Friday, December 25, 2015


I’ve always been sensitive to noise. It can make life difficult in a crowded, noisy city, and can be challenging when kundalini has woken the deeper energies of the nervous system.

Edvard Munch (Norwegian,1863-1944) "The Scream”
The guy next door to me hopes to be a DJ. He practices his scratching very loudly and repetitively. At the moment he works on a building site, and can only rehearse of an evening, or on those mornings when he can’t face climbing into his overalls. He’s a nice man, but he doesn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much Romanian. When I talk to him about meditation, there’s a lot of hand-shaking, back-slapping and invitations to drink wine, but the noise issue doesn’t get resolved. I was faced with the problem of simultaneously handling Kundalini and dealing with his wall-rattling dub base without going insane, giving way to rage or moving house. It brought the issue of ‘First you do it; then it does you’ into sharp focus.

The mind that goes insane and gives way to rage is, strangely enough, passive. I go insane or give way to rage because my consciousness is the victim of the outside world, my brain is the outside world’s passive object. That’s why noise is so intrusive. My inner passivity is the reason that noise gets inside me, and can bug me, in a way that visual impressions don’t. I can live happily looking at an un-beautiful bedroom wall. Tired magnolia woodchip doesn’t do my head in, but when the wall starts to vibrate to Romanian drum and bass there’s a deep clenching of my nervous system that shuts me off from the world around me. This is the bodily reflex of the animal ‘fight or flight’ mechanism (‘fight’—break his door down with a sledgehammer; ‘flight’—move house.) This reflex, even the ‘fight’ part of it is, again, the result of an inner passivity. I want to sleep, relax, switch off, and I can’t. I flee from the possibility that there might be some inner state of permanent activity powerful enough to dispel or transcend noise intrusion (let alone other more violent intrusions). Yet there is such a state of permanent inner activity, and it’s name is Kundalini, Kundalini that isn’t resisted or which I don’t attempt to channel via the pingala nadi (which is when Kundalini burns and short circuits the nervous system).

When Kundalini overcomes the fight or flight mechanism and becomes a permanent conscious force (even at moments of intrusion) a strange state is arrived at. There is no otherness. The guy next door and his music are part of me. I willed them in the pre-natal state just as I willed my whole life and body, its strengths and weaknesses. Stated as a bare concept this sounds both bland and bizarre. But in fact, Kundalini can overcome otherness, and is powerful enough to overcome otherness, in a quite literal way. I arrived at a state in which I still felt the walls shaking, and the pounding of the music—nothing was shut out—but Kundalini changed the pounding and the shaking into manifestations of a silence that was welling up out of me. I heard the silence that the noise came out of and anchored myself in it. I felt no resentment of my neighbour, in fact, I could somehow feel him through his seemingly mechanical and, to me, inhuman, music.
There is a paradox in this—‘Kundalini does you’, but the ‘does you’ is in fact the awakening of a permanent inner activity.

The Shuragama Sutra speaks about ‘sense organs returning to their source.’ Each sense function (smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing and thought) has its place of origin in the subtle body. In the Tantras, this place of origin is called the tanmatra of a particular sense function. When Kundalini rises through the chakras, the physical sense functions return to their origins, and the tanmatras awake. Sound, as physical hearing, has its origin in the tanmatra of the throat chakra, where the source of space and time are also revealed (space and time bearing a distinct relationship to sound.) This is why sound can be particularly intrusive, because it disrupts one of our higher manifestations—our being in space and time (trapped in a room at one a.m with the walls shaking.) The Sutra says that ‘when one sense organ returns to its source, all six are liberated.’ Also: ‘If one wants to attain Samadhi, hearing is the best way to enter... How excellent is the contemplation of the world’s sound, a pure sound, like the ocean’s roar.’

One other, minor, issue is the effect of Kundalini outside of the body, on ‘the world’ and other people. I think it’s wise not to dwell on this side of things too much as there’s scope for both fantasy and paranoia. However, as regards my neighbour, I clearly needed to act outwardly as well as inwardly. One night, a little after midnight, I knocked on his door. I had to knock loudly because the music coming from inside was deafening, however I didn’t knock with my sledgehammer. My neighbour was performing his DJing to a roomful of his friends, and didn’t like me interrupting him. I felt both angry and scared (they were drunk). I said my piece, and a weird thing happened. I felt kundalini coming out of my words, and out of my whole body, and filling the room. My words were forceful, but not furious! I felt a wonderful relaxation and strength in the simple justice of what I was saying. And I could tell that they heard it too. In fact, they were aware that Kundalini was in the room. What ought to have been a shouting match turned into a dignified and friendly conversation. And they switched the music down!

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