Kundalini is operating in all of us to a degree, occasionally however it sparks up into what is known as a kundalini awakening, transmutation, metamorphosis, transfiguration, spiritual alchemy or spiritual awakening. In this book you will see me call this initiation "popping." People pop to various degrees. Some fizzle like soda, without the cork popping drama of champagne. Others pop spontaneously at 17 years like Ramana Maharishi without any prior spiritual practice. He just read a book on the lives of the saints and so identified with them that he practically instantly became one. His experience of going into death, was his ego recognizing its own demise as the Atman arose within. Gobi Krishna's initiation was through meditation. Philip St. Romain was sparked off through prayer. Meher Baba awakened when he was hit on the head with a stone as a boy. Joseph Chilton Pearce popped in his 60's by shaktipat from Muktananda. Some spend all their energies preventing themselves from the Ego-death of popping at all and so never really live.
Some of the myriad of factors that can contribute to an awakening include: High altitude, air and water quality, diet, exercise, stress, relationships, degree of being on purpose and acts of generosity. Risk, adventure travel, exposure to the elements, novelty, new experiences and environments, and the breakdown of habit and torpor. Various elemental changes and shocks to the body like alternating hot and cold such as saunas and cold showers, light and dark. Determination to adhere to soul rather than social convention, genetics, and both the good and bad conditions of one's upbringing. Other factors include latitude and longitude on the earth's sphere, seasons, sun and moon cycles. Chronological and biological age, spiritual practice, having to use a new set of skills. One's calling and the future time stream...that is the Muse/Eros, and perhaps the needs of the human species as a whole.
It is the differential between the old and new growth that initiates the dissolution of the old brain and resurrection of the new. So a rapid growth in cognition, change of environment or spiritual practice that instigates new brain development will bring on an awakening. Since kundalini is the "flow" of energy/consciousness--areas that promote flow will facilitate an awakening, such as higher altitude, mountain high ion air, certain geography that conveys earth currents better. Also areas with powerful tree growth such as the redwoods of Big Sur or virgin forests. Definitely the moon cycle is involved hence gravitation plays a big part. Also the solar cycle, solar flares and the solar 8 day sector changes affects biological and alchemical processes. The biofields of certain human populations would be more or less conducive to promoting awakenings depending on how gross or subtle the noosphere of the culture we inhabit.
One needs to have a certain genetic and cellular strength in order for kundalini to spark up, for it will not ignite in a body that will be greatly damaged by its arousal. Kundalini is apt to rise when we increase our vital energy and are relatively block-free, as in eating a raw diet, doing yoga and getting plenty of exercise. Often there needs to be self-initiatory psychological conditions such as devotion, excessive generosity, crisis, shaktipat from a Guru, or the meeting a great love in order to set off the chemistry to a high degree of intensity.
Shaktipat literally means descent of grace. It is yogic initiation in which the Siddha Guru transmits spiritual energy to the aspirant, thereby awakening the aspirant's dormant kundalini shakti. Mae-Wan Ho suggests that all life is connected by nonlocal field interpenetration of quantum wave functions. Shaktipat is an example of this effect; while more pronounced when organisms are in each others presence, it also operates globally and seems to have strange temporal effects also. The interpenetration of spiritual energy occurs through quantum waves, electromagnetic waves, scalar waves, light waves, acoustic waves and through the superconduction of consciousness...that is the sympathetic resonance of oscillating systems. To a certain extent we are all shaktipatting each other all the time...we live in a world-field of shaktipat.
The impact of shaktipat, or the contagion of spirit between individuals, is endlessly interesting to both consider and experience. The dramatic psycho-somatic effects cannot be predicted but can be understood in hindsight. The book Spiritual Cannibalism by Rudi is a good account of the potential of spiritual relationship.
Kundalini is not about people enjoying each other or themselves, it's about waking up--which most often is a very painful process. Like secondhand smoke, secondhand kundalini can be very disturbing for people. If their chemistry is off or heart closed, they are going to feel uncomfortable around an individual with awakened kundalini. Postmenopausal women that are not self-actualized...(ie: dependent types) can be deeply disturbed by proximity to a younger woman's kundalini awakening. As the younger woman's chi will revitalize the older woman's hormones thereby forcing extra growth in a body that is declining in vitality and is used to its habitual plateau.
It is unlikely to get kundalini activity from relationship breakup situations, especially of the fizzle-out kind...wrong hormonal components. But getting out of a restrictive or repressive relationship might cause an expansion rather than a contraction of love and this could stimulate kundalini and growth. Also unrequited, tragic or thwarted love is a great promoter of kundalini because the alchemical conditions are primed for sex and relationship but energy is not used up in sex but instead can be translated into metamorphosis. This translation of attraction into alchemy is what is known as "sublimation."
Whether it's consummated or not, romantic interest is a great stimulator of kundalini because it activates both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, increases sex hormones, growth hormone, nitric oxide and macrophage activity. Thus the body is primed to pop. The symptoms of being in love such as acute senses, increased psychic abilities, creativity, wonder, awe, faith, courage, motivation to action, generosity, forgiveness, compassion etc... all these are both cause and effect, feeding back into the alchemical loop to prime the kundalini pump. I think that most of our assumptions of sex and relationship are apt to be either wishful thinking or defense mechanism. Love should essentially blow our minds to a deeper reality beyond what we know ourselves or others to be.
It's not sex per say that helps to trigger kundalini, it's the vasodilation of the cardiovascular system, and the associated introduction of new parasympathetic levels of "relaxation" in the bodymind. According to an article in Brain/Mind Bulletin, Rollin McCraty and Glen Rein have found connections between heart patterns and positive emotional states. Normally chaotic electrocardiogram spectrum patterns become coherent during positive states like falling in love. What initiates kundalini is therefore the opening of the heart, coupled with the positive state of the mind and increased prana flow that comes with being in love.
Kundalini relates to sex in that the sex hormones are the base note of the alchemical process, for you simply don't get an awakening without an elevation of the sex hormones. Also the nitric oxide that is produced in copious amounts during an awakening from the macrophages and hyperactivated nervous system...engorges both heart and sex organs. Since both the parasympathetic and sympathetic sides of the nervous system are in hyperdrive one is both hormonally and vascularly opened and ready for super-sex. This occurs during the heating phase of 2 years prior to an awakening and the 3 years of the peak phase, and especially during the 6 month apex. However I never had sex during that time so I cannot say for sure how that would be, but I would imagine it's pretty damn profound depending on the partner one was with.
Itzhak Bentov is probably partly correct when he says that the syncopation of the various oscillating systems in the body amplify energies and increase the ionization of the cerebrospinal fluid, conveying a current/charge--known as kundalini. Itzhak Bentov's idea is that kundalini occurs through the micromotion of the body. This model postulates that various body structures can potentially oscillate in sympathetic resonance with each other leading to the production of increased magnetic currents in the cerebral cortex. Bentov correlates this enhanced electromagnetic action in the cortex with kundalini release. Bentov looks at the body like a mechanical machine so his physics is surpassed by modern biophysics. Nowadays we are more apt to look to quantum microtubules, neuron receptors and neurochemistry for the cause, but the larger electromagnetic and resonant aspects also come into play. The HeartMath Institute has done more recent research on the oscillating frequencies of the heart and nervous system: http://www.heartmath.org/research/
Giving birth and other stressful conditions in which will is overcome often lead to a kundalini experience. The potent neurological and hormonal mix that is pumped into the body during birthing activates kundalini. There is an increase in oxytocin to create the contractions...both sides of the nervous system are activated...release of mega opiates...DMT release...pressure of the baby in the pelvis...muscles are charged by exertion...extra breathing increases blood oxygen...CSF ionized by heightened condition of parasympathetic & sympathetic nervous systems...liver releases glucose for exertion---all these and more is why kundalini sparks up during birthing. Christina Grof mentioned that kundalini that had arisen during the birthing of her child was stopped by an injection of morphine.
During the initiation stage of a full-on awakening we can assume that both the thyroid and the parathyroid glands are hyperactive. It's interesting to note that hyperparathyroidism increases the ionized calcium in the cerebrospinal fluid causing psychotic symptoms. The parathyroid governs the extra-cellular calcium levels. It could be a unique combination of oxygen intake, hormonal levels and activation of the sympathetic nervous system that creates the initial spark of kundalini up the spine.
Sudden stress or the relief of prolonged stress can bring on a kundalini awakening. Whether it is the stress of recognition of the Self though contact with a Guru or through finding a "true love." "When the senses are heightened because of stress, novelty, or fear, it's much easier to become a mystic or feel ecstasy or fall in love. Danger makes one receptive to romance. Danger is an aphrodisiac." P.166, Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of Love. Stress, even the stress of new growth, might be essential to trigger hypertonality of the sympathetic nervous system, allowing kundalini to spark off. PTSD is also a preparatory factor to kundalini triggering.
In my experience the initial spark up the spine can occur out of the blue. Kundalini can occur even quite late in life, but usually in someone who is already psychically sensitive and mystically aware. Mine occurred in association with stress and stress relief...longing and fulfillment. But we have to be on our edge, they don't occur in dull, satiated and ordinary periods of one's life.
My first awakening arose through stress, overt-generosity and biological precognition of my fathers eminent death...the second through my love for Mr. Universal and the muses insistence that I write a book on metamorphosis. Though no matter what the trigger, the awakening of kundalini seems as inevitable and natural as breathing. It's as though an inexpressible question in us, an ineffable drive has been answered. The restless search ends as we surrender to the maker and come home to our Self.
Since kundalini awakening is most often just something that happens, we don't have a whole lot of say over how "mature" we are when it strikes. However by its very extreme nature, kundalini will force greater maturity and lucid adjustment to reality in order to survive. Along with the sense of danger inherent in the dissolving of ones known self, there is also a buoyant faith that arises from being so lit with Spirit and at one with the Universe.
Kundalini arousal and the ongoing development of the nervous system make us more sensitive to the inner and outer worlds. The self-directed force of kundalini purifies accumulated stress caused by our past habits (samsakras) and traumas. Friction and difficulty during awakening occur not so much from the process itself but from our conscious and unconscious interference with it due to not understanding what is going on.
Kundalini burns off much of the primary reactivity imprinted from our family of origin and early life experience. With kundalini the opportunity for change is increased because our neurological slate is wiped relatively clean, but it depends on our will, faith and environment as to how far we can grow. If we do not change our habits to reflect the Self's true interests, we will continue to rebuild the conditioned reactive self we thought ourselves to be. We spend our entire lives thinking we are an entity that was created by our parents and culture...but are we really that entity? I mean they don't even know us, they only know their projections of us. The Grail of course is the true Self that is beyond all such imposition.
Kundalini is the consciousness in matter becoming more conscious of itself, therefore if one wants to evolve such an awakening is necessary. Or rather evolution and awakening simply "are" and we surrender to this reality or fight it. Sometimes we have a rocky time of it, because awakening is always moving through uncharted territory and because we exist in a civilization still based on fibs, repression and inertia. If we didn't get so contracted and arrested while forming...then the kundalini would go through its cycles without fireworks, because there would be fewer boulders in the flow to create friction and damming of energy. Detoxifying is always the first thing to aim for in any spiritual endeavor and it is especially important "prior" to kundalini awakening. In fact because it is so detoxifying, switching to a raw diet will probably lead to a kundalini awakening if other things are also in place.
I don't recommend drug use for triggering because kundalini is hard enough to handle in itself, without trying to bring it on. Anything one does to detoxify, enliven, exercise, strengthen, impassion and enthuse will bring on increased kundalini. If you are interested in a more intimate relationship with your maker, and desire to be overwhelmed in love with the Beloved...then kundalini is likely to arise naturally from ones heart and spirit atuning actions. We are naturally told what to do to come into alignment with our Self. The desire, will and carry-through just needs to be there, along with the faith to proceed despite all appearances and setbacks.
Prior to the obvious activation of kundalini various strange symptoms can occur years prior to the awakening itself. For example my left shin became really sore for about a year prior to my 1988 awakening. I used to rub rosemary oil into it to improve the nerve flow. Kundalini shows up mostly in the left side of the body and you know it is obviously kundalini when you feel the tingle at the bottom of the left foot. Although if one looks back one can see various warning signs, often the initial blast of awakening happens out of the blue. That is we go from the consensus worldview and material understanding of ourselves to a vastly new universe in a matter of seconds as the energy shoots through the body like a thousand suns. Another sign that an awakening is on the way is the front of the neck around the thyroid might become painful for years prior to an awakening. We can also experience years of painful contraction in the inner core as though a rubber band was getting tighter and tighter within us.
The mind if healthy is a handy tool for integration of the transmutation. The mind, if unhealthy or weak, is increasingly disturbed by the rising of kundalini energy such that the individual becomes even more maladapted to consensus reality. "Correct" use of mind can perfect the body structures, open the heart, provide a strong nervous system etc... and this will allow the awakening to proceed in a healthy rather than pathological manner.
The heightened psychic, insight, sensory awareness of active kundalini can make one more universally sane than the consensus-trance of conventional reality, but more easily triggered into dramatic action as well because everything in the psyche and soma is less repressed...that is one becomes more Godlike and more elemental/archetypal also. The barrier between material and spiritual becomes more permeable and the range of our consciousness expands into previous unknown regions.
So someone with active kundalini is more elemental and "archetypal, however the reduction in adaptive cognition can be so great that one can't drive a car in an urban environment. There are periods when the cerebrocortex is greatly incapacitated while the limbic and autonomic brains are hyper-activated. As the repressive mechanism of the ego is reduced during the initial stages of awakening there is a purging the primitive emotions of shame, guilt, fear, panic, paranoia, depression and self-pity. In a hostile social environment these emotions could be catastrophic, essentially completely paralyzing effective function and aging the individual into an acute illness of bodymind. If this emotional cathartic development is suspended and not able to run its course we could end up in the funny farm.
"Katz (1973) writes of the !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert in Northwest Botswana, Africa, who dance for many hours to "heat" up the n/um so that the !kia state can be attained. He notes that the n/um is analogous to the kundalini state. !Kai is the state of transcendence. It is more than a peak experience of going beyond the ordinary self; !kia is like Satori, participation in eternity. Education for transcendence teaches the adept the way to stir up the n/um and how the threshold of fear can be crossed into the !kia state. The n/um is said to reside in the pit of the stomach. As it warms up, it rises from the base of the spine to the skull where then !kia occurs...!kia is painful, fearful, and unpredictable each time it occurs." Lee Sannella, M.D., Kundalini: Psychosis or Transcendence, p14-15
Conditions that contribute to this kind of communal kundalini
raising include fasting, music, drumming and a fire...probably around
full or new moon also. Like the Sundance of the American Indians where
they dance and chant for extended periods. The Kung use the energy in a
holy way to tap psychic information and precognition to enhance the
welfare of the tribe. But kundalini energy can also be used in a more
prepersonal Bacchian sense as well, for example Dionysian rites were
first mostly undertaken by women then at some point in history the men
also joined in...the women collectively gave themselves over to
kundalini trance, dancing, feasting and revelry under the moon.
Similarly a group of people can have an orgy and the energy can be
somewhat evolutionary wasted, or they can have a joint tantric ceremony
that could greatly increase the evolution of the group and community.
Why the increased numbers of people experiencing awakening?
More people pop as more people pop. As survival pressures rise the increased stress chemistry plays into creating the type of instability in which kundalini energy can ignite. Also contributing to igniting the flame is our declining metabolic strength and inferior "processed" diet, coupled with ever refining nervous systems as we encounter more transformative spiritual ideologies (rather than conservative non-transformative mythic religious ideas). Our bodies are making a last ditch effort to throw off former trauma wiring in order to give us survival advantage in a rapidly changing world. Also individuation is such that we can break away from rigid-stagnant community/family in order to get the type of philosophical stimulation and sexual romantic opportunities which throw us into this second puberty and the thorough rebuilding of our body, mind, soul and emotions. We essentially have to undergo these rebirths in this day and age, because the way we were formed by our parents is so antiquated that the wiring in our primary matrix is holding us back in patterns which we and culture have long outgrown. Our faster philosophic and psychological development of the prefrontal lobes essentially triggers this cathartic transformation so that enough change can happen in the old wiring to bring our whole being up to contemporary operational mode. Whereas in the past such indepth change did not need to occur in the lifetime of the individual because the pace of change was so slow back then. The faster the pace of change the more rebirths individuals will have to undergo within their lifetime.
In this yoga of awakening both the "good" and the "bad" of life are turned into the service of emergence.
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