Science and Non-Duality

I just returned from the SAND conference, an amazing group of scientists and non-dual teachers who are exploring the further reaches of human consciousness and bring 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.

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.

Physical Challenges as Kundalini Awakens

As Kundalini energy moves through the body various issues, even pain, can arise in chakra areas.  Usually a person who has activated kundalini has not prepared themselves in the ways recommended in classical kundalini yoga.  Some systems say 12 years of preparation is required before the energy is awakened if all is to move smoothly, and this is done through physical cleansing practices, strict diet requirements, gradually adding more advanced breathing practices, sitting in specific yogic styles, and releasing various egoic tendencies through obedience to the teacher and system. It is clear that 99% of those who activate this energy have not done these kinds of preparations and are not interested in doing them. In some cases, yogic masters say that a person who has activated energy spontaneously must have done lifetimes of work previously for this to happen. But our present bodies have not been present during all those lives, so they need adjustments and releases. 

My perspective is that many factors come into play to cause a person to be available to this opening (which I have enumerated on my website and in my books) but most often there is a long and gradual process as the subtle body energies, physical body, and psyche adapt to this new energy flow. One must be patient and take time to address old psychological issues and to adjust their life to the new patterns the kundalini energy is calling for.  So when there is pain in the body that doctors find no reason for or heat arising, or strange  blockages where energy seems to be stuck this is because some clearing is needed since it was not done before the awakening.  Some spiritual seekers believe that an awakening will erase all past psychological issues, but if this should happen it is only temporary. Some old beliefs, preferences and habits will fall away or transform, but deeper issues will then come to the surface, and the energy must return to clear the blocks that were created by these experiences.  For an awakening to become stable and comfortable it appears that we have to see through all our old patterns, holdings and attachments, recognizing they are not definitions of who we are.  Until this happens we are likely to feel divided, or caught in "I got it. I lost it" syndrome, seeming to fall in and out of positive awakened states.

One commenter asked about pain in the neck and shoulders that seems to have no medical source.  This is the area of vishuddha, the throat chakra. There are several possibilities for this kind of pain.  Energy is often blocked here because most of us spend a lot of time holding back our self-expression or our emotions. It's as if everything unsaid is locked into our subtle energy field.  Sometimes spiritual seekers believe they should never feel anger, and so when something outrageous happens to them they swallow their feelings in order to be "spiritual" and forgiving.  I met one person who seemed to have tourette's symptoms as his face jerked spontaneously, but once he released anger these problems went away.  One does not need to act out the anger, but simply find a safe way to move it out of the body through expression by yelling (at no one) or writing and just fully acknowledging it. 

Another reason for pain may be an old injury that has been locked in the system and needs to be released.  Kundalini seems to be trying to remove anything tight or damaged in the body. Some call these blocks. Wherever your energy seems stuck and keeps returning to with jerks or discomfort over and over is generally seen as a block, caused by physical or emotional holding from issues in this life or possibly a previous life.  Sometimes it is even an issue related to your birthing experience, or your mothers experience when you were in the womb. Also a stiff neck may be caused by the way it has been held for years, and gentle body work can help to open it.  Cranial-sacral work or acupressure might be useful. 

In yoga there are 3 major "granthis" or "knots" in the body which must be released in this process. These are believed to be points where the power of ignorance and attachment is particularly strong.  One is in the solar plexis area, where we are attached to pleasure, material things, and having things go our own way; the second is in the heart area where we are attached to our emotions, certain people, our personal visions and passions; the third is in the the third eye area where a person may open and then become attached to psychic powers and attribute them to their personal identity.

So as energy moves through to change consciousness and make your energy field as open as possible, these are a few of the clearing challenges that may arise.  They can be addressed through therapy (if it is rooted in a past traumatic experience), using sounds such as the Bij mantras to open chakras, yoga postures that are for stretching and relaxing that area, meeting the pain directly with presence and love, guided imagery, acceptance and surrender and in other ways that you might intuitively discover.  Taking good basic care of the body is important in this process and releasing personal demands that life be just the way you want it -- learning to live in the flow of the river -- as the Taoists say-- is helpful.  This is why quieting the mind or at the least not being driven by thoughts, can be helpful.  Our thoughts are often focused divisively, telling us what is wrong and worrying about it, blaming us and others for it. Bring awareness down into the heart or the belly and see if you can be present more fully where you are at any moment.  This calming will support the opening of intuition which may be able to suggest some new directions to resolve those challenges in your process.

Energies of Evolution

If you are having experiences of energy winding or rolling up your spine, creating involuntary spasms, and rippling in strange ways through your body, you are possibly one of thousands each year experiencing what is known as a kundalini rising or awakening.  You may feel frightened or disoriented by this non-ordinary shift, but if you can relax with it and understand it as simply a dynamic of your own evolution it can become a treasured ally on your spiritual path.

When we understand that all of creation is formed as molecular structures, mostly space and energy manifest in a multitude of forms, it becomes easier to meet the empty/spaciousness and the enhanced vibrational energies that appear in our bodies, and face all the changes they invite.

There are many reasons people suddenly have these shifts and awakenings.  Often an intense spiritual or energy practice will open the body to the heightened energy known as kundalini by the ancient founders of the yogic system.  Sometimes an intense concentrated period may activate this sleeping power, even such innocent practices as biofeedback, meditation, prayer, love-making, or the charge projected by the touch of another person who has this awakened energy. In the thousand reports I have collected over the last 30 years many people write of spontaneous awakenings, sometimes in moments of great interior stress,  or while using plant medicines or psychedelics, or while sitting in silence at retreats.  So if you are feeling as if your energy field has jumped from 110 to 220 or even 2200 you are not alone, although unfortunately you live in a culture that is totally unprepared to understand the power and potential of this experience.

If your experience plunges you into fear and anxiety, if it explodes you into ecstasy, or if it hits the brain centers that produce imagery you will likely be afraid you are losing your mind, and if you meet up with the wrong therapeutic model others will support this interpretation.  But some part of you will know this is real and it is meaningful, even while the mind freaks out about it. If you can just be curious and open instead of afraid and contracted this will help it calm down considerably. You need to nourish the witness within you, that which is simply aware.

Kundalini energy is an aspect of your own life force.  It is what happens when the normal pranic energy field or bioenergy of the body is infused with a powerful rush of energy from the base of the spine, the feet, or occasionally pours down into the body through the top of the head.  Naturally you are startled.  Even people in spiritual communities who have longed for awakening for years can be both astonished and terrified by this new dimension of interior activity.  It was a naive assumption that spiritual awakening would be a sweet, simple release into peace and harmony and improved character and life would be forever blessed.  It is true that awakening leads ultimately to peace and harmony, but it does so by stripping away every identification we hold dear, and releasing every old bit of suffering and confusion, all of which was held in our minds, bodies and subtle energy fields.  It tries to release all stressors and heal all wounds, in the process freeing us from our assumed self image and personal history.

I have come to see kundalini as essentially a clearing out process, and then an opportunity to live from clear seeing and presence, which doesn't change the content of life itself, but profoundly impacts our relationship to it.

Whether kundalini activation is sudden and traumatic, or slow and gentle, it is almost always a factor in a full spiritual realization process.  It may initiate the process of consciousness awakening, or it may fall into place after an initial shift of consciousness into the recognition of It's true relationship with what we might call Source or Universal Consciousness, (that which cannot truly be named, but we try!)  This might be called the non-dual experience, and to the mind it might feel empty and unbounded while to the spirit it is felt as unlimited spaciousness and dissolution into the whole (or some such image).  Utimately awakening is the stable recognition of what is awake in every moment here and now, and not the dramatic experiences, visions, insights, dramas and traumas that may accompany it for awhile.  All experiences will pass.  More will appear. Life is awakeness moving through experiences. Awakening helps us to take it more lightly, to feel peaceful even when we're not, and to find beauty in the every day forms we encounter.

If you are in an energy awakening process and would like to be part of a small-group weekend workshop in Ashland, Oregon, planned Aug. 28, 29 and 30 please let me know. I offer this program once every year or two and will be happy to send you more details.  My email is kundinfo@mindspring.com. You may also find helpful my new books "The Kundalini Guide" and "The Awakening Guide", available on Amazon and Kindle.

 

Yogananda, Awakening and Transformation

I saw the beautiful new film “Awake” about Yogananda last night and it stirred up memories of my early days in spiritual searching when his book Autobiography of a Yogi was a trigger into exploring eastern spirituality. This was true for thousands of people in the 1960’s, as his experiences were radically different from most of our Christian teachings, yet allowed space to include devotion and all other religious practices.  Many were intrigued and inspired to learn meditation. He changed our lives by simply expressing his own Truth.

Since those days I have explored many other yogic traditions and Buddhism as well, finding my way through the range of practices and phenomena that arise in each. This was a great gift opening me to my own process of awakening and my life's work.

For Yogananda there were experiences of great light, being in Samadhi for hours, receiving clear intuitive guidance, feeling touched by and connected with other dimensions and his deceased guru, and finding himself invited to speak to audiences of thousands all over the U.S. and India.  The life of a guru is sometimes as vast as the inner expansion he or she has known.  To look at his life may cause one to feel that spiritual awakening is all bliss and useful messages from beyond and a calling to serve the world.  For most of us it is not quite so easy.

I see a guru as a transitional object.  It is not the person that is a guru, but rather the guru role is thrust upon him or her through the emptiness that is available when one has fallen free of personal conditions.  This role can be used freely by those students who are seeking the understanding of their true nature until they are ready to find the guru within --  their own direct connection with inner wisdom, unconditional love and a liberated life, free of old patterns and conditioning.  When this inner realization is known there is a deep relaxation of the mind, so that inner judgment and preoccupation with the senses fall away, leaving a quiet presence and openness that allows others to feel a  transmission of peace.  This can feel like bliss or love or stillness – it can shift from moment to moment.   Gurus transmit that which we are and this is why they feel so magnetic to many of their students. With some a student will fall into the vast stillness and expansiveness of consciousness; others may experience an energy that stirs their system toward awakening.

But what is missing in the story of Yogananda is the information that this potential for awakening  may bring chaos and trauma into the average life,  because at the physical, emotional and spiritual level change can be challenging. Some might say this makes spiritual practice dangerous.  But I disagree – just as birthing a child into life is a significant moment, awakening is inviting into the world a new life. The rewards far outweigh the risk.  Most who awaken experience physical changes – hormonal, sensate, energetic, vibratory – and psychological shifts – flashes of memory, emotional upheavals, new perceptions, even occasional parapsychological events.  Every identification and belief system is challenged, even the identity with a spiritual tradition, and the need to live in authentic alignment with our Truth becomes pressing. 

The body is an atomic structure – a field of energy infused with consciousness. As such it is in some mysterious way connected with all energies and consciousness. We are a movement in the whole of creation. When spiritual emergence occurs the field we are is getting rewired.  This is rarely acknowledged in spiritual communities, perhaps because of concern about frightening aspirants, or because some who teach have not yet felt this aspect of the awakening experience.   It may be that great masters like Yogananda come into the world with their bodies pre-wired for awakening and need no transformation, but the average person who is in this powerful process is going through a radical change, and needs to feel trust that it is a transformation that is responding to their own longing for Truth, love or God.

The process takes us into unknown territory, and certainly in the west this is not part of the mainstream spiritual dialogue, or medical paradigm.  One must learn to live at peace with the mystery, let go of all beliefs about how it ought to be, and meet their inner guru, their own connection with what Yogananda calls the Divine, and others might term the Source.  This is not a religious experience so much as a knowing of  spirit and spaciousness within and without, and an opening to wisdom and love far beyond the personal self. So the one we thought we are is required to step aside and fade away, leaving only the flavor of the unique personal character to be expressed and meet its destiny in the world.

Kundalini and Awakening

Kundalini and Awakening

Whether you have activated kundalini energy through practices, meditation, or for no logical reason you can imagine, the most important thing to know about it is that this is a passage into  a new understanding of who and what you are. Perhaps the caterpillar feels just as shocked when it finds itself in a cocoon, nor knowing it was it’s own making.

When Kundalini Arises

When kundalini energy arises there can be bliss and chaos as the body adjusts to a new vibration.
To the extent you can relax and let go into the energy it is likely to feel better and be less troublesome, but the truth is the function of kundalini is to clear out all the old debris of your history, so any unfinished emotional or psychological issues are going to arise to be made conscious and resolved.

When an initial arising moves all the way through the body there can be great joy and ecstasy and an altered world view that makes you feel completely at one with the world.  This is an experience that will pass in a few hours or a few days, and most people feel confused and sad when they return to the felt sense of the former self. This energy is not about becoming high and joyful and staying there.  It is about transformation. Just as any reconstruction begins with a deconstruction, so does personal transformation.

The activation of kundalini is an invitation to awaken to your true nature, that which lies beneath the psychological self you have constructed since birth to fit in and cope with the life you were given.  Each of us has a unique set of circumstances because our history varies, but whatever is held in the body/mind will be subject to this transformation process, until at some point consciousness is able to be known in its primal and original form, as the vast and empty spaciousness in which all is one potential.

We cannot make this happen because the "I" that would try to manage it is not able to go along on this journey.  The I we believe ourselves to be is a collection of assumptions, beliefs, feelings, impressions, opinions and memories that are in continual movement (chances are you do not think now the way you did at age 5 or age 20, because more data is in the system an old patterns died). "I" is a verb, not a noun, not a concrete and immovable object.  It is a sense that holds a collection.  This is greatly challenged in an awakening process and so you feel unstable, uncertain, and sometimes afraid of how you are changing. You are entering into a mystery, where perceptions change, emotions can be erratic, and you often feel unfamiliar to yourself.  But along with this can be great waves of love, blissful sensations, insights, and moments of stillness and peace.  A few people may hear an inner voice that says something like "Peace be with you" or "This is all okay". Just remember that all that arises passes on, and that the reason that most of what arises happens is so that you can see through it and realize -- oh this too is not what I am.

Learn to be present in the moment where you are and not dwell on old patterns and memories. Learn to bring energy into the heart which will deepen the sense of appreciation and gratitude for the present moment. Learn to accept with equanimity what you were in the past with all its shadow and challenges and be curious instead of afraid about who you are becoming. Don't let the mind jump to conclusions.  Ask it to relax and just see what happens instead of projecting possible scenarios.

Consider moving more from intuition and from the heart rather than the old ways of decision making. Take care of your body and stay in alignment with your deepest truth and authenticity. These are the ways to support the process and eventually return into a lasting presence and inner peace.

Kundalini: Fascination & Resistance, Control & Letting Go



Question from a Seeker:
I’ve been spiritually seeking for a number of years and one thing that really seems to bother me is this fascination with Kundalini. I was fascinated with these Kundalini sensations because of the orgasmic oneness and union that accompanied them.  Recently I'm also interested in working on my humanness and cleaning up all the messes associated with that. I am less interested in mystical states of permanent bliss or unity. The problem is that my ego/mind has started tempting me to have Kundalini experiences and I’ve been feeling this energy in my body (particularly in my face area), which is difficult to avoid. When I follow this energy and try to keep my mind concentrated on it for too long, I get panicked and it feels like my body is going to explode/die if I continue, so instinctively I stop and try to move on. But the energy keeps interfering with my ability to enjoy life and to live freely. This seems to be the main thing that keeps the ego sense of me alive and well (the other thing is probably a fear of utter despair and depression at seeing my illusions shattered,) I recently found that if I stop trying to control these energies I feel better.  Is it better to just let them happen or to try to stop or manage them?

Response:
Kundalini is the life force experienced as a subtle energy running through the body and you are right in your discovery that the easiest way to live with it is to relax and let it move as it seems to want to.  Usually if you just lay down on a bed when it starts it will shake you up for awhile as it removes stresses out of the system and opens up stuck areas in the body, and then it stops after a few minutes, or feels just like a quiet hum or vibration the rest of the time.  It can feel blissful (but won't always) when you let it move and cause a lot of discomfort if you contract against it.  It can also be scary when it is intense but if you can substitute curiosity and openness for fear it will go much better for you. It is not especially useful to concentrate on it or try to intensify it, much better to kind of shrug it off and wonder what the energy might be trying to clear out now (you won't often know).

It is also very useful to clean up any "messes" in your life, practically speaking.  Stress, toxic habits and relationships, stuck anger and resentment and other divisive personal issues give the subtle body lots of issues to work out and make energy releases, emotional upheavals and even pain more challenging in this process. Think of kundalini as trying to make you very open and free internally, keeping all your channels open, and having to clear out any negativity or suffering that is in the way.

Other than "cleaning up your life," the ego, which is just your mind identifying with your thoughts about it, needs to let go of trying to control this or any other aspects of the spiritual process. You are new to this process and it is here to support shifts and changes in consciousness that will allow consciousness to awaken to itself -- there is nothing in it for the ego, which is why resistance comes up. If you are on a spiritual path and do regular silent sitting or meditation or even prayers of gratitude, this will further support an awakening.  If you are doing lots of energy practice, using drugs or following shamanic, breathwork or other intense practices you may raise more energy than you want to handle and more mental confusion along with it.  You might get some value from reading my two new books "The Kundalini Guide" and "The Awakening Guide" that are designed to help people understand and support the awakening process.  You might benefit from listening to the talks at www.adyashanti.org as Adya is a wonderful teacher of awakening. This process will interfere with your fun-loving life and ultimately demand you align yourself with the most authentic and natural path within you.

You will learn to find peace and happiness within, but first any beliefs and illusions that contradict what is true will be challenged until you see them clearly enough to let them go. 

The longing of the heart to know truth or know "Who I am" or know God -- however you would phrase the longing that has drawn you into spiritual practice -- is an important aspect of awakening.  Trust that rather than your thoughts about what it means.  It is a mystery just how we awaken and what we discover, one the mind cannot grasp.

It is rare for someone to stop this process, although occasionally it will stop temporarily if the major stressors and preoccupations of living become overwhelming.  But learning to understand and support it make it a lot less challenging and open up more opportunity to find bliss and joy as the body and spirit become more open and alive.   

When Energies Arise


When the energies of kundalini first arise many people do not recognize them as an accompaniment to the process of spiritual realization.  These energies curling up the spine or raising heat and jerks and strange body movements sometimes occur during meditation, or following yoga or Qigong or breathwork, and even happen spontaneously without any discernable trigger activity.  Even in those who are doing practices that encourage spiritual awakening they are often not recognized for what they are -- the subtle energy field clearing away stress and old patterns and opening channels for the awakening of consciousness.

Our bodies are our vehicles for consciousness and awareness to experience itself in the flow and experiences of the human condition.  The life force caught hold as we were conceived and moves through us throughout our lives. This force is both energy and consciousness and when we awaken spiritually it intensifies and expands and shifts our perception and experience of what we are and how creation appears. This shift is called awakening in non-dual circles.

It can take months and years for a kundalini process to mature, as the energy may wind slowly through the body, rise and fall intermittently, and flush out emotional, physical and psychic issues that have been dormant or repressed.  So it is disruptive and frightening for some people.  The fear is often because of the strangeness and the unfamiliarity of the random movements and experiences.

Fear creates contraction and this promotes more releasing of stress, so the sense of difficulty can be increased.  I suggest if this is happening to you that you substitute the energy of curiosity for fear, and relax into what is happening, as this can help the releasing in the moment to pass through more quickly. Fear is just a thought followed by energy.  It will not serve you in this process.

Although for some people kundalini awakening is primarily gentle or energetically blissful, it can be challenging for others to accept and live with the challenges of this process, and nearly impossible to make it stop once the energy has opened as far as the throat chakra. Before then stopping all energy and spiritual practices, eating root vegetables and protein, or doing grounding practices like gardening may help the energies calm down a bit. There can be brief energy releases that are known as prana-tattva (in yogic science) that happen only once or rarely -- this is a release of a blockage or stress held in the body and are not the same as kundalini arising. If the energy stops completely it was originally not a full activation but just the preliminary pranic releases.

If you are in the throes of this experience you may find my books  The Kundalini Guide or The Awakening Guide helpful as they were written for  those who need to understand the changes that support spiritual awakening and offer methods that help it happen with less confusion and discomfort.   Yes, awakening brings bliss and insight and an internal sense of being love -- but for this to happen everything that is not so peaceful needs to be released.  If you have longed to know Truth or what is God or what this human existence is about and followed spiritual practices to get there, you need to learn to accept with equanimity the process of transformation.

The Power of Kundalini


There are many myths associated with the awakening of kundalini energy.  Some people expect to receive extraordinary powers, heal all illnesses, or live eternally if they are able to stimulate the full arising of this energy. They may also think they can fly, walk through walls, and communicate usefully with other dimensions. But in meeting with 2000 people over the years who have awakened kundalini I have never seen these kinds of conclusions.
           
In a small number of people there may be the emerging of psychic or healing capacities, but I have met psychics and healers with no known memory of a kundalini awakening, so kundalini is not essential to these powers.  I believe that certain capacities of the brain or energy field are activated as the energy moves through them that awaken these abilities. Some people will feel a connection to their lineage, or teachers who offer helpful guidance at times, who appear other-dimensional. A few may see visions or struggle temporarily with an apparent entity, but this is rare and often related to trauma in their histories or to practicing occult arts. Those who are reported to fly have learned extreme bouncing techniques that make the body temporarily weightless in obscure yoga systems (I saw such yogis in a video once and it did not seem a very valuable talent for everyday life!)  Most who discover these periods of having new "powers" find they fade away over time. For a few they become a new expression in their lives.

A more realistic vision of this energy is to consider the rumors as metaphor.   Kundalini initiates a healing within by clearing away the debris of false perspectives, negative conditioning, and self-images that are illusionary.  It opens the psyche to healing itself of old wounds and relieves the body of the stressors of contraction.  It makes it possible to remember your true and unconditioned nature, the essence of which does live eternally. It annihilates the mind's preoccupation with fantasy and irrelevance.  The extraordinary gift of spiritual awakening is the return to a natural life, one that is embodied with openness and peace, and the ability to respond to what arises without the angst and drama created by the conditioned mind. One can become more awestuck by the beauty of simple things, more compassionate without the entanglement of suffering, and more relaxed about life and death. This may improve creativity, authenticity, health and longivity. This is the freedom we call happiness or peace.

Kundalini arises in response both to energetic shifts in the body and to a deep longing of the spirit or consciousness to know Truth or God or simply to end personal suffering.  It cannot be forced or passed on by someone else, except in rare cases where the individual is very ripe for awakening.  But energy processes, yoga, Qigong, meditation, being with another who has awakened energy, and a sincere desire to open the heart all can play a part in awakening by making us grace-prone (as Adyashanti has labeled the readiness for awakening). Kundalini is said  by yogis to be curled energy at the base of the spine holding our pranic energy flows in stasis, and when it unwinds itself through the body it triggers many changes in both the sensations and the consciousness, leading one gradually into a transformation of perspective and functioning in the world. The writer Stu Sovatsky, who also worked with kundalini for many years, compares this to a second puberty. Like the first, where we begin and where we end is unpredictable, and the process can be challenging.

If you long for spiritual realization the awakening of kundalini is useful and probably unavoidable, whether it is a gentle or an intense and overwheming process. To the extent you can relax and be present with whatever it offers it will move forward into its natural conclusion.

If you need to know more you might enjoy my new books  The Kundalini Guide and The Awakening Guide (av. at www.amazon.com) where I have mapped the territory as best I can and intend to provide a vision and support for the changes sure to come.

Kundalini, Consciousness and Yoga

Many people enter into kundalini yoga practices with the idea it will make them healthier, more attractive, more alive energetically.  These can be gifts of this or other form of yoga, which are ancient practices that make the body more limber and the spirit more peaceful.  But for some these yogas will also open up the potential for the deconstruction and transformation of the identity with the personal self.  This may sound appealing to a few, but it can actually be very challenging and disorienting because in can uproot all your beliefs, defenses, and ways of looking at life, and also trigger massive energy releases, and unfamiliar feelings and sensations.

If your life is not aligned with Truth this awakening of kundalini can change your lifestyle radically. It is not commonly understood that a full realization of who we are and a remembrance of ourselves as "nothing" and "All" does not result in an improvement in the "personal" self but a dissolution of attachment to that "self". It is not as if you forget who you have been, but you begin to see the world and your human-ness through new eyes, to stop arguing with the world and all its foibles and disasters, and to live in response to the moment around you -- in the NOW, as Eckart Tolle has pointed out.  This shift does not come easily for most people, but is a gradual movement that requires consciousness of how thoughts move to entrap us into identity every day. Many feel awake and open occasionally, and irritated to be trapped in old patterns the next moment. To the extent we are flexible and committed to awakening not only our energy, but our consciousness, we can learn to flow with the ups and downs, the emergence of repressed memories, and the changes in our lives. It is useful to enter this process with appreciation for the gift of life and who you are because the overlay of self-criticism or fear of the world will inhibit your ability to become the free spirit you actually are. Our essence, and our participation in the fullness of the human experience is a great gift not to be discarded as we feel the wonder of simple beingness that plays beneath the surface.

The true function of kundalini awakening is to prepare our energy field to become open and available to the realization of Truth, to the sensate and energetic knowing of our participation in all that exists.  It initiates a journey and a passage way beyond good health and longevity (which are not guaranteed in a physical form, but inevitable for the spirit.)

Having just published "The Awakening Guide" and "The Kundalini Guide" on Amazon I seem to be on a writing binge right now so I'm putting out articles often on my Awakened Living blog at shantiriver.wordpress.com, sending articles to various e-zine sites, am learning to use twitter, and linked-in more efficiently. I hope my words reach those who need them -- those on this journey to self-realization. Please pass them forward to anyone who needs to know.  My websites hold many basics but I hope to keep updating on the blogs. Comment and question where you can if it feels useful to you.

New Kundalini & Awakening Books

Dear Readers,
As you may have noticed this blog has not been updated for many months, but I am back now and with great news.  I just published a NEW BOOK  on amazon.com and Kindle  called "The Kundalini Guide"!  It is based on my 25 year experience of doing assessments for over 2000 people who have awakened kundalini energy.  It will be available in print by the end of the April 2014 and as an e-book by April 25.  A second book "The Awakening Guide" is on its way.  I have been working with these two books for over five years and hope they will be the kind of companion and support that people in a spiritual awakening process need.  There are many issues that arise and are usually a surprise to those who pursue self-realization.  These include psychological and emotional upheavals, energetic phenomena, non-ordinary moments of expansion or emptiness or visions -- almost anything may arise and not many spiritual communities have the knowledge to help people move through them.  I hope these books will offer the insight and general guidance that lead to the awakening of Self (as it is known in Advaita Vedanta) or True Nature (as the Buddhists call it).  This awakening is really a remembering, it is an opening of our inner recognition of Oneness with everything, and the possibility of seeing our life and our world through the eyes of pure consciousness or presence.  This is a life-altering event that frees us from the constrictions of our conditioning, and allows us to live spontaneously in the flow of our life experiences. Kundalini is the energetic aspect of awakening, that prepares our subtle body for this awakened consciousness.  I hope you read my books and comment on Amazon or your own blogs if they are useful to you, and if they awaken more questions for you please send them to my blog, which I will be updating each week.

 

Kundalini: An Invitation to Truth


Kundalini arising is an invitation,  truly a doorway, into knowing what you are, and realizing or remembering the true nature of existence.  This is why the energy is called divine.  It is the energy of the source of life that enabled you to exist as part of creation, and when it activates it is possible for consciousness to shift in such a way that it recognizes its true nature.  It shows you that you are not the thoughts in your head, and patterns in your life that you previously identified with.  

Some people have a glimpse of  the infinite, the truth that consciousness exists beyond any boundary, long before they have a kundalini arising. They are given a hint about who they are. It may change their life, or it may pass through as simply an unusual moment, never forgotten but never taken to heart. But most people seem to have the arising of this energy of the life force known as kundalini, prior to the awakening of consciousness. It supports them in becoming Self-realized.  It invites them into awareness of the infinite.

Naturally kundalini energy is frightening to the mind of many people, because it challenges our belief in the uniqueness of our own identity, and it  is beyond the understanding  and the cultural perspective of  the mind.  It feels sometimes as if you are losing your mind and your  understanding of who you are, it disrupts and reorganizes your energy field, and it may even cause physical discomfort as it moves through areas of your body that have latent physical issues or  stored emotional content. It can look and feel "weird" and if the body has experienced physical or sexual abuse, or traumatic emotional and physical events, it can cause the release of the old memories and sensations held in the contracted energy field.  So for some people this awakening is a more challenging event than for others.

You might think of kundalini awakening as a clearing process that is designed to enable an open, clear and compassionate perspective of life and death, and to feel the essential bliss and connectedness of all things. In some people it also powerfully opens the heart to love.  For these transformations to happen all the thoughts, points of view, memories and stored traumas in the body need to be released.  You cannot do this yourself.  It is done through you by the energy, in its own timing.   If you have done clearing through therapy or body work in the past this can be useful, because there is less "stuckness" in the old conditions and more acceptance of letting things go.  And usually with therapy one learns to release self-judgement, which is an important prerequisite in this process of awakening to what you really are.

Our true nature has no judgment and no resistance to life. Waking up is not an abandonment of life as it is, but an expansion, so that consciousness sees the inner-connectedness, the oneness, underneath all the diversity of expression in the world.  Without judgment there is still a responsiveness, a deep feeling can move through related to compassion for the suffering in the human condition, and action can emerge spontaneously, the form having great variations among different people. Great laughter and joy can arise in seeing clearing how we have missed the truth for so many years ,and ignored the clear evidence of our own eternal consciousness. Even in the joy we can still feel strong compassion for the confusion that all humanity shares. 

Unfortunately, not everyone who awakens kundalini will awaken to Truth.  There are many cul-de-sacs in the process caused by cultural and community biases and ignorance of the process, fear of the unknown (which one must enter without reservation at some point), the tendency to regress into self-doubt, or attachment to old patterns of being that are not released.  One needs to learn to listen to their deepest inner truth, to take care of their physical and emotional needs, to surrender completely to the energy flow,  to be willing to love unconditionally -- one is invited into many experiences the mind might resist.  Some people feel like they may be losing their sanity or even their life.   There are many fear-based stories about kundalini which sometimes amplify these doubts and fears.  And there are risks to health if one is pushing the process, continues using recreational drugs, or ignores basic health habits.  It helps to have some objective support and guidance in case you become inflated, disoriented or overwhelmed by emotional shifts. (all of which may happen for limited periods of time). It helps to have a spiritual orientation and basic self-respect and love.

Some people are concerned because their financial situation does not support them and they feel unable to work.  It is helpful if one has a lifestyle and workstyle that are compatible for their spiritual life, that sustains them through these transitional times.  If this is not available they can only seek inner wisdom to find a way through life support by using available food pantries and community dinners, volunteering  service in a meaningful way,  living in yogic communities, or returning to families for help.  In most cases if one is unable to hold their regular job, a small amount of work that feels aligned with one's true capacity is helpful.  The body/mind will benefit from some kind of focus and balance during this awakening.  This is not about abandoning the body/mind or the personal life you have been given, only giving up identification with it as "all" you are. You are still obligated to care for it.

Poverty during a kundalini process may be no worse than poverty for a myriad of other reasons.  For hundreds of  years Zen monks who sought awakening chose poverty, although they were in a community that respected this option and helped to feed them. I cannot say why one person is thrown into this situation and others are not -- some might say it was a choice from a previous life, or a piece of karma to be finished, or a teaching about a certain perspective of life, or a pattern or belief that needs to be relinquished.  It may be caused by apparent outside circumstances, (all of us can find societal reasons), or for psychological reasons, but it is your mind that attaches a  personal meaning to it.


I was once in a workshop with a nurse who reported a very traumatic childhood including early rape and pregnancy, prostitution, drug addiction and living on the streets before her world shifted  in her twenties and she was able to move into school and a career.  As I felt into the trauma of that life and youth what I saw was that she went through that so that I would not have to.  Each of us fills a spot in a massive and eternal mosaic of life experience.  There is no ultimate reason or why explaining why some have such difficulties -- it is just so.  Humanity is still in an evolutionary stage, and has not yet embraced unilateral kindness and health.  There is suffering and we all are part of it.  Waking up will only make it better.  Kundalini arising, and its  greatest gift,  a clear perception of the nature of existence and the releasing of our identification with thoughts that cause suffering will, as the Buddha said, wake up the world (a piece at a time).

If you are  truly in this process it will not let you go (although you can resist endlessly) and keep inviting you into your deepest potential for knowing Truth.

Entering the NOW of Life

Dear Readers,

I have not been very constant in my attention to this blog, but it seems in one place or another I have already said so much about the kundalini process.  Please go to my websites www.kundaliniguide.com or www.awakeningguide.com if you want more in-depth information.  Someone asked who my webhost was and it is squarespace.com
I usually recommend people who have had a kundalini experience also go to the website www.adyashanti.org for an understanding of what it means to wake up spiritually, because there is  a profound shift in perspective and in how one sees the world and oneself when there is a glimpse of the Truth that comes with awakening, and there can be a time when many adjustments are happening.  The nondual teacher, Adyashanti, has the most clear and helpful wisdom regarding awakening that I know of, and although he does not speak much of energy he deeply understands the awakening of consiousness that people are invited into when their kundalini energy activates.
Kundalini is the energy of consciousness, our own life force.  When it activates it seems to cause a clearing process, where our internal wiring is being undone and reworked.  In practical terms we could say all our old ways of thinking, our convictions, hang-ups, fears, self-image are being stripped away. If there are toxins in the body from drugs and alcohol they seem to need to shake themselves out along with fears, stress and darkness.

The energy is attempting to turn over and release all the old holding and memories that cause us to be unavailable to fully live in the moment, in the NOW of life.  Consciousness is attempting to be open and free of the illusory separate self. It is as if the intention is to live in the simplicity, stillness and wonder of each moment, without all the mental clutter that dominates most of our lives.  It is not that thinking is no longer available, but it is less clouded by all the personal doubts, assumptions, judgements and fears that our personal sense of  "me" seems to carry. When we step away from our separate self and rest, even momentarily, in the openness and presence that is prior to thought, our consciousness and our energy begins a change that can lead us ultimately to a stable inner peace.
But just as it has taken decades, perhaps even lifetimes, to create all these assumptions about what we are, it can take a long time for these to fall away, and for every part of us to wake up to our true nature.  This is one reason that the phenomena that come with kundalini awakening is challenging for many people.  It is not an easy thing to let drop all the assumptions and belief structures we have wired into our system since birth.  It is disconcerting to consider we do not know what we are or what we will be like if these old patterns fall away.  There can be moments when the mind is clouded and old emotions are flowing through us spontaneously.  It takes what might be called a stability of spirit, a trust in the emptiness, a willingness to just be present with what is while at the same time taking good care of our body and our basic needs as best we can, during this period of transition.  It is important to be present in the world rather than just escaping it, but not to be caught in mental judgements about it.  Look for the beauty and miracles of living.  Move back out of thought long enough to see what it is that is observing thought, what your essence is if you do not believe that thought or take it on right now. Can you tolerate the stillness that you are? can you bring awareness into the heart and see the world from a new perspective? This energy is about transformation and it is neutral, that is, a potential of human experience inherent in each physical body, just as oxygen is part of air. It creates and destroys what is ready to be transformed.   We are not in charge of it but we can be in right relationship with it.














 

Learning to Live With Kundalini

Kundalini is the life current. Or we might say the life force. When it intensifies or awakens itself our subtle body goes through many changes. Sometimes it happens after years of preparation and other times it is a spontaneous awakening. Sometimes it triggers shifts in consciousness that might appear to be depersonalization or a lack of personal identity.

WHY WE DESIRE AWAKENING

You ask why anyone would want this? People who long for self realization have no control over the longing. It may happen before or after the activation of kundalini. It is like The sexual drive It simply arises at a certain stage of life in some people. Others never become interested and have a passion or focus or other things. It is not the ego that wants self-realization. It is the deep true Self wanting to be liberated from the contractions of the conditioned persona that a person carries, which is usually the cause of unnecessary suffering. Some say they want to end suffering. Some feel a need to know if there is a God or they are wanting to know the meaning of life. Most spiritual seekers do not realize the depth of the deconstruction that spiritual awakening brings, and the true nature of surrender, until they are very deeply engaged in the process It can move from great transcendence and bliss and joy to a feeling of falling apart very quickly. It is not a mistake when this happens. It is the just the way it works for most people

If you have seen clearly that you are not the separate self but are the life force or universal source or spirit (whatever you might call this which is unnamable), and know you are only wearing the cloak or playing the role of a human identity, the mind might react with terror or sadness or some other emotion to pull you back into old patterns. This understanding is very threatening to the ego structure. Some people feel pulled back and forth for years between old patterns of identification and experiences of pure consciousness

There is no question that when awakening happens there can be a loss of drive and of interest in the things you used to enjoy and identify with. This is a very common concern. It is like a whole layer of who we are just falls away. Most people have to find their way into a new way to live. It helps to remember to just be in the moment with what is with consciousness and heart rather than thought. It helps to get out into nature or to explore a few activities you feel drawn to. It helps to set an intention of living in a way that feels intuitively authentic for you and give up concerns about what other people think. You may realize that how you see the world is not the way the mainstream of our society sees it and this can feel lonely to the mind, so it helps to find community and read teachings by those who share your perspective. You can reenter society, work, school, and old activities but you may not feel as engaged in these things as you did in the past. If something feels important or right to do you can learn to consciously lean in and do it even if there is an underlying detachment. This feels better than complete lack of involvement in life.

If you do this you will eventually find those activities that are a good fit for you. It is like learning anything. You can learn how to live with life and enjoy other people even though you feel somewhat uninvolved. You can find joy and compassion and curiosity and love in new and unexpected ways, especially if you are just present in the moment with what is! If you can allow your heart to be open, eventually there can be a deep relaxation in just being who you are with no concern for an image and the end of a running dialogue in your head about what you should or shouldn't be.

Often those who go through these changes need to be more grounded, more fully present in their bodies. You can use your intuition about how to eat but it is very helpful not to use intoxicants or drugs and to be sure you get enough protein. You may feel inclined to be vegetarian but if so plan a healthy diet with protein it. Your general health and any challenging issues with digestion may require dietary changes everyone is different in this regard so I cannot make specific suggestions. If you have concerns you might see an Ayurvedic practitioner who can look at your body type and energy and tell you specific suggestions for balance. If there is a lot of energy you may feel extremes of hunger or no appetite at all for a while. There are numerous variations in what the body wants and needs at this time. If the energy is very intense some yogis recommend drinking warm milk with sugar and ghee in it, saying this is a calming drink, certain herbs and oils help with calming the energy down and some yogic asanas are useful for stretching and opening the body so that the energy becomes more harmonious. Many people feel a need to avoid stressful and crowded environments, at least temporarily

 

You may feel you have had an experience you would like to avoid, feeling you had no true desire for it. But in fact something drew you to the practices that triggered it Even though the result was not what you had thought it would be. You can try to reenter your old life or you can look for the teachings that will confirm your experience and support a new kind of life. You can see the experience as a great blessing and a gift of insight meant to happen in this life or you can put it on a back burner and see it only as a passing phase. Often spiritual growth takes place in spurts and a deep experience is followed by some years of ordinary living and then another leap happens later in life. I would say that is how it was for me, with several distinct stages between the ages of 28 and 60. Everyone has a unique journey in this process that is really only leading us back to our Self, which we come to see was here all along.

 

You might find the writings of Adyashanti ( esp. “Falling Into Grace” or “The End of Your World”), or Jeff Foster (“An Extraordinary Absence”)helpful. Both had awakenings as young men and describe their way of finding how to move in the world through their writings.

Accepting the All of Life

No matter how our health and spirituality function, even when we are perfectly well, struggling with poverty makes life more difficult. But certainly in the east many who have spiritual awakenings are very poor, and live as sadhus moving among ashrams or living on the streets. This activation of energy is about the transformation of consciousness and the opening of the body into a very simple and natural relationship with nature and life. Rather than the external life, it is more about an inner process that has the potential to make someone more okay with how things are, more attuned to the flow of life as it is, more peaceful. It is the mind that struggles and rages with the inequities of life. This process is trying to pull one into a part of themselves that is quiet, open, compassionate and simply present without all the intense feelings generated by thought.

If there are severe physical difficulties it is usually due either to mental anxiety or fear of change, an underlying physical difficulty or limitation, an underlying psychological challenge (e.g. long term depression, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, PTSD), an unhealthy diet or the use of drugs. I have met many people from all levels of society with kundalini activations, and the energy itself can be confusing, shake your body up, take you into altered states, and cause heat and odd spontaneous movements at times. But it does not by itself cause pain and illness. It can aggravate an underlying condition, and it can cause adrenal exhaustion if there is too much energy intensity too often, and it can cause headaches. (you need to bring energy down, more into the heart or belly if there are headaches). In a few people who are very sensitive it is very draining and debilitating. If the energy is stuck in the lower chakras it can cause sexual preoccupation or stomach discomforts. It needs to move up and through the whole system.

If one has an income source or someone in their life to support them it is a great blessing when the need is to rest and be away from the intensity of the working world. Many people find they cannot sustain the kind of work environment they had been adapted to prior to awakening, and seek ways to simplify their lives. It is essential to find a lifestyle that is authentic for you. Although triggers that seem to cause awakening can be identified, no one can say exactly why some people activate this transformation and others never do, but it seems as if it was just meant to be in this lifetime. The intention of this process does not seem to be about destroying your life so much as opening your consciousness to feel itself as one with all things, relaxing into just being, and awakening to the unlimited potentiality and expression of consciousness. Your identity is challenged and those things you think you are (female, male,child, parent, worker, profesional, rich, poor, inadequate, smart, healthy, ill --everything) are seen to be temporary appearances while underneath it all is a quiet spirit and presence that is the true "I" and knows it is only temporarily playing this role. This awakening is not something the mind can decide or understand,and certainly not control when it happens, but it is something consciousness itself realizes as part of the whole experience of spiritual awakening. The kundalini is the life force trying to make realization possible. It doesn't care if you are rich or poor -- it wants you to become awake.

There is very little opportunity in the west to find understanding and support for this process. It is totally out of the mainstream direction and thinking of our culture which is built on the glorifying individual success and accomplishment. So people experiencing it can become very frightened and alone and this makes the struggle even more difficult. But what is needed is an internal meeting of the process, time to ground yourself walking in nature and being quiet inside, a simple diet with a protein source that helps you ground, an ability to listen deeply to your own inner guidance and to trust the process. None of these things cost money. You can also find companionship on the journey on the web, read the teachings of spiritual masters like Ramana Maharshi or modern teachers like Adyashanti, and if you are well enough you could do some service in the world that you feel called to. You can do a simple meditation of just sitting in presence. There is much access to resources today that did not exist even 15 years ago.

I know it sounds crazy to the mind but there is an old saying "What you resist, persists" Once we stop resisting our circumstances, and stop "arguing with reality" (as Adyashanti puts it) all that energy that goes into anger, disappointment and longing for something to be other than it is can be released. Then we can find a new deeper creative energy within us and begin to take small steps in the direction our heart is leading us, and positive changes can happen in our life. Sometimes our old patterns of how to make things happen just don't work anymore but we keep looking at life from an old position and can't see other alternatives. Awakening to your true nature, and relaxing into just being-ness, can offer a whole new perspective.

People enter this process with many issues -- not just limited resources or poverty. Some have disabled relatives they care for, or alcoholic partners, or cancer, or abusive situations that need to be addressed. I have known people whose homes were flooded or burned to the ground. Anything in our external life can be a hurdle that feels like the kundalini process is just too much to deal with, but it is actually an invitation out of that identification and into a realization of the part of us that is not suffering, that is awake and present in the now of living. From this place it is easier to see what needs to happen and not be overwhelmed by it and thus to make changes that serve our lives. It is not thought and mental activity that frees us-- it is spirit.

How we Deconstruct in Awakening

The arising of kundalini energy can be a life-changing event. For some it is felt as a very positive and beautiful opening which heightens the senses and the ability to clear the mind and feel great joy and gratitude in life. But eventually for most it triggers a de-construction of our way of perceiving our world, our concepts and belief systems. It supports a shedding of old ways of being and old patterns locked in our system from our conditioning and the difficult experiences of our past. We can feel like we are coming apart and losing our sense of self -- which we are. In some people this energy movement and the subsequent deconstruction is a very gradual process, supported by our meditation process and even psychotherapy if we are involved in that. But for others it seems sudden and chaotic and therefore frightening.

It helps greatly to have an understanding of how this process works to our greater benefit, and to discover that at the core we are not the personal self we have tended to identify with. When we realize what we truly are it is called "waking up" or "self-realization" -- it is the realization of what really exists behind the personal self that is not ever going to change or dissolve.

But it can be very disarming for the mind to get glimpses of this because the mind's functioning as director of our lives is threatened. We begin to see we are not our thoughts and become less inclined to believe them, less likely to be distracted when they arise. Something else that is indefinable arises within us that is much more attuned to the moment, to the impersonal experience of now.

When someone awakens out of the dream of the separate self the kundalini process works more subtly in the background, and if there are energies releasing, or burning off old conditioned blocks in our psychic system we feel appreciative and curious rather than frightened, because we can clearly see the function is to make us more free and open and harmonious withinEastern spiritual systems set up this process of awakening as a goal of all practices, and see it as the greatest gift in any life. Buddhist monks take a vow to liberate all beings. Why would we need to be liberated? Because this is the only way to clearly see the source and radiance of all existence and to live in harmony with it. This lack of clear perception, and our entanglement in all the fears, rages and greed that overwhelms the planet, is the cause of suffering. Getting free of it is not an easy task, but our energy bodies are designed to lead us there. Eastern practices deliberately aim at opening these bodies along with shifting us out of our mind so that we can see the Truth. But thousands of people have this energetic opening without any conscious attempt to trigger it -- it happens for many reasons that the energy activates and begins the process of transmuting itself into a new clarity and presence in the world.

It is clear that some people write about kundalini as a danger or a dark force. This is because they do not understand the highest potential for transformation that it offers, and instead see only the destructive experiences it brings for some. Also, like any energies on the planet, a few people work to use it for power and manipulation of others. There are specific dark techniques for this, and those who use them generally end up in trouble psychologically, spiritually, physically and karmically. They are not happy and useful contributors to the society. They have twisted their lives out of fear and a drive for power, in the same way that nuclear energy has been used for total destruction out of fear and a drive for power.

If you are in an experience of intensified and rising energy it is not inherently dangerous. It is a neutral force of transformation and change. If your intention is health, well-being, freedom, love, and above all the longing to know what is True this energy will support those changes.

If you are driven by fear, anger, revenge, and a need for power over others the energy may end up wearing you down completely and distorting the true potential of your life. This is not to say that some fear in the process is natural. But to the extent you can turn it to curiousity, or even trust in the vast potentiality of the universe it will become only another energy to release, letting you become vulnerable to the grace of knowing who you really are.

Enlightenment and the Diminishing "me"

 

It is true that many people awaken kundalini due to practices that use energy movement or healing modalities and for many other reasons, and without a clear understanding of what spiritual awakening is really about or without spiritual guidance the challenges of dealing with the energy can be more complicated. In addition even those who are seeking a spiritual awakening often have misconceptions about what this entails. Eventually it means the releasing of all formerly held concepts and perceptions and even the sense of a personal "me" who can be enlightened. No one really expects this so when it starts to happen it can be very disturbing, unless there is someone around for support who really understands it.

Enlightenment is not an accomplishment to be added to the list of things we have attained in this life. It is what remains when all thoughts and personal goals are released and we begin to experience who we are without the personal mental world that has been accumulated since early childhood and is based on all our experiences, impressions, desires and disappointments.

Freedom is freedom from "me" which means we can live more fully as just presence in any moment. We are already doing this which is why so many teachers say everyone is already enlightened, but we are overlaid with all the personal phenomena which clouds are capacity to truly experience our natural self and the stillness/wisdom/love it has to offer.

It is not uncommon in meditation for the stirring of energy or the arising of energy to occur, sometimes with heat, sometimes with bliss, sometimes just energy moving upward through the body. This may be the opening of kundalini or another phenomena called prana-tattva where the pranic energies of the subtle body are just moving and reorganizing themselves. Regular mediation eventually impacts the subtle energy field, the chemical system and the brain, as if we are slowly restructuring our internal field in preparation for the awakening it can bring.

In some people challenges arise along with this energy such as the release of old memories or emotions, or disturbances in the digestion system or heart area; in others it can be smooth and pleasant and just a gradual opening. If you can trust the benevolence of the process and listen to your heart and not be overly concerned about any phenomena the process moves more smoothly.

I have another new blog site at shantiriver.wordpress.com if you wish more of my comments on the awakening process.

 

Blessings to all of you.

My blog: shantiriver.wordpress.com

Hello to my readers,

I have just begun a new blog focused more generally on non-duality and awakening, and I plan to keep a schedule of Ashland events and other programs I may be involved in on that site, so do check it out if you are interested in my ramblings. The address is www.shantiriver.wordpress.com.

A KUNDALINI BLOG AND AN AWAKENING BLOG

Another blog, kundaliniguide.wordpress.com is a good place to send me general questions related to your kundalini  or spiritual process. If inquiring about a particular problem It's helpful to me when you ask questions if you include general information about your spiritual practices, your age, and specifics about your particular problem. Most of the issues that arise after an awakening are related to history, previous habits and patterns, lifestyle and the intensity or frequency of practices you are doing. If you wish a private assessment on Skype or zoom.us with me please send me contact information. My fee for a private session is usually $100.

If you are interested in filling out a form for a personal assessment you can write to me through the contact form on my website www.kundaliniguide.com and I will send you the form.  I will keep up with blog comments and questions however on both blog sites.

DIFFERENCES IN AWAKENING -- EAST AND WEST

For many years I have explored the differences I see between enlightenment as it is said to happen in eastern traditions and as it happens to westerners, because I see many inconsistencies in the process in the way it opens here and the way it is described in eastern spiritual texts. I suspect this is because of the differences in how it is approached in the west, with little true preparation, without strong guidance, and within many distractions that are unavoidable in the typical western lifestyle -- work, family needs, the bombardment of media, the pace of life, diet, social pressures, etc.

EASTERN PREPARATIONS FOR AWAKENING

In the eastern perspective one lives a very moderate life totally dedicated to hours a day of energy practices or meditation, within the context of complete trust and obedience to a teacher or guru, with a very bland diet and daily physical work within the setting of an ashram or monastery. I cannot say what the statistical odds of realization are in such a setting, or if they are any better than here, only that in such settings there is a projected gradual movement of the psyche toward an enlightenment that is stable, may include siddhis (temporarily), and leads to life of devotion, service, inspiration and/or peace.

TYPICAL WESTERN EXPERIENCES

In the west people may have a glimpse of truth, for a brief or extended period of time, but generally this is followed by months or years of facing the internal tendency of the ego structure to reassert itself, to become engaged once again in all the mundane activities of the human struggle, and to enter into a resistance to being where one is. This resistance may take the form of regretting one has not stayed in what seemed an expansive and interconnected state of consciousness, or resistance in the form of wishing things were different in one's life. Sometimes there has been an illusion that awakening would make life perfect or oneself perfect, and one must see through this illusion before one can regain a sense of freedom. No matter the form it takes, most westerners will enter a long phase of seeing the separate self arise again and again, before awakening becomes stable.

My intention in establishing this site and www.awakeningguide,com, my blogs, my books, and eventually a you-tube channel is to provide helpful guidance to any who have entered a kundalini or spiritual awakening process who feel alone with the experiences, and need understanding, grounding and support.  My belief is all who enter this process are on the way to self-realization, whether or not they intended it, and with the optimal support will navigate the challenges and find themselves free and at peace.

Introduction to Kundalini Guide

Hello Readers,

For those of you in the Oregon area, if you are interested in the satsang programs and day-long intensives I hold please contact me through my email to be on my email list. I have established Shanti River Center in Ashland, where I hold regular satsang, discussion groups related to non-dual teachings (especially those of Adyashanti), Adyashanti video nights and other events. I also send notices out regarding special events where I speak, webinars, and my latest book releases.

Kundalini is really a process that deconstructs our identity, bringing up old patterns and disturbing places where we are energetically or emotionally blocked so that we can become more and more open to the spaciousness that we truly are. It is as if our energy field has awakened itself and now wants to reorganize the system so that we can know ourselves more clearly as pure spirit or consciousness or presence, living this life in a more immediate and radiant way. Although it can be strange, disorienting and fear-inducing for the little ego structure when all these changes take place, the long term impact can be great peace and joy and comfort with who you are, just enjoying BEING, rather than feeling compelled to DO and to ACCOMPLISH and take on all the demands of the old egoic drives. It is very helpful to find a community of people who share your spiritual orientation, or to just sit with in inner silence, seeking the common place of stillness which can be felt very deeply within community. A regular meditation practice -- a simple practice like just being present as stillness -- can be a great support during these changes, and if you are someone who just cannot meditate, then a walking practice somewhere in nature, just being present there, or practices like Qigong or Tai Chi which teach one to rest internally in movement can be a good substitute. Have faith in the blessings of this process and know it is simply your own deeper Self moving you forward toward a more peaceful and harmonious life, even though the journey may at times be difficult.

You will find my books "The Kundalini Guide" and "The Awakening Guide" on Kindle and Amazon, and I also contributed a chapter, along with 20 other people, to a book called "Kundalini Rising" put out by Sounds True. Look for it in your bookstores or order it on amazon.com.

With warm wishes for your deepest realization of truth, Bonnie