Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Poem for Mary Oliver 

Today, I obtained Mary Oliver's new book, called "Thirst." I read the first line of the opening poem and immediately wrote down the following (now slightly edited) as a response, or perhaps as simply a continuation, before I read further in the text.

My work is loving the world
(Mary Oliver)

in all its intimacies,
its profusions of summer,
its winter nudities.

Sometimes I sense a quiet
beneath the silence--
in the garden, perhaps,
the unfolding hush
of the daffodils
and lilies,
or amidst these ancient trees
who have been here
for so long,
god's emissaries,
saying, "peace, peace,
the world will endure
past all its losses."

Out here, most often,
it is the ocean itself
that speaks,
in its roiling voice,
its thunderous tongue.

What it is saying
I have listened for
all these years.
as it crackles and whips,
or whispers in its silken tones.

Even now,
I am not sure of its message
its assaults of thrill and boom
shattering the rocks
into flares of light
something about Mystery,
something about uncontainable Love.

Dorothy Walters
January 31, 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More on Yeshe Sogyal 

When I read the wondrous poem by Yeshe Sogyal, which I posted yesterday, I was struck by two things: the obvious parallels with our own times (both in world conditions and underlying spiritual concepts) and her seeming emphasis on retreat from the world in order to pursue personal enlightenment. And so I changed the poem (in my rendition) to include service to society as well as personal spiritual achievements.

I loved Ivan's discussion of the poem, but did a bit of further research about this remarkable woman, who was Tibet's most famous and revered female teacher, and indeed is considered one of the most important female religious exemplars.

The Supreme Being is the Dakini Queen of the Lake of Awareness!
I have vanished into fields of lotus-light, the plenum of dynamic space,
To be born in the inner sanctum of an immaculate lotus;
Do not despair, have faith!

These lines in effect sum up the aim of much of contemporary spiritual practice, including various kinds of meditation, where the primary intent is to surrender ordinary consciousness in order to enter "cosmic awareness." Ordinary consciousness is filled with the details of the mundane. Our mind is busy with the details of ordinary existence. In meditation we attempt to let these thoughts go, in order to participate in "cosmic consciousness," the awareness which does not focus on objects but is totally unattached to objects or symbolic representations of objects or activities.

When you have withdrawn attachment to this rocky defile,
This barbaric Tibet, full of war and strife,
Abandon unnecessary activity and rely on solitude

Tibet was indeed a "rocky defile." And, before it had been transformed into a Buddhist society, it was manifestly "barbaric," torn by "war and strife." Now, our own times are also beset by widespread "war and strife," as if the world were threatened by a return to barbarism. Yeshe counsels a "return to solitude." How many of us today yearn to withdraw completely from the world's confusion into a safe haven, a forest retreat or cave, there to practice spiritual contemplation in uninterrupted serenity. This is the part that concerned me most in her message, for I feel that the life of the solitary, however attractive, is not what we (for the most part) have come here to pursue. But, when I read more of her biography (which is itself more or less mythical) I learned that after she had completed many years of spiritual purification and training,including three years in solitude, she did indeed focus primarily on aiding others through her own wisdom and compassion, and no longer exclusively pursued her own spiritual progress.

Practice energy control, purify your psychic nerves and seed-essence,
And cultivate mahamudra and Dsokchen.

These are wise counsels for anyone pursuing a spiritual path, especially those experiencing kundalini awakening or stabilization. Kundalini can become a very wild ride. If the energies run amok, the body and psyche (emotions and psychological well being) can suffer. We "purify our psychic nerves" in many ways: through meditation and prayer, through right action, through diet, through yoga and other energetic practices, through devotional activities, including ritual, through associating with others who are spiritually evolved, through reading spiritual literature including poetry, through being in nature--the list is numerous. But we must dedicate ourselves to this task: to purify our inner being and so prepare ourselves for further service to the world.

I am uncertain what she means by "seed-essence," but the term suggests that it is the primal stuff of the self--the core of who we are, both physically and spiritually (our bodies as well as our very souls and spirits). However, elsewhere she states that in the later stages of her practice, she practiced the seed essence of "coincident pleasure and emptiness." Here, I would guess this to mean that whatever we experience, even moments of high bliss, are perceived as passing phenomena, endowed with no permanence or final reality.

The Supreme Being is the Dakini Queen of the Lake of Awareness!
Attaining humility, through Guru Pema Jungne’s compassion I followed him,
And now I have finally gone into his presence;
Do not despair, but pray!
When you see your karmic body as vulnerable as a bubble,
Realising the truth of impermanence, and that in death you are helpless,
Disabuse yourself of fantasies of eternity,
Make your life a practice of sadhana,
And cultivate the experience that takes you to the place where Ati ends.

I am not sure who Guru Pema Jungne is, but we do know that Yeshe had several consorts who taught her the deep and hidden truths of tantric practice. (Earlier, she was the consort of the great Padmasambhava, the supreme teacher who brought Buddhist practice into Tibet.) These relationships were sexual in nature, based on the premise that a deeper transmission would thus occur. In Tibetan practice, balance of male and female energies was of supreme importance, and women occupied a place of equality with the male partner.

She ends by telling us that we, like all things of this world, are impermanent. Thus we should devote ourselves constantly to our practice and so reach the place where practice is no longer needed, presumably when we depart the earth plane.

We should all study the life and teachings of this great woman more closely, for she has much wisdom to impart.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Lake of Awareness (poem by Yeshe Tsogyel) 

When I read this poem this morning, from Ivan Granger's Poetry Chaikhana, I could not resist putting up both the poem and Ivan's insightful comment here on this site. Both moved me profoundly.

The Supreme Being is the Dakini Queen of the Lake of Awareness!

By Yeshe Tsogyel
(8th Century)

English version by Keith Dowman

The Supreme Being is the Dakini Queen of the Lake of Awareness!
I have vanished into fields of lotus-light, the plenum of dynamic space,
To be born in the inner sanctum of an immaculate lotus;
Do not despair, have faith!
When you have withdrawn attachment to this rocky defile,
This barbaric Tibet, full of war and strife,
Abandon unnecessary activity and rely on solitude.
Practice energy control, purify your psychic nerves and seed-essence,
And cultivate mahamudra and Dsokchen.

The Supreme Being is the Dakini Queen of the Lake of Awareness!
Attaining humility, through Guru Pema Jungne’s compassion I followed him,
And now I have finally gone into his presence;
Do not despair, but pray!
When you see your karmic body as vulnerable as a bubble,
Realising the truth of impermanence, and that in death you are helpless,
Disabuse yourself of fantasies of eternity,
Make your life a practice of sadhana,
And cultivate the experience that takes you to the place where Ati ends.

-- from The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry, Edited by Aliki Barnstone

Here is Ivan's insightful commentary:

Yeshe Tsogyel (or Yeshe Tsogyal) is traditionally said to have been a princess in pre-Buddhist Tibet. She was married to a king at the age of twelve, but ran away to study meditation for three years with a Buddhist master and traveled to Nepal. She later returned to Tibet to help establish Buddhism in Tibet.

A few words in this poem might need a little explanation. My notes here don't do justice to the depth of the concepts they represent, but they should help to give you an idea of what's being said.

A "dakini" is represented as a female figure that embodies an awakening aspect of consciousness. Like the mercurial mind itself, a dakini can be mischievous, even wrathful, but also an essential aid in the journey of awakening. The notion also suggests the importance of female as well as male energies in the process of enlightenment.

Mahamudra literally means "the great seal." It is the full realization of radiant emptiness or spaciousness. It is a seal in that it is the confirmation of enlightenment and the resolution of the nature of reality.

Dzokchen or Dzogchen can be translated as "the great perfection." It is a practice built on the nondual truth that perfection or the Buddha-nature is already everywhere present -- it just needs to be realized. And "Ati" means "extraordinary," here used as another reference to the practice of Dzokchen.

Sadhana is an all-encompassing term for spiritual practice. It can refer to meditation, mantra, austerities, etc.

But these concepts aside, there are several powerful images that grab hold of me.

The "Lake of Awareness"... That's an image that keeps drawing me back to it.

And that line, "I have vanished into fields of lotus-light..." That's such a shimmering line evoking the notion of the disappearance of the ego into the light of realization. Mmm.

(copyright, Ivan Granger)

After I posted the above entry, I was for some reason moved to recast the poem in a more modern form, for I feel that its message is totally relevant to us today. I changed not only the wording but some of its message, to be more in accord with our current needs.

Here is the version I came up with:

She Who is Above All Others
(by Dorothy Walters)

She, who is above all others,
has taken me to her bosom,
and there I am held
in endless fields of love.
All around me
is light purified and endless,
like lotus blossoms radiant and
shimmering, lit from within.

This world, obsessed
with warfare and struggle,
has lost its way
as in ancient times.
Reject its hopeless pursuits,
become a being of devotion,
spend time in solitude,
and find the reality within
which will restore
rightness to the world.

Know that you
and who you are
will not remain always on this
plane of matter we call earth.
You too are ephemeral,
like the leaves that drift away,
the drops of water
that fall into the sea
and disappear.

Let your life
be constant sadhana.
Only your practice will save you,
your awakening
bring you to the presence of truth.
Your dedication, your inner knowing
and outer service,
is the vehicle
to carry you and all around you to God.

Dorothy Walters
January 29, 2004

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Last Interview with Gopi Krishna (concluded) 

This is the final segment of the Last Interview of Gopi Krishna, The interview was set up by Gene Kieffer of the Kundalini Research Foundation, and the interviewer was Tom Kay. The Kundalini Research Foundation was begun over thirty years ago for the purpose of publishing the writings of Gopi Krishna and to pursue scientific investigation of kundalini phenomena. Several volumes by Gopi Krishna have now been published, most if not all edited by Gene Kieffer. For more information about Gopi Krishna, see


(NOTE: Now Gopi Krishna continues his discussion of the need to analyze kundalini phenomena and to conduct experiments to further our understanding of kundalini energies.)

TK: You propose taking a hundred people and...

GK: For the experiment a hundred people will be needed but for running the
organization we can have any number of people who have a deep passion for
spiritual matters and who are prepared to mold their lives in consort with
the spiritual laws. They would be more than welcome in this organization.

TK: And these hundred people will lead a life prescribed and hopefully out
of this hundred, one or two will awaken.

GK: Out of the hundred to whom the disciplines are given, maybe three or
four will show the symptoms, some time after which scientists can observe

TK: What would examples of this be? What will happen to these people?

GK: What will happen is that the brain activity will be increased and its
effect will be found all over the body. There will be metabolic processes
which can be measured. There will be physiological changes which can be

TK: And the effects of this on the world?

GK> They will convince the biologist that this change of the mind, of the
brain, has physiological systems. Those into whom these processes start may
bloom into geniuses. By blooming into a mystic, both sides will be
confirmed. For it is the evolution of the brain that creates a mystic or a

TK: And these are the same mystics and geniuses all throughout time, that
we would study in the past?

GK: For the first time we will study the religions and the occult
literature of the world with an aim to finding how the brain evolves, and
what methods are needed to make it more active so that the evolutionary
processes become faster.

TK: So in effect this will be the spearhead of a new race of human beings
to prove all human begins have this ability.

GK: It will be a spearhead for many things. It will be the spearhead of
changes in the social and political systems. It will be a spearhead for the
first time bringing to the notice of the race that there is the potential in
every human being which is the most precious asset that he has, and which
can transform him from a mortal into an immortal and eternal source of

TK: Is this what evolution has meant of human destiny and it is inevitable
for this to take place?

GK: Man has come for this purpose. Otherwise please consider this for a
moment: one whole planet -- the Earth -- and all its kingdom -- mineral,
animal, everything -- is placed at his disposal. Why? Because man has to
attain to other states of consciousness for which all these recourses are
needed by him. Otherwise, if it is not a planned creation it would be
useless to put all this at his disposal. If he has nothing to do, only to
live like animals. It is because he has to reach to higher dimensions of
consciousness that all this Earth and its resources have been placed at his
disposal, and he has been granted an intelligence to make the best use of

TK: A strong love from birth, a strong mother and father, a strong, loving
environment will help develop this.

GK: I can't say strong, but I can say that a more harmonious, more
peaceful, more happy, more contented humanity will come out of this, and
then in every generation there will be some people who have reached the
higher dimensions. They will be the rulers, political leaders, scientists,
and educators. They will guide the race to rise higher and higher and

TK: And we don't have a spiritual leader of that magnitude today?

GK: At this time we do not but they will come. They will be born when
experiments are made and what I say is confirmed.

TK: What is your wish for the children of the future?

GK: Children should be brought up with the ideal cultivated in them that
the universe is ruled by an intelligent power, that they must cultivate
purity, honesty, truth, compassion and live ideal lives. In that way they
will conform to the evolutionary needs. That is the best thing we can do
for the children.

TK: How can we help the people today who have been lost to drugs or have
killed people? What do they need to know?

GK: When you place before them an alternative that in their own entirety
there is a mind of happiness, an ocean of eternal life, and prove it they
will take that path. You must show them a better incentive.

TK: What do we need to evolve moderate lifestyles? How can we effect our
evolutionary process the best?

GK: We need healthy food, simple dress, a clean shelter, a wholesome
occupation, education for our children, to have the highest happiness on
the earth. Happiness comes from the mind, not from the world. A man may
have all the luxuries but his mind might be depressed. He will never be
happy. It is the mind that gives us happiness. A peasant, a poor farmer
eating just a bread with a little salt, sometimes has a better appetite and
eats with more relish, than a rich man who eats all his delicious food.
Nature is very, very wise in this. I have seen people who live hardy lives
who eat with such an appetite, simple foods that one would like to eat with

TK: Are the biological bases of manic depression, schizophrenia, and genius
all manifestations of the same thing?

GK: Yes, they are interrelated. You see, if you do not live a disciplined
life, then the awakening of this center can be unhealthy. We know that many
of the geniuses perhaps have been most mentally unhealthy, had on mental
disorder or the other. This is due to the fact that they did not know how
they had to live. Similarly, we have this schizophrenia. Many people who
think they are poets, some who think they are spiritual geniuses, some who
think they are in touch with God. That means a distorted vision of the same

TK: It means that their Kundalini --if that's the right word -- is off

GK: Yes, it means that the system is not pure and that the energy is not
working in a healthy way.

TK: Do you feel that there are other life forms beyond our life?

GK: There can be in the universe different species of life more intelligent
than we. It is a vast place and there can be thousands of species different
and more intelligent than we.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Last Interview with Gopi Krishna (continuation) 

The last interview with Gopi Krishna continues as follows:

TK: The research of this force is the most urgent task of our time.

GK: It is the most urgent. I have been saying it, after observing my own
state for at least 30 years. For 30 years I said nothing because I wanted
to confirm that my experience was real experience, and not a delusion and
that it is corroborated by ancient tradition. I made a study of those
traditions, and I found that my experience is in conformity to the ancient
traditions. After that I wrote my first book, and now in my 80th year I
solemnly say this and this alone is the answer to modern crises.

The answer is this: The brain is evolving and present science doesn't know
how. There is complete darkness about it because you cannot see this
evolution of the brain. By external observation can see only neurons and
their connections. It has to be seen from internal observation by awakening
this power. When this power is awakened, then you are able to observe the
internal working of the brain and that shows you that you are still

TK: What do you propose? How do we investigate this?

GK: I think any sane government, any good government, should first make
research on the brain, on the nervous system. The ancient religious
traditions, the ancient occult traditions. After all, we have to understand
that religion has always been a companion of man. We have evidence that man
was religious even two hundred thousand years ago. The first relics found
show that those people were performing religious rituals, so it means
religion has always been a part of human life.

What research have we made on it? We have made research on psychic coma.
But no research on religious tradition and religious experience. If we were
to devote as much time and resources as we devote to other scientific
experiments, the results would be a hundred-fold more precious.

TK: The results would prove...

GK: The results will show that the human brain is still organically
evolving, that certain lifestyles, certain ways of behavior are necessary
to live in conformity to the inner changes, and that religion came in time
to guide mankind on this path.

TK: And it is the path that will lead us to the stars, if it is our purpose

GK: It will lead humanity to this new dimension of consciousness. It will
lead to the goal which nature has assigned for her. It will lead humanity
to a peaceful co-existence, to happiness, to long life, to much greater
achievement than she has done, even now. It will lead her to the
exploration of the universe.

TK: How will this affect the political structure?

GK: I need not say, for the experiments will show what kind of life and
what kind of environment a human being must have to evolve completely in
harmony with the law of evolution, there will be more freedom.

TK: I believe that things happpen not by chance but by purpose to our life,
that there is a purpose to our existence.

GK: Now, please tell me, can such a vast creation be purposeless? Can such
a vast creation come out of nothing? Can such a vast creation ruled by laws
be all composed of dead, insensitive matter? The very idea of being -
existence - - comes from the mind. A rock or a mountain or an ocean has no
idea of existence, this existence comes from intelligence, and the author
of the universe must be intelligent. If we didn't have an intelligent
creator, there would be no purpose to this existence. There must be a
purpose. If there was no purpose, how have we then come to have a purpose
in ourselves? We do everything with a purpose. How has this purpose come if
there is no purpose in creation? How do we act on purpose? So it means that
purpose and plan is a part of consciousness.

TK: The very fact that we build nuclear weapons is spiting nature's wrath.
You said that nature is very merciful, and that nature will use the least
amount of force to put us back on the proper path.

GK: Unless nature were merciful, how would we be here? You see this Earth,
inside the Earth, fire, it is a volcano, inside inferno and outside the
Earth fire. You have cosmic rays coming, for which you have an umbrella.
Known as the "hemisphere layer" this umbrella is 50 miles from the earth.
If you didn't have this layer there would be total destruction of all life
in a short time. We are so protected that even on single slip or error can
destroy all of life on Earth. If nature were not merciful, how could we
live? The very fact that we are alive and that all these hazards around us
are controlled by other powers means that nature is merciful and kind.

TK: And even though we are building nuclear weapons, spiting nature's
wrath, nature will be merciful.

GK: It gives us chance after chance. Just as we overeat and go on
overeating, many times nature forgives us. But when we indulge too much in
this bad habit we have a serious pain in our digestive organs. When we
overdo a thing then naturally disaster overtakes us, so we cannot blame
nature. But ourselves, we have an intelligence, we have reason, we have
learning. But if by having everything we ignore it, then of course nature
has no alternative except to teach us by suffering. For instance, 16
civilizations have perished so far, and we are not even aware of what
reasons prevailed that made those civilizations at the height of power
mingle with dust. The reason is that at every stage of progress, life of
man has to change.

For instance, a child grows up and he lives one type of life when (he) is an
infant. Another kind of child, has tastes, his activities change when he is
an adolescent, then further when he is an adult. Then when he is mature and
at last when he is old. At every stage he has different tastes, different
activities, different ways of life. The same is the case of nations and
people. They have to change at every stage in their development. For
instance, there were once feudal systems: before that, clans, tribes, or
monarchies. But now we have democracy, so even the systems of our
governments are changing. Why? Because our brain is evolving. But when we
stop living according to the laws of our evolution, we degenerate
indignantly. This is also happening at present.

TK: If a man wants to go into his room and hang himself, no one can stop
him. This is what we are doing with nuclear weapons.

GK: When we deviate from the path we invite suffering and disaster for us.
There are devices in our brain, in consciousness, which when we digress we
invite a calamity or disaster. We are devising nuclear weapons: there is no
sense in that. War can be fought without nuclear weapons but we are devising
weapons to punish ourselves.

TK: So what is the hope? Where does the hope come from?

GK: Heaven is always merciful. If we analyze the course of our present
dilemma -- crisis -- and try to change that, try to live more in harmony
with the laws of evolution, this threat will be averted. But if we continue
like this there is no chance. We must suffer.

TK: What would you tell the leaders of the world?

GK: The leaders of the world have to be convinced and for that convincing
the experiment is necessary.

TK: The analyzing of Kundalini energy?

GK: We have to show that the brain is evolving, and that this evolution
needs a certain kind of harmonious life. If this life is denied, man
degenerates and brings calamity upon himself.

TK: You have the Kundalini Research Foundation in Canada and in
Switzerland. Please explain to the public what this is.

GK: It can be started anywhere. If it is good, it is started in many
places. The United States can provide a beautiful environment for this

NOTE: The final section of the interview will appear tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gopi Krishna's Last Interview 

I received the following recently from Tom Zatar Kay. It is the last interview with Gopi Krishna, who is in many ways the "granddaddy" of kundalini. His classic work, "Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man", first published in 1975, laid the foundation for our understanding of kundalini thereafter. In this work, he described his own awakening experience and proposed the revolutionary concept that kundalini was in fact the primary engine for the evolution of human consciousness into a higher state of awareness.

I do not agree with all of Gopi Krishna's assertions in this interview, but his is a voice which deserves to be taken seriously.

From: "EcoMall"


TK: Mr Krishna, you have had a Kundalini experience. I wish you could
explain what a Kundalini experience is and what its ramifications are.

GK: Before I start to describe my own experience, perhaps it would be
better to give a little detail about what Kundalini means. We are not using
the totality of the human brain. According to various estimates, most of us
use only ten percent of the brain and according to some only eight percent.
That means 90 percent of the brain is unutilized, that there is still a
large margin in the brain which could be used for other purposes, and
nature has provided it for certain purposes which are not yet known to
science. According to Indian tradition, there is a region in the brain
below the crown and about the pallette which is called Brahmarendra or the
cavity of Brahman. This region can be activated by certain disciplines and
when activated it can give to the individual the same vision of the
universe which all great mystics of the Earth have described. When it is
awakened the normal energy of the body or the blood is not able to fuel the
center. It needs a more powerful and constrained psychic fuel. This fuel
comes from the reproductive system, which is transformed into a kind of
radiation and that radiation awakens and makes the center function.

In my case, the awakening occurred at the age of 34, in 1937. I had been
meditating for 17 years and then all of a sudden during Christmas, while I
was sitting cross-legged in a state of meditation, a strange thing
happened. Something exploded in my brain and a current of silvery light
rising from my spine radiated throughout my whole brain, and I felt myself
expanding in all directions. This expansion was so incredible, so amazing
that I thought that something unusual had happened in my inner ear. After
this I had two other experiences of the same kind, at short intervals
apart, and it then succeeded.

But something was changing in me and I could perceive this change for many,
many years, day and night. In fact, I passed through grave crises during
that period. Finally, I became stabilized in that condition of
consciousness in my 49th year. Since that time I have been living in that
condition. That is to say, before my 34th year I was living in this world
thinking, seeing, perceiving in the same way as other people do, but since
my 49th year I have been living in two different worlds. One is the normal
world of senses and reason, and the other is the world which is much
higher, much more happy and which is totally apart from anything that we
can know of the earth. It is the world of consciousness.

TK: How do you see the world?

GK: We know what all people perceive of this world. I can understand what
you perceive of it, you can understand what I perceive of it. That is, this
perception is uniform. Everyone has the same perception. But this other
perception is different. In this other perception you do not see the world
as a solid, real, objective creation. The real objective creation is
consciousness. You see consciousness everywhere. You see the ocean as if it
is consciousness everywhere. You see the ocean as if it is living; you see a
mountain as if it is living; you see the sky as if it is living; you see the
Earth as if it is living; you see life or consciousness everywhere. And this
life or consciousness is not something which is really dead or which is
something you can understand. It is unfathomable. It is wonder and
everytime you see it, you perceive it. The wonder grows deeper. I am never
tired of sitting in quiet and reflecting on myself. I am never tired of
looking at the sky. The sky, to me, does not appear as it appeared before
my 34th year; it is so fascinating. It is such a beautiful vision that I
would like to look at it for days and months on end. In other words, in the
air a fountain of happiness, a new kingdom, I should say, is opened. This is
probably what Christ meant when he said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within
you." This is the Nirvana of Buddha; and this is the state of Vada
mentioned by the Suffi mystics. In fact, in this inactive state what we
perceive is consciousness in its most magic form, in its glorious form, and
not consciousness as a point looking through the eyes or hearing through the
ears, but a consciousness which has its own channels and which knows that it
is the master and not the slave of the material forces which knows it is the
creator. It is infinite: it is deathless. In this state one feels himself to
be a king, he feels himself to be the master of what he sees. It is not the
ego. I should say it is not the ego; it is the very condition of this
consciousness. That is the reason why it is said that no mystic would
change his state even for a kingdom. It is somehing so unique, so glorious,
so elevating that I have no words to describe this state.

TK: What type of life must a person live to awaken their Kundalini/

GK: In order to make this clear, I would like to say that it is not
Kundalini per se, Kundalini is the power, the mechanism. But actually, what
we do is awaken to activity a certain region in the brain. This means that
nature has already provided a potential in the brain which has to be
awakened. This means that the brain can still organically evolve to a
higher performance. This is my experience, that the human brain is still
organically evolving in the direction of the great mystics, in the same
direction as the great geniuses. For this evolution a certain type of life
is necessary.

For instance, throughout our life this evolution is relentlessly going on
and we have to cooperate with it. When we do not cooperate with the inner
evolution we create problems for ourselves. For that purpose, for the last
5,000 years at least great prophets have been born. Beginning with the
Vedas, then Buddha, then Christ, then Mohammed, then Guru Nanak, and all
the ancient prophets of the Bible, they have been born time after time, and
they have given some 'teaching to mankind', which was a direction for how to
live while the brain is still evolving. Their Sermon on the Mount, the Ten
Commandments, the Discourses of Buddha, The Bhagavad-Gita, and all those
directions contained in the religious scriptures of the Earth -- they are
all meant to regulate our life so that we may live in harmony with the law
of evolution which governs our life.

The revolutionaries have come to regulate the lives of human beings so that
they may work in harmony with the law of evolution that is at work day and
night within their brains. When they depart from this law of evolution,
they always bring calamities or problems upon themselves. The present time
is one such occasion when we have digressed from the laws of evolution and
the result is that we are threatened from many directions.

The life to be lived is just as you see in the sermon on the Mountain - a
life of humility, a life of love, a life of purity, a life in which you
wish for others what you wish for yourself, a life in wich you are pure,
you are not sophisticated, you are not overly clever, you are not smart,
you do not use your cleverness or smartness to take what belongs to others,
a life of extreme purity and a life of simplicity, that you do not waste the
resources of the Earth.

As you know, every animal satisfies his basic needs from the recycled
resources of the Earth. Man is the only creature who is wasting the basic
resources -- the minerals -- for his own luxury and pleasure. That is what
the Sermon on the Mount is meant to teach, that humanity should live
simply, beautiful, pure, compassionate lives. That is the type of life
necessary for the awakening of Kundalini.

TK: And this is what all religions of the world say?

GK: Every prophet, every great mystic, even every philosopher, for
instance, Socrates or Plato. We will find that this life is okay: purity,
compassion, love, service is the ideal life which human beings have to

TK: Is there no change in consciousness in birth or in death? Would you
explain that?

GK: Here we come to metaphysics. We see the sun rising in the morning and
setting in the evening. Actually, is there any change in the sun? The same
is true of consciousness.

Consciousness is eternal: our souls. They are eternal, immutable, omissive,
omni-present, omnipotent, and our spark partakes of the same nature as the
divine, so there can be no death for this, no change for this. The change
occurs in our shells, mind, intellect, the senses. But not in the essence,
the principles which is consciousness.

TK: The more we use our mind, the greater our development of our evolution
takes place.

GK: The human brain is evolving rapidly because from morning until evening
we are applying our brain to some task, we are reading, we are looking
through the newspapers, we are watching the television or we are working in
the office.

Most of the people are applying their brain throughout the day, this was
not the case before when people hunted or when they were tilling the soil;
they had no need to apply their brain in such a constrained way.

We are now applying our brain in a very constrained way, from morning until
night. In other words we are meditating, though on material objects. The
result is a rapid state of evolution.

Our way of life must change, but we have not changed, on the other hand. We
have made our living and our life more and more complex and intricate, so
that all day we are working and working and working to feed our belly, to
live. We are giving no time to the mind, no time to the spirit. We are not
giving any thought to it. The results is that there is a disproportionate
evolution. We have developed a very powerful intellect as seen by the
scientific discoveries that have been made and the changes that have
occurred in our life, but on the other hand our spiritual and moral growth
has been negligible.

So what we have in modern times is a disproportionate human being, a giant
of the intellect, on the one hand, and a pygmy of moral or spiritual growth.
This disproportion is at the base of the present threatening situation of
the world.

TK: What can we do to remedy that?

GK: What we can do is to make a thorough research of all the religious
scriptures of mankind, of all the occult traditions of the past, and to
make experiments on the brain. In fact, yoga was devised in India to make
experiments on the brain. The very word "yoga" means to yoke, to join the
individual soul with the over-soul, with moderation, with temperance. It is
this type of life that has to be led, not a luxury life of wasting the
Earth's resources, of pollutants polluting the planet, so that nature's
forces are now creating a situation in which either calamity occurs which
will change the direction of human life, or by their own sensible reaction
they will change themselves. Change has to occur in any way.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Poems by Kit Kennedy 

Kit Kennedy is one of my oldest and most beloved friends in San Francisco. We met years ago at a poetry reading and have shared our mutual interest in poetry (as well as other things) since that time. Kit is well known in poetry circles both locally and nationally. She has published widely in numerous anthologies, and she herself "hosts" a major cafe poetry reading event each month. This reading has grown significantly since her taking it over, and now attracts many dozens of poets and listeners.

She now writes a monthly column for Betty's List at http://www.bettyslist.com/ where she does interviews with people active in the LGBT community. To read her column, go to the site and scroll down a bit where her writing and her picture appear in the middle column.

Many observers have speculated that there is a close relationship between kundalini and creative energy. The artist is often fueled by deep forces within which spur her to devote herself fully to her art. Kit seems to exemply this notion. She is a totally dedicated writer, and constantly works to refine her craft. She is also highly experimental, and demonstrates to the rest of us what a less traditional approach to poetry can achieve.


You don’t have to master
how body works

mathematic equations
brain translating fragrance

how/if moon impacts growth lemon & rosemary
(which you will add to the dish)

candles illuminating dark

why on the longest night you scatter alphabet

or the soul
how it so wants



what I wish I heard
what I meant to say

your eyelids frost with time
glass/pane milky/cloudy

of memory
of forgetfulness

of the simple
how a black stroke is a strand of hair

is calligraphy is wedge between light and
is not saying sorry


what she hums in the shower
which body part she bathes first
soap of preference.

How tall
how slender her wrists
personal history
frequented slang
favorite cheese
does she truly adore figs
time of bed
of waking
with whom.

Does she write/edit to the same music.

Does her process favor sun or drape.

Which thread wetted awaits her next needle.

(all copyrighted by Kit Kennedy)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Poetry of Pain, Poetry of Exaltation 

Loneliness, isolation, and despair have been the dominant themes of much of modern poetry. Louise Gluck, whose work focuses almost exclusively on these dark themes, is among the most outstanding of contemporary poets. She has won great (and well deserved) acclaim for her work. It transforms her own inner suffering into radiant beauty, such as is achieved only by the master poets among us.

The first poem (written by me) arose from considering her portrait as well as her poems, which reflect all too clearly her ongoing inner suffering.

However, once kundalini catapults us into inexpressible bliss, we surrender our grief for transcendence, relinquish sorrow for joy. So--I am including a poem of exaltation (by "Cloud of Unknowing"), to illustrate how it is that we can celebrate our rapture as well as our pain. As someone has remarked, in order to achieve enlightment, we must surrender even our neuroses.

Only What Weeps

(Louise Gluck)

I don’t know what to do about you.

Stricken, stricken,
intractable grief,
unyielding sorrow--

these your inheritance,
the foundation
of your constant elegy.

The lament which is your life.
The despair which is you.

The honors did nothing
to cheer you,
to lift you into the realm
of light.

Eliot, Dante, Persephone—
all who cling to darkness,
these your comrades,
your cherished soul companions,
explorers of the twilight realm
which ever lurks and threatens.

For you, only what weeps
is real.

Your lines are clothed in beauty,
elegance of the despairing witness,
revelation of perfected craft.

What would you do
if sunlight crept
into your hollow cell,
illumined its shadowed corners,
would you disappear,
become just another
droning summery voice?

Dorothy Walters
January 18, 2007

The Secret Religion

At night I worship
Fire at my feet
Rising, centered,
I beg Her to
Burn me away
I beg

She draws me in
Until there is nothing of me
But a point of love
Revolving around Her Gravity

This is a terrible poem. . .
How can I describe what it is like
To be taken apart
Bit-by-bit, atom-by-atom
Every night
By the Woman who is all women?

Only those who have dared caress Her
Who have blasphemed strongly enough to
Taste Her nectar
Can know My Secret Religion

By Cloud of Unknowing
January 11, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

An Important New Site 



Consciousness as power, the supreme energy, the female counterpart of Siva as Pure Consciousness. (from the beginning of the site.)

Cathy Woods has recently set up an important new website for all who are interested in kundalini, especially as it unfolds in one's personal life. Among other things, she is posting her own personal narrative of her awakening experience. As she comments in the beginning, such public revelation of such private events is not easy. She is to be commended for her courage in going forward and sharing with us her story. I strongly believe that we learn immeasurably from such sharings, for they are the truth of the experience as it is lived, not the ideal model we so often encounter in our readings in the various texts both early and recent.

Here are the dedication, introduction and first chapter of her account:

She is beautiful as a chain of lightning
and fine as a (lotus) fibre,
and shines in the minds of the sages.
She is extremely subtle,
the awakener of pure knowledge,
the embodiment of bliss,
whose true nature is pure consciousness.

This site comes from the personal experience
of a Kundalini release and the desire to share
the resources and stories that have been helpful to me.
May the Goddess Kundalini bless all who visit this site.

The essence of the rose is released when the rose bush has been pruned and pruned until the bud has opened into the bloom..the split second between the bud and the rose is known only to those who become roses.
The Last Barrier by Reshad Feild


It is with some trepidation that I begin this very personal story of the Goddess Kundalini awakening in me. To speak so publicly about such an intensely private process is difficult, but it also fills me with a sense of awe and gratitude that I am able, through the wondrous technology of the internet, to speak to you, the reader, who may also be going through a bewildering series of symptoms and emotional upheavals due to the release of an intense pranic awakening.

I felt very alone when this process began. In searching for help, I realized that there are few people who are knowledgeable about the deeper aspects of the changes that occur once Kundalini has been released from her sleeping position at the base of the spine, and there are few books written about the personal aspects of such a cataclysmic event in one's life. If my story will help any of you feel a little less alone, then the hesitation I feel over being so public will offset my fears.

As I am writing this story, I remember how, for years, my mother wrote her own stories in stenographers' notebooks, which were tucked away in a bottom drawer in her bedroom. When she died, I looked for them - hoping that I would get a chance to read what she had written - but they were gone, never to be shared with anyone. It is now a few days before I will send this story out into the universe and I have this dream:

"My Mother has been at a workshop on Kundalini which I organized. Unfortunately, I forget to bring her home and she can't find her own way back. A man brings her to my door, opens it, and gently pushes her into my apartment. I feel so badly for her and for forgetting her. She is cold and a little frightened so I hold her; then I put her to bed and get in beside her to keep her warm."

Cathy Woods

When Kundalini awakens one invariably feels some involuntary movements of the body, which begin with trembling and shaking, with an intensity varying with different persons. Some experience violent shaking of different kinds, as does a car before starting when the dynamo begins to work. Such physical movements are accompanied with a heretofore-not-experienced feeling of pleasure of spiritual awakening, and the brain becomes heavy as under intoxication. These are the first symptoms of an awakened Kundalini and are followed by various signs and experiences too many to be enumerated.
Devatma Shakti (Kundalini): Divine Power by Swami Vishnu Tirtha (see Manifestations)

Chapter 1 - Awakening

May 13, 1999. Life is about to change in ways I could never imagine. I have been suffering from a Chronic Fatigue-type Syndrome for 13 years and have tried every conceivable type of treatment to shift this devastating condition.

In the morning, I go for my regular acupuncture treatment despite a dream in which my husband, Peter, says, "Stay home and look after your little boy and girl". The treatment feels different from any other in my long and often grueling years of needles and herbal remedies.

I come home and fall into a deep sleep. When I waken I can't seem to move my arms or my legs. This is not a new experience for me; it has happened many times before over the past years of illness. However, this time something feels different. After several minutes, I am able to move my limbs but I don't seem to be able to get up. At first I can't seem to remember who I am or where I am. As I will discover much later, the old Cathy is gone and a new person, "the essence of the rose," is beginning to emerge. I fall back into sleep and when I waken the second time I feel as if I am pulling myself back from the land of the dead. I am totally disoriented and cannot find words to tell Peter what is happening to me.

Over the next few days, I drift in and out of a place where there are no words to describe what is happening to me. It is a frightening and bewildering place. It will be several weeks before I come upon this poem by Rumi-

Out beyond ideas of
wrongdoing and rightdoing
there lies a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

In this last acupuncture treatment, Dr. Wang puts a needle in just above my navel. I read later that this is called Conception Vessel Nine and it is where some cultures feel the divine enters the body. During the treatment I seem to enter another place and time. For the next few weeks I am awash with dreams and strange symptoms. I have trouble speaking to anyone about what is happening to me. My body is burning up. I can hardly lift my arms; I have to prop them with pillows because they hurt so much and I am afraid to jar them. The headaches, which I have suffered from for many years, become violent and there is enormous pressure and heat in my head. My brain feels as if it has closed down or is wrapped in thick layers of cotton. Every cell of my body feels as if it is on fire.

I recall a dream I had a few months before. My older brother is crying on the floor with his head in his hands - almost in a posture of supplication. From the sky two large hands rest lovingly on his shoulders. I know they are the hands of the Goddess. At the time I don't think of Her as Kundalini. I paint a picture of the dream and hang it on the wall behind my head in my bedroom. She watches over me as I travel into the underworld.

In the following weeks, I look back at my dreams and journal entries leading up to the awakening:

April 8. Journal entry: I throw my Chinese coins and find this reading in the I Ching. No. 41: Decrease, "..by this decrease of the lower powers of the psyche, the higher aspects of the soul are enriched. If the movement of the spinal nerves is brought to a standstill, the ego, with its restlessness, disappears, as it were..all thoughts should restrict themselves to the immediate situation..all thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore."

May 8. Dream: I fall into a valley. It is a long way down and I am amazed that I can manage it. At the very bottom I turn and slip into a man's arms and we kiss. When I get back to the top of the valley, I meet my husband. There is a woman beside him, who is psychic. She says two words 'no aim'.

May 8. Journal entry: It's a death right now, everything in me is wearing out: in the outer world as well as the inner. My clothes, kitchen utensils, car - all seem to be disappearing. This has been happening for some time but it is getting more powerful. I keep leaving people in my dreams. My body feels as if it is wearing out. All I can attend to is the inside.

May 9. Dream: I move temporarily to a new place with friends. It is such a big job. I do as much as I can and leave the rest to others. I haven't seen the place before I move in; I can't believe how run down it is and yet I feel as if I can manage it for about three months.

May 12. Dream: I am to be a companion to a woman prisoner. I realize that I, too, will be a prisoner by having to live with her. We go on a motorbike and fly over a cliff, sailing a long way down into a gully. It is freeing and thrilling. We have no seat belts. I realize that we have a long drop and the wind drafts don't allow us to descend. I try my best to stay calm. She is brave but I am sure she is scared, too. Then I am on the ground with her. I had blacked out. I am told people are coming to help us and then I see a sign; it says 'memories'. I feel as if I have let this woman down. Then another woman comes and takes a whole roll of pictures of the prisoner and me. I am self conscious, but I know I want a record of this event.

As I lie in bed over the next months, I take heart from the I Ching readings, my dreams, and Peter's quiet, steady presence. I am reminded of what I have learned in working with others and from all of my studying - that the most important thing a person can do, in accompanying someone going through a spiritually transformative upheaval, is not to show fear, to be quiet and available when needed, and to have faith that ultimately what is happening is a blessing. All of these things Peter seems to instinctively know. I think of all the years he has spent immersing himself in the natural world, as a naturalist and photographer, and of the many times in our years together when I would be frightened and he would remind me that when one is lost in the forest it is best to stay still and not to panic.

I have read many books, over the years, about the spiritual aspect of illness in a desperate attempt to understand the experience of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and to find some meaning in the terrible suffering I have been going through. I read about the shamanic initiatory illnesses, which can go on for years, and about Gopi Krishna's very difficult experiences with a Kundalini Awakening, but it takes me several weeks before I realize that I, too, am in the process of a spiritual transformation. I feel as if I am awash in the unconscious. Every day I experience a sense of something narrowing and closing in on me and then my body begins to shake and jerk (later I learn that these movements are called kriyas). I cry or laugh and have no idea why. These states come and go and seem to have no connection to what is happening in my outer life. When I need support, Peter lies beside me very quietly, just holding my hand, while I go through what feels like a tunnel squeezing in on me.

For four days I lose my sense of balance. Every time I move my head, the room spins around. It is terrifying in the night, when I jerk out of sleep, to feel a sense of whirling about in space with no ground beneath me. I hang on to Peter to steady me. Dr. Wang says the damp weather is aggravating the dampness in my head. This gives some framework for the experience, but when I read about the ancient shamanic ritual involving a swiveling board, I feel a sense of peace.

The medicine men of Carib Pujai (Dutch Guiana) are known as masters of the spirit..Experiencing the other world is referred to as ascending. The body is in a state of unconsciousness, in which the spirit of the novice must learn to ascend to the celestial realm. (One initiate describes his initiation)..a bench was constructed on which he had to sit. This bench was mounted on a swivel so that it could be rotated rapidly, with him seated on it, and then unwound at a great speed, in order to induce a trance state. (Along with other practices) he soon found himself at the "crossroads of life and death", where his guide instructed him about life after death. The initiate chants, "The turning bench..will bring me to the wall of heaven. I shall see the village of Tukajana (the spirit) from within."
Dreamtime and Inner Space by Holger Kalweit

I open this book, while lying spinning on my bed, just to the page which tells of this initiation practice. I find great comfort in knowing that others have gone through this experience, and that there is meaning in this off-kilter state I am in.

I wonder who my guides will be.

Copyright, Cathy Woods

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cavafy (poem) 

I like to study the pictures of poets and write poems in response. Here is one I wrote today on the famous Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy, who lived from 1863-1933. Cavafy was very well versed in the classics, and many of his poems reflect this background. He was also a homosexual, and some of his poems are erotic in tone.

I sometimes have reflected that "coming out" as a mystic, particularly as one who has experienced kundalini, is comparable to the process of "coming out" as a gay or lesbian. Both kundalini and homosexuality are little known to certain segments of society and both are often viewed with suspicion. Both are often hidden from the world at large, for people frequently are loathe to reveal their intimate lives to an unsympathetic and uncomprehending world. Often there is no one to share the experience with. Many times when one does share this deeply personal experience with others, he or she is met with disbelief or misunderstanding.

However, generally, the one living outside the mainstream in these ways feels the rewards of fully claiming his/her identity are well worth the price (possible rejection and disapproval) which society may exact.

Both paths reveal the continuing mystery of human experience.


Oh, Cavafy,
petulant, erudite,
sensuous, withdrawn.
How reticent you were
to yield
to what your body
How reluctant to let
that hidden feeling
flow into words.
Each syllable so precious,
infused with longing.

In the end
you could not deny it,
and so you wrote.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pondering God (poem) 

Pondering God

What is
God, I wondered,
and, just at that moment,
as the screen saver revolved
to another image,
a picture of a clown
flashed across the screen.

So, I asked, is this the answer to
my question?
Is this high unthinkable being
just that, a clown, a prankster,
a no good practical joker
leaving us to reap
the uncertain rewards of his fun,
the remains
dreadful or dear
of his puckish, no
more like capricious
and sometimes terrifying
sense of humor?
Are we then mere
pawns for his amusement,
our pangs and our joys
equally entertaining?

The Hindus name the world’s spectacle
Lila, the play of God.

And then, I reflected,
if indeed, we are merely God’s toys,
the playthings of the divine,
who is it I speak to
at morning,
who speaks back
saying these poems
with their honeyed words,
who is with me
when I stand before my Buddha
and tremble?

Jan 16, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

On One Side (poem) 

On One Side

On one side of the path, ecstasy,
on the other, dull grief…

Denise Levertov

Hail to the mother of us all!
I salute the holy receptacle
from which we come!


I slip through
the narrow opening
between the great rocks
which witness
in silence.
I continue,
into sun,
into darkness,
sometimes stumbling,
sometimes plunging ahead.

At night
I slumber
beside my fire
as the eyes of the beasts
stare back at me,
embers studding
the cape of dark.

By day, the sun
emblazons the wavering landscape,
burning fields of amber light,
forests ringed
by fire.

I have forgotten about food.
I drink the dew of the leaves
at morning,
find hidden springs
beneath the stones.

I continue
for countless unmarked hours,
innumerable streaming days,
sometimes forgetting
that this is mine,
the path I have chosen,
the way I have wanted
to be.

I will know
my destination
when I arrive.

Dorothy Walters
January 14, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ivan Granger's new e-book 

Ivan Granger, the gifted creator of www.poetry-chaikhana.com has just posted an exciting e-book on line. This book is a compilation of the many intriguing "thoughts for the day" which Ivan has posted through the years.

Here is his explanation for doing this book:

I am constantly asked about the thought for the day included with the daily poem email. The first question I get is, Who is the author? (I am.) The next is, Are they available as a collection?

With the following ebook I can finally answer yes to that question...
The Silence Will Teach You :Sayings and Artwork by Ivan M. Granger

Download 861K

The download is free. If you find it inspiring, a donation is welcome, but not required. I hope you enjoy it!

PS - Keep an eye on the Poetry Chaikhana links for other ebooks coming soon.

(Note: see ftp://poetry-chaikhana.com/silence_will_teach.zip_ If this doesn't work, e-mail Ivan at the poetry chaikhana site.)


About five years ago, several things in my life seemed to converge into a spiritual crisis for me. At the time my wife and I were living on the island of Maui. A friend sent several tapes of David Whyte's talks, a very engaging combination of poetry and personal anecdotes. Although Mr. Whyte lives in the Pacific Northwest, he still retains a wonderful, mellow British accent that pools and ferments in the mind. So, I was driving the country roads of Maui, among cane fields and cow pastures, listening to David Whyte.

I also started reading the poetry of Ramprasad. I had never come across poetry like that before, deeply devotional, but filled with exuberance, irony, sometimes playfully petulant, even moments of outrage. Ramprasad’s songs felt like a full relationship with the Divine. Every emotion, every thought was allowed; not just allowed, but fully utilized upon the spiritual path. Ramprasad's poems were devout and fierce all at once! For me, it was an electrical combination.

Also around the same time I came across the work of the Sufi poet Shaykh Abu Said Abil-Kheir. Again, I was stunned by the beauty, and humor, and cutting insight.
But in the midst of reading this poetry, I was also going through a personal collapse. I felt as if I had lost all direction. The feeling wasn’t new, but this time I was no longer such a young man. My excuses seemed frail. Instead of fighting that lurking despair, something in me found the courage to just surrender. I found myself thinking, maybe this is all I am, maybe this is all my life is. Not bad, but nothing special. It's just as it is.

That surrendering created an unexpected and profound spiritual opening in my life. Almost immediately I dropped into a state of deep silence and inexpressible joy.

I started journaling about this transformed awareness and perspective as it quietly unfolded within me, but I soon found that what really wanted to come out was poetry… and these short sayings.

I now share them with you in the hopes that they carry the same terse truth and quiet power they continue to hold for me.

Ivan M. Granger Bellingham, Washington January 2007

All of mysticism comes down to this:
to recognize what is already and always there.

You can’t think your way to heaven.

Be willing to drop all addiction
to mental chatter and the trance it creates.

The Divine is experienced by the heart.
The intellect, at best, can only trail behind and take notes.

If love does not rule your heart,all activity is just the spinning of wheels.

The goal of the ego is not perfection.
It’s ultimate goal
is to fade away in order to reveal the perfection already present.

The ego itself is the veil of Maya, both hiding and, ultimately, revealing Divine Reality.

How can you settle into yourselfwithoutself-acceptance?

You can never be separated from your Self, your being, God.
The only “work” there is to do is to become fully aware of this immutable fact.

(Note: Ivan requests that none of this material be reprinted without his express permission.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Poems Read Aloud 

The wonders of the internet never cease to amaze me. My friends (Eric Ashford and N. M. Rai) have done me the honor of putting up spoken readings of several of my recent poems on the following sites:

"Like the Hidden Mountain Columbine" by Dorothy Walters

"Until Even the Angels" by Dorothy Walters

"What If" by Dorothy Walters

Eric, who lives in England, reads the poems beautifully. Both spoken and written versions of the poems are included for these poems, all of which I have recently posted on this site (kundalini splendor).

The Spiritreadings blog also includes many poems by Eric, who continues to pour forth his stunning verses, and N.M. Rai, whose work is truly lovely. I consider it quite an honor to be included along with these two gifted artists.

Thank you, dear friends, for this unexpected gift!


Friday, January 12, 2007

Dealing with the Shadow through Poetry 

When I published my book of poetry a few years ago, I included poems of sorrow and pain and well as those of illumination. I was surprised to learn that for some readers, the poems of suffering were among their favorites, for these verses spoke to their own states of feeling.
Certain Tibetan teachings say that one should not skirt around pain, nor deny its existence, but rather one should simply go through it and thereby overcome it.
One of the major advantages of art is that it allows us to do just that--to express our encounters with "the shadow" as well as our moments of exaltation. All of us have times when we feel a bit down, when bliss and delight seem to have vanished from our lives. Some use painting, some music, and some of us release our feelings into poetry. Distinguished poets such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath wrote constantly of their pain, their inner emotional distress.
So, recently, when I was feeling a bit "down," I decided to let my thoughts come forth as poetry. The poems which follow are, in part, a reflection of my own feelings at that time, but, since this is after all poetry, I used a bit of poetic license to embroider the images somewhat. And the little period of depression soon vanished (along with the cold which likely brought it on) and I am in good spirits once more.
(I hesitated to put this up at all, since many look to poetry for inspiration and encouragement, and these are, frankly, more down draft than uplift.)
Maiden, Stranger, Mother, Death

you are the dew and the bells of matins,
maiden, stranger, mother, death.


You were the maiden,
just as you had always wanted.
You discovered all of it,
the needy tongue,
the caressing and being caressed,
everywhere was a blessing.

Then your heart got torn out
while you were still alive,
not once,
but many times over.
You never ceased to wonder.


Always you went in
as a stranger.
You found no one
to talk to,
to uncover your secrets.

Even when they seemed
to be listening,
to understand,
their minds wandered,
to some still unexplored topic,
some lost memory or
new fascination.

Finally, you gave up
trying, and succumbed to silence.


You never desired
a child of flesh,
so you crafted one
of the spirit.

Sometimes she seemed to form
in front of you,
like a phantasm
of the imagination,
or else offered herself
as an illusory body,
someone you could
hold and be held by,
someone real.


You didn’t want to delve too deeply
into this cave
of timeless dark
where the unfathomable waited.

There were no reports
from those who returned
from final visits.

The others--the brighter account--
you mistrusted
as being incomplete,
aborted journeys.

And so you waited
in the half light
of your life
till the cycle
came round again.

Dorothy Walters/January 1, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What If (poem) 

What If

What if it is given to us
not to know, but to feel constantly
those currents of love and agony
which flow unceasingly
through us, through the world,
thrilling the trees
with their bent boughs,
caressing the waves torn by their own
incessant pummeling
against the shore,
even the birds
when they are not here.
What if we can never unravel
the mystery of the eye
following its shimmering beam to
the lover's eye,
the lip seeking the lip.
the invalid crying

What if we can uncover nothing
beyond this terrible witnessing,
this anguished rapture?

Dorothy Walters
January 1, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Until Even the Angels (poem) 

Until Even the Angels

What the heart wants
is to follow its passion,
to lie down with it
near the reeds beside
the river,
to devour it in the caves
between the desert dunes,
to sing its notes
into the morning sky
until even the angels
wake up
and take notice
and look around
for their beloved.

Dorothy Walters
January 8, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Like the Hidden Mountain Columbine (poem) 

Like the Hidden Mountain Columbine

Is the soul solid like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Mary Oliver

Is the spirit hard and impenetrable
like andradite or a chunk of fallen sky?
Or is it fluid like silt
at the bottom of a departed river,
or silk soothing the thighs
of an ancient dancer before the king?

Is it loud, like cymbals clashing
in front of a procession
heralding a hero’s return . . . .
Or is it timorous and shy,
the notorious violet withdrawn
or the hidden mountain columbine . . . .

Does it go swaggering abroad daring the sunlight,
dazzling onlookers with its sheen,
or does it come creeping out at candlelight
furtively searching for the love it needs . . . .

This spirit, its cloak diaphanous or close woven,
how strange it is,
how enfolded in its

Dorothy Walters
January 8, 2007
San Francisco

Monday, January 08, 2007

A New Kundalini Website 

A new website (www.kundalinisupport.org/)

Lawrence Edwards has created a wonderful new site for those who wish to learn more about the kundalini process. It contains much valuable information, and includes answers for some of the commonest questions about kundalini. Here is a sample:

What is Kundalini?

Kundalini is a term from the yogic tradition for the power of the Divine. It is Kundalini who creates the universe and knows Its Self as Creator. Kundalini has been called “the face of God.” Just as we recognize someone by his or her face, we recognize the Divine by Its power of Consciousness, Kundalini. It is Kundalini that clothes the formless in form, that gives the Absolute a face to adore, a presence to inspire, traditions to revere and a body of wisdom to serve and guide.

The Eastern traditions revere Kundalini as a Goddess, the Great Mother who gives birth to all that is. She is seen as taking on limitations, contracting and condensing to form the material world. She is the essential energy, more fundamental than nuclear power, that is the basis of who we are and all that we experience. When our limited mind is infused with Her transcendent power of Consciousness we know directly the truth of our unity with the Divine and all Its creation. Every spiritual tradition has its name for Kundalini - Holy Spirit, Grace, Shekhinah, Anima, Chi, Bodhicitta- and every saint and mystic has known Her blessing. Seekers on all paths need Her grace to succeed on their journeys. For this reason shamans, yogis, monks, priests, nuns and aspirants of all types approach Her as suppliants. Being the Great Mother, the Great Lover, She’s willing to take whatever shape and bare whatever name Her children wish to use as they bow to Her.

Kundalini is often used to refer to the power of the Divine present in each person. She has two aspects. One maintains the entire existence of our body, mind and spirit. The other aspect, considered dormant, is the power of Consciousness to know the Divine in Its infinitude as Self. This potential power, innate to all of us, can propel our awareness from the paltry limitations of individual existence, with all its wants and needs and deficiencies, to Unity Consciousness - the sublime awareness of our Divine Self, infinite and all-encompassing. Symbolized by a coiled serpent asleep in the center of earth-bound consciousness, this aspect of Kundalini awaits the great awakening, the most profoundly important event in the long life of the soul, a life that extends over countless cycles of physical birth and death.

What is Kundalini Awakening?

Shaktipat, the Sanskrit term for Kundalini awakening, means “descent of grace.” It is an act of grace, an act of the Divine that releases the dormant potential power of the Absolute residing within us. God blesses God so that God may know God. Your true Self blesses you so that you may know your Self.

Kundalini awakening may occur in a ritual designed specifically for such a transmittal of power, as in some initiation ceremonies or as baptism was once meant to be. The person conducting the initiation and the ritual or practices must have the power to invoke such an awakening for it to be genuine. Unfortunately there are many, many more imposters than there are genuine conduits for the power of Grace.

Awakening can also occur through various yogic practices and disciplines developed over thousands of years specifically for preparing the mind and body for this vast influx of power and aiding in the arousal of Kundalini. Prayer, devotional practices, chanting, selflessly serving others, meditation, mantras, ritual dance, drumming and many other sacred endeavors can awaken Divine Consciousness, Kundalini.
Spontaneous awakening of Kundalini can be precipitated by near death experiences, traumatic experiences, pain, deep sorrow, prolonged periods of one-pointed concentration, or even in dreams through the initiation given by a wise being. It’s even possible for one to have been initiated in a past life and have the signs of awakened Kundalini continue in this life without any recollection of the past-life Shaktipat.

Though Kundalini awakening is the greatest prize on the spiritual quest, the blessed soul receiving this grace is on its way to the realization of the highest, the awakening and its attendant process of renewal is not without peril. When the dormant or potential aspect of the Kundalini arises, Her single intent is the transformation of individual consciousness with its vehicles - mind and body - into fully expanded Consciousness of the Divine. That process of transformation and purification is marked by both beatific sublime experiences of the Divine, as well as by dark nights of the soul, by physical, emotional and mental states of ecstasy as well as periods of purgation and distress. Kundalini awakening can create experiences that mimic psychiatric and somatic disorders. As you study this field you will find many accounts of misdiagnosis and mistreatment of what is essentially a Divinely inspired process.

The Soul’s Journey focuses on the many dimensions of transformation wrought by the grace of Kundalini. She works on all levels of human experience; nothing remains untouched by Kundalini! When I did my doctoral research examining the changes wrought by Kundalini I found 169 types covering virtually all of human functioning. If you have experienced Kundalini awakening or you’re seeking it, be prepared for a cosmic makeover!

The awakened Kundalini can stir up everything from latent diseases of the body to emotional or psychological disturbances. Some people feel like chaos has descended upon them, not grace, as Kundalini renovates body, mind and relationships. Symptoms of Kundalini arousal include: sweating, trembling, sensations of heat and cold, rushes of energy through the body or up and down the spine, fear, anxiety, weight loss or gain, food cravings, dissociation, visions, out-of-body experiences, body movements and hatha yoga postures happening spontaneously during meditation, retention of breath and other changes in breathing patterns, mantras and sounds arising from within, distortions of time and space, profound stillness and peace, healings, habits or addictions dropping away, inspired creativity, and states of boundless ecstasy and love arising for no apparent reason. This is just a partial list of what may be experienced.

These signs of Kundalini process may be confused with or misdiagnosed as anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, dissociative disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other diseases. While initial experiences may focus on physical, emotional and mental purification and transformation, shifts in values, attitudes and behaviors will also occur and have a major impact on relationships. Changes in appetites for food and sex along with attitude and value changes are the most stressful areas of transformation for relationships.

Kundalini opens the doors of perception to vast realms of Consciousness. Your meditation may include visions, lights, colors, sounds, journeys to archetypal realms, and infinite expanses of utter stillness throbbing with an absolute fullness of Being. Tears of joy may stream down your face as love beyond measure courses through your body. The Kundalini’s gifts are incomparable. After receiving them no one is ever the same.
Support is essential for anyone experiencing Kundalini awakening and evolution. Finding skilled and knowledgeable individuals who can assist and guide without pathologizing or taking advantage of the vulnerable state one is in can be difficult. Out of desperation and ignorance people give up their power and discrimination to teachers or practitioners who create dependence, demand loyalty or secrecy or otherwise compromise the autonomy and integrity of the seeker.

The guru market is worse than the used car market, be wary! There are few bad intentioned individuals, but ignorance can be nearly as harmful. If you’re seeking support ask whomever you’re approaching for help - potential teachers, counselors, psychotherapists, health professionals - about their experience and knowledge of dealing with spiritual experiences, Kundalini and the dynamics of spiritual transformation. If you don’t like their answers, move on. I’ve listed resources and organizations for people to contact for possible help, but they don’t come with a blanket recommendation. It is critical that you carefully check out anybody you are considering giving the privilege of entering into your sacred process. It is also critical to remember that you can always expel them if you feel your boundaries, integrity or autonomy are being violated or if you become aware of them doing that to another person.

There are many approaches to working with Kundalini. My experience is based on a loving, devotional path of reverence for the Infinite within everyone and everything. My guru and teachers worshipped the Kundalini and received Her full blessings. If you want to draw near to some one, what better way than through love? Do you think this wouldn’t be true of the Divine? However, there are teachers who speak of attacking the Kundalini, forcing Her to do their bidding, prodding Her into action and other aggressive approaches. They’re also more likely to focus on negative effects of Kundalini awakening, “wrong rising” of Kundalini and directing the Kundalini by will or force. I believe this attempt to assert control is part of the outmoded patriarchal paradigm in which male gods and male priests sought to over-throw the Divine Feminine. Some yogic paths have a very strong patriarchal bias, denouncing women, viewing them as dangerous to one on the spiritual path and treating Kundalini as dangerous and in need of subjugation.

Given that kind of hostile way of treating Kundalini, is there any wonder that difficulties ensue? Instead, seek to understand, appreciate and be in harmony with Her through study, self-discipline, meditation and devotion. She is the power of your own Divinity come to take you home. Who has greater intelligence and knowledge than Her? It’s hubris to think we know better and She should follow our will! What will we have is a gift, a tiny spark of Her Divine Will. Let’s use it to keep in step with Her dance as best we can!

Here are the questions dealt with on the site (some of which I also helped to answer):

What is Kundalini?
What is Kundalini Awakening?
What are the signs and symptoms of a Kundalini Awakening (KA)?
How do you deal with Kundalini Awakening symptoms? How can you stay grounded when the energy is intense?
Is there a feminist view of KA?
Are there differences in KA for men and women?
Is there a Western view of KA?
What is the Jungian view of KA?
How does homosexuality fit into KA?
What is Enlightenment?
Why do some gurus seem so unenlightened?
Does an Awakening always lead to Enlightenment?
What does it feel like 20 years after KA begins?
Can you provide some advice about the ebb and flow of the process?
Why do some people have more problems with KA than others?
Are there other resources for learning about KA?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Greetings from Anam Cara 

Here are greetings for the new year from Lawrence Edwards (Kalidas) who founded the organization Anam Cara (which means soul friend.)

Greetings and Namaste

Throughout the month of December the Divine Presence has been celebrated in many ways through various traditions -'Christ's birthday, Buddha's enlightenment, the solar return, and Hanukah, just to name a few! Now it is time to look towards a fresh beginning as we head into the New Year with all the blessings of the Friend! The start of anything is a critical time for mindfulness and clarity of purpose. Of course this is true for the New Year with everyone's resolutions and good intentions polished and ready to go! It is said that gratitude, generosity and contentment are luminous rays emanating from the heart of wisdom within us. It is the perfect time to contemplate these three virtues, allowing them to infuse our actions with their kindly and openhearted natures.

Gratitude, Generosity and Contentment

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. (Thornton Wilder)

I had to seek the Physician
because of the pain this world
caused me.
I could not believe what happened
when I got there--I found my Teacher.
Before I left, he said,
"Up for a little homework, yet?"
"Okay," I replied.
"Well then, try thanking all the people
who have caused you pain.
They helped you
come to me." (Kabir)

"Freely ye have received, freely give."(Saint Matthew)

"The wise man does not lay up treasure.
The more he gives to others,
the more he has for his own." (Lao- Tze)

"Master Ryokan made his way home one moonlit night and found a thief rummaging through his empty hermit's hut for something to rob. "Poor fellow," Ryokan said, "you have come so far for nothing. Please don't leave empty-handed. Take my clothes." Ryokan stripped and gave them to the departing thief."Poor fellow," Ryokan said stepping outside and looking at the sky, "how I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon." (Traditional Zen Story)

"The Lord's greatest gift is the state in which one doesn't want anything." (Swami Muktananda)

The greatest practice is Compassion.
The greatest discipline is Patience.
The greatest path is Love.
Resolve to faithfully and enthusiastically follow these,
And you will know yourself to be Free. (Kalidas)

January & February Programs January 14, 2007 - Meditation for Health and Wellbeing - learn to meditate or deepen your meditation practice by spending a day focused on the principles and practices that make meditation effective and enjoyable. This popular program includes a powerpoint presentation on the amazing scientific research on the many health benefits of meditation. Makes a special holiday gift for someone you truly care about! Who doesn't want greater peace, health and contentment! Great for new meditators and experienced ones. 9am-4pm. Fee: $120, includes lunch.Thursdays: January 18- Feb. 15, 2007 7-9pm - CULTIVATING WELL BEING: Living Better with Chronic Illness or Pain A dynamic 5 session course led by Michael Finkelstein, MD, Susan Rubin, DMD, CHH, and Lawrence Edwards, PhD, LMHC, BCIAC EEGThe ourse includes written materials, meditation CD, delicious meals, recipes and 10 hours of interactive learning with these three doctors to support and guide you to greater wellness. Registration Fee: $295 Advanced Registration Required; please call: 914-234- 6646. Click
here for more course information.February 23-25, 2007 - Mysteries of the Divine Feminine and Kundalini Empowerment. Friday 7pm through Sun. afternoon, Anam Cara, Bedford, NY. Includes lectures, guided meditations, chanting and most importantly, the sacred and ancient Kundalini empowerment. In this retreat we will also explore the mysteries of Kali and the wisdom She imparts for living in this age.This is the last time it will be offered until the fall of 2007. This retreat was specially created to invoke the sublime power Kundalini and to open the portals to the sacred knowledge of our true nature at the heart of our being. The retreat gives you the opportunity to remain immersed in this sacred space of awakening so you can explore and discover for yourself what lies within. For thousands of years the yogic sages have written about the great serpent power as the key to treasury of wisdom within us. By the grace of Kundalini the depth of meditation that allows you to directly experience this becomes accessible. The link to find out more below will also take you to sharings from others who have taken this life-transforming retreat, some of whom have taken it repeatedly, as it continues to support and deepen the process of Kundalini unfolding in their lives.Pre-registration is necessary for courses and retreats.Meditation Group every Tuesday evening starting promptly at 7:30pm at our center at SunRaven in Bedford, NY. All are welcome! Directions are on the Anam Cara website. It you ever question whether the group is being held on a particular Tuesday evening there will always be a message stating if it is cancelled on that night on 914-234-4800.

email: http://us.f833.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=le@anamcara-ny.org
phone: 914-234-4800
web: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=kuvdc8bab.0.sj8e4ubab.fm6ujubab.909&ts=S0222&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.anamcara-ny.org

Friday, January 05, 2007

Poem by Na'ga Rai 

Here is a poem by Na'ga Moon Rai and a commentary on it by Ivan Granger, both friends of mine.

By Na'ga Rai (1943 - )

It’s dark and

I can’t find my face.
Did I leave it on a canvas
somewhere by accident?
Last night was filled
with the passions of owls.
Now it’s snowing
wonder in my soul.
Dawn bleeds into me
playing its morning flute.
I tremble without my face
but oh, what a trembling.

Here is Ivan's comment:

I thought we'd round out the week with something from our own (Na'ga Rai). She is a regular contributor to the Poetry Chaikhana forum ..Naga'ji is a poet, painter and photographer.I tremble without my facebut oh, what trembling.When the flowing river of divine awareness is particularly strong, the body can tremble or swoon. The mystic can sometimes be so overwhelmed by this ecstasy that he or she might even fall unconscious.In some traditions, such as with the Sufis, this behavior is compared to drunkenness. In other cultures, such as Judaism, this trembling is compared to the quaking of profound fear and awe -- for the ego knows it is witnessing the process of its own death... the loss of its own self-image. We become faceless. I hope you have a weekend full of changing names, lost faces, and oh so blissful trembling!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I Awaken (poem) 

The following poem was inspired by David Whyte's poem, "The House of Belonging."
I Awaken

I awaken
and wonder
what angel
is just leaving,
rustling the curtain
as she goes.

And then I remember
all those things
I had forgotten
those hovering images
which, for a time
into darkness.

And then I thought of
where I was,
asleep in this bed
which once belonged
to my father,
and all the connections
I never made
and all those that got
along the way,
and wondered
if I would ever
be able to mend
where the angels go
when they
at morning.

Dorothy Walters
January 3. 2006

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Poem from Basho 

Ivan Granger offered this poem from Basho today, along with a very thoughtful commentary. I think together they provide an excellent opening for the new year.

Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --

Year's end,
By Matsuo Basho(1644 - 1694)
English version by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

Year's end,
all corners of this floating world, swept.

-- from Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter, Translated by Lucien Stryk / Translated by Takashi Ikemoto

(now, from Ivan)
Well, we are back! My "semi-retreat" turned out to be a time of responding to several personal and family crises, including more than one death in the family. Such experiences are difficult but profound (and humbling) teachers...I have been reminded that when a loved one passes, the things they embodied for us begin to sprout in a mysterious way within our own selves. Their passing gives us one final gift: the recognition that their goodness is alive within ourselves and not lost. We are blessed and challenged to discover their best qualities in our own hearts. So, for that final gift at year's end, I thank all those who have passed and gone before me... and, in so doing, opened the way for the new year.Today's poem seemed like a nice meditation on that still point at year's end, just as the new year is ready to be born.That final word -- "swept" -- you almost trip over it with its abrupt stop. "Swept" can imply several things, such as a ritual year-end cleaning, everything put in its place and ready for the new activity of the new year. But on a deeper level I think Basho is suggesting the Buddhist realization that everything is fundamentally empty, free, "swept" clean of thing-ness. When perceived deeply, the entire world reveals itself to be a fluid, "floating" phenomenon of becoming and interconnection. No object is truly solid or stable in solitary existence, other than in relationship to perception. The outer world is found to be symbolic game of the mind. At the heart of everything is a pure, still, blissful spaciousness, pregnant with awareness; but it is only through the activity of the mind that anything is born into the appearance of form. At "year's end," at mind's end, when the surface consciousness rests and its projections cease, the weight of things are "swept" away, leaving us standing in an amazing world that "floats" and dances upon open sky.I hope that this new year is filled with joy, adventure, and spiritual opening for each and every one of you. Have a wonderful day!Ivan

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