The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
This forum has so many discussions, a bit overwhelming especially not knowing the terminology. Sorry if this is a repeat of things already covered.
I just read some posts where Phil and others talk about pro/cons of Centering Prayer, specifically that it might catalyze an unloading of subconscious material and stir up kundalini.
My question is: Do any of you know of people who awakened kundalini by way of Lectio Divina?
Phil recommends LD as a gentle method, but that's how I awakened K--contemplating deeply on the 23rd Psalm.
By about seven, I took to heart the Biblical passage about entering into your closet and praying in secret. Through inner guidance I began a practice which sounds very similar to CP. I focused on a one-word attribute of God and delved deep into the heart. You don't try to still the mind, it just happens. And it isn't really that you still the mind, you become so spacious that you attune to something far sweeter and more beautiful.
To me, CP was a gentle type of prayer, especially with the simple child's mind. You just slowly slip into the embrace of God's Love and eternity, where the heart becomes as vast as the sky. You rest in God, and all is peace and harmony. You are given your daily bread and are nourished.
However, to me LD seemed to be turbo charged prayer, because you engage the mind more--more faculties are involved. I chose this method when I had something driving me to prayer (like someone who was sick, some problem) to seek relief or insight.
In LD you enter into the living Word. All the senses are engaged but from within the heart. Layer upon layer of one's being seemed to get put in line/focused/resonate with the Biblical passage. The quiet/inner recitation of the passage becomes infused with love. My experience with this type of eyes-open prayer is that there is more body and sense awareness up to a sort of ecstatic tipping point than in CP. And that the experiences that arose had to do with creation as opposed to more abstract things of vast space in CP.
During the seven years of being blasted by kundalini (long ago), I didn't have kriyas or weird physical problems per say. I would feel a blast coming, sink my consciousness into the heart, and let it run its course. The thing that was so hard was the unstopping of subconscious material and the unsettling of emotions, the heightened sensitivities, the lack of solidity of the physical world (that everything in essence seemed to be light), not having peers in the process, being overwhelmed by the uber materiality of the 1990s and trying to run away from it, the feeling of all of one's cells turning inside out, etc.
And then of course, prayer became scary, because I wanted communion with God, not lightning bolts. I haven't really prayed in decades since then. I've done some meditation, mantra, and Sanskrit recitations. And Indian devotional singing, which was heartfelt but more on the side of emotionalism. I think there are some positive aspects to the Indian, but with hindsight, I wish I had plugged my ears to much of what they had to say, especially about eliminating the ego.
I think there was a lot of claptrap distraction from what my real problem was and still is. I recognized in junior high school that I knew how to hit the bullseye of the target (loving God), but I didn't know how to live/fill in the rest of it. It wasn't enough to pray in secret, I needed to learn how to live it in all my actions/interactions with friends, family, community, and so forth.
So after so many years and song and dance, I'm wanting to pray again. Two nights ago, I did a little CP before sleep. It feel soothing and a bit recharging (I've been dealing with a strange buzzing in my system the last four years--could be adrenals/nervous system). My sense is that CP is more balancing for me than opening/catalyzing.
Thanks for listening and if you have any insights.
No one seems to have any comments. Of course prayer is not so easy as it was in childhood. Anyway I still feel like I should only tap in lightly for short amounts of time. The real work now is compassionate embodiment. And perhaps less focus on heart and more on overall balance.
Any sort of continual and persistent mental effort or focusing of ones attention can produce a change in oneself. The two aspects of Kundalini are personal change and healing and too much of some spiritual activity without sufficient preparation or even a single powerful numinous experience could be seen as damaging to the person and may incite a healing response.
Sufficient prana passing up the central nervous system and reaching the head may initiate the 'unloading' of subconscious material as preparation of further developments ie the 'unloading' of the conscious mind and movement into silence or 'fourth' state.
If it were the other way round their would be no ability to process the unconscious mind and what would that be like?
Surrendering ones efforts is a safety here and would seem the natural thing to do but many people in the West are not brought up that way.
In the case of a single powerful numinous experience there may be no choice in the matter.
It's a little slow around here sometimes, but eventually someone (like ~Tarantella~) does reply.
It sounds like you're caught in a kind of conflict, yearning to pray to deepen your relationship with God, but concerned that formal prayer might stir things up too much. I'd encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance about this, to lead you to pray in a manner that is best for you at this time. Various methods produce different consequences, as T noted, and it's not necessarily a bad thing to stir up the energy provided it's not too intense or painful. Paul even encourages Timothy to do so (2 Tm. 1:6).
There's an old saying, "pray as you pray," which is to say that there's not necessarily one best method for prayer for anyone or at any given time. Any time we lift the mind and heart to God, we are praying, even if we do this without words. So maybe this will be a time for exploration and discovery for you and you will come to find various methods of prayer that are right for you. Keep us posted.
Ah, so are you saying you think whatever method helps sufficient prana flow up the central nervous system to the head will/might initiate unloading of the subconscious?
In other words, I can see why Phil might think Centering Prayer would unload but Lectio D would be more gentle and safe--probably because most adults would get so bogged down in the intellect with a book in their hands, they wouldn't release much prana up the central channel.
But perhaps because I already had movement of Prana in my central channel, the Lectio D's mental activity helped open up a complete circuit for the Prana.
Thank you. Wise words. Beautiful quotation from 2 Tim.
If you don't mind me getting into this--I've always felt a bit of a gap between my prayer life and my life out in the world. I would expand greatly and then at times contract with almost like a whiplash motion--at least during some key events.
I think a big reason why I have had a lot of difficulty with the K process is that it awakened a year after a traumatic event from which I was still healing. Now they would call it PTSD.
When I was an abroad student in Europe, I found myself locked in a train's bathroom about 2am with a Moroccan holding up a knife and wanting to rape me. After I pulled myself back from fear, helplessness, and the ceiling of the compartment (I willed myself back into my body), I looked at his face which had a scar. I saw he had lived a life of hardship and was moved with compassion.
I forgot about myself as if I were in prayer. I expressed concern for his well-being. I asked him what this would do to him. He had me repeat the question. The gathering darkness across his forehead dispersed and he folded up the knife. He called it off. When I pulled the door open, a wave of panic struck me and it was a shattering experience.
The compassion part I think was aided by prior years of Love of God/prayer, and Grace. But I immediately swung back the opposite direction the moment I was "safe." It was like everything came crashing back down on my head.
A couple years later while riding my bicycle among some traffic. A quiet, non-emotional voice cut though my thoughts and asked inside me, "What would you do if you were hit by a car?" I almost hesitated, but with all my strength of mind, I silently insisted, "I would pray." My mind suddenly filled with a pristine white light. A moment later, I looked into the eyes of a driver who tore across traffic right at me. He swore and swerved out of the way just in time.
From a moment of light and expanse, I crashed down again. As soon as I got to sidewalk, I held my sides and dry heaved. And then of course I got angry. "What kind of question is that? Answer wrong and you're roadkill! Really?!"
Those are two dramatic examples from long ago. But I think the pattern I maintain is still similar. I have had so much Grace and it has been so hard. I haven't been very grateful. I've been through so much and I've come out OK except for my nervous system. It's like it still is in shock. When I pray to God to relieve me of this stress, my attention goes to the lower chakras--I believe specifically the second chakra.
I feel inclined to focus loving kindness to my second chakra. And perhaps do a Donna Eden Method to clear and balance it.
Any thoughts on gently cultivating gratitude? Or on calming/healing the second chakra/Tan Tien?
[Just did some gentle clearing and stayed with the feelings. I saw that I held a belief from childhood that if bad things happened it was my fault because I wasn't knowing the Truth. That a child's brain on New Thought. I carry it like a core belief.
The crazy thing is that the Christian Scientists really are right about the unchanging, eternal nature of Truth. In India when I was doing a lot of spiritual practices, I walked around for a bit viewing the world as an expression of the underlying Perfection, and that suffering came from an incorrect seeing of things. But it makes me mad thinking about it, because how do you translate that understanding into real life terms?]This message has been edited. Last edited by: MaryAnn,
Mary Ann, those were two incredibly dangerous "close calls" you describe. It's hard to say how much events like those are related to K process; many, many people have similar experiences with no sign of K resulting.
One thing I can say is that if you believe those traumatic experiences still have some degree of influence on your energy and emotions, there is good help available. For example, there's EMDR, a counseling approach to deal with past traumatic experiences. My wife is a psychotherapist and she uses this approach with people who have PTSD and finds it quite effective in helping them to move on.
The Christian Scientists and Hindus aren't completely wrong about everything. Much of our suffering is indeed brought on by poor choices and distorted beliefs. If we really could accept and love ourselves unconditionally, I'm sure we'd experience much healing and more peace and joy in our lives. Nevertheless, we would suffer at some time, and we will also die. I've been talking up a work I've just completed on "God, and the Problem of Suffering" on another thread, so you might check that out sometime.
My thought is that, after two close calls like that, I think you have plenty of reasons for heartfelt gratitude! For myself, I've found that prayers of gratitude can definitely leave me feeling a whole lot better about life.
I think the first close call was related to K in that it drove me to prayer, because I wanted relief and to experience the love and peace of God's presence. I probably opened up more because the experience of prayer was so lovely in contrast to the PTSD mental/emotional suffering. My K awakening was/is maybe more intense and difficult than some because I was already a wreck and the K was added on top of that. It gave me even more to deal with--almost to the point of absurdity. But then again, there's never a convenient time for a Kundalini awakening.
The second happening was about two years after the initial awakening. Things were settling down and I was starting to have a fun life. I interpreted the close call as a call to "pray or die." I still don't really know how much was my reaction to things, but I felt for many years (more intensely at certain periods) that I was being sort of funneled through a dangerous pass and that I had to be alert and careful.
Yes, even after all these years, I still have too much emotional fixation connected to certain life events. I would think there are several factors playing into this shakiness. Stress definitely makes everything worse.
I'm checking out some EMDR info online/YouTube/apps. I do see there are four certified EMDR people in my area. I've recently started having appts with an osteopath who has a therapy background. I have another appt with her in two weeks. The last one I found to be very powerful because it was a combination of talking with gentle physical manipulation.
Interesting that you have a booklet about the problem of suffering. I've just downloaded it.
Yeah, Derek, you are right. But I think it is just indicative that it is hard to see past a certain level of stress. It's like a constant toothache or something. but you are right. I am trying to catch myself at different intervals and practice gratitude.
For sure. Your diagnosis of PTSD sounds accurate to me. During a traumatic experience, people often do dissociate temporarily. Some time later, all the feelings come flooding out.
I don't think disassociate is really a precise term for what happened. Certainly, I began to disassociate--I looked down on myself from the ceiling initially. But I willed myself back.
I became so present and in the moment that I helped the man shift his mental state. If you are disassociated, you have no lever to do so.
It is true that I didn't identify myself with the body and personality at that moment. In fact a thought passed through my mind, "It would be a sin against nature." I stood before him as one with God's creation, and from this I had great strength of mind (at least momentarily).
An aspect of the mind registered the thought with a little surprise ("That's interesting"-- in feeling, not that words actually formed.) In childhood, I had had several experiences of beginning to expand to embrace all of creation. So, it's not really a surprise that during extreme danger I might go to that level of being. Mind is vast, and the conscious personality is only a thin crust.
When I exited, I had a double-shock of identification with the small self and identification with the powerful emotion of panic.
I just don't think disassociate is quite the right term.
Are there adequate terms to describe non-ordinary states of mind and prayer? I don't know for sure, but I don't think psychology has that subtlety.
Probably not. Psychology tends to pathologize anything outside the ordinary. So "dissociation," "depersonalization," "derealization," and so on. It sounds like none of these is a good fit for you.
Hi Derek and All,
I think the thing that has bothered me most these last 28 years since the K process started is the difference in quality of experience I had before and after.
Pre-K, I used to fill with the golden light from above and felt connected with God and Creation/nature (towards kinship with all of Creation).
When I awakened kundalini that day in college, a silver ball of light came in through the feet and catalyzed an on-going process upwards. It seems to be pushing me towards transcendence (towards oneness with vast, spacious consciousness).
I wonder, are they two phases of a bigger cycle (like a Taoist Macro Cosmic Circuit)? And religions tend to focus primarily on the upside (Eastern) or downside (Western) of it? If there is a choice between one or the other, I'm not enamored with non-duality and would rather get back to my original path.
To my understanding, the person who is truly trying to be a good Christian has the imperative to follow the Golden Rule and practice Love in action (i.e., like Jesus and the Disciples, and the example of the Good Samaritan). However, I never really saw an equivalent in Eastern culture (perhaps the Bodhisattva ideal but you had to be enlightened before you could really be of any help). When there is emphasis on transcendence, bottom line IMO it means life is cheap, even though there may be a lot of talk about compassion.
[Of course much of Western history is about "good" Christians mugging the Jews and blowing each other up.]
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