Inspiration & Guidance for Spiritual Awakening

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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.

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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.

 

Chakra Experiences in the Awakening Process

I’ve been seeking a deeper understanding of the chakras this week, preparing for the second class of my new webinar program on Living With Kundalini. I’ve started this webinar to bring people togetherIMG_1495 from all over the world who are living with spiritual awakening, most of whom have felt isolated in the process. There are 21 people in the current class, from parts of Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and now that I am learning to navigate the internet meeting approach, I can see the many gifts of bringing people together in this way, and I hope to offer more classes.

There are many books and discussions of chakras, and it can be overwhelming to sort out how they actually impact a person’s direct experience. I am reframing this understanding in a way that I feel will be most useful for those going through a spiritual emergence, or who are in a kundalini process. So I’ve woven my own perspective of watching thousands go through awakening, with the classical teachings of Kundalini Tantra, and written an essay for my website http://www.kundaliniguide.com. It’s called Chakra Experiences in the Awakening Process.

Having so much information about chakras can be confusing, and often it is very esoteric, so a reader misses the profound implications of how their function actually relates to spiritual awakening. For example, the second chakra, which is usually understood as related to sexually and procreation, is also the seat of deep collective unconscious material. So if in your awakening there is an eruption of demonic images, or overwhelming fear, it is likely there is energy being released as kundalini moves through this area. If a few weeks earlier you have had a blissful opening to expansive bliss (6th chakra) you may be shocked and appalled to find these darker energies appearing in dreams, visions, or emotional upheavals.

Chakras, with all their symbols, represent vortices of energy where physical and subtle bodies intersect with consciousness, and each of the seven usually identified as most significant in spiritual awakening, have unique energies and hold patterns in our psyche. A few of these, from the base upward, areour foundational sense of being in a body (1st), our sexual and collective instinctual energies, (2nd) our sense of power and capacity in the world (3), our ability to love, be creative and feel compassion (4th), our potential to discriminate and deal with the opposites (5th), and our capacity to know cosmic consciousness and our true nature (6th and 7th).

Various spiritual traditions focus on different chakra areas for awakening but ultimately everything we hold comes to the surface to be transformed and awakened as well. We might wish this would happen in an orderly fashion but it does not — energy returns over and over to complete deeper levels of clearing in our bodies.

So if you wish to understand more about how your chakras are related to you own spiritual awakening, or if you just you wonder how they might influence how you function in everyday life, you may want to read the new essay on my website: http://www.kundaliniguide.com.

LIVING WITH KUNDALINI WORKSHOP COMING IN AUGUST

 

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You are invited to attend a small group workshop

with Bonnie Greenwell on

Living and Thriving  With Kundalini

August 28, 29, and 30 in Ashland Oregon.

LOCATION: SHANTI RIVER CENTER

300 E, Hersey, Suite 2 Ashland Or.

Aug 28, 7 P.M. TO 9 P.M. & 9 A.M. TO 6 P.M. AUG 29 & 30

$200 fee, plus you may arrange your own housing

This valuable weekend workshop will help you understand and gain positive tools for living with the activation of kundalini energy. Bonnie is a transpersonal psychologist and  non-dual teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti who has specialized in working with spiritual emergence and kundalini activation issues for over 30 years. This is a rare opportunity to work in a small group setting with her to address all your questions and concerns.

The opportunities in this small group include

  • Discussing your concerns and questions with others who understand because they have had this experience.
  • Hearing both yogic science perspectives and modern interpretations of the inner revolution triggered by the kundalini process
  • Finding clarity about the function and purpose of this awakened energy
  • Learning tools for helping your mind, body and spirit live more comfortably and harmoniously with spiritual awakening.
  • Discovering the grace of fulfillment in the kundalini process.

You will be responsible for finding your own housing for this program, which is held in a charming tourist town with numerous hotels and B and B’s. To fly you would come to the Medford, OR airport, 14 miles from Ashland. Information on housing and travel will be sent with registration confirmation.

Kundalini Internet and Residential Programs Available

To Explore Kundalini and Meditation I am offering several programs this summer and Fall,
drawing from my books “Energies of Transformation””The Kundalini Guide” & “The Awakening Guide”.
Of special interest to my readers will be Living With Kundalini, available in two programs, an internet gathering or as a residential weekend in Ashland, Oregon.
The internet program will meet the 1st and 3rd Fridays of September, October and November from 12 noon to 1:30 Pacific time. You may join us from anywhere in the USA and Canada, and much of Europe if you make adjustments made for your time zone. The fee is $50/month for 2 sessions a month. To register email Bonnie at kundinfo@mindspring.com. Here are the details:

This Zoom Internet program will be available to no more than 20 people who wish to learn more about the kundalini process, share information and concerns with others who are in this process, explore ways to help the process become more calm and effective, and feel less isolated in the changes they are experiencing.

Preference will be given to those who have had a previous assessment with Bonnie and wish to meet others who are also experiencing this life-changing activation of energy, but all are welcome to apply. This will be a live meeting where you can meet others through the web who are in this awakening process.

There will be six initial sessions, each including a 30-minute talk and an hour of sharing on a video meeting hookup through Zoom. You will be given a code to connect easily into the Zoom video chat room. Zoom is free for you. Topics will include an overview of how the energy works in the subtle body, how and why awakening happens, the categories of experience that are reported in this process, the challenges and the blessings of the process, and ways to move from energy chaos into spiritual realization. Those who wish may be paired with a partner for conversation between sessions, suggestions will be made for writing, and your questions may be submitted for shared discussion.
30 minute talk and 1 hour of sharing

If you work with people in this process and you would be interested in a second group for doctors, psychologists, LPC’s and other professionals please let me know as I may set up a second series for professional training.
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LIVING WITH KUNDALINI: A Weekend Workshop
Aug.28, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., August 29 and 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Shanti River Center, 300 E, Hersey, Suite 2 in Ashland OR.
$200. fee
You are invited to come to Ashland and attend a weekend workshop with Dr. Bonnie Greenwell designed to help people understand and gain positive tools for living with the activation of kundalini energy.
The opportunities in this small group include
· Discussing your concerns and questions with others who understand because they have had this experience.
· Hearing both yogic science perspectives and modern interpretations of the inner revolution triggered by the kundalini process
· Finding clarity about the function and purpose of this awakened energy
· Learning tools for helping your mind, body and spirit live more comfortably and harmoniously with spiritual awakening.
· Discovering the grace of fulfillment in the kundalini process.

I am a licensed professional counselor with a Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology, and also a non-dual teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti. I have specialized in and trained therapists to work with spiritual emergence issues for over 30 years. This workshop is opportunity to understand the changes of energy that accompany awakening and meet others who are also in this process. Private sessions will also be available for an additional fee the day following this event if requested.

Ashland is a delightful town to visit with theater and a lovely park and many places to stay, including camps, hostels, hotels and many Bed and Breakfast places. You would fly into Medford OR, about 15 miles from Ashland.and should arrange your own housing.

To register send me an email at kundinfo@mindspring.com, and I will respond with further information.

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OPENING TO GRACE MEDITATION RETREAT
Camp Latgawa in the mountains of southern Oregon
Friday Sept.25, 10 a.m. until Sunday Sept. 27, 2 p.m.
$265 including shared room (2) and all meals
This weekend is an opportunity for silence and for deepening of your spiritual intention and meditation practice, for self-reflection and for falling into openness and grace. The emphasis will be on meditation, and finding inner stillness and presence.

After our initial introductions and opening Friday lunch we will hold silence until Sunday at lunch, except for satsang sessions where you will hear dharma talks with non-dual teacher Bonnie Greenwell and be able to ask questions. Interspersed with guided and silent meditations, there will be free time for you to journal or paint, walk the labyrinthe, hike to a waterfall, or sit for additional meditation time. Qigong will be an option before breakfast in the morning.

This program will be held in a rustic camp and beautiful mountain setting, about an hour from Medford airport in Medford, Oregon. You are asked to bring a sleeping bag and pillow. We will arrange shared transportation from the airport if needed.

For further information about the camp or retreat site or to register, contact the organizer, Becky Hale, (541) 601-3084 or bec.hale4@gmail.com

Science & Non-duality Conference
I’m pleased to be included among the speakers at the Science and Non-Duality Conference at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose next October 22- 25. This is a great event bringing together many non-dual teachers (several from Adyashanti’s lineage) with scientists from varied disciplines to explore the commonalities of our perspectives of consciousness. For information and to read about all the speakers go to http://www.scienceandnonduality.org.

Kundalini: Fascination & Resistance, Control & Letting Go

Question from a Seeker:
I’ve been spiritually seeking for a number of years and one thing that really seems to bother me is this fascination with Kundalini. I was fascinated with these Kundalini sensations because of the orgasmic oneness and union that accompanied them. Recently I’m also interested in working on my humanness and cleaning up all the messes associated with that. I am less interested in mystical states of permanent bliss or unity. The problem is that my ego/mind has started tempting me to have Kundalini experiences and I’ve been feeling this energy in my body (particularly in my face area), which is difficult to avoid. When I follow this energy and try to keep my mind concentrated on it for too long, I get panicked and it feels like my body is going to explode/die if I continue, so instinctively I stop and try to move on. But the energy keeps interfering with my ability to enjoy life and to live freely. This seems to be the main thing that keeps the ego sense of me alive and well (the other thing is probably a fear of utter despair and depression at seeing my illusions shattered,) I recently found that if I stop trying to control these energies I feel better. Is it better to just let them happen or to try to stop or manage them?

Response:
Kundalini is the life force experienced as a subtle energy running through the body and you are right in your discovery that the easiest way to live with it is to relax and let it move as it seems to want to. Usually if you just lay down on a bed when it starts it will shake you up for awhile as it removes stresses out of the system and opens up stuck areas in the body, and then it stops after a few minutes, or feels just like a quiet hum or vibration the rest of the time. It can feel blissful (but won’t always) when you let it move and cause a lot of discomfort if you contract against it. It can also be scary when it is intense but if you can substitute curiosity and openness for fear it will go much better for you. It is not especially useful to concentrate on it or try to intensify it, much better to kind of shrug it off and wonder what the energy might be trying to clear out now (you won’t often know).

It is also very useful to clean up any “messes” in your life, practically speaking. Stress, toxic habits and relationships, stuck anger and resentment and other divisive personal issues give the subtle body lots of issues to work out and make energy releases, emotional upheavals and even pain more challenging in this process. Think of kundalini as trying to make you very open and free internally, keeping all your channels open, and having to clear out any negativity or suffering that is in the way.

Other than “cleaning up your life,” the ego, which is just your mind identifying with your thoughts about it, needs to let go of trying to control this or any other aspects of the spiritual process. You are new to this process and it is here to support shifts and changes in consciousness that will allow consciousness to awaken to itself — there is nothing in it for the ego, which is why resistance comes up. If you are on a spiritual path and do regular silent sitting or meditation or even prayers of gratitude, this will further support an awakening. If you are doing lots of energy practice, using drugs or following shamanic, breathwork or other intense practices you may raise more energy than you want to handle and more mental confusion along with it. You might get some value from reading my two new books “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide” that are designed to help people understand and support the awakening process. You might benefit from listening to the talks at http://www.adyashanti.org as Adya is a wonderful teacher of awakening. This process will interfere with your fun-loving life and ultimately demand you align yourself with the most authentic and natural path within you.

You will learn to find peace and happiness within, but first any beliefs and illusions that contradict what is true will be challenged until you see them clearly enough to let them go.

The longing of the heart to know truth or know “Who I am” or know God — however you would phrase the longing that has drawn you into spiritual practice — is an important aspect of awakening. Trust that rather than your thoughts about what it means. It is a mystery just how we awaken and what we discover, one the mind cannot grasp.

It is rare for someone to stop this process, although occasionally it will stop temporarily if the major stressors and preoccupations of living become overwhelming. But learning to understand and support it make it a lot less challenging and open up more opportunity to find bliss and joy as the body and spirit become more open and alive.