"Individuation is a life-long process of finding the meaning of our existence irrespective of others' needs, wants and demands. The early focus of individuation is not in finding "whom I am," but in learning "who I am not." ~ Karla McLaren
Verena Kast defined individuation as: "The life-long process toward wholeness, individuality, differentiation from one's parents, parental complexes and projections."
"Individuation therefore also means separation, differentiation and recognition of what is yours and what is not." 256 ~ Marie-Louise Von Franz, Alchemy.
If kundalini is the energy of individuation, then how does kundalini relate to relationship? During a kundalini awakening as more layers of our being are accessed we are both more vulnerable, complex and sensitive. The energy of kundalini is highly attractive and addictive and so we have to be careful not to draw unhealthy relationships, like wasps around a honey pot. It's the kundalini energy itself that is "attractive" but it's not always attractive. Kundalini is attractive to the degree that bodies and hearts are "open," and it pushes uncomfortably against that which is not open.
During an awakening we are more alone than we will ever be in our lives, for no one can intimately tread the same territory alongside us. Beware of selling your values and truth out for the comfort and security of having someone around. Also during active kundalini, sex along with all sensation, is greatly amplified and this can interfere with discretion and decision-making. Also with kundalini flow we are already greatly in love, bliss and openness and likely to overlook warning signals, traits and behaviors which normally we wouldn't tolerate in a partner. So it is a strange condition of being in total readiness for relationship, and yet the stakes of setting a foot wrong have never been so high. We will fall into whatever traps we have prepared for ourselves by our nature. If you find yourself involved in relationship difficulty, pull back and focus your energy on creative output and integrating the kundalini through exercise, energy work (Qi Gong etc...) and nature.
During an awakening it becomes even more important to always seek a peer relationship. Never fall into the trap of thinking you are doing someone a favor and helping them to grow, heal or overcome neurosis by having sex with them during active kundalini. Seek someone of equal or higher openness and intelligence, for anything else will be degrading, wasteful and produce suffering. The neurotic that you desire to "help" will not be able to grow at the same pace, nor commit to conscious awakening and their rubber banding will be a severe waste of energy for you at a time when you already have enough to deal with. By rubber banding I mean the push-pull that goes on in someone who is divided in their being and their intention, so that they cannot commit to relationship but flip around, one minute for, one minute against.
Kundalini energy is so "exaggerating" to any mechanism within relationship that everything becomes an insane parody of relating...one cannot hide from the potential for love, or one's need to betray that potential. If one needs to be in a push-pull relationship I advise to do it before a kundalini awakening, or if it starts happening within a relationship while in kundalini, just get out of the relationship fast. Since we are usually already out of our depth and in crisis during kundalini, engaging in sum-negative relationships with people who are not up to the task of truly loving us, is perhaps the most dangerous and damaging thing we can do. For we just waste our time, energy and spiritual attainment in low-grade human drama. It boils down to whether a relationship is syntropic and builds autonomy, soul, consciousness, energy and love or if it's entropic and interferes with the evolutionary expression of these.
Since there are very few people who have had awakened kundalini or are presently active, its unlikely that we can pair up with someone based on this criteria. In my experience it is best to avoid the person who has read all the books, knows the lingo and has a spiritual practice, but is still deeply in schism, neurosis and narcissism. Instead it is better to choose one who may have none of the trappings of the spiritual path, but is united in their being, with an open heart and forthright energy. Don't be distracted by appearances for in the trials of a kundalini crisis we cannot afford the luxury of draining or twisted relationships.
If the non-popped partner considers him/herself to be a spiritual practitioner then eventually narcissism, competition and jealousy will likely get the better of them and their rubberband of defense will snap back into place. Thus ultimately it takes someone who is equally ready to Pop to really be in long term relationship with someone going through a kundalini awakening, for the degree of surrender necessary is perhaps absolute.It is the openness or “expansion capacity” of your partner’s heart that is the absolutely crucial factor. Because the supernatural energies of kundalini will shake everything within the couple, the ability for compassionate objective nonreactive witnessing is vital. As is an understanding of the alchemical cyclic process of the sacred marriage itself. The success of romantic relationship during a kundalini awakening depends on the interrelationship of the capacity for “faith” of the two individuals.
The changes and upheavals can be so great that it is essential to look for the ultimate support within oneself. If you feel you need support from sangha, Guru, mate, parents or doctor you will just run yourself ragged and end up increasingly deprived. Isolation often leads to the evolutionary chemistry of the mystics. The energy/awareness has to go somewhere, so it turns into the inner flower. When we witness anything, be it loneliness, horniness, kundalini, desire, pain, fear etc...it can be transmuted into its own satisfaction. But if we turn our consciousness away from it and resist it or suppress it then it just persists in an unconscious fashion to infest our behavior and destiny. The "derepression capacity" of kundalini is so great that the whole relationship has to be dedicated to the All or both parties are screwed no matter what they do.
Like a hurricane, a tornado, an ice age, Metamorphosis is an inevitable universal force that descends upon us from beyond our control and to which there is very little we can do about to alter its path and effects. Because of its rare and self-perpetuating (self-initiating and autopoietic) nature we must as a society learn to distinguish the difference between personal-temporal-earthly relationship and ephemeral-spiritual transpersonal chemistry...and so clarify our thoughts and emotions around these two very distinctly different phenomena. For the creation of a benign, beneficent human civilization we must evolve beyond the security bound ego to the unconditionally loving soul. So focus must be shifted from survival to transmutation, without transmutation becoming yet another goal of the security seeking condition. To do this we must achieve spiritual autonomy from the world such that we can relax into unconditionally loving soul in the midst of the chaos of the world.
As the Global Brain awakens and connects there will be such a floodtide of transpersonal alchemy that we will collectively gain the skills and language needed to address it. Until then the pioneers will largely be stumbling in the dark, with barely a candle other than the light in their own heart. To be touched with affection we must first touch with affection. The heart of the world grows thus. We fill up from the inside out, after which we can shine our love on all creation. The sheer intensity of kundalini forces us to trust that which is beyond the known. It forces us to surrender to that which seems infinitely larger than ourselves. It forces us be befriend ourselves and forces us to love.
The hardest won lesson I learnt from my awakening was: that there is a very real danger that if we are already blissed out of our tree and intent on some heroic journey, we can accidentally pass up on the lover of our dreams. Thus we must be weary of the dangers of our inflation and idealism, to be responsive to the inner call to action when faced with a meaningful encounter. And even more importantly if at all possible we must be aware of our degree of spiritual pride, and prejudice which in the end does nothing but disrupt our lives and create misery, loneliness and division.
True love, the soul-love that the universe creates, is really rare, so we may have to settle for ego driven relationships that drive us batty. The main problem with prolonged removal from romantic relationship, is the likelihood of us dismissing the One because we are so used to holding nothing to us, so no relationship "feels" like ours. A fabulous partner turns up and we marvel at his/her beauty for "someone else" not us. That is we have turned a prepersonal situation into a transpersonal and forgotten the personal in between. Distracted by our duties and survival strategies the chance meeting then becomes a one hour conversation instead of a lifetime of relationship. The degree to which we have fought the pain of loneliness rather than accepted it, is the degree that we escape into transpersonal amnesia by which relationship is unlikely to touch us if it does arrive. Similarly if we have fought for the "right" to have a relationship this resistance to feeds into our transpersonal removal...which as I say becomes a prepersonal prison. We could call this phenomena, "relationship bypass."
Relationship boils down to personal responsibility. If we are dissociated from ourselves and the world, it's rather hard to make relationship happen. Being on the path of ones life purpose is the opposite of dissociation. But we have to learn to contain these global cosmic forces, carry out our Kosmic-quest and have a personal life as well, because we can dissociate by prepersonal and transpersonal means. We can be so driven by transpersonal imperative that we miss out on personal life possibility. That is the personal responsibility to accept life and to fulfill ourselves within it.
If we still feel dependent (fighting enmeshment with parents or employers) then we are not really in this personal responsible state via which we can surrender ourselves into accepting a relationship that might be happening..."to accept life and fulfill ourselves and our purpose within it." Thus paradoxically relationship requires sovereignty. Sovereignty is empowerment by Essence, and Essence, soul, spirit is the ability to be response-able to life.
We have to be boundaried before we can actively include another within our boundaries. But if we are dissociated (removed from Essence), it means we are a borderline personality, our self is not adequately solid enough to "accept" relationship. If we are dissociated we cannot be self responsible. Therefore it seems that the quality of our relationships throughout our life are determined by the quality of human interaction we had in the development of our self-system in the first few years of our life. If we got inadequate heart-eye contact as an infant chances are we will be cut off from Essence, dissociated from self and other and be isolated for life
Relationships are so complex that there will always be an occasion to disprove all our assumptions and theories. The question if celibacy enhances or impedes spiritual development is not black and white. Some sexual matches generate more energy through synergy, while others dissipate and drain energy and consciousness. Thus being celibate is no guarantee that you will have more energy available for metamorphosis. Chances are that prolonged celibacy while dry up your hormones and you will become spiritually desiccated.
Some traditions insist that celibacy is essential for spiritual transformation, but you could just as easily say that intimate relationship is necessary to transform. Celibacy can be just as damaging and wasteful as relationship. Relationship or celibacy undergone in an entropic or energy wasting fashion is obviously counter to evolution. Over masturbation or excessive sexual intercourse will tend to waste the neurotransmitters and energy necessary for transmutation. There is some charming information on this at http://www.actionlove.com/cases/case8676.htm
I personally find celibacy a distraction from both creativity and spiritual practice and inadequate for deep human experience. The idea of celibacy as being useful for spiritual growth is largely ignorance and misinformation. Avoidance is not transcendence and that which is repressed cannot evolve. Since relationships are fraught with complications and engage the play of the ego, the wounds and the self-system there was the tendency to make a career out of avoidance and join a monastery or nunnery. Nowadays we have modern psychology and relationship science to help us navigate these murky waters, so we do not have to be so distracted and distraught by personal intimate relationship anymore...we have the technology!
Church systems of the past played an intrusive and usurping role in
the sexuality of their flock. Take away sex, replace it with a set of
rules called God, promise rewards in heaven and you basically have a
stagnant, prepersonal slave pool to draw from and build great wealth
and power with. "Sexual suppression becomes an essential tool of economic enslavement."232, The Function of the Orgasm, ~ Wilhelm Reich
Traditionally it was thought that sex was counter to spirituality
because churches and gurus wanted to control their flocks through
manipulating their sex drives. A fully sexually cognizant person is a
liberated sovereign individual and therefore of no need of organized
religion, and certainly cannot be manipulated to offer absolution money
for sins they know they are not committing in the first place. Only the
childlike can be indoctrinated by fear to give up their sovereign soul
to external dictatorial forces. Thus religions interference and
insistence that their flock remain prepubescent and malleable to their
There are some benefits to celibacy however...if ones ego structure is undeveloped, or ones wounds unhealed avoiding sexual intimacy will conserve energy and time needed for self-survival. Also anyone going through a full-on awakening might be so overwhelmed in just dealing with that, that a relationship would be harmful--being too vulnerable for intimacy so to speak. And if one engages in sex compulsively then neurological and hormonal resources may be used up which could have been applied to evolution of the bodymind.
Since metamorphosis uses the sexual hardware as part of the general psychosomatic hyperactivation, any sexual energy and development that is not "used up" in relationship will directly act to transmute the organism. Thus unconsumated hyper-arousal can and does lead to the inner-conjunction (10,000 orgs up the spine), for the energy has to go somewhere. Conversely if sex and attraction is avoided then the sexual hardware becomes atrophied or latent and so the very foundation of spiritual energy is thwarted right there. Biologically there is no spiritual evolution without fully engaged sexual engines, because the foundation of our life energy is not separate from causal consciousness. If the sex hardware is not revved up then there is not enough energy available to reach the higher levels of consciousness, perception and being. Without the higher-play of the poles/hemispheres/sexes there is no alchemy period!
Sex is not an obstacle to God Realization, but lack of love is. The quest is not "how to avoid sex" but how to reveal the inherent holiness of sex through spiritual, mental, emotional, physical communion. It is obvious that intimacy or "connection" requires a surrender or sacrifice of ones egoity and defense. But Robert Augustus Masters furthered this insight when he said that connection requires us to include Other within our own sphere of Being. So for intimacy there is both the need for the yin of surrender and the yang of active inclusivity. And beyond even this--for connection to occur there is the need to let go of ones own identification with separation itself. Conscious sex in a harmonious evolutionary relationship is definitely the ideal, and I suspect that such as supportive circumstance will actually reduce both the down cycle and recovery time, such that ones spiritual gains from kundalini awakening are substantiated and creativity is maintained.
One of my favorite movies is "Notes From Underground" by Gary Walkow, based on the novella by Dostoevsky. Depressing yes, but one of the best expressions of the interiors of the general neurosis and complexity of being human I ever saw. The ruthless introspection reminds me of Robert Augustus Masters, and gives me a taste for Dostoevsky whom I have never looked into before. It also is an exquisite display of the hopelessness of using the mind to outdo the mind, as you watch the main character torture both himself and those around him relentlessly--because he cannot get outside himself with the resources of his self-imposed prison. This movie is perhaps the best advertisement for the necessity of spiritual practice there ever was.
One can clearly see the self-manifest destiny of literally being attracted to doom like a moth to the flame. It's a perfect description of Eckhart Tolles' pain-body and Reichs' body armor. Thing is usually we are so into playing tennis with the to and fro of our ego thrashing about as it seeks to both masturbate with the energy, to deny it and to push it away. So engrossed we are with the expansions and contractions as the armor is touched, melted and rubber-banding...that we cannot see the overall nature of the relationship process. Relationship is the process where by we are annealed and tempered, both softened and hardened by the forces of separation and union.
There is no way to side step this work, for by avoiding relationship
altogether we just remain half dead enclosed in our cocoon. Eros is
there to help us break free and become a butterfly. To work through the
death throws of the Pain-body and armor we need to have great
compassion, intelligence and willingness. Willingness is the key I
think, intention is not enough...there needs to be a willingness to be
vulnerable and be undone by love in order to be "remade" by love.
Is sex evolutionary or devolutionary? It depends on the people
involved, if it is a synergistic spiritual relationship sex should not
detract, but amplify spiritual progress. However it cannot be a lower
order sex...that is the sex itself must be used for awakening. Such sex
does not degrade or deplete energy, but it takes a lot of courage to
have this kind of sex because it is post-egoic, it directly opens one
to absolute vulnerability...absolute vulnerability being the only state
that it is really possible to grow spiritually anyway...everything else
is a fabrication of the mind, and not necessarily spiritual in any real
sense. Finding two people that are in the same space mentally is hard,
finding two people that are in the same place spiritually is harder
still, and then they have to find each other unearthily attractive as
well, which is hardest of all.
One of my favorite books on relationship is Love, Freedom,
Aloneness, by Osho. In it he says that love is painful because it
transforms. Love is mutation!
Robert Augustus Masters is the Word on things relationship, check out his books and essays at www.robertmasters.com
The Mystery of Human Relationship: Alchemy and Transformation of the Self, Nathan Schwartz-Salant; Routledge, 1998.
Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, Helen Fisher; Owl Books, 2005
Secrets of Attraction: The Universal Laws of Love, Sex, and Romance, Sandra Anne Taylor; Hay House, 2001
Awakening is the dance of the seduction of Self.
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