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.

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