Monday, December 29, 2014

Bullshit and Kundalini

In Australia, when I was young, every child was given a bullshit gauge, an internalized notched stick he or she could dip into the bullshit outside and check the depth. I've still got mine. I dipped it in the current the other day and the tripe was over my head. Enlightened Ones who are oh, so heavy. Detached Ones who can't get out of bed without a glass of vodka. Pure Ones who fuck their best friend's wife. World Teachers parroting: "Do as I say, not as I do."
Hammer and Nail
Driving It Home

I like to go for a walk in the cosmos occasionally, but I was scared I might drown. I consulted my bullshit gauge. It said: "These guys are all in your head, Paul. They're only figments of your imagination. They're the bullshit in you. See that notch there?" Kundalini's outside of all this stuff. Bullshit can't stick to: "She who goes upwards, and is outside the universe."

That's why it's wise to concentrate on the practical things: the effect of Kundalini on the body, on the brain, on diet, family life, sexual health and the state of the world, as JJ Semple does in The Biology Of Consciousness and his other books. It can feel awkward, speaking about Kundalini in personal terms, but it's better than being a World Teacher.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Love takes us the furthest possible distance out of ourselves towards another, at the same time, it reveals our fundamental solitude. In a materialistic age, love, and particularly physical love, is perhaps the only access to transcendence that remains open.

Awakened Kundalini transforms the body and the brain, and, in so doing, transforms love, and the act of love.

It's easy to criticize the soft porn consumerism of modern culture, but the tingle we get when we buy a new car, Get Closer With Gillette, or listen to Rihanna with our gonads, proves what the Buddha said: that everything is made of desire; manifestation itself is nothing but asava — primordial longing and intoxication. Even a pebble, or an express train rushing past a platform, is a condensation of desire, an attachment to density, shape, speed. The truly painful thing is that, in this situation, even the most decent forms of love — marital loyalty, love of children, altruism — share the same cosmic itch. I love my wife, but I'm jealous of her loving anyone else but me. I'd spill blood to get my children ahead. Giving makes me feel good about myself.

Kundalini changes all this. Kundalini awakens in the centre at the base of the spine. The experience is radical because it is here, in the muladhara chakra, that we share our sheer physicality — our density of bone, nerve and muscle, our speed of thought and neural reflex, our form as one particular human body — with pebbles and express trains and stars and animals. That sounds grandiose, but the actual living of it, when Kundalini awakens at the base of the spine, is a burning sensation of physical aridity. This arid heat is condensed sexual drive, Eros without an object or outlet. This burning force is probably the source of fetishism, making a shoe or garment become sexually charged, revealing the erotic nature of even 'dead' matter.

The presence of transcendence in the body, the thing that awakens Kundalini at the base of the spine, is symbolized in the Tantras by the Siva lingam. It's a proof of the wisdom of Tantra that Ultimate Consciousness is represented by something as unthinking as an erect penis. The Siva lingam, however, is not just located at the base of the spine. It's also found in the heart and the brain, and it's in the heart, when Kundalini opens the heart chakra, that arid desire is transformed into love.

In traditional wisdom, the heart, and not the brain, is the seat of consciousness. True understanding occurs in the heart, to be registered — or not — as thought, in the head. At the moment of death, the life force rushes to the heart and gathers a shining intensity.

The event that occurs when Kundalini opens the heart chakra is as important as the awakening at the base of the spine. There's a sensation of becoming porous. One's skin is no longer a boundary between oneself and the outside world. There's a sensation of being strained, outwards, through the skin, like whey from curds. The sense of touch is so heightened, it's like coming home from a day handling bricks and paving slabs to the touch of a woman's skin. The feeling of separation from people and things loses its hold on us. One understands that to truly see anything — one's own body, a cup on a table, another's body — one must be it. Duality is impossible. This is the authentic love which in Buddhism is called Karuna, or Compassion. It's not compassion in the sense of looking down on, and pitying, someone or something that's separate. Karuna includes oneself. It's a compassion that extends to the most beautiful, powerful, enviable thing in the world, as well as to the most abject. This is because what this love "compassionates" is manifestation itself, i.e. everything. What this love "pities" is the fact of coming into existence at all. That's why, strictly speaking, it has no object. It doesn't — it can't — single out this or that person or thing. It's described by the Buddha in the Appamanna, or Irradiant Contemplation: "The ascetic dwells with his spirit pervaded by love and irradiates one direction, a second, a third, a fourth, so across, and upward and downward, he irradiates the whole world with loving mind, with ample, profound, unlimited mind, free of hate and rancor."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Permanent vs. Temporary Kundalini

Kundalini Activations Take Many Forms
When I visited Gopi Krishna in 1977, we discussed the reasons behind this phenomenon. “Why," he asked me, "do some people experience Kundalini so fleetingly while others — a very select few — live it 24 hours a day from the time of awakening till the day they die?”

Fork in the Road: The Path Less Traveled
I told him what I'd gleaned from my experience, that the difference must reside in the method, “In my case, once I penetrated the symbolic, poetic language of The Secret of the Golden Flower, it read like an instructional manual. It’s hard to imagine that this method was the work of one person, that one person discovered the method and then wrote the book. I have trouble believing it worked only once, for the person who wrote the book, and then twelve centuries later, it worked once again for me. Since its discovery, this method must have worked for thousands in its initial oral form, handed down over many generations before it was eventually printed.”

Permanent Kundalini is like an electrical current that never stops. The individuals who experience it know it never stops. Permanent Kundalini does not include cases where individuals felt a jolt of electricity over a given interval, followed by a complete cessation of same, even though, as a result of experiencing Kundalini, they had their lives irrevocably changed. Lingering effects are understandable, but any feelings — no matter how intensely felt — do not constitute permanent Kundalini. Permanent Kundalini is a condition under which Kundalini energy circulates 24 hours a day. That is the difference between Permanent and Temporary.

Some of the areas of confusion need to be considered — what it is and what it isn't: It is not a longing to recapture some effervescent moment of clarity. Nor is it a Close-Encounters-of-a-Third-Kind feeling that something will, or has, happened. Permanent Kundalini is happening now and will be happening twenty minutes from now, and for the rest of your life.

It is not a foreshadowing or a frisson, an exhilaration or a rush, a fleeting sensation, a bliss state, or a lasting memory. It is not an unbearable lightness of being. It is more like a medical condition, a very rare condition. A constant companion. Like high-blood pressure, you cannot shake it. Start with the earliest childhood memories of yourself, what you might call Condition Normal. Set aside the commotion in your head and concentrate on your physical being as you first apprehended it as a child. Add to that an element of energy constantly welling up from below, a newfound sensitivity to energy sources (food, beverages, natural, mechanical and electronic forces) and a heightened awareness and you have permanent Kundalini.

Welcome or not, it’s invested you, and you can’t shake it; you can only learn to live with it. Which brings us back to the question of why some experiences are temporary and others are permanent. Is it a question of method? Does the way the experience is triggered determine its permanency?

I have met and talked with many people about their Kundalini experiences. Not as many as Gopi Krishna, but quite a few. Generally, they fall into three categories:
    • Those who are not sure they have really experienced Kundalini. Difficult to gauge.
    • Those who experience Kundalini temporarily and retain vivid memories of the experience. Quite common.
    • Those whose Kundalini, once activated, continues 24-hours a day. Very rare.
      Those who are not sure they have experienced Kundalini
      In a perfect world this group should not exist— Kundalini is either active or it isn’t. Nevertheless, the group does exist and its members exhibit various and sundry states of affect. In a perfect world there would be people trying to activate Kundalini, people in whom it was active or who activated it at one time and in whom it has since returned to a dormant state, and people in whom it was awakened or who awakened it permanently. No one would be unsure. In our less than perfect world there is less surety.

      People often think they are infirm, yet they are perfectly well. It called hypochondria, and it's startlingly prevalent. Mental states and predispositions often cloud what’s really happening in the body and the mind. That’s why Gopi Krishna came to the realization that Kundalini was often mistaken for mental illness. While mental illness is an accepted phenomenon, until recently most people know nothing about Kundalini, so it’s easy to understand how a Kundalini experience that stirs up energy centers might be mistaken for mental illness, especially in a culture featuring offhand remarks like, “I must be going crazy” and “Are you nuts?” There’s a lot of confusion out there, people confusing what’s happening in the body with what’s happening in the mind, and vice-versa. Nevertheless, as Kundalini becomes more familiar and the term is used more frequently, people may begin to understand the differences, even though it is probable that some forms of mental illness and all forms of Kundalini have a biological origin.

      For those striving to awaken Kundalini, yet never seeming to get there, the problem isn’t mental illness; it’s one part method and one part Karma. After working with Kundalini for a long time, I have realized that some people are not destined to activate it, no matter how hard they try.

      Those who've experienced Kundalini temporarily
      A large part of this group activates Kundalini accidentally. This is neither good nor bad; it is what it is. When it happens and the person knows nothing about Kundalini, there’s a temptation to fight it, to resist giving in to it, which is foolish because, once activated, Kundalini takes control.

      Kundalini can be triggered by Yoga, by meditation, by ingesting drugs, or just plain not-doing. It can occur while walking down the street, driving a tractor, chewing your food, or making love. Just about any banal activity or non-activity can set it off. When it does occur, don’t fight it. Why? Because you can’t. So submit and learn. Perhaps, it will go away; perhaps it won’t. If it does go away, it’s probably because you did something to temporarily release sublimated sexual energy or the energy shook loose on its own. If the energy does cease for some reason, the conduits — between the base of the spine and the brain — have not been permanently opened or, as Gopi Krishna stated, the "serpent fire is not burning ceaselessly." 

      How it burns is just as important as if it burns. As Osho said:
      “Kundalini is not felt because it is rising; kundalini is only felt if you do not have a very clear passage. If the passage is completely clear-cut, then the energy flows, but you cannot feel it. You feel it when there is something there that resists the flow. If the energy flows upward and you have blocks in the passage, only then do you feel it. So the person who feels more kundalini is really blocked: there are many blocks in the passage, so the kundalini cannot flow.”
      At this point it’s up to you whether you want to pursue the matter. Read Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time. Read the many other first hand accounts of Kundalini awakenings. Do you want to move forward? Do you want to recapture the Kundalini condition permanently? If so, use a reliable meditation method, one that you've vetted scrupulously. Do NOT attempt it if you’re not absolutely sure and/or you don’t have the time and the support system to follow through.

      If you have experienced Kundalini in any way, shape, or form, vivid memories of the experience will stay with you, even though the condition itself may have become dormant, even though the current may have ceased to flow. You will be able to use this experience in your overall understanding of life.

      Those whose Kundalini is permanently active
      In Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man Gopi Krishna describes his search for individuals whose Kundalini functions 24-hours a day without respite. He did not find many. This in India, a country renowned for spiritual exploration and practice.

      So if Gopi Krishna couldn’t find them, and modern investigators can’t find them, there can’t be many. Why is this? There are as many reasons as there is diversity among individual experiences. Perhaps there should be a directory of case studies with gradations and classifications, especially given the interest in the subject and the various gurus and methods extant. But there is no directory.

      The only testimony I can bring to bear is my own. That I’ve lived with Kundalini for over forty years, that it’s a biological transformation triggered by intense neuroplastic activity which, in turn, leads to an extension of consciousness and in some cases, although it varies from case to case, the appearance of metanormal powers.

      I’d like to say that in each successful case permanent Kundalini is due to the successful application of a method. But I can’t, even though I myself used Golden Flower Meditation (GFM), the time-tested method derived from The Secret of the Golden Flower. Even though I've been saying, "It worked for me. It ought to work for others."

      So while the method should constitute a testimony to the ancient adepts who discovered it, I can’t say with any certainty that others have used my method successfully, even in cases where the individual insists he or she has. Is that a cop out? No, merely the realization that each case is difficult to verify and document.

      As with all historical information of this type, this method — the one I used — must be continually tested and hopefully improved. Why? Because if a serious line of study is ever to emerge around Kundalini, the method must be tested and peer reviewed. After all, wouldn't you rather start your Kundalini activation efforts with a reliable method than have Kundalini strike you while riding the subway or watching a baseball game. I would.

      For the moment, however, even with the extraordinary buzz surrounding Kundalini and Kundalini Yoga today, there’s just no telling how, when, or where it will strike, and once it does strike, whether it will be permanent or temporary...

      Since the death of Gopi Krishna in 1984, Kundalini has fragmented into various and sundry groups, all believing they hold the answers to the mysteries of higher consciousness. Not that the focus was more acute while he was alive, it probably wasn’t, but his voice — supported by his incisive writings — was practically the only consistently sensible voice out there. Since his death, a Babel of Voices has commanded the stage, and that disunity is responsible for the lack of focus.

      Compare the work around Kundalini to that on Near Death Experience (NDE) and you see a disorganized set of rival tendancies next to a phenomenon now being studied at the Psychology Departments in universities.

      Why? NDEs have one trigger; Kundalini has many. NDEs share the same effects while the effects of Kundalini are varied and disparate. Yet, the effects of an NDE are a mere subset of those manifested after a permanent Kundalini activation.

      Why do I use the term activation, rather than awakening? While I don’t use it exclusively, I do think it’s appropriate because it shifts the discussion to a more scientific basis so we can begin to investigate the biological nature of this amazing phenomenon. If we are unable to do this, Kundalini will remain a cult or sect with quasi-religious overtones in most people's minds. And we will keep spinning our wheels.

      I don't rule out the divine in my investigation, but I have no evidence to support it. Yes, I can attribute divine origins to certain aspects of Kundalini, but that is only my mind — influenced by cultural conditioning — that is doing the attributing. Rather than starting with the divine, I want to start with the "biological basis" that Gopi Krishna so ably pointed to 40 years ago and work my way up from there.

      Sunday, November 23, 2014

      Is Kundalini a Challenge?

      Awakening Kundalini is sometimes linked to the word "initiation." Is this as it should be? Initiation involves a test, facing an ordeal and overcoming it. Some initiations involve a ritualized death. The hero descends into the underworld and returns with the Golden Bough.

      Parzival, in the Medieval mystery romance by Wolfram von Eschenbach, beholds the Grail, and the wounded King who guards it. It's a test which Parzival at first fails. There is a question he must ask, which he fails to do. The story doesn't actually state what the question is, whether Parzival needs to ask the true nature of the Grail? And what it is for? Or whether it's the compassionate question: "What ails you?" that he must ask the suffering king. It may well be similar to Krishnamurti's "impossible question." Perhaps, the point is that the transcendent question cannot be put into words.

      The awakening of Kundalini was certainly an ordeal for Gopi Krishna. He suffered years of acute pain, and was at the edge of insanity and physical death. There is a crucial moment in his account of the awakening, when he realizes that he must guide the energy from the fiery, male, outwards-directed pingala nadi into the cool, female, inwardly-directed ida nadi. He manages this and survives. It's like the passing of a test.

      On a humbler level, in meditation, there are moments when the Kundalini energy clarifies into wordless realizations. Some of these realizations one "survives," in the sense of letting them arise, and accepting them with one's body and physical brain. Some of them one "fails," in the sense of blocking them out with a physical recoil. At the moment of Shaktic clarification, and "survival," the breathing is deep, unforced, spontaneously protracted. At the moment of "failure," there's a catch in the chest, a sort of shadow from the brain, a reflex of fear somewhere in the nervous system, and one is back with one's limited mind.

      Perhaps a similar thing happens during love-making. Orgasm is pleasurable, but it can feel like a defeat. Lovers approach an awakening to the transcendent that becomes too powerful to handle, and throws them back into physical orgasm. What it is, inside us, that might pass such a test, is difficult to say. I don't think it's the willful struggle with oneself, which involve the various anti-ejaculatory methods. Perhaps, there are moments when love rapture is so intense, the heart simply stands up to the influx of energy.

      If Kundalini is a test, it raises the question: who, or what, is being tested? It certainly can't be, or shouldn't be, the day-to-day self for whom earning a living and being polite to people is sometimes a struggle. On the other hand, if it's some central core of being, the "self-subsisting" state in the heart chakra, that's going through this process, is it right to even speak of a test? I think it is. Being tested, failing or succeeding, are part of evolution. The evolutionary challenge, which was once purely external, has now been internalized. It's a process that needs time to happen. And something else, too, seems to come about: the evolutionary test is no longer a matter of "survival of the fittest" — kill or be killed. Parzival failed his question test, but was given another go, asked the mysterious question at the second opportunity, he won the Grail. Failure is never absolute, nor is success. There's a sort of cosmic compassion in this. Time is a gift. Blake called time "the mercy of Eternity."

      Thursday, November 20, 2014

      Transforming the Egoic Obsession with Being Right

      It never fails to amaze me how we as human beings are more concerned with being right rather than being happy. In fact, I am slightly in awe of the depth and strength of this innate part of the design of human being. What lies behind this need to be right? For me, it's about control.

      The only way to be able to control life is to be right. This allows you to harbor the illusion that you are in control, which, in turn, provides temporary relief. But if you examine this closely, how much control over your life do you really have? And is the amount of control that you do have enough to induce you to relinquish the possibility of spiritual self-understanding that results when you renounce your obsessive need for control.
      Graph of the control impulse

      This month my book Female Kundalini was published. Had I not been prepared to give up being right — the belief that I had to stick with Buddhism to become spiritually awakened — writing about the journey I share in my book would not have been possible. The cost of forfeiting "being right" is nothing less than, at best, spiritual awakening and, at worst, enlightenment.

      Female Kundalini cover
      Having been a spiritual seeker for most of my life, I now see the futility of the search. So, instead of being right about the value of the spiritual search and increasing my "searching," I am turning to the path of  devotion: giving up being right about the search by trusting and surrendering that I am already what I seek to be and that all will be revealed to me in time. It is this willingness to give up being right about the search that has made the path of devotion, which I have taken on, so powerful in terms of the realizations and experiences I frequently have. 

      It is the ego that wants to be right because being right guarantees its survival. The minute you give up being right, you transcend the ego, resulting in an experience of peace and bliss. It’s not possible to be right and be happy at the same time; only one of the two can be present and active at any one time. 

      Hnads clasped in prayerThe path of devotion is a path of turning away from the ego. Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion. For many years during my search, I pursued a rational scientific explanation to account for the experiences I was having. Many thought that this was disrespectful of me, not to honor those experiences as the precious events they were. I listened to these opinions, but I still pursued a rational explanation, which I go into detail about in my book. Looking back now, I see that by pursuing a rational explanation I was turning away from the ego. This turning away from ego to science was a form of devotion in that it served to take away attention from the ego so that the effects of Kundalini could integrate with minimal ego involvement. What is important is the turning, not so much what you turn to.

      This then begs the question about those who turn to the path of devotion. If devotion was all that was necessary, you'd think there'd be more success stories of  spiritual awakening/enlightenment. Thousands practice Bhakti yoga, yet thousands are not awakened spiritually. If what I am saying is true, then why are there not more awakened and/or enlightened people in the world? This is a valid question, one I have pondered for the last couple of years. It has to do with the other aspects involved in awakening: self-observation, self-understanding, and taking responsibility for what is discovered.  

      Cat thinks he's a lion.
      If spiritual awakening is to happen, human beings must find the courage to engage in intense self-observation in order to derive self-understanding.  Such introspection results in taking responsibility, which is not the same as blame. Taking responsibility means I, the creator and source of my life, am dedicated to uncovering the deep patterns that drive every aspect of our inner life, i.e., thoughts, feelings, negative emotions, actions. Without intensive inner work, the path of devotion is not complete. This is why I continue to do transformational self-development seminars from time to time so that I can uncover deep seated patterns, take responsibility for them, and then hand them over to my Guru so that He can make them obsolete through non-use. I have learned a lesson from people who have written posts naming Gurus and so I’m not going to fall into the trap of naming Him here.  

      The path of devotion together with the conscious process of self-observation and self-understanding is effective, yet such a path is viewed with deep suspicion in our western culture, particularly the aspect of devotion to a Guru. Yet, the word Guru means from dark to light — so the Guru takes the consciousness from the dark to the light. It is ironic that I now advocate the path of devotion and responsibility because, many years ago, I saw how a self-proclaimed Guru turned out to have feet of clay, which caused emotional distress among his followers. At that time, I declared that having a Guru was something I was never again going to do. What I learned by taking this stance is that to say "never" to anything is to awaken the play instinct of the Divine. Now, never is a declaration which I am vigilant about not making.

      There is something about the path of devotion which threatens the ego. If it is a turning away of the consciousness from ego to something else, then in time, it will result in the ego being transcended. When I spoke about the path of devotion to a friend and told her the name of my Guru, she immediately came back to me with a Wikipedia article discrediting my Guru. What my friend didn't know was that I have already read everything that has been written about Him and it has made absolutely no difference because my heart has recognized and responded, and that is that.

      It is only when you put your ass on the line for something that you become someone and I am putting my ass on the line for whatever length of time I have left on this mortal earth in service and devotion to this Guru, fully trusting that He is who he says He is and that He can do what I cannot by virtue of me being an ego. I have often written that doing this path by yourself is like the thief turning detective to catch itself; it's not possible. After so many years of searching I can validate this through my own experience. It is only now that I feel sufficiently safe on this path of devotion to let go of the need to validate my experiences by rational scientific explanations.

      Solitary devotionI propose that each reader ask him/her self the question "How far has my searching got me?" See if being honest and authentic about this doesn't bring another realization — that "searching" just keeps the search going. It keeps the game of hide and seek between the Self and the not-Self — the Ego and the Soul — going. Recognizing that there is no search (because YOU already are THAT) and turning the attention from the search to the path of devotion, self-observation, and self-understanding is altogether more enlightening and way more enjoyable than the endless round of elation followed by disillusion and disappointment which often characterizes the search.

      Tuesday, November 18, 2014

      Energy and the Collective Unconsciousness

      The undivided non-dual universe

      When I was ordinary, before my Dark Night and my subsequent Ascension, I had some measure of intuition, but was still a separate human being in my own mind. I knew nothing of kundalini. My awareness seemed to exist only inside my mind.

      At the apex of my Ascension, I floated in a cluster of stars, and I was those stars. Duality had disappeared, and I was bathing in an ecstatic unity, the unity of my merger with the Cosmic One.

      I came back down into my body and the physical world, but my mind was permanently altered. The boundaries of my consciousness no longer existed. My awareness extended beyond my skin to include everything around me.

      That was several decades ago. Since that time, I have learned many things from this new state of being into which I entered. One is that we all exist on an energetic plane that underlies the physical world we all perceive. On this plain, we are all energetically connected.

      The illusion of separation is due to the limits of the human mind. Pure and total integration of the disparate parts of the mind can come about through the activation of the kundalini. While this new state is at first seemingly at odds with the rationalized world, it isn’t.

      This integration of faculties is what Integrity means in the highest sense. The energetic world is sometimes called The Way, or Tao; Buddha Nature or Brahmin, the One Without A Second, wrote Shankara. In this unity we are all in continuous contact. It can, therefore, be called the Collective Unconscious, though it is Collective Consciousness to those who have entered this world with their conscious minds.

      The energy of conscious perception in the kundalini-activated mind feels the energetic world and how the energy of this world exists throughout all beings and the Universe itself. Thus “mind-reading” is simply sensing the radiation of this energy from another mind. ESP and other real psychic phenomena exist by virtue of this energy. This is the future birthright of Humanity and what Gopi Krishna wrote about and called the next step in human evolution.

      On this energetic level of reality, beings emanate energy. Powerful beings emanate more energy. Thus, in human society, the energy of powerful minds dominates this layer of human consciousness. Religions are founded by those who have active kundalinis, are aware of this level, and are the most powerful sources of this emanated energy.

      It is important at this time that those with active an kundalini come together and create the potential to act in concert with each other. Such collective action is needed to protect the future of this world and humanity. The potential to change human awareness for the better is possible, and necessary in this dark time.

      Reprinted from Life Is Medicine.

      Thursday, November 6, 2014

      New Kundalini Related Titles From Life Force Books

      The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini examines the notion that consciousness exists outside the body and actually drives evolution by what Gopi Krishna called “the evolutionary impulse.”

      Here's what the prestigious Kirkus Reviews has to say about Case Studies in Kundalini:

      "The author fleshes out the book with a dramatic section devoted to case studies of different types of Kundalini encounters, showing the different ways that practitioners 'awaken' energies inside themselves, as well as how Kundalini helps people tackle personal challenges. These studies give the work an instantly relatable, human dimension that's often missing from books of this kind and underscores Semple's approachable, ordinary-guy tone throughout. New readers approaching this complicated subject will feel immediately at ease, and longtime Kundalini practitioners will no doubt find details that remind them of their own experiences." Read the full review.

      Amazon reviewer, Toro, had this to say: "JJ Semple's third book. The Biology of Consciousness offers in depth accounts of people who have experienced Kundalini Awakening as we'll as JJ's insights into the process of adjusting to life after a Kundalini awakening. I've read all three of his books and there certainly is a progression of information that JJ is revealing, that said, this book definitely provides some of JJ's deepest thoughts on consciousness, Kundalini and the world we live in. With all the misinformation about Kundalini on the web and in yoga classes, JJ is becoming one of the most genuine voices on the matter. Definitely worth a read."

      Margaret Dempsey on Female Kundalini:

      "Female Kundalini is my story — a memoir, an adventure, my journey from Alpha to Omega. I wrote it because I have a spiritual story to tell that I didn’t have to begin with. In fact, spirituality was something that I fell into, rather than a goal I set for myself. As a young girl, turning towards “something” spiritual was a source of comfort in a confusing and bewildering world, but beyond that, I didn’t give it a second thought."

      JJ Semple on Female Kundalini"When I first read Margaret Dempsey’s book, I fell in love, not only with her relentless dedication to self-truth, but also with her spirit of adventure. In her single-minded focus and her honesty in pursuit of self-actualization, she reminded me of a distaff Siddhartha. A steadfast explorer, she has accomplished much in a short time, investigating and practicing many techniques and methods, not as a sycophant, but as an actualizer, a person who tests everything in the laboratory of her body, while remaining true to her ultimate goals, so aptly described in her book."

      From Paul Lyons preface: "The inner event that awakens Kundalini remains a mystery. In Margaret Dempsey’s case, years of Buddhist meditation, galvanized by a traumatic contact with an attractive man, triggered the 'uprising of Shakti.' Her honesty in not attempting to glamorize the awakening attests to its authenticity. The author’s real Self, to which Kundalini eventually brought her, is in evidence from page one, as she describes her upbringing in Catholic Ireland, her days in a boarding school run by nuns, her training as a nurse, and her escape to London, New York and India.

      "Kundalini is nourished by sexual energy. The fundamental polarity of male and female is at the heart of the cosmos. The polarity of male, Siva, and female, Shakti, is also manifested in the human body, in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and the left and right sides of the brain, a subject on which Margaret Dempsey speaks with great insight. The polarity is also revealed in her life story. Her father’s favoring her over her mother, a young priest recovering from a nervous breakdown who speaks to the hearts of the teenage girls in his congregation, her meeting with Mooji, and the 'gorgeous' man who rejected her, are a potent male presence, round which the author’s spiritualized womanhood dances. There is a marvelous moment when she speaks of surrender: 'I had no idea what I was letting go of... I couldn’t have surrendered to nothingness. Somehow I knew there was something to surrender to.'

      "In Tantra, the male god, Siva is both the 'Destroyer' (of illusion and ego) and the 'Immovable Stillness' of transcendence. The goddess, Shakti, is the energy of creation and manifestation. Kundalini is Shakti’s presence in the human body. The book’s title, Female Kundalini, is therefore apt, not just because it is the document of one woman’s Kundalini experience, but because Kundalini Herself, is fundamentally female, even in men."
      ~ Paul Lyons, London

      One written by a man, the other by a woman, both books illustrate Gopi Krishna's notion of the Evolutionary Impulse — the urge to transcend the world of illusion and material success, in favor of a greater understanding of consciousness and a willingness to explore it first hand.

      Monday, November 3, 2014

      Kundalini And The Ten Thousand Things

      It's true: "The Great Tao remains still, in the midst of circumstances." There is a state of non-action that is the deepest action of all; a state of stillness that initiates the dynamic world around us. The human body, however, is a thing of unstillness. My body may have originally emerged from the Primal Stillness, but as it stands, here, now, today, it's a bundle of activities, from its twitches and tics, to its endless stream of consciousness, to the hyperactive neurons busy reflecting that stream of consciousness. This restlessness, this state of constant movement and imbalance, is the same restlessness and motion that creates the "ten thousand things," the circumstances that surround all living consciousness. The ten thousand things are a part of me. Circumstances create me. Some of the ten thousand things are enjoyable — love, family, music, the novels of Elmore Leonard; many are painful — financial insecurity, personal failure, anxiety about the environment, mixing concrete on a bad price on a winter's morning in trendy London.

      When we awaken Kundalini, the paradox of stillness/unstillness reaches a critical point. I believe that Kundalini is triggered by the presence of utter stillness, the possibility of becoming completely still. It's the presence, or possibility, of stillness — somewhere in, or behind, the brain — that makes Kundalini rise towards the brain chakra, in search of union with that primordial Stillness. This is why, when we begin to practice meditation, it's important to put the "ten thousand things" out of our minds. This is why it's essential to make consciousness become as still as is humanly possible in a physical body, and to set "circumstances" — enjoyable, or painful — to one side.

      However, Kundalini Herself is the Life Force. Kundalini is the force behind the "ten thousand things," as much as She is the force behind the meditating body. Kundalini creates "circumstances." That's why, in the Tantras, Kundalini is given such colorful names: "World-Bewilderer," "Washer Woman" (alluding to Her elemental sexuality), "Widow" (alluding to Her sleeping state of separation from her husband, Siva, the Primal Stillness) and "Serpent" (alluding to her coiling and spiraling movement along the spine.) This means that, at some stage in the process, the "ten thousand things" must become part of the awakening. It means that "circumstances" — personal happiness or personal failure — can no longer be shut out, or excluded from meditation.

      When Kundalini awakens in my body, and begins to shape it, She also awakens in the world around me — in my relationship to other people, in my social and financial situation, in my work. Understood at a fundamental level, this is a daunting prospect. It means that I must experience Kundalini in the knocks and failures of my life, as much as in the moments of pleasure and fulfillment. Because Kundalini magnifies and intensifies everything She touches, it includes magnifying and intensifying some painful things.

      Saturday, November 1, 2014

      For Those In Whom Kundalini Rests Dormant

      To my friends — those, in whom kundalini rests dormant, those who are undergoing the first signs of awakening in the form of deep tension and even despair, those undergoing the physical and psychological changes that kundalini induces, and, finally, those whose kundalini arousal is now a reality that they have been living with for decades. As I am in the latter category, I write with some reflection on the totality of my experience, from my initial curiosity to living with it since 1973.

      There is, of course, much misinformation about kundalini, many who don't understand it. The life of Jesus, for example, is a kundalini story. Same for Gautama and Mohammed. Many of the old myths and legends are recognizable as kundalini stories.

      Thinking about the before and after, I'm reminded of the Old Zen saying, "Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water." What does it mean? What then is the difference between the before and the after, before activation of kundalini and after?

      First, the myths. Some religions dictate that heaven and hell exist in the afterlife. Yet, Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you." He was talking metaphorically: that the experience of heaven — the ecstasy we seem to want — is an internal experience we can reach out and grab in this lifetime. That experience is kundalini awakened.

      However, as the life of Jesus illustrates, there is heaven and there is hell. When Jesus asks why his father has forsaken him, he is telling the world that his suffering is great suffering. This is true of so many great geniuses down through history. For example, in Breugel's Fall Of Icarus, we see how little the world notices his fall into the ocean.

      About suffering they were never wrong,
      The Old Masters; how well, they understood
      Its human position; how it takes place
      While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
      How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
      For the miraculous birth, there always must be
      Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
      On a pond at the edge of the wood:
      They never forgot
      That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
      Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
      Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
      Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
      In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
      Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
      Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
      But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
      As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
      Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
      Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
      had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

      In The Musee De Beaux Artes, W.H. Auden

      In Kafka's Metamorphosis, Gregor awakens one day to find he is a giant cockroach. Such is the life of many artists rejected by the culture of their time. Socrates was made to commit suicide. Van Gogh sold a single painting in his life — the one he sold to his brother. The French Impressionists, now held in such high esteem, had to exhibit their works in an alternative venue because the snobish Salon wouldn't allow them in. The voices Joan of Arc heard were deemed witchcraft and she was considered mad.

      Great men and women of genius, driven by an active kundalini, are often isolated and, in some cases, driven to  madness by the culture of their time. Tesla is another great example. The man who gave us the modern electric system never married, had few friends, and died penniless. This is the lot of the genius today.

      Why am I saying this? There is nothing passive about kundalini. One can't help but wince at the promises made to suicide bombers, who are told that when they get to heaven they will be rewarded with so many virgins, etc... These statements can only be made because of the ignorance of the reality of heaven and hell. Yet, this ignorance is widespread in religions around the world; kundalini is not yet widely understood.

      So, if great pleasure exists alongside of great suffering, why do we seek pleasure? Of course, those who misunderstand and think there only unending pleasure in heaven seek it for the wrong reasons. Whether we know it or not, instinctively, each of us is pulled toward higher consciousness. Gopi Krishna said this "evolutionary impulse" exists in all human beings, and is the motivating engine behind human evolution.

      Yet, let us not be disappointed when it does not turn out the way we hoped. Yes, kundalini brings with it great pleasure —massive releases of endorphins. But we're not about to float away to the sky. After my ascent to the 7th chakra, I came back down into my body. I felt all of life's pressures become real again. I changed, but the world did not change, and whatever good I have brought to the world has been a slow process over a lifetime.

      So, before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.  After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.

      Wednesday, October 29, 2014

      My Kundalini Experience

      Like many seeking spiritual knowledge, I started as a novice, looking for something that didn’t exist in the material world. Religion hadn't worked for me, neither had higher education, nor specializations such as law, medicine, business. I wanted to take an active part in my development, to probe for truth beyond the confines of my narrow world. I wanted to be the creator of my own Being.

      Nature at its best
      High Desert Sunrise

      As far as career paths, I felt that everyone around me had already figured things out; all they had to do was learn the ropes, keep their mouths shut, and the doors of riches and success were open to them. I wanted something else, something that would allow me to figure out who I was. At the time, I didn’t know much about spirituality. In fact, the first self-realization technique I came across was hypnosis.

      Almost immediately, however, I sensed there were other forms of consciousness. I thought this was great! I picked up a few books, listened in on a few conversations about yoga and meditation. Pretty soon I found myself on the spiritual bandwagon — Yoga magazines and studios, spiritual bookstores, so-called highly evolved friends, etc. I began to investigate the concepts and employ the vocabulary. Initially I was a dabbler, I practiced Hatha and Kundalini Yogas off and on, but something pushed me toward a deeper exploration. I advanced from dabbler to practitioner. A few months into my meditation practice something unexpected happened. I started getting feedback.

      Feedback from my Body
      My body started changing. Profound psychological and mental changes occurred as well, but the bulk of the transformations occurred in my physical body. Moreover, once the transformations began, my body took over on its own. How does a body take over and effectively transform itself? Very simply, I had aroused a power within myself known as Kundalini, our natural life force, the power that shapes our bodies in the womb. I began to think Yoga and meditation were merely means of physical improvement. Little did I know that the Golden Flower Meditation I was practicing would lead me to metaphysical discoveries.

      A Childhood Injury Led me to Kundalini

      If it wasn’t for a childhood injury that deformed me, I might never have discovered the amazing transformative power of Kundalini. The extraordinary factor in my case was that my injury occurred when I was very young, so young I actually suppressed all memory of the accident that caused my injury.

      Years later, when I was thirty-four, a stranger handed me a book entitled The Secret of the Golden Flower. It was a serendipitous moment, the beginning of my recovery process. I didn’t realize it at the time. In fact, I put the book away for over a year. Sometime later however, I picked it up and began practicing the method of meditation in the text. At first I thought I was wasting my time.

      Kundalini Started Transforming my Body

      The method in The Secret of the Golden Flower was for real. Not only was it for real, this ancient method turned out to be the safest and most complete Kundalini method I’ve run across in my forty years of research. Why? Because it advocates using the backward-flowing method.

      Upon awakening, Kundalini recognized my deformity and immediately began to restore my body to its original state, a pristine state of perfect symmetry that existed before my accident. If that hadn’t happened, my focus on Kundalini — like the focus of so many others — would probably have centered only on consciousness. As it was, I realized the practical healing benefits of Kundalini are as important and as wonderous as the metanormal effects that occur later on.

      A New Phase of Kundalini Research

      The fact that my childhood injury allowed me to discover the amazing transformative power of Kundalini has led me to frame Kundalini in entirely different terms from many other practitioners and researchers. I believe that the most important aspect of Kundalini — aside from its amazing curative power — is that Kundalini is actually an ancient scientific tradition, one that might be called Life Force Science. I did not get this from reading books like Wholeness and the Implicate Order or Mysticism and the New Physics, books written by scientists who, for one reason or another, hit a dead end in their interpretation of the universe, thus turning to mystical explanations. I came to a realization that Kundalini was a key to exploring a new science — the science of consciousness. The act of raising my Kundalini turned my body into a laboratory — one whose processes I could observe and document in a scientific manner. A process for others to explore...the same way I have explored it.

      First, I observed that the diaphragmatic deep breathing I practiced created an energy buildup in my lower belly. I realized this was Prana, the life force energy, and it had a purpose. During meditation, I was able to slow down my heart rate, which seemed to create a vortex of all-encompassing consciousness with my puny being at the center. I noticed this energy in the belly had the property of direction and, if it had direction, I realized I might be able to guide it. But how and where? The words "backward-flowing method" came to mind. Quickly, I looked up the term in The Secret of the Golden Flower. And there it was — almost taunting me to order the energy to change direction. I did, and the rest is Kundalini lore, experiences and wonders so many others have shared. The energy:
      • working its way up my spine to the brain,
      • opening the chakras along the way,
      • reengineering my body,
      • plunging me into the energy continuum.
        All of which should not be thought of as metaphysical phenomenon, but should be treated as scientific actualities, albeit ones the science of today has not yet discovered. Gopi Krishna knew that Kundalini is science; he wrote about it eloquently in his many books. Kundalini is part of the science of consciousness, just as the heart attack is part of medical science or the orgasm is part of reproductive science and biology.

        A Reliable Method of Awakening Kundalini

        Not only did I learn about the self-healing potential of Kundalini, I realized the method I used to arouse my Kundalini was more related to science than to mysticism, religion or spirituality. Why? Because Golden Flower Meditation (GFM) is capable of producing results with the consistency and predictability of a scientific experiment. So even though I started out as a spiritual seeker, I have become a Life Force Scientist. And as I scientist, I suggest that we research all aspects of Kundalini Awakening, from documenting the most reliable methods of activating it to examining the metanormal effects it produces. The best way of documenting Kundalini experiences? Tried and true peer review!

        Biology and Consciousness
        The reason I pursue this is because I have first hand observational experience of metaphysical activity in my own body. Myself and millions of others. Trouble is, even though our experiences are very similar, occur irrespective of culture, language, geography, physical characteristics, without any intimate contact between subjects, material scientists still label these experiences as anecdotal. But every scientific breakthrough starts out as a hypothesis, based on some combination of intuition and anecdote. The reason that biology is important is that, unlike divine inspiration, which must be seen as God randomly choosing candidates for inspiration, Kundalini, induced by the body's biological triggers, becomes an evolutionary mutation capable of modifying DNA within the span of a single lifetime, and even more important, an evolutionary improvement capable of being passed through DNA to future generations.

        Monday, October 20, 2014

        The Self

        We all feel, sometimes obscurely, sometimes urgently, that if we could only escape from ourselves — from our ego, egotism, self-centerdness, selfishness, whatever word we use — we'd emerge into a limitless field of freedom. We attempt to break out with drugs, alcohol, sex, prayer, gambling, altruism; thrills, escapes, addictions, and diversions of all sorts — none of these work. The instant we glimpse the reality beyond our own center something snatches us back. The reason is fairly obvious: selfhood isn't a chimera of the mind that can be shaken off with a bit of positive thinking or by getting plastered. Selfhood is physical. It's in our DNA. Every cell of my body is me. Selfhood, in fact, is as much a product of evolution as our ability to grasp with our thumbs or think logically. It should be cherished. In our efforts to free ourselves of selfishness, self-centeredness, etc, we're in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

        Kundalini Rising
        The Energetic Revival
        Alchemical texts speak of the grain of gold hidden at the bottom of the mine, under the earth. The mine, the earth, is the body, and the grain of gold is the embodied self. It's funny that the shaft dug down into the earth has the same name as the possessive form of "me" (mine).

        Down in the depths of the mine lies the lead that's to be turned back into gold. This is the real, or pure, self that is to be purged of its dross. What is the dross? The dross is conditioning, our false idea of what, and who, we are. At the moment of conception we are pure gold. The conditioning that drags us away from that primal state is deep and powerful: our sense memories...everything we hear, taste, feel, touch, and see; the impact of our basic instincts...cold, heat, hunger, fight and flight; as well as our social constructs...pride, anger, greed, fear, and loneliness. The conditioning that we undergo from the moment of conception onwards isn't just a mental attitude; it's physical. Conditioning works its way into our bodies, into the way we speak, walk, breathe, and make love. Only a powerful energetic revival can overcome it. This energy is Kundalini.

        Kundalini lies coiled asleep at the base of the spine. What wakes Her? What is the trigger? I think it's the awareness that there is a real self somewhere, up there, in the brain — or above and beyond the brain.

        At first, we don't really know because this real self is also, paradoxically, everywhere. It's down in the mine, as well. It's under the earth. It's the Siva Lingam at the base of the spine, round which the sleeping Kundalini lies coiled. This is why Kundalini feeds on sexual energy, because the Siva Lingam at the base of the spine is the "self-subsisting state" in an erotic form, the erotic force that creates physical life and puts each one of us into separate bodies. And, the fact that we end up in separate bodies drives us to love, and couple with, other separate bodies. Kundalini feeds on sexual energy, yet takes us into the "self-subsisting state."

        The Tantric texts have many interesting things to say about selfhood. That the Tantric reality is complex is merely a true reflection of the complexity of selfhood. It has to do with the chakras. The Muladhara Chakra, at the base of the spine, is the place where selfhood is purely physical, a fact of blood, bone, nerve tissue, and DNA. Sexuality is said to originate in this chakra, where our physical separateness is most strongly felt, and not in the Svaddhisthana Chakra at the genitals, where the first upwards movement towards another person occurs.

        When Kundalini opens the Manipura Chakra, in the belly, the experience is often traumatic, because this is where selfhood is felt as opposition to, and struggles against, other people. The Belly Chakra is where we burn with competitive striving, and with the dread of failure. When we find our true self, the same energy that made us afraid, now makes us fearless and strong. The Heart Chakra, or Anahata, is central. It is where the real self, in its cosmic form, resides. That is why this chakra is hard to open, even when Kundalini is coursing up through the body. Again, it has to do with our relationship to others and with the world outside us. In some weird way, the world outside us disappears; other people are taken away from us, and then, by a miraculous act of grace, other people, and the physical world, return to us, as part of us, in a paroxysm of love. The Visshuda Chakra, at the throat, is sometimes called "The Threshold Of Enlightenment."

        Vissudha means purity. When Kundalini opens this chakra, the self is no longer felt to be a separate thing. The identity of all things with the self is directly seen. "I" am the bird on the shed roof. In fact, I'm the shed, too. I'm even the lawnmower hanging on its hook inside.

        In the Ajna Chakra, in the brain, the self is experienced as wholly other. The self is seen to be something coming from another dimension. The Tantras say that the Ajna Chakra is the place of the third Siva Lingam (the other two are at the base of the spine and in the heart), the Itara Lingam, and of the mantra "AUM," and of the Ahamkara, or "I-maker." Itara means "crossing over from beyond." AUM combines the male sound "A" and the female sound "U" in the central channel "M." And Ahamkara, the I-maker, is where the blueprint of our perfect body comes out of the void.

        Tuesday, September 30, 2014

        The Unintended Consequences of Everyday Decisions

        In August, I attended a conference on consciousness and human evolution. Normally, I avoid these events because I find them conceptual and not always derived from experience. But, as I had heard Lynn McTaggart speak before, and had been impressed, and had read the books of another speaker, Amrit Goswami, I thought that it was worth taking a chance to attend.

        Among the speakers, there was one who stood out for me as a mix of vulnerability and strength. Her name is Nicola Christie. She stood out and resonated because she spoke from her direct experience about the need for the psychological ego to be integrated with the spiritual.

        If I had one slight criticism of her talk, it was that she seemed to slightly overindulge her ego. Her presentation included a poem to her ego, acknowledging it for the part that it had played in keeping her safe at times when her survival was threatened but how it was now preventing BEING from reclaiming its "rightful throne." The entire poem was written from the point of view of BEING addressing EGO. I wish that we had been given copies of the speakers' presentations because, aside from the overindulgence, it was a moving poem. One experience she recounted went straight to my core and I thought that my heart would explode with compassion when she spoke about it.

        As I understand it, Nicola works as a psychotherapist. At a therapy session she was attending for trainee psychotherapists, it came out that she had been adopted when she was six weeks or six months old — I can't remember which. Up to this point, she had been on a spiritual path. The therapist asked her "How do you feel about being adopted?" And she glibly replied, "Oh great, I know that I have had a soul contract with my biological mother, that she would give me up, and it's fine."

        Then, the psychotherapist asked her to close her eyes and take herself back to when she was six weeks/months old and feel what she had experienced. She then said, "My whole spiritual world collapsed as I faced that pain for the first time and realized that I had been running from it for most of my life." It was this event that set her on the path of ego integration which she is now on.

        This resonated so strongly with me. Since I was 11, I have been interested in the spiritual and I had progressed a long way with Buddhism in that I had an intellectual understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. I had studied Mahayana Buddhism for almost 10 years, but it was only after Kundalini rose that I had to face up to the truth that up to that point I was pursuing the spiritual to escape from painful events that had happened in my past. As a result of this, I see integration of the psychological — call it ego — as vital for a truly balanced spiritual life.

        The subtle formation of the ego and how it limits what's possible in life was brought home strongly to me a couple of weeks ago when I went to a friend's birthday party. There was a young boy there aged 8/9, confident and articulate. Then some music was played and I said to him, "When someone goes out dancing, we'll go out."

        To which he replied, "I can't dance!" And immediately the happy confident young man was replaced by an insecure and small little boy.

        I said, "What do you mean can't, there's no such word as can't, there is won't which is different, but can't is a choice." I continued, "What happened the last time you danced?"

        He said, "I fell over and my friends laughed at me."

        I took a deep breath as I recognized this as one of those moments in life where something happens and the ego makes a decision to ensure that the same thing doesn't happen in the future, to avoid the shame of it. But nine times out of ten, this decision is life-limiting, not life-enhancing.

        I considered for a moment because I knew that my next words would either deepen or undo the process being laid down as a neural pattern in his brain.

        I said, "So you've decided you can't dance, not because you fell over, but because your friends laughed at you, right?"

        Immediately, he said, "Yes." I could see relief on his face that I had somehow understood. Again, I took another deep breath, this time because of his honesty.

        I then said, "Could you consider something with me? Could you consider that your friends laughing had nothing to do with your dancing, that they were laughing at something else?"

        "Yes," he said simply.

        I continued, "You didn't ask your friends, 'Hey, are you laughing at me?' did you?"

        "No," he replied.

        I said, "So, your mind told you they were laughing at you, which means you can't dance and now you're not going to dance ever again, thus denying yourself the pleasure of dancing?"

        He was silent. I finished by saying, "Don't trust what your mind tells you, check it out."

        He looked at me with the widest smile and said, "I will." And then we sat in companionable silence, there was nothing more to say. If this conversation had never happened, time would have gone on and the incident of his friends laughing at him would have faded from his consciousness, but the decision "I can't dance" would have remained with him for life. Moreover, as an adult, gaining access to the real source of that decision might never have become available to him.

        I left the party soon afterwards in awe of how quick the ego makes decisions based on false evidence that is ultimately life-limiting. This is something I discovered in my own life as an adult and it was the result of much hard work with structured transformational training programs. To see the process happening in a young boy and to be in the privileged position of helping to unravel it without hysterics and/or drama was truly amazing for me.

        I don't know what the eventual outcome will be in terms of his dancing again, but when I was leaving he gave me the biggest hug, and I quietly said, "Don't forget what I said." To which he replied, "I won't."

        For some readers, this may be a trivial example, but what if the decision made is: "I'm not loved/not loveable?" What kind of life results from a decision like this? This is why the process of knowing yourself, or more specifically knowing how the ego is constructed, is absolutely critical to liberation. The irony and tragedy for many on the spiritual path is that they are either unwilling or too arrogant to do this work and, as a result, the many glimpses of awakening that occur are not sustainable because of a failure to dismantle the ego.