Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Football, Concussions, and Kundalini

By all accounts, the incidence of concussion at all levels of the game of football is steadily rising and the leagues, from Pop Warner to the NFL, don't know what to do about it. On the one hand, they are looking for technical solutions, i.e., better helmet technology, better equipment. On the other, stiffer penalties for hits incurring concussions, improved protocols for identifying and managing concussions and their effects.

However, from week to week, there seems to be about the same number of players disabled by concussions, usually by players who launch themselves through space at high speed to collide with the victims at angles that snap the neck and rattle the brain, at the same time. However, there doesn't seem to be one type of hit alone that causes a concussion; in some cases, concussions occur without a direct hit to the head, by a severe snap of the neck, for instance.

The fact that the helmets are constructed of nose-cone, hard plastic means that the G-force of impact is compounded by the hardness of the helmet casing. The critical factors in inducing a concussion seem to be: the angle of the hit, the hardness of the helmet, and speed and G-force of the incoming player. The fact that the hittee also wears a helmet in no way mitigates the impact or the damage to his neural network.

The brain's moving on impact is not the only factor involved. The whole spinal column, from coccyx to the brain, is connected in one long neural network. I know because I was blindsided in high school football, lifted off my feet and deposited on my butt, which dropped from a height of four feet to the ground. Not only did I see a shower of stars, I felt a searing pain from the base of the spine all the way up to my brain. I was temporarily incapacitated — and no hit to the brain was involved. How much harder are the hits in the NFL than the hit I took that day? 40:1? 100:1? And we were wearing leather helmets, not the plastic warheads today's players wear. I didn't ever feel the primary impact to my ribs; landing on my coccyx, a secondary effect, caused the neural disruption and total whiteout.

Our own school lies in a valley...
An array of  leather helmets, the fashion of the '40s
What do football concussions have to do with Kundalini? If it affects the brain, then it concerns Kundalini, a phenomenon devoted to revitalizing brain cells, not destroying them. I have no evidence that Kundalini could assuage the effects of concussion. As far as I know, no studies have been done. But I do wonder if it might be effective. After all, that's its whole purpose: restore and reinvigorate the neural network. Here's a passage from my book, The Biology of Consciousness, citing the case study of an athlete who activated Kundalini. In this passage, he is talking with his yoga teacher:
"He asked me if I’d ever had a concussion while playing a sport. To my recollection, I never had, but there were times I felt groggy after a hard hit. He told me that the objective of certain yogic practices was to revitalize damaged brain cells, that the changes in metabolism produced during these exercises actually had neurological benefits.
 “'Do you mean that certain forms of yoga could actually cure my depression and headaches?' I asked.
“'I am not a doctor or scientist, but I have witnessed the benefits of yoga in my own practice. The reason I studied yoga was because of the head wounds suffered in wartime. Fortunately, I was young enough when I began to practice for it to revitalize me.'” 
I'm not saying Kundalini could counteract concussion effects, I don't know if it could.

Number one, I'd go back to using leather helmets; two, I'd investigate Kundalini meditation, which were it to be adopted, would probably solve the problem in that anyone raising Kundalini would lose interest in playing football altogether and move onto safer pursuits. Left to the way things are today, one of these days, we may see a lethal hit.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Secret of the Golden Flower - Revisited, Part I

According to the The Secret of the Golden Flower (SGF), the Primal Spirit is the formative energy responsible for our physical embodiment; the Conscious Spirit is the ego and its agents, the senses. The senses feed us an endless flow of information. Society (our parents, teachers, friends, and family) tell us what this information means. What we perceive with our senses becomes reality. What we are taught to believe in and hold as values determines our opinions and beliefs. We think we are free, but we are slaves to the cultural, familial, and educational patterns bequeathed to us. Living under the various illusions we are conditioned to, it is very difficult to extract (de-condition) ourselves without recourse to the primordial super-conscious Primal Spirit.
When I first read the SGF over 40 years ago, I realized the above interpretation was not clearly stated on the page; I had to read between the lines for the meaning of its teachings. And it wasn't that easy to decipher. I had to live the lines to get the hidden, between-the-lines meaning; I had to practice.

Living the lines meant accepting there was substance to them, even though I wasn't sure what that substance was. It meant practicing the meditation — more like feeling my way through it because, once again, I wasn't sure I was following the instructions correctly, much less understanding their exact meaning. Nevertheless, somewhat to my surprise, I succeeded. My Kundalini became aroused and ultimately active.

I realize some readers may get lost in my trying to relate the details of my Kundalini awakening to the different terminology used in the Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese traditions. The problem is: Kundalini has become an all-encompassing term, too big for one language or tradition alone. So let’s forget terminology for a moment and define Kundalini as a two-step biological process that:

  • Awakens "dormant" energy through sexual sublimation,
  • Releases super-conscious energy throughout the body, once the sublimated sexual energy rises to the brain.
However, while Kundalini is a biological process, it is also a rebirth/maturation process, which most seekers tend to ignore until faced with the prospects of living the rest of their lives with this awakened energy. How does the rebirth process work? Firstly, you must accept Kundalini energy and not struggle against it. Unfortunately, many have trouble with acceptance — to their ultimate chagrin. But let’s say an individual accepts this energy, what next? Kundalini doesn’t only re-engineer your body; it remakes your psyche. Talk about seeing things differently, growing up quickly. Overtime, Kundalini removes conditioning, steers you towards selflessness, and has you doing things you never thought possible, not because you suddenly became smarter and thought them up, but because you were driven to do them. You become an instrument, not in a mindless or robotic way. You are an eddy in the pool of super-consciousness, a part of the evolutionary master plan. At the same time, your rational powers become enhanced, you are able to solve problems and make better decisions. You learn not to choose or support things against nature.

Meditation: Stage 3, The Secret of the Golden Flower

What was it that so captured my attention that I spent two years deciphering and practicing the meditation?

At first, it was the text, the poetic ways it was phrased:
"The great One is the term given to that which has nothing above it. The secret of the magic of life consists in using action in order to attain non-action. One must not wish to leap over everything and penetrate directly."
~ The Secret of the Golden Flower
What's so startling about the above? For me, it was cryptic and at the same time cosmological. More than the Bible or any other explanation I had run across. Intuitively, I understood the notion of the great One and the goal of attaining non-action. That great power resides in stillness. And that's only the first page.
"The work on the circulation of the light depends entirely on the backward-flowing movement, so that the thoughts (the place of heavenly consciousness, the heavenly heart) are gathered together. The heavenly heart lies between sun and moon (the two eyes).

"The Book of the Yellow Castle says: 'In the square inch field of the square foot house, life can be regulated.' The square foot house is the face. The square inch field in the face: what could that be other than the heavenly heart? In the middle of the square inch dwells the splendour."
~ The Secret of the Golden Flower
The phrase "circulation of the light" is used right from the beginning. I understood it to mean an energy phenomenon, something that would occur if I practiced correctly. The designations referred to in The Book of the Yellow Castle were probably related to chakras. I wasn't sure, but I allowed myself to skip over them and proceed with the meditation.
"At the time of birth the conscious spirit inhales the energy and thus becomes the dwelling of the newborn. It lives in the heart. From that time on the heart is master, and the primal spirit loses its place while the conscious spirit has the power.

"The primal spirit loves stillness, and the conscious spirit loves movement. In its movement it remains bound to feelings and desires. Day and night it wastes the primal seed till the energy of the primal spirit is entirely used up. Then the conscious spirit leaves the shell and goes away."
~ The Secret of the Golden Flower
Understanding the meaning of the Primal and Conscious Spirits was gradual. I really didn't get it until Kundalini took effect and I witnessed the changes in myself, observed that a new entity had taken control of my being and was leading me in new directions. Along with the physical changes — the rebuilding of my body, which I freely accepted — came changes in attitudes and life goals. None of these originated from my mental processes. All came from the newly reawakened Primal Spirit. I realize this sounds esoteric, but it's very palpable and real once Kundalini rises.

Most important for the meditator are the passages on posture, attention, and breathing:
"One looks with both eyes at the tip of the nose, sits upright and in a comfortable position, and holds the heart to the center in the midst of conditions. In Taoism it is called the yellow middle, in Buddhism the center of the midst of conditions. The two are the same. It does not necessarily mean the middle of the head. It is only a matter of fixing one’s thinking on the point which lies exactly between two eyes. Then all is well. The light is something extremely mobile. When one fixes the thought on the mid-point between the two eyes, the light streams in of its own accord."

"In sitting down, after lowering the lids, one uses the eyes to establish a plumb-line and then shifts the light downward. But if the transposition downward is not successful, then the heart is directed towards listening to the breathing. One should not be able to hear with the ear the outgoing and intaking of the breath."
~ The Secret of the Golden Flower
Getting these techniques took experimentation. I still don't know if I got everything exactly right. I have to work backwards from the results. The fact that they matched the description of the results in the book means my practice must have been nearly, if not completely, satisfactory.
"The light is not in the body alone, nor is it only outside the body. Mountains and rivers and the great earth are lit by sun and moon; all that is this light. Therefore it is not only within the body. Understanding and clarity, perception and enlightenment, and all movements (of the spirit) are likewise this light; therefore it is not just something outside the body. The light-flower of heaven and earth fills all the thousand spaces. But also the light-flower of the individual body passes through heaven and covers the earth. Therefore, as soon as the light is circulating, heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, are all circulating with it at the same time. To concentrate the seed-flower of the human body above the eyes, that is the great key of the human body."
~ The Secret of the Golden Flower

Not only is The Secret of the Golden Flower a manual on the how-tos of meditation, it also offers descriptions of human ontology/cosmological reality — how, once the meditation successfully takes its course, once the light starts to circulate, the practitioner is catapulted out of the limiting duality of the physical world into the metaphysical actuality of the "great One which has nothing above it."

Today's seeker is impatient, keen on quick results. The SGF advises us not to try to "leap over everything and penetrate directly." Are its teaching still valid in the 21st. century?

Read The Secret of the Golden Flower - Revisited, Part II

Monday, November 18, 2013

When Kundalini Rises, There is Nowhere to Hide

Thinking about writing this post I posed myself a challenge: I could write an interesting, but theoretical post or I could write a post that, instead of making me look knowledgeable, would reveal how one is constantly tested after Kundalini rises. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I am going to do the latter. In another post, I wrote that awakening Kundalini marks the beginning of authentic spirituality. What do I mean by that? Up to the time Kundalini awakens, one lives in a kind of self-indulgent state that might be summarized as the refusal to be honest with oneself, a very human characteristic. When Kundalini rises all that stops and the fire of purification starts.

the fire of purification
That fire takes many forms. For me it came in the shape of a seminar I did. I participated in The Money Seminar. One of the weeks (the seminar lasted 10 weeks) was about being authentic and owning up to what we had been less than honest about when it came to money. Smug and complacent in my chair, I sat thinking, "I haven't stolen from anyone and so this conversation doesn't apply to me" when suddenly, from out of nowhere I had a memory of myself as a student working part-time in the corner shop. With a sickening thud in my stomach I remembered when my friends used to come into the shop. In those days the till was the type that you keyed the price of things into, so when any of my friends came in, I used to give 5p/10p off whatever they bought. In college I had a lot of friends! After three months the owner let me go without giving a reason.

Sitting in the seminar filled with shame and desperately uncomfortable in my chair I was gripped by this overwhelming urgency to go back to this shop and make amends. At this point, I was living in a different country and had no idea that the shop would still be there as this had occurred 20 years before! But no matter what my rational mind tried to convince me of, i.e., that it was a fool's mission to go back there, a deeper part of me wasn't listening. I booked a holiday home, factoring in a bus journey that would take me back to the city where the shop was.

I told my mother my plans and she was extremely concerned and responded in the same rationalizing manner my mind had: that this was a crazy thing to do. She did her utmost to talk me out of going. I listened to her concerns patiently and knew at a deep level that my mother wouldn't be the only one that would think this crazy, but there would be few people who understood what was motivating me. I knew what was driving it: Kundalini with its demand for total honesty, integrity and responsibility. 

shame and desperately uncomfortable
The day to go back to the shop arrived. I had 300€ in my purse which is what I reckoned I owed the owner. I boarded the bus, my mind in turmoil but my resolve strong. When we got to the city, I walked through the familiar streets I recognized from my student days. I counted every corner as I turned and with each step my heart started to beat faster and faster. As I came to the last corner before I could see the shop, I willed that by some miracle it would not be there and I would be spared this ordeal. But that was not to be. When I came around the last corner, there was the exact same shop in all its glory, it didn't even seem to have been re-decorated in all that time. Walking slowly towards it, I took a deep breath and opened the door.

The Shop Around the Corner
The layout was exactly as I remembered it and the man who had given me the job was behind the counter.  There were other people in the shop. I walked up to him and said, "Do you remember me?"

He looked at me keenly and said, "Your face seems familiar."

I said, "You employed me years ago when I was a student and I stole from you."

I could see his eyes narrow and I quickly went on, "Not in the way that I put my hands in the till, but when my student friends came into buy things, I gave them a few pence off everything and I reckon that I owe you 300 Euros so here it is." And I handed over the 300€ that I had clung onto while walking to the shop.

He took it quickly and put it into his breast pocket looked at me and said, "Why, after all these years? Why did you come back?"

I said, "It was important for me to come back and take responsibility and make amends for what I did and this is what I'm doing."

He just looked stunned and said, "Thank you."

I said, "You are welcome." And I turned away and walked out of the shop.

Walking away I expected to feel high and happy, but I didn't. Exhilarated but I wasn't. I felt completely drained, exhausted and incredibly tired. My mind started a rant that could have been my mother's voice about what a stupid thing it was to have done when you don't even feel good after doing it.

I felt so low. I spent the whole bus journey berating myself and analyzing what my expectations were about feeling so flat now. When I got home, my mother was waiting for me and welcomed me with a barrage of questions intermixed with chiding about giving that money to a stranger when there was so much she could have done with 300€.

Totally and utterly spent, I looked at her wearily without the energy to defend myself and said, "I'm going to bed." It was 4:00 pm in the afternoon! 

I just couldn't take anymore; I wanted the welcome oblivion of sleep. When I woke up, I felt so different and I knew that I had made this journey so I could look at myself in the mirror. I ventured out from my bedroom into the kitchen to see my mum with a big smile on her face saying that while she didn't understand why I had done what I did she was proud of me for having done it.

Before Kundalini rose, my view of my actions would have been "I was only helping my poor student friends; it wasn't really stealing, I didn't gain anything financially by it," but with Kundalini the same actions are viewed very differently and the stark, no-hiding truth emerges, that whatever my reasons, it was stealing and had to be accounted for. 

I write this because there is a perception that the rising Kundalini is going to result in a blissful, happy life, some kind of utopia and while there is much about this energy that does induce those states, there is also the purification aspect which is real, inexorable, and on-going. The move of consciousness from the human to the spiritual, which is what the rising of Kundalini accomplishes, is a move to being authentic, living with integrity and taking responsibility for everything that happens. And this requires courage and humility because nothing can be hidden.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Non-Attachment and Formlessness

Lotus blossom

“…Non-attachment is a state in which a person overcomes his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective… Non-attachment as release from desire and consequently from suffering is an important principle, or even ideal, in the Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism and Taoism” [Wikipedia]. On a practical level what is attachment and how does it work?

In 1973 I experienced what is called in India Nirvikalpa or Nirvikalpa-Samadhi. In this experience, during deep meditation, a force known as kundalini awoke at the base of my spine. This legendary energy rose up my spine through the chakras and flooded my brain with ecstatic force, reducing me to a state of nirvana.

As the ecstatic state finally ended, I descended back into my body and felt the pressure of an earthly existence reassert itself on my being. All the pressures of my personal life fell back into place. I opened my eyes and was back in my body, in that room, with a new energy that had taken place in my will.

I had experienced a state of transcendence from this world, of non-attachment. Thus, when the world came back into focus, I saw all my attachments falling back into place. I became aware of how those things limited me.

I soon changed my life to undo those obstacles. I left college and returned to my family in the redwoods. Thus began a journey to find and pursue meaning in my life.

After a few years of travel, study, and learning from others, I returned to school to be a writer. I had become a poet and philosopher. I have ever since applied the principles that I have learned in order to achieve the tasks presented to me by fate and the higher powers on my Spiritual Path.

In due course, I came across the works of Gopi Krishna, a Hindu poet and mystic who had experienced the same thing in 1937. As I read his autobiography, I recognized the same personal experiences I had gone through. His work allowed me to understood my own personal transformation, providing language and a conceptual context to understand it.

I mention this not to focus on my life, but rather to understand the experience of nirvikalpa in relation to the idea of non-attachment. Surely this is the summum bonum of spiritual endeavor, to transcend the earthly world and achieve liberation as prescribed by Siddhartha in his articulation of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.
  1. Life includes Dissatisfaction (suffering)
  2. Suffering is caused by Desire
  3. Desirelessness is Liberation
  4. The Eight-Fold Path to Liberation

In this formulation, non-attachment means to be desireless, and hence attachment is desire. Indeed, I felt liberated from desire during my experience. Over the years I have had to face fear directly, and cast myself forward on the path in spite of my fears. This addressing of material and emotional attachment has challenged me, but because of my absolute faith in the Spiritual as a result of my experience, I have let go of attachments, although it has been difficult.

Many times over the decades since my nirvikalpa experience, I have contemplated the earthly pressures I felt upon returning to everyday life after bathing in cosmic ecstasy that fulfilled all my desires. Bathed in cosmic oneness, my deepest longings were satisfied in every nerve of my being.

There is a dichotomy in our society between groundedness in the earth and transcendence. One thinks of Einstein, his head in the clouds, and all the absent minded professors, so abstract in their thinking they cannot stay conscious of their physical bodies. It reminds me of a story about Ramakrishna, the 19th century Hindu saint.

One day Ramakrishna and his assistant went into town to buy some items. The assistant went into a store, purchased some items, and returned to the wagon. Ramakrishna was gone.
19th century Hindu saint

Lord of the Dance

The frightened assistant looked for him for hours, finally coming across him at quite a distance from where they had stopped. He went up to Ramakrishna and put his hand on his arm. Ramakrishna turned to him and exclaimed, “How could you have let me wander off like that!”

Thus is the genius often relegated to a space in their imagination that is so vivid, so expanded, that they are literally not in this world but in one of their imagination where creative concepts and images live in full reality. I can attest to having been in this state. It requires extraordinary discipline to turn away from the sheer pleasure of creative imagination and pay attention to the mundane matters of this earth.

And yet, and yet… We live in a time when the earth cannot be ignored, where we see the imbalance in our planetary ecosystem at every turn. Perhaps this is why I chose to become a professional environmentalist, because it has become a necessity for me to attend to this world both for professional and personal reasons.

The fear that one encounters in departing from the world of attachment to material objects is the fear that one’s responsibilities will not be met. Only when one’s faith overcomes one’s fears is it possible for one to open to the world of the Spirit, The Great Spirit in the Native American formulation. Through Faith, made possible only by humility and surrender to the crushing force of Truth, can the world of Spirit be activated within us, and the laws of Spirit prevail in one’s life.

One can see this change acting on the lives of the founders of religions, the prophets of our histories who forsook material reward in order to live in the world. Buddha begged, Jesus rejected materialism, Mohammed owned no property, because they did not need earthly objects to satisfy nonexistent desires. This is the nature of prophets, whose deep satisfaction is innate.

If we are indeed entering a New Age, it is a new age of harmony with Nature. This can only be achieved if we can find humility in the individual human condition. Such humility is not insincere if it acknowledges the actual plight of every individual, for the most part unable to control our fate.

We are born into a world over which we have no control. We are one amongst billions of people, in a world of billions of stars. Humility is the simple acknowledgement of reality and is the only sane conclusion one can reach about our true state as living beings on this planet.

This is aptly shown through the Hindu image of Shiva, Lord of the Dance. There dances Shiva encircled by flame, four armed, with one foot resting on the back of a dwarf lying on its belly. That dwarf is the ego, the message that life is a dance if one can keep the ego under control.

To be without egotism and attachment is to be without a distinct form, to be formless. Thus one can adapt with endless flexibility to the requirements of the moment. It is like the old Zen story about the monk whose kitchen burned down.

“Now I have a place from where I can see the moon.”

Consider the cultures of the world. Each has its values and mores, and each differs from all the others in certain respects. Some would be aghast to eat pork, others to eat beef, and still others to eat dog.

Some practice polygamy, some monogamy, and others revere celibacy. Each believes in their own way, but these attachments to the mores are not intellectually based, but rather connected to viscera and emotion. Such are the attachments that separate us from each other.

In particular, nationalism and religious dogma are deeply held and embraced attachments. Loyalty to God and Country causes people to live their lives in the service of a struggle such as a war. Such service may be justifiable under certain conditions, but blind faith serves only to prop up dictators and corrupt, archaic systems.

If the biological imperative is to adapt, then formlessness has the greatest chance for survival. Even today as we consider the causes and effects of global warming, observe with what difficulty the United States adapts to it in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is real and human-caused. Material attachments and current patterns of production and consumption are defended in an irrational manner, denying the need to change our way of living, rejecting an end to self-destructive waste and selfishness.

So here’s the challenge: How can we grow spiritually as is the direction of all religious traditions, and yet live in this world, attending to the very real threats to our existence whether ecological or sociological? How can we embrace the heavenly spirituality of Ramakrishna and yet address the material threats of global warming etc… We can only do it through non-attachment.

Hence, to live in the body is to feel emotions, so withdrawing to an ascetic existence does not serve human needs. There is such a thing as legitimate anger. Emotions are grounding.

Ultimately, the task we have, and it is by no means an easy one, is to integrate all the different streams of human existence into one – to become the super pragmatist as well as the saint. One thinks of Mother Teresa attending to the impoverished in India. This is the realm of service, and in the end it is a major path to liberation as one loses the ego in generosity and charity.

Enlightenment is not abstract, it is corporeal. The old Zen saying is, “Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.” Understanding this is the meaning of the New Age.

It is not simply living an ethereal and abstract existence. That may or may not feel good, but it does not reach the summum bonum of human existence, to act in the service of humanity. We are not embracing the New Age idealism if we are living it from an armchair.

The soul has incarnated here for a reason. Carne is meat in Spanish. True spirituality is found in living in the real world, contributing however one can.

When the soul un-incarnates, gives up the body to experience pure spirit, the body dies. As Charlie Chaplin says in the film A King in New York (1957), “I can’t stand the sight of blood, but it flows in my veins!”

A King in New York (1957) Charles Chaplin
Don’t worry about becoming spiritual. Do what you can do to help others, attend to your responsibilities, act with kindness, and protect your integrity. No one knows what happens after death, but we are here to live the lives we were granted to the best of our ability.

Spiritual development is an evolutionary process, both for the individual and the species. As the human spiritual instinct grows, all things will begin to make more sense. In another few hundred years, we’ll know more and be better people than today.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Overcoming Addiction

Have you ever watched To Catch a Predator, the Dateline-NBC show with Chris Hansen? The show that breaks for commercial with the guy lying face down on the ground and a large policeman’s knee in his back.

More Dateline-NBC Busts

These men, the ones busted on Dateline-NBC, don’t seem able to control themselves. And that’s the real story. That after being on the air for months, with all the attendant publicity and buzz around the program, men still show up to meet the 13-year old girl. They are willing to risk everything. Like moths to a flame, they can’t help themselves. They’re addicted.

The first step to overcoming any type of addiction is admitting. Without admitting, the addict simply rationalizes his behavior or makes up lies. But with the police waiting outside with drawn guns and transcripts of the chat logs, there is little wriggle room.

Part of the admitting process is understanding the addiction. But rational people don’t always act rationally; understanding addiction is only part of the solution. In fact, many addicts go back to the chat room as soon as they are released by the police.

However, not every addict ends up in desperate straights. That’s why it’s so hard to admit to addiction. It’s easy to fool yourself and others. But the curtain always comes crashing down — eventually.

The problem is we don’t have a good grasp of what addiction really is. Is it a behavioral anomaly or a disease? Until now, we’ve tended to separate addictions into two categories, one behavioral, the other substance-based. But what if all addictions: those in the substance category that we term diseases like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs and those in the behavioral category that we term moral failures like gambling, eating, shopping, or sex all stem from the same type of brain activity?

According to New Scientist writer Helen Phillips, “Several studies of the brain and behavior back the idea that there’s very little difference between what goes on in the head of a gambling addict and that of a crack addict. Yet, there’s a common perception that overindulgence in certain behaviors is all down to individual choice. If you are overeating, oversexed, gambling away your earnings or spending all you time online, you are more likely to be considered morally abhorrent than the victim of a disease. Calling these problems ‘addictions’ has triggered debates about whether our society or our biology is to blame.”

Substance addictions have attendant withdrawal consequences, from physical indicators like sweats, nausea, cramps to psychological problems like hallucinations, depression, and moodiness. Alcohol sufferers experience DTs; drug addicts can expect physical breakdown and “cold turkey” sessions; cigarette smokers are so hooked that even a serious lung condition is not enough to make them quit. According to researchers, behavioral addicts suffer the same symptoms.

Drug addicts have drug addiction treatment centers to seek help from, while those afflicted with various behavioral addictions also have addiction facilities that specialize in dealing with such issues. 

Yet in many instances, the consequences of behavioral addictions are in some ways even harsher. For overeating there is rejection, radical surgery, diabetes, and social ostracism. For gambling there’s prison, debt collection, financial ruin. For sex addicts, the ones who commit serious crimes, there is sterilization, castration or prison. Yes, in case you didn’t know it, radical solutions like castration are widely discussed and promoted.

Because he hasn’t been caught in some serious transgression, the addict keeps coming back for more, especially since, as cited by New Scientist writer, Helen Phillips, “both drugs of abuse and pleasurable behaviors trigger the release of the same chemicals (dopamine) and gene regulators in the brain.”

So what do research, medicine, psychology, yes, and even law enforcement, offer sex addicts in the way of remedies? A variety of tools and treatments, from therapy to medication to sterilization to castration. Some of the therapies actually suggest that abstinence be part of the treatment. Abstinence?

Abstinence is the equivalent of relying on the little voice in the back of the head every time a person tells a lie, or every time an alcoholic ends up in the gutter, or every time a thief holds up a liquor store. Yes, the little voice is there all right, but the liar, the alcoholic, and the thief have long ago pushed the Mute Button. Their addiction has drowned out the voice in the back of the head.

Well, many of the men who appear on Dateline-NBC seem normal. Many are talented, creative, and gainfully employed: doctors. Rabbis, teachers. The only thing holding them back from completely functional lives is their obsessions.

To break an addiction, we need a technique that doesn’t rely on the voice in the back of the head, the conscience as some call it. But, you say, that’s impossible because you just said the sexual addict is unable to obey any moral imperative. Is there a treatment the addict can self-administer? And, if there is, why would he choose it?

The harder he works to satisfy the urges that rouse him, the longer he continues to evade admitting his problem, the less he’ll be looking for treatment. But if he gets to the point of admitting and wants to take control of his own destiny, to avoid entering the system and its enforced treatment programs that include: therapy, medication, prison, sterilization, and castration, there is sublimation. A process whose side effects are wholly positive and whose cost in dollars is zero.

Does the sublimation process change the way a person fantasizes over his obsessions? No, it’s not possible to take over someone’s fantasies and redirect them. That was the theme of Stanley Kubrick’s famous film, Clockwork Orange, using drugs and punishment to reprogram an offender. It didn’t work; reprogramming blows the mind. Rather than reprogramming the mind — a process that kills creativity — sublimation diverts the sexual energy into the brain. Implemented successfully, it changes the arousal patterns the individual feels. How does sublimation work?

Instead of flooding the brain with dopamine, the addict’s reward for pressing the "pleasure button," the body’s chemical substances are recombined and used for worthier purposes, such as self-healing, overcoming addiction, and expanding consciousness. All addicts — dopers, drinkers, smokers, eaters, gamblers, shoppers, lechers — pursue their addiction to trigger the dopamine response. That’s right, the reward takes place in the brain, not the penis, or the stomach, or any other part of the body. The craving that starts in the mind is the brain’s pleading for dopamine.

Sublimation, too, affects brain chemistry, but in a different way. Proper sexual sublimation diverts the seminal fluid up the spinal column into the brain. The introduction of this new element into the brain changes the brain chemistry such that the organ itself is completely transformed. Once transformed, the addict’s consciousness as well as his attitudes and worldview changes, too. He has the chance of starting over. Rebirth. Rediscovery. Recovery. The new Being.

Think of it as an opportunity to grow, to become the REAL you. Read Gopi Krishna's Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man and other books about awakening experiences. Notice I use the work "awakening." That's because Kundalini promotes a complete makeover, not just physical, but mental, psychic, emotional, spiritual. The "awakening" is just the beginning. There are years of learning and accepting, until he finally realizes the Kundalini energy has his best interests at heart.

If this addict — on the threshold of a Kundalini awakening — could look back at himself as he is today from a time 40 years in the future, he'd wonder who the person was that was so obsessed with sex and say to himself, "What a waste of good semen! All that porn, all that lust, all that wasted sexual energy! I could have been using it to build the REAL me."

But how does an addict, in the full denial of his addiction, find any information on self-realization, much less information on Kundalini? It's the smallest needle (no pun intended) in the largest haystack. Add to this the addict's blindness to everything besides his addiction and the odds seem impossible. And yet, many addicts are spiritual people. They're just looking for salvation in the wrong places. If they could only get a glimpse of their alternate Self — a higher consciousness version of their Being — thanks to a momentary encounter with the Energy Continuum, they might work their way free of their affliction. 

Sublimation utilizes no instruments, no surgical procedures, no medication. It requires no sworn oaths of chastity. For me, it was the result of Golden Flower Meditation. I used this method over forty years ago; it changed my entire being. The whole and complete method is discussed and elaborated on in my book, Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time.

So, what does this method entail? Basically learning to breathe in a certain manner during meditation practice, a voluntary physical action which in turn produces a series of reactions that culminate in the activation of the dormant Kundalini mechanism. No more, no less. It’s an entirely physical process.

And it doesn't end there. If you can't meditate, for whatever reason, there are other means of activating Kundalini, other ways to trigger sublimation.

So what happens when the Kundalini process runs its course? First, Kundalini doesn’t just change your body; it changes your entire being. Living with Kundalini makes your body sensitive to negative stimuli: alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, bad food. Any ingestible substance that might harm your body. One by one your addictions drop away. You’ll know exactly which substances harm your body and you’ll take steps to avoid them.

In addition, you’ll begin to make better life decisions. The fact that you are no longer addicted clears the mind. Gradually, you become a better decision maker and problem solver. You are more able to live in the moment. The sublimation process changed my being and personality. It produced a complete creative repurposing of brain chemistry. The very chemical process that once marked me for addiction was altered. Instead of dopamine — the brain chemical addicts crave — my brain was fed a new substance, an elixir distilled from seminal fluid. Sounds strange, perhaps, but if you long for a healthier life and greater overall creativity, you’ll marvel at its restorative properties.