Thursday, November 22, 2007
Sheryl and I get an unusual number of contacts lately regarding Kundalini. We put up a video on the subject awhile ago, first on our website and then on youtube. The whole idea originally was just to have a little video so that people could see our faces and hear our voices in a kind of a “see how sane and not scary or weird we are?” way. But we had to have something to talk about, and in one of the vids I talk about how I had a Kundalini rising experience when I was 13 or so. Some very nice people posted comments about their own experiences too (on youtube) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smg5ZHAl8X4
In short, a Kundalini rising is ideally an enlightening experience. However there are a lot of descriptions on the web about people having spontaneous occurrences and being none too happy about it because they suffer ill effects. My own experiences with Kundalini have been wonderful, but I was already seriously into meditation and study when I first experienced a k-rising. The physical sensation for me felt like a spiraling/ tornado sensation of whirling energy starting at the base of the spine and moving upwards until it reached the top of my head. The feeling was of the energy passing upward and outward beyond my physical body. The physical sensations were not confined to the spinal area. Emotionally the experience was one of overwhelming love and joy, of boundlessness/ oneness or of the “numinous.” Intellectually I felt that all my questions were answered in an instant. Some people have described the experience as orgasmic or like a spiritual orgasm, but that’s an analogy and not a direct correlation to the sexual. I would call it an intense and profound spiritual experience.
So we’ve had some contacts asking how to come by this experience, and a few asking for help or seeming worried about the experience. In the last instance Sheryl gave an excellent and well considered response; having been through her own “spiritual emergency”.
So. . . here’s my answers, and they’re just opinions. You can’t take out your credit card and buy a Kundalini. No short cuts to enlightenment, and no long way round either (You might have been born enlightened). There’s a yoga practice called Kundalini yoga, and it might get you there, it might not. So might any devotional path, and in my opinion no devotional path is superior to any other. Or maybe you're just a good person with no use for any of this enlightenment talk anyway, and that's fine by me too. I'm not trying to convert or convince anybody of anything.
Conversely you might get hit with an overwhelming spiritual event that you didn’t expect and weren’t prepared for. Mostly the descriptions on the internet are about those instances, and I’m dismayed by that: where a wonderful gift of being hit by something beneficial that you weren’t quite ready for is equated with catching a painful and debilitating illness. Here is Sheryl’s edited response to a person who was having a particularly difficult time:
“Paul and I both have had experiences with Kundalini. Some of mine were quite difficult as well (Paul's were not) but we both have insights we think will help.
. . . have you ever been in a group, followed a guru or guidebook that said these (difficult) experiences are "normal", "to be expected" or suffered through because it's a "healing" of sorts? This is not strictly the case. To shift this, know that self-realization leads to knowing your infinite true nature. You ARE all and YOU have the power to work with this. Belief makes the biggest difference. For example, Paul's first Kundalini experience was very stimulating but essentially one of oneness, peace and bliss. Mine, not so much. Paul was ready. I was scared and clamped down -- I wasn't adequately prepared for what was happening, didn't understand it. I learned the hard way to:
1) Open and surrender. I learned in my Reiki Master training to use nothing more than belief and intention to open the chakras. Paul got the same idea that he could do this as a teenager before he got his Reiki training. He just does what he does naturally. I use a technique: My Reiki teacher taught me to visualize the top of a person's head opening like a flower. When I feel Kundalini rushes happen I open that crown chakra to allow the energy out the top of my head and there is no intense build-up of heat to cause problems anymore.
2) When Kundalini rushes for me spontaneously I have come to realize that it is always there to force me into awakening. I ask: why now? What exactly was I thinking, dreaming, (worrying) when the sensations took over? What do I need to learn? If I can address the beliefs I was working with and choose to accept a different one, the Kundalini automatically resolves.
3) Paul has been able to use his intention to get the flow to cease. Literally saying something like: I can choose to change this now and I ask that this happen -- and choosing to believe this power to choose IS within our own power is the key.
Practice helps. Learning through my Reiki teacher that intention is the key to healing made a big difference for me. But she didn't do more than I just said to you. She said: Do it, planted the belief that we COULD, and then let us practice on each other. The practice gave us the visceral experience of this choice working and that cemented the belief for me. Made it real so I can use it whenever I remember to. . . “
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Some people describe Kundalini as if it were an alien entity in control of your body and mind. It’s not. You are. Or rather your limited perception of self. Who ever said that the individual acting in isolated consciousness, believing itself to be separate from all that is was the norm?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
If ignorance is bliss, does it logically follow that bliss is ignorance? There’s a guy downtown who walks around cleaning up trash, emptying garbage cans, sweeping the sidewalk and singing at the top of his lungs the whole time, “GOD BLESS AMERICA!”
Now, he gets the lyrics mixed up, and the melody isn’t quite right either, but damn if that guy isn’t happy as a clam doing work that most of us try to avoid. This of course begs the question: are clams happy? And if so, why?
Anyway, I said to Sheryl, “I think that guy is the enlightened one.” and I was only half kidding. He’s got a job to do and he’s doing it. He’s smart enough to know that external circumstances do not dictate his internal mind-state. He likely does not worry himself whether clams are happy or not, or if the word “is” can be considered equivalent to an = sign, nor does he wonder if the words on either side of "is" are therefore interchangeable.
Once I solve whether is = = , I will have opened a whole can of worms about whether there is a single word equivalent to > because I’ll need to know based on the previous outcome what to do about the whole thing. If is = = , then the problem is solved: bliss does equal ignorance and the words are interchangeable. If not, is there another mathematical symbol which would better suit the phrase? By now you’ve probably said to yourself, “Wait a sec, bliss does not equal ignorance, therefore the word “is” does not equal an equals sign. . . except when it does, depending on the phrase. “This is it” comes pretty close, but even though “It is this” means about the same thing, it will never mean exactly the same thing. It is all context dependent. What’s more striking to me is not that simple words like “is” are hard to define, but that small changes in the order of things can have a big effect. “That book is his” means about the same thing as “That is his book.” The word “his” however, magically transformed from a pronoun in the first sentence, to an adjective in the second sentence, even though both sentences effectively mean that “that book belongs to him.”
If, in an effort to be clear, knowing the vagaries of the English language you now state:
“That book is his. That is his book. That book belongs to him.”
what you have actually said is,
“If you touch that book, I’m going to hurt you.”
God bless America.
On the other hand if you were to say, “This is my only pen.” to somebody asking to borrow it, they’ll probably walk away and ask the next guy-- making a mental note that you’re a person to be avoided in the future, even if you’re holding the pen out to them in a gesture of good will and grinning broadly. Conversely if you say “This is only my pen” with the same gesture, they’ll walk away even faster, especially if you follow it up with, “My pen is only this” and then cap it off with “Only my pen is this.” Ah, what the heck, take it a step further and start addressing the pen directly, “Pen, is this my only?” now repeat, with feeling, “Only my pen is this!” “This, my only pen is!” and as the police are being called, one more time with “This is my only pen!”
If only I hadn’t opened this can of worms. . . God Bless America; ignorance is bliss. . . I was happy as a clam a minute ago. Really though, I think that a clam is neither happy nor sad, a clam just “is”. . . Stand beside her. . . I suspect that what we don’t know can hurt us, but then so can what we do know. . . And guide her. . . Total knowledge would functionally be the same as complete ignorance. . .
Through the night, by the light from above.