Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Kundalini, Sex, and Spirituality
Many people think sex when they hear the word “Kundalini”. They are drawn to pursue awakening because they are hoping to have more intense and pleasurable sexual experiences.
And, indeed, they are partially right. Many people find they are suddenly more “turned on,” readier to pursue new sexual adventures, and possibly experience new levels of excitement and gratification, once Kundalini becomes active in consciousness.
Indeed, an old saying is that someone who is undergoing Kundalini awakening is “irresistible.” That may or may not be true, but the truth is that someone in the early stages of awakening may “emanate” an energy that draws others into their orbit like a magnet. And some, such as certain gurus and spiritual teachers, may continue to send out such signals as their bodies continue to radiate “divine energies” into the environment. Sometimes students are so drawn to these “radiations” that they will literally follow the guru around to experience these exquisite vibrations. I have been told by those in the inner circle of one famous guru that young women sought to sit near him in satsang in order to experience his “vibes,”--and in fact that some experienced orgasms as a result.
I have known spiritual teachers whose energy field was so intense that I went into “bliss” states (but certainly non-orgasmic) just by entering the room where they were present. I have had friends whose spiritual bodies were so purified that they too emanated sweet energies that one could detect and resonate with just by being near them. One woman’s early stage kundalini vibrations were so intense that just by placing my hand near her back was enough to awaken strong ecstatic (and erotic) resonance in my own system.
So--let’s face it. Kundalini energy is closely akin to sexual energy--and yet, there is a difference. Kundalini is not sexual energy per se, but it can definitely carry an erotic tone. As one women noted, “I get it. Kundalini is like sex only different.”
What, then, is the difference? From my own experience, I have drawn some tentative conclusions, so what follows is merely speculation on my part.
First, Kundalini bliss or ecstasy does not necessarily arise from a sexual source (though even here, one has to pause and remember that in ancient India sexual arousal was definitely used by males to awaken the energies, which were--in theory--then lifted up the spine to the head. These were specific Tantric practices, in which the female was used, apparently, merely to stimulate the erotic desire of the male--the texts describe only the male experience, as if women were not eligible to become Kundalini initiates.)
For me, in fact, my original experience of awakening (now almost 30 years ago) did occur, oddly enough, from a similar pattern, not by design but by accident. I had unintentionally recreated (with my partner) this ancient Tantric practice--stimulation without release. Subsequently (some time later), I meditated on the god and goddess in union (another Tantric practice, but one quite foreign to me) , and this became the trigger for the awakening itself, when rapturous energies shot from the lower chakras straight into my head and into the opening crown.
In the years that followed, the energies became softer and more subtle--the image that comes to mind is of a bonfire that becomes less and less intense over time and then finally exists as a small flame, diminished but still sweet. For me, the outer lover became less present until, ultimately, it was the inner Beloved who came through in my practice each morning--when indeed it felt as though some unseen presence was making love to me from within.
But the question I began with is, what is the difference between such “spiritual energies” and the more familiar sexual energies?
First, both rely on the body’s own natural physio/chemical/biological/electric/magnetic/psychic system--whatever that may be. The energies come from the same source, but one (the sexual energy) is in fact “transmuted” into the other, which finds a very different expression.
Here are some of the distinctions that I make, but these will not be true for everyone:
- Spiritual energy, unlike sexual, has no sexual trigger, no tactile component, and no specific goal (such as orgasm). The “trigger” could be anything from an inner image to a piece of music to movement to a simple state of altered consciousness. Something simply starts the flow of inner bliss--and there it is--a meditation of joy, the goddess dancing inside the self.
- The feeling tone of the experience is delightful but quite different, as mysterious energies move though the physical and subtle systems of the body--the very cells seem awaken and celebrate within.
- The experience offers a deep sense of connection with the divine--one feels as though one is participating in a sacred ceremony of oneness with the Lover within--as if “God is moving through your body.”
- The energies can manifest as a kind of resonance with--sacred places of earth (such as “holy Ireland,” land of mystic wells and sacred earth centers); certain charged “artifacts” (various artworks, crafted under special conditions by intent artists--such as an ancient Chinese vase fired in the Emperor’s kiln, that still carries the vibrations of the original makers); more recent art works, as the paintings of Rothko or some of the female impressionists; certain literary texts, such as the poetry of Rumi or Kabir or Hafiz or ancient texts such as “The Shaivite Sutras” or more recent works such as Normandi Ellis’ “Awakening Osiris.”
- The bliss may flow in areas quite divorced from the sexual centers--it may become an ecstatic rapture in the hands or face or chest--the heart may open in near unbearable joy. It may “turn on” one’s feet or elbows or the chakras of the throat or solar plexus. It is as if the inner beloved wishes to “touch” and awaken every portion, every cell, every unknown filament of your body.
I hasten to add that such is not the inevitable progression of Kundalini. For every moment of ecstasy, there may be an equivalent twinge of pain, each practice of divine bliss may be followed by counterbalancing states of discomfort.
Like a human lover, Kundalini is tricky and unpredictable. But, unlike the human, it does not leave--for it is the ultimate expression of you yourself, who you truly are.
Post Script: “The Accidental Ecstatic”
This morning I went into my living room to look for any stray cups or saucers that needed to go into my dishwasher. I had taken only a few steps when I realized my energies were running in a pleasant way through my body. I have not done my “practice” for quite some time--I have had errands to run, walks to take, and poems to write. Somehow I can never seem to get it all in--and thus I sometimes skip my practice (my form of meditation) in favor of other priorities.
But there it came--catching me unawares. So I stopped short, began to move my hands and arms and felt sweet thrills of delight moving here and there, up and down as I moved my hands in circles over my body, palms facing inward, hands about six inches away.
Often one feels the energies more intensely in areas recently exercised and thus "more awake." Lately, I have been walking quite a bit and sure enough, the bliss was especially noticeable in the hip and flank area.
I circled my hands all the way up, then down again, then did shoulder and arm rotation, feet planted firmly but hips moving in a circle along with my moving arms. Everything good. Delicious, in fact.
So--I ask you--is this sex or something other? I think the latter. I call it living room bliss, connection with the divine, god or at least god’s emissary flowing through your body once more. It never ceases!
April 14, 2010
Listen. . . listen. . .
Can you hear those honeydrops fall
from the mouth of god?
Can you feel the rose
opening in your spine?
Whatever you were before
now you are only this.
Does anyone else
feel this love?
Like the breath
of a thousand rose gardens
dreaming they are petals
crushed in god’s hand
(from A Cloth of Fine Gold)
(Note: Somehow, in transferring this piece to the blogsite, the numbering got messed up in the above listing of features, and I was not able to correct it. Gary Zukov in "The Dancing WuLi Masters" says that every lesson is lesson one. Maybe the same is true with Kundalini.)