Inspiration & Guidance for Spiritual Awakening

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 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.

When Kundalini Arises

When kundalini energy arises there can be bliss and chaos as the body adjusts to a new vibration.
To the extent you can relax and let go into the energy it is likely to feel better and be less troublesome, but the truth is the function of kundalini is to clear out all the old debris of your history, so any unfinished emotional or psychological issues are going to arise to be made conscious and resolved.

When an initial arising moves all the way through the body there can be great joy and ecstasy and an altered world view that makes you feel completely at one with the world. This is an experience that will pass in a few hours or a few days, and most people feel confused and sad when they return to the felt sense of the former self. This energy is not about becoming high and joyful and staying there. It is about transformation. Just as any reconstruction begins with a deconstruction, so does personal transformation.

The activation of kundalini is an invitation to awaken to your true nature, that which lies beneath the psychological self you have constructed since birth to fit in and cope with the life you were given. Each of us has a unique set of circumstances because our history varies, but whatever is held in the body/mind will be subject to this transformation process, until at some point consciousness is able to be known in its primal and original form, as the vast and empty spaciousness in which all is one potential.

We cannot make this happen because the “I” that would try to manage it is not able to go along on this journey. The I we believe ourselves to be is a collection of assumptions, beliefs, feelings, impressions, opinions and memories that are in continual movement (chances are you do not think now the way you did at age 5 or age 20, because more data is in the system an old patterns died). “I” is a verb, not a noun, not a concrete and immovable object. It is a sense that holds a collection. This is greatly challenged in an awakening process and so you feel unstable, uncertain, and sometimes afraid of how you are changing. You are entering into a mystery, where perceptions change, emotions can be erratic, and you often feel unfamiliar to yourself. But along with this can be great waves of love, blissful sensations, insights, and moments of stillness and peace. A few people may hear an inner voice that says something like “Peace be with you” or “This is all okay”. Just remember that all that arises passes on, and that the reason that most of what arises happens is so that you can see through it and realize — oh this too is not what I am.

Learn to be present in the moment where you are and not dwell on old patterns and memories. Learn to bring energy into the heart which will deepen the sense of appreciation and gratitude for the present moment. Learn to accept with equanimity what you were in the past with all its shadow and challenges and be curious instead of afraid about who you are becoming. Don’t let the mind jump to conclusions. Ask it to relax and just see what happens instead of projecting possible scenarios.

Consider moving more from intuition and from the heart rather than the old ways of decision making. Take care of your body and stay in alignment with your deepest truth and authenticity. These are the ways to support the process and eventually return into a lasting presence and inner peace.

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.

The Power of Kundalini

Posted initially in kundaliniguide.blogspot.com April 2013, as a response to a question of how to survive this arising, especially when one feels challenged in their ability to work.

Kundalini arising is an invitation, truly a doorway, into knowing what you are, and realizing or remembering the true nature of existence. This is why the energy is called divine. It is the energy of the source of life that enabled you to exist as part of creation, and when it activates it is possible for consciousness to shift in such a way that it recognizes its true nature, apart from all the thoughts in your head, and patterns in your life that you previously thought were who you are. Some people have a glimpse of the infinite, the truth that consciousness exists beyond any boundary, long before they have a kundalini arising. But most people seem to have the arising of this energy of the life force prior to the awakening of consciousness. It supports them in becoming Self-realized.

Naturally kundalini energy is frightening to the mind of many people, because it challenges our belief in the uniqueness of our own identity, and it is beyond the understanding and the cultural perspective of the mind. It feels sometimes as if you are losing your mind and your understanding of who you are, it disrupts and reorganizes your energy field, and it may even cause physical discomfort as it moves through areas of your body that have latent physical issues or stored emotional content. It can look and feel “weird” and if the body has experienced physical or sexual abuse,or traumatic emotional and physical events, it can cause the release of the old memories held in the contracted energy field. So for some people this awakening is a more challenging event than for others.

You might think of kundalini awakening as a clearing and transitional process that is designed to enable an open, clear and compassionate perspective of life and death, and to feel the essential bliss and connectedness of all things. For this to happen all the thoughts, points of view, memories and stored traumas in the body need to be released. It is not that they disappear, but rather the identification with them falls away. You cannot do this yourself. It is done through you by the energy, in its own timing. If you have done clearing through therapy or body work in the past this can be useful, because there is less “stuckness” in the old conditions and more acceptance of letting things go. And usually with therapy one learns to release self-judgement, which is an important prerequisite in this process of awakening to what you really are. Develop compassion and nurture yourself as you go through this process.

Our true nature has no judgment and no resistance to life. Waking up is not an abandonment of life as it is, but an expansion, so that consciousness sees the inner-connectedness, the oneness, underneath all the diversity of expression in the world.

Without judgment there is still a responsiveness, a deep feeling can move through related to compassion for the suffering in the human condition, and action can emerge spontaneously, the form having great variations among different people.

Great laughter and joy can arise in seeing clearing how we have missed the truth for so many years ,and ignored the clear evidence of our own eternal consciousness. Even in the joy we can still feel strong compassion for the confusion that all humanity shares.

Unfortunately, not everyone who awakens kundalini will awaken to Truth. There are many cul-de-sacs in the process caused by cultural and community biases and ignorance of the process, fear of the unknown (which one must enter without reservation at some point), the tendency to regress into self-doubt, or attachment to old patterns of being that are not released. One needs to learn to listen to their deepest inner truth, to take care of their physical and emotional needs, to surrender completely to the energy flow, to be willing to love unconditionally — one is invited into many experiences the mind might resist. Some people feel like they may be losing their sanity or even their life. There are many fear-based stories about kundalini which sometimes amplify these doubts and fears. And there are risks to health if one is pushing the process , continues using recreational drugs, or ignores basic health habits. It helps to have some objective support and guidance in case you become inflated, disoriented or overwhelmed by emotional shifts. (all of which may happen for limited periods of time). It helps to have a spiritual orientation and basic self-respect and love.

Some people are concerned because their financial situation does not support them and they feel unable to work. It is helpful if one has a lifestyle and workstyle that are compatible for their spiritual life, that sustains them through these transitional times. If this is not available they can only seek inner wisdom to find a way through life support by using available food pantries and community dinners, volunteering service in a meaningful way, living in yogic communities, or returning to families for help. In most cases if one is unable to hold their regular job, a small amount of work that feels aligned with one’s true capacity is helpful. The body/mind will benefit from some kind of focus and balance during this awakening. This is not about abandoning the body/mind or the personal life you have been given, only giving up identification with it as “all” you are. You are still obligated to care for it. This is your vehicle for liberation.

Poverty during a kundalini process may be no worse than poverty for a myriad of other reasons. For hundreds of years Zen monks who sought awakening chose poverty, although they were in a community that respected this option and helped to feed them. I cannot say why one person is thrown into this situation and others are not — some might say it was a choice from a previous life, or a piece of karma to be finished, or a teaching about a certain perspective of life, or a pattern or belief that needs to be relinquished. It may be caused by apparent outside circumstances, (all of us can find societal reasons), but it is your mind that attaches a personal meaning to it.

I was once in a workshop with a nurse who reported a very traumatic childhood including early rape and pregnancy, prostitution and living on the streets before her world shifted in her twenties and she was able to move into school and a career. As I felt into the trauma of that life and youth what I saw was that she went through that so that I would not have to. Each of us fills a spot in a massive and eternal mosaic of life experience. There is no ultimate reason or why explaining why some have such difficulties — it is just so. Humanity is still in an evolutionary stage, and has not yet embraced unilateral kindness and health. There is suffering and we all are part of it. Waking up will only make it better. Kundalini arising, and its greatest gift, a clear perception of the nature of existence and the releasing of our identification with thoughts that cause suffering, will, as the Buddha said, wake up the world (a piece at a time).

If you are truly in this process it will not let you go (although you can resist endlessly) and keep inviting you into your deepest potential for knowing Truth.

 

I’m happy to announce “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide”, new books that describe the many phenomena and issues arise along a spiritual path, offering guidance and inspiration, are now available at http://www.amazon.com and on kindle. These guidebooks are the result of over 30 years of supporting people who have been in an awakening process, either because of energy activation, or the profound shift of consciousness that accompanies a glimpse of their true nature.  They offer a perspective to understand what is happening and where it is going, describe the practices and attitudes that help one become more prone to grace, and discuss the pitfalls and cul-de-sacs that can derail the experience or cause some to be stuck for long periods of time. They include brief vignettes from some of the people who have contacted over the years. They are written in the hope of stimulating and supporting your awakening.

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