Kundalini Splendor

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Cloud of Unknowing" is Diagnosed by his Therapist 

Many psychologists, when confronted with the traditional "symptoms" of sudden kundalini awakening, decide the client is suffering from some sort of mental disturbance, and some even prescribe mind altering drugs to "settle them down." Some clients have even been institutionalized as being schizophrenic or psychotic. One such misdiagnosed patient was in fact hospitalized because of his unusual pattern of behavior, but when he got out, he himself became a transpersonal psychologist, dedicated to helping others avoid the painful experience he had been put through. Lee Sanella's early book, "Kundalini: Transcendence or Psychosis?" deals effectively with this problem, and explains the difference between spiritual awakening and mental breakdown.

Today, there is ample writing on the difference between spiritual awakening and actual psychosis. The kundalini process is more widely known, but there are still many, many traditional psychologists unfamiliar with spiritual emergence, and these can inflict untold damage on misdiagnosed patients. Drugs are especially dangerous, because they can abort the natural process, and create even more serious problems as the channels become blocked.

The awakening kundalini brings a vastly increased flow of energies throughout the body. This phenomenon has been compared to sending a huge volume of electricity through wiring which is only prepared to receive a fraction of that amount. Naturally, there are problems in the system. Another metaphor which has been suggested is that it is like sending a tremendous surge of water through a narrow hose. Naturally, the hose will flail about until the flow is controlled.

Two good books on the subject are:"The Stormy Search for Self" by Christina Grof and "A Sourcebook for Helping People with Spiritual Problems" by Emma Bragdon. Both help us to understand the difference between "spiritual emergence" and "spiritual emergency."

Further, many of "Cloud's" new perceptions (all is one, God is in everything, love is the basis of all being) are the traditional states reported by the saints for centuries past. They are key indicators of a consciousness being raised to a higher level of awareness.

Here is "Cloud of Unknowing's" next journal entry. See earlier posts for the beginning sections.

September 14, 2006

3:58 PM

Today my psychologist told me that I was going through a manic phase with psychotic tendencies. I can understand why she would think this. I think she's wrong, of course, for whatever is happening seems to have changed me for the better. Quantum physics says I am right, not her. She had no explanation for my physiological symptoms (radiant heat, 5-minute orgasms, etc.) other than she didn't think they were relevant. But I will get a second opinion, hopefully from a psychiatrist who does not equate spiritual feelings with insanity. There is a transpersonal psychiatrist in town that I'm trying to set up an appointment with.

Tell me this, though. She thinks I'm nuts because I see the Universe in everything, realize all is One, see Goddess within me and God everywhere, and want to devote my life to love and bliss. Why is this considered to be detached from reality? Why does she think I'm the crazy one? Isn't it more insane to say that we are NOT all one?

You raise the blade

You make the change

You rearrange me till I'm sane

You lock the door

And throw away the key

There's someone in my head but it's not me

Roger Waters

The thing is, I feel more like me than I've ever felt before. It's as if much false consciousness has been stripped away and I am free to live life the way I was originally meant to. Is this really insanity?

My blessed wife is willing to go through this with me and get a second opinion before we start pumping me full of mood-stabilizing drugs. She is a psychologist by training but is taking the spiritual side of this very seriously since she has seen the physical manifestations herself. She loves me and trusts me, and I her. I may have a Goddess in my head, but my wife is Goddess in the flesh, even if she doesn't realize this herself yet.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Patricia's Response to Recent Events in Washington 

Today, I am going to post a second entry on this blog, this one containing Patricia Lay-Dorsey's response to what is going on in our capital, and how we can deal with it. I had written to her, expressing my deep dismay and concern over recent events, which appear to be taking away some of the most basic rights of citizens in any "democracy." In particular, I cringe when I realize we are now living in a state which condones the use of torture, something none of us can really accept if our consciences are working.

And, as usual, Patricia's reasoned, eloquent reply provided just the encouragement I needed (and which we all need at this time.) Patricia is deeply committed to grass roots action as a counter-force to usurpation of power by those currently in control. And I myself have long felt that things would get infinitely better and immeasurably worse, all at the same time. We are de-composing and re-composing ourselves in this time of crisis. It is thus important for individuals to continue on their own journeys of healing and transformation, and for others of us to focus on non-violent group action to counter the forces which do in fact threaten human values and basic freedoms.

Here is Patricia's letter. I love Patricia, because she is the one to act when things call for immediate response; she doesn't just sit around and get depressed because of how the world is going.

I am sickened beyond words at Congress's most recent capitulation to Bush. And one of my senators--a woman AND a Democrat--voted for this atrocious bill. I couldn't sleep all night thinking about it. I called her office this morning--apparently my call was one of many--to find out how and why she could have done this. Yes, she's up for re-election, but supporting Bush in his torturous ways is, in my humble opinion, the LAST way to get votes from Democrats! Her aide said she couldn't answer my question, that I'd have to give her my address--email or snail--and the senator would get back to me on it. I gave her my email addy but also gave her the following message to pass on to Michigan's Sen. Debbie Stabenow, "I have never been more disappointed in you than I am today. And it is going to be very hard for me to vote for you because of this."

Of course I WILL vote for her because the alternative is worse, way worse. But I also plan to picket in front of her Detroit campaign headquarters with a sign that says, "Debbie, why did you vote to give Bush the right to torture?" on one side, and "Senator Stabenow voted to outlaw habeas corpus!" on the other. She needs to learn that there are consequences for voting to gut our democracy of its founding principles of due process of law.

On the other side of the coin, I am elated that my other Michigan senator, Carl Levin, voted "Nay" on this Detainee bill. Actually, he was the one I was worried about. Levin is a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services committee and, as such, was involved in the negotiations with the White House about this Detainee Bill. In response to my recent emails and phone calls about this issue, I'd received an email from him that had led me to believe he was supporting the compromises they were making. Now, Carl Levin is a Democrat but he's also a player, and I can't always trust him to stand where I stand on issues, especially issues regarding the military and war. But this time he did. So I called his office this morning to applaud him on his vote.

In the House, my congresswoman--again a Democrat--Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick voted against the House version of the same bill. I called to thank her too.

So now we see, if we didn't already, that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove are not destroying our country's Constitution, Bill of Rights, due process of law, and national soul by themselves. Oh no, they are being aided and abetted by the majority of our U.S. senators and congresspersons. With the loss of Sandra Day O'Connor and the addition of Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court, I see no help there either.

So it looks like this 217-year experiment in democracy may be coming to an end.

But that, my dear Dorothy, is exactly when the alternative, the grassroots, the trickle-up government of and by the people comes in. And it's already happening.

In towns, cities and villages across this country, the people are saying, "Enough already!" and are creating their own alternative realities based on visions of sustainability, community-building and circular patterns of leadership, rather than the pyramids our government now models, pyramids where the few at the top care little about the "masses" at the bottom. Ah yes, their house of cards is falling down around their feet of clay--to thoroughly mix my metaphors--and something new-yet-old is taking its place. They will be the last to see it, but see it they will when all is lost and they look around to see themselves and their precious "power bases" with no more power or prestige.

It is not going to be pretty. But we know that already. It's up to those of us who carry the vision of what can and must be, not to get too discouraged when we see their system destroy itself. If only the destruction would not spiral out to other individuals, groups, countries, and the planet itself, but alas, it does and will continue to do so. That is until it all falls apart. Which I'd guess will come sooner rather than later.

This week's Detainee Bill is a heavy burden that, believe me, will crush those who supported it. Their reasons will wash away and all that will be left is the truth of what they were and are a part of. As we tell the kids at school, every action we take has consequences. It's those consequences that we need to consider BEFORE we act, not after.

So, as discouraged as we feel today, let's not stay there. There's too much work to be done. We must create the world we want and know is best for all. Let those in Washington, DC do what they will; it is on their consciences, not ours. That is, if we know we've done everything we can to help them make the right decisions. The dangerous thing is if we just give up and let them lead us and our country off a cliff.

No, even if we know they are destroying themselves and our government in the process, we must continue to stand up to their abuses and misuses of power. We can't just leave our most vulnerable sisters and brothers--including the species, the air, the water, the land--to be destroyed. But as we struggle against, we must also struggle FOR. This, to me, is the dance of humanity. And dance I will...

with love & hope

"Cloud of Unknowing" and the Bliss of Divine Love 

Note: See previous recent entries for the beginning of "Cloud's" story.

This is actually the second journal entry which "Cloud" sent to me--it is day seven of his awakening experience, but somehow I failed to post it in the right order. It is significant, because it describe the intense feelings of bliss associated with the deep infusion of divine love. Many report a similar sense of overwhelming rapture, particularly in the initial stages of the journey. Once when I asked someone how it was possible to bear such profound ecstasy, I was told that "you get used to it." I would add that (in my experience) such feelings are more pronounced in the early days of arousal, and tend to calm considerably as time passes.

This state could indeed be described as "unconditional love." It is as if the god/goddess knows no bounds, or as if one's own personal defenses and barriers are all stripped away, and one becomes "the plaything of the gods," but in a very loving and supportive way.

It is also of note that "Cloud" perceives that "god" is also "the goddess," being neither male nor female but beyond all such categories. This perception (of the "union of opposites" of all kinds) is a key stage in most inner initiatory experiences. We of the West in particular tend to think in mutually exclusive categories (light/dark, male/female/ mind/body and such). The rise of the Church in Europe led to the near extinction of the old goddess religions which placed the female at the center, and only recently has some of that historical function been restored through the work of various writers, especially the many feminist theologians.

In the far East, the boundaries were less rigid. "Shiva" is actually sometimes depicted as a hermaphroditic deity, with physical features of both sexes to get the idea across. "Shakti" is indeed his consort, but "Shakti" is not a separate personage but merely the feminine form of "Shiva." Thus "god" has a dual nature, and embraces both male and female aspects.

from "Cloud of Unknowing":
Today is Day Seven of whatever is happening to me.

I woke up at 3 am this morning swimming in a sea of bliss, with the energy at the base of my spine and up into my head stronger than before. I felt God's presence, both male and female at the same time. She/He told me that if I surrendered to her I would feel love in ways that I had never imagined. She/He told me that She/He was both male and female but that I related more easily to females so She/He would relate to me in that form for now. She/He told me that I (all of us) were created as vessels of God's love, which fills us completely even when we aren't aware of it (which is most of the time).

After a brief flash of fear (which I decided to give back to Her), I surrendered as much as I could, I imagined just opening up my entire soul and life to God.

I spent the next hour thrashing around on the bed, uncontrollable muscle spasms, waves and waves of unspeakable bliss (impossible to describe in words). The most intense sexual pleasure would pale in comparison to what I felt....and I only partially surrendered. I feel that if I had completely surrendered that I would have been carried away.

After about an hour my body was worn out and sore. God told me that She/He and I were together always but that there was a lot more for me to learn, and that this was just the beginning, and that it would not be easy, but that at the end of it all She/He would make me whole, and I would be the person I was created to be at the beginning of time.

Anyway, that was my experience this morning. I have calmed down somewhat since then, but the energy in my body is even stronger than before and it is hard NOT to surrender again...but I have a family to feed and I have to get my work done. But I ache with longing for the sweet surrender again.

That was my experience. I have more concerns about how to deal with this on an interpersonal level with my wife (who is having trouble dealing with me),

Am I alone in this? I know it is different for everyone but can anyone tell me if they have had events similar to this?
(End of "Cloud's journal entry)

(Now back to Dorothy):
Mystics from time immemorial have reported similar experiences of near unbearable infusions of divine bliss. This state is very hard to understand unless one has experienced it personally. The realization which breaks through is that such accounts are not speaking metaphorically, but are describing actual, literal feelings, as if "the universe is making love to you" as "Cloud" said in another context. Here is one such description from an early Eastern mystic:

My friend, I cannot answer when you ask me to explain

By Vidyapati
(1340? - 1430)

(English version by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. and Denise Levertov)

My friend, I cannot answer when you ask me to explain
what has befallen me.
Love is transformed, renewed,
each moment.
He has dwelt in my eyes all the days of my life,
yet I am not sated with seeing.
My ears have heard his sweet voice in eternity,
and yet it is always new to them.
How many honeyed nights have I passed with him
in love's bliss, yet my body
wonders at his.
Through all the ages
he has been clasped to my breast,
yet my desire
never abates.
I have seen subtle people sunk in passion
but none came so close to the heart of the fire.

Who shall be found to cool your heart,
says Vidyapati.

-- from In Praise of Krishna: Songs from the Bengali, Translated by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. / Translated by Denise Leverto

(Once more, I am indebted to Ivan Granger's poetry-chaikhana for reprinting this poem)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cloud of Unknowing--Fear, a Dream, Reassurance from the Goddess 

In this entry, "Cloud of Unknowing" (see previous entries) has a dream which expresses his inner anxiety and deep ambivalence about the new experiences he is undergoing. Will they undermine his sanity? Will he betray family and loved ones by immersing himself in such unknown feelings? Such doubt is, I think, quite natural. When we venture into the unknown, we are not sure what we will meet, nor whether the changes wrought within will be benevolent or harmful. Indeed, we sometimes wonder if we are in fact losing our minds. After all, we are now having experiences well outside the range of the majority of human kind, and far beyond anything we have experienced before.

The tension thus aroused leads "Cloud of Unknowing" to experience some pain (likely energetic blocks) on his awakening. (Note: bliss can flow only when the body and mind are fully relaxed, free of internal tension and external stress. This is the tricky "double face" of kundalini, for most of us cannot remain perpetually free of stress in our lives.)

During kundalini awakening, our subconscious may become much more active. Our dreams thus can offer a signficant reflection of our inner feelings, and often contain valuable instructions to guide us as we make our way on this unfamiliar path. At one point in my "initiation" experience, I dreamed that a canny salesman (little old man) was trying to sell me a questionable used car. He took my own car keys (my inner guidance) and tried switch them for a set of his own. This was at a time when I had been persuaded to relinquish the original energetic exercises which "grace" had given me, for those of a different technique which was quite harmful to me at that time.)

Here is "Cloud of Unknowing's" account:

I had a dream last night. I wrote it down as soon as I woke up.

The dream:

I am in school, elementary school, 3rd grade. I suddenly get much larger than the other children. The teacher is the Goddess. She asks me if I would like to try a more advanced curriculum. At first I say 5th grade, but then I say no, make that 7th..I said this out of pride I think. She says can you handle that? and I say yes.

The Goddess disappears. Someone taps me on the shoulder. I turn around. It is the character Gary Seven from the old Star Trek episode Assignment: Earth. In this episode, Seven was a space alien sent to 20th century Earth to help it survive the dangerous nuclear age. In my dream, he radiates authority and power. Note that my subconscious mind often uses Star Trek imagery (yes, I am a super-geek) as a form of archetypes.

Seven takes me to the side of the classroom and hands me a thick binder, like some sort of CIA briefing document. Read this,he says, and give me a full report as soon as possible. I sit down at a desk and open the folder. There is a cover sheet on the document that reads, WARNING: This report will cause loss of sanity for those not ready to understand it. This frightens me at first but I decide to continue reading.

I turn the cover page and begin reading the report. It is gibberish...nightmare in written form, words that run together and make no sense, like something out of H.P. Lovecraft. I read a few paragraphs and then I am overcome with pain and confusion--chaos. It bends my mind.

I read a page but cannot begin the second. I put it down and turn to Gary Seven. I can't read this. It would destroy me. Then don't. he says.

Gary Seven turns into the Goddess and we are sitting in our garden together. That hurt!I said. She replies, I told you it would not be easy, but if you would read that document your sanity would be blasted away and then you cold float away with me in bliss. Isn't that what you want? Read it! This is what you want, isn't it?

Yes. I start to slip away,..but then I see my wife and my children calling out to me, screaming in terror and pain and loss and watching my limp body being wheeled into a mental hospital on a gurney.

NO! I scream. I turn to the Goddess. You said you would never ask me to hurt anyone but I would hurt them if I did this. You cannot be the Goddess!

She disappears. Someone taps me on the shoulder, I turn and it is the Goddess again. She is calm and serene.

I am here, do not fear. You told me that you wanted love, but is it love you want or merely bliss? Because if it is just bliss you can get lost in that and you will lose your family and hurt them, and this is not what this is about. You know that you have put a veil between us before when you try too hard to grasp me for the pleasure of my presence and not for the presence itself. Bliss is a part of me but only a part, for I am love. Love contains all. Open to love and you will know me and be complete. To grasp is to close and possess. Open your hand, open your heart and accept me.

I woke up at that point. I'm not sure about what all this means, other than a general warning to stay grounded as much as possible. I do know that I feel different physically today. The energy is still there and in a strong way, but I have pains in my head and my feet that weren't there yesterday, and I feel tired inside. I feel calmer and more focused on others today, rather than caught up so much in what is going on inside my head.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Cloud of Unknowing" Speaks with God/Goddess 

Here is a second entry from the journal of "Cloud of Unknowing," the pen name of the writer who is undergoing intense kundalini awakening. He speaks to the God/Goddess about his fears and anxieties and gets good advice in return.

Day Eight

Yesterday was difficult....I was frequently overwhelmed with blissful feelings that seemed like they would overpower me and carry me away. It was difficult to concentrate or work. But while this was happening, at the same time I felt very distant and separated from my wife....feeling connected to the Universe but not my wife (who is, after all, part of the Universe and the part I've been closest to for 18 years) was very disorienting and unpleasant.

I went to bed last night, and as I relaxed I could feel the energy welling up inside of me again. I tried to just lose myself in it. I felt the feminine presence that so overpowered me the previous night, blissful and filling me completely for a few seconds at a time before I'd draw away. I had a conversation in my head which I wrote down so as not to lose it, since it seemed very important.

Me: Talk with me, God, but be gentle with me. You almost tore me apart the night before and I'm not ready for that yet.

God/Goddess: You are more ready than you know.

Me: What if this is just an illusion? Are you my subconscious?

Goddess: No illusion, but yes subconscious,, but more than that. Your subconscious is a drop in me. I am the ocean.

Me: What if you are a demon trying to destroy me, like a succubus?

Goddess: If I were a demon, I would be teaching you anger and fear and selfish lust to increase your ego and drive you further away from God. But I am not doing that....I am loving you to help you grow beyond your ego. You are a tender plant in my garden, I tend you. Let me water you with my love.

Me: Why do I perceive you as feminine? Is this idolatry?

Goddess: I contain all, I am masculine and feminine and both and neither. I gave you this gift long ago. Most men are afraid to let go and embrace the Divine Feminine within Me/Thou, but you aren't. This is the key I am using to open your soul. That is why you perceive me as Feminine now. Trust in this and do not fear.

Me: It is very strange that an experience at a place like a strip club would be a trigger for this.

Goddess: I am everywhere, at all times and in all places, a strip club as much as a cathedral. You saw me there and did not fear, you enjoyed the moment without trying to possess it or her.

Me: What about the stripper who gave me the lap dance? Wasn't I taking advantage of her?

Goddess: She is on her own path and I love her as much as I love you. You were a good customer for her, she needed your money and you needed the experience with her to grow. She will come to me as well in her own time. Do not fear. Do not judge her.

Me: What about my wife? We are having a hard time communicating about this and I cannot be separate from her.

Goddess: Why do you think you are separate from your wife?

Me: Because she can't relate to the things I am feeling about the Universe.

Goddess: Your wife has her own path and I love her as much as I love you. You cannot change it for her. She is here to help you and you to help her. Things are as they should be. She is holding onto her pain and anger now because of her own needs, her own need for growth. Do not force it. Do not fear. Do not judge her. Just love her.

Me: She says I'm acting like I was infected by the spores in that old Star Trek episode.

Goddess: In the Star Trek episode the people infected by the spores became passive and uncreative, as if they were drugged. You are more creative now than you have ever been and your mind is clear. It is not the same thing. The people in the episode were not truly liberated.

Me: Am I Liberated?

Goddess: No. This is but a step, and important one, but merely a step. We have a long way to go, you and I.

Me: My body is tired but I cannot sleep. I enjoy taste but I have no appetite.

Goddess: You need sleep and food but not as before. You need them now to sustain your body, not to lose yourself in them as before. This is why you enjoy food more but eat less. . .you are not trying to lose yourself in food because you have learned that you can lose yourself in Me. Let me love you. Be love, feel love, surrender to it and it will make you whole.

The Milk of God's Breast is love
Let it sustain you and nourish you
It is your very essence
Come, taste bliss


And so today I find myself calmer than yesterday. I slept better last night and feel much more connected with my wife today. We had a good conversation this morning.

I can feel the energy within me at the base of my spine and extending upward into my head and arms today more strongly

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cloud of Unknowing--His Kundalini Awakening Begins 

"Cloud of Unknowing," the adopted pen name of the author of the beautiful poem I posted recently, has been going through a deep mystical awakening triggered by the arousal of kundalini energies. I am going to post several of his journal entries on this site, because his experience, which is extremely intense, contains many of the elements which often characterize spontaneous kundalini awakening. It provides especially useful material for all those who ask, "What is kundalini?", for it reflects a true picture of both the joys and challenges of that experience.

In this opening journal entry, he describes the stirring of sexual feelings, the stressful events leading up to his "awakening moment," and his sense of univeral love for all that is, all of which can come into play in the early stages of kundalini awakening.

By Cloud of Unknowing

The lines cross over me, lines of love, lines of power. God has tapped me, not me, Her, filling me with love.

I am 38 years old, a male, heterosexual, happily married for 14 years, two children. I have never taken an illegal drug, have been drunk just a few times, and have led a fairly conventional, though happy and fulfilling, sex life. I have always had a strong spiritual side....I had an out-of-body "hold the Universe in the palm of your hand" experience at age 16, and had frequent mystical flashes of transcendence through my college years. I was raised as an Episcopalian but for the most part have found that I can no longer accept "traditional" Christian theology. I would describe myself theologically as a "non-denominational monotheist with pan-entheist tendencies."

I was what I call "spiritually dry" and unable to connect with the Divine for a long time in my late 20s and most of my 30s. Up until about a year ago when I started to get flashes and glimmers of the old connection.

Now, switching topics for a moment, I have also been very sexual, in my mind at least (I'm not trying to be purient here, but I have to explain this). When I was a teenager, I felt terribly guilty about this, and for much of my adult life I have felt that my spiritual sides and my carnal sides were at war with each other. I never slept around much, not even in college, and the first woman I felt totally free with sexually was my college sweetheart, who I eventually married and still love passionately and deeply. I've always been intrigued with some of the old 60s "free love" philosophy, Stranger in a Strange Land , etc., but felt that it didn't work in the real world very well and that it was something that should just be left in the realm of fantasy.

I've been through a lot in the last 10 months. Last fall my second son was born. (Then a few months later, both his grandmother and his father died, and he was present at the death of each.) In April my newborn son had to have an operation to correct a birth defect. In May I almost lost my job and probably will for sure this winter. In June we bought a house. Lots and lots of stress. I also found out a lot of information when my dad died about my family, negative information that destroyed the image of my father that I'd always had, as well as negative information about my mother.

Anyway, I felt spiritually empty and dead throughout most of this period. Until the last two weeks, when everything changed.

About two weeks ago, I started having flashes of what I call "connection" with the Universe again. . .brief flashes of bliss and insight, lasting for no more than a few seconds, but they were there. At the same time, I was also having strong flashes of horniness.....usually my spiritual flashes and my sexual flashes do NOT happen around the same time, it's always been one or the other in phases.

Last Tuesday, I had an appointment with my psychologist. I told her that I felt like there was love welling up inside of me, but that I wasn't sure how to deal with it. . .that I was so angry with my father and mother for lying to me for years, but I had this love welling up in me as well....love for everyone, even those who had hurt me. She told me not to fight it, just to feel the feelings and accept them wherever they led, and to write down my feelings for my parents in a letter. I told her I would do that. After the appointment, I went out to my car and cried.

The next day, I did something that I had never done before. I went to a strip club.

Now, like I said, I'm not really a prude at heart....but there was always some sort of fear that kept me from fully embracing my sexual side. I'd always joked around with my wife about going to a strip club...mostly just teasing. But all of a sudden I felt very compelled to go. My wife, non-jealous soul that she is, said it was fine with her...she was worried that I might feel guilty, but she wasn't jealous. She encouraged me to go if I wanted to.

So, I went to a strip club....I almost backed out, because my spiritual side was very active and I was wondering what, exactly, would happen if I ran it up against my sexual side at the same time. But in the end I decided that I HAD to go, for some reason.

It sounds completely crazy, I know....it really does. But I went to the strip club, got a few lap dances for the first time, and I came home a changed man.

I didn't feel guilty. I felt liberated.....for the first time in my life, my sexual side and my spiritual side weren't warring. They were fully integrated .I felt no fear, no guilt....just joy. Was I just horny? At first I thought so....until I came home, made love to my wife, and felt higher than I'd ever felt before....it was no ordinary experience. Sex was a part of it, but what is happening to me right now is SO FAR BEYOND sex that just writing the words is inadequate.

The last six days have been a blur....it is hard to describe in words, but I will try.

I feel like I am electrically charged, from the base of my spine, up my back and into my head. My genitals are NOT the center of this, which is why I don't think this is some sort of delayed sexual reaction to the lap dance.

There is bliss in my mind at all times. In fact, it takes a great deal of emotional effort not to be overwhelmed by it. When I relax, the bliss just FLOODS me, physical sensations of immense pleasure throughout my body...it is NOT sexual pleasure, it is something different that I've only felt in small amounts before. It is the best thing I have EVER felt in my life.

I have an almost constant sense of well-being and immense calm. My wife says I am "weirdly serene" and that there is almost a glow that surrounds me.

I will go into spasms of uncontrollable laughter at the slightest pretext.

I dance spontaneously and in ways and movements that I didn't know I had the ability to do. Considering I am 100 pounds overweight this is quite a feat.

I am highly-charged sexually but in a way I've never felt before. Quite frankly I want to have sex with every woman I meet, but not in a possessive way....more like a "you are part of me and I am part of you" way. Certain ideas which were previously confined to my active fantasy life (swinging, free love, etc.) suddenly seem completely natural and sin-free.

Every time I see my wife, I have a strong urge to bite her like I am an animal. While I want to kiss and hug and nuzzle every remotely attractive woman I see right now, I want to be completely carnal with my wife even more than usual....hypersexual she says I'm acting around her.

When I listen to music, I FEEL the music...it's almost like I become the music.

Colors and tastes are more intense.

I am having severe problems sleeping.

I have more creative energy than I have had since high school. I wrote five poems yesterday.

My inhibitions are gone. I almost walked out on the deck naked last night. I sing in public to myself. I dance and smile constantly.

I'm driving my wife nuts...not just with the constant sexuality I feel around her, but with what she says is a definite personality change. She says I am still myself, but that it is like I have been "enhanced" and that the good parts of my personality have been magnified and that the bad parts are almost completely gone. She says it is inspiring to be around me but also difficult and exhausting.

I feel completely and utterly connected with the Universe right now.

I am having psychic flashes, like thinking of a person 3 seconds before they call on the phone.

Yesterday, I went to a bookstore to try and find out what is happening to me. I was in the spirtuality section when a book LITERALLY just fell of the shelf. I picked it up...it's called "Mystical Sex" and is about how mysticism and sexuality intertwine...exactly what is happening here.

So, what is wrong with me? Is this kundalini? What is going on with me? It is getting stronger every day and it is harder and harder to stay grounded. right now I feel like my soul is going to lift out of my body.

5:01 AM, September 9, 2006

Bliss eternal

I am Love

Love surrounds me and penetrates me

How can I sleep?

I am not afraid

I love

I am Love

Love is more than I am

All is Love

All is as it should be




I am not afraid

I can be love

I can send love

I can express love

I can be love




Love eternal and unchanged from the dawn of time

I love you

I love everyone


Gentle kind love

The gentle yoke of God

Let it wash over me forever and ever

Let me swim in the sea of love

Let my ego dissolve in love

No fear, just love

Timeless, for all and everyone

Utter forgiveness

Creation, create! Recite the joys of love!

Tender mercy of love

Tender sex of love

Tender love of sex

Sex is love but love is more than sex

Love is all that is

Can't I just love? Just be love? Just love everyone? Embrace All with Love? Be embraced by All with Love? Embrace Love with All?


Just love

Love penetrating and releasing

Free from fear

Only love

Love is truth

Truth is love

There is no higher truth than love

Blessed grace of love

Encompassing all, matter, energy, form and thought

Joy racing! Desire love! Love desire!

Let love grasp you

Free from fear

Love everything

Everything is love

Released, free, liberated, loved and loving and love

(copyright, Cloud of Unknowing)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Three Meditations on Light 

"[the spanda is] the scintillating pulse of the supreme light which continuously trembles with its own innate incandescence."

Paul E. Muller-Ortega, Introduction
"The Yoga of Vibration and
Divine Pulsation"

"Meditation on Light is one of the most important exercises in various schools of Tibetan yoga."

Detlef Ingo Lauf, "Secret Doctrine of the Tibetan Books of the Dead"

"What quantum calculations show is that we and our universe live and breathe in what amounts to a sea of motion--a quantum sea of light."

Lynne McTaggart, "The Field"

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Past Life Memory? 

I have never been able to make up my mind about the idea of "past life memories." I simply do not know whether we "remember" things from a distant past which then explain present life conditions, or whether it is the other way around, and we simply "invent" fictitious recollections in order to explain to ourselves why certain things are as they are.

This morning I had a curious "past life recall." I was doing gentle movements standing in front of my Buddhist thongka, enjoying the soft energies flowing throughout, when suddenly (and much to my surprise) a mental image arose of myself as a kind of knight/warrior. His helmet was fitted with the extended nose piece which many such wore in earlier times. An internal voice said (silently), "You wore chain mail." Again, I was quite amazed at this revelation, since, if I think of myself in any past life settings, it would more likely be as a monk (Eastern) or perhaps a non-sexual tantric practitioner living in isolation in the forest, maybe even someone who loved to recite and compose sacred poetry.

Then the inner drama continued. It seemed (according to the unfolding "remembrance") that I possessed lance and shield, and was mounted. What I recalled most vividly was the absolute thrill of excitement as "I" galloped into some unknown battle, along with my equally excited comrades. We loved the energies roused to such a fever pitch. We thought only of our own "battle glory," and gave no thought to the obvious dangers for ourselves and the others.

At some point, I was wounded, and my energy body flew upward. I was left for dead on the battlefield, but somehow survived. I spent my remaining years somewhat incapacited and telling others about the great event I had participated in.

Now, I do have a bit of a problem now and again with one shoulder, for reasons that are not clear. And so it came to me that I had suffered a shoulder wound in this ancient battle, and that explained my current difficulty.

Was this an actual "past life memory"? Was it simply a story I made up as I went along? I have no idea. Mostly, I am just deeply surprised that I would come up with the notion of myself as a warrior/knight, something I have never consciously considered as a possibility.

So--I continue to leave this whole area open, and draw no conclusion one way or another.

But--in terms of kundalini, I continue to wonder if some who have "sudden awakenings," and find themselves possessed of feelings and abilities quite unlike those of the present life, are not indeed connecting with the inner spirit of some past life or lives, rediscovering some personal essence which continues to find expression on this plane and others less visible. The nervous system can now sense and feel in previously unimagined ways. Where does this exquisitely refined system come from? How can it so suddenly appear?

True awakening (in any system) involves deep spiritual transformation on all levels It is a indeed a quantum leap into a new orbit of existence--the self is now unlike the prior being, and ways must be discovered to integrate the "new self" with the old. The notion of being "reborn" is not merely a metaphor, it is a reality, and birth, as always, involves struggle as well as joy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Poem by "Cloud of Unknowing" 

A few days ago I received a note and this poem from someone who has had a very recent kundalini awakening experience. He says of the poem:

I feel like I should share this poem with you that I wrote last week....actually it wrote itself but my pen made the movements, even though it seemed like the poem was coming from somewhere else.


Recite! Recite Again as you did long ago,

You thought you had forgotten Me but there was just a

veil between us

I have lifted it again

I am All

The bliss eternal, triumphant

I contain all that is

Matter form energy

All are my thoughts

Changing and surging throughout time

You are my creation

A creation of love

I made you from my essence

You had forgotten this

But you remember again

I contain all forms, male and female, both and neither

Forms you know not on this world but on others

Here I often take the male form

But for you the Female

Remember that while I am the Goddess for you I am

the God for others, Shiva, Khrishna, Buddha, Christ,

Yahweh, Jehovah, all are me for I am one

Different names for the same Absolute.

I have taken the mask of the Goddess so you can

remember me

You remember me best in this form

Others do not

This form is not for them but for you

Remember that this is but the Mask for something

even more beautiful

Beauty and bliss that would melt your soul

Dissolve your mind

But for this you are not ready

So for now I am the Goddess

Rest in this and know that I will not hurt you

I will never tell you to hurt another person

In my presence is peace, bliss, joy eternal and


Forms may change, waves move, but the Ground is

Always the Same

And the Ground is Love

This is within you

It IS you

Remember this always

Dance with me and fear not

You are not a prophet of a church

There is only ONE Church , the church of all, the

church of my essence,

The Universe is my cathedral

Worship me, worship within me, worship with me

Worship me in the fields, among the stars

Worship me in the arms of your lover

I love you beyond bounds

I love you beyond words

I love you in ways you cannot possibly understand


The merest touch of my hand would fill you with joys


You are aware of only a fragment of my love for you

I am giving you these words so that the limited part of

your mind can understand

That it is allowed to surrender

Surrender to my love

Become my love

You already are my love

Understand I know your thoughts

For you are My thought, my Thought of Love

A bliss unspoken

My milk is joy and my honey love

Come, taste the Universe

I am the Goddess of the Universe

The God of the Universe as well

I contain all things for I am all things and beyond all

things and within all things

I am holding you now, you have merely forgotten

I hold all the stars in the palm of my Hand

Galaxies, Nebulae, Universes, all dimensions physical

and astral and ethereal

They are my playground and you are my playmate

Come let us play

Become joy with me

(by "Cloud of Unknowing")

(NOTE:The Cloud of Unknowing is the name of a classic of Christian mysticism written in the fourteenth century, probably by an anonymous monk. It has been described as "A book of contemplation ... in which the soul is one with God.")

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Poem and pictures by N. M. Rai and Patricia Lay-Dorsey 

Here is a lovely poem by N. M Rai along with some truly beautiful nature images by N. M. Rai and Patricia Lay-Dorsey. All of these offer a moving insight into the world of nature, a world many of us are somewhat removed from in today's world. Many ancient (and modern) writers speak of kundalini as the creative force of the universe itself--thus its energies are to be found in everything in the universe, including, in particular, the world of natural wonder. Some of the writers in the Taoist tradition tell us that we can pick up the "chi energies" just from being out in the midst of growing things--trees and flowers speak to us on a deep level. It is almost as though we "shift gears" in the midst of nature, and experience a transcendent state of consciousness.

I find that the display of such images on the internet gives them a special radiance--similar to that of a stained glass window illumined by the light of the sun streaming through.

The first reference here is to the site where you can view N. M. Rai's continuing poems and photos:


And here is the gallery where more photos are displayed:


(It is interesting that the poem suggests a feeling of sadness, whereas the visual images suggest (to me, at least) joy. But this is the great advantage of art--it embraces all moods and all moments, both light and dark.)


I shake hands with myself
on the surface of old photos.

I am introduced again
to faded memories
that litter the edges
of my present.

There have been deaths
along the way to here.
Signs of a slow martyrdom
meltdowns and shifts
of sensation into nowhere.

We are ghosts moving
in the shadows of ourselves
dancing in dawn light.

And--to see the glorious garden that Patricia Lay-Dorsey photographed recently at the Coventry Gardens & Peace Fountain Park in Windsor, Ontario, click on this link to go to her blog entry for September 14, 2006.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nan Merrill's "Peace Planet" 

Nan Merrill, who for so many years has created and then distributed the wonderful newsletter called "Friends of Silence," has now (along with Barbara Taylor) published another book, a lovely small volume dedicated to world peace. Each page is dedicated to a different country, and together they form an atlas of our planet. Every single country is included. Each entry is accompanied by an arresting photograph of some relevant image of the country, or else something which seems to typify its spirit, plus a brief prayer.

Friends of Silence began in 1987 as "an urban contemplative group in Detroit that now has grown from forty individuals to an international community at large of over 6,000 silent pray-ers."

In her introduction, Nan explains that this work is her own response to the events of 9/11. She says, in words that ring with convincing truth:

Prayer can and must become the undergirding, the foundation, the infrastructure, the power force of peace. . . .

Clearly prayers for peace must begin individually with commitment, clarity, and deep compassion for matters of the heart. The world sorely needs our peace-focused prayers blanketing the nations on behalf of all living beings everywhere. The good news is that the cumulative effectiveness of prayer multiplies. If two people pray with focus and feelling, the effect is of four people. A single candle in the darkness dispels the night.

To become one with our prayers, our entire being must become action--body, mind and soul. The quality and effectivenessof our prayer is greatly enhanced by envisioning peace in our mind, choosing peace with all our heart, and in being peace in our lives.

Thank you, Nan, for this beautiful and moving gift, a clear token of all you stand for and a marker pointing the way for us to bring peace itself into our lives and into the world.

All the proceeds of this lovely and well crafted volume will be donated to groups working for peace. I urge you to obtain one: you will find it a lovely gift for yourself and for others. To order, send $15.00 (includes shipping/handling) to:

FOS Peace and Prayer Gift Shop
200 Rock Street
Hannibal, MO 63401

And if you want to receive the free newsletter, send your name and address to

Friends of Silence
11 Cardiff Lane
Hannibal, MO 63401

For me, it is people like Nan, working quietly but with great dedication for the welfare of us all, who provide inspiration and conviction that ours is indeed a world replete with goodness and love.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Metaphors of Love 

Here, in this poem by the great seventeenth-century mystic St. John of the Cross, we encounter many of the central images and symbols used by mystics of all times to describe their experiences. Note the references to flame, wounding, sweet burn, delectable wound, soft hand, death and rebirth, and the strange brightness which gives both heat and light.

The "bosom" John speaks of is, of course, the heart center itself, which can truly overflow with a love so palpably real that it can barely be tolerated in its sensuous intensity.

Many of these images could be describing deep kundalini awakening and the life which ensues thereafter. Heat is one of the commonest reported symptoms. Likewise the sense of light filling the mind, sometimes like a lamp which never goes out. (This light is often cited as a certain sign that kundalini is at work.) And many feel that in undergoing kundalini awakening, they literally die to their old life, with its restrictions and dull confinements, and are reborn into a more vibrant, more sensuous world where everything speaks of divine love and the stunning beauty of creation.

The sweet ecstasy of the flowing energies can at times be so intense that they are almost painful. Something happens that is almost like a wounding, as if one were being "pierced by light."

The "sweet breathing" he speaks of is sometimes called simply "breathing God." It may be felt as a delicate rapture, a literal sense of oneness with source.

St. John of the Cross

Living Flame Of Love

Oh, living flame of love
that tenderly woundest my soul
in its deepest centre,
Since thou are no longer oppressive,
perfect me now if it be thy will,
Break the web of this sweet encounter.
Oh, sweet burn!
Oh, delectable wound!
Oh, soft hand!
Oh, delicate touch
that savours of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In slaying, thou hast changed
death into life.
Oh, lamps of fire,
in whose splendours
the deep caverns of sense
which were dark and blind
With strange brightness
give heat and light together
to their Beloved!
How gently and lovingly
thou awakenest in my bosom,
Where thou dwellest secretly
and alone!
And in thy sweet breathing,
full of blessings and glory,
How delicately thou inspirest my love!

St. John of the Cross, 17 Century
(E. Allison Peers, trans.)

Here is Lawrence Edwards' account of his recent retreat on kundalini and the divine feminine. Note the similarities with St. John's description.

The Mysteries of the Divine Feminine and Kundalini Empowerment retreat was specially created to powerfully invoke the power of Divine revelation, Kundalini, to ignite that Fire and remain immersed in the sacred chamber, the crucible of the heart, while that power of Grace does Her work of setting one free. For thousands of years the yogic sages spoke of the living Flame of the Divine present in everyone's heart. By the power and grace of Kundalini the meditative states that allow you to directly experience this become accessible.

(Note: the rest of this announcement got a bit tangled in copying, but for fuller details, go to www.thesoulsjourney.com

Upcoming events pertaining to kundalini and spiritual awakening:

September 23rd Rhode Island, WARL 1320am Live radio interview of Lawrence; Saturday 1-2pm, Steve Donofrio Show; streaming live www.1320thedrive.com
Oct. 12-Nov. 9th Cultivating Wellbeing Course - 5 Thursday evenings with Drs. Michael Finkelstein, Susan Rubin and Lawrence Edwards. SunRaven, Bedford, NY www.sunraven.org Course info. at: www.thesoulsjourney.com/events.html
October 22 The Science and Art of Meditation Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society Meeting presentation, Sunday afternoon, Rutgers Univ. For more info: www.nrbs.org
October 24 Tues. 6:30-8:45pm Anam Cara's 5th Birthday Celebration - including dinner 6:30-7:30! Please call ahead if you would like to join us for dinner.
November 10-12 Mysteries of the Divine Feminine and Kundalini Empowerment Retreat Friday eve through Sun. afternoon, Anam Cara, Bedford, NY. Includes lectures, guided meditations, chanting and most importantly, the sacred and ancient Kundalini empowerment diksha. In this retreat we will also explore the mysteries of Kali and the wisdom She imparts for living in this age. Pre-registration is necessary for courses and retreats.

Each of these offerings gives us a chance to enter into deeper communion with the sacred, and to taste the "nectar of the divine," as the ancients called it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Kundalini and Christian Mysticism 

The experience of the kundalini energies, though primarily associated with Eastern religions, has been reported in various traditions throughout the world. Some interpret the deep mystical experience of certain early Christian saints as stemming in part from kundalini arousal, since the descriptions reveal many parallels.

This morning I looked up "kundalini Christian mysticism" on google, and was pleased to find several entries, including some intriguing forum discussions. Some of the these focused on the possible negative effects of kundalini arousal (and these can be quite serious), and others saw the process in a more positive light. Here is one comment I discovered on one such discussion site, by an author unknown. It seemed to offer a particularly sensitive and intelligent approach to the question. (The writer is responding to a comment on the subject by a previous writer).

Just read your description of Kundalini from a Christian perspective. Aquinas was certainly as full of wonder for life as he was intellectually endowed!

I've had some helpful, personal contacts with Philip St. Romain (writer on Christianity and kundalini) over the past 9 months. I've also had an active kundalini (or kundalini's had me) for about 12 years, mostly a sane, gradual unfolding of the nondual awareness you describe, as well as an increasing inner space in which to receive God's transcendental grace. Maybe you allude to it in your distinction between the soul's direct apprehension of itself/existence and the intuition of being in its multiplicity of forms, but one aspect of that distinction includes what the affective dimension of Christian contemplative prayer reveals . . . the way we are known by God, the wholly Other, without knowing how we are known/cherished so intimately and personally at the same time.
I guess what I'm saying is that the "Otherness" aspect of God doesn't seem accidental, or simply the byproduct of a lack of abiding permanently in nondual reality . . . but since I'm in no way permanenty situated as such, still an ego being in easily recognizable ways, I'm resting on speculation here. I guess this is where you and others have taken up the discussion on transcendental divine reality and nonduality.

One possible neglected aspect of the kundalini process, as encountered in more mechanical styles of yoga, or through traumatic arousals, is just how intimate and nurturing the holy space of the body is, which Jung seems to know of and respect. I've read very little, outside of Gendlin's Focusing, that treats the body in its subjectivity, always wanting us to learn its language and beingness rather than being treated as a solid inert container, or simply as an impersonal domain of primitive forces. To become as a little child holds whatever meaning people want to put into it, but for me it is the secret of the body in a most intimate way that both apprehends the exquisite order of existence and opens out/in so docilely to the surrendered will.

I think this writer has a profound and comprehensive grasp of what the kundalini experience can bring into the life of the dedicated seeker. Although not all awakenings are as gentle and soft as his seemingly is, they certainly can reveal "how intimate and nurturing the holy space of the body is." I am frequently reminded of that observation that "kundalini is god/goddess moving through your body." Thus the experience itself becomes a form of prayer, of worship, of intimate union not available through any other means. Lover/Beloved in holy union--such is the nature of kundalini when it is approached with respect and reverance. Words and definitions are no longer needed. The experience itself is sufficient "proof."

By the way, Philip St. Romain's "Kundalini and Christian Spirituality" is a useful book on this topic. It also offers a helpful description of the kundalini process itself for those beginning to explore the subject.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rumi poem, Ivan's interpretation and website 

Here is a poem by Rumi, along with Ivan Granger's exquisite interpretation and commentary on the verses as revelations of specific mystical experiences. And, if you go to Ivan's website
(www.poetry-chaikhana.com) you will find many items of great interest. Among other things, he has developed a dazzling bibliography of books containing sacred poetry, these arranged by the various religious they derive from This is an invaluable resource for any serious student of sacred verse. Look under "links" to find this section.

That moon which the sky never saw
By Jelaluddin Rumi(1207 - 1273)
English version by W. S. Merwin and Talat Halman

That moon which the sky never saw
even in dreams
has risen again
bringing a fire
that no water can drown

See here where the body
has its house
and see here my soul
the cup of love has made the one
and the other a ruin

When the tavern keeper
became my heart's companion
love turned my blood
to wine
and my heart burned on a spit

When the eye is full of him
a voice resounds
Oh cup
be praised
oh wine be proud

Suddenly when my heart saw
the ocean of love
it leapt away from me calling
Look for me
The face of Shams-ud Din
the glory of Tabriz
is the sun that hearts follow
like clouds

-- from East Window: Poems from Asia, Translated by W. S. Merwin
Thought for the Day:
Devotion, worship, is an openingof the spiritual channelsallowing you to breathe deeplythe Divine Presence. (from Ivan Granger)
Ivan's interpretation:

I like W. S. Merwin's lean translation here. It feels like it has been sifted down to the essential words...This poem by Rumi is a wonderful, ecstatic flood of images. But it is more than just random, beautiful statements; specific mystical experiences are being described:"That moon which the sky never saw..." The blissful state reveals itself as a shining light, as a luminescence permeating the still field of the mind. There is a sense of light from an undefined 'above,' silence, a fullness of vitality, and deep rest. In sacred poetry, this is often expressed as the full moon in the night sky. Of course, this "moon" appears within the field of awareness; it is not outside of oneself. It is not the moon that the sky sees.That moon, that light of awakening awareness, brings "a fire / that no water can drown" In ecstasy, there is often a sense of heat -- filled with immense love -- that permeates the body. This is such a wonderful fire that mystics often describe it as a flame of love. That fire isn't drowned out by water.Then Rumi says the "cup of love" has made his body drunk and his soul "a ruin." Why is his body "drunk"?As I've mentioned elsewhere, sacred poetry traditions from all over the world compare ecstatic union with drunkenness. This is not some clever game of words. A subtle, flowing substance is felt upon the palette, with a taste of ethereal sweetness that can be compared with wine or honey. Drinking this, the attention turns inward, the eyelids grow pleasantly heavy and the gaze may become unfocused. A blissful smile spreads across your face. When the ecstasy comes on strongly, the body can tremble, sometimes the consciousness even leaves the body. With these experiences, it not only makes sense for mystics to use the language of wine, observers sometimes mistake this state for actual drunkenness.But why then does the soul become a "ruin"? A ruin is an empty, crumbling dwelling. That fire and that drunkenness, they move through the awareness, consuming all thoughts. They clear away even the thought of "I", the sense of a separate, egoic self. In this divine ecstasy, there is nothing left of the individual -- the soul has become a ruin where vast spaces now dwell.I want to especially draw attention to Rumi's curious statement that when his heart saw "the ocean of love / it leapt away," and then it taunts him to "look for me." This is a wonderful image of losing one's heart to love, but again he is also saying something very specific about the mystic path. When the state of egolessness is finally experienced, there is an anchor point of the awareness that is freed. You could call this the point of identity; wherever it sits the individual consciousness imagines, 'I am this.' When that point of identity, what Rumi is calling the "heart," is liberated, it is free to leap away into the living vastness it witnesses. The heart draws the stunned consciousness after it, while teasingly calling back "look for me." In awe, the mind follows after asking, can this be what I am? Can I be one with this immensity?Finally, Rumi closes by comparing his beloved teacher, Shamz of Tabriz, to that brilliant immensity through which his own identity now moves.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Recently, I watched a documentary (which I obtained from Netflix) called "Mystic Iran: The Unseen World." And indeed, this world is very different from the one presented to us by the news media daily. It included various scenes of certain esoteric sects, including the (male) Sufis who gather to chant and dance all night long in a rite celebrated by dervishes since the time of Rumi, and perhaps even before. (The speaker suggested these rituals may date back as far as early Christianity.) Many of these men looked as though they could in fact have been Shams arriving wildeyed and disheveled out of the desert, ready to dazzle Rumi with his overwhelming presence. They did not wear robes or special costumes--no swirling black skirts and tall hats. They were dressed in their ordinary clothes, and literally let their hair down (dervishes, like yogis, let their hair grow.) Usually these males kept their hair coiled and bound beneath their turbans. Now it flashed wildly as they chanted and moved back and forth in their hypnotic state. Some looked almost primitive, as their trance deepened, and their ecstasy grew.

The next part of the film was even more interesting. It was filmed in a remote area of the country (Kurdistan--still part of Iran). This segment presented women dervishes, whose presence is largely unknown to the outside world, and who had never been filmed before. This female group, mostly older, heavy set "women of the earth," were paying a visit to the tomb of a female saint entombed nearby. They arrived on foot, to the driving beat of a hypnotic drum. They soon went into ecstatic trance, and, to the continuing drumbeat, began to bend their bodies forward and back in a deep bow to the divine presence now present among them. Obviously, they were quite unaware of their external surroundings or their movements. They are Zoroastrians, a sect derived from ancient fire worshipers. One of the women went into such deep trance that she was in danger of burning her hand on a hot log (she was now oblivious to pain). She also kept trying to "eat fire" (or at least to swallow the smoke), and finally had to be led outside for her own safety. (It was the leader's responsibility to make sure that no one was injured during the ritual.)

Watching this film made me think of trancers from other cultures, and indeed there are many--in Haiti, Africa, South America, and India for sure. Ancient shamans also went into deep trance to make their "spirit journeys" to other realms. Full trance channels also do this, and lose awareness of who they are or what they are saying.

What happens when the conscious mind is "disengaged" from the "unconscious" layers below? What gods or goddesses are admitted into the inner spirit of the worshipers? Why do humans long for such transcendent experience, and indeed is this longing the basis for the desire for mind altering drugs, as many have suggested?

And what about our own "light trance " states, which can occur for some of us so easily, when the drums pound some hypnotic rhythm, or the music awakens the inner energies, or the currents simply flow, seemingly of themselves. Even a church service, with its beautiful setting and bewitching music, its candles and incense and chanting, can induce in us a different state of mind from the ordinary. The energies of the ashram, once the group creates a "coherent energy field" (my term) in devotional ritual, can carry us on its bliss currents, as if nothing existed but god/the goddess. Sometimes even less is required--a sacred book or poem, a picture of an evolved soul, a field of flowers which gives delight, a certain strain of music--these too can lift us out of ourselves.

I have no real answers to any of these questions. I remain fascinated by the process, both as an event and as an experience. Whatever it is, it is clearly part of the spectrum of human response, an indication of human yearning for connection with that which is other than the small self.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Listening to Music in Poses (poem) 

A friend sent this poem to me recently and asked if I remembered it. It actually was one I had written and it was included in "Unmasking the Rose."

Listening to Music in Poses

Let the music within
listen to the music without.
You are the note and the singer,
the lute
and the hands floating over the strings.

You have been tuned
for this moment
for a thousand years.
Each star at midnight,
each drop from the well
became who you are,
flesh, muscle, bone.

Once there was a divine pulsation in heaven.
You and all that is
are its revelation,
summoning the world to being.

Remember where you came from.
Then you will receive
a thousand kisses within,
become a million raindrops
stroking the cheeks of roses.

Your blood knows how to live within
this dark intensity,
this opened vein of love,
like a stillness before a storm,
a river flowing quietly
through a hurricane.

It is beginning once more.

Dorothy Walters
July 26, 2000

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Eclipses and Celebrations 

I have a friend who celebrated the recent lunar eclipse from the roof top of the ashram in India where he and his family have gone to spend the next nine months. As he did his yoga asanas, he could look down on the Saddhus (holy men) performing various religious rituals and devotions in the Ganges just below. One can only imagine the drama of such a spectacle and the intensity of the feelings it aroused.

Another friend climbed with others high up on Mt. Shasta, where they performed various rituals and rites for two whole nights. He described it as a wondrous experience. (Mt. Shasta is a sacred mountain in northern California, about five hours north of San Francisco. The energies there are said to be quite remarkable.)

I did nothing as spectacular as either of these two. In fact, I didn't even know an eclipse was occurring and confess I have no idea what I was doing that night. As much as I applaud their adventuresome spirits, their amazing experiences are not for me. I will have to be satisfied with what I sometimes call "my living room bliss." I resonate with Emily Dickinson: "Some keep the Sabbath going to church/ Some keep it staying at home."

And today, we finally had some sun in San Francisco, which has been foggy and overcast for about as long as any of us can remember. I seized the chance to go for a very long walk out toward the ocean, and there, from a lookout point, bathed my soul in the beautiful azure colors of both water and sky. It was a welcome renewal after so much "indoor" weather.

One can take only so much inner bliss. After a while, one turns outward, looks for more mundane experience in order to allow the "spirit body" to rest. I think it is important not to press too hard on these excursions into the realms of "higher vibrations." After too much honey, one craves plain bread and butter. As one Indian sage put it, "I like the taste of sugar, but I don't want to be sugar."

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11 (poem) 

This is a poem I wrote shortly after the disaster of September 11, 2001, took place. I thought of it again today, the anniversary of that terrible event that seemed to shake the very foundations of our civilization and culture and made us wonder if we were all about to be annihilated.

September 11

When it came,
that moment
of confused awakening
like an avenging angel
of dust and debris,
it swept us all before it,
this plague
of raging locusts
made of ashes and rock
and salt of human cells
and everything was suddenly transfigured
as in a blinding backwards alchemy,
the holocaust relit.

For days I listened and watched,
moved sluggishly
through the nightmare dream
trying to fathom the Mystery
unreal yet somehow familiar,
like the tapping across the wall at night,
the ghost unnamed which constantly
disturbs our troubled sleep.

Like many, I lived my life again
in retrospect
as if saying farewell
to all that had gone before,
and then revisited old happenings
to see what phase, which lost persona
I was pulled to now,
and which would be the final me.

When at last I ventured out
and entered the bookstore down the street
(my private temple/mosque,
stronghold of sanity and grace)
I roamed the aisles,
that comforting array
of consciousness
common project of unfolding time,
touching here, scanning there,
wondering which single word or thought
might bring comfort
at the last.

I stopped before a table spread
with recent works
and at first glance,
I thought I saw above the group
a banner inscribed “Altar of Books,”
which seemed to fit.

But then I saw it was in fact
some other phrase,
perhaps “All New Books,”
(though the first was also true.)

As I reflected on the scene,
the implications for us all came clear,
and then I knew what I was looking for,
why it was that I had come.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Mystic and Society 

When you have a deep kundalini awakening, it is like being struck by lightning. You may survive the experience, but you will never be the same. Your whole life—your thoughts, your feelings, your reactions to the world about you—will be changed forever. You have become a different person, somebody who has “secret knowledge,” whose life is no longer that of the group at large.

You are now a mystic, in the fullest sense of the word. A mystic is by definition someone who stands outside the established beliefs and traditions, perhaps a wild seeker clearing her own path, claiming her own truth. True, some mystics have been embedded in powerful religious institutions, and often they were not welcomed by their “superiors.” St. John of the Cross, one of the most renowned mystics of all time, was imprisoned for his wayward beliefs. Sweet Teresa of Avila was rebuked by those in charge for her errant visions and what she referred to as her “raptures.”

Christianity, oftentimes, is now a fairly innocuous version of what was once a vibrant truth. It has been (frequently) tamed, watered down in many cases, so as not to disturb or offend. Congregations don’t want to be made uneasy by uncomfortable truths. Rituals too often are mechanical repetition of once vital ceremonies. Churches, as someone remarked, are often mere mausoleums, repositories for the dead concepts of the past. As another asked, would Christ today be a Christian? Would he recognize the “mega churches”, or the T. V. advertisements for programs on “how to become a Christian millionaire”?

There are, of course, other, more radical versions of “Christianity,” reactionaries and fundamentalists who seem to have abandoned reason for hysteria, devoting themselves to anger and denunciation of those who (in their view) defy “God’s law,” (their interpretation of Scripture.)

Even Rumi, beloved mystic poet of an earlier era, is still held to be suspect by governmental authorities in the Middle East. Turkey, which sponsored the translations of many of his works by an eminent scholar, recently refused to underwrite the final volume in this series, sensing that it was too great a threat to established religion.

In the far East, mystics have sometimes had an easier time, sometimes not. The Taoists (“The path is the goal”) stand in direct contradiction to the Confucians (“Do it according to rule and book.) Buddha said, “Be a light unto yourselves,” but modern Buddhism insists that you should join a sangha (recognized group of practitioners) and follow the dharma (traditional teachings.) (Some more liberal Buddhists give these a wider interpretation—offering the notion that the sangha embraces all believers and the dharma is more akin to universal moral truth.)

In India, there seems to be limitless variety and expression of spirituality, from calm domestic household and temple practice, to the wild saddhus who run about naked and refuse to conform in any way to what “polite society” dictates. Their devotion is extreme, but not really a useful model for most of us. (Here is the conundrum: the “outsider” rejecting the “even more outsider.”)

Where do you draw the line? Once authority is rejected for subjective experience, how can we be sure that irrationality won’t take over, and belief and behavior run amuck? This is the familiar argument of the traditionalists, those who hold power in the "establishment." The answer, I think, is that we trust ourselves to listen to our own inner guides, who will, if we heed their counsel, lead us to the right path and guide us on the way. What is a better guide than the whispered truth of one's own heart? Why would "god" not reside there as well as in the outer forms of convention? Who should we trust if not ourselves?

The mystic, however, is not really interested in someone else’s notions of propriety in thought or action. The mystic stands “outside the door,” finding his/her way, convinced that her own is a “self-validating experience.” The mystic is tied to god by a thread so strong that it cannot be cut or broken, no matter what the outer circumstance.

Whatever else it does, kundlalini will convince even the skeptics that there is indeed something more powerful, more real, more loving than any of us might imagine. T. S. Eliot said, "Humankind can bear only a little reality." How much reality are we prepared to know?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Andrew Harvey on What We Must Do Now 

Andrew Harvey is a prolific writer. In my library I have a shelf and then some dedicated entirely to his books. He has always been concerned with the relation of the political to the spiritual, the role of action in the arena of the sacred.

Here is a quote from my all time favorite book by Andrew, "Dialogues with a Modern Mystic," (Andrew Harvey and Mark Matousak).

There is one way and one way only, I believe, that the planet can be saved in time--and that is through a massive worldwide transformation which is simultaneously spiritual and practical, mystical and political. Turning to the light is not in itself, enough. We have also to act as humble tireless agents of the light, with the light in us, behind us, inspiring and guiding us, to act on all possible spiritual and practical fronts, wisely, calmly, and very, very fast.

This book was published more than ten years ago, but its message is even more urgent for us today.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What the Angels Want 

The following poem is dedicated to Andrew Harvey, who has been a major force in my life. I will write more about him on tomorrow's blog.

What the Angels Want: the Prophet

(for Andrew)

They want you as their

The lamb that lies down,
full of arrows,
roses blooming scarlet
at every opening.

They want you to speak endlessly,
your mouth, your throat
an instrument for that
which is hidden, has never been

They want you to be available.
Time is short.

They want you to be forgetful
of everything that went before,
even your triumphs and accolades,
your ribbons of celebration.

They want you to continue forever,
like a pure ray of light
extending into the unseen infinite,
which does not bend, nor remember
its beginnings,
nor even when it passed over
into that other realm.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Poem by Mahsati Ganjavi (12th century) 

Once again, Ivan Granger has unearthed an early poet (this time female) whose words strike home. She lived long ago, but what she says resonates deeply. I am always amazed at how such simple language can convey such profound meaning.

When we read her life story (see Ivan's commentary at the bottom), we learn that she was yet another mystic who was persecuted for her belief in a direct connection with the divine, sans priests and overlords. Such rejection and even persecution of those who stand outside the gates of convention and authority continue even to this day, both in this country and abroad. The mystic, like anyone who defies the social norms, is never a welcome guest in the banquet hall of conformity.

The Pathway Finally Opened

By Mahsati Ganjavi
(12th Century)

English version by David and Sabrineh Fideler

When my heart came to rule
in the world of love,
it was freed
from both belief
and from disbelief.

On this journey,
I found the problem
to be myself.

When I went beyond myself,
the pathway finally opened.

-- from Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition, Translated by David Fideler / Translated by Sabrineh Fideler


Thought for the Day: (from Ivan)

Religion is not a fixed collection
of beliefs and rituals.
Religion, properly understood,
is a living technology
for experiencing God.


Mahsati Ganjavi (also written Ganja'i or Ganjevi) lived during the 12th century, born in Ganje, Azerbaijan. Her poetry was a strong voice against prejudice and hypocrisy and patriarchy, while upholding love -- both human and divine.

She was celebrated at the court of Sultan Sanjar for her rubaiyat (quatrains), but later persecuted for her courageous stand against overly dogmatic religion and arbitrary male dominance...

When I went beyond myself,
the pathway finally opened.

(from Ivan)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lovely poem by N. M. Rai 

Here is a lovely poem by my friend Naggie (also known as N. M. Rai). She publishes her poetry regularly on her website, complete with beautiful images. Naggie is an artist as well as a poet.



My whiskers hunt the echoes
of hidden bodies.

My eyes scan currents
for the colors of shadows.

Flavors blend to music till
I am a note looking for its song.

There is no book, no meaning,
just this delight of the dance.

I am a taste on the tongue of God
a passing flame of eternity.

copyright, n.m.rai

Monday, September 04, 2006

Another early Sufi poet 

Here is another Sufi poem from many centuries ago, addressed simply to "Love." I have included Ivan Granger's discussion of the poem and the poet below. Again, Ivan has unearthed another poetic treasure for all of us to enjoy.

Every word of every tongue is

By Fakhruddin Iraqi
(? - 1289)

Every word of every tongue is
Love telling a story to her own ears.
Every thought in every mind,
She whispers a secret to her own Self.
Every vision in every eye,
She shows her beauty to her own sight.
Every smile on every face,
She reveals her own joy for herself to enjoy.

Love courses through everything,
No, Love is everything.
How can you say, there is no love,
when nothing but Love exists?
All that you see has appeared because of Love.
All shines from Love,
All pulses with Love,
All flows from Love--
No, once again, all IS Love!


Fakhruddin Ibrahim 'Iraqi was a fascinating figure who bridged several Sufi traditions and traveled through much of the Muslim world.

Fakhrudding 'Iraqi was born in Kamajan near Hamadan. While still a young boy, 'Iraqi gained local fame for having memorized the entire Koran and reciting it aloud. He went on to acquire an impressive education in his teens.

This properly devout young man surprised everyone when he abandoned his community and joined a group of traveling Kalandar dervishes. Kalandar Sufis had a bohemian, some would even say heretical, lifestyle and _expression of the Muslim faith.

The young 'Iraqi eventually ended up in Multan in what is modern day Pakistan. There he received formal initiation into the Sufi way under Shaykh Baha'uddin, the head of the Suhrawardiyya Sufi Order, one of the most influential Sufi groups in the Indian subcontinent. 'Iraqi lived in Multan for 25 years as one of the Suhrawardis, composing poetry. As Shaykh Baha'uddin was dying, he named Fakhruddin 'Iraqi to be his successor.

When it became known that 'Iraqi had been named head of the Suhrawardi Order, some in the order became jealous and denounced him to the local sultan who sought to have 'Iraqi arrested.

'Iraqi fled the area with a few close companions, and they eventually made their way to Mecca and Medina. Later they moved north to Konya in Turkey. This was Konya at the time of Rumi. 'Iraqi often listened to Rumi teach and recite poetry, and later attended Rumi's funeral.

Although 'Iraqi was nominally the head (in exile) of a large and respected Sufi order, he humbly became the disciple of another Sufi master -- Sadruddin Qunawi, who also lived in Konya at the time. Qunawi was the son-in-law of the recently deceased Sufi philosoper Ibn 'Arabi. Although less known in the West today, Qunawi was perhaps the pre-eminent Sufi teacher in Konya at the time, even better known than his neighbor Rumi.

When Fakhruddin 'Iraqi died he was buried near Ibn 'Arabi's tomb.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dancing Outside the Body 

I was running late. I needed to get going, take myself across town, go shopping for clothes (finally, after putting it off for months. I dread going shopping, and will postpone going until it is absolutely mandatory.) I had decided not to do my "practice" this morning, but simply dash out quickly before I changed my mind.

But, as I stood in the kitchen swallowing my many supplements, something stirred along and within my arms. I realized it was "the friend," giving me a gentle nudge. So I went into the living room, and began my movements, slow and sweet.

And then it occurred to me to do something I have never done before. Now, I have often "danced in the subtle body," and indeed this is what I think of as my morning practice. My "dance," which I have described before, consists of subtle movements which cause a kind of "blissful streaming" along the arms and face and other places, sometimes delightful, other times totally rapturous.

But this was different. As I lifted my arms, it seemed as though my energies (still ecstatic) swooped upward and outward. It was almost like being out of body, yet I was well anchored in my physical self. Partly it was "imagination," a mental event. But it also had a quality about it of expanding, of entering unfamiliar territory, as if I were taking energetic leaps like those warriors in the Chinese movies who fly through the air toward the opponent, in ways we know are impossible for the merely human.

I was not really out of my body, but in ways it felt like it. I wondered why I had never tried this before.

I finally managed to pull myself away and go off on my mission. (The shopping trip was a disaster. It was not my day. I found nothing at all, and came home tired and empty handed.)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ecstatic Tranquility, Tranquil Ecstasy 

Very early in my awakening process, I reflected on the relation of ecstasy (bliss) which was then so strongly aroused by the kundalini energies pouring through my body, and the reputed tranquility offered by less intense techniques of sitting meditation. It seemed to me then that there was an either/or choice. Either one could seek deep relaxation, or one could engage in a kind of metaphorical love making with the inner spirit, and be bathed in bliss. Guess which I chose.

Now, these many years later, I have begun to look once more at the benefits of quiet meditation. My energies are far more settled now. Although I do sometimes have experiences of intense vibrational rapture, I also yearn for periods of quiet and silence, nothing but being, as they say.

So, I have begun to do mantra meditation in bed before I get up. I place my hands over my eyes (what the yogis call palming), to allow deeper concentration and also to rest the eyes themselves. I feel tension and release in very subtle ways, usually beginning in my head and then moving on downward through my body. It is indeed a fascinating process, once which refreshes the physical body as well as the spirit. I feel better as a consequence.

When I get up, I practice my other forms of slow micromovements before the Buddha, this as a devotion (bhakti) or means of experiencing the bliss of union.

The Spandakarika speaks of a "sacred tremoring." Yesterday, as I waited for my bus, I noticed such a "tremoring" inside my body. It was sweet. It was gentle. It was lovely. It was a tranquil ecstasy, an ecstatic tranquility.

Friday, September 01, 2006

More Gems from the Spandakarika 

As I continue to read in the Yoga of the Spandakarika, I am finding more words of wisdom embedded in Odier's interpretation. Here are a few gems which deeply resonated with me, and seemed to confirm my own approach to matters of spiritual practice:

(This is from the song of an ancient singer called Sahajanandabhairava)

Whether I call it Mahamudra, Great Spatial Consciousness,
Great natural perfection,
or Ch'an, the state of absolute union,
I can neither conceive of it, nor pursue it, nor reach it.
I can neither come closer to it nor get farther away from it
Because it is the very nature of my mind.
In this total naked ness,
I abandon beliefs and concepts,
Philosophies and certainties,
All expectation and all fear
Then it comes forth from my depths.
This is where it has always been,
The Ruby of the Heart has only been waiting for
My silence.


Finally I opened my senses to the inexpressible.
I realized that the absolute
Has no need for my theory of the world.
So I stopped obscuring the real.

I stopped opposing the concrete and the absolute,
Body and mind.
I stopped rambling on about the clouds
And finally I saw the sky.

And Odier adds: Let us flow with the current of the real, without expectation and without fear, without attachment and without detachment, in presence to the moment.

Immersed in ecstasy, the worshipper takes pleasure in the spatial freedom. Limitless, he contains the world.

Odier then quotes Huang-po, who said:

The absence of practice is my spiritual method, nothing other than the One Spirit. I ask you never to seek anything because what we seek, we lose in seeking it.
Then Odier adds the following:

It (samadhi) is an extremely profound experience that sometimes happens in unexpected ways, when we are not in the middle of practicing, or meditating. (By the way, no one has ever attained awakening while meditating, but always when face to face with the real. Even the Buddha experienced awakening at the end of his meditation when he saw the morning star.)

When we enter into samadhi due to our master being in samadhi, it is as if we are receiving the gift of the experience before we have the means to enter into it. Strangely we are overtaken by a state that that we know nothing about, even if we have read all the texts about it. Concepts crumble, expectations are completely shaken up by the space that pervades us. It is a very sweet state. There is nothing other than unbelievable, luminous presence. It can last a few minutes, or more. We might believe that in order to enter it, we must go through something violent or very powerful. No, it is a gentle explosion that scares us because we lose all support, all points of reference, all known dimensions. Escaping from the known, we enter into a dimension that is now neither space nor time: the infinite.

Here, I would add that the experience can in fact be quite profound and even explosive. One can be catapulted quite suddenly into this new sphere of reality. And, further, it need not be a frightening experience, if one has some prior knowledge, even from hearsay, and accepts what is happening as a natural process, a bestowal of grace from an unknown giver.

And, of course, we know from many accounts that some sort of transmission from a guru is not necessary to experience this awakening to the real. Spontaneous awakening seems to be becoming ever more common in our times.

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