How to Create a Relationship with Kundalini Energy

I recently gave a talk at the SAND conference in San Jose that was focused on relationships, and spoke of how to have a positive relationship with kundalini energy.  Here is a copy of the handout I gave attendees, a part of my speech I did not have time for but wanted to elaborate on.

 You are energy and consciousness flowing through a molecular structure, made of  billions of atoms that are primarily empty space.  Much of your history, beliefs, and patterns are entangled in this energy field and when kundalini activates it is attempting to create a transformation by clearing out all these identifications and reactive patterns, freeing you to live in a more spontaneous and natural way. This is a support for awakening to your true nature, or Self-realization, and for the potential of living from this realization.

images-4 You cannot stop or control the flow of energy in your body but you can get in a cooperative relationship with it so that your conscious mind and your deepest Self work together to transform your life. 

It is akin to the difference between a competitive and hostile marriage and a loving and respectful partnership in marriage.Like any relationship it is improved by listening, understanding, cooperating and seeing that each partner gets what it needs.

Your conscious mind, awareness and energy field need to meet this challenge as a team.

You need to allow time for the energy to release, for the body to relax and be nourished, and make adjustments in your lifestyle to reduce stress and toxicity.

I believe marriages  last because the partners have learned flexibility, mutual respect, loving attention and facing challenges as a team. Navigating a kundalini arising or spiritual awakening process needs the same kind of attitudes.

So I have identified four characteristics useful in marriage, life and spiritual awakening to help you finda better way to live with Kundalini.

FLEXIBILITY – to look within and be honest about any changes you need to make to support this process

MUTUAL RESPECT – for the needs of the body and the spirit and the energy

LOVING ATTENTION – If you can trust and fall in love with the grace of awakening the process will unfold much more gently.  Open your heart to the energy and the changes it is bringing, be curious about what this experience is showing you, love the fact you are human and able to be part of this.

FACING CHALLENGES AS A TEAM – using your mind to understand what is happening and find creative ways to express the intense energy and the changes you are facing

I call these the foundations of creating a thriving relationship with life and with yourself.

 Flexibility:This intensified energy brings changes into your life – you will likely lose your drive and you may lose interest in the kinds of socializing you used to do or in the work you are in.  It’s like getting a reading on yourself – what is authentic, what comes from the heart versus what was something the mind thought you ought to think or do. You may feel very inwardly drawn, or find you only feel good in nature, and you may find the news depressing, and crowds energetically overwhelming.  You need to notice and make adjustments to all of these things. You have to open to change.

Often people who contact me have a history of physical or sexual abuse. After a great sense of Oneness or unity consciousness they fall into intense anxiety. Suppressed memories may arise.For them, flexibility may mean taking time to do the psychotherapy they need and to face pain they have not had the strength to address before.

For someone else flexibility may mean taking time off work or taking breaks during the day to go and sit alone in nature. Many people have told me of spontaneously making major career changes, realizing they were never really happy with their work.

In my own life I was getting a transpersonal psychology degree, and primarily interested in Jungian psychology when kundalini awakened.  It seemed obvious I would focus on my dissertation on this, and then doors kept opening to organizations that wanted to know more about it and I was pulled without any intention into my work with kundalini experiencers. I was exposed to stories of experiences I had never imagined before – and needed to stay flexible in my thinking and response to non-ordinary experiencers.

MUTUAL RESPECT You are spirit, energy, consciousness — but your vehicle is your body.  If you jump completely into mystical states or detachment from life you may damage the biochemistry your body relies upon for good health, and become weakened, depressed , or cause damage to your nervous system. If you do not sleep you will appear psychotic. If you do not eat you will become malnourished. Your hormonal system can he thrown off by the excess energy – you need to be sure your body is functioning as well as it can, under the circumstances.

Several people have told me stories of being found wandering on a beach or on a street in India, not eating or sleeping for several days and being taken to a hospital by friends or by the police. Usually once they have caught up with sleep they are functional enough to be released, often with a heavy psychotic medication that they do not need, but still worrying about their sanity.  I have known people who became so ill in India from not being conscious of their diet that they had to fly home and be hospitalized until their body recovered.

It is very helpful to respect the need of your awakening consciousness to have adequate time for silence and inner peace, respect the need of your body for healthy food and rest, and respect your need to work enough for financial stability.

This is not an easy balance and it is unique for each person, just as each marriage has its own unique conditions.  One person may be financially and emotionally able to follow an impulse to travel or live off the grid for awhile, while another may have a family dependent on them.

One person may have done years of therapy to resolve early childhood issues, and another finds that past traumas are erupting and they need to find a way to resolve their wounds. So it is very helpful to look objectively at what is arising in the moment, identify if you need psychological or physical support, changes in lifestyle, more balance and open time in your daily life, –a major shift in values or perspective, changes in your practice and diet to better support your body, and to value all aspects of your life.

This is obviously not easy, especially if your energy is overwhelming, but to the extent you really listen to your body and intuition you can gradually find the right rhythm through each stage of this process, and it will be unique to you.

LOVING ATTENTION  If you can trust and fall in love with the grace of awakening the process will unfold much more gently.  Open your heart to the energy and the changes it is bringing, be curious about what this experience is showing you, love the fact you are human and able to be part of this transformation, and when your thoughts are dark look instead to the felt sense of awareness that has seen those thoughts, and be willing to suspend belief in thought and ask your heart what does it really want.  What could you have been asking for when the process began for you – did you want the meaning of life, or to know if there was a God, or to understand what was true, or to find lasting internal peace? This process is bringing your answer.

FACING CHALLENGES AS A TEAM  You may have heard that you are not the separate self that you have been identified with. That is afalse image you are maintaining, an illusion. While there is truth to this,holding such a perspective may cause you to undermine the thinking mind and its potential for being an ally in this process. The mind loses its dominance during and after an awakening but it can eventually be refocused as a useful tool instead of a stern and over-talkative director.

You may be someone who wants to be in control or wants integration, and this feels impossible when heat and energy and emotions erupt without any seeming cause. And it is true that you are not in control.  When you contract and try to control this energy you will feel miserable in this process.You need to allow time for the releasing your body needs and find creative ways to express or work through the unconscious material that may arise.

If you try to integrate your old way of being with some new insights you are likely to stay in the division you already experience. – This is about transformation not integration -ultimately you will need to release the desire to hold on to your past –You need to let go – it is not as if nothing you know will survive – but your attachment to it will go –  rather like taking apart a lego structure and seeing someone else reorganize it into something new, leaving many parts behind and adding new pieces you never knew you had available. You will be less attached to the new structure but you can enjoy using it.

Here are a few  ways to work in a loving way to meet the challenges in this process

1. Be willing to let the energy release out of your body – it is clearing out tensions and stresses and beliefs no longer relevant or needed in your life – trying to make you feel very open and free. Lay down on your bed and let it shake you out when needed.

2.  Listen to any intuitive hunches about what you need to eat or stop eating, where you want to go and where you do not want to go. Allow the body to move, dance, sing, draw, write — when it feels like it.

3. Be honest in your relationship –not with random feelings, but with the deeper knowing of the heart about what you need and want and if it is fleeting and changing like the weather, acknowledge that too. Notice how your desires make you unhappy and how the release of any demand or desire for things to be a certain way is a great relief. Accept life as it is and move in response to love

As you learn to listen to your intuitive self, and sit in silence to meet any questions or conflicts that arise, over time your mind will become more clear and your emotional reactivitywill fade away. You will live more in the moment – in the now, as Eckhart Tolle has defined it. There is a no sense of resistance to what is happening, although there can be a movement of response, but it comes from loving care rather than angry pain.

It is as if the deeper consciousness becomes the guide and the remains of the separate self is happy to follow its direction because that is how you feel in the flow in life, at peace.

So by getting in right relationship with your energy, remembering yourself as the awareness that is primordial and changeless, cultivating flexibility and love whether facing energy rushes or emptiness, unbearable bliss or disorienting challenges, you will find yourself awakening into a new way of perceiving and functioning in the world. And you will find the answer to the deepest questions of your heart.

I encourage you to meditate by becoming curious about this awareness that you are, discovering the silence already within you  and resting as that.

Kundalini Phenomena and Solutions

I am planning to speak at the EUROTAS conference near Paris Sept. 25-30 and may also do a program the weekend before in London. EUROTAS is the European Transpersonal Association so you may want to check out this event if you live in Europe.  Let me know also if you would be interested in a London program, as I may arrange a workshop there. You can contact me through my websites www.kundaliniguide and www.awakeningguide, or send a message with your email through Shanti River Center on FB.

images-1Here is a second meeting from my recent webinar. I discussed in the last installment how kundalini is your own life force, and that it awakens from the base of the spine, although it may also first be activated at the 3rd chakra, the heart or as a downward flow of energy.

Imagine yourself for a moment as an electric grid – yogis say there are 72,000 lines of energy flow in the body, moving out in all directions from the center of the spine.  Part of this process is the clearing out of anything held in this grid of energy.  So there can be spontaneous movements, vibrations, heat, even bliss as various area are trying to clear out, or just as releases.

It is helpful when you have a lot of releasing happening to notice what you were doing that day – were you under stress, what did you eat or drink, did you have a difficult encounter with someone, were you sad or upset about something or with someone else from whom you picked up energy, or in a big crowd – this way you may find some patterns that tell you the activities your body is most reactive too.

The more calm your life is, and the more you are open to releases when they happen, the more manageable this process becomes.

Here are some of the phenomena that arise when energy is heightened

Heat, involuntary movement

A yogic remedy for excess heat is to drink warm milk, with a little melted ghee and sugar in it.  Some find that lukewarm baths with epson salts are soothing. A little alternate nostril breathing can help because sometimes the heat rises because energy is arising up pingala, a nadi or energy flow moving up one side of the spine ,and alternate nostril breathing is a method of balancing energy between both sides to bring it up the center. But do not overdo it or you may rise too much energy.

Insomnia

If you go 2 nights without sleep you will begin to appear disoriented and possibly even psychotic. So try to catch up during the day, try melatonin, do deep relaxation practices or guided meditations that relax you, be sure you are in a dark room and do not use any electronic devices for two hours before sleep. These are a few of general guidelines for insomnia. I also found some tapes by a British group called The Honest Guys (on youtube) to be helpful and there are probably other helpful apps as well.

Hormonal imbalance

Intense energy can overwork the nervous system and cause hormonal issues — Do you need a workup with thyroid, adrenals? If exhausted, depressed – do you need diet changes, lifestyle changes, supplements.

Head Problems

If you have headaches or feel disoriented and spacey,  have a fuzzy brain and are unable to concentrate, this is a common phenomena during this process.  Try bringing energy down below the neck and avoid meditations concentrated on the third eye like mantra and visualization. Get out in nature more and practice walking as presence. Evaluate if you need dietary changes. Move energy into your feet and dance. Learn to move more from the center of your body — called the hara. Avoid situations that distress or overstimulate you. Be honest — do not hold on to conflicts if you can find a way to work them through either within yourself or with others.

Issues with the Heart

Often people feel tightness or heaviness in the heart, or they have an explosive experience as some of the holding breaks open.  Most people have what Wilhem Reich, (an early developer of body therapy known as Reichian therapy), called armoring around the heart.  He developed body work as a way of releasing this holding.

When we come into the world we are wide open and available to life (unless we experienced trauma in the womb). The birth process itself can be traumatic and suddenly being thrust into the cold expansiveness of the delivery room.  But generally a baby is open and sensitive to what is happening around it.  As we develop we experience many disappointments and losses and we tend to shut ourselves down, becoming more protective of our feelings and trying to avoid pain.  Depending on our experiences and our need for defense mechanisms we all have varying degrees of armoring. This is what is trying to release out of our system during this awakening process.

Some forms of meditation, (e.g. mantra meditation) focus on awakening from the  third eye or crown as a way to still thoughts and eventually enter samadhi – an expansiveness and connection or merging that feels like unbounded consciousness connected to everything. ( I know — a poor description of something indescribable!) . It is easy to get attached to this kind of opening, and to be drawn to spend your time alone meditating in hopes of re-experiencing this over and over. But sometimes with this kind of opening we do not bring awakening down into the body or the heart, especially if we are reluctant to feel old feelings of loss or pain or grief or anger that we believe could be there.  It feels easier to avoid.

Some of you may have felt your heart opening anyway, without any practice focused there, but most spiritual traditions have practices for opening the heart in preparation for awakening.  Chanting, singing bowls, prayer, metta or developing compassion, and some yoga and Qigong practices are focused on the heart center.  Sufi turning practices are heart-centered.  In non-duality Ramana Maharshi once said the center of the I thought is in the chest, on the right side parallel to the heart and 3 finger widths from the sternum.  He suggested we put attention in this area when we use the inquiry “Who am I” or What am I?

Sometimes a life event such as a death in the family or a great loss seems to break open the heart and this can initiate an awakening, or deepen it into the body. After the heart becomes more open or the heart chakra more awakened you may feel sudden and inexplicable love for someone irrationally, or for no reason at all; or for the world; or  you may feel more vulnerable to the pain of others you see on the world news or on the streets.You may feel joy or awe more spontaneously and compassion, and have feelings with less self-referencing – that is, it is not about you or not personal but it is arising.

In fact as kundalini arises and disturbs all the familiar conditions of the body and psyche you will eventually discover nothing is really personal — you are a form going through a transformation not for your own benefit or because you deserved it or to give you a greater purpose in the world — it the simply the deconstruction of the illusion of “I” so that the knowing of true human nature can infuse the life you lead. You’ve been called into this, and it can be difficult at times, but it can also be ecstatic and it is leading to freedom.

You can learn more about awakening and the kundalini process in my book When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening, published by New Harbinger – Non-Duality Press division)

 

 

 

 

 

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Ways to Calm Energy

I am holding a webinar on Kundalini and Awakening these days, and I thought I would share notes from a recent session on ways to calm down energy and find your center of stillness.  Kundalini is your own internal energy field, an aspect of prana, but it has become heightened, as if you are at a higher frequency, when it has been activated through spiritual practice, energy practices, trauma or for other reasons. If you have an awakened energy field it tends to get more intense when you are anxious, when your body is under stress, or when you are excited – perhaps around the energy of someone else with awakened kundalini, and paradoxically when you are relaxed such as in the middle of the night when you are trying to sleep.

This new energy is both a transforming and a clearing process so you may find your body shaking or vibrating, or heat rising or emotions shifting or unusual psychic experiences. You can feel disoriented and as if parts of you are falling away.  This is the ego structure coming apart – beliefs and attachments to appearances, drives,  interests, activities that you do because you should but you are not authentically aligned with –these fall away. When the energy is focused on certain areas different phenomena arise.  When it is in the lower chakras you may feel  ungrounded or overwhelmed with sexual energy, and as it moves upward you may lose interest in sex, feel intense heart sensations, or have challenges with your throat.

FIND THE CENTER

The third chakra is manipura,  located behind the naval on the inner wall ofhs-1994-02-c-thumbthe spinal column. Although awakening is generally considered to begin at the base of the spine, some yoga systems say manipura, located behind the naval in front of the spine, is the center of awakening, actually where kundalini takes place, and it is the link between the higher and lower planes of existence. It is a pivotal opening in this location, because  from here the awakening is ongoing, and consciousness begins to change.  When it opens here you may feel it like an intense  blast and there is a reorganization of the pranic flow in the body, and this becomes the new base of kundalini.  When energy opens here it is believed you can get glimpses of higher planes of existence.  This causes many of your biases, patterns and beliefs to begin to fall away as a new perspective begins to emerge.  You may have past-life patterns arise, or karmic patterns may become more clear, so they can be released.  You can have discomfort as all this energy is being rearranged.

Ultimately there is a deep inner peace in your center as things settle down.  There is a sense of stillness in the center of the activity of life, and the tendency to get entangled in thoughts becomes less and less.  You can learn to be calm and be centered in this part of the body.  Yogis even say that as this center becomes stable you can be free of disease and have the capacity to create your own life.  I think what happens is you learn to listen to an inner knowing located deeper in the body in the 3rd and 4th chakras – you tune yourself to moving from an intuition here instead of the old patterns circulating in the mind.  You might call this presence or a sense of being here now – this part of us lives in this moment, not entangled in the past and future thinking of the mind.  Gradually our perception of ourselves as a separate self diminishes and we feel connected to the world in a different way.

Many people have heart openings and samadhi experiences through the higher chakras that give us glimpses of unitive consciousness before this center in manapura is stabilized.  Energy can move up in meditation or spontaneously and we have glimpses and short periods of feeling ecstatic or dissolved into an unlimited consciousness, but to embody and live an awakened life we have to be  consciously in touch with this center, and allow ourselves to clear out the old conditioning and patterns held in our body.

This is what is trying to happen to you – this is how kundalini is related to spiritual freedom and realization.

BASIC GUIDELINES

Here are some basic guidelines for bringing more calm into this process

Try to release fear, become more curious, and be open to being in relationship with this energy as a helping aspect of yourself, supporting your intention for spiritual awakening.

Orient yourself toward a spiritual awakening – whatever that means to you. Let this longing become more central in your life.

Take good care of your body physically – listen to what it wants and be attentive to what you eat and drink. If possible release stress from your environment. You may find you are more sensitive and less able to tolerate places and situations where there is pain or tension or you pick up the energy of many other people. Your senses are heightened.

Find the quiet stillness in the center of all this change and all the chaos of life.  You do this by breathing deep into the belly, taking time to relax, sensing into this area as the center of your beingness. Imagine you can move from the center — the hara — or even and think from this area.

Write out any conflicts going on in your mind — release the thoughts out of your head and onto paper so you no longer need to carry them around.

Creative expression — art, poetry, music, movement all help in expressing what is inexpressible

You may find using a grounding pad or blanket is helpful, especially when you try to sleep at night.

Some practices on you-tube that may be helpful

IRest Yoga Nidra 20 minutes by Richard Miller

Irest Yoga NIdra. By Richard Miller Yoga of the Heart

Chakra tuneup with Himalayan Singing Bowls.