публикувано 31.01.2013 от Камелия Хаджийска в Споделено
 
 

Chapter 6

Magical-Way-To-Get-Divine-Power

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

„Who is to interpret these phenomena? The traditional doctor knows nothing of energies … and won’tallow herself or himself to see. The popular consciousness movement is busy selling methods of feelinggood or being more powerful.“ –Richard Moss

When I discovered I was experiencing Kundalini, I realized my friend Celia had been having an array of
Kundalini symptoms too. For several years, she had searched futilely for help from doctors, and finally
concluded she had contracted several diseases, which had not been properly diagnosed.
When I broke the news to her that she might also have risen Kundalini, she reacted strangely. She
seemed to prefer the idea that her symptoms were due to disease. I asked her if the thought of
Kundalini frightened her in some way. Celia admitted she wanted nothing to do with spiritual
emergence because it was connected to the saints. As a child raised in Catholicism, she had hated
hearing the nuns talk about the saints’ terrible suffering for God. At the time she told me this, I thought
she was confusing religious doctrine with something far more majestic and wonderful. I knew very little
about Kundalini then…

Seven years later, it struck me that Celia had been right. Kundalini does seem implicated in the suffering
of the saints of all traditions. It has certainly been an agent of suffering for many of the rest of us who
have felt the Shakti Goddess’ electrifying hand.

I don’t know if Celia’s refusal to acknowledge what I still suspect was her awakened Kundalini spared
her any pain. Soon afterward, she severed our friendship. It was obvious that my welcoming embrace
of my own transformation was so threatening to her she couldn’t afford to keep me in her life.
Kundalini has brought me Suffering with a capital S – the serpent’s fangs drew blood. Before I was
plunged into Kundalini’s fire, I regarded suffering as something dreadful to be avoided at all costs. I
now have come to understand it more as Viktor Frankl did when he wrote „What is to give light must
endure burning.“

No one escapes suffering in this world; it’s part of the earthly landscape. But not everyone who
experiences Kundalini gets tossed into the flames. For some, after Kundalini is most active, Her touch is
that of merciful healer, and their lives begin to improve on all sides. People who have primarily
experienced Kundalini’s benevolence are most eager to awaken Her in others, and perplexed when
some of their protégés have serious problems with the process.

I’ve also heard of cases where Kundalini phenomena remained fairly blissful for years before the
process became more arduous, and vice versa. Some people rejoice when Kundalini awakens in them
despite the difficulties; others are terrified even when their experiences have been painless and
beautiful. Our responses and the course of our particular Kundalini odyssey can’t be measured against a
classic standard because every pattern is unique.

Understandably, this makes many people nervous; they want to know what to expect next. But
Kundalini can’t be charted. This is a major part of awakening – being shaken loose of the idea that we
know what’s up. Kundalini is one knock-your-socks-off surprise after another, restoring our
appreciation of the great mystery of existence.

Something’s Going on Here…

Over the past five years, I have made contact with hundreds of people who have experienced the
process of psychospiritual transformation. Many of these people, upon realizing the cause of their
symptoms, have recognized that some of their friends and acquaintances have been having similar
baffling disturbances. Some of them have been devout spiritual seekers; others had little overt interest
in spirituality prior to their Kundalini awakening. No single pattern or myth seems to fit.

Something miraculous seems to be going on here, but by and large, few people know much about the
Kundalini process. Over and again I hear the same story from people who have been unexpectedly
initiated into this process: they have run the gamut from finding no information to being given
damaging misinformation. When I began doing research to help me understand and cope with my own
experience, I was likewise faced with a glut of occult, esoteric, New Age and other material which was
often worse than useless. Gene Kieffer, president of the Kundalini Research Foundation, refers to these
pseudo-resources as „metaphysical junkfood.“ While there are quite a number of books written about
Kundalini from an eastern perspective, these rarely address the concerns of individuals experiencing
endogenous Kundalini awakening. Worse, most of them claim that spontaneous awakening is
exceedingly rare and in some way flawed. Unless one has an affinity for yogic/Hindu cosmology, these
texts, which describe the Kundalini process in abstruse, highly symbolic language, can confuse and
frighten rather than educate those trying to decipher their own experiences.

For centuries, awareness of spiritual awakening has been suppressed in Western civilization. Dating
from the Christian church’s religious-political expulsion of the Gnostics and on through the scourges of
the Inquisition, revealing information about these sacred processes was an invitation to torture and
death. Even in Eastern cultures, outside of obscure scriptures, the arousal of the Kundalini was
clandestine knowledge denied to all but privileged adepts.

In recent times, although certain groups remain intolerant, we in the „free world“ are no longer subject
to government-sanctioned religious persecution. I have no desire to return to the tyrannical days of
yore when speaking earnestly held such dire penalty, where only those who were willing to give their
lives for the truth dared speak at all. But today we have the flip side of religious freedom, where
anyone who can draw a crowd or woo a publisher can claim to be in possession of arcane wisdom.
Throughout the world, people are looking for greater spiritual connection in their lives. The
mushrooming number of multi-modality teachers and healers recognizes this hunger. Meditation,
visualization, prayer groups, channeling, drumming, crystals, guided imagery, trance-inducing
breathwork, mask making, sacred rituals, somatic therapies, psychic healing, firewalking, yoga: never
before has such a metaphysical potpourri been available to the seeker. Many of these healing and
consciousness-raising tools are being offered in good faith, while others are hawked by peddlers less
concerned with what nourishes the soul than with what feeds their egos and their bankrolls. I have a
Brahman Hindu friend who was totally flabbergasted to come across an organization charging money –
„a whole lot of money“ – to activate the Kundalini. His shock was akin to what a Christian might feel
upon discovering a New Age group selling the sacrament of the Eucharist. As an American, the
reduction of anything and everything to merchandise is not so surprising to me, but I am sorely put off
by promotions of Kundalini as a biopsychic power tool.

Kundalini is hardly an easy way to enhance one’s sexual prowess and social standing, or a means of
bringing some excitement into a ho-hum lifestyle. Yet anything as fraught with mystery and
extraordinary potential as Kundalini is susceptible to misrepresentation and fraud. Too many Kundalini
teachers and healers refuse to admit that spiritual awakening is an extremely complex, consuming, and
potentially dangerous process.

In a New Age publication, I came across an advertisement for a six-week course, which teaches
participants how to „run the Kundalini“ and achieve enlightenment, all for a bargain price of only $550.
Such bogus training sessions perpetuate the notion that raising Kundalini is some kind of parlor trick
that can easily be accomplished over a weekend or in one’s spare time. A man who must have
graduated from such a course now claims to be in command of occult forces. He tells his pagan pals
that he can „set“ himself at „full power, on-line“ and emit invisible bursts of Kundalini energy to insure
the success of magical rituals.

Carl Jung once remarked that he had never seen a case of Western yoga practice „that was not applied
with the wrong purpose of getting still more on top – to acquire more power or more control, either of
their own body, or of other people, or of the world….“ Yoga, which means „union,“ was never intended
to serve the ego in this way.

I once came across another advertisement for a workshop purporting to teach awakening of the
Kundalini. The ad seductively described the state of immediate relaxation and unfettered happiness,
which was supposed to occur as soon as Kundalini rises. I remarked to Charles that it made it sound like
there was no difference between Kundalini awakening and shooting heroin.

It is irresponsible to give people instructions on raising Kundalini without any spiritual understanding of
what they are doing. Through our newsletter and Internet exchanges, Charles and I regularly hear from
the casualties of irresponsible promotion of Kundalini as a means to personal power and
entertainment. It is not only the teachers who are to blame; there are plenty of people greedy for the
super-powers these teachers promise, who apparently have to learn the hard way that these
tremendous, sacred energies are not psychodynamic toys.

What’s Sex Got To Do With It?

I once tuned into a cable TV station where a grinning author was promoting her new book on life
transitions. At around the age of forty, she proclaimed, everyone’s Kundalini fires up. But she quickly
dismissed Kundalini as an antiquated term for „erotic energy.“ According to this gushing author, when
the „erotic energy“ bursts forth at mid-life, everyone experiences a second wind of physical vitality and
sexual renewal.

There is a grain of truth in what she says. According to what I’ve been told by the Spiritual Emergence
Network, a large portion of callers undergoing Kundalini awakenings are women in their forties.
Anthropologist Joan B. Townsend, in her acknowledgment that some of the most powerful shamans
are women, „especially after menopause, „seems to indicate a higher incidence of Kundalini
awakenings past middle age. Even so, the number of women calling SEN (or becoming shamans) falls a
few short of the world’s over-forty population.

Many yogis and other religious aspirants believe that celibacy promotes spiritual awakening, and that
the Kundalini is, in fact, rechanneled sexual energy. Neither I, nor the majority of people I know who
have an active Kundalini, have consciously sublimated or otherwise redirected our sexual energy. In
both Eastern and Western religious writings, there is a negative preoccupation with sexuality. Great
emphasis is placed on subduing, redirecting, or altogether renouncing sexual activity. Eastern doctrine
denigrates sexual expression as a gross, impure, and spiritually impeding use of the life force. Their
Christian counterpart has from its inception equated celibacy with holiness, regarding biological life as
basically corrupt and detrimental to the soul. Pagan and shamanic cultures have looked upon sexuality
quite differently, seeing it as integral to spirituality. Many sacred rites included overt sexuality as a
means of accessing the Divine. Sexuality in the earth centered religions, while held in equal esteem with
spiritual ecstasy, was generally carefree and uncomplicated. While marriage seems to be a universal
human institution, monogamy and celibacy are not.

Indigenous historian Robert Lawlor asserts that among the Gnostics and the Zealots, male celibacy
(and in some sects, castration) were practiced under the belief that „sublimated sexual energy was
supposed to provide men with a spiritual power of creativity higher and more significant than women’s
natural power to give birth.“

The practice of asceticism in various sky-god and masculine religions may have also evolved from a
misguided attempt to return to the pristine innocence and spiritual purity found in archaic cultures. For
instance, the Aborigines, who lived without personal possessions or material attachments while
existing in a state of perpetual heightened consciousness, known as „Dreamtime.“ However, Aboriginal
and other Goddess cultures were not erotically restrained and remained sexually active throughout
their lives. For women in particular, sexuality was considered a birthright and female sacrament, to be
enjoyed until late into old age. It was in fact considered dangerous to the harmony of the community
for a woman to be sexually frustrated or cut off from sexual activity.

There is a direct correlation between right brain activity (dreams, creativity, intuition, psychic
perception and mystical experience) and heightened sensuality and sexual appetite. The popular dumb
blonde bombshell image of Hollywood females of the 1950’s was a degenerate simulation of the erotic
vitality of women in right-brained dominant Goddess cultures. Kundalini increases the flow of
electromagnetic energy in the body so much that it throws off compass readings and plays havoc with
wristwatches and electrical equipment. The energy is often felt rising from left foot and leg – the
negatively charged feminine half of the body. Studies have shown that the positively charged south
pole of a magnet stimulates right-brain activity as well as producing greater metabolic warmth, more
rapid healing of wounds, increased oxygen utilization and enhanced sexual vigor– all phenomena
associated with Kundalini! It seems that Kundalini involves an increased flow of positively charged
electromagnetic energy from the earth into the receptive negatively charged left side of the body. At
no point in my own Kundalini process has sexual activity had negative consequences. (On a few
occasions, the opposite has been true. Trying to ignore or repress heightened sexual energies has
resulted in physical sickness and emotional distress for me.) I know of plenty of other married and
lovingly-coupled men and women whose risen Kundalini did not require (or result from) sexual
abstinence.

According to Gopi Krishna and his devoted long time associate, Gene Kieffer, the majority of India’s
illumined sages on record were married and had children (and some had more than one wife).
Throughout his writings, Gopi Krishna stressed his belief that Kundalini arousal was biologically
correlated with „reversal of the reproductive system and its functioning more as an evolutionary than
as a reproductive mechanism.“ But to Krishna, there was a clear distinction between this and sexual
activity, which ordinarily will neither awaken nor deter Kundalini. (Many so-called Tantric sects which
purport to be spiritual groups are more aligned with swingers clubs. The worship of sex in itself and
indiscriminate, orgiastic sex practices rarely spark Kundalini.)

Irina Tweedie’s Sufi guru told her: „Kundalini is not sex-impulse alone; but sex-power forms part of
Kundalini.“ From what I have read and been told, it does seem that the sexual organs undergo changes
during the Kundalini process. Swami Muktananda, Ram Dass, B.S. Goel, Gabriel Cousens and Gopi
Krishna all describe incidents where they experienced strange genital sensations, including painful
erections and seeing or feeling their semen stream up into the sushuma (central spinal canal).
Women sometimes report suction sensations (with or without sexual arousal) at the cervix, or a
bubbling or vibrating genital energy. In his writings, Gopi Krishna speaks of being approached by a
woman who asked him, „Can this be the way to God? As you are saying, I am experiencing the most
abominable sensations inside.“ When he questioned her about the sensations, she replied, „I can’t even
speak of them; they are the usual sensations associated with sex.“ And Irina Tweedie, who was a
widowed proper European woman in her mid-fifties when her Kundalini rose, experienced an
unexpected flood of sexual desire which was „uncontrollable, a kind of wild, cosmic force.“ She gave a
detailed account of this in her journal, which has since been published under the title Daughter of Fire:
„Never, not even in its young days, had this body known anything, even faintly comparable, or similar
to this! This was not just desire – it was madness in its lowest, animal form, a paroxysm of sex-craving…
a wild howling of everything female in me, for a male… But the inexplicable thing was that even the
idea of any kind of intercourse was repulsive and did not even occur to me.“

When the Kundalini rises, it may initially enliven the second chakra, which is the sexual center of the
body. During these early stages of the process, one may go through episodes of inflamed passion. But
we may just as likely experience surges of grief, rage, ecstasy, or any other powerful feelings when
Kundalini-Ma engages us. The thrust of the Kundalini is toward revitalization. She infuses us with the
throbbing energies of life, which includes sexuality as well as the many realms of the Spirit.

Kundalini and Menopause

There does seem to be a correlation between menopause and the rising of Kundalini, but to exactly
what degree remains unknown. In the Fall 1994 issue of the KRN newsletter (the official publication of
the Kundalini Research Network), in a column called „Ask Dr. K,“ a 48 year old women wrote in asking
„How do you tell the difference between menopausal hot flashes and the heat sensations related to
Kundalini?“ This woman said she had been in a Kundalini process for the past 7-8 years and was now
experiencing hot flashes and wondered if hormonal replacement therapy would be appropriate in her
case. Dr. Yvonne Kason replied that „we do not yet know the effects of most drugs upon the Kundalini
process“ and said she recommended drugs only as a last resort „because a person in a Kundalini
process is often very sensitive to subtle side-effects of drugs.“

On occasion, I have felt extreme heat in my body from the beginning of my own Kundalini process. In
later years, I have been experiencing menopausal symptoms, including irregular periods and hot flashes
at night. For me, the Kundalini heat and the hormonal hot flashes have been qualitatively different.
Kundalini heat, in my case, has been more intense (although it never caused sweating). The hormonal
hot flashes feel as though I have suddenly been enveloped by humid, tropical heat, whereas Kundalini
heat is like a white hot conflagration in my very bone marrow. With Kundalini, I know the heat is
emanating from my own body, while with menopausal hot flashes, I sweat a lot and cannot distinguish
my body heat from external temperatures. I have to check the thermostat to see if the room is
inordinately hot, or if it’s just me. Also, my hot flashes generally last between 5-15 minutes, while
Kundalini heat has at times continued unabated for hours.

These personal experiences lead me to believe that Kundalini heat and hormonal hot flashes are not
the same thing. But others report different experiences with Kundalini heat, including extreme night
sweats. Men and women of all ages have reported these, so they cannot be solely attributable to
estrogen shortages! Other than the heat, there are a number of typical menopausal symptoms that
coincide with Kundalini symptoms:

1. Skin sensitivities, including the „hair shirt“ syndrome (described in Chapter Three), that is clinically
known as „formication.“
2. Sense of an electrical charge or static electricity in the brain.
3. Headaches
4. Gastrointestinal distress
5. Dizziness
Reprinted for Kundalini Awakening Systems 1
Page 78 of 191
6. Heart palpitations
7. Fatigue; sleep disturbances (often due to hot flashes)
8. Emotional volatility; depression

However, there are other distinguishing menopausal symptoms which are rarely encountered during
Kundalini awakening, such as joint pains, breast tenderness, frequent urination or incontinence, and
other sex-hormone related problems. While some menopausal women experience energy rushes, they
do not report kriyas or whole body sensations of astonishing electricity. They mention no dramatic
mystical, psychic or paranormal experiences; nor do they complain of hypersensitivity to environmental
forces – all of these manifestations indicating an opening of the Chakras, which occurs when Kundalini
has risen. (Women who do experience all these things may well be in the midst of both the climactic
and Kundalini awakening.)

Although there are some authors who regard menopause, as a time of Kundalini arousal, it seems
evident that not every menopausal woman experiences Kundalini awakening, just as not every
individual with a risen Kundalini is a menopausal woman.

Overcoming Stereotypes

There are teachers and healers who regard Kundalini difficulties as disorders which occur when one has
failed to voluntarily and diligently keep house in one’s psyche. These allegations suggest that if only we
had „done everything right“ in our spiritual practices, in our choice of a healthy lifestyle and in our
psychological inner work, we wouldn’t be paying big dues now. This is much the same kind of thinking
many people take toward adversity in general. Sy Safransky, journalist and editor of The Sun magazine,
describes this attitude. He wrote in his poignant memorial to Stephen Schwartz, who died of cancer at
the age of forty-three: „I wanted to believe that eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, not
smoking, and, most importantly, living authentically and compassionately granted a person some kind
of immunity. Yet spiritual teachers seem to die of cancer as frequently as the rest of us. Death
welcomes them no matter how pure their diet or noble their thoughts.“

In life as in death, even those who are exceptionally disciplined and have dedicated themselves to
spiritual self-development can have chaotic and painful transformation processes. Gopi Krishna, whose
harrowing twelve year Kundalini awakening began when he was thirty-five, had been meditating daily
since the age of seventeen. In the beginning of his autobiography, he states „Long practice had
accustomed me to sit in the same posture for hours at a time without the least discomfort…“ Both
Krishnamurti and Swami Muktananda had been following austere religious disciplines since early
adolescence. Yet all three of them underwent lengthy and difficult awakenings.

Swami Muktananda went so far as to claim that the more dynamic process was granted to „a seeker
who is steadfast and full of devotion to his guru.“ Carlos Castaneda’s Yaqui Indian benefactor, don
Juan, seemed to be describing Kundalini awakening when he spoke of a physical power that develops
for the initiate „on the path of knowledge.“ This power or energy is first felt as an itching or burning,
and then progresses to great discomfort. Don Juan seems to be in agreement with Muktananda when
he says: „Sometimes the pain and discomfort are so great that the warrior has convulsions for months,
the more severe the convulsions the better for him. A fine power is always heralded by great pain.“
The ayurvedic physician Robert Svoboda’s Aghori yoga guru, Vimalananda, was particularly infuriated
by people who made glib claims about how easily Kundalini could be aroused and controlled. Kundalini
is a tremendous force, he exclaimed, and few people can handle such power „This is why I get so wild
when I read about all those people in America who claim either to have had their own Kundalini
awakened painlessly, or to be awakening the Kundalini of all and sundry effortlessly. Don’t ask me to
believe such drivel. If it were so all of America would have merged with the infinite by now.“

While the wheels of change are slowly turning, it is the rare psychiatrist or therapist who has expertise
with Kundalini; even fewer medical doctors have the slightest awareness of it. Although Lee Sannella
(himself a retired psychiatrist and opthamologist) and others have made courageous attempts to
inform doctors and hospitals of the Kundalini symptoms, they have been fairly well ignored. To
traditional physicians who are locked into the Cartesian mindset, the idea that spiritual energies exist,
much less that they have the power to create disruption in the body, is inconceivable. This is a real
obstacle for those of us who are manifesting severe physical symptoms. Hordes of us have been
subjected to a diagnostic battery of CAT scans, MRIs, EMGs, brain scans, blood tests, etc., with negative
or inconclusive results that leave us and our doctors more baffled than ever. Or we have received
inaccurate diagnoses and inappropriate, ineffectual and sometimes harmful medications and
treatments.

I know of three women who were unable to leave their beds for the first year of their Kundalini
process. One of these women had a compassionate doctor who nonetheless was at such a loss to
account for her condition that he broke down and wept when another of her endless tests proved
inconclusive. This particular woman’s Kundalini awakening lasted four and a half years. At no point
during her process did she know what was happening to her, but because so many profound changes
occurred in her life because of it, she had dubbed it „the mutation disease.“

When Gopi Krishna wrote his autobiographical account of his own spectacular Kundalini awakening, he
was afraid he would be perceived as a ranting crackpot. His fears were not unfounded; for a long time,
no publisher would touch the manuscript. A friend of mine, writing of her own experiences during her
six year awakening, remarked wistfully, „There is no way I can prove that these things really happened
to me.“ Fearing that we will not be believed, or actually having our attempts to explain met with
ridicule and ostracism, is why many of us who have Kundalini experiences are reluctant to admit to
them. A number of contributors to Shared Transformation request that their stories be printed
anonymously; there remains a very real threat that their jobs or their reputations could be lost if they
were „found out.“ But many of us who are going through intense Kundalini awakenings cannot hide
what is happening from others; the physical, mental and emotional changes are too consuming and
dramatic to conceal.

The authentic literature says Kundalini awakening can eventually lead to wondrous physical, mental,
emotional and spiritual well being. I’ve already tasted some of these fruits, so I believe this is true. Prior
to 1991, I thought that with rare exceptions, only devout aspirants who followed rigorous spiritual
disciplines could have Kundalini awakenings. I had imagined that this harrowing but ultimately
benevolent process was the reward of unremitting orthodox practice. When my Kundalini arose, this
and many more of my long held assumptions were blown to pieces. I began meeting others who were
in the midst of dramatic Kundalini awakenings. Not one of these people fit „the profile“ before their
awakening. We had all been highly sensitive people; most of us had experienced some degree of
psychic awareness earlier in our lives. Each of us had a hunger for communion with life/God/others, and
a strong desire to learn about the mysterious and magical side of existence. Here the similarities
between us ended.

Our religious backgrounds, ages, race, gender and lifestyles were diverse. Some of us had previous
exposure to, or interest in eastern religious practices such as yoga, meditation, or spiritual studies.
Some had adhered to Judeo/Christian beliefs; others were involved in New Age systems. While some
had experimented heavily with psychedelic drugs, others had little or no drug experience.

A woman in her late sixties wrote and asked me „Aren’t I too old to be going through this?“ two weeks
before another woman, thirty-years-old, asked me „Aren’t I too young to be experiencing this?“
Kundalini phenomena can begin any time in life from early childhood to advanced old age. One can also
be born with a risen Kundalini. In a case where this had happened, the person told me it was not until
she was in her thirties that she realized everyone else didn’t experience regular, blissful rushes of
energy powerful enough to make her eyes tear and her hair stand on end.

There is no telling just how many of us are undergoing Kundalini. Psychiatrist John Nelson, who
distinguishes between transcendent and pathological states of altered consciousness in his book,
Healing the Split, said that he had only encountered one case of Kundalini awakening in his twenty
years of psychiatric practice. On the other hand, spiritual leader Ram Dass confides „I get phone calls all
the time, as I imagine the Spiritual Emergence Network does, from people who are having Kundalini
experiences.“ Apparently, whatever our numbers, we are scattered near and far. Those of us in radical
transformation occupy every strata of society. The people I have heard from who are experiencing
Kundalini include business owners, executives, artists, scientists, healers, psychologists, lawyers,
therapists, doctors, writers, astrologers, firefighters, scholars, poets, social activists, clerical workers,
ministers, college students and homemakers. We can’t be found in any specific interest group or
community. No one knows just how many of us there are, or where all of us are.

I had imagined that there would be more of us gathered in places like important Eastern religious
centers, especially those whose teachings center on the raising of the Kundalini. To my astonishment, I
discovered this was untrue. At one point in my own awakening, I called such a renowned local ashram
for a referral to a dentist who could deal with the involuntary jerking movements of my kriyas. The
receptionist at the center told me they didn’t give referrals; furthermore, she said she did not know of
anyone locally – devotee or otherwise – who had actually had a Kundalini awakening! While a number
of these yoga and meditation centers are aware of mild symptoms and transcendent Kundalini
experiences, they seem to have little cognizance of the complexities of the process.

Many Eastern religions teach that Kundalini is awakened through the guru – usually by transmission of
spiritual energy known as „shaktipat.“ A few people experiencing spontaneous Kundalini arousal told
me they had received shaktipat from such gurus – some a decade or more prior to the unleashing of
their Kundalini. Was this a factor? In several cases, traumatic events such as the death of a loved one or
a physical accident preceded the most severe Kundalini symptoms. For others, meditation, prayer,
bodywork or breathwork seemed to be the immediate catalyst. In cases like my own, there was no
evident external trigger.

Kundalini Variations

In certain religious and psychological circles, there is quite a bit of nitpicking about what signs and
symptoms constitute a real Kundalini awakening. These arguments often fail to take into account that
the process can continue for a lifetime, and that in this time frame, an incredible spectrum of
manifestations can occur.

Not everyone experiences Kundalini in the same way. Among the traditions that acknowledge and
describe Kundalini awakening, the teachings or scriptures offer a model of this process, not an accurate
depiction of how it affects each individual. When the model is mistaken for a precise definition of the
Kundalini process, it proves to be of little help to those who are experiencing the Serpent Fire
firsthand.

In the early stages, people may experience only a few of the classical hallmarks of the risen Kundalini.
For some, the process begins with a sublime mystical revelation. For others, it isn’t until relatively late in
the process that mystical and paranormal events occur. Eastern sagas of Kundalini tell of initiates
swooning in supersensual bliss. Euphoria and ecstasy are Kundalini’s enchanting calling cards, but not
everyone gets such a lovely introduction to the Shakti Goddess. Bliss may be a long time coming. I have
not been graced with much in the way of physical delights in my own process. There have been times
when I’ve enjoyed mildly pleasant energy rushes (usually immediately after a Kriya, although these
sensations only last a few seconds). I have had mystical experiences that were ecstatic… yet these
occurred long before my Kundalini rose. From what others report to me, it seems that when the bodily
symptoms are as extreme as mine have been, the early years of the process are rarely blissful.
Great peace of mind is a welcome gift of spiritual awakening. I experienced sublime peace once, years
before Kundalini, during a near death episode. Never since have I experienced such perfect tranquillity.
The absence of many of the coveted positive Kundalini effects in my personal awakening may make me
an exception to the rule, but as of this writing I have box loads of letters from similar „exceptions.“ Of
the commonly experienced joys of the Spirit, the greatest that Kundalini has thus far bequeathed to me
is joy itself. This and an ongoing, deepening of love I feel for and from Charles, life and the Spirit has lit
my way through some of the desolate stretches of my journey thus far.

Feeling powerful is another oft mentioned Kundalini attribute. I certainly have felt filled to overflowing
by Kundalini’s potent force, but at no time did I sense this power was mine. There are also many
reports of feeling supremely safe and protected – almost to the point of invincibility – during intense
Kundalini episodes. This sense of divine safety I too have been granted. In my case, it was not that I felt
removed from harm so much as my heightened perspective enabled me to see all that happened as the
perfect workings of the Tao. During the most spectacular months of my awakening, I was surprisingly
calm, almost fearless.

The length of time spent in altered states varies, which makes quite a difference in their impact on our
daily functioning. Some may only last a few minutes, or they may continue uninterrupted for days,
weeks or months. Once Kundalini is fully active, the process often lasts for many years. Even those with
shorter experiences may find that brief but dramatic episodes recur in their lives during a five to twenty
year period.

Those who have had relatively short and easy (and often partial) awakenings frequently make the false
assumption that everyone’s process should conclude quickly. There is a strong, unfortunate tendency
to believe that the way one’s own unfolding occurred is precisely the way it should be for everyone
else. Such narcissistic thinking leads to all sorts of useless criticism and poor advice. Everyone I know
who has undergone a prolonged Kundalini awakening has been told by at least one professed „expert“
that he or she was definitely not experiencing Kundalini. People who have never themselves had
Kundalini experiences are often more eager and evangelical in spelling out what is a „real“ process than
those who have actually gone through it themselves.

A subtle or overt jockeying for position occurs among quite a few spiritual mavens, each trying to claim
ultimate authority and superiority of his/her path. Many teachers whose Kundalini was self-induced
regard spontaneous Kundalini awakenings as premature and inauspicious. Turning the tables, Gopi
Krishna, whose Kundalini erupted spontaneously and very unexpectedly, considers unbidden
awakening preferable and calls intentional arousal of Kundalini forced and unnatural.

The long years of extreme difficulties Krishna candidly describes in his autobiographical books are
sometimes held up as proof of his spiritual ineptitude. His accusers display a curious amnesia when it
comes to the painful and protracted awakening processes of many adherents of the do-it-yourself and
guru-supervised genre. I have always gravitated to the unassuming, broad-minded teachers who
acknowledge a diversity of approaches to the Spirit (without imposing a scale of values favoring their
personal system).

Rather than extolling one way at the expense of the other, it makes more sense to me to consider
deliberately raised Kundalini as yang evolution, and spontaneous awakening as yin evolution. Since I
belong to the latter class, I can speak better to and for others likewise summoned by Kundalini than to
those who have commanded her to rise. Quite honestly, for all its splendor, spiritual transformation is
so tremendously difficult, I think anyone who goes out of their way to catalyze it must be exceedingly
brave, naive, or crazy!

Some people want and need a teacher to lead them through their transformation – and I do not mean
„need“ in the pop-pejorative use of the word, in which anything but proud independence is labeled co-
dependency. A teacher is right for certain constitutions, just as others have no need of a human guide
and could be impeded by one. There are teachers who strenuously object to the untutored path, some
out of true concern for the initiate and some to keep drumming up business. But there will always be
seekers and mentors, and a good teacher is never in danger of losing all disciples in a mass defection to
autonomy.

Once the process has taken on a momentum of its own and is causing havoc, anyone who has kindled
Kundalini under the auspices of an unqualified teacher or overly enthusiastic spiritual/occult practices
may worry he/she did something wrong to have tampered with cosmic forces. My sense is that
however Kundalini has awakened – no matter by what system or lack of one – it was meant to be.
Rather than torment ourselves over what we might have done differently, our sentiments are more
wisely spent directed to learning all we can to make the best of our situation now.

More Misconceptions

In addition to all the confusing mixed messages we receive from others, we have our internalized
prejudices that add to our doubt. These internal demon-guardians of the Gate prevent us from fully
entering the Sacred. In my own case, I had a hard time feeling worthy of my awakening, because I
didn’t feel that I was „advanced“ enough to merit such a gift. Like many others, I’d bought into the idea
that only saints experienced radical flowering of consciousness. Ideas such as „only renunciates and
those who live austerely make genuine spiritual progress,“ or „only those who regularly meditate, pray,
or engage in devout religious practices have powerful spiritual experiences,“ are among the common
misleading spiritual stereotypes. Other misconceptions include:

* Visualizing (or mental concentration) is sufficient (or always required) to rouse and safely direct the
movement of the Kundalini.
* Unless one is serene, passionless, detached, and is in control of the mind and senses, one cannot
experience higher levels of consciousness.
* Spiritual experiences are always uplifting, beautiful and welcome.
* People whose consciousness is evolving are constantly „high“ and radiant with happiness.
* Other people can easily see there is something special and mystical about those who are having
spiritual awakenings.
* Spiritual experiences are ethereal and only effect the soul – they never involve the body or the
„negative“ emotions.
* A true Kundalini awakening occurs as an instantaneous flash of total enlightenment.
* Only five people in the history of the world (or some infinitesimal number) really have a risen
Kundalini.* Those who undergo transformational processes are superior to other people.

All of these assumptions are simply untrue. Those who have transformational experiences don’t fit into
any one mold or myth. „Decadent“ bleached blondes with flashy wardrobes and lots of makeup are just
as likely to undergo spiritual awakening as neo-Amish type virgins. Those who meticulously follow
ordained spiritual practices appear to have no advantage over those who adhere to no specific regime.
Even spiritual aspirants and faithful believers aren’t exclusive prospects; to their surprise too, atheists
and agnostics also experience spiritual awakening.

Glenn Morris, Ph.D., is a prime example. A Ninja master, who is an avowed agnostic, Morris defies
stereotyping. Awakening the Kundalini „has nothing to do with healthy lifestyle,“ he contends, „and
nothing to do with eating rice and being a vegetarian.“ Prior to his Kundalini awakening, he smoked,
drank Scotch and ate red meat with gusto. He induced his own awakening and teaches others to do the
same using Chi Kung meditation techniques. Even so, he says that when his Kundalini rose, it almost
cost him his life. It took nine years to heal the nerve damage incurred when the energy skyrocketed
with such force it nearly blew his head off.

People who consider themselves „spiritually correct“ are often more antagonistic toward spiritual
emergence in anyone who doesn’t fit the bill than are the hard-core materialists and skeptics who
disdain anything spiritual. Anyone who has experienced Kundalini outside the auspices of a religious
tradition knows what I’m talking about. Dogmatic types are also most likely to try to commandeer
someone else’s process, giving irrelevant instructions and unnecessary dire warnings.

Dropping Expectations

As punitive as other people’s judgments can be, the most formidable obstacles are those we harbor in
our own minds. Our images of who we should be or what is true begin to crumble as we spiritually
evolve. For some of us, the realization that something greater than materialist science and human
ingenuity are at work here can be shattering. New realities that break through as consciousness unfurls
can be disturbing and bewildering. It takes work to integrate spontaneous insights and mystical
experiences that have no place in one’s previously accepted reality model. Marilyn Ferguson, a frontier
reporter on consciousness research, has described the double-edged sword of mystical experience:
„The mind now knows what the heart had only hoped for. But the same experience can be deeply
distressing to one unprepared for it, who must then try to fit it into an inadequate belief system.“

There can also be vacillations in our personal needs and desires, which alarm us. At certain points in the
process, those of us who have been health-conscious or vegetarians develop cravings for „forbidden“
foods, such as sweets and meat. Erstwhile self-sacrificing individuals find themselves needing to
withdraw and say no to other people’s demands. Those who have embraced celibacy or sexual
moderation might be horrified to discover their passions smoldering. These and many other changes in
the transformational process can be a torturous inner war if we cling to stereotypes of what is
absolutely right, good, or pure. If we think anger is un-spiritual, we’ll be mortified when we go through
episodes of emotional catharsis. If we have deified certain foods, we’ll feel guilty and miserable when
our bodies demand that we eat differently. If we have disowned or repressed any part of ourselves, the
transformational process is sure to bring these parts back with a vengeance. The more we try to push
these „wrong“ parts away, the more painful our struggle.

Even improvements in our lives can be unsettling at first. Alan Arkin describes how he reacted when he
discovered one morning that his habitual, compulsive and frenetic pattern had dissolved: „After a
couple of minutes, when nothing locked into place as an urgent demand, a must do, my reaction was
one of terror… Half a dozen things were equally balanced. And this ability to choose, calmly and in an
orderly way, threw me into a panic.“

For those who have tried to be „good“ people, by whatever standard, the most devastating part of the
process may come when the „goodness“ is stripped away. I don’t believe this happens simply to
expose our hidden negativity. It’s also dissolution of attachments which are blocking our awareness. It
is relatively easy to see the benefit of letting go of greed, malice, deceit, etc. It’s harder to recognize
that our ideals and lofty expectations are equal entrapments which bar us from the truth. All the
stereotypes, even the beautiful ones, are ultimately crippling. Every preconception limits awareness. If
any generalization can be made about spiritual evolution, it is this: It’s never quite what we expected it
to be.

El Collie – “Branded by the Spirit”

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