Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Kundalini Belongs to No One 

LONDON, Oct. 12 The Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, whose exquisitely constructed, wistful prose explores the agonized dance between Muslims and the West and between past and present, on Thursday won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.

I posted the above from today's N. Y. Times, because I saw this man being interview on T. V. the other night and I was deeply impressed. He is intelligent, thoughtful, and sensitive. His novels are, as he puts it, a kind of bridge between Turkey and the West, and he as a writer does not hesitate to point out the flaws of each. In fact, he was brought up on charges of offending Turkey in some of his earlier work, but charges were dropped when the world protested what was happening. He is now a visiting professor at Columbia. His novels sound extremely interesting, and I would imagine they do a great deal to help us understand this "other culture," one which we are becoming more and more involved with.

As we all progress further into our various spiritual journeys, I feel we need to keep one eye on what is going on in "the other world" of secular events. For many of us, our primary focus has shifted to internal realms, captured as we have been by new and intriguing forces, as though we have now been introduced to a world quite unfamiliar to us in the past. As I have often remarked, it is this unveiling, this plunging into and being embraced by what I can call only "currents of divine love," that gives me hope. Yes, the world is falling apart all around us. And yes, the world is being rebuilt from within, second by second, awakening by awakening.

One question which comes up periodically is, how does this awakening, this infusion of sacred energy, relate to other religions, in particular Christianity? Kundalini as such has been reported in virtually every tradition and every era of time. So it is nothing new. The yogic mystics, the twirling dervishes of Sufism, the early Christian saints lost in their visions--all seem to embody in some way the ideals of Kundalini expressed in a particular framework.

However, these religious categories--Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity--are themselves not one but many. Tibetan Buddhism is not the same as Zen, nor Hinduism as publicly practiced the equivalent of esoteric Kashmiri Shaivism. Christianity in its highest forms expresses fundamental sacred principles, in a way that gives special meaning to transcendent experience.

However, there are many levels and many varieties of Christians. Recently, I happened to read some excerpts from a writer who uses the language of more or less fundamentalist Christianity to discuss Kundalini. A self-styled "enlightened being," her remarks included the following:

The 'lines have been drawn' between those that belong to Christ and those who oppose Him. Given this, it is not surprising to see that planetary conflicts are between those countries that are primarily Christian and those that are not. It is very much the fight between light and dark, good and evil which has already taken place in the higher realms (heaven) and is now playing out on the physical plane

Frankly, I was disturbed by her comments. For me, Kundalini is the great leveler, the grace extended to all alive, no matter what their belief or creed, their nationality or other "label." It is like rain or mercy--it flows to all, irrespective of origin or background. To claim it for one group in this way awakens (for me) echoes of sectarian bickering, and reduces one of the holiest of all possible human experiences to the level of gross intolerance. Good and evil, us and them, good guys and bad guys--apparently even transcendence can be coopted and put to biased uses.

Yes, Kundalini comes to each of us, often in strange and unfamiiar guise. But if it indeed is to be the engine of human evolution, it must be seen as a universal spirit, not as a possession of a select group of the "elect."

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