The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
Hello, does anyone here have Kundalini awakening symptoms? If yes, can you tell me what kind of symptoms you have had and can you somehow start or change the place where symptoms are feeling just thinking about it? I have noticed that tingling and itching starts in my forehead, nose and feet when I'm just thinking about it and I want them to start. I can move pressure on my forehead to left side and right side just thinking it. Also these symptoms will increase when I'm doing kundalini yoga. When I go to bed and I'm laying on my back all symptoms start to increase. And again when thinking/starting in my mind itching, tingling, tiny muscle cramps starts on my left foot. Strange...
Hi Max. I hope you're not too sad. Welcome to the forum.
If you read around this forum a bit, you'll come across many posts where people share kundalini symptoms, and what has helped to reduce the severity and integrate the process.
As you note, there's a relationship between attention and some of the symptoms you describe. Doing kundalini yoga once to process begins to intensify is also sure to stir things up a bit.
Time to open yourself to the Holy Spirit that your human consciousness and its embodiment can become governed by a Higher Power.
I am a kundalini therapist and have worked with many people having kundalini symptoms and also had many myself. I am also a 'normal' psychotherapist, so can compare symptoms well.
The thing about kundalini symptoms is that they are very volatile and as you have seen yourself, they often move. Energy follows thought, so if you focus on a certain part in your body they energy will move there. Without kundalini peoples' energy is much more solid and they are also more numb, so this dynamic is much less pronounced and any symptoms stay at the same place.
Tara - find more help for kundalini problems on my website taraspringett.com/kundalini/kundalini-syndrome
A couple months back I posted about experiencing ‘pranotthana’ after becoming involved with a charismatic prayer group at my church over the last year, but I believe the post was lost. Thanks for the opportunity to check back in and share my experiences even though the forum is not very active at the moment. The last few months have been quite intense spiritually for me, especially in the context of this charismatic prayer group. During prayer with them, I have had interesting and unusual bodily sensations: fluttering sensations surging from lower abdomen going upward, waves of tingling that increase in intensity, hands and arms while in receiving prayer position (arms outward, palms up), becoming heavy and magnetized, as if held in a force field, and even a time when both my arms began vibrating so strongly I felt like I was plugged into an electrical socket (in contrast to the subtle moving vibrations I have been feeling throughout my body lately).
Outside of prayer group during personal prayer alone, I’ve also had what I can only describe as “purifications” from the impressions stored in the body (as per Ayurvedic understanding of the body as the crystallization of deep seated mental tendencies) stemming from life’s trial and tribulations. These include an amazing back healing—too lengthy to delve into, emotional healing from a previous miscarriage, and an instant quelling of a budding ear infection that had been recurring right after the Christmas holidays over the last few years once I realized the childhood trauma attached to it. In each case, I felt as if God was leading me to understand more fully the deeply connected mind-body-spirit complex so that I could surrender my repressed or unresolved psychological trauma to Him, and then better help my patients deal with their issues (I work as an acupuncturist in a group practice with psychiatrists and psychologists who have referred to me many patients.) I consider myself fortunate to be able to decipher these symptoms according to oriental medicine and Ayurveda and not feel overly concerned about them. Once after deep prayer, I was overcome with nausea for three days, and another time I woke up the next day with an “angry” rash across my forehead, down the left side cheek and neck, along the stomach meridian. Both of these symptoms, when not from external causes, relate to emotional repression (anger, resentment and unfulfilled desires) in oriental medicine, so I knew exactly what they were trying to show me and what to work on in my prayer time.
Theses effects I have been having have been most prominent for several days after charismatic prayer group, during my personal prayer time at home: bouts of crying (feelings of gratitude, surrender), purple swirls appearing with eyes closed while deep in prayer and again during a Eucharistic adoration, and feeling holes funneling into the center of my palms—I checked one of my sources and found there are secondary chakras throughout the body as well, the center of the palms being among them. Recently, I have days feeling overwhelmed with euphoric yearning, constant spontaneous prayer, and immediate and continual desire to go to Mass.
All the above things are concurrent with the outpouring of the HS and receiving charismatic gifts: speaking in tongues, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, etc. One week, while going through all these experiences, I kept asking God, “Why is this happening to me?” When I got to prayer group later in the week and we were praying together, a woman, who often receives words of knowledge and wisdom but who has no idea what I have been going through, said, “I keep getting: ‘I have plans for you.’ The synchronicities with the prayer group have been absolutely incredible—again, too many to get into—but needless to say, I am so in awe of God’s amazing grace and patiently waiting for His plans to unfold. Obviously, I cannot predict how the rest of this process will play out, but I do feel that perhaps my spiritual nature and decades of relatively “clean” life style—predominately vegetarianism, yoga/daily exercise, no TV household, voluntary simplicity, and tight-knit family have moderated the experiences compared to some others I have been reading on the forum.
Hi acuveda. Thanks for re-registering and posting. I was able to save as a pdf some of your previous sharing and it's attached to another web page.
- see http://shalomplace.org/eve/for...5010765/m/8644065048
There are indeed incredible energy and psychic phenomena associated with charismatic prayer services, which is one reason many have equated kundalini with the Holy Spirit. As your sharing indicates, many of the energy experiences are "concomitant phenomena," or ways that our body/psyche/spirit energy flows are stimulated. It becomes difficult after awhile to say whether these kinds of experiences ought to be considered "kundalini," as they are different in many ways to the kind of risings from the spine to the crown emphasized in the classical yogic literature on this topic. My sense is that it doesn't matter what we call it -- even the Hindu experience is obviously about energy transforming body and psyche to accommodate higher consciousness.
Blocked energy passageways is surely an enormous contributing factor to illnesses of all kinds. It sounds like the prayer group you're part of is helping many to come to healings of all kinds. Interesting that you are a professional as well in this type of healing!
I completely agree that these are not kundalini shakti experiences, rather “pranotthana” as I referred to them in my original post. As the word suggests they are related to the Vedic concept of ‘prana’. Pranas have special actions in yogic practice and as these subtle aspects begin to awaken, they cause various unusual movements in the body such as spontaneous kriyas, subtle sounds or lights. One may feel new expanses of energy, great peace, sense of lightness, stability, or heightened vitality and sensitivity. There is so much misinformation around yogic science circulating these days that many people are mistaking these for kundalini or chakra openings. This is my impression regarding many experiences that I have been reading about on the forum and elsewhere. Similarly, while there are aberrant kundalini experiences, most of these would actually be considered pranic or mental disturbances. See pranotthana vs. kundalini
To understand better the opening of the chakras one must also understand the Indian philosophical school of Samkhya. In fact, Yoga and Samkhya are traditionally always studies together and are known as Yoga-Samkhya. Samkhya philosophy, one of the six schools of Indian thought, provides the cosmological foundation for Yoga science and Ayurveda.
Each chakra has three working levels, the physical, the psychological and the spiritual. Only the spiritual development aims at opening the chakras. This requires transcending the ordinary functions relating to the personal body-mind to arrive at the cosmic/universal. What yogis are actually doing when opening the chakras is merging the chakras of the astral body into the causal body. They merge earth into water, water into fire, fire into air, air into ether, ether into mind, mind into intelligence, and intelligence into the Supreme Self. This is a reversal of the process of creation.
This process makes sense if one has studied the Samkhya understanding of the cosmos and knows that the first fives chakras relate to the elements, not to the western materialist reinterpretation based on physical location: root, sex, navel, etc. From the vedic perspective, the chakras are energetic and functional centers, not physical positions—though the effects may be felt at specific locations in the body. The opening of each chakra represents a shift of consciousness. To give an example, the opening of the ether chakra (‘throat’) is not a matter of heightened speech or expression, but being silent in the expanse of cosmic space, where our personal voice becomes lost in the divine Word.
It is very difficult to engage in discussion about the chakras, prana, chi, HS and such because unitive consciousness and dualistic thinking do not percieve in the same way. The ‘enlightened’ Easterner (there are plenty of Easterners at a lower level of consciousness) speaks from the point of view of unitive consciousness, and thus will always take the “transcend and include” approach. Vedic thought, while emphasizing the importance of time-tested tradition, does not discredit other spiritual experiences. For them, the Christian concept of HS can also me included, and although my experiences take place in the context of a Catholic charismatic church group, it would still be accepted as an awakening into the subtle, pranic realm. This cannot be said of the Charismatic Catholic group I have been involved with, who are primarily dualistic fundamentalists.
Fortunately, I try try not to get too involved in the on-going naming debates and such, instead observing and offering what insight I may have. I have been married to a Hindu for over twenty years and intimately connected to the Indian community here, and we have never had any religious tensions between us. Mostly it has been a learning and sharing experience, focusing on the good and true within each system while recognizing the limitations of both. My husband, with his contemplative cultural inheritance, is at times the best spiritual director during my existential crises. If anything, he makes me a better Catholic.
I agree that a lot of the energy tingles, flutterings, blocks, and so forth are "just" movements of subtle energy and not kundalini awakening. As the article you link to on pranotthana vs. kundalini notes, there is a difference, though the article seems to make it a matter of intensity and degree more than anything.
To my understanding, kundalini awakening signifies a permanent shift in the allignment of organism, psyche and spirit (I prefer this to the Hindu body designations), wherein organism and psyche are becoming radically purified so they can more congruently support the human spirit in its deepening union with God. This union is effected by grace, not human effort, though spiritual practice obviously plays a role in disposing one's openness to grace.
I'm ambivalent concerning the attentiveness that Christians ought to be giving to opening chakras, channeling energy through the spinal canal, etc. My sense is that the Spirit will lead these intensified subtle energies to their proper flows. Glossalalia, in particular, seems to activate and order energy flows.
In my own case, I clearly experience three centers -- navel area, heart, and center of forehead -- opening and being brought into alignment. So it all seems similar to what has been described as kundalini process, which is why I have used that term in my book. If, however, some organization of gurus were to pronounce on this matter and state that what I have described is not kundalini, it would not upset me in the least. Clearly, one searches for a vocabulary to use to describe this process, especially in Christendom.
The Sanskrit loanword is fine with me, or you can choose some other suitable word to describe the phenomenon. Words are just symbols to be transcended anyway .
Interesting comment about glossolalia. Is this from your own personal experience? If so, what connections have you witnessed? I hadn't thought much about the phenomenon mostly because the purpose of the charisms is to encourage and grow the faith of the Church, are not indicative of the spiritual maturity of the individual who receives them and are not spiritually transformative in function. (Damien Stayne, the very active Catholic charismatic who runs a charism school in England, calls them "candies".)
But now I'll have to ponder it a bit, observe it some more, to see if it will lead me to anything insightful. I got a heavy dose of Protestant pentecostal fundamentalism while I was growing up and was always a bit suspicious of the glossolalia aspect. I have only begun to embrace it in myself, and it took some Divine intervention to convince me.
acuveda, there are different kinds of manifestations of glossalalia, as you've no doubt experienced in prayer groups.
- see http://shalomplace.org/eve/for.../18110765/m/61410875 from an online teaching I presented years ago.
I'm referring to the prayer language variety, which seems to be a special type of infused contemplation (it's non-discursive, initiated by the Spirit and leads to rest). The various sounds and breath patterns (which can be uttered silently) vibrate the chakras, bringing about healing, balance, peace and joy. Because it's a gift, it has nothing to do with the maturity of the recipient, though one who uses the gift can grow in it, as is the case with all charismatic gifts. Paul had much to say about it in 1 Cor. 14, and even stated that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else.
What goes on in charismatic prayer meetings is often a kind of contextual glossalalia -- manifestation during the meeting, especially if there is praise and music. Sometimes members experience it outside the meetings as well, especially if they take times for prayer regularly. Sometimes, too, the babbling in a meeting is just that, a way to fit in with others. Obviously, this is also a gift within our control -- not like the Spirit will overwhelm and embarrass us with nonsensical sounds on random occasions.
Do you experience this gift? If so, how do you notice it influencing the energy?
I do experience glossolalia, both the syllabic type and one that is more distinctly language-like--I have a background in linguistics, so I can sense the differences. The syllabic type is definitely more related to an even flow, while the language-like one is more "groaning" in nature, meaning it is intensely visceral especially the deeper I go in prayer, which eventually leads to a peaceful silence. I have been practicing a form of prayer that ends with silence, so it's hard to determine cause or correlation.
Context is irrelevant in my experience; it seems to flow whenever it is felt, and now I pray only at home or at Mass as I am no longer involved with the Charismatic at my church. Sometimes when the tongues begin I feel tingling at the top of head. Other than that, I can't say that I sense anything else energetic.
I'm praying glossolalia almost only during charismatic meetings (which I attend few times a year). It always has a palpable energetic effect of a sort of "cleansing", introducing some kind of tender energy, which has a different "feel" than natural energy movements. And there is silence, of course. But I guess the effects and subjective experiences always depend on a person.
It seems like all the spiritual activity has been leading to both energizing and 'cleansing' form me, which intensifies at night. I spent a day at a charismatic healing conference and couldn't sleep the entire night, and over the last year I find I don't need as much sleep as before. I have one leg that has been super "active" at night. The spontaneous kriyas, gyrating torso and spontaneous deep abdominal breathing have happened only at night, although the spontaneous hand mudra continued into the next morning at Mass. After 'unloading' some things at Reconciliation last Friday, that night I woke with a shoulder pain that was being cleared from the unconscious.
Do you notice the nights being more energetically active?
acuveda, nothing special about nights and kriyas for me at this time in life. Back in the mid-80s, I would sometimes awaken with spontaneous kriyas and it would take awhile to go back to sleep. Drinking a little water before bed time might help with some of this. Also, getting plenty of exercise during the day is good.
It sounds like the prayer meetings are really stirring things up for you. Keep us posted on how it goes.
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Mt, if you can give consent to glossalalia at a prayer meeting, you might also find it suggesting itself at times during your private prayer times. You might even "prime the pump" by beginning to speak in tongues without prompting. Prayer of praise is also a good way to open the gift.
Sound advice. I'm a devoted yogini and also do martial arts every week day. I generally feel better after the exercise, much less congested in the dan tian. I like to pray after my morning yoga as I feel it opens me more. But I have also been experiencing so much more heat from it since this all started happening--yikes! I have been experimenting with ayurvedic hair oils before bed, with cooling and nervine herbs--finally a decent night's sleep.
It's all been rather interesting. I never know what will be next. I had a spontaneous pranotthana at martial arts while synchronizing the form with breath last week that was identical to one I had had at the charismatic prayer conference in the fall. The other day after deep prayer, I brought my hands to my closed eyes to transition to ordinary consciousness and it was as if my hands were flash lights. The closer I brought my hand to my closed eyes the brighter the light. I played around with that for a while like a kid . Another time, I put some acupuncture needles in my head and decided to pray with them in. Wow, zing-a-zing, instant charge felt on all the needles!
Anyway, I will check in at a later date. Maybe there will be more to share later and more activity from others then. Looking forward to Holy Week rituals and Easter vigil.
Thank you for your sharing, acuveda. Glad to hear you're getting some good sleep.
One of the interesting aspects of your story is how you're making use of Eastern disciplines like yoga and martial arts as a Christian. So many have found these to be in conflict, though the integration of both is possible if one can keep the right perspective. I was never able to go very far into Eastern disciplines as, after awhile, it seemed they were conducing toward a different kind of "goal" than the Christian pathway I was already on. So I gave priority to the latter, and retained only those disciplines -- a few gentle yoga stretches -- that were complementary. Beyond that, it seemed that the movements of energy within would come into conflict, or get revved up to an uncomfortably high level.
A good Holy Week and Easter to you and all who read these words.
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