Inspiration & Guidance for Spiritual Awakening

Archive for the ‘kundalini’ Category

When Energy Overwhelms

Many westerners today are activating energy through spiritual practices, energy practices, healing, somatic therapies and trauma. Although they may have entered these exIMG_4656_2periences expecting to feel more aliveness and release old stuck patterns, they often do not understand the full potentials, both positive and negative, should the life force called kundalini awaken in the process.

We all feel releases of energy under some circumstances, particularly after a traumatic event, because of grief, or through breathwork or healing practices. In most cases it is the letting go of stuck places in our bodies where we contracted against a difficult event. We are a complex field of flowing energy and these flows can become knotted or blocked, leading to physical problems or dysfunctional emotional reactivity during some of our life challenges. These smaller releases, perhaps in the chest or the gut, are temporary and short lived experiences, often at the hands of a skilled therapist or practitioner, sometimes spontaneously during meditation or states of rest. A typical example is that of a friend who described to me once that after planning and holding a huge wedding and flying that night to Jamaica for her honeymoon, she lay in bed and her body shook all night long as it let go of the stress of the previous weeks.

Anyone who has done Psychotropic Breathwork or Rebirthing has also experienced this intense release of blockages in their body. The new tapping therapies invite these kinds of releases in smaller doses and specific patterns.

Kundalini is the foundation of all energy, and in our bodies this energy is said to be coiled at the base of the spine holding our energy system in stasis until we die, when it then unwinds and leaves the body. Some who have sat with a person dying can sense or even see this energy unraveling itself and moving upward. If it awakens through practices or spontaneously at other times it does not exit completely, but seems instead to expand and amplify the energy field. This transformative and creative energy holds a potential for changing consciousness and supports the realization of our True Nature. It is our connection to Universal Source, and initiates a gradual shedding of all the patterns that keep us from living and functioning as awareness of the Truth of what we are. In ancient eastern systems and in the mystery schools it was activated as a method of shifting and transforming human consciousness. Some people think of it as an evolutionary trigger.

When kundalini awakens it can be blissful, open up the body and clear out limiting belief systems and patterns, creating an ultimate opportunity for what has been called spiritual liberation or enlightenment. But for many it brings unexpected challenges and difficulties, probably due to lack of understanding and preparation.

This awakening can be overwhelming for five principle reasons:

  1.  It feels invasive and you have little or no ability to control when or how it erupts.
  1. It brings up everything in your history that needs to be seen clearly, accepted and transmuted as its function is to free you from yourself. The energy can also intensify any underlying psychological or physical issues that need to be addressed.
  1. Your body/mind is poorly prepared to adapt to the changes it demands in lifestyle and perspective. Belief systems get in the way, and there is a fear of change when the mind has not deliberately chosen it.
  1. It can provide moments of “no-self” or “no-boundaries”  that are disconcerting and sometimes terrifying for the ego-structure and these are poorly understood by therapists, physicians and other helpers who work with the egoic aspects of personality.
  1. Fear is intensified by the lack of a paradigm in western culture that understands the energy body and its relationship to consciousness, and the fact it is difficult to find others who have had the experience, even in spiritual communities. You may even be in a community that believes no one should talk about this phenomena, so you may feel isolated and as if you have made a mistake.

There are many myths and little understanding of what it means to awaken spiritually — or more correctly, to have your inner spirit awaken itself. There are many ways this experience can enhance your life, bring deep peace and open you to an appreciation of the sacredness of all existence. It can suddenly and radically change your world view and your ability to live fully present in the moment. You may uncover previously latent creativity, healing, psychic or other capacities. But at some point you must face and move through the shadows of your old issues and contractions so they can be released, and you can function from a new perspective.

I have found as I listen to the stories of people in this process, that those who long for clarity or truth more than holding on to old beliefs and patterns, who become curious and flexible, and who learn to trust their own authentic heartfelt or gut-level intuition, usually navigate this journey more easily than those who cling to the limited perspective of the conditioned personal self.

If you need a deeper understanding of this process you might enjoy my books “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide”, that have many examples drawn from the experiences of those who have navigated through this process. General information is on my websites www.kundaliniguide.com and www.awakeningguide.com. I will also be offering a “Living with Kundalini” Webinar beginning in April for people in this process.

Advertisements

Stillness, Awakening and ACISTE

logoimageI will be speaking at the ACISTE conference in Palm Springs the weekend of Oct. -20 -22 on Identifying and Supporting Spiritual Transformation.  Go to www.aciste.com for information about this event, designed to support people who are in a spiritual awakening process. ACISTE is the Assn for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences. I hope to offer a one-day workshop  on Living with Kundalini the Monday following for people who want to better understand the kundalini process..  Please drop me a note at kundinfo@mindspring.com if you would like more information. 

I just completed a weekend retreat called Presence at the Center, a gathering of women committed to spiritual awakening.  If we wish to discover the innate happiness within us it is important to take time out of our lives to rest in our center – the deep stillness available within our hearts, but often clouded over by the demands, distractions and worries of modern  life.  Meditation retreats, especially those held with the added dimension of silence, offer a return to our Self.

I become very busy in those days when I have a retreat planned, especially if I am doing other events such as webinars or consulting with those who contact me with concerns related to their spiritual  process.  It is like riding a fast moving train for several weeks, and then skidding to a halt at the retreat center, where I need to find my own deep silence if I am to invite others into it.  Finding our Self is about Stopping!

 Mental activity,  emotional upheavals, multiple engagements in our lives, the many voices surrounding us with expectations – all of these can fall away if we STOP,, leaving us in the pure sweet awareness that has always been waiting in the center of the cyclone of our lives.  There is a place within each of us already still, accepting, and open to the quiet joy of being.

 You may find when you are first silent there is an upheaval of mental activity, and even of unconscious material that arises.  Both meditation and energy work (such as yoga or  Qigong) open us to that which needs to be seen in order to be released, so that our subtle energy field  can become more free.  Release and insight bring growth and widen our access to inner harmony and relaxation.  Be patient with what arises as it is your own consciousness inviting you to meet, release and move toward awakening.  Suffering unwinds itself from our systems as we learn to meet our life experiences with equanimity and to meet ourselves with love.

 Spiritual awakening has no religious preference and is open to all. It is not about a belief, or embracing a system or tradition, although these may offer some initiating practices that will bring an invitation to know Yourself.  Awakening is an intimate touching of our natural state of spirit embodied, a direct inner knowing of our connection with the All.  It cannot be languaged clearly, although poets and sages have found ways to offer pointers.  Unusual phenomena may arise  when we follow our longing to know our true nature, but ultimately the outcome is an awareness that consciousness is vast and unbounded, and a return into a form that knows  a deep relaxation into life.

Kundalini & Awakening Webinars

logoimageI am happy to announce I am now offering webinars to bring together people from diverse states and countries who would like support in their spiritual awakening process and a Fall Retreat on Living in Presence.   These are the upcoming webinars and programs I plan to offer between August and November through http://www.zoom.us. The webinars are great ways to connect with those who will understand your kundalini process, and the meditation retreat  for those who seek a deeper embodiment of awakening is 4 days of inner silence and learning to move from presence . Contact with me for fees and other information through email: shantiriver@gmail.com

Awakening and Embodiment – session 2 – 4 weeks, Thursdays, August 11,25 Sept 8, 22 ( 12 noon—1:30 Pacific time )
This is an on-line satsang and sharing for those intending to deepen their spiritual practice, support others interested in awakening to our true nature, and explore how to live from a new perspective of awakened intuition and inner autonomy.

Living with Kundalini — weekly for 6 weeks – Fridays Aug. 19 — Sept. 23 a.m. PST)
This program and supportive group is designed for people who are going through a kundalini awakening process and wish to meet others having this experience while learning classical and modern perspectives of Kundalini, the kinds of experiences and challenges this process brings, and methods of living more comfortably with it while awakening to the transformation it offers.

Therapist and Teacher training for Kundalini Awakening – 4 Sessions Fridays Oct 14, 28, Nov, 11 and 18 (12noon – 2 p.m. PST)
If you have taken The Living with Kundalini program at any time you are eligible for the therapist/teacher training which will focus more on identifying the kundalini process in a client or student. You will learn how to use the preliminary questionnaire to assess and understand where to focus in a consultation, the impact of the background and spiritual practices on the experience and how to support this process. There will be time to discuss cases and learn from one another’s experience.

A FALL RETREAT IN OREGON — PRESENCE AT THE CENTER -Sept 2-5, 2016
This 4-day/3-night non-dual silent meditation retreat will be held Sept 2-5 at St Rita’s Retreat Center in Gold Hill, Oregon, a few miles from the Medford OR airport. It is an opportunity for meditation and reflection on awakening, experiencing silence, guided meditations and teachings related to awakening to the presence of our true nature, You may also hike in a beautiful 60-acre setting with a labyrinth and waterfall. Journal, or participate in Qigong and sound meditations. Retreat is designed to support your deepest intention for awakening to the Truth of your own Being, and bringing that awareness into your everyday life. We will meet at 4 p.m. Friday (arrive 2-4) and close at 2 Monday. The fee is $275 is paid by August 15. This includes a comfortable double room with a bath, vegetarian meals, and all expense

ACISTE CONFERENCE IN PALM DESERT, CA Oct 20-22, 2016IMG_4833
I will be speaking on Therapeutic Issues of Spiritually Transformative Experiences at this conference of an organization related to Spiritually Transformative Experiences at the Doubletree Inn is scheduled Oct 20-22. Go to http://www.aciste.org for details. I am considering doing a kundalini and awakening workshop following the conference in Palm Desert while I am there. If you would be interesting in attending a program with me at that time and place – Oct. 23-24 – please let me know by sending me an email.

 

Energies of Awakening and Evolution

Shiva Nataraja

If you are having experiences of energy twisting or rolling up your spine, creating involuntary spasms, and rippling in strange ways through your body, you are possibly one of thousands each year experiencing what is known as a kundalini rising or awakening. You may feel frightened or disoriented by this non-ordinary shift, but if you can relax with it and understand it as simply a dynamic of your own evolution it can become a treasured ally on your spiritual path.
When we understand that all of creation is formed as molecular structures, mostly space and energy manifest in a multitude of forms, it becomes easier to meet the empty/spaciousness and the enhanced vibrational energies that appear in our bodies, and face all the changes they invite.
There are many reasons people suddenly have these shifts and awakenings. Often an intense spiritual or energy practice will open the body to the heightened energy known as kundalini by the ancient founders of the yogic system. Sometimes an intense concentrated period may activate this sleeping power, even such innocent practices as biofeedback, meditation, prayer, love-making, or the charge projected by the touch of another person who has this awakened energy. In the thousand reports I have collected over the last 30 years many people write of spontaneous awakenings, sometimes in moments of great interior stress, or while using plant medicines or psychedelics, or while sitting in silence at retreats. So if you are feeling as if your energy field has jumped from 110 to 220 or even 2200 you are not alone, although unfortunately you live in a culture that is totally unprepared to understand the power and potential of this experience.

If your experience plunges you into fear and anxiety, if it explodes you into ecstasy, or if it hits the brain centers that produce imagery you will likely be afraid you are losing your mind, and if you meet up with the wrong therapeutic model others will support this interpretation. But some part of you will know this is real and it is meaningful, even while the mind freaks out about it. If you can just be curious and open instead of afraid and contracted this will help it calm down considerably. You need to nourish the witness within you, that which is simply aware.

Kundalini energy is an aspect of your own life force. It is what happens when the normal pranic energy field or bioenergy of the body is infused with a powerful rush of energy from the base of the spine, the feet, or occasionally pours down into the body through the top of the head. Naturally you are startled. Even people in spiritual communities who have longed for awakening for years can be both astonished and terrified by this new dimension of interior activity. It was a naive assumption that spiritual awakening would be a sweet, simple release into peace and harmony and improved character and life would be forever blessed. It is true that awakening leads ultimately to peace and harmony, but it does so by stripping away every identification we hold dear, and releasing every old bit of suffering and confusion, all of which was held in our minds, bodies and subtle energy fields. It tries to release all stressors and heal all wounds, in the process freeing us from our assumed self image and personal history.

I have come to see kundalini as essentially a clearing out process, and then an opportunity to live from clear seeing and presence, which doesn’t change the content of life itself, but profoundly impacts our relationship to it.

Whether kundalini activation is sudden and traumatic, or slow and gentle, it is almost always a factor in a full spiritualrealization process. It may initiate the process of consciousness awakening, or it may fall into place after an initial shift of consciousness into the recognition of It’s true relationship with what we might call Source or Universal Consciousness, (that which cannot truly be named, but we try!) This might be called the non-dual experience, and to the mind it might feel empty and unbounded while to the spirit it is felt as unlimited spaciousness and dissolution into the whole (or some such image). Utimately awakening is the stable recognition of what is awake in all of us in every moment here and now, and not the dramatic experiences, visions, insights, dramas and traumas that may accompany realization for awhile. All experiences will pass. More will appear. Life is awakeness moving through experiences. Awakening helps us to take it more lightly, to feel peaceful even when we’re not, and to find beauty in the every day forms we encounter.

If you are in an energy awakening process and would like to be part of a small-group weekend workshop in Ashland, Oregon, planned Aug. 28, 29 and 30 please let me know. I offer this program once every year or two and will be happy to send you more details. My email is kundinfo@mindspring.com. You may also find helpful my new books “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide”, available on Amazon and Kindle.

Kundalini and Awakening

Whether you have activated kundalini energy through practices, meditation, or for no logical reason you can imagine, the most important thing to know about it is that this is a passage into a new understanding of who and what you are. Perhaps the caterpillar feels just as shocked when it finds itself in a cocoon, nor knowing it was it’s own making.

Kundalini is a sanscrit word meaning coiled, an aspect of the prana or life force in every human body that is said in yoga science to be held at the base of the spine, an invisible energy coil holding the entire energy body in stasis while we live, and freeing itself from our forms when we die. If it erupts during our lifetime it brings about a dramatic restructuring of our energy field and our consciousness.

This transformation of energy can feel blissful in some bodies and stressful or terrifying in others. How we experience the changes depends to a great extent on how psychologically open and flexible we are, how traumatic or unhealthy our previous lives have been, whether we have old injuries or toxins that need to be released from our systems, whether we have an understanding or spiritual support in our lives, and many other factors. It helps if we know some techniques to balance and release energy, release stress from our lives and we learn how to take good care of our bodies.

Kundalini can feel stuck in various parts of the body as it works to undo old conditioning or heal wounds, physical or psychological. It can cause shaking, jerking, vibrations, heat flashes, itching, tingling, appetite shifts, insomnia, mood swings and many other strange symptoms. Since many of these conditions can also be signs of other issues or illnesses it is useful to consider factors that can be the source of a sudden arising of kundalini energy. Usually a first arising is noticed, either as a dramatic force of geyser-like power moving up, or a swirling rolling movement through the body, or a sudden forceful rising from the base into the belly, heart or throat area. More rarely it opens through the entire body and seems to pour out of the crown of the head. Or it can be a steady jerking unlike anything you have felt before.

Usually kundalini awakens following energy or meditation practices, done seriously and consistently for a long period of time. It can also follow a near-death experience or a traumatic emotional loss in which you go the depths of grief or despair. It can arise when there is great devotion to a spiritual being, or while being enraptured by chanting or focusing on inner sound. Sometimes contact with another person with active kundalini will cause it to stir and activate. It may happen following a profound shift of awareness, where you momentarily do not feel your self to be your old identity, but rather detached awareness, presence, no one in particular or part of everything.

Kundalini is the subtle energy accompaniment to the shifts in conscious awareness that are known as Self-realization. We are molecular structures infused with awareness, with consciousness that moves through these structures and moves our thoughts, feelings, sensations, knowledge and understanding from one point to another. We have come to be identified as the condition of our body and mind – a certain race, sex, nationality, family style, medical history, education and emotional conditioning. Some of these characteristics are in our DNA, and many are part of our learned identity, formed of the particular opportunities and experiences we have accumulated. We each have a unique identity and it feels very separate from everyone else’s.

All of these aspects of identity are invisible, known to us as thoughts and flows in our energy body. (No one will ever find your identity in an autopsy.) It’s as if we are a computer shifting all of this data around. When kundalini opens and begins to move through the system it is challenging and disorienting, as it clears away much of our identity, opening our body to a different kind of experience, one we might call prior to identification. It will eventually lead us to know ourselves as awareness without identity, which is a knowing that feels eternal in nature, and free of the stuck patterns in our history. It can be very frightening to feel something in us letting go of us. In western cultures we tend to believe this must be a sign of mental illness, but when kundalini is the catalyst it is a sign of spiritual awakening.

You will not lose your ability to know who you are, or how to behave, or where you live. You will likely lose your attachment to it, and to anything in your life that is not wholly authentic for you. So if you are in a toxic relationship, a job you hate, or a lifestyle that is not serving you these things will press upon you until you change. (It is a myth that if you are spiritually awake you can tolerate anything). On the other hand, whatever arrives in your life for you to deal with you will address with more dispassion and clarity, whether it be change, illness, or loss. Awakeness is simply being present where you are without resistance, but with greater clarity about how to respond.

Awakening does not mean you will have no moral compass. It is just a different frame of reference – based on what is needed, and the understanding all of us humans are One in this creation together. It becomes literally painful to steal, lie or harm another. If you hold on to those types of old patterns you simply lose the awakeness and sink into a much darker place. This is possible. More than a few so-called spiritual teachers have succumbed to it.

You can’t use awakening to enhance the ego, and keep the awakening. The part of you that will grasp to be someone special is not the true nature but the egoic nature, and if it gains a foothold you will be caught in a half-way world like limbo, having the energy and awareness to touch a few people but without any sense of an inner stability, and lacking the clarity, love and compassion to help you navigate wisely in the world. I do not believe such guides are internally at peace for if the egoic mind is ruling the life this is just is not possible. The true nature known in the awakened state is at peace with itself and the world. It is a natural relationship. It feels pain when physically ill, and sadness over losses and the great disasters mankind brings upon itself, but it does not linger. It knows how empty human preoccupations are and how spacious and limitless consciousness is. It knows we are This.

So eventually if you have awakened kundalini this is where it is trying to go. Along the way you may experience fear, challenge, beauty, joy, greater vitality, exhaustion, feeling out-of-your-body, and returning into a new enlivened relationship with it. Almost anything can happen. It helps to trust the process, to see fear as only a random energy you need not put attention on, to take good care of your body, to find ways to be more grounded, to be willing to know yourself as energy and spirit, to sit in stillness or in nature every day.

I hope if you are in this process you will check out my two new books “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide”, self-help books based on conversations with many other people just like you. When I first wrote about kundalini there was no web, and only obscure books spoke of it. Today it is popping up all over the web. Not everything you read on the web will be accurate. Do not let it frighten you, and do not run off and join a cult. Listen to your heart and gut and rest in the truth within yourself, and do what you must to support your life in this amazing and fortunate process.

If you have questions this blog is a place to ask them. Please include your age and any spiritual or energy practices along with your question as it helps me better understand why you may be having the symptoms you describe. I also have a kundaliniguide.blogspot.com with years of questions sent by readers and answers if you are curious to read more.