Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Death Is Not Physical

In 1999, I was on a Buddhist Vippassana Meditation retreat when I experienced the rising of energy which I now know to be Kundalini. At that time I had neither experience nor knowledge that this energy existed in the body. The form that the energy took was a rising and falling that seemed to start from the base of my spine and rise up through my body to the top of my head and down again. As it rose I found myself being raised high and rocked from side to side. My feet were wrapped around my meditation stool so I knew I wasn’t being physically raised and rocked; the experience was purely energetic.

Turning my attention inwards and merging with the energy I allowed myself to go with what it wanted to do. I cooperated fully with it. There were no thoughts, no fears, just complete absorption in what was happening. I experienced this rising and falling of energy during a number of sitting sessions. It must have been around the sixth session that the energy changed its intensity and I began being lifted higher and rocked more violently. This made me think that maybe there was something that I was expected to "do." All was intuitive on my part because, after trying to speak with one of the teachers about what was going on in the meditation sessions and seeing her confused reaction, I knew that I was on my own. I was determined to see the process through to the end, whatever it might be.

I remember one vibration that made me feel as if I was being lifted very high, making me think, "If that’s what happens, okay." But I didn’t fall. When the next vibration came I suddenly remembered the Buddhist concept of surrender. Did surrender have something to do with this experience? I didn’t know, but I decided to give it a go. At the height of the next vibration I said "I surrender" and immediately the vibration died down. I was relieved and thought that was the end of it all. To my amazement, the energy rose again, now I felt this acute fear. I didn’t know what else to do. I had exhausted every technique I was familiar with and it wasn’t enough; the rising and falling of the energy wasn’t ended by "surrendering."

Since 1999, I have reflected on the fear I experienced during those moments when I realised that surrendering wasn’t enough to end the movement of energy up and down my body. The fear wasn’t all encompassing in that I could have opened my eyes and brought the experience to an end. It was something that I had to feel and experience and, having come as far as I could, I was determined to see it through. Looking back, it seemed vital to feel the fear and stay with the experience. I was fortunate because I didn’t have to "be" with the fear for very long. But for those moments of fear were paralyzing.

It was in that same sitting during the next vibration that I knew exactly what it was I had to do. I don't know where the realization came from. (Did submitting to the fear create the space for eventual clarity?) I don't know. All I knew was that I had to take my feet away from the stool when I surrendered so that I was totally vulnerable. This is why the rising and falling did not end: I was still holding on and what was surrendering was my ego. Again without any fear or thought about what I was doing or the possible consequences, on the next vibration when I was raised to the highest peak with the energy, I took my feet from the stool and said, "I surrender, but only to the Light." Why I said this I have no idea. I don’t remember seeing any light, or having any perceptions. I only wanted to be clear about what I was surrendering into. I didn’t want there to be any ambiguity about the surrender. Immediately, all of the movement of energy ended and for the remainder of the sitting sessions of that retreat, my meditations were once again what I was used to.

I have also pondered on the surrender and what it meant. There is no doubt that there was a sense of "going over" in that surrender, but over where and to what? Something died in me for sure and now many years later I think I understand what happened. I have never had a teacher or guru to ask about this, but in the last couple of years have been Graced to have been introduced to my Guru, who I intuitively recognize to be a great Realizer and Adept.

From reading His spiritual experiences and teachings I now recognise and accept that what happened that day wasn’t a physical death but the psychological death of the ego. This process happens gradually, and now so many years later, I see how the process unfolded and continues to unfold.

It began by my saying yes, by my staying with the process. This is why courage is so important if one is serious about Enlightenment. The process is an ordeal, it always was and it always will be, and it demands absolutely everything. Ultimately, it demands the sacrifice of the ego "I" or the egoic self. This is why when authentic realizers undertake the process with groups of devotees, you can count the number of devotees who are able to realize the process for themselves on the fingers of one hand.

Undergoing the psychological death of the ego is not easy, but once surrender is offered voluntarily, it then becomes inevitable. In my case, after the initial surrender, it was a case of painstakingly unconcealing how the ego had been put together to see that it is something that is constructed in language. Once realized, the ego can be voluntarily transcended. It is important (for mental stability) that it is transcended by seeing it for the made-up construct it is.

When certain things happened to me in life, I constructed Margaret as an ego "I" and I decided who I was and what my life would be in relation to that I. I don't doubt that without having first surrendered in that meditation session that this insight with its overwhelming resonance would not have happened. The ego would never have allowed it to penetrate, but being mortally wounded by surrendering many years ago, the experience was an "ah-yes-I-see-that" moment without any associated drama.

This is why a Kundalini experience in and of itself is not enough. In fact, it’s just the start. The energy must be brought to a certain point if it’s to play a role in the psychological death of the ego "I" — without which Enlightenment is not possible. Ego and Love cannot occupy the same space. Kundalini is a purificatory energy. What it purifies is everything that would might interfere with the death of the ego. In effect, what Kundalini is doing is preparing consciousness for the sacrifice of ego "I" so that a state of Love can emerge.

This is my last post for 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who read my posts during the year and wish you all a pleasant festive holiday season.

No comments:

Post a Comment