Monday, May 25, 2015
Recently I have been reading an advance copy of a book entitled "The Body of Chris: A Memoir of Obsession, Addiction, and Madness." This book offers an inside look on the actual experience one can go through when he/she is in the grips of these afflictions, which include eating disorders, drug addiction, and psychotic states.
The author is amazingly candid and authentic when he shares the harrowing details of his experience, which began in his teen years and continued for many thereafter.
Included in his account is his encounter with a "New Age" group which uses age old techniques to prepare followers to attain "Enlightenment." Here, as always, Chris becomes addicted to the practices and techniques presented by the teachers of this method. Chris becomes the star pupil, and imagines that he is preparing to become a teacher himself, devoting his days to further his progress through breathing, raising his inner energies, practicing for many hours at a time. He feels that he has at last found his true calling, and through his gifts he will be able to help humanity and the world.
At first, Chris is quite dazzled by the talents of his local teacher. She intuits at once that he uses alcohol and that he has had operations, both true. She encourages him to continue his strenuous practices in preparation for the time when he can become a leader of this technique.
Soon he is experiencing incredible energy flowing through his body, as the channels open. He feels very "high," convinced that he has at last found his true vocation.
Ultimately, he discovers that the founder and world leader is himself corrupt in many ways, and leaves in disgust.
He renounces the entire package, which he describes in mocking tones. And he once again falls into the pit of depression and disillusion.
His error, clearly, was in not taking a middle path--trying to incorporate far too many energies than his system was prepared to deal with. He did not allow for the beneficial effects of these experiences if following in moderation.
Indeed, Kundalini is powerful and can be dangerous if not pursued in a proper, balanced way. Like electricity, the energies themselves are neutral. The effect on the devotee depends on the readiness and overall makeup of the seeker. Those who are not able to approach the altar in sobriety and meekness, who cannot control their desires, suffer the equivalent of a drug or alcohol overdose. They are not yet ready for bliss and suffer the terrible consequences of too much, too soon. Likewise, those who are are grappling with unsolved psychological and emotional issues, who are suffering from physical problems (even menopause can be an issue). But experienced in proper doses, Kundalini can lead to beneficial and blissful expansion of consciousness.
Curiously, many of the symptoms that characterize "binge spirituality" resemble the results of Kundalini awakening. One, like an electrical charge too strong for the outlet,
burns out the connection. The other, the "Middle Way," can become safe and enlivening, and, under the proper circumstances, can bring bliss and inner happiness.
Kundalini is the indeed the razor's edge, and should be approached with caution.