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."

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