Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thinking About Death

As well as being the awakener of the Life Force, Kundalini is also called, in the Tantric texts, the "Fire Of Death." There are times when the Kundalini energy is so intense one feels gripped by it, snatched bodily out of oneself, stopped dead. If not death itself, this is a near approach to dying. The body becomes shell-like. Sharply focused light floods the chest. A prickling sensation covers the face, like needles being pushed up from under the skin. The prickling becomes so acute it's only a deep absorption that can stop one scratching uncontrollably. It's strange that at moments like these, the body is experienced, and even visually seen, with a greater clarity and reality than it has in ordinary day-to-day life.

The blueprint of the perfected body comes more into focus, and one cherishes it more deeply than ever. The texts say that there are seventy two thousand nadis in the human body. I'm sure that the facial prickling, which can be maddeningly acute, is the pushing outwards of some of these nadis, awakening and shaping the surface of the face, which is where each of us is most visibly human, as well as being the most weather beaten and marked by experience. As the "Fire Of Death" rises up the body, the physical blueprint becomes less and less one's own, and more and more the physical form of the Non-Self, the "face one had before one was born."
The Portals of Death and Decay

Of course, there's a danger that one is merely thinking about death, playing with the idea of death, or even worse, escaping into a callous fantasy when faced with the death of others — friends, loved-ones, and strangers. Never-the-less, even on a merely intellectual level, death is a constant, all-surrounding reality, which must be faced. In traditional times, people turned to ars moriendi, the art of dying, to prepare themselves for death and to give depth to their final days and hours.

The khyrystaia, or warrior caste in Vedic times, chose to die standing up, either in battle, or by keeping on their feet as they passed away. John Donne, the metaphysical poet, used to wrap himself in a burial shround to meditate. Shelley, who was a bit of a poser, drank wine from a skull. WB Yeats, in a fine line, celebrates "those who come glad-eyed and laughing to the tomb." The whole idea of the "quantum," in quantum mechanics, is that energy manifests itself in "parcels" or "packages," which, even at the speed of light, have a beginning and an end. The apparent solidity of the body is made up of an untold number of instantaneous beginnings and endings.

Kundalini doesn't think about it, Kundalini is it.

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