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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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.

Energies of Transformation

The energies  that come with spiritual awakening are a mystery to most people who do spiritual practices, and even for those who do energy practices like Tantra, Reiki, breath work, or martial arts, expecting only bliss and healing. Many practices and circumstances can ignite a range of more challenging phenomena as a clearing and transformative energy process begins.images-4

             I was  interviewed yesterday about the kundalini experience by Ingrid in Germany who is setting up an internet forum on energy called the Kundalini Congress (kundalinikongress)  that should be available in a couple of months in the US and Germany.  We talked about my work with kundalini, and my understanding of ways to deal with the challenges it can bring.

            Once you begin to see the body as a molecular structure, an energy grid that carries thoughts,  emotions, and sensations from one point to another, and stores patterns and memories  within its structure, it becomes easier to understand the phenomena that arises when kundalini is activated.  All beings live with both conscious awareness and energy flow.  This energy flow is called prana in the yogic model, chi or qi in Chinese systems, and ki in Japan.  In the west a few have termed it “bioenergy” but it’s full potential is little understood.  Yogis say that it activates the body at conception, and after the development of the infant the residual is wrapped in a coil at the base of our spine and holds our field in stasis until we die.  Then it uncoils and leaves the body.

            Kundalini can begin to uncoil itself as a result of energy or meditation practices, in response to a trauma, or through a variety of other causes.  Initially it can feel overwhelming as it rushes through the body from the base of the spine, or it can unwind gradually like a snake, and then feel blocked or concentrated on one area of the body.   When this activation happens the entire energy field is amplified   Many phenomena may arise, depending on the lifestyle, history, proclivities and practices of the person so affected.  There can be shaking, vibration, heat, emotional upheavals, changes in perspective, odd physical symptoms, shifts in eating habits, difficulty sleeping , waves of bliss and clarity, waves of fear and discomfort, brain fog, psychic moments – many passing experiences.  This is because your entire structure is reorganizing itself and consciousness itself is changing, clearing itself of what is not necessary if you are going to live more present in the moment, more authentically here and now.

            Very few schools of meditation or energy or healing speak of all these changes directly and most schools of psychology or medicine have no paradigm with which to address these experiences.  Somatics programs are an exception as they include the body in their studies but often those who understand the need for energy release do not understand the spiritual implications.   We live in a culture based on Christian perspectives that for the most part deny the connection between spirit and body, probably because of the repression  by the early church founders of pagan practices , mystery schools and indigenous rituals that opened the body to allow altered states of consciousness.

            But we are clearly moved through the flow of energy, healed or transformed by the flow of energy, and only alive as spirit when energy is flowing. When spirit leaves it rides on the energy that leaves when we pass on.  Probably it is these energies that account for evolutionary adjustments in our species. Hopefully as we in the west begin talking  about this and more people encounter their own inner transformation we will discover the gifts of kundalini and learn more ways to support our spiritual awakening processes.

            If this is a topic impacting your life or work you may be interested in my website www.kundaliniguide.com or my books “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide.” I also do occasional workshops and webinars for people in this awakening process.

 

Presence, Awakening and ACISTE

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I will be speaking at the ACISTE conference in Palm Springs the weekend of Oct. 20 -22 on Identifying and Supporting Spiritual Transformation. Go to http://www.aciste.com for information about this event, designed to support people who are a spiritual awakening process. ACISTE is the Assn for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences. I hope to offer a one-day workshop on Living with Kundalini the Monday following for people who want to better understand the kundalini process.. Please drop me a note at kundinfo@mindspring.com if you would like more information.

I just completed a weekend retreat called Presence at the Center, a gathering of women committed to spiritual awakening. If we wish to discover the innate happiness within us it is important to take time out of our lives to rest in our center – the deep stillness available within our hearts, but often clouded over by the demands, distractions and worries of modern life. Meditation retreats, especially those held with the added dimension of silence, offer a return to our Self.

I become very busy in those days when I have a retreat planned, especially if I am doing other events such as webinars or consulting with those who contact me with concerns related to their spiritual process. I’ve also just completed a new book on spiritual emergence and am waiting to hear from a publisher.  All of this busy-ness is like riding a fast moving train for several weeks, and then skidding to a halt at the retreat center, where I need to find my own deep silence if I am to invite others into it. Finding our Self is about Stopping!

Mental activity, emotional upheavals, multiple engagements in our lives, the many voices surrounding us with expectations – all of these can fall away if we STOP, leaving us in the pure sweet awareness that has always been waiting in the center of the cyclone of our lives. There is a place within each of us already still, accepting, and open to the quiet joy of simply being.

You may find when you are first silent there is an upheaval of mental activity, and even of unconscious material that arises. Both meditation and energy work (such as yoga or Qigong) open us to that which needs to be seen in order to be released, so that our subtle energy field can become more free. Release and insight bring growth and widen our access to inner harmony and relaxation. Be patient with what arises as it is your own consciousness inviting you to meet, release and move toward awakening. Suffering unwinds itself from our systems as we learn to meet our life experiences with equanimity and to meet ourselves with love.

Spiritual awakening has no religious preference and is open to all. It is not about a belief, or embracing a system or tradition, although for some people these may offer  initiating practices that will bring an invitation to know Yourself. Awakening is an intimate touching of our natural state of spirit embodied, a direct inner knowing of our connection with the All. It cannot be languaged clearly, although poets and sages have found ways to offer pointers. Unusual phenomena may arise when we follow our longing to know our true nature, but ultimately the outcome is an awareness that consciousness is vast and unbounded, and a return into a form that knows a deep relaxation into life.

 

 

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.