Inspiration & Guidance for Spiritual Awakening

Posts tagged ‘energy’

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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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.

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.

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.

New Books

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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