Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Testing the Coins of Truth 

One of the topics which often comes up among my friends is why we tend to perceive the world at large in such different terms than the larger society. We do not understand why "they" seem to be oblivious to much of what seems obvious to us--that ravaging the earth will have dire consequences for us all; that killing thousands of innocents, including our own young dedicated but misled warriors, is wrong; that national leaders habitually distort fact to serve their own personal ends. And the list grows daily. How could such large segments of the population perceive such differnt universes? Why is the "truth" which seems so apparent to some be so invisible to others? Why, we also ask, do some cling to "received" religious and/or political tradition, rejecting all possibility of change, when there is a clear need to adjust constantly as we strive to create a more humane and enlightened society?

Recently, I had lunch with a friend, a former nun, who offered an answer to some of these puzzling questions. She said that in the convent, she felt totally safe. All issues were long since resolved by "authority," all questions of faith and action answered by established text and historical interpretation. It was indeed a secure universe, where one had no need to question or explore.

She went further to explain that people who seemingly refuse to acknowledge certain "evident" realities are clinging to a perceived ledge of safety. They are afraid that if they let go for even a moment, they will be hurled into chaos and annihilation. Hence their aggressive defense of the "status quo," their embrace of slogans and empty buzz words to keep things as they are. They choose to follow only well marked and well trodden paths.

I think these folk are, in fact, afraid of god.

The world of kundalini takes us on a very different journey. Indeed, I suspect that those who experience spontaneous awakening outside an established religious system have long since tested and rejected many of the premises of their birth culture. Theirs is a unique voyage, one even more challenging than that of the social or political rebel. It takes great courage to follow the "direct path" where one travels alone along a very difficult terrain, seeking the true self. As Yeats puts it, this journey occurs when "naked to naked goes," when all externals and trivia are put aside in the progress toward authentic being. Here, seekers must always test the "coins of truth" with their own teeth. They become, in Buddha's phrase, a "light unto themselves." And there is no turning back. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it can never be put back in.

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