Saturday, November 28, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Kundalini

Can one person know everything there is to know about Kundalini? And if so, is there such a person? For instance, the other day I ran across some online wondering about the use of Kundalini in provoking and treating abdominal pain. Of course, all aspects of Kundalini interest me, but here was one aspect I had never encountered and had to admit I knew nothing about.

Pasted images on gray wall
Gray #1
I realized there are other kundalini-related topics that I know nothing about because they are not part of my experience, all of which points out the danger of offering advice about specific kundalini topics outside the ken of the "advisor."

I know a lot about kundalini. Most is specific to my own personal experience, which, although it shares many similarities with the experiences of others, is unique to me. I also know about a sundry and varied list of effects that my awakening has set in motion over the last 40 years. Many effects have to do with the current state of my body and the physical changes in my body that kundalini has induced since my awakening. Because of the variance in the state and condition of individual bodies, these effects are rarely shared. I have never met someone who said that kundalini affected their bodies the same way it affected mine.

Tati Store Window
Gray #2
I know a lot about Golden Flower Meditation (GFM), the method I used to activate kundalini, a method I've taught for 20 years. Yet, each time I teach this method, I am confronted by new challenges, participants' questions that were never raised before, questions I'd never encountered or thought about. And I had to find new ways of describing a certain technique, either because someone raised the question or a better way of explaining the technique suddenly became clear to me during the explaining.

Above the clouds Rt. 299
Gray #3
So, to sum it up, I know about my experience, the effects I've experienced, and teaching GFM. Even among these topics, there are various degrees of knowledge — things I absolutely know by way of experience, things that are almost impossible to communicate to others, things that I've learned empirically or inductively. Things I learned deductively. Things I can extrapolate on, usually items picked up in conversations with other kundalini novices, practitioners, and/or adepts. Hypotheses derived from the various changes kundalini has effected on my body. Some are hypotheses related to visions or intuitive data that kundalini has brought to the attention of my rational mind.

Yes, kundalini is always working in the background, moving thoughts, emotional states, and physical conditions around, toying with consciousness, allowing me to realize things that, in my pre-kundalini days, I never could have imagined, much less considered real and actual possibilities. Things already here and things to come. Creative things. Positive, inspired and inspiring things. Evolution hard at work, striving to avoid an imminent world collapse, as we veer — no, rush headlong — toward collective self-destruction.

PG&E Meter Board
Gray #4
So, why is kundalini important? Why should one limit comment on aspects of kundalini outside the range of the factors mentioned above? Because Kundalini is a biological expression of what Gopi Krishna termed the "evolutionary impulse." It is a subject so large that it cannot be "known" by just one person. It is also a means of changing the negative aspects of human nature and of jump-starting evolution. Its purpose is not to be trifled with...

Just as one engineer knows electronics, another knows construction, still another knows computers; kundalini has its compartments, its specializations, its properties. Whether this becomes a track worthy of further research is too early to tell. One thing is certain: each day I realize how little I know, and in so realizing I learn something new, not only about kundalini, but about myself.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Something Inside So Strong

Those who know music will recognize the title of this blog post as a lyric from the song of the same name by Labi Siffri. I'd like these words on my tombstone because they capture my whole life.

A couple of days ago, I received an email from a woman thanking me for writing Female Kundalini. She spoke about how my writing about the messiness of life had struck a cord with her. In turn, when I read her email, it struck a cord with me.

The spiritual path is messy; it messed with the life I would have had, had I never come into contact with this "other" world. It was this "something inside so strong" that chose my path; I was only along for the ride. Now I can look back, acknowledge, and co-operate with this "something," but for many years I was being chauffeured by the something, and the result of it was a messy life.

What do I mean by that? For many years, the more spiritual study and practice I got into, the more confusing and bewildering life became. I was dedicated to "something" I didn't understand, something nobody else seemed to understand, least of all, the people I encountered. As you can imagine, this combination made for a lonely life. Although if you knew me then, I don't think you would have noticed I was lonely. It is only with age that wisdom and understanding come. I now see and understand so much more than I did then. is telling is that I have nieces, grand-nieces, and a nephew. Some of them are grown up now. I have never given any of them a spiritual book of any kind for their birthdays or Christmas, which, for someone as dedicated to the spiritual, is an exercise in self-control. Why haven't I tried to, if not indoctrinate them, at least, familiarize them with spirituality? Because the spiritual life is an ordeal. From the moment there's a glimpse of that "something," it's like an unconscious, yet overwhelming force that cannot be denied. It's a heart response. But a heart response is not enough; there has to be the ordeal of purification.

This means really taking on the ego "I," which isn't easy and is why I assert that so few do the requisite investigation that makes the difference in Awakening. The real purification is in confronting this separate and separative self which presumes itself to be different from SELF or from the field of Being. In order for any Awakening to be abiding and permanent, this presumption has to be investigated and exposed for what it is. Glimpses of the illusion of ego "I" from time to time are not enough.

We face an added urgency to recognize and deal with the ego "I" because the madness of the separate ego "I" threatens our world in ways and to a degree never before encountered. It is the responsibility of all of us who have awakened (or have a tacit understanding of) to the illusion of the ego "I" to be bold and create a movement of positive disillusionment with the ego "I."  This positive disillusionment with the ego "I" has to come about all at once in order to effect a new world order, one that is based on connection and union (which is our natural state) as opposed to the havoc and chaos being wreaked by the separate ego "I." Because of the level of entrenchment of this ego 'I' in the design of human being, this is going to take effort. But what's the alternative to the insane terrorism that magnifies the malevolence of the separate and separative ego "I."

I attributed the natural understanding I have always had to being right-brain dominant. In Female Kundalini, I write about my efforts to get validation for this view. Looking back at this was my way of keeping myself grounded. Seeing it as a right-brain phenomena and defining all realizers and saints as somehow being right-brain dominant was a way of continuing to function without being afraid. Looking back you could say that this way of thinking was disrespectful, but considering any other possibility while experiencing spiritual events and synchronicities would have been too frightening for my state of consciousness at the time. For many years, I attributed the things that happened to my being right-brain dominant and, in doing so, there was neither fear nor ego. How could there be ego if it was a "brain thing?" And so bizarrely, this rationale provided a refuge for me.

Perhaps, had I had a spiritual teacher or guru, I wouldn't have experienced the spiritual path as the ordeal it was for me. My spiritual authorities were the teachers I was involved with during my study of Buddhism. So, while there were some who provided answers, I met nobody able to perceive my level of heart consciousness...certainly nobody who was able to nurture it.

None of my teachers treated me in any way different to anyone else who was sitting at their feet listening to their words. On more than one occasion, I remember longing for some kind of recognition, which never came. Was this due to some lack of innate ability on the part of these teachers as to their states of consciousness? I don't know. Certainly, this type of perception — the ability to see into another's heart — is rare. Now, many years later, I am more aware, grateful my journey has progressed the way that it has, and happy that it's not yet over.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Going Back To Basics

In the search for the pathless path towards greater awakening, sometimes we find that much is gained by going back to the basics of meditation. The search, particularly if it is done through the Jnana path (the path of wisdom and self-inquiry) can often lead to frustration as we periodically discover that we have again missed the mark, or question whether we have moved at all in our spiritual quest. And what is this quest all about anyway?

purity of the lotus flower represents the pratice of meditation

The other day, I went through a simple exercise which brought me to an awareness that everything is all right just the way it is: I am all right just where I am. And the striving, and the frustration that results from ego involvement in the awakening process, is perhaps the very thing that must fall by the wayside. What I found most surprising about this simple exercise is that it contains nothing that I did not know before. I learned nothing new, yet it was renewing. I would like to take you through this simple exercise. 

First, sit comfortably in a relaxed but alert position, back straight. Prop yourself up with pillows if necessary. Allow the ordinary preoccupations of the day to settle down and subside. Look around you. Is the place familiar to you? If not, no matter. Begin to cultivate a sense of yourself as being present in that place. You are here in this one space. The world, and everything else in it, the sensible world, is outside you, around you.

As you close your eyes, direct your attention to your body. What sensations are you aware of: breath, heartbeat, feelings in your back and backside as it presses against the chair or floor? Visualize your breath flowing into your nostrils down the center cavity of your body, down to the bottom and up again. Tie your consciousness to your breath and pay attention to the circular flow of the breath (down, around, up).  If you pay further attention, you'll catch a glimpse of something deeper, two things:
  • The experience (the muscle sensation of movements)
  • And the “I” that is experiencing it.

Now along with the muscle sensation of movement (the experience) also note the river of thoughts, images, emotions that are probably coursing through the front of your mind.  You may try to stop this mental chatter, but you will probably fail. All these thoughts, images, memories, ideas, plans, whatever, will continue whether you choose to let it or not. This is how the mind functions. But now again, observe two things: First, this functioning of the mind (images, memories, ideas, thoughts, plans) as the experience, and subtly in the background, the “I” that is experiencing them. As you continue, the most intimate feelings and desires will occasionally be there like images on a screen, accompanied by the “I” experiencing, watching, as they pass by.

If you can remain in this quiet, relaxed but alert state, you may gain a deeper awareness of a sense of something very small growing in you — the experiencer.  Even though this “something small” has no volition or power of its own, it quietly observes and experiences all that passes by. If you look for this “something small” observer, you will find that it continually recedes further and further away.  There is no limit to this “I” that experiences. St. Francis of Assisi is noted as saying in this regard: “What you are looking for is what is looking.”

the rising sun, purity of the lotus flower represents the pratice of meditation

There’s a sacredness, a blissfulness, associated with this phenomena of looking for that which is looking, intuitively touching the experiencer. Once this blissfulness, sacredness is tapped into, one gains a sense of “presence” which can be known by many names. Some call it “Kingdom of God,” the light, wisdom, still or zero point. All these terms reveal different aspects of this Primordial Self, the experiencer.

An experienced meditator may be able to enter into this exercise with little difficulty. The biggest problem, however, one even an experienced meditator may continue to have, is maintaining this vigilance to his/her inner sacredness outside of meditation, which is most of the time. Pains in the body, past regrets, worries about the future, aimless daydreaming, endless striving, everyday pre-occupations and planning constantly interfere, acting as a whirlwind to keep us absorbed in the illusions of life that hide our True Selves like rain clouds hide the sun. The simple exercise of meditation is the only avenue to overcoming these obstacles.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

More About Death

"One other liberating experience related to OBE is that in fraternizing with death I discovered that it is only another aspect of life, another state of existence. For each one of us, death awaits, and this fact is an incitement to ask profound questions, relating to the unknown — paradise, hell, separation, or extinction. How can we find answers? OBE gives us answers through direct experience since I can enter and leave my own body, I can exist without my body. The death of my physical body therefore does not signify my end. I am able to think, feel, desire and act in other contexts than that of the physical world."
~ Akhena - Astral Consciousness: Out of Body Explorations

I second the emotion. Not only did I experience the same ah-ha realization apropos of death during an OBE (Out of Body Experience) at the age of 20, I encountered the same extra-corporal effect 15 years later after raising Kundalini. I was able to see inside my physical body, which led me to realize my being was more than my body — a series of ethereal body sheaths enveloped it.

These ethereal bodies are part of an invisible Energy Continuum (consciousness), which contains the past, present, and future of time and space, of which our biological form is only a limited expression.

At this point in the history of our science, we do not understand how the consciousness we deem a part of everyday life works, much less are we able to scientifically verify its metaphysical totality. But thanks to OBE, NDE, and kundalini, we can experience it. Verify it, no; experience it, yes.

In our present state, we talk of "losing and regaining consciousness" after getting knocked on the head or going into the operating room for a medical procedure. Mostly, we don't look beyond a very limited sense of consciousness. That is, up till now.

Meditation, yoga, mindfulness are changing this. As we pursue these various pastimes, disciplines, and practices and connect to a vaster sense of consciousness, we realize that death, like life, is a transitory state, and we are less afraid.

In 1947, when the poet, Dylan Thomas, wrote:

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Didn't he realize that that the light doesn't die? The clear light that shines at the moment of death is a beacon leading you toward the Energy Continuum, the entry into a recycling process and your next incarnation.

Was it this light that beckoned John Coltrane to knowingly record a tune entitled To Be just days before his death? What a querulous, introspective title for the usually high-octane saxophonist! A mournful tempo, featuring unusual instrumentation — Coltrane on flute (an instrument he only played once) and Pharaoh Sanders on piccolo, not sure he ever played it again — th tune was mostly ignored by Coltrane fans, who were more engaged by his fascination with the innovative and frenzied Free Jazz trend at that time.

Relaxin between takes
John and Alice Coltrane

To Be is a long, slow piece that, for me, signifies the passing of the torch or the changing of the guard, a realization by the composer (Coltrane) that to be has metaphysical overtones — we come and go, pass and re-pass on this earth.

The head, featuring the flute and piccolo, is followed by a long Alice Coltrane piano solo; a Sanders, then a Coltrane solo. As Coltrane's line trails out — sort of expires — Sanders injects a lilting, melancholy phrase that reminds me of a warbling bird and has me visualizing the following scene in my mind's eye.

Pharaoh Sanders, tenor & piccolo; John Coltrane, tenor & flute; Alice Coltrane, piano & harp; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Rashied Ali, drums. Personnel for the album, Expression
Pharaoh Sanders, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali

I see a man sitting in a wooden garden chair, holding a cold drink on the armrest. The camera explores his face and his surroundings. The flowers, trees. His shoes. The back of his head and neck. Over his shoulder, the armrest and the drink. The arm goes limp, the drink topples over, and his arm drops. We hear a bird, the camera finds it and we listen. Cut to the dead man's face.

From this vision, while re-listening to this tune (To Be, the bird in the above scene), I imagine the death process and know that although the body dies, the essence that animates the body does not.