Thursday, September 30, 2010
The following list of Kundalini resources seems to be particularly helpful. As always, approach any source with caution, and accept only what is helpful for you.
The Spiritual Crisis Network lists the following specific resources related to Kundalini as websites and books that some members (who have experienced Kundalini) have found useful. Further information on kundalini can also be found in chapters of some of the general books on Spiritual Emergency, listed on the Spiritual Crisis Network Resources webpage.
The SCN does not specifically recommend any particular website or book listed here as information to members. It is important to recognise that what information one person finds helpful, another may find unhelpful and that what may help to ‘ground’ the energies of Kundalini in one individual, may actually activate Kundalini in another and possibly further increase ‘symptoms’.
It is important to use your own discretion and discernment when viewing any website or reading any book related to Kundalini and to seek professional advice and support where appropriate. The SCN specifically does not recommend any practices aimed at the activation of Kundalini as Kundalini energies can be overwhelming to many who experience it. Please take care of yourselves.
The Spiritual Crisis Network welcomes any suggestions for additional resources that individuals have found particularly helpful regarding Kundalini Awakening and Spiritual Emergency. If you would like to suggest a specific resource to be added to the list, please email us at info (at) spiritualcrisisnetwork.org.uk
http://adishakti.org/subtle_system/kundalini.htm - A webpage on Kundalini Awakening from the spiritual perspective of Shri Adi Shakti;
http://biologyofkundalini.com - A comprehensive website, detailing some definitions and ‘symptomology’ of Kundalini and giving information on Kundalini from a spectrum of perspectives, including ‘Spiritual Awakening’ and also the Biology/Physiology of Kundalini;
http://www.crystalinks.com/kundalini.html - An interesting website on Kundalini Awakening with information as well as some visual imagery and symbols associated with Kundalini Awakening, including a visual animation of Kundalini-shakti rising through the spine, up to and through the ‘Crown Chakra’;
http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~keutzer/kundalini/kundalini-faq.html - A website on Kundalini Awakening by Kurt Keutzer with answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and detailing ‘Selected References’;
http://www.elcollie.com/st/st.html - A website on Kundalini Awakening from ‘Shared Transformation’, including Chapters 1-15 of El Collie’s book ‘Branded by the Spirit’, on her own experience of Kundalini Awakening, which was unfinished when she died in April 2002;
http://www.icrcanada.org/ - Another interesting website by the Institute for Consciousness Research, inspired by the Work and Experience of Gopi Krishna, with Research, Articles, books and a Newsletter;
http://www.internetguides.com/blackboard/lessons/types/kundalinitype.htm - A useful webpage specifically on ‘Spiritual Emergency Type Kundalini Awakening’;
http://kundalinicare.com/services2.html - A website on Kundalini Awakening from the perspective of The Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care organisation which provides PKYC books, services and Spiritual Guidance;
http://www.kundalini-gateway.org/index.html - The Kundalini-Gateway website includes an email list, for the free-exchange of information, advice and friendship for those experiencing Kundalini Awakening. It includes Member essays, Poetry and Art Work in addition to information on ‘symptoms’ and Member experiences;
http://www.kundaliniguide.com - A website on Kundalini Awakening by Bonnie Greenwell PhD in the USA, including a Kundalini Research Network, a link to her question and answer blog and a ‘Consulting and Email Service’;
http://www.kundaliniresearch.org/index.php - An interesting website of the Kundalini Research Foundation in the USA, which is initiating a large-scale research project into Kundalini Phenomena. The website includes Articles and Publications;
http://kundalini-support.com - A website on ‘Kundalini, Survival & Support’ by Bob Boyd with Forums, a ‘Survival Guide’ and Resources;
http://www.life-enthusiast.com/ormus/orm_kundalini.htm - A short webpage with information on Kundalini Awakening and its ‘symptoms’;
http://lingerinthelight.com/index.html#.html - A biographical account by Didi Laru on Kundalini Awakening which includes reference to certain medical conditions as well as articles, poetry and meditations;
http://www.mudrashram.com/kundalinitalk.html - A website on Kundalini Awakening from the perspective of Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies, detailing a talk given by George Boyd at ‘Babaji’s Parliament of Yoga and World Religions on 19 December 1992;
http://www.oneletterwords.com/weblog/ An interesting webpage (and artist’s image) on ‘phosphenes’- a word for a common experience during Kundalini Awakening of the non-ordinary perception of ‘inner lights’ seen through the inner/third eye (NB, you might have to google ‘phosphenes’ to get this page);
http://shalomplace.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum;f=4 - An interesting website from the perspective of Kundalini and Christianity with an online audio series on A Christian Understanding of the Chakra System. The author also runs a discussion forum, including a quite lively debate on kundalini and spiritual emergency;
http://www.tantra-kundalini.com/# - A website on Kundalini Awakening from the perspective of the ancient teachings of Tantra and Kundalini yoga, including an interesting ‘Sri Yantra’, illustrating the Ascent of Kundalini;
http://www.thesoulsjourney.com/indexb.html - A website by Lawrence Edwards PhD, author of ‘The Soul’s Journey – Guidance from the Divine Within’ (listed under ‘Books’ below) and the founder of the non-profit organisation, ‘Anam Cara’, (http://www.anamcara-ny.org/). Lawrence wrote his doctoral thesis on ‘the extraordinary effects of Kundalini’ and established a Kundalini Support webpage (http://www.kundalinisupport.org) with answers to commonly asked questions and additional resources. Lawrence runs courses and workshops and is available for telephone consultations from people the UK. An email-newsletter is also available.
The following books are listed as specific books on Kundalini. In addition, some of the general books on Spiritual Emergency listed in the general Resources page of this website [click here to return to the Spiritual Emergency Resources page] also have useful chapters on Kundalini.
Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe), The Serpent Power – The Secrets of Tantric and Shakti Yoga, Dover, 1974; A comprehensive book on both the philosophical and mythological nature of Kundalini, the yoga and esoteric anatomy associated with it, the chakras or psychic centres in the human body and their progressive awakening.
Sri Aurobindo, The Integral Yoga, Lotus Press, 2005; A collection of letters from Sri Aurobindo, one of the foremost Indian philosophers and mystics of the twentieth century, on spiritual matters including Kundalini and an evolution of Consciousness which is spiritual and supramental.
Lawrence Edwards, Ph.D., The Soul’s Journey: Guidance from the Divine Within, Writer’s Showcase, 2000; Part biographical, Lawrence Edwards Ph.D. describes his own initiation into the mysteries of the Goddess Kundalini, whose vision he saw in meditation. Lawrence writes a number of spiritual stories as revealed to him by the Goddess Kundalini with a depth-psychological commentary after each story. In particular, Ascent to Union is a beautiful spiritual analogy of the inner journey of Kundalini through the Chakras to Union with the Divine.
Bonnie Greenwell Ph.D, Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process, Shakti River Press, 1995; An accessible and well respected guide, based on Bonnie Greenwell’s own experience as well as the accounts of others. She explores the mythology and various concepts around Kundalini energy, including the subtle body and Chakra system. In particular, Bonnie helpfully categorises the different types of experiences that can arise and their relationship with western physiology.
Gopi Krishna, Kundalini – The Evolutionary Energy in Man (with psychological commentary by James Hillman), Shambhala, 1997; A classic first-person account of Kundalini Awakening by the Indian-householder-turned-spiritual-teacher, Gopi Krishna with psychological commentary by James Hillman which lends an additional western depth-psychological perspective to Gopi Krishna’s process. It is very honestly written, revealing Gopi Krishna’s transformational struggle to find balance amidst a variety of inner experiences and powerful psychological side effects including mood swings, eating disorders and agonizing sensations of heat.
Gopi Krishna, Living with Kundalini, Shambhala, 1993; Gopi Krishna’s complete autobiography, with additional material to that contained inKundalini – The Evolutionary Energy in Man.
Gopi Krishna, Ancient Secrets of Kundalini, UBS Publishers’ Distributors Ltd., 2002; A clearly written description of the process of Kundalini Awakening and its associated non-ordinary states of consciousness, with commentary on the specific yoga sutra on Kundalini, thePanchastavi, as well as links to modern science.
Gopi Krishna, Kundalini – Path to Higher Consciousness, Orient Paperbacks, 2005; Another autobiographical account by Gopi Krishna.
Gopi Krishna, The Awakening of Kundalini, Institute for Consciousness Research and Kundalini Research Foundation Ltd., 2001;Another recommended book by Gopi Krishna, based on his research into Kundalini. Gopi Krishna questions whether meditation is always beneficial.
Genevieve Lewis Paulson, Kundalini and the Chakras – Evolution in this Lifetime – A Practical Guide, Llewellyn, 2006; An interesting and practical book on Kundalini and the Chakra system, including some colourful illustrations of the rise of Kundalini through the Chakras and the descent of Kundalini into the subtle aura.
Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti – The Years of Awakening, John Murrey, 1975; An interesting biographical account of what the famous Indian spiritual teacher, Krishnamurti, called his ‘years of Awakening’.
Lee Sannella, M.D., Kundalini – Psychosis or Transcendence?, H. S. Dakin Company, 1977; A groundbreaking work by the psychiatrist Lee Sanella M.D. who records fifteen medical case studies of patients undergoing Kundalini Awakening. Sanella argues the case that Kundalini Awakening is not a ‘psychotic episode’ but a psychophysiological transformation process.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Kundalini Tantra, Bihar School of Yoga, Bhargava Bhushan Press, 1996; A comprehensive book on Kundalini Tantra and the Chakras from the perspective of Swami Satyananda Saraswati and the Bihar School of Yoga. The book contains colour illustrations of (and a chapter on) each Chakra.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Taming the Kundalini, Yoga Publications Trust, 2002; This book is a collection of letters from Swami Satyananda Saraswati to a Disciple on spiritual matters including Kundalini and explained in a personal way.
Sri Jaideva Singh, Siva Sutras – The Yoga of Supreme Identity, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Limited, 2006; Siva Sutras are considered to be a revealed book of the yoga – the supreme identity of the individual self with the Divine through Kundalini. It is an esoteric book from the yoga tradition of India with an interesting glossary of Indian Sanskrit terms. (I recommend this book most highly for anyone seeking to explore and connect with the ancient teachings of this tradition--and I feel they ring true today.)
Sri Jaideva Singh, Spanda-Karikas – The Divine Creative Pulsation, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Limited, 2005; A commentary on theSiva Sutras which may be of interest to those who enjoy esoteric discussion of yogic texts on Kundalini. (One of my favorite books--get the edition from NYU Press with intro by Paul Muller-Ortega. Should be available from Amazon.)
Swami Sivananda, Kundalini Yoga, The Divine Life Society, 2005; An interesting and classic book by Swami Sivananda (who founded the well-known Sivananda Yoga Centres world-wide) on the Essence of Kundalini Yoga, with illustrations of the various Chakras and an interesting pull-out chart on the Chakras and their corresponding shapes, colours, locations and other qualities and functions.
Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (2nd Ed), Contemplative Ministries Inc, 2004; An interesting book on Kundalini from a Christian perspective with comparisions from Hindu theology and the Chakra system. Philip St. Romain considers the ‘Bright Night of Kundalini’ to the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ in Christian mysticism and the ‘transforming power of Grace’.
Robert E. Svoboda, Kundalini, Brotherhood of Life Inc., 2006; Explores the process of Kundalini Awakening from the mystical yoga tantra traditions, including the chakras, nadis, mantras and illustrated yantras.
Dorothy Walters, Unmasking the Rose – A Record of a Kundalini Initiation (with Foreward by Andrew Harvey), Hampton Roads, 2002;An autobiography by Dorothy Walters who describes her own Kundalini Awakening which began in her fifties and which took ten years to fully assimilate. Of particular interest is the variety of psychic experiences that Dorothy has had and her reliance on her inner guide, ‘the solitary voice within’ throughout the extremes of her process of Awakening. (Actually, this process continues even into the present, as described on the blog. Kundalini bliss was a major feature of her experience, although she struggled with negative symptoms as well. Her major realization was that we (as ego form) do not exist but are contained in the supreme Whole.)
White Eagle, On Divine Mother – The Feminine, & The Mysteries, White Eagle Publishing Trust, 2004; An interesting book on Kundalini in the context of the creative power of the Divine Mother with specific reference to the Egyptian Mysteries as well as a Gnostic Christian perspective on Kundalini from White Eagle’s teachings of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Holy Ghost.
Spiritual Crisis Network (SCN) provides information to those affected by spiritual crisis, their carers and support professionals. Information is provided in good faith, but does not constitute a recommendation as to suitability – you must make your own assessment of its appropriateness, and seek conventional medical advice as necessary. We like to respond to emails within 7 days but sometimes it takes longer than this. SCN is a charity exempt from registration with the UK Charity Commission. SCN is a company limited by guarantee (company no 41067556; registered in England & Wales; registered office: 2-6 Cannon St, London, EC4M 6YH, UK). Please post any correspondence to PO Box 303, Stroud, GL6 1BF, UK.8
(Image found on Google)
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
About Bliss: Some Things I Have Learned
What is bliss? Where does it come from? How does it manifest?
Over the years (almost thirty, to be exact) I have experienced a great deal of bliss (as well as pain). I have given bliss much thought. Here are a few of the things I have observed along the way (based on my own experience).
First, bliss is a very tricky word. For some, it means simple happiness or contentment—perhaps even a kind of cosmic consciousness in which one feels connected to the All in a state of serenity. In the latter state, some yogis apparently lose all consciousness of the outer world and are totally immersed in their inner experience.
For me, bliss is something which is felt in the body. Now, already there is a problem with definitions, since there are, in fact, many “bodies.” I feel it in the physical body, but more importantly, I feel it in the energy body, the sheath which I think of as an electromagnetic field which surrounds the physical form. This sheath utilizes the physical substance of the familiar material body to convey its impulses. Everyone has such a sheath. The difference is that after kundalini is awakened we can (perhaps) feel what is going on there, as well as what is happening deep within the physical self. Sometimes we can feel this bliss even by “stroking our aura” (running the hand near but not touching the skin itself.)
Bliss can be felt in many ways. Sometimes it is like a streaming flow of pleasure running perhaps through the arms or elsewhere, enlivening with joy certain places more than others. Sometimes it is a concentrated feeling of absolute rapture located more in a particular place (say, a chakra such as the root (base) or the heart or head.) Bliss is vibration, but it is more than a simple “buzzing” or sensation of heat (though kundalini itself may include these.) Bliss can occur in unexpected places, such as the inside of your head, or the inner ear or the ridge around your eyes. It can manifest anywhere in your system, and can be intense or subtle.
One of the common misconceptions about bliss is that it can be induced through practice and concentration. But I have known yogis who did extremely disciplined routines of all kinds for years, and never felt the bliss. I have known many other people who have suddenly, for no apparent reason, been swept into a torrent of rapture, bliss filling their beings like nectar flowing.
Another misconception (I think) is that a teacher who talks of bliss (or vibration) really knows the meaning of what it is. I have noted that many teachers of yoga (particularly in the West) have never been touched by bliss. Certain ancient systems don’t even acknowledge that it exists, particularly those which preach abstinence as a way to enlightenment. Some teachers dismiss the “bliss waves” as fiction, stating that the ancient texts speak only of energy which is “hot, or cold, or like electricity.” (Other texts say quite the opposite.) The current fad of “kundalini yoga” doesn’t necessarily produce either kundalini or bliss states, though it is good exercise.
Other systems, such as esoteric Tibetan Buddhism or Kashmiri Shaivism do acknowledge bliss. Their practices (including sound, movement, chant, mantra and such) seem (to me) to be aimed at the arousal of bliss states (shakti), or to release the feelings within.
Bliss, to me, is “god moving through your body” (as a gifted psychic once explained to me). It is the signature of the divine. It tells us that we are part and parcel of an ocean of love, we and it are one. To be “awakened” is to know this truth as actuality, rather than theory.
Thus, I am puzzled when certain teachers say of bliss, “If you are lucky, you will get over it,” or warn you not to focus on the bliss lest you get distracted from the “real goal.” What is the “real goal” if not to merge with this vast sea of love in its highest expression, to be infused with the infinite real? And bliss itself can act as the teacher, leading you from level to level, stage to stage as your process unfolds.
Such feelings of rapture or ecstasy need not be defended or even explained. They simply are, irrefutable facts of experience, and, for me, all the evidence I need of divine connection.
Bliss is not one thing. It differs for each person, and for every person over time. Some females actually experience spontaneous orgasm when bliss first awakens. This has not been my experience. Years ago, my bliss came on like a marching band carrying me to states of intense, totally rapturous feeling. Today it is gentle, soft—something which can be felt at times just by moving the eyes or softly flexing the fingers. This is subtle bliss, not as dramatic as the earlier forms, yet infinitely pleasurable. Often I feel it as soft energy flows in the hands and arms or around the head. It still feels like a stunning affirmation of who “I” am (not a separate being, but a tiny part of something vast and infinitely real but which I can’t define.)
My bliss is very shy. Often when I am in the presence of certain teachers or devotional practitioners, my bliss will retreat within, and I will feel little or nothing during the public experience. But when I listen to sacred music or practice chanting at home, when I bow to the image on my tongka, above all when I enter a shifted state of consciousness, the bliss will return. Again and again this happens. Again and again, I am told “I am you.” But do not exist in a perpetual state of “bliss consciousness.” Only when I am prepared to enter a totally devotional mood, to receive fully this token of love, does bliss come. And, once I leave the meditational state and go about the business of the day, the bliss retreats. I am now in a very different form of consciousness.
I think that maybe this experience is so totally sacred, so completely esoteric, that it can be discovered only in the most intimate of circumstances, that is, when you are totally alone with the “Beloved Within.” The public setting precludes the private response. So, for me, as always, I need not go abroad to find what I am seeking. I already have it at home in my living room.
The final question, of course, is how, then, can we all experience such bliss? I wish I had the answer. It is one of the great ironies that this great gift cannot really be shared or given to another (at least not by me.) It seems that the “inner divine” chooses its own time and circumstances to manifest. In the meantime, we can, I think, prepare ourselves for that moment which might arrive.
We can prepare by putting our lives in order, by addressing our issues (whether psychological or physical)’ by studying and progressing on the spiritual path through the wisdom of others, whether from books or actual contact (and we will respond to these in a very selective fashion—we will exercise caution, not give away our power or minds to anyone else, no matter how renowned); by being grateful for those times of joy and epiphany which are granted to us. And we will ask for guidance within, to be led to those levels of experience appropriate for us at this stage of our development. And, perhaps most important, we will choose to do whatever we can to make this world a better place. That, I think, more than anything else, is likely to take us to what we seek, bliss.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Patricia's latest portfolio ( called "The Space Between") focuses on children. We see them in moments of delight, times of reflection--all the typical moods and responses of children.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Here are some passages from Lex Hixon's "Great Swan" which seemed to me to bear special relevance for those undergoing the Kundalini process. Obviously, Ramakrishna (like certain other great saints) was in the state of bliss or ecstasy at all times. He is a major example of that state of consciousness that most of us can experience only intermittently, if at all.
- Ramakrishna: My dear friends, when you hear one of the glorious Divine Names--be it Allah, Tara, Krishna, or whichever revealed Name is closest to your heart--if tears of ecstasy come spontaneously to your eyes or if the sensation of weeping springs forth secretly in your heart, if your skin tingles and your breath catches, this is authentic confirmationthat you are awakening. Then you no longer need to emphasize religious ceremonies or contemplative exercises, because what they exist to generate will remain constantly vibrant in the depth of your awareness. You will not have to renounce the formalities of religion. Formality of every kind will simply disappear from your being....Even the Divine Name...most intimate to you will eventually disappear, and you will commune directly with the One Reality...You will experience then only a subtle resonance or a delicate radiance.
Hixon on Ramakrishna: (He has) a body so tender that it can be cut by a sharp piece of bread, a body so sensitive that it manifests the pain of someone being beaten or even of new grass being trampled, a body so refined that it experiences a strange burning sensation at the touch of conventional objects such as coins ornewspapers, a body so pure that it cannot even drink water drawn by someone of negative character. . .
(Many of us who undergo Kundalini awakening become so sensitive to outer stimuli that it becomes almost impossible to live in the "ordinary" world. Sound, light, confusion, and above all negativity of all kinds are intolerable to the senses. At the same time, one's connection to the subtle realms of thought and feeling becomes ever more refined.)
Hixon: ...his original woman teacher. . . opened to him the full range of mystical relationships between the soul and its Lord--as Divine Friend, Divine Child, and Divine Lover.
(When Kundalini awakens, it is indeed often as if the "Divine Lover Within" manifests and literally woos and embraces the subtle body in inexplicable ways. At other times, the Mystery acts more like a friend, who nourishes and supports the human subject. And the devotee may display a divine innocence, quite childlike in its expression.)
Hixon: "When sacramental wine is passed around, “the wine bowl never touches his lips...(he simply says the word for wine) ,and this throws him into sublime absorption.”
(Many with awakened Kundalini possess similar powers. For example, some can simply hold a medicine or herbal preparation and know instantly if that is right for them. And most cannot tolerate alcohol or other stimulants--even coffee is taboo for many. It is very difficult to persuade doctors that one operates at that level of sensitivity. For this reason, initiates often simply cut the pill in two or take less than the prescribed amount of the remedy, lest they "overdose".)
Hixon: Ramakrishna needs simply to envision within his own subtle body the blissful unio of Shiva and Shakti, the masculine and feminine energies of transcendence and immanence, in order to enter samadhi, thre total absorption of body, mind, heart, soul,and spirit in the One Reality that he calls akhanda satchidananda--indivisible Being, Consciousness,and Bliss. When anyone asks R. to become his or her religious guide, or guru, he invariably replies: “Satchidananda is the one and only guru.”
(Envisioning the god and goddess (Shiva and Shakti) in union is a traditional Tantric practice for awakening and raising the Kundalini to the crown. I am familiar with this exercise, since this is how my Kundalini originally opened, on the first try. However, I can no longer replicate these early results. And in truth, I have no desire to follow Ramakrishna's example. I feel that my assignment is to be in the world in order to be of service, rather than secluding myself in a state of perpetual rapture--should that even be possible. He lived in a different time and culture, when other choices were appropriate.)
(picture of Ramakrishna is from Google)
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Recently, I drove into the mountains to see if the aspen were turning. As you may know, the area west of Boulder recently suffered a devastating fire--this was the area we crossed to get to our destination. We saw destruction everywhere--homes left with only foundations and chimneys remaining, cars now blackened shells--even a fire truck and several school busses were transformed to dark skeletons.