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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Kundalini

For many years my work as a therapist  has specialized in people having challenges with an activation of kundalini energy, or the many shifts of consciousness that come with a spiritual awakening.  These events have a profound impact on what we experience and how we think about it, and cause changes in the body, brain and spiritual orientation, as well as the lifestyle.

Sometimes people write to me wanting to know how to awaken kundalini energy, believing it will help them in some way to overcome personal issues or improve their images-4life.  While in the long run (over years) this may be true, the intensifying of your energy field is likely to intensify whatever is happening in your life, making it more difficult, before you experience the peace of spiritual awakening. There are many ways that kundalini can change things and not all of them feel wonderful.  Here are a few possibilities to consider before you opt into intense practices for awakening this energy.

The Honeymoon Period

A few people temporarily experience a great high when they begin taking kundalini yoga practices.  I was once in a kundalini yoga center in Hollywood where beautiful women floated around in white caftans looking disconnected but radiant, although their teacher was serious incapacitated by a stroke and could not walk nor talk coherently. (Kundalini does not mean you will never be ill). Kundalini energy causes your energy to sometimes feel high and more flowing, even blissful, and you may break old habits like using alcohol  or sugar, and make healthier choices.  You might feel more alive and limber, and disinterested in the problems of the world.  This is usually a “honeymoon” period before you enter what I have called the deconstruction state of transformation.  Just as when you remodel a house you first do a tearing down, as you move toward transformation you begin by experiencing the falling apart of old constructed or conditioned patterns.

The Deconstruction Phase

Many people who activate kundalini without any guidance, e.g. on the internet or with a teacher who does not have the whole picture, or spontaneously, seem to enter the tearing down faze immediately – their body shakes involuntarily, there may be rushes of heat, painful old memories arise spontaneously, their brains are foggy and their head aches so it is harder to concentrate on work that involves thought, they feel sudden shifts as if out of their body so the feel unstable in the world, their moods shift inexplicably, and family members may become alarmed and have them hospitalized. They may fear they are dying or going insane.

Kundalini awakening is not a panacea for a life that is not working well.  It amplifies whatever needs to be seen and corrected.  In a few cases it feels as if life is stripped of its stability, and its meaning.  If you are in toxic relationships you will likely  feel an imperative to leave them. If you have been living a life that is not aligned with your authentic needs and interests you will feel pressured to change it.

For all of these reasons it is good to be prepared before you enter a practice that might activate kundalini.  This energy is your own life force.  You already have energy, but when kundalini awakens and moves up from the base of the spine it strengthens the energy field throughout the body, vibrates through 72,000 lines of energy throughout the body grid and runs into blocks wherever a contraction is met.  All of us have many contractions from moments in life when we held back our response or expression or locked into a false belief.  This heightened energy is trying to make us more open, empty and flowing. It is breaking down our holding patterns.

Preparation

Here are some of the ways you can prepare yourself for the changes kundalini brings.

Clean up your diet and loosen up any holding in your body through yoga, Tai Chi or stretching.

Find the calm center within through meditation or deep relaxation practices.

If you know you have trauma in your history do some therapy to heal the impact of any beliefs you have acquired related to the abuse.

Question your beliefs and thoughts – they are not truth, only habits.

Have a stable income, basic security and work habits. You may change your work if it does not feel congruent with new values, but if you are homeless or impoverished you need to find a way to meet basic needs before plunging into physical changes that may disorient you.  There is no practical advantage to awakening kundalini – the point of it is to open you to a deep realization of your true nature, whatever the cost to your peace of mind.  How it will impact you along the way is an unknown, differing greatly from one person to another, and often chaotic for an extended period of time.

How to Awaken

The best way to allow kundalini to awaken is to forget kundalini and seek Truth through a simple and sincere meditation practice. Then, if your energy is going to change and open you to live from an awakened place, it will happen in a natural way, and you will have a stable interior place to rest while it does its work.IMG_4186

People with long-term meditation practices and stable lives have the best experiences when kundalini arises, even if it is strange and disconcerting.  They are able to establish a comfortable rapport with this life force and accept the challenges of the process, which  gradually helps them clear away the debris of past history, opening them to new possibilities in the way they live their lives. Kundalini is the energy aspect of spiritual awakening, which is a radical shift of how consciousness is known. It is the way we embody the knowing that we are not the separate self we thought ourselves to be.

For a more full description of how spiritual awakening evolves, and ways to cope with the phenomena it brings, look for my new book “When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening.”

What Does Awakening Mean To You?

Awakening, for me, means an inner peace that exists prior to any of the outer challenges that life brings. It means being present with what is and free of mental reactivity that triggers resistance and contraction. And it means a gradual unfolding of consciousness into many aspects of living. When we accept how it is, how we are, we become free and awakening continually unfolds.

Awakening does not bring a perfect life and continual bliss, nor the opposite — absence of all feeling, and a dry and passive emptiness — as some people might imagine before navigating this passage. The terms emptiness and detachment are common in the world of non-duality, and are greatly misunderstood.

As we become empty of our conditioned self we move through stillness and into a vividness of the senses that is more immediate and more appreciative than previously lived. In any moment that we are really here and now we see life with more nuance – for example, the darkness or discouragement brought on by world events is seen in relationship to the innate beauty of the earth and the inherent kind spirit of most humans, who long for love and understanding and mutuality rather than violence and suffering. We see the creativity in humankind. It is seeing the whole, and while a feeling of sadness may float through the heart at certain times, this is not held as a filter through which we view all the world. Anger may arise but along beside it is a witness wondering why it is there – what hidden belief is it unveiling, what part of us is still waiting to come awake? Feelings move through and guide us to deeper truths within our self.

Awakening unwinds gradually in our life. It may come in spurts that seem to magically open before us, in an unguarded moment in which no thoughts are arising and yet presence is there. It may come when we step back out of an old pattern and feel compassion for our self and all other humans entangled in conditioned beliefs and anxieties.

Moments of awakeness may come because of a stunning sunrise, or vast view of the world, or a sense of consciousness slipping free of the limits of one body and embracing the allness of itself. They can happen when a baby smiles, or you relax into a lover’s arms just to be there, or when you are swimming and suddenly at one with the water.

Awakening is simple in that it is prior to all the complications of mind and conditioning. It is like the sky with no objects or with the planets and stars so scattered that they present no interference with the stillness. It is the moment between thoughts that is ripe with any possibility. It is the quietude in the heart that needs nothing more to happen.

You may have thought you had to be a saint to be awake, or go through a lifetime of austerity and the abandonment of human love and pleasure. But if you are only awake when in a deep meditation, separated from all the forms of life expression, then you are only half awake. We are not just awake to ourselves when we are pure untrammeled consciousness – we become awake with eyes open to the wonder of being here momentarily in the play of a human experience, with others to meet and dance with through our lives. We are here to bring consciousness and light to our world as embodiment, if even for only a brief period of time.

As we face our contractions and resistances we become more free personally, but also collectively, and generationally. We are breaking lineages that were confused and had been passing dysfunction from one generation to the next. We may wish we could wake up all at once and stay awake and never have an issue to address. But life unfolds itself more gradually, and our awakenings bring us more and more opportunities to clear away our patterns and see our potentials. Just as maturing takes humans some time to unfold, so does the maturing of our ability to live awakened in the world.

Kundalini and Non-Duality

 

Photo from SAND_n

Kundalini Panel at Science and Nonduality Conference 10/23/17

(Photo by Nathan Lee)

I just returned from the SAND conference, meeting an amazing group of scientists and non-dual teachers who are exploring the further reaches of human consciousness and bringing an understanding of awakening to the mainstream.  I also just put the final editing touches on my new book “When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Spiritual Awakening Process” to be released by New Harbinger Press in June.  It includes excerpts from many descriptions of awakening experiences collected by me over the past 30 years, and reveals what I have learned about the portals, the phenomena and the challenges of awakening, and how to address them and come into the harmonious balance that self-realization ultimately brings. As the Kundalini Conference of the Spiritual Emergence Network was an introduction of my first book 30 years ago, this feels like an introduction of my new comprehensive  book into a new world today. It was great to have a chance to speak to those at this conference looking to understand the impact of awakening on their energy and their lives.

Kundalini has not often been addressed by non-dual teachers, and yet changes in energy are inevitable in any transformative process.  We are energy beings, a molecular structure, and awakening is about the reorganizing of our internal world so that our original or primal consciousness can become primary in our lives, bringing us peace, acceptance, intuitions and new depth of understanding about the human condition.  If you are in a kundalini process your own life force is inviting you to a new perspective and a clearing of old patterns and beliefs and reactivity imprinted by your conditioning.  This is what freedom means — we become free of our old ways of seeing and being — and learn to be with the moment, rather than entangled in past and future concerns and anxieties.  It is a challenging passage for many, but a grace beyond expression when it has unfolded. I have attempted in my writings to bring the  non-dual world and the understanding of  kundalini together.  Non-Duality implies a direct realization of Oneness — of the fact there is one consciousness underlying all existence, and non-dual awakenings have typically brought forth teachers who see this as a flash of realization that can happen in any moment.  They have tended to discount all the energetic changes that may precede or follow such a flash. But without some energetic change our subtle body cannot hold and live from our realization because we have been programmed or wired to live in particular human cultural and family patterns.  Awakened consciousness is free, for the most part, of these patterns.  Awakened consciousness also shifts the brain dynamics so new possibilities of perception and functioning may arise.  All of these are energetic and possibly chemical changes. So if you are in a kundalini process you are being invited by the consciousness within you to awaken to a new potential, and express in your world a new way of being.

I was happy to be able to speak at SAND about kundalini and begin the deep dialogue that will promote a better understanding of this process among people who are exploring the nature of consciousness.

Are You in an Awakening Process?

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Every week I speak with several people who have entered a process of transformation. Usually their energy has accelerated and their bodies are moving or vibrating in ways that startle, surprise or frighten them, because the energetic aspects of a spiritual awakening are not discussed or explored in most spiritual traditions. And yet, we are all facets of consciousness living within biological and molecular structures. It is natural for any significant changes in how we view our self and the world to have an impact on our energy systems, as well as the way in which our consciousness operates. As our vehicle changes, consciousness gains new ways of expression through us. Awakening brings changes in every aspect of our lives and even the functioning of our brain. Meditation slowly reconstructs us, as does energy work, long-term yoga or Qigong practice, and even serious physical or emtoional trauma.

The fact is every cell of our body is always dying and rebirthing itself as you know from the fact your body is not the same today as it was at age 1 or 10 or 20 or 40. These changes evolve slowly so we do not notice them day to day, but it is certainly clear after a few years that we no longer look the same, that our consciousness lives inside a continual state of change. In fact I have heard it said that we as humans are more like active verbs than nouns, being in continual movement. The seeking of self-realization is the seeking of that within us that never changes, while all else is in motion.

When we have longed for Truth or God or simply to know who we are, it initiates a subtle change in our direction in life, and we adapt practices we hope will offer us new revelations, outside of our traditional cultural patterns. We may imagine a change that is beautiful and expansive and that will make us a happier person than we are when we begin. What we don’t often realize is that while these new possibilities arise, they do so because old patterns are being dissolved, previous belief structures are being torn apart, and conditioned experiences that block our capacity for freedom are being exposed, so that we can see them clearly and realize they are not the Truth of who we are. Awakening is either preceded by or followed by a necessary demolition project, just as a house may be rebuilt from the ground up.

What makes this most challenging is we don’t get to see the plan before hand, or have any control over the pace and style in which it will be rebuilt. It takes a great trust in the infinite, and the goodness of the universe. I suppose this is why many people get a glimpse of the radiant love or beauty or peace of Oneness first, and then feel they have lost it when the demolition project begins. We have to trust in this glimpse, that it was valid and real, and learn to navigate the process it initiates.

My websites and current books “The Kundalini Guide and “The Awakening Guide” on amazon are designed as supports for this journey and my new book “When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening” is moving toward publication next June by New Harbinger Press. It has excerpts from many stories of the ups and downs you may experience as you awaken. It has been the unexpected direction of my life to meet many who are in this process and be part of a movement toward changing consciousness that all of us are living in. While the World has many challenges today (and when has it not?) there is a subculture seeking Truth and love and understanding of how to be more complete in our human expression of this sacred opportunity for life that we share. I see our consciousness as wanting to help us grow into a true understanding of our relationship to one another. Awakening is not about dissolution into transcendent ethers and leaving our world. It is about bringing light to one another and evolving ourselves so that we are free of the many conditions that block our natural capacity to express human kindness, wisdom and freedom.

I encourage you to join me at the 2017 Science and Nonduality Conference Oct 19 to 22 in San Jose, CA along with multiple other speakers familiar with awakening. It is a place to find your tribe, and understand the process you are part of if you are awakening or longing to awaken. You can learn more about this gathering at http://www.scienceandnonduality.org.

The Golden Flower of Awakening

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The ancient Taoists understood spiritual awakening and used poetic symbolism as a transmission to those who were ready for it, and some westerners have discovered the potency of these teachings.  It is clear in “The Secret of the Golden Flower” that an inward turning of the light of awareness leads to the realization of the original Self , or primal Consciousness, from which the awakened life can flow.  “The Golden Flower’ as translated by Thomas Cleary describes this process.

In Chinese practice this inward turning is accompanied by a practice of circulating the breath, which awakens and moves subtle energy, while paradoxically containing and expanding it.  This eventually activates the primal energy of the life force, generally in a more harmonious balance than the typical kundalini practices. The emphasis is on living from the center of  rather than entering expanded transcendent states of Samadhi. Some of those who have contacted me over the years have used these ancient practices to enter into the awakening process.

            Although some non-dual teachers will say that awakening is sudden and thorough, either complete or non-existent (only an experience), I have seen thousands of people who are in and out, or half way through, what I can only call a process or an unfolding  into Truth and Self-realization.

            From a non-dual perspective mystical moments, flashes of light, deep insight, rising energies, opening the heart and many other phenomena attributed to a spiritual encounter are not what awakening is.  Instead, Awakening is the time when everything falls away and you realize yourself to be no-body separate and yet unified with all and emerging from One source. It is a ground-level switch from personal to impersonal identity and an opening into the possibility of living from this realization rather than from the separation and identifications of the so-called ego.  When one has only a moment of this realization and then gets entangled again in separation the realization is called a glimpse.  When one can live totally from this place of beingness, and yet function as their own unique expression in the world, it is called enlightenment.  It may, but does not invariably, include extraordinary gifts, as some people believe.  More commonly, awakening expands compassion and an impulse to aide others to awaken.

          All the other phenomena attributed to awakening are preparatory, related to the clearing of blocks in the energy field, the opening of brain centers, or shifting into dimensional frequencies and states of consciousness not often understood by the rational mind.  Most who awaken will have some of these non-ordinary experiences either before or following awakening.

            Far more people have glimpses of awakening than live as enlightened. This is why i think of awakening as a process that evolves and deepens over time.  It is not surprising that this is so – after all, our body/mind is constructed to live as separation, to create unique and individualized structures in the brain that move us through our life.  Consciousness is trained to identify with these structures and they are woven through our energy field impacting patterns of thinking, feeling, moving and sensing.  Consciousness lives in our bodies and enlivens the patterns that are intrinsic to our DNA and imprinted by our conditioning.  Although when we awaken we feel the freedom of consciousness, and realize the conditioned irrelevance of many of our patterns of thought, our old patterns are like magnets that keep drawing back the expansion and reorienting us in familiar ways.    The thinking mind may even feel alarmed by this expanded vibration and generate anxiety that holds us in a cul-de-sac of consciousness, aware of awakened primal consciousness but unable to function consistently from an awakened place.

            Our bodies are sensitive vibrational entities.  This is why powerful music impacts us, and sounds can either enliven or disturb us.  Ancient systems in many cultures realized the power of sound and devised practices such as drumming,  mantra, and chanting,  to open up our energy fields. On the other hand, sitting in deep silence and finding the still point within is the path of awakening.  Imagine yourself as radiating light vibrations out from a center of silent aware presence. Vibration is life itself; the still point is source. Vibration creates the molecular structures that allow the appearance of form. But some vibrational tones may carry you inward to stillness.  They block the distractions of thought and form.  The two creative aspects of energy and stillness are symbolized by Siva and Shakti in Kashmir Shaivism, and as yin and yang in Chinese Taoism. They are interwoven in all of life.  Awakening is knowing the center through becoming it, and enlightenment is this golden flower unfolding into the life force.IMG_4835

            In the ”The Secret of the Golden Flower” the practice is in turning the light that shines out through our eyes into the center, so that the source can be revealed and expressed, profoundly transforming how we live our lives.  This silent center is not empty, although the mind may have a time of seeing it that way.  It is the light and source of all, the vibration of wisdom and creation.

            The great Advaitic sage Ramana Maharshi called this center the Cave of the Heart.  In The Secret of the Golden Flower it is also called the “higher soul”. In Christianity it is the Christ within.  In Buddhism it is the True Nature.  Awakening is simply knowing this infinite and unbounded One Self, and releasing any attachments to a separate identity.

            If you want to be touched by a poetic expression of knowing the infinite and discover a powerful ancient practice,  I recommend Cleary’s beautiful translation of “The Secret of the Golden Flower”. For an understanding of awakening as process check out my book “The Awakening Guide” available on amazon and kindle.  I am currently completing editing on a new book to be published by New Harbinger in the spring: “When Spirit Leaps” that explores all the nuances of this remarkable evolutionary process.

An Idea Worth Exploring

An idea worth exploring is the possibility of an individual evolving greater insight, creativity, longevity and compassion through shifting the level of energy in their body. In ancient Chinese and Indian cultures these gifts were clearly valued and practices like Qigong and yoga emerged to activate energetic patterns and transform human perspectives and capacities. There is also evidence that indigenous peoples used collective rituals, dance and trance states to altered their brains in ways that produced visions and insights, enabling them to jointly resolve problems and get clear direction for the needs of their tribes.            images

It is clear that great inventors, artists, musicians, spiritual masters and inspired writers had gifts believed not possible in the common person. However many gifted people did not fit the collective model of normalcy in their societies during their own lifetimes, and were only recognized by future generations. Now we call them genius. Yogis would say they have opened brain centers that are dormant in the rest of us.

Today western culture is dominated by commerce and fueled by the over-developed and narrow perspective of left-brain thinking. We train minds for analytic thinking, memorization, behavioral conformity and accomplishment. Generally, creative people who contribute to society are valued only if their inventions can be commercialized, even if they are not necessarily used for the common good. Our psychological world is dominated by stored memories from family and social conditioning, along with judgments about ourself and others when we do not fit in. We become preoccupied with our personal drives, defenses and self-image.

To change our culture we must change our minds. We recognize now that brain patterns can be manipulated through chemistry and substances. But perhaps there is a more safe and inherently natural way to transform out of old patterns, and open new creative pathways in the brain. After all, the first evolutionary movements into human form were not through chemicals, but promoted by some mysterious inner force we have yet to discover in the west.

My work for the past 30 years has been to assist people who spontaneously experience energetic change and transformation, either through meditation or energy practices, or spontaneous events such as NDE, trauma, grief or other highly concentrated moments. My research indicates that these energetic changes, usually movement in the spine or heart, happen either before or after a major shift of consciousness. I consider this as consciousness awakening itself, supported by life force energy that clears out old patterns and activates new potentials.

 

Today a few brain researchers are studying the kinds of brain patterns produced by those who have had such “awakenings”, or who report a Samadhi event, a moment in meditation when one feels connected to the vast expanse of universe and outside of time. Such research is in its infancy, and yet it is clear our species needs to develop new perspectives and insight into how to advance our own evolution, or we may not survive. (See www.andrewnewberg.com and www.bigthink.com)

Some people see outer space as the way to expand and escape the damage we have done or may do to our planet. But this is a projection of the outward-focused mind ignoring our true need, which is to open and explore inner space – to clear out limiting patterns and awaken the consciousness within. Our connection to Source – discovered through awakening energy and consciousness — can help our species to bring forth the next evolution of human expression.

When enough people commit to inner evolution it will become the basis for a future generation with a DNA that sees more clearly and creatively how to best inhabit our bodies, nurture our collective life, and support our planet. This is the ultimate value of kundalini research.

 

This blog was written for http://www.cybergod.com, a site seeking funding for the development of a kundalini research project to activate energy and consciousness under a controlled scientific observation to see if such awakenings can improve intelligence and other positive qualities in the human species. Gopi Krishna, who wrote the first book translated into English in the US about kundalini awakening, believed it was the source of genius and that such research and evidence would change human consciousness and  the world.

(Bonnie Greenwell Ph.D. has 2 websites – www.kundaliniguide.com and www.awakeningguide.com and two books of similar titles av. on amazon and kindle.)

Energy & New Perspectives

img_4814When energy moves in your body it is a sign you are on the verge of a shift of perspective. All of your beliefs and points of view are simply perspectives, and they are conditioned by culture, family and experiences. If you have been in an awakening process and are experiencing energetic shifts you are having birthing pains, moving into a new experience of the world.

Our religion, politics and other belief systems, even beliefs about ourselves, are not real – they are all happening in the mind, as bleeps of random thought. They are transient and sometimes repetitive thought forms. The impact of what we believe is programmed into our energy field, and we often suffer because of the limitations of our beliefs about ourselves and others. As new or better things happen in our lives these thoughts change, and with disappointments and discouragement they may also change. If I believe I am inadequate or you are dangerous or life is unfair I will live accordingly, until my perspective shifts. If you have suddenly experienced  energy vibrating or releasing in your body and you believe it is dangerous you will feel afraid; if you understand it is your own vital energy trying to release old and difficult patterns so you can feel free, then you can feel relaxed and curious and you may find bliss as releasing happens. If consciousness shifts out-of-body and you think you are mentally ill you will be alarmed; if you are surprised and curious to find you are not your body but this awareness that transcends it, you may feel joy.

Spiritual awakening is all about shifting perspective. It is opening yourself to seeing the wholeness, the unity of all things, and the underlying consciousness that permeates our lives.This undermines the ego, and a new point of view arises in its place. Energy shifts happen because we are molecular structures and the ability to live from a new perspective calls for the reorganization of this structure away from division and toward wholeness and balance. It is disarming because many of us fear change and feel we are losing our world when we change our ego’s perspective of it. But the ego is only a movement of identification with the experiences of a separate “Me”.  It is not real..

Because each of us has accumulated our perspectives from differing sources we sometimes have clashing perspectives, and we tend to choose friends who share the perspective we are most comfortable with. Thus we bond with various religious, political, national or social groups and the ego tendency is to avoid, distrust or even hate those with different values and beliefs. Many people who have shifts because of spiritual or energy practices feel they no longer fit in or enjoy the groups that used to be compatible for them. They find it harder to project evil on the other side. They might feel they have become an entirely different person inside. The mind may  at times be alarmed about this, but it is an important evolutionary step for our planet. It brings us closer to recognizing our alignment with nature and our connection with all forms of life.

I attended yesterday the 3rd conference held by a group called Architects of the New Paradigm. They had a large attendance of people concerned that our culture and our world needs new paradigms if it is to survive the environmental, economic and social issues that trouble us. A paradigm is a way of seeing things, the way we construct our interpretation of the world. They questioned whether it is a revolution or an evolution that is needed in the current paradigm, where corporations focused on making profits rule the economics of our government, and our freedom as individuals is compromised by regulations and laws. I would define revolution  as an external movement and evolution as internal. From my perspective the internal needs to move first, and freedom from our old patterns needs first to be claimed within. Without these internal changes any new movements will lack appreciation for the wholeness the planet needs to come into balance.

The speakers at ANP offered a diverse exploration of new ways to view the human condition as it impacts government, economics, health and science. They offered inspiring perspectives of revolutionary change based on the impact of our recent discovery through space probes that millions of exo-planets exist in our galaxy that likely contain some varieties of more advanced life-forms, radical new potentials in technology and environmentally friendly inventions, and examples of ways to change how government and health care function through taking personal responsibility. There were no definitive answers, but questions asked with an openness to discovering new and compassionate solutions.

Ego and the thoughts generated in mind are not real (although some are useful), but what is real is the experience you have before your mind makes a decision or creates a story. Holding a flower in your hand is real. Labeling it a flower is not. Your heart opening with love is real. Labeling it love and expecting a response is only perspective. The environment is real; your relationship to it depends on how you think and feel about it and this can be changeable and varied.   Ultimately form is not “real” either, as everything, including you, is made of cells that are 99.99% space. It is a miracle of nature that we have forms that appear in relationship with one another, and can see, touch, smell, hear and taste all the beautiful aspects of our planet.  These forms of ours contain what is real – a consciousness within that is connected with everything and indestructible.

Some physicists are beginning to recognize that each of us is a microcosm of the macrocosm of our universe. The space we are is not empty but is full of all possibilities, just as the vastness of space. At AFT one of the speakers called our bodies receiving stations for consciousness.

What does this have to do with non-duality or with spiritual awakening? Why should we care about the world around us if it is all illusion, as some Advaita masters like Ramana Maharshi or Papaji have indicated? As near as I can tell we are the world!  If this is illusion we are all it together! It is a dance of molecules and particles and color and explosion and it is never-ending no matter how the forms change.  Awakening is not an escape into blissful detached alternate realities. It is a simple realization of what you are. If you are to live from this realization then you will live with a new paradigm, expressing wholeness and gratitude, aligning with an authentic deep intuitution that may be unique to each situation (instead of conditioned) and available to meeting life as it is and making choices from love rather than fear.

This is the evolution our species needs. It is not easy to accomplish in ourselves, and each day can bring a new challenge. But your willingness to allow your energy and your consciousness to shift and to be part of the movement of humans toward living in wholeness, is what will make you free.