The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
by Philip St. Romain
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Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions

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Amen, Mt. When you consider the concepts being, nature and person with regard to humans, Jesus and God, there are interesting combinations.

God: one being, one nature, three persons.
Human: one being, one nature, one person.
Jesus: one being, two natures, one person.

Person, here, refers not so much to a psychological being as to a "locus of relationship."

------

Acuveda, it does seem that the body becomes more flexible as the process moves along. And thanks for sharing about the difficulties in opening the chakras. I am still no sure what to make of it, as some of the teachings seem to use the chakra system as a pedagogical device -- a way to sort out issues in the spiritual life; others take them quite literally. I do have a sense of these centers, especially when they are blocked. The 3rd eye, in particular, is a definite experience -- a clarity of non-reflecting awareness uncontaminated by useless thoughts. Something is happening in the body/mind, for sure.

I find glossalalia to be instrumental in both awakening and ordering the energy process and wonder how that might compare with the Hindu system. I've never been able to find much, aside from the meditation on mantras and other sounds to order the energy. It seems glossalalia takes care of all this without one understanding how it works -- a way the Holy Spirit "manages" prannothana/kundalini.
 
Posts: 3516 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I found that the 'Secret of the Golden Flower' method to be quite effective where Kundalini is concerned, and struggled with it until I started using that method. It goes by other names as well... Microcosmic Orbit, Backward Breathing Method, Golden Flower Method, etc... but they're all variations/derivatives of SGF, and they don't fully encompass the nuances of SGF. I'm adding a chapter on it in my own work because I haven't found one that decomposes the nuances in plain terms.

Phil - a lot of sites equate Kundalini as being either 1) The Holy Spirit or 2) The Word (life energy) of God. Do you have any thoughts on it?
 
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Les, we have an extensive discussion of kundalini and the Holy Spirit at the link below:
- http://shalomplace.org/eve/for.../25010765/m/68310806

I do not think they're the same, but I do believe their complementary. There are many instances of people manifesting the gifts and fruits of the Spirit without any evidence of kundalini process (or nothing noticeable, at least). Also, the Spirit doesn't require breathing exercises practices like the Microscopic Orbit to become balanced within us.

My understanding for years has been that k is more about transforming the body/mind to accommodate higher consciousness, which is usually what we find in contemplative traditions, including charismatic prayer.
 
Posts: 3516 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Les, In addition to Phil's book on K, there are two books on "chi" and the HS that I came across at the beginning of all the K symptoms I was experiencing: The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology by Grace Ji-Sun Kim and The Holy Spirit and Ch'i (Qi): A Chiological Approach to Pneumatology (Princeton Theological Monograph)by Koo Dong Yun. You might find them insightful since K would be a form of Yang Chi.

Phil, I have not come across much on glossolalia in the yogic/ayurvedic/Hindu systems and personally have not connected it to the effect you have experienced. My experiences with K is so intimately connected to my charismatic prayer group experiences and prayer life in general that the two feels mostly like a flowing co-mingling or intertwining dance.

I do know that in TCM, the heart is the seat of consciousness as in Vedic understanding. The heart's element is fire, and it's directionality is upward, like flames. The organ it governs is the tongue, and thus, also speech. This directionality is similar conceptually to udana prana, which is the ascending and radiant force that lifts consciousness, and incidentally allows kundalini to rise. It also regulates speech since it requires the upward flow of the breath from the lungs through the throat and mouth. Lion's pose, for example, promotes the flow of udana vayu at the physical level. So, it's not too difficult to make the leap to the subtle or spiritual level with speaking in tongues.

One other strange K phenomenon I experienced the other night was that I woke up in the middle of the night and found myself in coffin pose, i.e., face up, my arms crossed over my upper torso, hands touching shoulders....

And I experienced another one similar in feeling to the cave dwelling one. I can feel my body and yet I am looking at my body at the same time. I see my eye, huge and close up, eyelid flickering, and then opens. (My physical eye is still closed.) Juxtaposed to my large eye, is my husband's cheek. He is asleep. Then the alphabet soup appears in the center, twirling letters. Then, I sense a shift. I see twirling dark blobs on the periferie and suddenly realize I'm under water, deep, very deep in some oceanic environment. The blobs are fish-like, swimming around a circle.

I had another very intense one about two weeks ago....

I notice the theme to these seems to be the hidden, deep, the mysterious, the expansive, awakening, dying, breaking through, transformation.
 
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Phil, Thanks for the K-discussion link. Interesting.

Acuveda, Thanks. Trying to intellectualize the Realization experience is near-futile. While I've found some correlation in all belief systems, none fully encapsulate all aspects. Oddly, the only one I've found that comes close, and is also rather devoid of dogma is Christian Gnostic, though Taoism without the outgrowth also comes close. Evelyn Underhill came to the same conclusion, and found that those who had experienced Realization struggled with the same objective... finding a belief system that accommodated the adept's experiences. It's a conundrum.
 
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It's not a conundrum for me, Les. Hundreds of Christian mystics through the ages have also gotten along quite well with the orthodox tradition's understanding of God and creation. It seems that once we accept an anthropology that recognizes a creaturely spiritual nature for humans that incorporates psychological and physical levels, and that God dwells within and beyond our human nature, many possible experiences can be accounted for. I wonder what Christian doctrine you find so problematic?

Btw, the gnostics do indeed have implicit doctrines. Just disagree with one and see what happens. Wink

-------

Acuveda, you wrote: ". . . K would be a form of Yang Chi" That would certainly explain the heat that so many describe. And yet Hindu teaching about K describes it as a "feminine energy" -- shakti, rising to unite with shiva. How do you bridge those understandings?

I notice the theme to these seems to be the hidden, deep, the mysterious, the expansive, awakening, dying, breaking through, transformation.

Yes, wow: I'll say! As the Psalmist put it, we are "fearfully, wonderfully made" -- all the way down to the roots of our being.
 
Posts: 3516 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
It's not a conundrum for me, Les. Hundreds of Christian mystics through the ages have also gotten along quite well with the orthodox tradition's understanding of God and creation. It seems that once we accept an anthropology that recognizes a creaturely spiritual nature for humans that incorporates psychological and physical levels, and that God dwells within and beyond our human nature, many possible experiences can be accounted for. I wonder what Christian doctrine you find so problematic?

Btw, the gnostics do indeed have implicit doctrines. Just disagree with one and see what happens. Wink


Hi Phil,

The conundrum exists in the challenge of intellectualizing the God/God-Self Realization experience within any single belief system. A poor comparison, but metaphorically it's a bit like the movie "Contact" when Jodie Foster experiences some 14 hours of a foreign reality in what is only seconds in earth-time. Illumination/Enlightenment is like that in many ways. That experience is more real than any experience one will have, yet most who do have that experience eventually fade into the woodwork because the social challenge of sharing in the face of so much dogma can be exasperating. My experience happened in '94, and the first fundamentally identical experience I came across was a few years after my own while reading Gopi Krishna's autobiography. Since then, aside from a few mainstream spokesmen/women (e.g. - Sadguru, Ekhart Tolle, etc.) I've only come across a small few others who shared their experience in some public forum, almost verbatim with my own experience, and all those eventually removed their posts and faded. I've only met one in person who has lived with it most of his life. He ultimately found solace in following in the footsteps of Joseph Campbell ("The Power of Myth") as his medium and is in the process of publishing his own work (Joseph Alexander- http://www.mythicspiral.com/). Both of us have participated in the Kundalani Research Project as test subjects.

I have found some traction in the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as some of the Gnostic passages with regard to interpretations of Holy Spirit = Water = Kundalini, and Christ Consciousness = Ajna = Third Eye, which from the Realization experience makes perfect sense... e.g. - HS/Water/K rises through Christ Consciousness/Spirit/Ajna to reach The Kingdom of God (Sahasrara)... reconciling the literal interpretation of John 3.1-3.10 with the experience of Realization. The same is true for reconciling the larger issue which raises so much angst...being 'saved'. We've discussed it some, but there are also passages that posit that one is born of spirit into the causal, and after 1:n reincarnations is 'saved', not in death, but in life. The 'saved' process is Kundalini rising, Awakening to Self, Purgation, Enlightenment, Judgement, and finally Unification. It's interesting in that the posit comes in a number of forms, including those considered heresy by the Christian mainstream, along with other cultural belief systems.

Regardless, intellectualizing the Realization experience, as Evelyn Hill well states, is indeed a cunundrum for those who have experienced it. Many settle on a mainstream belief to support those aspects which do ring true, and simply ignore those aspects that do not reconcile with their experience of Realization, or by supplementing it with excluded works that were in many cases the victim of dogma and politics, or excluded entirely. In the end, the constant is The Absolute, God, which is beyond description. The rest is an exercise in intellectualization, though it does unite us in various ways that lead to our ultimate unification with God.

Then again, it's JM2c Smiler
 
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Thanks for hanging in there with the discussion, Les.

You said: . . .the social challenge of sharing (an experience as you had) in the face of so much dogma can be exasperating.

Again, I wonder what you're talking about. The Christian mystical tradition affirms a wide range of apophatic, numinous experiences. And there, again, is this little dig at "dogma," like it's something that gets in the way of understanding. Perhaps you could give at least one example in one of your posts of what you mean?

I believe there are different kinds of mystical experiences and that the great world religions are oriented toward different kinds. If you're resonating with Tolle, Sadguru, Gopi Krishna, etc., that seems to be an advaitan/enlightenment type mystical experience. You'll find similar expressions in some of the Christian mystics, but by and large, the Christians hold a relational, interpersonal perspective, even with mystical experiences. Also, the distinction between God and creature is affirmed, even in the deepest unitive experiences. But, for sure, Eckhart Tolle will not resonate with many mainstream Christians, though his books have been studied and taken seriously in some churches.

I have found some traction in the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as some of the Gnostic passages with regard to interpretations of Holy Spirit = Water = Kundalini, and Christ Consciousness = Ajna = Third Eye, which from the Realization experience makes perfect sense... e.g. - HS/Water/K rises through Christ Consciousness/Spirit/Ajna to reach The Kingdom of God (Sahasrara)

Example, please -- especially of the DSS using the terms "Kundalini, Christ Consciousness, Third Eye, Ajna" etc. I don't think that's in there, but I believe you're making connections that resonate in that way.

. . . there are also passages that posit that one is born of spirit into the causal, and after 1:n reincarnations is 'saved', not in death, but in life. The 'saved' process is Kundalini rising.

John's Gospel does not mention a "causal" level, and salvation in John is not a matter of kundalini rising. Again, this is projection of your interpretive perspective.

Awakening to Self, Purgation, Enlightenment, Judgement, and finally Unification. It's interesting in that the posit comes in a number of forms, including those considered heresy by the Christian mainstream, along with other cultural belief systems.

What heresies? What are you talking about? This comes across as judgmental innuendo.

Regardless, intellectualizing the Realization experience, as Evelyn Hill well states, is indeed a cunundrum for those who have experienced it. . .

Well, like I've said, an adequate Christian theology and anthropology is able to affirm realms of mystery and experience that defy precise conceptualization. In my God and I book, for example, I speak of "zones" of experience, including a Self-God zone, where a variety of numinous experiences can be located.

I wonder if you're aware of Christianity's mystical tradition, which goes back to the first C and spans the whole of its history. I also wonder if you're using the term "gnostic" as a synonym for mystical Christianity, thinking that the alternative was some kind of dogmatic, intellectual tradition?

In mainstream Christianity, gnosticism has a different meaning. It was an early heresy rejected by the church, and for several good reasons. So when you speak of the gnostics, that's what comes to mind with me, but perhaps not what you intend.

- http://www.christianitytoday.c.../2004/june/7.26.html

- http://instituteofbiblicaldefe...texts-were-rejected/

- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06592a.htm

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Posts: 3516 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Acuveda, you wrote: ". . . K would be a form of Yang Chi" That would certainly explain the heat that so many describe. And yet Hindu teaching about K describes it as a "feminine energy" -- shakti, rising to unite with shiva. How do you bridge those understandings?

Yes, the paradigm shift initially led to much pondering.

The thing about yin/yang theory is that people often mistake at a an entirely system based on absolute dualism; it is not so black and white. Yin and yang are opposite complements of all WHOLE phenomenon. They are relative concepts, meaning something can be both yin and yang. For example, If the the whole concept is the human being, male is yang and female is yin. In this case I am yin. If the whole concept is women, I most definitely fall into the yang distinction because of thin body frame and an active, intellectual nature. Yin and yang subdivide into further divisions of yin and yang, meaning yin is comprised of yin and yang, and each of those are made of yin and yang, etc. Thus, I am both yin and yang. Yin and yang contain each, are rooted in each other, engender each other and transform into each other. Yin and yang represent the dynamic relationships of creation. If yin and yang are in complete balance there is no creation. If yin and yang separate from each other in the body, death ensues.

In terms of the body, yin refers to structure and yang (or yang qi) refers to function: activation, warming, defense, transformation and containment, which why I interpret kundalini shake as a form or yang qi from TCM point of reference. We always determine first in TCM if the presentation is yin or yang according to symptoms. There is no gender identification when talking about yin/yang unless we are referring specifically to that context. The Chinese character for yang is a the sunny side of a mountain slope; for yin it is same but with a cloud, to capture the aforementioned aspects.

The Shiva-Shakti paradigm describes a relationship between Spirit or Consciousness and its power/energy, not the causal realm as with yin-yang. (They use a triskele model called triguna.) Of course, Hinduism understands there is no gender to Consciousness or its Power. Female in Hinduism as active principle is derived from the observation of the female in nature: progenitor, nurturer, nourisher, caretaker and vicious defender of her young.

Last year, I attended a charismatic healing conference and was surprised to hear many people referring to the HS as ‘she’, using the gender from the Old Testament ‘ruach’, (which interestingly has some identical meanings of “qi”, i.e., wind, breath, anger, etc.)

I personally don’t have inner conflict with how a group a people or religion chooses to personify concepts or God/Spirit/Divine energy, etc. They do push me to think, reflect, expand my understanding and remind me of the limitations we have when trying to articulate this grand Mystery, especially going from one system to another. Incidentally, this whole discussion as well as Les’ attempt to find the one system that explains the K-phenomenon completely is also shedding new light for me on the story of the tower of Babel. Smiler
 
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Les, I suppose we have entirely opposite views on that, but I want to make two points. First, you seem to be very much focused on the Experience and its expression, formulation etc. Christians and Christian mystics on the other hand are focused on God, on Christ who is a living real Person whom they love and who loves them. Second, I think that it's very difficult to see beyond that kind of illumination that you seem to have. It's so powerful that it's hard to understand that there may be spiritual truths that are not to be found in this illumination. Since I, just as Phil, was given both non-dual experiences and Christian contemplation experiences, however superficial they may be, I can see that the first are of a lesser kind, and that there is Truth beyond our most mystical experiences. And this has a lot to do with that nasty thing called "dogma" which constantly challenges our reliance on our ever so important EXPERIENCES...
 
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acuveda, I really hope you write a book, sharing your experience and wisdom on these matters. There aren't many who have the depth of immersion in different religious traditions that you do.

I once had a friend who was something of a Taoist master in that he had studied with one for years and had learned what his master had to teach. The rest of the learning was to come from life, of course, and along the way he became Christian, charismatic, then a leader in the centering prayer movement. Next, he got involved with an Indian guru who communicated shaktipat, and I've lost touch with him since. But he told me once that if the mind and will were properly oriented, energy would take care of itself. It seems that Christianity has focused more on those kinds of issues: truth, honesty, loving service, worship, etc.

Re. HS as "she" -- I've heard that, too. It's as arbitrary as he, of course, but it resonates somewhat with the Old Testament writings about Sophia, wisdom personified. "Ruach" as breath, life, spirit, etc. does seem similar to chi/prana.

In the NT, the Greek pneuma means the same, and you will find the same word referring to the Spirit. In John's Gospel, Jesus breathes the Spirit on the Apostles. So one way to look at it is that human and Holy Spirit come to work as one breath, one life. As Paul says in Rm 8:16, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." And in 1 Cor. 2:11-13,
quote:
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.


And, continuing:
quote:
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,

Clearly, Spirit is God, but I have wondered if a westernized understanding of kundalini would be the energy of the en-Spirited human spirit.

What do you think?
 
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In mainstream Christianity, gnosticism has a different meaning. It was an early heresy rejected by the church, and for several good reasons. So when you speak of the gnostics, that's what comes to mind with me, but perhaps not what you intend.


Thanks for the clarification and references Phil. I also referenced Mysticism on the same site, and St. Augistine's posit resonates perfectly with my own experience...

"There is, however, he adds, a more perfect knowledge of God possible in this life, beyond the attainments of reason even enlightened by faith, through which the soul contemplates directly the mysteries of Divine light. The contemplation in the present life is possible only to a few privileged souls, through a very special grace of God: it is the theosis, mystike enosis."

Why me? I don't know...other than I had/have been contemplating absolute truth with an all-consuming desire since I can remember. I will say that the experience is not something one dreams, imagines, or is the result of any kind of vision. It's real, absolute, and concrete, in a way that defies adequate description for something so direct and immediate.
 
Posts: 104 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 18 December 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Mt:
Les, I suppose we have entirely opposite views on that, but I want to make two points. First, you seem to be very much focused on the Experience and its expression, formulation etc. Christians and Christian mystics on the other hand are focused on God, on Christ who is a living real Person whom they love and who loves them. Second, I think that it's very difficult to see beyond that kind of illumination that you seem to have. It's so powerful that it's hard to understand that there may be spiritual truths that are not to be found in this illumination. Since I, just as Phil, was given both non-dual experiences and Christian contemplation experiences, however superficial they may be, I can see that the first are of a lesser kind, and that there is Truth beyond our most mystical experiences. And this has a lot to do with that nasty thing called "dogma" which constantly challenges our reliance on our ever so important EXPERIENCES...


Mt...point taken, though I wouldn't suggest that those experiences are superficial. They all lead to the same Smiler The frustration for me has been in embedding that experience within traditional religion...but I'm not alone in that regard. Evelyn Hill spend a fair amount of time on the issue and the challenges it can pose.
 
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Originally posted by acuveda:
Incidentally, this whole discussion as well as Les’ attempt to find the one system that explains the K-phenomenon completely is also shedding new light for me on the story of the tower of Babel. Smiler


No doubt..right <pfftttt> Smiler
 
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Mt et al, sometime back we had a discussion on the relationship between dogma and experience. It started off well, then went off in all kinds of directions, as usual.
- http://shalomplace.org/eve/for...10135/m/56010395/p/1

One extreme we find -- and maybe it's what Les and others are objecting to -- is this tendency to present Christianity as a system of dogmatic teachings. This would easily deteriorate into an unhealthy dogma-tism, perhaps with witch hunts and emphases on pointing out heresies. That's out there, for sure, in almost every branch of Christianity, and that's unfortunate.

The thread I link to above speaks of dogma as a distillation of the Christian community's discernments through the ages and, hence, expresses something of the way the Spirit has guided the Church in its ongoing journey in faith. Hence, dogma has a role to play in forming faith and even spiritual receptivity. It also has a role to play in setting boundaries.

Maybe it's even more helpful to think of dogma in terms of core beliefs. Everyone understands the importance of these. Our core beliefs are constituitive of our self-understanding, gifts, mission, etc. They can be changed and revised, but not easily, as we form them through experience, reflection and dialogue. They function in our lives as something of an interpretive lens and a compass to help orient us.

---------------

Mystical experiences are non-dogmatic in that they happen in a trans-rational, non-reflecting aspect of our consciousness. The "knowledge" they communicate is direct, intuitive, and real. As long as we are in the experience, there is no need to reflect on it or try to relate it to anything else; it's enough just to "be" in that moment. But, as Bernard Lonergan puts it in his writings on consciousness, they are "stage 1" events: data! The data is of an unusual type -- mystical data -- and once one moves out of the experience into a more everyday egoic state, it begins to fade somewhat. Still, the energetic resonance remains for some time, and one can begin to reflect on the experience -- Stages 2 and 3 of Lonergan's approach: what does it mean? what do I learn from this? That's when the dialogue with a dogmatic tradition begins in earnest -- not during the Stage 1 phase.

Stages 2 and 3 of the process are the assimilation and integration of the data event. St. John of the Cross writes a poem, for example, then books reflecting on the poem. The books are not the data of the mystical experiences, but the fruit of his reflections on their meaning. There is, in this sense, a relationship between the reflections and the mystical experience, though the two are separate stages of conscious experience and assimilation. And note that John is careful to consider the dogmatic tradition of the Church in his reflections. Whatever his mystical experiences communicate, their meaning cannot be in conflict with the Church's core beliefs if they are to be beneficial to Christians. The dogmatic tradition also helps him to discern what parts of the experience or his reflections on it might be of the Spirit or the devil, who can also stir up numinous experiences in the psyche.

Through it all, the Church has been very careful to respect the mystery communicated in contemplative and other experiences. The whole apophatic tradition encourages us not to be more humble and reverent in the face of God -- to value mystical un-knowing as much as rational knowing.

As I wrote in that other thread:
quote:
The antidote to dogmatism is not to spurn dogma, however, but to develop the inner, esoteric dimension of religious life to which it intrinsically related and from which its expression arose in the first place. Then one will come to view dogma and other kataphatic content in a different perspective -- as indicating a direction, with boundaries along the safe path. There's value in that, as I hope you can all see. Without this kind of direction, one usually ends up practicing a kind of spiritual ecclecticism, even when they sincerely believe they are being guided by the Spirit. To forsake the discernments of the community expressed in dogma is a perilous thing.
 
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