For some time, I've been working on a narrative account of a particular experience that was, for me, transformative. I'm at a place where I could use some more feedback. So here it is. Anyone, please share as you feel led. For those of you familiar with writer's workshops, workshop comments are welcome. Thoughtful criticism and discernment especially welcome. Thanks. Hope you enjoy the story.
My breath stood still. A moment earlier, in a dream, a mysterious invisible presence had surprised me with sudden but, like an ocean wave, gentle force. Full frontal contact flipped me backward, helpless, falling. I awoke, flat on my back. The presence departed with the dream, leaving me feeling weak and fleshy, defenseless before death, abandoned, accursed. I tried to breathe but could not. A slight twinge of panic rippled across my chest.
Then suddenly, a violent fiery energy whooshed through my body -- a brilliant flash of light together with a loud rushing sound in my ears and a vibrating, shuddering feeling down to the smallest fibers of my frame. Astonished, in sheer terror, I reflexively tried to flail my arms and sit up, but was paralyzed. The energy seemed literally to lift my physical body upward. It was like nothing in the world as I knew it. I recalled the biblical wind and fire chariot that carried Elijah into heaven.
Resigned to death or some equally final separation, I summoned all my willpower to cry out to my wife beside me in bed. I intended to rouse her, give her a parting message, however brief. All that came out was a little gasp.
My jaw went slack and up I floated in a non-solid vaguely body-shaped form with a sensation of complete, pure erotic thrill. �So this is my �soul,�� I observed in a newfound good-humored mood. �This is better than sex!�
An instant later, except for a slight wisp sound like a breeze and a continued steady feeling of ascending, all sensation and bodily form was gone. But my faculty of thought remained alert. �This is what the Neo-Platonists were talking about,� I observed with a cheerful aha, recalling the ancient philosophers who taught the liberation of soul from body, the separation of thought from senses.
Next, out of something like deep restful sleep, I awoke, but with no groggy phase. My first perception was of a point of light splaying out into several lights, like shooting stars in a black sky, or sparks falling in the darkness before my inner, upward gaze. Then, in stillness, quiet, I witnessed, through my whole body, an infusion of golden light particles merging into a blanket of light that undulated like glowing embers. Though breathing naturally and resting in bed, I felt weightless, as if floating. Desire, that perpetual nagging background noise of need and want I had taken for granted, was noticeably gone. My mind was clear of specific thought content, and empowered, it seemed to me, for discernment.
I decided to ask a question and paused, waiting for one to arise. Then it came, perhaps my central life question, �Have I done anything good?� My answer, without words, beyond words was an immediate awareness of something like a supreme goodness not my own, entirely beyond my reckoning.
Thoughts passed. I rested and mused. After a while I felt drowsy, rolled to one side and drifted back to sleep.
In the morning, I awoke reaching for my journal beside the bed. It was Saturday, January 14, 1995.
Thank you Ryan, for sharing this. It sounds like an intense kundalini arousal to me, though with some unique features.
Check out this link and read about Gopi Krishna's awakening in chapter one (you can "peek inside" the book). Anything resonate? There are other descriptions of this all over the web.
You note this was 1995. What's happened since (re. this kind of experience)? Anything similar? Any lasting consequences from it?
Thanks Phil, for your response.
I definitely see parallels as well as contrasts between my story and Gopi Krishna�s report. I like his writing style and I'm moved by the humanity that shines through. I have read it before, but the study bears repeating. Here are some of my observations.
As with him, it was my first experience with that type of sudden energy flow. Both of us experienced interrupted breathing, bright inner light, a loud roaring sound and loss of sensation of physical body/surroundings followed by conscious, indescribable exaltation, and happiness.
I like his use of the phrase �body outline.� I know exactly what he is talking about when he says he lost and regained awareness of that particular aspect of body awareness, but I had not put it into words before this reading.
He mentions that he didn�t tell his wife at first. Neither did I. He mentions awakening regularly at around 3:00 am afterward. That happened to me too. I don�t know exactly what time it was when I first experience that energy, but my hunch is that it was around 3:00 am.
I am also aware of contrasts with his experience. Just before onset, I was on my back in bed, suddenly awakened from a dream, whereas he was meditating. He had previously experienced loosing touch with his body, having done so in meditation. I had not. He had heard of Kundalini before, I had not. I thought I was dying and tried to resist when the energy surged. He kept meditating. I was paralyzed, he presumably, could have moved. His onset, while rapid, was incremental: the light became brighter and brighter, the roaring louder. Mine was full force all at once. He felt the energy in particular parts of his body: at the base of the spine, the spine and then, the head. I felt instantly enveloped, inside and out, head to toe. His body swayed, mine shuddered violently, giving a sense of �fire� rather than only �light.� I felt, if only for a moment, as if I was being lifted up physically, he did not. During separation from body awareness, I had a feeling of steady ascent; he had a feeling of being suspended in air. He reported no loss of �I� consciousness. He lost track of time, but, it seems, he still had an �I,� although different than his usual �I�. My �I� consciousness was entirely interrupted by something like deep sleep. He tried to repeat the experience the next day. Thinking of the phenomenon as entirely out of my control, it never even considered trying to repeat it, or some aspect of it until years later when I heard of mediators who attempted such things at will.
I didn�t hear about �kundalini energy� per se until a couple of years later when I was getting into hatha yoga, practicing daily and teaching. I was becoming more aware of pranic energy and how I could influence its flow with breathing and movement. When I shared the story of the events of January 1995 with my teacher, he said it sounded like uncontrolled Kundalini energy. I didn�t take much of an interest in Kundalini phenomena, however, until last year when the spontaneous movements started along with astonishing energy movement up and down between the base of my spine and my head. That is when I sought out such resources as Shalom Place and the writings of Gopi Krishna. At present, the spontaneous yoga comes and goes. For a month or so, while I was working long hours on a project involving physical labor, it ceased.
Lately, other modes of interpretation have influenced my sense of what happened. I really I identify with the thought of Rudolph Otto in his book, The Idea of the Holy. His description of "creature feeling" fits with my fleshy feeling and dread of death at onset. Along with trembling, creature-feeling is a response to mysterium tremendum.
I'm also aware of parallels between my experience and that of others who have been through "aware sleep paralysis." A Dr. Chyne, who has lots of stuff on the web, did a study on the topic that I have found useful. Most experiencers of sleep paralysis aren't so lucky as me. Most just feel terrified and sense an evil presence in the room without the joyful release. The "presence" in my dream seemed sublime and just and when I awoke, I was free of crassly specific hallucinations of an Other.
Phil, I welcome your comments about any of this that strikes you. Also, you wrote, "It sounds like an intense kundalini arousal to me, though with some unique features." I'm curious what you are thinking of when you say "unique features."
Ryan, by unique features, I meant that it sounded like it was in the genre of experiences that people call kundalini, but, as with everyone, there are some features of it that are unique to you, as you've described.
It sounds like this was a one-time event, is that right? Do you sense that the experience effected any kind of permanent change in you?
Phil, I see what you mean by unique. There is part of the experience that is uniquely my experience.
I'm wondering if there are also parts of my report that are anomalous; that is, parts that are outside the kundalini genre, but not necessarily unique to me -- parts that might fit another genre.
For example, when I was in a zone of thought alone in a sensory void, I thought to myself that I understood, experientially, Neoplatonic ascent of the soul. By Neoplatonic, I was not thinking primarily of such pagan philosophers as Plotinus; rather, I was thinking of the Christian mystical tradition known derisively in my Protestant education, as Neoplatonic.
In subsequent study within that Christian mystical tradition, I've come to think of the experience as a spiritual baptism (or mystical marriage): "fire" sensation as a purgation by the Holy Spirit; ascent as a death of the old self in union with the glorious death of Jesus; loss of "I" as union (of wills/beyond understanding) with the Father; subsequent peace as being raised to new life in Christ.
Let me be clear, when I was experiencing it I didn't explicitly think in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That is all subsequent labeling after having read such Christian mystics (Neoplatonists, if you will) as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.
Your thoughts on the relation of these two frames of interpretation would be much appreciated.
Ryan, I don't know . . .
I think that many times kundalini risings and mystical graces come together, with the one being a preparation for the other. That's why it makes sense to me to view the significance of the kundalini process in terms of spiritual growth (for me, growth in Christ). It sounds like you've made some of those connections yourself.
Was that experience you shared in your opening post a one-time event? Have there been others of a less intense nature since?
After mulling over your comments and questions for a while, here is my sense of what is going on with me. That first experience is most meaningfully explained as a mystical baptism in the Christian tradition. The kundalini phenomenon as described by Gopi Krishna parallels only part of it.
Such baptism, in continuity with Pentecost, carries with it a sensitivity, boundary crossing abilities, with diverse other languages. Gopi somehow was able to speak in languages he hadn't studied. I think of that as in some sense linked to Pentecostal phenomena, though I don't know if he saw such a connection.
Since then, I�ve noticed that I have a gift of responding to neighbors in uncanny ways. It is like I sense themes in their lives subliminally. Here is an example. About a week after my mystical baptism, I was working on a fictional story involving a black man who had had a near death experience. I met him the first time when he came to my door, rang the doorbell. When he spoke, I smelled alcohol on his breath. That was all fiction. OK. At the time we were living in an almost all white neighborhood and rarely got unexpected visits from strangers. Here is where fiction meets reality. I was working on the part of the story about the doorbell, when my doorbell actually rang. It was actually a black man with actual alcohol on his breath. I asked that stranger if he had had a near death experience. In amazement, he said he had. It was during an operation when he nearly died. He went on about visions of a Manticore and golden apples.
My subsequent experience of spontaneous yoga worked a little like that fictional story in that it prepared me to meet a neighbor. Unbeknownst to me, a neighbor, at the time, was following a tape of Yogi Baja�s Kundalini Yoga. When we got to know one another and she saw what I was doing spontaneously, (she witnessed it) she said that I was doing some of the exact moves she was learning on her tape. It amazed her.
I think I was given the kind of gift of languages (�languages� broadly understood) to communicate with a neighbors in need. I'm able to "get the good" in the encounter by meeting them in their need while avoiding participation in their vices, often sexual or drug related. It isn't so difficult for me since my high, my erotic thrill comes from within.
Ryan, some of what you're describing sounds like spiritual gifts or charisms. You'll find various listings of them in the New Testament and on the web, but the one that comes to mind is the gift of knowledge, which enables us to know something hidden about another. This might entail (in part) the activation of pyschic gifts like clairvoyance or clairaudience, only under the direction of the Spirit and with the good of another or others in mind.
As for these "gifts of languages," they do seem to be associated with kundalini phenomena, with something akin to glossalalia even outside of Christianity. Most likely, this is also some kind of psychic ability -- or maybe a way the deep unconscious harmonizes with the conscious part of the mind. It can also happen under the direction of the Spirit or in a more "natural" manner.
Obviously, we're not dealing with mainstream kinds of issues, here, and there doesn't seem to be much good research on these topics.
Thanks, Phil. Your input is much appreciated.
I like Father Keating's essay on charisms and contemplation. Maybe there is something useful in there? The gifts in the psychic realm are as endless as human experience, but the movement to contemplation is much more rare. I remember praying for some time and seeing how people came to me in my prayers and the heart would automatically embrace them in openness and bliss, but now this may happen and part of me stands back from it. It was is this standing back that allows you to access these abilities, to keep critically checking them - to see the where/how/why the subtle ego becomes entwined in the process. I realized at some point that I could do this at will (feel people at a distance and communicate with some subtle aspect of them) and that it made me feel like someone. It becomes dangerous when one thinks of consequences of these actions. I noticed that when the subtle ego became involved there was a tendency toward delusion; whereas, if it was just a inner-heart embrace and information was conveyed along with this embrace that information proved to be accurate. I think contemplation moves one deeper than this someone. This is my very small understanding of the psychic realm. Here's Father Keatings on all this:
Loved what you said about your heart embracing people in openness and bliss.
Every night I do this practice and my heart literally expands with the love and joy flowing forth to all I think and pray about. I do not detach myself from same and am part of the giving and receiving of this blessing from God.
How beautiful to hear this from you. Thank you.
Thanks Free, good to see you as well. I guess this place is the closest one gets to pilgrimage (in an electronic sense).
Your experience sounds lovely. Everything I attribute to myself ultimately seems to fail. I get no satisfaction from it, really. But when the heart expands like this and I don't claim it, I truly feel that this is why I am alive. It's like a reminder to me when things aren't going so well. It seems like a natural ability of the open heart centre to pray for others; not to worry about itself, or even any end. This is the flowering of the heart. But to make this ones disposition seems like an arduous task.
I searched everywhere to find if someone besides myself had ever experienced interrupted breathing in their kundalini symptoms, and finally here it was mentioned in your post dated 2/21 and also that Aurobindo had these same symptoms. I will check out what he has to say about this. Your post certainly got my attention.
31/2 years ago just before The Holy Spirit came upon me and entered my heart, I had the most frightening experiences re interrupted breathing. While in a deep sleep I was catapulted out of my bed in an uptight position. I was unable to breathe and desperately trying to take in air I reached for my throat. There was no throat nor body to reach for. There was nothing but pure consciousness. I experienced a sheer terror beyond all comprehension not realizing as to what had happened to me. I knew at that point that I was dying and totally surrendered, not having any choice. All of a sudden an inrush of air came upon me and I found that I had lungs again that were filling with this powerful wind like air. I could breathe again and feel my body returning. I sat trembling and shaking in my bedroom chair wondering what had happened and who had catapulted me out of my bed during a deep sleep. Tears came like a blessed river as I knew that God's Spirit had saved my life and also had given me a new breath taking the old breath from me.
This same occcurance happened twice more, each time lessening in their severity. A month later The Holy Spirit entered my heart.
I had a total physical by my physician and was checked out for allergies, asthma, etc. Nothing was found and the diagnosis was: outside the realm of medicine, spiritual. I was given an inhaler, yet had no need to use it.
Thank you for your sharing.
Your post dated 2/12 remained in my heart and I long to address same.
Part of your post reads: Everything I attribute to myself ultimately seems to fail. I get no satisfaction from it really.
Asher I so enjoy all your posts. You give such happiness with your deep spiritual insights that I so treasure. Thank you for same.
Hi Asher and Firebird,
I've been away for a while. I'm glad both of you shared.
Asher thanks for the Keating article. I began practicing Centering Prayer about three years after "my breath stood still." Through his influence, I've learned not to attach contemplation to any particular experience. But rather to see it, at its best, as an act of faith.
Thanks for the hugs reflection. After I wrote that part about knowing at a distance (1/25/06) I noticed an intense desire to give Phil a hug. I went out and, on the street encountered a man. Our eyes met, and soon he was lamenting the death of his father. I asked if he could use a hug. He said yes. I've lived here since '99, and I think that was the only actual, physical hug I ever gave to a stranger in this neighborhood.
I know that sort of incident is not what you were talking about, but, Oh well, it is on the theme of hugs. I like your point about stepping back from those moments of insight, giving it some critical distance, checking one's own motives. At best in contemplation, by grace, we check our own motives against the perfection of the our Father in heaven.
Freebird, that is an extraordinary story of night terror. Thank God, the Holy Spirit came into your heart. I want to give you a hug and my heart is filled with joy.
On a more mundane note, I find myself wondering, how did you get from bed to the chair that terrifying night?
Welcome back!. What a great return bringing such joy to all of us by your sharing the good news of a hug for your neighbor. You sure are tuned into love which is spilling over into our forum. Thank you, and a big hug for you as well.
Re: my night terror. Thank God, He was in full control. As soon as the in rush of new air filled my lungs my body started to take form and manifest again allowing me to move to my bedroom chair. I do now have a new breath within my lungs and The Holy Spirit indwelling in my heart. Hallelujah!. God loves us so.
Bless you Ryan.
Like many of you, I'm sure, I've noticed a correlation between breathing patterns and different states of consciousness. It seems the breath becomes very slow -- even stops -- when a deep, pure state of consciousness emerges. Often, there is inner light and sweet peace, with a direct awareness of self, and a sense of warmth and peace in my heart. As you might expect, the K is quite intense duriing these times, and the 3rd eye feels warm, strong and deep. It's like a pure experience of "witness consciousness," which I understand to be the human spirit, awake to its existence. I am very much aware of all of what's going on and am free to leave this state if I choose. What I generally do is surrender my breath to the Holy Spirit and await the next inhalation to come gently and of its own accord; same with exhalation. In this way, it seems that the Spirit breathes me into a deep integration in Christ.
Thank you Phil. You described accurately my breathing pattern now since the upsetting breathing episodes 3 and a half years ago. Now I just surrender my breath to The Holy Spirit and there is no struggle, only joy and peace as the next inhalation follows. Total surrender and trust is truly the answer. There is no fear in Christ's perfect love as He brings us into completion in and through The Holy Spirit.
Hi Ryan, am travelling the forum board today. Forgive me for not giving you a big and hello on Dark night of the Soul. I was so intense within my post and failed to greet you then, so now I make it up to you
I saw your reply to mine on Kundalini and we sure are at a good place
This is intersting to me, have you noticed a link between breathing and drinking "living water" of John 7:37-38? Notice what happens when you take a drink of water from a glass... you have to hold your breath... I have noticed a flow of the Holy Spirit during quiet prayer when I ask Him to fill me, then hold my breath a short time as I drink the living water by faith... anyone else have this experience?
Interesting thought, Caneman!
I have never tried to hold my breath during prayer or meditation. However, I most definitely do notice that my breathing occasionally slows considerably, probably less than a breath a minute, when I�m deeply immersed in prayer/meditation. I have also experienced cessation of breath when overwhelmed in prayer -- time ceases to exist... difficult to put words on...
Thanks for your suggestion. I tried praying/meditating that way just now. Beautiful.
I just started reading this thread today. As you may remember, I have had episodes of sleep paralysis and was diagnosed with this a couple of years ago. It is still a much misunderstood "disorder?", and not much is know about what is really is. I wonder if mine is kundalini related, and as you said, maybe I am one of those who gets too frightened when I get paralyzed and don't allow myself to leave my body. I have heard that if one relaxes and trusts this can happen. ... I wonder what would happen if I really let go.
I want to read the entire thread here and learn more about your experience, and see if I can relate to more of the experience as you describe it, and also Gopi Krishna's experience.
I have also had some of the other experiences that you mentioned such as the speckles of light... a nice light show. :-) Then on the other hand, my case, might just be a pathological condition as the sleep clinic doctor said. I do have the episodes under control with medication.
Again, I don't know a lot about or if K. has anything to do with it, but it sure is a mysterious and strange and rare thing that I have had most of my life. It would be nice if it was something "spiritual", and I could co-operate with the process without fear and uncertainty about the whole thing, instead of suffering through it. Oh, I do vibrate and hear popping sounds, and sometimes feel like I'm even having a seizure in my sleep. My breathing stops too sometimes. Weird. Any of your insights would be helpful to me.
Your story is fascinating. Thanks!!
It is interesting to reflect on such experiences and do a little comparison and contrast. One contrast with your experience comes to mind right away. I experienced sleep paralysis only that once. Likewise, my flight of the soul "out of body" also happened only that once. The seeming exit from my body was not a result of lack of fear. I was completely terrified until the exit.
Dr. Chyne has done lots of cutting edge research. If you have specific questions for him, he may even respond to you via email.
Nice to hear from you, Katy.
|Powered by Social Strata||Page 1 2|