Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Kundalini Awakening and Kundalini Rising 

Someone recently posed an interesting question: What is the difference between "Kundalini Awakening" and "Kundalini Rising"? We often encounter each of these terms, but I had never thought about the real differences between them. After giving the matter some reflection, here is what I concluded (and since I am not an authority, I could be wrong.)

"Kundalini Awakening" is the term we most often apply to the beginning stages of the whole transformative process. It can refer to the very first experience of Kundalini (which may be mild or intense) but it can also apply to the many manifestations which may occur in the days, weeks, or even years of this continuing process.

Yogic texts describe Kundalini (the creative life force) as a snake resting at the base of the spine. This energy is always active in our bodies, but we are not aware of its operations until "the snake awakens," that is, until an unconscious process becomes conscious.

The image of the snake is, of course, simply a metaphor to describe this "awakening" process, and indeed Kundalini arousal is like "waking up." It is as if we have previously been "asleep," unaware of what is going on within. Now we become highly sensitized to both pleasure and pain, as if we are in contact with the deepest levels of our body, mind, and spirit. Everything intensifies. We may feel another's joy as our own bliss, and, likewise, their pain may be felt as our own.
The awakening itself can be a very long and mysterious process, with great rewards and challenges.

"Kundalini rising" describes the energies in ascent. They may travel up the spine, part way or sometimes all the way to the crown, where intense bliss states may occur. They may flow upward in a more fluid fashion, opening up varous areas to new sensation. The sleeping forces have been awakened. Now they stir and move throughout the system. (Like a sleeper waking up and getting out of bed.) Released from their slumber, they are ready to roam freely. Because such movement is unfamiliar, all manner of problems may occur, as well as states of ecstasy and rapture.

To experience deep Kundalini awakening and the ascent of the subtle energies is to undergo rebirth, a total transformation of the self. It brings us into a new world, and leads us into unsuspected paths.

I am not certain that my distinctions are totally accurate here. The terms are used by many different people in different ways, and sometimes they indeed seem to be interchangeable. But this is how I view the them.

Whatever the fine points, the Kundalini process is, in my view, one of the greatest gifts that one can receive. It affirms the divine connection in indisputable ways, and carries us into a new state of human evolution. It is the ultimate "self-validating experience."

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