Answers To Kundalini Questions

FAQ’s about Kundalini and Kundalini awakening answered by Lawrence Edwards and Dorothy Walters.

Here's an email discussion that Dorothy and Lawrence had in January 2017:

From Lawrence:

Teachings about Kundalini are hidden in symbolic language which purposely leads the unripe seeker astray.  Many ancient teachings are encoded in symbols and metaphor and are considered "self-protected", meaning that without the necessary level of teaching from a wise and selfless master and the deep understanding developed through years of practice, contemplation, study and direct experience on the part of the student, they won't be unlocked by lower minds.  To me this in part corresponds with Piaget's work on the stages cognitive development. Piaget demonstrated that after concrete operational thinking comes formal operational thinking and for the small percentage of the population who progress through that stage there are post-formal operational thinking levels of development which even fewer people advance to.  Then even fewer, likely a fraction of one percent, progress to symbolic, metaphoric levels of thinking and knowing.  The vast majority of the population is stuck in concrete operational thinking.  Shakti can and does propel people out of their concrete thinking, but when they return to their ordinary state of mind/consciousness, they think about and speak about the experiences in concrete terms.  This happens with people when they have near death experiences as well, or out of body experiences, and then come back and talk in concrete terms once again.  I really think this is how religions and dogma are created and sustained.

The old Zen adage, "don't confuse the finger for the moon," exactly warns against taking the symbol which points beyond itself for the thing in itself.  The finger points to the moon but isn't the moon.  The symbol points beyond itself.  Shakti, the word, the symbol, points to the living, throbbing, pulsing, boundlessly creative, loving, rapturous, Consciousness, here, now, everywhere.  The point is to enter that state, here, now, everywhere, which transcends and subsumes, overwhelms and supports our ordinary reality.

Jai Ma!  Jai Ma!  Jai Ma!

kalidas

Lawrence


from Dorothy:

 

One small comment:  of course, once we pass beyond (out of) the realm of the ineffable (back to familiar consciousness) we must indeed use concrete terms to try to communicate our experience, since that is the only vocabulary we have.  However, at times when we are ourselves in the state of divine rapture, we can feel similar energies and frequencies of others and then we “communicate” without language.  And the more we progress in our own evolution, the more sensitive we become to such wordless forms of communion.  It is bliss, bliss, bliss––always more, coming at unexpected times and in unanticipated flavors.

Jai Mai indeed!

from Dorothy:

Here is a question I am thinking about:  Is Kundalini the same as the Holy Spirit in the Bible?

from Lawrence:

Dear Dorothy,

Yes, that's it, that's using words and symbols that are pointing to the ineffable beyond words, beyond maps and symbols.  

I wrote in my first book, The Soul's Journey, that Kundalini is known as Holy Spirit to Christians, though She is obscured by so many layers of dogma, She still reveals Herself through mystic lovers of the Divine.  (In a former life as a humble Christian monk in Spain, I was killed by the inquisition for teaching that the Holy Spirit, the living presence of God, is within everyone and directly knowable in states of rapturous union.  This was heresy to the church, but I didn't know that, I just knew it to be true from my own experience.)

Om Kali Ma!

Love,
Lawrence


from Lawrence:

Dear Dorothy,

Kundalini teachings include highly symbolic representations of the energy of consciousness creating non-material forms such as chakras.  . . .it isn't necessary for a person to experience chakras, nadis, etc. to know the Divine.  Kundalini is the power of revelation and transformation and She doesn't need the symbolic, archetypal map of chakras and nadis to bring us into sublime realms of ecstasy, love, rapturous pure I awareness in unity with all.  People are getting so caught up in the chakra system and wanting experiences of that instead of wanting what She really has to give!  Of course, you already know this, and people need to understand She isn't bound by any particular map or system.  She created them and She will destroy them, transcend them, play with them, but never be bound by them.  Jai Kali Ma!

All love my dear friend,
Lawrence


Lawrence Edwards, PhD responding to questions e-mailed to him:

1.  What are the signs and symptoms of a Kundalini Awakening (KA)?

    For countless centuries Kundalini awakening has been viewed by yogis as the greatest blessing and the esoteric goal of all forms of yoga - hatha yoga, mantra yoga, laya yoga, raja yoga, etc.  To understand the range of possible experiences that go with Kundalini's blessings it is important to remember from the outset that Her domain encompasses all mental and physical types of experience and all transpersonal and transcendent types of experience as well.  Every dimension of our lives can reflect activity, called kriyas - movements of Shakti, the awakened energy of Kundalini - and many dimensions of experience that transcend ordinary waking, dream and deep sleep states of consciousness and ego-bound awareness.  Ordinarily all of our experiences fit within the categories or waking, dream and deep sleep - the ordinary states of consciousness in which ego awareness, defined by identification with mind/body and the roles and relationships it inhabits, operates on some level.  Thus we think of ourselves as awake or asleep, a man or woman, husband or wife, son or daughter, blue collar or white collar worker, etc., etc., as we identify with various aspects of the mind and body functioning in the world.  All of which are ephemeral and reveal only tiny, fractured reflections of our true Self, like shards of a broken mirror reflecting a few brilliant rays of the sun.  The Buddha said “as we think, so we become.”  By identifying with the containers of consciousness – the mind and body – we have the experience of being those containers with all their limitations, suffering, desires, etc.

Kundalini is the power of the Self to know its Self in complete unity consciousness and transform these vehicles of Consciousness, the mind and body, to be capable of manifesting more than just limited ego awareness and lower instinctual brain impulses.  In that process of awakening and transformation Kundalini runs Shakti - the power of pure Consciousness - through all the systems of the subtle body and physical body, healing, purifying, expanding, breaking through blockages and burning through karmas.  Because each individual differs in their karmic make up, the subtle impressions, the samskaras, being worked on by the Shakti through kriyas, each individual will have their own unique experiences.  To blame Kundalini for what karmas and samskaras our physical and subtle bodies contain is another game of the mind trying to avoid responsibility for the consequences of its actions - past and present. 

Physical kriyas include shaking, trembling, involuntary movements, sensations of heat or cold, horripilation, spontaneous hatha yoga postures, spontaneous alterations in breathing - pranayama, rushes of energy, rushes of sensual/sexual/orgasmic energy, stimulation of sex organs and orgasms, cessation of sexual desire or interest, loss of appetite, food cravings, tingling sensations, sparking/electricity sensations, the feeling of ants crawling all over one's skin, roaring like a lion, spontaneous sounds chanted or spoken aloud, spontaneous mudras and dance-like movements, gentle swaying during meditation, rocking back and forth, heart racing or pounding, breathing coming to a full stop and staying still, and more and more.  People write poetry, sing, dance, paint, draw, create in new and never-before expressed ways, all inspired by Kundalini's grace.  The gentle movements, breath alterations, rushes of energy, feeling of heat and cold, tingling, sounds and mantras, and sexual stimulation are most common, along with euphoric, blissful feelings and expansive states of love and unity awareness. 

Each of our senses can manifest the movements of Kundalini.  There are visions, colors, blue pearls and every conceivable archetypal form to be seen.  There are divine scents, exquisite sounds, supersensuous touch, and ambrosial tastes to be experienced as gift of Shri Kundalini. 

There are also very rare but attention grabbing instances of people getting rashes, diarrhea, and various painful conditions, food sensitivities or allergies, and the manifestation of latent, karmicly held diseases or disorders surfacing to be released.

Kundalini works to free our consciousness from polarities, including bondage to attraction and aversion.  So regardless of what comes up in the process of Kundalini sadhana one practices the inner posture of detached awareness, watching, witnessing, neither pursuing nor avoiding. 

Every form of emotion and mental event can also be manifested as kriyas.  One can laugh, cry, go into ecstasy, grief, fury, bliss, etc. etc.  As with all kriyas, these are viewed with the detachment of Witness Consciousness, neither pursuing nor avoiding what is arisingNONE OF THESE EXPERIENCES IS THE GOAL. THEY ARE SCENERY ALONG THE WAY, GIFTS OF THE SHAKTI TO BE APPRECIATED AND RECEIVED FOR WHAT THEY REVEAL, BUT NOT TO DISTRACT ONE FROM THE GOAL.  As long as there is an experience and an experiencer, i.e. an object and a subject, one is in a lower state of duality, no matter how alluring that experience may be. These experiences have a very real danger of inflating the ego as it attempts to possess them and identify with them.  For this reason spiritual traditions have practices for keeping the ego deflated and grounded, which is part of the role of the teacher/guru/master, as well as teachings about not becoming overly fascinated by various transcendent phenomenon.     

ANY KRIYA, PHYSICAL OR MENTAL/EMOTIONAL, THAT MAY HAVE MEDICAL, NEUROLOGICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC SIGNIFICANCE SHOULD BE CHECKED OUT BY THE APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS.  I've seen cases where someone dismissed a symptom as a kriya and it turned out to the symptom of a medical or psychiatric disorder like high blood pressure, diabetes, bipolar disorder, etc.  It's always worth having such things checked out medically even if it is only to rule out a possible problem.

To begin with read: Swami Muktananda: Play of Consciousness; Swami Tirtha: Devatma Shakti; Sir John Woodruffe: Serpent Power; Lawrence Edwards: The Soul's Journey (www.thesoulsjourney.com), Dorothy Walters: Unmasking The Rose; and there’s also a reading list on www.thesoulsjourney.com.


2.  How to deal with the symptoms? How do you ground the energy when it's intense?

Kundalini Yoga (the true Kundalini Yoga, meaning the yoga created and guided by awakened Kundalini) is not a do-it-yourself project.  Expert, experienced guidance is essential and difficult to find. People from around the world seek out teachers like Dr. Edwards. In dealing with challenging symptoms, often there's an element of trial and error in discovering what will work best for your particular energy system.  Working with an experienced guide/teacher is invaluable.  Reverence, love and devotion to the Divine, including prayer for things to settle down and for the increased capacity to receive Her gifts - these help a great deal.  Fear, anger and impatience always intensify difficult symptoms.  Most people don't complain about being in too much bliss or having repeated orgasms, but the negativity, the intense fluctuations of moods and energy- heat, tingling, shaking, psychic phenomenon, etc.-  can trigger people's reactivity.  True Kundalini Yoga demands learning how to read the Shakti and what it is asking of you in order to come into harmony with the energy.  Kundalini Yoga is the path of surrender to the Divine within - Thy will be done, not my will.  Coming into congruence with the Shakti and sustaining it is a constantly changing dance and can include dietary changes, attitude changes, psychological/characterological transformation, physical activity changes, relationship changes, work changes, living space changes, meditation changes, hatha yoga or pranayama changes, etc., etc.  The transformative power of the universe is remaking your mind and body!  One has to expect some disruption.  It's like when you see the signs at a bank or a store that's undergoing reconstruction - "Pardon the appearance while we renovate in order to better serve you!"  That's what's going on!  You're getting a cosmic makeover so your mind/body can better serve your Divine Self!  

Dealing with the symptoms and getting grounded can be helped literally by the earth.  The earth element is where the Kundalini arises from and where it comes to rest after creating the mind/body.  The smell of rich soil, working in a garden, walking in the woods or at the beach, these can be very balancing.  I've worked with people who have benefited from having a bag of rich soil from the garden shop and being able to smell and touch it, plant something in a pot and take care of it.  Smell is the sense that corresponds to the muladhara chakra and the earth element, so earthy smells can be grounding as are root vegetables - things that grow in the ground.  Also rich foods, ghee, butter, cheeses, milk sweets can help settle the energy.  For some people this extends to eating meat and heavy foods for a period of time.  

Some qigong masters can help with energy that is too intense and some acupuncturists can help.  Be careful because they can also make it more intense.  Most healers, whatever the type - Reiki, healing touch, etc. - work by passing more energy into the person.  For most ordinary conditions that a person needs healing for this is fine.  But with Kundalini challenging a person's abilities to tolerate it or continue their necessary work, etc., then just dumping more energy into their system will only make it worse.  It is much rarer to find an energy worker who can, in a sense, siphon off excess energy, help it go to ground.  I often need to do that with people who come to me for consultations and have too much energy running.  Grounding exercises like those done in bioenergetics therapy are also helpful.  These can include working on the soles of the feet, strengthening contact with the ground, rubbing the soles of the feet on the ground or floor while bare foot, stomping, running bare foot on the beach or on the grass, etc., doing intense physical work, even household chores can be grounding.  At times people have to stop meditating because it provokes too much energy, so they can use moving meditation - focusing on the body and mindfulness while taking care of everyday tasks like the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, etc.  These are all just as spiritual as sitting with one's eyes closed for meditation.  Kundalini dissolves the boundary between what is a "spiritual" practice and what is the rest of life.  It's all practice.  You're either practicing the right understanding and doing things with all the consciousness, love, compassion, patience, kindness and discipline that you can or you're indulging the mind and it's unconscious drives.  It's your choice and the consequences make up your karma. 

For some people hatha yoga done gently can be very helpful.  You might want to avoid vigorous hatha yoga or pranayama, including the brand name kundalini yoga, when things are intense.  Let your experience guide you. 

Being in the ocean, running water, even a shower can be grounding and calm the energy for many people. 

Chanting, listening to certain types of music, doing mantra repetition, especially if it is an empowered mantra received from one who has been specifically empowered to give it, sometimes playing a musical instrument can help to ease the energy if it is too intense.  For some people sex or sensual massage helps calm the energy and for others it makes it more intense. 

Some people need to reduce or stop their practices for a while to ease the energy, including meditation and hatha yoga.  Again, let your experience guide you.

I've worked with individuals who had to take medications to calm things down, including anti-psychotics, in order to remain functional.  When I was helping people who came to Baba's ashram in Ganeshpuri, India and the Shakti was so intense they lost touch with reality and became psychotic, in very, very rare instances physicians would prescribe anti-psychotic medication to help stabilize the individual.  Baba said it was fine, that Shakti took the form of medications to help people maintain their mental balance.  Maintaining balance and integration is extremely important.  In many ways the disciplines of yoga build the strength of the ego to contain greater energies even while we shift our identification away from being bound by the ego.  But the ego as a strong vehicle for consciousness and functioning in the world remains intact.  It becomes the servant rather that the master.

Some people find activities like weaving and knitting very grounding.  Others find vigorous aerobic exercise calms the energy for them.  Disciplined eating, exercise, meditation practices, contemplation, living dharmicly - these are all fundamental for reaching the goal of Kundalini unfolding and living in harmony with the workings of the Shakti. 

Working with a competent teacher gives a person the support and additional containment necessary to move through this Divinely inspired process of transformation as gracefully as possible.  Kundalini works with our own karmas and blockages created over many lifetimes.  We're responsible for their creation and with Her grace we become free, totally, unimaginably free while living a dharmic life.

Read and study, develop your knowledge and discrimination - viveka is absolutely essential, these are also grounding.

4.  A Feminist view of KA.  Kundalini transcends all "isms.”  Feminism and yogic philosophies are both liberation philosophies, but what they are seeking liberation from and how they envision true freedom are quite different. Making sure that one isn't approaching Kundalini from an outmoded, patriarchal, dominator mode of consciousness that seeks to "subdue" or force Kundalini to obey the ego mind of some deluded yogi is critical. 

5.  What are the differences in KA between men and women?  For example:

    • I (a woman) am manifesting my K energy in part by having frequent spontaneous orgasms.  Do men ever do this?  Yes, men and women have spontaneous sexual experiences including orgasms.
    • I also read on a Kundalini discussion forum that men should practice tantric sex and not release semen in order to further their awakening, but having sex and orgasms is actually good for women and their process.  Is this true?  If so, why the difference? 

        It's been said that an uninformed opinion is worth the price you pay for it - nothing.  So always examine the source.  The web, discussion forums, etc. are notorious for misinformation.  Tantra is not something to be studied except under the guidance of a true adept and these are very, very rare – not even Google can find them!  Georg Feurstein’s book on Tantra is an excellent place to begin getting informed about this area of wisdom and practice. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait of the Himalayan Institute is a great teacher to learn from and the Himalayan Institute is a place where one can go if one is suffering imbalances during the Kundalini transformative process.

       In the ancient form of Kundalini Yoga, Kundalini is supreme - learn to follow Her.  There will be times when celibacy is exactly what you need to follow and other times loving intimacy will be expansive.  This is a difficult area for people to be detached and surrendered to Kundalini about because there are such strong desires and attachments operating in this domain for most people.  People get attached to all the domains of bliss that Kundalini opens - the bliss of a quiet mind, the bliss of sublime scents and tastes, the bliss of exquisite visions, etc.  To be totally detached and appreciative is truly a razor's edge to walk.  The concrete physical level of sexual union is the least important aspect of this.  The union being sought, the union being symbolized by sexual union transcends the body entirely.  Immature minds, minds not ready for those levels of practice are drawn to the physical level and by their own attachments and limited perception are denied access to more sublime levels of practice.

        Tantric sex is very, very rarely practiced since one has to first master preliminary practices and be able to enter samadhi and sustain it for long periods before engaging in sex.  Too often people are trying to rationalize their pursuit of sensual desires by making it seem like they are doing a spiritual practice of tantric sex.  They want to go to graduate school before completing elementary school.  It can just bring about more desire, delusion, attachment and wrong identification – identification with the body.  Yes, sex can help a person have a type of transcendent experience, in other words, going beyond their ordinary ego boundaries - this happens all the time for people, but every transcendent experience isn't divine.  People loose their boundaries in groups and feel expansive, but it can be quite a deluded state leading to the worst types of cult phenomenon.  When one's ego is particularly contracted or constricted through trauma or abuse in growing up, one can be more vulnerable to finding this kind of relief by being submerged in the group and feeling more expanded and powerful, but it's not real.  Developing the discrimination to know this is very important.  Seekers of all types have to cultivate discernment or discrimination.  The spiritual terrain has its own dangers and pitfalls. 


6. A Western view of KA? Every tradition has its ways of speaking about the Divine power or revelation and the transformative power of Grace, that's what Kundalini is.  Thus when you read the works of the mystics and saints of any tradition you are looking at the unfolding of Kundalini colored by the myths and traditions of that religious or spiritual culture.  The great Christian mystics manifested kriyas - spontaneous movements of Shakti - as did the Quakers and the Shakers.  You'll find the same kinds of phenomena described in Kabbalistic terms, Sufi terms, Tibetan Buddhist terms, etc. 

7.  A Jungian view of KA, especially in the context of Animus & Anima. Jung's view of Kundalini was somewhat limited by his lack of understanding of past lives and re-birth occurring across cultures.  In part, Jung thought Kundalini was dangerous to Westerners because the collective unconscious of Westerners was different from Orientals.  However, we take birth in different cultures spanning the world and can access the resources of the deep unconscious regardless of where we've taken birth.  A more central concern of Jung’s was that the western psyche is so dominated by it’s pursuit of power through ego development, that Kundalini and the related practices of yoga and meditation would be perverted by the ego and become additional means for it to seek power and control.  This is quite true.   People bring their ambitions and desires to their pursuit of Kundalini and Kundalini awakening, but rarely want to go through the process of surrender and ego submission that the classic Guru/disciple relationship would demand before initiation was given.  People want to use Kundalini to become more powerful in a variety of ways.  They imagine they can use their ego-mind to control Kundalini – to tell it to go here or there by merely visualizing it entering their imagined notion of what this or that chakra is, or chanting some mantra that someone has told them will make it go here or there.  She’ll let you play out that delusion for lifetimes if you like.  The real awakening, the real unfolding of Kundalini brings the ego to its knees in reverence, surrender, service and pure Love.  I don’t know that westerners are more prone to this distorted approach than people from eastern cultures.  I’ve taught in ashrams and centers in India and found many people there caught in the same ego drama of seeking power and control.   There are many yogic approaches to Kundalini that reflect that dominator mode mentality, to borrow Riane Eisler’s phrase (read her book The Chalice and the Blade).  It’s a limitation, and impurity of mind that eventually must be eliminated.

Anima and animus are ways of talking about the tendency of the unconscious to take on a feminine archetypal form for men and a masculine archetypal form for women, especially in its function as a conduit between the ordinary ego-mind and the transcendent Self.  In the same way Kundalini often manifests masculine forms of the Divine for women and feminine forms of the Divine for men.  These archetypal forms of the Divine symbolize dynamics and powers of the unconscious at play within us and around us.   At the same time the process of transformation and expansion of consciousness created by Kundalini leads one beyond all forms - into the mystery of the Void, transcending form and formlessness.  Jung once remarked that Kundalini awakening and unfolding would be like going through hundreds of years of individuation process.  He wrote, "when you succeed in the awakening of Kundalini, so that she starts to move out of her mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world that is totally different from our world: it is a world of eternity."

All forms are Her creation – all forms are Her form.

8.  A Lesbian/Gay view of KA, especially since I (a Lesbian) feel I am Animus trying to integrate Anima, but, at the same time, my lover feels she is Anima trying to integrate Animus, and she appears to be having something of an Awakening, too.

Kundalini awakening and unfolding, the process of sadhana leading to nirvana, enlightenment, frees you from all identifications.  This isn't about being gay or straight, man or woman, young or old, black or white, etc, etc.  This isn't psychotherapy or self-help.  Though psychotherapy can be essential and necessary for many people to integrate their experiences, Kundalini dissolves attachment and identification with anything and everything and gives you the freedom to put on the cloaks of such identities, like an actor wearing the garb of a character, while at the same time never forgetting who you truly are.  At the same time if your ego-mind and personas are fractured or dysfunctional, psychotherapy is the process required for integration and healing on that level, not Kundalini awakening, which can strain the ego-mind even further.  Anima and animus were simply Jung's short hand way of speaking about the contra-sexual side of the ego mind which is unconscious.

9.  What is enlightenment? You'll know it when you're there!  All attempts to describe it are doomed.  It is truly unimaginable and completely impossible to encode in words.  Silence alone speaks truthfully on this.  Poets dance around the edges pointing to the glorious mystery.  Kali's radiant blackness.....  there....  enter that if you really want to know, are you really ready to die to your self? Enter that mystery if you really want to know, enter fully, completely, until there is no one left having an experience at all….  As long as there is a subject and an object, and experience and an experiencer you remain in duality. 

Look beneath this question, what is the ego-mind seeking?  It will never intellectually grasp enlightenment and it will never be able to act enlightened.  Ego is the power of self-appropriation and it even tries to appropriate enlightenment, to posture and act enlightened.  But when squeezed, that’s when you see what the juice is that flows from anyone.  Squeeze a lemon and you get a very sour taste no matter how beautiful the lemon looks or smells.  Squeeze the ego mind and you get it’s whining, complaining, anger, resentment, rage, agitation, restlessness, and on and on.  When a truly enlightened being is squeezed you see their sublime nature, their compassion, the juice of the Love and Compassion that every fiber of their being is dyed in.  So many unknown but great Tibetan Buddhist masters have been tortured to death by the Chinese and even as they died, all that was in their hearts was compassion for the poor suffering beings who were incurring such horrific karma for themselves.  At this very moment there are great enlightened beings in Chinese gulags with nothing but compassion in their hearts.  The Dalai Lama continues to be an embodiment of that state.  Other masters from other traditions bless the earth and all beings with their presence, hidden or not. 

Study Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, especially the sections on samadhi.  Read the Buddha's words - the Dhammapada, Eknath Easwaren's translation is wonderful.  Read Jaidaiva Singh's Shiva Sutras.  Read the Kularnava Tantra.  Read Swami Muktananda's works dealing with sahaja samadhi - living samadhi.  Read Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi.  Read Kabir, Rumi, Hafiz and as many other poet saints as possible.  Read the Zen masters and the great Taoists.  Every tradition has its exemplars of enlightenment and they are all humbled by it since words can't help but fail to convey the magnificence, the glory, the ordinariness, the simplicity, the love, the compassion and the all-embracing qualities of this state.

10.  How can the supposedly enlightened gurus who claim to have been Awakened be so sexist, so rule-based, so materialistic, so mean, so sexually inappropriate - i.e. so unenlightened?  There's quite a difference between powers or siddhis, clarity of mind, being insightful and being enlightened.  Every seeker needs to develop his or her discrimination so they can truly see who it is they are seeking to learn from and differentiate between their projections, the teacher’s projections and the truth.  Seekers have to reflect on and examine what they are attracted to in a teacher - what does that say about their own ego mind and their own shadow?  So many people look for power, fame, charisma, etc., yet many great masters live in such humility, calling no attention to themselves, so many unknown lamas, rinpoches, yoginis, quiet saints and sages.  What are you looking for and what does that say about you?  What do you tolerate or accept in a teacher and what does that say about you or the group around the teacher?

My teacher used to tell us that the guru market is worse than the used car market!  Seekers have to take responsibility for who they support as teachers.  We live in Kali Yuga, the dark age, the age where dharma – righteousness – is at it’s lowest point.  There are gurus who have minor powers that “Wow!” the non-discriminating soul.  After all, what does the ego seek, consciously or unconsciously, but power, control, security, fame, etc.  Self-inquiry is always valuable so we’re clear on what we are truly seeking and valuing.

The Buddha spoke about disciples who attained nirvana, and became arhats, living Buddhas, and some had powers and others didn’t.  The powers were irrelevant – it’s the state, the state of extinguishment, of nirvana, sahaja samadhi, enlightenment, that is important.  

 

11.  Does an Awakening always lead to enlightenment?  How long does the Awakening go on?  We need to differentiate awaking and unfolding of Kundalini.  Awakening can happen in an instant.  Unfolding can take years, even life times to complete, depending on a person's karma and samskaras.  True Kundalini awakening always leads to enlightenment.  This is Her great gift, though it may take life times to complete the process.



13.  What does it feel like 20 years after KA begins?  That will vary for each individual and how focused they remain on their journey and sustaining the intention to become completely free, not becoming complacent, not settling for greater ease and joy that can come from simply disciplining the mind and transforming a few patterns and habits.  Keep going, once started, better to finish.

13.  Some information about the ebb and flow of the process, i.e. it seems to come and go a bit.  Some reassurance that if it goes away for awhile, it will come back.  It's good to do self-inquiry and to look at the intensity with which you approach your practices, moment-to-moment.  The ego-mind always looks to avoid accountability.  It wants to blame Kundalini for its problems, difficulties, pains, etc.  This is a completely inadequate understanding of Kundalini- the power of revelation and transformation, the power of Grace.  Don't worry about what the Kundalini is doing. She knows exactly what to do.  What are you doing?  How focused and intent are you with your practices, every minute of every day?  Where is your attention?  Where do you let wander to?  How disciplined is your mind?  Are you worried about Kundalini or attached to a particular type of experience?  Do your daily practices with love and devotion, live dharmicly and you will be absolutely confident that Kundalini is blessing you daily. 

Go on retreats for a weekend or longer at least a couple of times a year, preferably more. Stillness, sublime, overwhelming stillness, suffused with Divine Love - crushing, unbearable Love – this is another of Her magnificent gifts.  Give yourself the time in a retreat for a couple of days to descend into this level of meditation - you will never be the same.  She changes you forever!

After awakening, Kundalini works ceaselessly to liberate Her followers.  She can be working on levels your ordinary ego-mind isn't aware of.  She can be working in dream states.  She can be releasing the energy from the mountain of karma that is awaiting innumerable future births for you to live through and eliminating them for you - this is one of the greatest and least recognized gifts of Kundalini. 

 

14.  Why do some people have more problems with KA than other? Because of their karmas.  People who have an easier time with Kundalini have done more sadhana in past lives that have cleansed blockages and reduced the samskaras that Kundalini has to release the energy from.


15. What about healing touch, therapeutic touch, energy medicine, aren't they Kundalini?

I've spoken with various healers about healing energies and the difference between those and Kundalini.  Part of what happens in the energy medicine or healing energy fields is that terms like Kundalini get used indiscriminately and it causes confusion.  When we say energy, we could be referring the energy of friction caused by rubbing our hands together, or the energy of heat from an electric stove, or the energy of fire from burning coal, or the energy of nuclear fission in a reactor, or the energy of fusion from the sun.  All of these are forms of physical energy and all are completely different.  Just because some one is experiencing swirling energy doesn't mean it is Kundalini at all, most likely it isn't. Kundalini is a relatively rare phenomenon.
 
Generating pranic currents for healing is pretty simple and experiencing it in many ways - buzzing, zapping, swirling, swooshing, electrifying, warming, cooling, numbing, tingling, heaviness, lightness, etc., etc. - are all very common within the domain of energy work!  Very uncommon to most people in Western cultures that have become so enamored with the gross material world.  Yet none of these types of experiences of energy are definitive of Kundalini.  In the yogic tradition, where the term Kundalini comes from, another form of energy is also spoken of, called prana, life-force energy.  Prana itself has 5 main forms within the body: roughly speaking one circulates things upward, another downward, another around, another expels and another propels the egg and sperm for procreation.  These are not Kundalini.  They are evolutes of Kundalini, products of Kundalini.  Gathering one's prana, to give a boost to someone for healing, can be done through intention, prayer, breathwork, imaging, chanting, drumming, etc.  But this isn't Kundalini Shakti that's being stirred.  Gathering and moving prana can be enormously powerful, or subtly powerful, transformative and healing, and not involve Kundalini in the slightest.  What healers are typically experiencing is the flows of prana that are part of the healing practices s/he's doing.
 
Some healers may benefit from learning to better ground themselves physically and mentally.  Part of what builds or augments the experience of some of the ways that energy can flow is the attention one gives them.  Attention is energy.  What we attend to is what is nurtured and builds in our lives and in our bodies.  People's fascination with the novelty of the various ways energy flows through the physical and subtle bodies distracts them.  It's why from a meditative perspective, where the focus and intent is to go beyond such ephemeral experiences, no matter how seductive, fascinating or engaging they are to the ego mind, or repulsive and scary, or...., one just watches them unfold with detachment, and with the intent to see the whole field of awareness, the boundless nature of that expanse.  Attention to some particular phenomenon collapses the field of awareness down to the tiny, bound, limited aspect of whatever the ego mind is fascinated by in the moment.  Thus as the healer lets go of being focused on their own experience of swirling energy that has been a distraction, it will gradually calm down.  Physically healers use a posture of groundedness as well, knees slightly bent, firmly aware of their feet on the ground, breath fluid and calm.  Practicing hatha yoga and pranayama may be helpful for healers as well, or tai chi, to work through any blocks or restrictions in the nadis that might be contributing to unnecessary physical movements.  Such movements, twitches or jerks, are often related to blockages releasing within the healer.  They are being healed in the process of healing.  S/he can imagine the channels within themselves being open, clear, flowing harmoniously.  It's important to know that the flow of healing energy, even the most intense, raging river of it, requires no physical movement at all.

Dorothy Walters, Ph.D. responded to these e-mailed questions:

 

A feminist view of Kundalini Awakening (KA). 

To be honest, I do not consider this a "feminist" question.  If you are referring to my answer, well, yes, I do call myself a feminist.  The question simply has to do with the differences in the responses of the two sexes--not a feminist issue per se.



What are the differences in KA between men and women?  For example:

o I (a woman) am manifesting my K energy in part by having frequent spontaneous orgasms.  Do men ever do this? 

o Now, having said the above, my answer is that I haven't the foggiest notion what the answer is.  However, here is a poem from a wonderful poet I have recently discovered who lives in England.  He has had deep k. awakening, and channels his creative energies into amazing poems.  It might throw some light on the subject.  (But I am not sure it should be included as an answer to the question, since it presents a state of feeling that is more than the literal scene implied by the poem.  Anyway, thought you might like it.)   I had put this up on my blog, along with one of my own, and so included the latter as well just for fun.

·  Yesterday I received this marvelous poem from my new friend in England, Eric Ashford. And I was inspired to write a response to it, a love poem (to the Divine) of my own.

Here is Eric's poem, followed by mine:

speak your thundering mind into my heart


Tell me

how you want me?

Should I lay down or stand?

Will I be in Your way

or Your door to open?

You may walk over me

but please do that

with Your lips and hands.

Show me

what position to assume.

What shadows to cast

into silhouettes of You?

This love affair just got serious

but I can smile as You use me.

Will I be the lion or the lamb?

My legs girders of passion

or stems for Your flowers?

Tell me

how to adopt a position

how to please You.

I cannot do this on my own.

This ravishing

must be a shared surrender.

I promise to die for You

just give me Your Soul to lay down in.

Show me.

Speak Your thundering Mind into my heart.

copyright, Eric Ashford
Derbyshire, England
May 28, 2006




Carving Me into Constant Love

Do you know how many times
I have opened my body to Yours,
how often I have become
whatever it is You are.

I never know just when
You will arrive,
how You are going to look
that day.

Sometimes You are Shiva,
tendrils flaming
in Your restless hair,
gaze turned within
as if You didn't notice what You did,
ever dancing to keep the world alive.

Again, that Buddha
who lives in my front room,
vessel of compassion,
container of sensuous joy,
how effortlessly You enter the secret places,
my head, my throat or wrists.

Yesterday, You were
just an image
on a temple wall,
some long vanished
guru with his special powers
and inviting smile,
no one I had ever heard of
before.

Dorothy Walters
May 28, 2006

 

o I also read on a Kundalini discussion forum that men should practice tantric sex and not release semen in order to further their awakening, but having sex and orgasms is actually good for women and their process.  Is this true?  If so, why the difference? 

o All I can offer on this is a person response, my own sense of this.  We know that in earlier times, it was thought by some that indeed celibacy should be practiced by males in order to further their abilities to "reverse the flow" of the semen.  Some even claimed that the semen literally went upward into the head, and thus the crown was opened.  Likewise, some Christian traditions also demand celibacy.

o I personally have a bias against enforced celibacy, as something quite against our natural state of being as humans who are part of a universal biological process.  I feel that people should follow their inner instincts, and do whatever seems appropriate for them.  Some people seem to have increased sexual feelings after awakening, and others appear to lose interest in sex.  To try to force one's feelings into one response or another would, I think, create undue stress, both physical and psychological.

 



A Lesbian/Gay view of KA, especially since I (a Lesbian) feel I am Animus trying to integrate Anima, but, at the same time, my lover feels she is Anima trying to integrate Animus, and she appears to be having something of an Awakening, too.

Of course, something like this might be possible, but I would assume that we are all constantly trying to integrate the two aspects into our psyches in various ways.  It may be that heterosexual couples are more able to allow the partner to "act out" the opposite factor for them to a greater extent, but they, too, have the task of integrating both masculine/feminine aspects within themselves.

However, it could well be that  one lesbian partner could have a need to "bring in" more anima, and another, perhaps more in touch with her feminine aspects, might be seeking the opposite.

Lawrence, why am I trying to answer this?  You are the Jungian expert.  What do you think?

What is enlightenment?

I think enlightenment is the awareness that we do not exist as separate entities in ourselves, but are part of a much greater, indeed infinite source.  Like cells in our own bodies, we are minute particles within the divine.

In the moment of awakening, we experience this insight as a truth which is demonstrated in our own bodies.  The energy of love comes through, and we are it, and nothing else.  It (the divine connection)  is no longer merely a concept.  We know that we are in effect nothing, merely one tiny expression of the transcendent.  We surrender ego (sense of separate self) to the exquisite inflow of divine love.

Even if we do not remain in this state of heightened awareness, we take that memory with us within both our minds and our cells, and the experience continues to come to us, though perhaps in diminished form..  We have had a glimpse or taste of enlightenment itself.  Some teachers say, "The ocean tastes the same, whether you take a sip or swallow it whole."

How can the supposedly enlightened gurus who claim to have been Awakened be so sexist, so rule-based, so materialistic, so mean, so sexually inappropriate - i.e. so unenlightened?

Good question.  I think you have answered it yourself.  Gurus, like all humans, come in many colors.  Some are indeed pure, compassionate, and wise.  Others abuse their authority to take advantage of followers.  Hence it is very important to discriminate between the imposters and authentic teachers. 

You should never accept a guru (or anyone else who claims some special status or knowledge) simply on the basis of his/her own assertions..  You must always use discrimination and draw your own conclusions.  Buddha said, "Be a light unto yourself."  In other words, don't give away your own power, but use your intelligence and inner wisdom as your guide. 



What does it feel like 20 years after KA begins? 

 

This a very broad question, and has no single answer.  Kundalini is unique to each person in all of its stages.  Each will answer this question differently.

 

However, I can offer a response based on my own personal experience.

 

First, kundalini is a constantly unfolding process, which does not end, ever, but constantly manifests in new and fascinating ways.

 

For me, the beginning was dramatic, intense, and filled with periods of intense rapture and bliss (as well as times of serious suffering.)  This process has continued, in modified form, to the present (twenty-five years later.)

 

The changes:

 

The energies are no longer so powerful, so filled with near unbearable sensuous joy.  Now they are softer, more even, gentler.  But they are still quite "delicious."  I think of the opening as like a big brass band marching in.  Now what I feel is more like a flute playing in the distance, but it is still quite exquisite.

 

The energies themselves feel "higher," more refined, more delicate.  But they still can make me sigh with pleasure.

 

I continue to discover new avenues of experience.  I experience  the shakti from music, slow movement, other people, poetry (either printed or recited), my Buddhist thankga (recently purchased), a picture of a spiritual teacher, objects in a museum.  The other day I felt a gentle  flow of bliss when my friend spread his hands to bless our food at lunch.  I feel sweet tingles when I read a poem my friend sends me over the Internet. 

 

I feel quieter in my unfolding.  I am no longer in such an intense state of feeling.  I am more balanced. 

 

I like it this way.  I am grateful to discover that shakti is not tied explicitly to age or duration of the process.  It just goes on and on.  (And by the way, I am now 78 years old, so that might be of comfort to those who wonder what lies ahead.)  


Some information about the ebb and flow of the process, i.e. it seems to come and go a bit.  Some reassurance that if it goes away for awhile, it will come back. 

I think we all feel this anxiety when "it" seems to disappear.  I have found (over the period of 25 years) that it always comes back, no matter how long it "goes away."  Often one needs to set aside time for special practice, to invite the Beloved back into your life, for it to reactivate.  "It" is full of surprises, and will reawaken quite unexpectedly at times.

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