Introduction to My Dissertation on Jung’s Kundalini Seminar

by Gary Seeman, Ph.D. (retired)

I found my healing vocation in 1977, after a dramatic spiritual opening 1 alerted me to the reality of spiritual mysteries. During that time, I worked with accomplished intuitives and healers and became able to perceive the human biofield. 2 But I found that some of their teachings came from spiritualist movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There was no discernible lineage. I eventually connected with traditional, unbroken oral lineages and learned that they have safeguards for their teachings. Such lineages draw from repositories of ancient scriptures that are written in symbolic language. These scriptures only yield a fuller understanding if interpreted by a qualified teacher and connected with one’s experience. Most often, the teacher guides one’s meditation and yoga practices to catalyze such experiences. This is the oral transmission method.

I was fortunate that the transcript of Jung’s Kundalini 3 Seminar was published in book form as I was preparing to write my doctoral dissertation. This publication got my attention and offered me the opportunity to more deeply explore Jung’s Analytical Psychology while also learning more about the yoga tradition that offers extensive teachings about the human aura. I didn’t know at the time that writing the dissertation would connect me to experts in traditional Kundalini yoga who would later help me with my own spiritual process.

How Different Audiences Might Read the Dissertation

Since I first posted the dissertation on my website several years ago, I’ve been delighted to learn that people have been accessing it from all over the world. At least one seminar has been given based on its contents. Four distinct audiences probably read my online dissertation: 1) those interested in the psychology of C. G. Jung; 2) people exploring Kundalini process, often because they believe they are experiencing Kundalini phenomena; 3) academics researching their own papers, theses and dissertations; and 4) clients or potential clients who want to know more about me. Probably only the third audience is interested in reading the entire dissertation, including its study methods. The dissertation answers specific research questions that would mostly interest audiences 1 and 3. But it also addresses aspects of human consciousness, paranormal phenomena, and the functioning of the human aura. I invite readers more interested in these subjects to read the table of contents, skim over some areas that discuss such material, and use the text-searchable features of the online document to seek out areas of interest. People who are not fully versed in Jung’s psychology may want to read my study with the help of a dictionary of Jungian psychology. Many of the dictionary terms may be available online, but if you find these lacking, I suggest the Dictionary of Jungian Analysis by Samuels, Shorter and Plaut. 4 The Individuation chapter of my dissertation offers a good, in-depth introduction to Jung’s psychology for those who are interested. I invite questions from anyone reading this dissertation. The link at the bottom of this page launches the full 352 page document in Adobe Acrobat format. I haven’t paid a third party to authenticate it, but it’s signed by me and is safe to open.

Following is the “official” dissertation abstract written for people searching dissertations for study.

Dissertation Abstract

Individuation and Subtle Body: A Commentary on Jung’s Kundalini Seminar by Gary Seeman, Ph.D., 2001. (Carl G. Jung). See link below.

In 1932, C. G. Jung and J. W. Hauer presented a seminar series on the psychology of Kundalini yoga. Throughout these lectures, Jung used Kundalini yoga symbolism to extend the symbolic range of his analytical psychology. He and Hauer also discussed many concepts from Indian philosophy. Some of their comments have been criticized for misinterpreting Kundalini yoga. Others have raised controversy, especially Jung’s many warnings about dangers to Westerners who attempt yoga practices. Using a dialogic, hermeneutic method, this study compares Jung’s commentaries about Kundalini yoga with a Kundalini yoga practitioner’s perspective. To help bridge these disciplines, it addresses the following research questions: (1) How does personal transformation guided by analytical psychology resemble or differ from personal transformation in Kundalini yoga? (2) What controversies have been raised by Jung’s commentaries and interpretations of Kundalini yoga texts? (3) How did these controversies arise from personal, cultural, and practice perspectives? (4) Can some of these controversies be settled? (5) What insights or wisdom does each of these disciplines contribute to the other? To answer these questions, the hermeneutic discipline guides the researcher in exploring the cultural and historical perspectives of analytical psychology and Kundalini yoga. It identifies issues raised by Jung’s critics and presents the evolution of his psychology and its core concepts throughout his mature career. A depth of context is created by addressing (a) Jung’s relationship with Indian spirituality, (b) his individuation construct, (c) a cross-cultural review of subtle body symbolism and its evolution, and (d) Kundalini yoga as described by practitioners. This study concludes by presenting findings in response to the research questions and suggesting topics for other studies, including a survey of current methods for measuring human bio-fields, and creation of a subtle energy model of psychological transformation.

Use this link to launch a text-searchable PDF of my dissertation.


1. Following a year of meditation, I had a lucid dream experience of seeing a Great White Light and hearing its sound as the shimmering of a huge gong. I had no experience of having a body and fear was conspicuously absent. Then I had the experience of moving through a tunnel and back into my body through the top of my head. I immediately came to waking consciousness. I had never heard of this kind of experience previously. It resembles the Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) of people who nearly die (a.k.a. Near Death Experiences or NDEs). Apparently some people have these experiences as the result of meditation (personal communication by Gary Groth-Marnat, Ph.D., in Research Class at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA, January 16, 1999).

2. I learned at that time that the human biofield or aura could be sensed. Later, I learned that it can be studied with mechanical instruments. My dissertation includes a section starting on page 316 about detecting and measuring the human aura.

3. Kundalini means “the coiled one” and is considered the most subtle and potent spiritual essence in the body.

4. Samuels, A., Shorter, B., & Plaut, F. (1986). A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Inc.