Webinars & Retreat for People Awakening

KG IMG_4832 sml copyI now enjoy offering webinars to bring together people from diverse states and countries who would support in their spiritual awakening process. These are the upcoming webinars and programs I plan to offer between August and November through www.zoom.us.  Here are my upcoming programs.Contact me for fees and other information through email: shantiriver@gmail.com

 Awakening and Embodiment – session 2 –  4 weeks, Thursdays, August 11,25  Sept 8, 22 ( 12 noon—1:30  Pacific time )    

This is an on-line satsang and sharing for those intending to deepen their spiritual practice, support others interested in awakening to our true nature, and explore how to live from a new perspective of awakened intuition and inner autonomy.

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Living with Kundalini —  weekly for 6 weeks – Fridays Aug. 19 — Sept. 23  a.m. PST)                         

This program and supportive group is designed for people who are going through a kundalini awakening process and wish to meet others having this experience while learning classical and modern perspectives of Kundalini, the kinds of experiences and challenges this process brings, and methods of living more comfortably with it while awakening to the transformation it offers.

 Therapist and Teacher training for Kundalini Awakening – 4 Sessions Fridays Oct 14, 28, Nov, 11 and 18 (12noon – 2 p.m. PST)

 If you have taken The Living with Kundalini program at any time you are eligible for the therapist/teacher training which will focus more on identifying the kundalini process in a client or student. You will learn how to use the preliminary questionnaire to assess and understand where to focus in a consultation, the impact of the background and spiritual practices on the experience and how to support this process.  There will be time to discuss cases and learn from one another’s experience.

 A FALL RETREAT IN OREGON —  PRESENCE AT THE CENTER  -Sept 2-5, 2016

This 4-day/3-night non-dual silent meditation retreat will be held Sept 2-5 at St Rita’s Retreat Center in Gold Hill, Oregon, a few miles from the Medford OR airport. It is an opportunity for meditation and reflection on awakening, experiencing silence,  guided meditations and teachings related to awakening to the presence of our true nature, You may also hike in a beautiful  60-acre setting with a labyrinth and waterfall. Journal, or participate in Qigong and sound meditations. Retreat is designed to support your deepest intention for awakening to the Truth of your own Being, and bringing that awareness into your everyday life. We will meet at 4 p.m. Friday (arrive 2-4) and close at 2 Monday.  The fee is $275 is paid by August 15.  This includes a comfortable double room with a bath, vegetarian meals, and all expense

ACISTE CONFERENCE IN PALM DESERT, CA                                           Oct 20-22

I will be speaking on Therapeutic Issues of Spiritually Transformative Experiences at this conference  of an organization related to Spiritually Transformative Experiences at the Doubletree Inn is scheduled Oct 20-22.  Go to www.aciste.org for details.  I am considering doing a kundalini and awakening workshop following the conference in Palm Desert while I am there.  If you would be interesting in attending a program with me at that time and place – Oct. 23-24 – please let me know by sending me an email.

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New Movements Exploring Awakening

I will be speaking at the ACISTE 2016 annual conference in Palm Springs, Oct-19-23, 2016 and I’m considering holding a separate 2-day Living with Kundalini Gathering after that, Oct 23-24, also iIMG_1480n Palm Springs. You can learn more about the conference at www.aciste.org, (stands for American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences). Details are not yet available on the website but should be up this summer. I’ll send out notices and also announce here in mid-summer for any program I plan.
I’ve also received an inquiry about participating in a documentary on kundalini and spiritual awakening by a San Francisco film-maker! It seems to me there is a rapidly growing interest in helping people understand the power and blessings of a spiritual awakening, which happens in many forms  to many people, and creates new energies and shifts of understanding about the nature of consciousness and reality, along with radical changes in the interior life and often  the exterior one as well.

Recently neuroscience research is exploring the dynamics of changing brain patterns and potentiality after meditation or enlightenment, and Dr. Andrew Newberg just spoke on a SoundsTrue internet  Neuroscience Training Summit about joint research with over 2000 people who have reported awakenings. They are seeking to know the impact of enlightenment on the brain, and discover methodologies for helping others activate it. I met Andrew during the early years of the Kundalini Research Network and have been happy to see his evolving career.  He is about to publish a new book on the Mind, reflecting on his research.

Dr. Dan Seigal is researching and writing about the impact of mindfulness meditation on the brain. Psychiatrist Stan Grof has a foundation that is funding  an International Spiritual Emergence Network to help people find help after an awakening process, bringing together therapists around the globe qualified to help and easy to find on their website. The folks at http://www.scienceandnonduality.org are offering gatherings all over the world to bring together progressive scientists, therapists and people passionate about the possibility of a broad-based awakening of consciousness. Shades of Awakening, a FB network of people who have had challenges with spiritual processes, has come alive on Facebook with over 2000 members along with several other groups focused on spiritual awakening.

I’ve been working for over 30 years with people in an awakening process, some reporting experiences after years in a spiritual or meditation community, and others having random spontaneous experiences for many reasons. Some have had a hard time dealing with the psychological and energetic issues that arise and others have had mostly positive experiences but want better understanding.

I am just finishing a new book called “When Spirit Leaps: Understanding the Varieties of Spiritual Awakening Experiences “ describing the portals through which people fall into these transformative moments, and the best ways to live with the changes they bring, and it will include many wonderful quotes from my files. As I get older I hope to leave behind as much information as I can that will help therapists, spiritual teachers and others provide the right kind of support and guidance for spiritual emergence, as it has been badly misinterpreted in traditional psychiatry for many years. Some amazing pioneers like Stan Grof, Carl Jung, Roberto Assagioli, Ken Wilber and a few others have laid a groundwork for validating spiritual experiences and I hope to show how those who long for spiritual understanding or Truth can open to it and those who have spontaneous awakenings or kundalini arising can take it all the way, if they only have the right understanding about what is happening to them, and healthy mentoring through the process. (In the meantime I have two rich handbooks for those with kundalini or awakening experiences available at http://www.amazon.com .) I’m also offering new webinar programs on Awakening and Embodiment, Living With Kundalini and in the Fall Supporting the Kundalini Process for Therapists.

There was a time that such information was secret and specific to work with one teacher who you obeyed and who guided you along the path known in their lineage. This is exceedingly rare today, and perhaps no longer suits the modern psyche.  Today many tools for awakening are available everywhere, and often these are offered by those who do not know the varieties of phenomena an awakening can produce, or can help people get to the optimal potential where awakening leads. Many fall by the wayside because of poor advice, misunderstanding, abandonment by their teachers, or just giving up hope in frustration. However clear an initial awakening masky-laughing-buddha-copyy be it is almost inevitability followed by a clearing and a waiting process, a gradual unfolding of perspective, presence and authentic direction in one’s life. If any of us have traveled that road it is great gift to be able to show others how to light their own way.

You may find just what you need at any of the above mentioned events. If you bump into me be sure to say hello.

Connect with me at http://www.shantiriver@earthlink.net if you wish more information about any of my programs.

Shanti River Events

I am back home in Ashland Oregon now, and although it’s cold and damp it still warms my heart to be in this picturesque town with its charming theaters, parks and people. The pace is more nourishing here, with much to be involved in, yet a quieter pace of traffic and only a few thousand people, most of whom are happy just to be here. It is the best of small-town living.

I’ve created a Spring schedule for the non-dual center here, and here are the events scheduled:

Meditations at 9 a.m. Saturday mornings;

Satsang on Sundays at 7 p.m on March 27, April 3 and 17, May 1, 15 and 29;

A workshop on “The Kundalini Process” on Sat. May 14 from 9 to 5;

A Meditation Intensive “Sudden and Gradual Awakening” from 9:30 to 4:30 Sat. April 30;

A Non-Dual Wisdom Discussion group at 7 p.m. for 9 weeks beginning April 14;

A Transpersonal Exploration group on Weds. for 7 weeks beginning April 13.

Contact me at kundinfo@mindspring.com if you need information or want to register.

On World Events:

What has been on my mind most often these past few weeks are world events. Every day I want to know just what is unfolding in Japan, Libya, Bahrain and all the other unsettled and chaotic places on our planet. I see that what I am includes all of these, even though I as a body/mind have the luxury of living free from harm in this particular or apparent moment in time.

One of the biggest challenges of seeking freedom or liberation is the recognition that so many people and places are suffering. It makes it seem one should not allow oneself to be free of suffering since we are all in this together. Guilt can arise in those who are not in pain along with everyone else. But freedom from suffering already exists in each of us and until we remove the patterns that block this freedom we are not capable of bringing any lasting freedom into the world. All of us as humans have our times to suffer –with losses, grief, illness–or because we are holding on to anger, self-rejection, jealousy or fear (psychological suffering). Isn’t most of the horror caused by humans in the world the result of someone who suffers from a rage, or greed, or fear of “others” or desire for revenge? Isn’t the need for power just a reaction to all these internal limitations we resent and reject? Some folks are simply obsessed with a greed for power. What fear and rejection of humanity must lie beneath this obsession? It is easy to see how a repressed people would want to gain control over their lives and would battle authority for it, would hunger to overcome the pressure of someone else’s power drive. It is harder to see how someone could want so much power over others unless they felt a great lack and fear deep within themselves.
Despite all of the horrors we witness on the world stage do we dare to remember our own internal freedom, our natural compassion and love, and the true nature that is empty of all conditions while paradoxically holding all conditions?
If we who have the breathing space to wake up and to live as freedom do not invite it into our lives how will it ever penetrate the collective, or infuse the planet with wisdom and love? We cannot force freedom or love or wisdom but we can let go of ourselves deeply enough to remember that these qualities are reflected naturally from the light of what we truly are. We seldom see them in the world because most humans are so identified with the surface of their lives, and fearful of the inner shadows in their psyches, that they do not sit still long enough to penetrate the delusions of mind and heart that trap us. When someone begins a spiritual path it is usually for the purpose of ending suffering within themselves, at least on the surface of things. But perhaps it is really a drive imposed by the universal source or wisdom in order to release just one facet of the suffering in the world, to breathe into the universe a fraction more of freedom. If the repression of Truth and Love ends in you or me, something painful ends and something new and unexpected can emerge. If we are then moved in a way to help others who suffer we then can do so from freedom rather than pain,trusting the capacity for freedom in others, and we can see the obvious fact that anyone who truly lets go, lets go of suffering. Even in pain and loss there is a possibility to discover an endless and eternal freedom of spirit.

Some people believe the reason for suffering is to force someone to go deeper and to wake up. But why wait until you are suffering or struggling with great losses to go deeper? Why not move when there are less outer distractions, before loss, before chaos — why not move inward to see through delusion and get released to be a force for freedom now?
Then whatever happens on our vast and erupting planet can be embraced as part of the whole, with compassion and spontaneous wisdom, with love amidst the pain? All of it belongs to all of us but few are those who can bring harmony into the whole. And this harmony will never come from mind, whose nature is division, but must come from the awakened heart.

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog.

Shanti River is the name of the center I have started in Ashland Oregon as a gathering place for discussions on non-duality, spiritual awakening and the kundalini process. For 10 years I have had websites dedicated to these themes, and a kundalini blog at blogging.com, but I hope to expand with this new invitation on wordpress to people who are seeking a deep discussion on the possibilities inherent in the awakening of consciousness, often called simply Waking Up, and in its fullest unfolding called enlightenment, meeting your True Nature, or Self-realization.  I have just returned from a conference on Science and Non-duality held in San Rafael CA and there I found several hundred people engaged in a search for the core Truth of our existence, many of whom have reported “awakening” and others who are dedicated to a search within themselves for the realization spoken of in scriptures of every tradition.

This is a major movement in the West.  Many eastern traditions begin teaching here in the U.S. from the 1930′s onward, but these teachings appeared esoteric and requiring a commitment and devotion to a teacher or system that seemed foreign and incapable of integration into the lives of most westerners.  These eastern schools had much to offer in terms of their emphasis on turning inward for the Truth, and learning to be at One with our inner silence.  Some, like Yoga, tantra and Qigong, offered energy practices that have initiated many people into subtle energy changes that impact their consciousness and their lives.

But the opening now — the emphasis on simply awakening, and the non-dual realization of Oneness with all things — is presented in a much more simple and direct way by many who have had a glimpse of what it is to know consciousness in its primal form, before it is entwined with the forms, thoughts, concepts, senses and emotions of the relative appearance of the world.  Through their insights we begin to see that awakening is not an experience available only to those with saintly lives, but seems to be possible to all humans who sincerely open to it, especially as it is only the realization of our own deep essence, which is shared by all.  So it can be remembered if one can only let go, even momentarily, of the identifications and attachments of the separate self.  In this letting go we discover the stillness and expansiveness of consciousness (without a me moderating it), and this is a life-changing event.

I have met about 2000 people in the years since I began this work who have had awakenings of energy or consciousness or both.  Some were in formal spiritual traditions, some had dived into many different practices and teachings, and some woke up spontaneously without any preparation at all.  Most were confused about what happened to them and no longer felt connected to their old identities and interests, but could find no one to talk to about the changes, either in psychology or religious groups.  There has been no clear understanding of the primacy and the nature of consciousness in either field, and no clarity about what it means to know you are not the character you have  been trained and conditioned to be.

From the moment of conception a spark of consciousness begins to develop a sense of separation, finding itself in a human body that is being formed with certain DNA, and then identified quickly enough as male or female, and soon afterwards in a family role, a nationality and race, a certain kind of education, and all along the way it develops a sense of who it must be to survive.  If it is blessed it learns the world is a friendly place; if not it learns to be protected on defended in many ways. All of this conditioning and training is considered healthy if one ends up with a good identity and a positive sense of separate self emerges out of it. But of course most children internalize a lot of beliefs about inadequacy, inherent “badness” and not fitting the status quo.

In this “becoming human” process the absolute source  from which we began, and the sense of  peace and wholeness that is our innate condition, is clouded and contracted.  Meditation is simply a process of remembering and returning to this, seeing through thoughts and sensations and perceptions as subtle forms created by experiences collected while consciousness inhabits a human body.It allows us to discover an inner silence that can open us to our true nature, and thus to insights about the nature of all.  Awakening happens in the dropping of all identifications and the pure explosion of consciousness itself.

There are many conditions that may precede or follow the awakening of consciousness, including the arising of kundalini energy, the energy of the subtle body field that carries all our inner experiences of senses, feelings, thoughts, etc. Many challenging and many blissful phenomena may follow a kundalini awakening, which is described in much detail on my website http://www.kundaliniguide.com.  I have spent many years offering guidance to people who have difficulties with this process.  But a shift in consciousness can bring its own difficulties and confusions, because it orients you differently in the world, and you no longer feel like your former self.  There can be non-ordinary experiences, mood swings, a kind of brain fogginess, and a shifting back and forth between feeling very clear and present to feeling like you have lost something wonderful when the clarity and presence shifts away.  It can take months and years for an awakening process to stabilize and a return to letting this awakening live through you as its own expression in life.  You, the character, do not become enlightened. The character of ” me”  becomes nearly irrelevant, although the flavor remains, and the sense is more of a presence or consciousness that is peaceful and open to life moving through you [or as you] and responds in a more natural way to whatever arises.

There are many kinds of “spiritual” experiences, openings, insights, visions, heart openings etc. All can be rich and good for the evolving of the “me” into a more compassionate, wise and capable person. But when all these events have happened, many people still wonder, is that all there is? Who am I really? Then there may follow a deeper questioning about who or what is having these experiences, and a discovery it is the same presence that has all experiences, good, bad, spiritual, profane. Ultimately one can not feel complete and at peace until they have  released all the phenomena and directly felt themselves to be the source.

It won’t make your life perfect or make you powerful.  It only makes you free to live in a natural way and with a natural connection to life as it is.

This blogspot is for those who are on this journey and would like to share their journey or ask questions related to the phenomena along the way.  I hope to include reviews of books and teachings by other non-dual teachers and to bring my experience of many years practice and listening to others to help readers feel more at home in this process. Although one can only use language to form concepts and mental positions, I hope this site will offer pointers beyond any concept and encourage you to fall within your own stillness to find what is true that cannot be said in words, what is real that cannot ever be lost or diminished, and what is eternal.