Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mindfulness and Kundalini

Mindfulness is to Self-Remembering as The Secret is to The Power of Positive Thinking. Now, what does that mean exactly?

It means that systems of knowledge and their associated practices keep getting updated every so many years, but the denominations (the names they are called by) have to be changed to create enough buzz for the latest iteration to make the top-40 hit parade.

High desert near San Bernardino, CA
High Desert Sunrise

Take self-remembering, for example. It was mindfulness before the term "mindfulness" passed into the new age lexicon. George Gurdjieff pioneered self-remembering back in the 1930s and 40s. It was a useful system then and it's still useful, even if the mindfulness craze has supplanted it. Both acknowledge a Buddhist influence; both share pretty much the same approach and practice — even if the ends and the means vary. No matter! It's still the same basic concept under a catchy new name:

"And herein lies my great help; this is the first step in the teaching that Gurdjieff brought from his extensive travels and seekings throughout the Middle East and Asia. He taught that to be mindful, or as he would put it, to 'remember myself' one needs to bring these two parts of myself, the mind and the body, together. The mind watches over the body and observes its functionings and the body is rooted in this present moment, in this present life. Then instead of these two parts going their separate unconnected ways, they can combine and have a relationship, working together towards a common good."
   ~ Lunatic Outpost Forum
That's what happens in our "15 minutes of fame" culture. Buzz terms attain hit parade levels of notoriety for a brief period. Someone comes along with a slight variation; the current buzz fades with the setting sun to be reborn with the rising sun as the latest iteration.

It happened that way with one of the biggest fads of the 1950s, The Power of Positive Thinking, which became the The Secret, as the same idea was repackaged and sold once again to a new generation...and will probably be sold in some new form to a another generation at a later date.

       ~ Success Consciousness

So what does Mindfulness have to do with Kundalini? How are they related? Once Kundalini awakens, there's a gradual expansion of consciousness. I'm not referring to ecstatic, visionary experiences, which, although they certainly do occur, act only as mile markers on the long road to a more developed higher consciousness. In most cases, they are not the "real thing," merely indicators of a greater awareness to come. As Kundalini slowly expands consciousness, it also overhauls the rational capabilities of the mind — two separate operations, two different types of consciousness:
"Knowledge proceeds through what Buddha called the five skandhas or Aggregates, which includes sensual perceptions and conditioned experience by way of the psyche or personal consciousness. To know is to comprehend noologically, through intellect-based thought.
"Gnowledge is to understand through metasensory awareness and unconditioned experience through the thymos or impersonal consciousness. To gnow is to understand by way of gnosis or Right Discernment, the gnowledge that Siddhartha Gautama, the 'Sage of the Shakyas,' implied when he said, 'Be a Lamp unto Thyself.'"
   ~ Science and Spirituality, FB Group Post – Ve Marco
As "gnowledge" (the gnostic approach to human ontology/cosmology) expands, mindfulness becomes an autonomic by-product. Our attention turns inward; we are able to recognize our programming and we begin to resist it. It doesn't happen overnight. Some of our programs — the most tenacious and unshakable — are those passed down to us by our parents. Tics, habits, idiosyncrasies — the hardest to recognize because they're part of our visera. We may recognize them, but we have trouble overwriting them until our awakened Kundalini effects an anatomical, somatic, and metabolic overhaul. Gradually, we become aware of the programs that "run us" and, with a mindful attention, we overwrite them. When Kundalini awakens properly, mindfulness is an autonomic offshoot.

Unfortunately, terminology prevents the various strains of mindfulness or self-remembering from joining forces and cooperating. Each group is so possessive of their own little piece of the pie. Too bad. Mindfulness has been around in various avatars or incarnations for a very long while, appreciated by many traditional as well as gnostic faiths. Witness these thoughts, borrowed from an Orthodox Christian website:

"Watchfulness is the action to guard us from our automatic reactions to thoughts stimulated by our senses. It is being attentive to your inner self. The Greek word that is translated as watchfulness is 'Nepsis'. It comes from 'nepho,' which means to guard, inspect, examine, watch over and keep under surveillance. Watchfulness has been described by Elder Ephriam of Philotheou as 'the axe which shatters the large trees, hitting their roots. When the root is struck, it doesn’t spring up again.'
"Saint Hesychios sees watchfulness as follows: Watchfulness is a continual fixing and halting of thought at the entrance to the heart... If we are conscientious in this, we can gain much experience and knowledge of spiritual warfare.
"He shows us that this involves an effort to intercede on our thoughts, forcing them to be examined, to shine the commandments of our Lord on them. He emphasizes the importance of this by calling it warfare. We know in warfare we need to have effective weapons that are stronger than those of the enemy."
   ~ Ten Point Program For Orthodox Life: Being Watchful
Does Mindfulness need Kundalini? Must an individual activate Kundalini in order to practice Mondfulness? No, but in most cases, Kundalini effects a shortcut to a meaningful practice of mindfulness. Whether the term applied is mindfulness, watchfulness, self-remembering, or some past or future avatar, Mindfulness and Kundalini work together, albeit from different angles, to shape and influence the awakening process.

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