spiritual awakening

Along the Way to Awakening

It has been many years now since my own kundalini activation and the energy is calm, as if it has spiraled down into a quiet center that supports my work and my life.  At this point, during 35 years I have met over 3000 people from all over the world who have awakened energy, and in many cases experienced the awakening of consciousness into a new perspective of life.  Today there are many more people speaking of kundalini than when I first began my work, and they bring various points of view.  I expect this depends on their spiritual and family backgrounds and the place in the process they currently experience. Some are stuck or we might say their awakening is incomplete.  For this reason there can be frightening descriptions, as well as over-enthusiastic encouragement on the various websites or blogs you may encounter.

Kundalini is the activity of your own life force, arising through the subtle body energy field to support changes that are part of self-realization.  It appears to me to be a mechanism for clearing as well as transforming various human characteristics, and so a person may experience great shifts in this process.  Our sense of a personal self, and the self-image we carry are challenged.  Old world views and drives may collapse.  We may feel old wounds, both physical and psychological, rise to the surface and grab our attention for a period of time so that we can acknowledge them, and so that the scars they left in our psyche can be healed. 

To the extent you can find a loving witness within yourself, and a commitment to discovering your True Nature or your natural and untouched awakened spirit you will find it easier to address the issues that may arise in this process.  Many have called it evolutionary – the idea is that we humans are not aware of our true potential for love, openness, wisdom and creativity and this is a process that awakens that within us, if we allow it.  It eventually invites us to find in our core the natural direction of service in our lives. In some moments it may fill you with radiant light, or uncover your connectedness with all of nature and the cosmos. These experiences do not come from the old drives and thoughts, but seem to spring spontaneously from a deep cellular knowing and intuition, once we have learned to trust ourselves.

  It can be challenging to awaken in today’s world -- or perhaps in earlier times and places others met similar challenges – for now you begin to see more clearly the tragic-comedy of the human condition with more compassion.  But when you are willing, you may also discover an inner strength to meet what arises and respond  without the overwhelm that the little “me” used to hold.

  This awakening may be sudden and ecstatic for a short time,  but it initiates a process that is bringing you to a place that is free of the past and open to the moment, and for almost everyone this takes much longer.  You are not doing this – it is doing you.  Be gentle with yourself, and find the stillpoint, the inner presence that is within and around you, and trust you are meant to move through any challenges that arise so that you can find wholeness and peace.

Spiritual awakening is not an escape from life but an invitation to find your unique expression within it.

I will be interviewed again on Buddha at the Gas Pump (BATGAP), a wonderful web and youtube program , on Oct 20.  Many spiritual teachers and guides from every tradition have been interviewed over the years on this site and if you aren’t familiar with it look it up to find some inspiring talks.

  If you have questions for me perhaps you would like a a consultation regarding your own spiritual awakening process,  If so, please read about my services, and contact me through the contact page on this website and I will send you information and a questionnaire I use to help me understand and make suggestions regarding the unique issues of your experience. You may also find helpful my latest book “When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening”.



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.

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.