allow you to cope with the psychic challenges associated with states of higher vibration, but the body needs conditioning to avoid the agony of bending into difficult poses. That's why working all three together is necessary.
Raja Yoga cultivates this by preparing the body and mind in a systematic fashion so one can ease into an awakening gently. 

If there is a lot of accumulated trauma and negative karma for the energy to clear, if the ego has been inflated and deluded, additional barriers and mental torment must be overcome when the clearing begins. My "spontaneous awakening" gave me a chance to realize why each one of the practices is important, albeit, as I was not prepared, I learned the hard way. A very negative and agonizing way.

As the energy passed through me, I spent many hours writhing and contorting in the wheel pose and other physically challenging poses. I have always been physically fit, am a bodybuilder, golfer and martial artist. I even dabbled in yoga. Still, I was NOT completely prepared for the shock of involuntary kriyas. I had to get in better shape to withstand the onslaught.

The eight-fold path of Raja Yoga or "The Royal path to Yoga" consists of eight steps:

  1. Yamas (Abstentions): Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity), Apragraha (non-greed).
  2. Niyamas (Moral Observations): Shaucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of the scriptures), Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to God).
  3. Asana: Steady pose, posture or seat. Yogic poses.
  4. Pranayama: control of vital energy through breathwork.
  5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses.
  6. Dharana: concentration of the mind.
  7. Dhyana: Meditation.
  8. Samadhi: Enlightenment, union with the Divine.
We can divide these into three categories. In a category by itself is Samadhi, the seeker's final goal, achieved through practices that awaken the kundalini. The other practices, therefore, fall under two categories, preparatory and causative.

Of the eight steps, the first two, Yama and Niyama, can be termed preparatory. In and of themselves, they are insufficient to trigger a kundalini awakening. Yamas overlap with methods mentioned in my post on Karma Yoga. These practices tie up karmic loose ends and prevent the creation of new negative karma impeding spiritual progress. Niyamas overlap with Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, creating a mental state conducive to divine grace: dropping illusions, studying scripture and creating positive patterns in the brain, staying in a positive and ego-free mental state. 

Steps 3 through 7 are termed causative. These practices may trigger a kundalini awakening as you perform them, provided your karma allows for it.

Asana: There are several cases of yogis awakening kundalini due to a regular practice of physical yoga poses. We can add tantric sexual practices, martial arts such as Tai Chi and Aikido to this list of physical practices that may cause an awakening.

Pranayama: JJ Semple awakened his kundalini through a practice of breathwork. He has described it in his wonderful book, Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time. Whether it is traditional practices of pranayama described in ancient texts or newer methods of breath control, this is a powerful trigger for an awakening.

Steps 5, 6 and 7 can be grouped together into one easy to understand term: Meditation. Gopi Krishna awakened his kundalini during meditation. Several others have awakened it during some form of mental concentration or visualization practice.

A regular practice of any one of the causative steps of Raja Yoga may be enough to trigger an awakening. All three performed systematically, along with the preparatory steps increases your chances and more important, removes obstacles and potential hindrances once the energy is awakened and starts its work. A systematic overhaul of the ego-mind and body codified in a step-by-step set of instructions. Hence its designation as the Royal path.

To reinforce my earlier statements and what JJ Semple wrote in his previous blog post, a kundalini awakening is not a paint-by-numbers activity like learning to drive a car. Follow instructions, perform the necessary steps, and boom, awakening ensues. Sorry. Ain't gonna happen. Expectation leads to disappointment. The better approach is to perform each step for its own sake, expecting only to uncover more and more of one's true self, a transformation into a healthier individual, both mentally and physically, better balanced and capable of living each moment in a state of contentment and inner peace. As a bonus, you may receive a kundalini awakening. Craving an outcome will almost guarantee you will not awaken anything because it is the craving and the competitive ego that causes craving needs to be eliminated in order to receive an awakening.

This completes my Yoga series of blog posts. I hope that this has been a helpful series.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Holistic Kundalini

 What is Holistic Kundalini? Is it a better way of activating Kundalini? Hardly. There are many ways of activating Kundalini, some better than others — "better," in this instance, defined as tailored to your specific, holistic needs, a method that suits you as opposed to the ones that don't. That's right, not all methods work for all people. Moreover, some people, no matter how much they want it or how hard they try, will never be able to activate Kundalini by any method. That's the Karmic reality.
“One thing has to be remembered about meditation; it is a long journey and there is no shortcut. Anyone who says there is a shortcut is befooling you. It is a long journey because the change is very deep and is achieved after many lives — many lives of routine habits, thinking, desiring. And the mind structure; that you have to drop through meditation. In fact, it is almost impossible — but it happens. A man becoming a meditator is a great responsibility in this world. It is not easy. It cannot be instant. So from the beginning never start expecting too much and then you will never be frustrated. You will always be happy because things will grow very slowly.
"Meditation is not a seasonal flower which within six weeks is there. It is a very, very big tree. It needs time to spread its roots.”
Curb and sidewalk offer an infinite number of stepping off points
Stepping Off the Curb in Life
Holistic Kundalini. What is it? It's a term I apply to the all around Kundalini life experience: Seeking a method, Practicing the method, Activating Kundalini, Undergoing the awakening experience, Living with Kundalini, and finally Helping others to understand Kundalini. This may seem pretty mundane. "Oh, I know all about that; I've read about it," some initiates tell me. Yes, I've heard it all: Individuals who have not yet even begun a well-founded practice telling me what it is like after reading about it in books. I don't tell them I've lived with Kundalini for over forty years. What's the use? These novices purporting to be experts already know  more than I do. I'm not being facetious: early on in my practice, I realized I knew nothing.

All the myriad of separate, yet overlapping slices of information available to today's seeker form a gigantic pie. That's the blessing of the New Age. But this overabundance is also its curse. Which slice is for me? Some of this information is good and some of it isn't. I'm not competent to judge the content, only wonder if it's had any vetting or peer review?

Still, I can inform people on what to watch out for and how to set expectations. That's Holistic Kundalini — coming full circle, back to the beginning in order to help others understand the process and the stakes.

So I listen to the chatter of novices and move on. When I see them again years later, they're still turning in circles. Why? Simply and succinctly because they weren't grounded in the first place. They didn't have a goal, and you need one. They didn't have a plan, and you need one of those, too. Why? Because just as Osho says, when you expect too much, you're bound to fail. It's built-in into the process, like a sense of entitlement. I've never known it not to fail, never seen it succeed. Strut into this work with a sense of privilege and overarching confidence and you will end up turning in circles.

From the discussions I've had, most people don't have any idea what I mean when I tell them they need a goal and a plan. Yet, if they were building a house, they'd have one of each. Activating and living with Kundalini are similar undertakings. You must know what you're doing, as well as the why and how of it.

Let's think for a moment about setting goals. How should I approach it, you ask? In the first place the goal shouldn't be all about your ego, as if you were just going to the gym to add some more muscle to impress the opposite sex. You should have something you want to accomplish that can only be accomplished by a change of being, a change of consciousness. What might that be? Gopi Krishna defined that change as, "becoming conscious of consciousness." Think about it and you'll see most people aren't.

In my case, I was looking for a way to reverse the effects of a childhood accident. At the time I wasn't able to clearly formulate it, but it was on my mind, and it eventually came to the fore. All I needed then was a plan and that was delivered to me. It took me a while to recognize it, but I finally did. What plan? To decipher and practice the method of meditation in The Secret of the Golden Flower — Golden Flower Meditation. The book was given to me unexpectedly. After a year of puttering and experimenting, I realized I was supposed to do something with it.

To formulate a plan, you must think about your life. Take inventory. How old are you? Is it reasonable to undertake this work now? Who will support you? Can you work and do it? Why do you want to change your being, your consciousness? For selfish purposes? To heal yourself and others? To overcome addiction? You can't think of a goal, but you know you're supposed to do it?

Does a non-goal, or the absence of a goal, constitute a goal? It could; it's better than doing it to acquire occult powers or to make yourself more attractive. And what about a plan? Once you have a goal, it's easy to work out a plan. Just like building a house, once you know what you want to do, it's easy to work out the plan. You take stock of existing tools and techniques. You examine cost, scheduling, strengths and weaknesses, benefits and inconveniences. You make tests. One approach is going to stand out, appear more suited to your person than the others. It's the same with changing your consciousness. You won't succeed if you wake up one morning telling yourself you're going to raise Kundalini because you want to be Governor of Iowa. The two operate in different spheres. You need compatibility, goals and plans suited to your style of living and to YOU.

You also need to think about living with Kundalini. Let's say you're 20 years old, and you've caught the Kundalini bug, or some other Kundalini-related bug. Let's say you work out goals and plans. And you're successful. So at the age of 20, you're living with a permanently active Kundalini for the rest of your life. Are you prepared for this? What kind of person are you? Introvert? Extrovert? Secretive? Outgoing? Fun-loving? Although Kundalini starts to remake your being and change your consciousness, personality tendencies don't change overnight. In fact, you may take on new tendencies temporarily. Negative emotions, dietary changes, sexual dysfunction. Are you prepared to face these things? It took me a long time to learn to live with Kundalini, to understand what it was doing.

I knew I wanted to write about my experience, but at the beginning I couldn't. It took me thirty years before feeling I was ready. Yet, not one day in those thirty years went by without my thinking about and experiencing the effects of Kundalini. Perhaps, with a little pre-thought, a little discussion, you can do better.