Thursday, January 30, 2014

Consciousness Rising

You’ve visited imaginary worlds and other dimensions in science fiction movies, in comics and in novels. Are they just the director's hallucinogenic fantasies? Or are these dimensions actually KNOWABLE? If so, how can we prepare ourselves for this type of altered perception?

Jacob’s Ladder, The Matrix, Memento, Altered States. Fictional worlds in which material reality suddenly melts away and the protagonist is left to fend for himself in harrowing, seemingly unreal situations. We’ve witnessed these worlds and believed them to be figments of the writer’s imagination. But are they?

Echoes Beyond our World 

These imaginary worlds are as real as the people, streets, houses, and stores we encounter in our normal daily rounds. Although we cannot see these apparitions in our current state, scientists and other investigators are finding they are real. Moreover, they are not the threatening specters moviemakers would have us believe — they simply exist beyond the reach our limited consciousness.

At a key moment in Jacob’s Ladder, Jacob's friend, chiropractor and guardian angel, Louis (Danny Aiello), cites the 14th century Christian mystic Meister Eckhart — “Eckhart saw Hell too; he said: ‘the only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you,’ he said. ‘They're freeing your soul. So, if you’re frightened of dying and... you’re holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.’”

This is straight out of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In fact, this film is a fictional interpretation of a Near Death Experience (NDE). At the end we see “Jacob never made it out of Vietnam.” His body is shown in an army triage tent just as he expires. Apparently, the entire series of events turns out to have been a dying hallucination. Jacob's experiences appear to have been a form of purgation in which he releases himself from his earthly attachments, finally joining his dead son Gabe to ascend a staircase (Biblically known as Jacob's Ladder) toward a bright light.”

The science of consciousness, or should we say the scientific investigation of it, inevitably delves into the unseen — that which lies behind the physical. This investigation is now moving forward on two fronts toward the same objective, namely the full unfolding of human potential, or as Gopi Krishna called it: "Knowing the Knower." Much investigation is still outside the realms of traditional science, yet, as metaphysical exploration moves forward, we apply more scientific methods.Who's to say that the same scientific methods we apply in the physical realm won't someday apply to the metaphysical realm? The NDE provides palpable evidence of meta-physicality.

Group 1 explores consciousness from the inside-out while Group 2 explores from the outside-in:

Group 1

The empirical investigators, those who have undergone Kundalini/NDE experiences, and in so doing, written about them from the inside-out, just as an 16th Century explorer kept a journal of his discoveries and encounters during a voyage. Men like: Gopi Krishna, Richard Bucke, J Krishnamurti, PD Ouspensky.

In Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time I described the insights gained in the Energy Continuum thusly:

“After activating the Kundalini-Life Force, I was able to see the blueprint of my perfect body and compare it to my actual state. Amazingly, the Life Force recognized my deformity and immediately began to correct it. I witnessed it slowly reshape my body to the exact proportions in the blueprint.
“The fact that I could see my original design and it is perfect means to me that an unseen sentient entity in nature created it before my being came into this world.”
“Where this blueprint had been stored between the time of my conception and my 35th year, I did not know. Material scientists, geneticists, in this instance, would probably say it resided in the brain, and that is a safe assumption, for it is unlikely that it resided outside the body. Nevertheless, the fact that I saw it and watched the Life Force energy use it to 'reengineer' my body made me think that some sentient agency must play a role in reproduction, and in the design and formation of the body. Why had this blueprint suddenly appeared? Where had it been for thirty-five years? If it had no purpose, wouldn’t it have ceased to exist? So then, it must have a purpose, for it was still there."

Group 2

Those scientists, such as Dr. Harold Saxton Burr of Yale University, who explored field theory in the 30s. “Physicists define a field something like this: when something occurs somewhere in space because something else happened somewhere else in space, with no visible means by which the cause produced the effect, the two events are connected by a ‘field’.”

“As everyone knows, when we sprinkle a card with iron filings and hold it over an ordinary magnet, the filings will arrange themselves in a pattern that represents the ‘lines of force’ of the magnet’s field. And though we can change the filings as often as we like, each set of filings will always assume the same pattern.

“Even by the most pedantic, therefore, the ‘fields of life’ can be considered a scientifically-respectable phenomenon, eligible one day for the imprimatur of the hierarchy. When that will be will depends on how long it takes biochemists to lose their enthusiasm for present fashions and perhaps for economic interests to open their focus to cost-effective natural vs. patented chemical solutions."

If this is true, then:

  • The fact that we do not perceive these states/fields means our current consciousness must be inhibited,
  • There is consciousness in every field/cell.

As author Sol Luckman points out, “A salient point in the evolutionary model I am elaborating is that evolution of species ultimately is driven not by material, but by metaphysical energy, or consciousness, of a spiraling, “meta-genetic” nature.

“If today we are to embrace a worldview in which consciousness is more important than matter, we need to base our timekeeping on the nonphysical, invisible reality (that gives rise to reality) rather than on the physical.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Power of Compassion

Many years ago, I volunteered to work with Crisis over the Christmas period. Crisis is a charity in England that provides shelters for homeless men and women over the festive period. I completed the application form and filled in the enclosed shift booking form. 

Two weeks before Christmas, I received a letter saying that I had been accepted with instructions and directions of where to go and what to do on the first morning of my shift. I don’t remember what my motivation was for working with Crisis as I had never done it before. Maybe I had heard someone speak about it and how great it was and I thought "sounds good, I’ll give it a go." I felt quite excited after getting the confirmation letter.

I arrived early on the morning of my shift and was there with about 10 other volunteers. During the roll call of volunteers, I noted that some names called were not there. We were then assigned to Crisis employees for training. I was assigned to the alcoholics shelter! I really didn’t know what to make of it or what it might mean for me.

The shelter was in North London and I noticed the great atmosphere the minute I went inside. Music was playing. There was a dayroom, a canteen, and sleeping quarters. On each shift, I was in charge of something different. One shift it might be giving out food in the canteen; on another shift, handing out donated clothes and shoes as presents. Some nights I just passed the time speaking with different men and women. After hearing so many heartbreaking stories on these shifts, I realized just how easy it is to become homeless. All it takes is a few incidents that result in life spiraling out of control and people losing everything. It opened my eyes. 

In the dayroom, there was a notice boardOne day, I was looking at it and I saw a poem that a man named Jamie had written — about life on the streets. The rawness and purity of it really spoke to me, so I went to find him. Asking around, one of the women pointed to a man in his late 30s early 40s. I went up to him and told him how much I loved his poetry. He smiled and said simply, "I only learned to read and write six months ago." I was stunned, and yet deep down I recognized that his creativity was coming from somewhere fresh and different.  

I asked him if he would tell me his story. Here is what he said:
"On the streets for years an alcoholic and a drug addict, I was walking across Westminster Bridge one evening when I met a girl who was desperate for drugs. I felt so sorry for her that I gave her the drugs I had for myself. I did go and buy some more, but for some reason I couldn’t take them and threw them in the river. A few evenings later I’m sitting in a shop doorway and this man tries to give me a leaflet and I said to him, ‘It’s no good giving that to me, mate. I can’t read or write.’ He asked me if I wanted to learn and, I said, ‘Sure.’ And for three months, he came every week to teach me to read and write. At the end he asked me to join some religious group that he was part of, but I said, 'No, it didn’t feel right so now I spend my time reading and writing poetry.'"
I left Jamie touched and moved by his story and also in no doubt about the power of compassion. My regret is that I never asked him for one of his poems. The last I heard about him was that he was reading English at Cambridge University. I believe that the compassion he showed to a stranger turned his life around in such a dramatic way.

The value of compassion is widely recognized and there is even a specific therapy called compassion focussed therapy. There is also a Charter for Compassion, which has over 100,000 signatures, but if you look at the world, it doesn't seem it's becoming more compassionate.

There is a disconnect between knowing we should be more compassionate and not being so, which begs the question why? What is it that stops us from being more compassionate? One reason might be because we are just too self-absorbed, so much so that we just don't see the other, never mind act with compassion. But rather than labeling our entire species as selfish, could it be that we are naturally compassionate, but showing compassion is painful, especially when we can't do anything about it. So we close this aspect of ourselves down. This is why many spiritual awakening experiences result in compassion — the flowering of that which is already within.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Kundalini and Poverty: Same People, Different Situations

It's often suggested to spiritual seekers that there's no way to care for the poor and reach for spiritual release at the same time. Individual souls are on an individual journey; each person must fend for his/her own soul, find his/her own path. That the outer trip is fraught with insurmountable snares and therefore one should concentrate only on the inner trip. The notion here is that evolution will take care of the less fortunate. A rising tide raises all boats, so to speak.

Back in the 1970s, Isaac Bentov developed this "rising boats" theme along similar lines as today's Kundalini people, who say Kundalini is accelerating evolution by writing changes in consciousness into DNA.

So where does that leave America's poor? Or the poor and disabled around the world, for that matter? Should the rest of us be trying to help?

This week, CNN ran a Special on Poverty in America that focused mainly on women — how easy it is for them to become homeless and impoverished while working more than 40 hours a week.
Impromptu Soup Kitchen
Situation 1: Homeless, Jobless, and Impoverished

Yes, it's hard to believe that poverty has spread to the proportions it has. Life is precarious. We are all under constant threat of annihilation: war, terror, hunger, joblessness, poverty. The Bible warns us not to forget, but somehow we do. In fact, its parables illustrate the fragility of life, even at the highest levels.

Yet, our egos tell us we've come a long way. Were in the home stretch. There's nothing more to accomplish, nothing wrong with wealth. And, per se, there isn't. Just like intelligence, it's what you do with it that counts. Only by balancing the material with the spiritual can we achieve success. The rest is ego driven. Yes, ego was needed in primitive times. No longer in a primitive state, we're still in survival mode, but the rules are changing. We no longer need more. In fact, less is now more! The ego will continue to serve a purpose, but it must be sublimated.

Bentov says we will all be enlightened — after a million more years of evolution. Probably exist in bodiless form. I think we will, if we are able to meet the challenges of survival.

If we didn't inhabit bodies, all our problems would vanish. Negative emotion, war, greed, violence, prejudice, fear would not exist. But we DO live in bodies that control our perceptions and our so-called needs. How do we get persons whose needs are boundless living next to persons who have nothing but a shopping cart full of plastic bags? What mechanism in the brain makes us believe we need more than our neighbor?
Coffee house comfort
Situation 2: Cozy, Well-fed, and Upward Mobile

These two images were captured within three blocks of each other, highlighting the contrast between generational poverty and relative security.

Bentov says the people in mental hospitals are the highly evolved. We just don't know how to communicate with them. And because they do not perceive the world in the same terms as "normal" people do or are unable to communicate in the language the material world, we institutionalize them. I don't know if he's joking, but every time I encounter a person with alcohol or drug addiction issues, I come away believing they are searching for redemption, that their issues are more spiritual than material. But they're stuck in an escape syndrome of drugs, alcohol, addiction, domestic violence. They are searching in all the wrong places and they can't find their way out.

When I ask a street person why he/she wants to "get high," they reply in much the same terms as a spiritual person explains why he meditates. It's not by accident that they use the term get high. Both seek release from material concerns.

Although I don't see meditation catching on in homeless shelters any time soon, I don't believe that conventional treatment methods are working either. Poverty has become an endemic issue; it's sapping our resources, bequeathing more of the same to more and more people, many of them yet unborn.
I've go my double latte espresso. What have you got?
I've got my double latte espresso. What have you got?
And now that countries and states are legalizing not only pot but also heroine and other drugs, more and more people are going to give up and drop out permanently. It's no longer a question of reform; we need a change of consciousness — a high built on true spiritual foundations. Without drugs or alcohol.

Bigger government isn't the answer. That hasn't worked in the past and it won't work in the future. The answer is people turning away from physical gratification, exploring the metaphysical potential within each of us.

Realistically, many eons of evolution are needed before the tide raises all boats. Or so it seems to me. But I'd like it to be generations instead of eons. Surprise me!

Friday, January 10, 2014

How Kundalini is Perceived

If you're out there, dealing with Kundalini, how do you explain it to others, to yourself?

Recently, I had the opportunity to test this. I wasn't giving a talk or a presentation on Kundalini; I had been invited to join a community discussion group with five or six other men and I was attending my fifth or sixth session. Discussion usually skirted around cultural and any number of other progressive topics, but it never touched spiritual matters. And I never brought one up.
Faith or Science
Prayer or Practice

One day, however, one of the participants — I later discovered he was battling cancer — brought up the afterlife question in a way that flowed seamlessly into the existing context. I can't remember word for word what followed, but I did seize the opening to comment on my research into human energy potential and energy cultivation techniques, as well as my findings that death was not to be feared and was only a transition into a new state of being.

Someone asked me if I could prove it. I cited NDE and Kundalini as examples of consciousness existing outside mind and body. I underlined that this hypothesis was the result of research done in the laboratory of my own body, and it was supported by many similar accounts from all over the globe. Some members continued the discussion; the man who'd started it wanted to hear more. But several others began shouting that Kundalini had no scientific value; it was only a cult.

A cult, a religion, a philosophy, a practice, and an exercise regimen. It's been called all of the above, and probably less flattering names as well, I observed. One man kept shouting it's a cult, it's a cult. I spent two minutes trying to explain that Kundalini was a biological process, that I had no religious affiliations, and that kundalini, despite the unfortunate connotations attached to its name, was the driving force behind evolution. I mentioned that my kundalini experience had begun with breathing exercises, and then morphed into profound consciousness experiences I have documented in several books.

I stated that my experience was not the result of any religious practice. In fact, I told them I practiced no religion nor did I hold any position on God.

However, I said Kundalini did trigger many physical, metabolic, mental, psychic, and other effects in my being, right down to the cellular level, on which I could elaborate if the group was interested. I told them these effects had nothing to do with religion. They were the by-product of the biological energy Kundalini produces and they resulted in my becoming immersed in an Energy Continuum, not unlike the Unified Field physicists speak of. My experience inspired me to learn more about higher consciousness, energy cultivation, and the role of Kundalini in evolution. I added that the effects were largely unexpected and showed me that keeping an open mind was paramount if we are interested in the forces behind evolution.

"Cult, cult," he shouted.

It's not a religion or a cult, I said. You can't be "converted" to Kundalini, any more than you can be converted to a heart attack or an orgasm; they just happen. That's the nature of biological processes; they just happen. Some are triggered by external stimuli or practices, like meditation; others are autonomic or spontaneous.

Needless to say, the discussion ended there and that was the last meeting I attended. What's the point? If a person is so closed-minded he confuses biology with religion, there's little room for dialog.

Nevertheless, of the two most excitable critics, I learned that one was a virulent atheist who could not conceive of any middle ground between belief and non-belief in God and the other had been raised in fundamentalist surroundings and had it up to his chin hairs with religion. Both were college professors.

So how do you explain Kundalini? How do others react to your explanation? Did you learn anything from encounters with people whose minds are closed to any investigation of the hypothesis that biology is an expression of consciousness?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spirit Wants Only to Fly

The title of this blog post is inspired by a quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and it answered a question that I have pondered since the death of Nelson Mandela: Why do great leaders of Mandela's caliber die? It seems like we continuously re-invent the leadership and spiritual wheel, particularly the latter. One only has to read about the lives of the great saints and mystics and tribulations they overcame to achieve realization — only to die — leaving a vacuum which devotees of these great Masters did their best to fill. But which are never of equal distinction because the mind and/or heart of the founder has gone. So when I came across this poem it answered a lot for me.

If I don't manage to fly someone else will
The Spirit Flies Free
   "If I don't manage to fly someone else will.
   The Spirit wants only there be flying.
   And for who happens to do it,
   In that he has only a passing interest."
After reading and pondering it for a while. I realized that the physical vehicle isn't important. It is merely the vehicle through which Spirit flies and the challenge for Spirit is to find willing vehicles through which to fly. But ultimately all vehicles die so what is important and permanent is the flying. And yet Spirit doesn't fly in exactly the same way through every vehicle as we see in the lives and writings of the great realizers. Why is this? If it's one Spirit, why does it result in different manifestations?

The differences that emerge are the result of the mind interpreting the energetic effects of Spirit. It is our subtle body and not the gross physical body which responds to Spirit. That response is different for different vehicles depending on the filter through which they interpret them. In my own case, my experience of Spirit, which I see as Kundalini, was very much an energy that rose from the base of my spine up through the body — a kind of Spirit ascension. For some, it's an experience of energy descending from above. In either case, it is the same energy, but the reports of the observer (from memory) and the level of consciousness attained determines how it will be interpreted and more importantly what it means. For human beings, everything means something, it is hardwired into us to seek meanings for everything so that the brain can make sense of the world.

Many Masters have warned against the lure of Spirit and its manifestations, i.e., visions, lights, etc., and have pointed out that spiritual experiences are not realizations and to seek the former at the expense of the latter is go down a blind alley. When devotees spoke to Osho about such experiences, he downplayed them, pointing out that it made very little difference to the devotees ultimate state of realization, suggesting that these experiences be let go of, just as one drops a bag of rubbish into a bin. He was always at pains to point out that spiritual experiences are not IT.

The more profound the experience, the harder it is to let go of. So when I was first told to let my experience go — to not allow myself to become absorbed by it or to let it disturb my everyday, normal life — I was reluctant to do this. I felt that something special had happened and I didn't want to forget about it or let it go. It is only now, so many years later, that I understand why it is essential to let this kind of experience go. It is because everything changes, even the nature of spiritual experience, and to hold onto it is to limit what is possible in the future. It is necessary to let go of the known to make space for the unknown, and thus move from the known to the unknown to that which is unknowable and thus fulfill our purpose as spiritual human beings.