Inspiration & Guidance for Spiritual Awakening

Posts tagged ‘spiritual emergence’

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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The Crucible of Relationship in Spiritual Emergence

ATT00111 birdsSo perhaps you have had a shift of energies and perspective, and you are wondering how it will impact your significant relationships. You seem to no longer be caught in old familiar patterns and you are facing non-ordinary energetic rushes, emotional clearings, internal vibrations and a sense that nothing really matters in the way it used to. And now your partner is wondering what has happened to you and why you are changing.

There are several levels of spiritual awakenings but the two shifts that have the most challenging impact on relationship are the awakening of kundalini energy, which plunges your energetic system into many new phenomena, and the realization of consciousness in its vast and unbounded state of being the All, which transforms your understanding of who and what you are.

The shifting in energies, called kundalini awakening, changes how you feel, as it revs up and redirects subtle energies, shaking out the body, raising heat, and sending out rivulets of bliss or spasms of pain. The subtle body is restructuring itself, releasing old contractions, moving you from one emotion to another, even triggering moments of unfathomable sadness or irrepressible joy. Whatever you were like before this arising of kundalini you are not the way you were, and this is very disconcerting for the family and friends. In addition they may sense your energies and be uncomfortable around them, and be upset that you have lost interest in sex and socializing. You will very likely feel that no one understands what you are going through. (This in itself is an important concept to release — that you need to be understood.)

If you have had a spiritual realization, a sense that you are not your small identity but instead are an indescribable awareness (at least when you are living in the moment) the chances are you no longer feel needy, no longer want to carry on as if little things mattered, and no longer enjoy bonding by discussing mutual problems and practical issues around the house. You may be drawn into nature, or meditation, prefer silence to the television or the social events, hate going into crowds and big box stores, and generally appear to be a different style of character than you were before the awakening. Partners get alarmed when this happens. Work may also suffer as you can’t concentrate the way you used to, and care little about doing anything that seems superficial.

Although I could (and may) write a book on the many changes that might influence your relationships, for this moment I offer just a few suggestions for reorienting your life.

Understand you do not need to leave a relationship that holds value, love or meaning for you just because of these changes. But if it is toxic, draws you into substance abuse, or feels abusive you may need to leave in order to sustain your sense of presence. It is a false perception that someone who is enlightened ought to put up with anything. Awakening can be a call to action as well as a call to acceptance. In other words, you need to support your awakening by doing what feels right to you. You need to take time to consider whether this is where you want to be — for many reasons you may feel drawn to stay, and for others you may be drawn to go. Just be sure if you want this relationship that you consider the following questions:

  1. How can I help my partner live more comfortably with the changes in me?

Even if you do not feel needy anymore (and many relationships are built on mutual need) you can want to be there — because you feel respect, love, stability, partnership, mutual values related to your kids, or an opportunity to face the parts of you that are not yet awake! Living with another brings up many hidden patterns within us that may not have shifted in the initial moment of awakening, and still need to be seen through as part of the old identifications. If your partner senses you are no longer needy, let him or her know you want to be with them.

No matter how you feel, your partner may still need something from you. What are you willing to give? Let him or her know. Be sensitive and supportive. If you are in the energetic phase you may still need something from others — what are you able to ask for and show appreciation for if it is given?

  1. How can I speak of what is happening without using exotic and incomprehensible terms?

You can speak of the physical impact of your meditation practice being felt as energy, you can speak of mood shifts that feel a little disorienting and try to find a sense of humor about it, you can lean more toward curiosity than fear in speaking of the process, and you can be very clear that you do not need to be understood. Do not expect someone who has never experienced this to understand it. If they are fearful it is because they care about you and want to fix it, but as you know they cannot. This is very uncomfortable for people who believe they should fix things. You may have to find new ways to approach asking for what you need from the relationship, and become very alert to how you can support them in adjusting to it. Find someone to talk with that understands the experience, such as a spiritually oriented counselor or a friend on a similar journey.

  1. Why is everything I used to care about falling away?

It is inevitable that old identifications and patterns collapse. You may not have expected this when you began spiritual seeking, so now you are shocked. But the old you was built on conditioning, defenses, distractions and memories that are no longer so relevant. The needs of your body may be different — for example, you may need to give up alcohol, mind-altering substances, red meat, over-stressing yourself physically or mentally, and other patterns because you notice you feel lousy when you do them. Your subtle and psychic energy is focused now in one direction, rising or descending through the chakras to promote healing and clearing of old beliefs, patterns, traumas and emotional wounds. Your energy field is more sensitive and picks up the fields of others more readily. Eventually in a full awakening there is a rising of internal energies (think of it as the life force) until there is a realization of your true essence, and consciousness awakens itself. This is followed by a gradual coming alive of the body in a new way through which the transformed consciousness can be expressed. In the process the sense of an “I” fades or becomes irrelevant and all it has been attached to gradually drops away. The uniqueness of what you were, your preferences, and your skills are not lost but these are held more lightly. Many relationships thrive with these changes but some cannot. You will have to stay conscious in your relationship to help it endure, if that is what you wish.

  1. Can I use relationship to keep evolving?

Relationships with partners and families are primarily what will offer you opportunities to grow further, let go of more attachments, and develop compassion and sensitivity to the human condition. No matter how awake you are or how distracted by the ups and downs of your spiritual emergence you are still located in a human body and human world. Take time to lean into this as if it mattered, because to only be awake when you have escaped out of life is to only be half-free.

The heart opens when it breaks, the mind opens when it truly is present with another, and enlightenment stabilizes when you can be available to what is, free of compulsion but willing to meet the dance of creation however it is flowing for you.

When your anger or sorrow, irritability or demands, and other inconvenient emotions are triggered (after you thought they were gone forever) here is an opportunity to see what may lie still in the dregs of your unconscious waiting to be liberated.

Relationship can be a significant part of the spiritual journey to wholeness and peace. It offers grounding. It provides allies in the world of form and offers multiple ways of seeing into the delusions of thought. The role of celibacy in the Indian tradition may be necessary for young men entering monastic orders, especially if they practice complex breathing and pranic energy exercises to activate energies. However marriages are an important aspect of life for many Buddhist masters, Sufi mystics and Cabbalists in the Jewish tradition as well as the scores or ordinary people who are awakening today. What is important is recognizing what is right for you, and even this changes from time to time. If you are in an awakening process it is time to recognize and honor your own autonomy by listening to your deepest Truth. Being at peace in relationship may be your final crucible.