The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
I'm sorry but I don't know anything about k except what I read in books and on ShalomPlace.
I suppose you could say the bodhisattva is the Eastern equivalent of the good Samaritan. Just on a point of fact, though, the bodhisattva takes a vow not to become enlightened until everyone else is enlightened. It's not a matter of getting enlightened first, then helping other people. It's the other way round.
The Eastern image that's always fascinated me is the tenth of the ten Oxherding pictures. The final stage of spirituality is "Enter the Marketplace with Helping Hands."
Problem is, Mary Ann, it seems that we can't go back, not even after 28 years. It's not uncommon for the pre-k phase to be filled with love and light and sweetness, but that's what draws us onward unto deeper surrender to God. Sometimes this continues for people even after a k awakening, but usually it is more of a struggle, as all sorts of emotions and energies get stirred up.
But ask yourself: are you more free than you were 28 years ago? Wiser? More able to love even though you don't "feel" like it? Is there not a peace amidst it all? Greater awareness? Ability to respond to the needs of the moment? Less pretentiousness? More authenticity?
That's all what usually comes from the spiritual journey, and k certainly makes a contribution unto those ends.
Phil and Derek,
But then I wonder, "What is the difference between following in the footsteps of Jesus and the Buddhist enlightenment if you both end up with the same impersonal awareness of Being?" One calls this Christ and the other Buddha Nature?
I've had some experience with the vast, unbroken, luminous unchanging Consciousness/Being. But I didn't know what to make of it in terms of my humanity.
I'm up against the very thing about which I rebelled against Christian Science. In high school I had a very dogmatic, authoritarian Sunday school teacher who laid into a fellow student for having a personal sense of God.
After class, I reflected that my whole inner/spiritual life at that point revolved around a personal relationship with God. They were trying to kill my spirit. So, I actually went to the biggest tree on campus (it was a religious boarding school)and prayed for protection from my religion. [The other day I liked reading Samson's(?) post about how in Celtic Christianity there is the little book and the big book (nature)--that resonates well with me. Or at least back then.]
For at least the last 20 years, everything I see radiates white light regardless of being alive or inanimate (rocks, furniture, etc.). It's just a quality of sameness/life. I think it is the same essential unchanging, unbroken beingness that I've had experiences of over the last few decades.
But it's impersonal. That's the part I don't get. So, everything in essence is that Life/Light/Consciousness/Beingness. But if you were to really embrace this impersonal sameness, what happens to love and compassion? Also, many of these so-called realized beings seem to do more harm than good.
If all things exist in this vast ocean of existence, what is my guarantee of goodness? Or at least humility to recognize when I'm messing up? And just because suffering is all ultimately illusionary, it doesn't mean that it doesn't matter.
Mary Ann, what do you mean by "impersonal"? I guess it would help to know that.
What you describe about radiating white light might be in relation to a kind of enlightenment experience, where the presence of God is manifesting as the energies or radiance of existence itself. That's not a bad thing, only it is different from relational love. Many people actually seek that kind of experience.
Love and compassion are ultimately more in the arena of decision than feeling. Can you not make decisions to love, or to show mercy?
As for bad masters . . . they're making bad decisions, often believing they're above the fray. Being enlightened doesn't prevent one from making bad decisions.
I don't agree that suffering is illusory. It's real enough to the one who suffers. Perhaps some of it is brought on through dysfunctional attitudes that can be changed, but who knows how much? Jesus suffered; it's part of human life. I can't go along with the Christian Scientists on that one.
I'm not understanding what you mean about a "guarantee of goodness." All things are good, which is maybe why you perceive a radiance emanating from them. Do you mean "moral goodness"? We have objective teaching about what is right and wrong, and it's usually reliable in most circumstances. We also have a conscience to guide us, and convict us when we do wrong.
I can offer some reflections.
Your authoritarian Sunday School teacher was one extreme; you at the time were another. Am I right in thinking that you've become like your Sunday School teacher and lost your individuality? What do you think of the idea of reclaiming your personal relationship with God?
It's a bit like Christology. Those who say Jesus was only divine are one extreme; those who say Jesus was only human are the other extreme. Both have only one half of the answer.
Can't say any of the cast of characters lost his/her individuality--all still nutty and individual as ever.
Yes, I like what you say about each having half the answer.
Hmm, reclaiming my personal relationship with God...
The first thing is the desire to go back to old patterns that don't work. You can't stuff the genii back in the bottle. Everything has changed since then.
Second, is tension and fear. The pristine light/presence is like Teflon to my human love. It is more subtle than human/mammalian affection, though it doesn't mean I can't love it. In fact that seems the only smart thing to do--other than gain some helpful conceptual info so I don't needlessly worry.
Thanks, Phil, for taking the time. These things have bothered me for a long time. And it is hard to find someone who has any idea what I'm talking about. Or for me to convey it in an intelligible way.
ANN: Maybe it is a fear of power and of the unknown.
Ugh, talk about dysfunctional attitudes. I think Christian Science is a very narrow slice of something, and its members confuse it for a religion. When I was stewing in my own juices, my mind was on fire with the Crucifixion. I think Christian Scientists and perhaps other New Thought groups want the Resurrection or transcendence without the rest of the picture, and my psyche was providing me with more pieces to the puzzle.
One time long ago, I had a cold and a New Thought man (not CS) told me I had a cold because I wanted to have one. I got away from him as soon as I could before he drove me crazy. A couple weeks later, his wife came down with the flu and broke her leg. I thought it was interesting that she should want those things--sorry, I didn't feel compassion for her because I hate that way of thinking.
I think what is happening with CS is that they focus on being consciousness. In the Hindu system this is knowledge of the Atman (I am consciousness). But it is not profound awakening. What you are really going for is knowledge of Brahman, Supreme Consciousness. At least theoretically, the Hindu seeking Brahmanic knowledge would take up sannyas (renunciation) by performing his/her own death ceremony, cast off all familial ties and duties, and become a wandering beggar seeking only Realization. (Of course most of them are probably just hash-smoking loafs.)
The Christian Scientist gets a whiff of being consciousness and wants to make life better for him/herself and family. This becomes a discipline of aligning every thought, word, and action as consciousness, a reflection of God, as opposed to sense-driven mortal cravings. A cold is a display of wrong understanding that you are buying into the mortal dream instead of your true existence as a reflection of God. There are some amazing healings, and it can get pretty crazy and absurd.
So when it gets into this transcendental stuff, I just hope compassion can be part of the package. Your view on suffering is much less head-trip-y that CS. When you get into these pure light realm experiences, what is a more mainstream Christian view?
I don't know anything about these pure light realm experiences, but it all sounds very mental and disembodied.
The passage that comes to mind is:
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
So we're supposed to be fully in the body, even reverencing the body like a temple.
PS Last year I read Tara's book on kundalini. She has exercises for developing the chakras. I ignored the elements that seemed too Eastern for me and adapted the exercises for my own use. I've found that centering my sense of spatial awareness on the belly makes me feel more grounded and embodied.
(Just speaking "in general," and not so much to Mary Ann.)
Well, these are deep exchanges, ultimately pointing up how one's worldview and theology influences one's spirituality, attitudes, etc. Because there's no way to prove whose philosophical and theological perspectives are most correct, one has to take a stand and live primarily from that position. It doesn't mean one doesn't learn about and consider others, but because there are differences and even oppositions among them, one has to take a stand. Eclectic theology/spirituality doesn't work. One has to take a stand. (Have I made this point? )
Is Jesus the Lord or isn't He? Does the Church know what it's talking about in its teaching about the meaning of Christ's life and message? Does this teaching inform our spirituality? If not, then whose does? And why?
I know this is all "of the mind" and conflicts with many themes in post-modern spiritualities, but that's the way I see it. We never leave our minds behind on the spiritual journey. There is no "higher consciousness" that makes the life of the mind irrelevant. That's what some systems want us to believe, but as soon as we sacrifice our intellect on the altar of irrationality, we have lost our freedom. Also, the Big Fat Liar (the devil!) can convince us of anything, especially if it's couched in pious language. "Come and be one with everything . . . let your individuality be swallowed up in the ocean of being . . . your individuality is an illusion. . . . suffering isn't real . . . ). Watch out now!
"You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
And, yes, we need to trust our experience as well, for it is part of our discernment of truth. If something stinks, it's probably rotten. If it doesn't make sense, maybe it's nonsense. Etc.
Phil--good thoughts. Thank you!
Derek--Bingo! You hit the nail on the head.
A friend just recently connected me with another Christian Scientist who is a few decades into the kundalini process. She's encouraging me to return to the fold. And I'm questioning myself like maybe I'm running away from healing from the strange physical/nervous system symptoms. Then I tried listening to some of the material on YouTube (trying to be open-minded and not just kneejerk from childhood). But as an aging adult with more fat around the middle than I like, that message is way too spiritual for me.
I think a huge step for me was claiming the humanity of Christ. Now, it is reclaiming my relationship with nature, matter and the body.
These strange sects are not wrong per say. They just represent fragments. If this knowledge is suppressed, it gains more mystique and will keep popping up anyway. Personally, I would like to see a sense of Church that can accommodate a vast and complicated treasury of knowledge, and sensibly guide and support.
I've taken a lot of your time (and mine) posting on this forum. Now I need to burrow back into life and try to keep making the experience fuller and richer.
I deeply appreciate your kind and thoughtful words and support. Phil, you are doing an amazing ministry with the forum.
That's why I'm a Roman Catholic!
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