Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The Awakening 

By now, my spirit had confronted its ultimate terror. The ideal love relation, the mythology which had supported it, the sense of unassailable trust--all had been shattered irrevocably.

But, in the midst of such emotional devastation, some small seed of hope was beginning to stir. For loss also brings with it freedom, the unleashing of the self to pursue its own destined ends, to find its own inner reality. The inner death had prepared an opening.

On this sunny morning, I sat quietly in my living room, writing in my journal. My elm-lined street carried little sound other than the drone of an occasional passing car. It was spring; the trees were already heavy with green, and the flowers were coming to bloom along this typical Midwestern city street. I was contemplating the notion of balances, the desired midpoint between extremes of either too much or too little in the various realms.

And then, I was awakened. It was as if the limits of mind had been reached, as if the intensity of events pressed through, and I was catapulted into a new level of awareness beyond thought, beyond concepts, beyond all intellectual formulation or description This is what happened:

The book I was reading mentioned kundalini, but did not describe it in detail. It spoke of the ancient yogis who could raise the "serpent power" from the base of the spine to the head. On impulse, I decided to see if I could raise my own energies in this way. I meditated on an image of the god and goddess in union (Shiva/shakti, from an illustration in the text) and focused on my breathing. Almost instantaneously I felt an ecstatic surge of energy in the lower chakras and then, within seconds, this intense force rushed upward and into my head. My very crown seemed to open in rapture, and for many minutes I felt the energies of the unseen immensity flow in, as if petal after radiant petal were unfolding in my crown. As long as I did not think about what was happening, the experience continued, but each time self-awareness intruded, the process was interrupted.

In that moment of grace I realized that the notion of personal identity was an ongoing illusion, a myth that the small being recites to itself in its state of lostness and isolation. I knew that we were each one but atoms within the larger frame, the boundless real. . . . I did not return immediately to ordinary consciousness. I remained in a state of exalted awareness and rapture for months thereafter. I seemed to undergo a prolonged initiation directed by unseen guides. I saw the light around my body and heard my new name. I experienced deep rapture each time I called up the image of the god/goddess in union. Even when I was not meditating, I was filled with strong, ecstatic energies.

During this time, I "discovered" certain initiatory implements, such as a tiny bell, a vajra (for me, a crystal prism, in the shape of a barbell), and a design I thought of as a yantra (an image for meditation). With these instruments and with much inner guidance I completed a major weeklong initiation. On the final day I saw in vision an inner image of Christ on the cross.

The world was now lit by an inner beauty surpassing everything I had experienced before, as I saw the beauty beneath the beauty. Every face was my own, every leaf or bloom an aspect of my being. I felt that I had, at last, fused all levels. I knew, finally and incontrovertibly, that spirit and flesh are one, matter and the transcendent but different faces of a single essence.

from Unmasking the Rose

The Runaway

The Place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.


The poet says
god has put a circle around you on a map
to locate you in sacred space.
Then why do you keep tunneling
carving labyrinths for your escape?

from Marrow of Flame

Going Over

This poem of Kabir,
the one beginning,
The flute of interior time is played
whether we
hear it or not . . . .
How often can we let ourselves
say these words in silence,
without danger of losing something,
our foothold, our grip on the rail,
the tiny thread in our hand connecting us
to something we have forgotten or lost,
until we at last give up and go plunging over
into that waiting, roiling sea?

from Marrow of Flame

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