The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
This is definitely not the Dark Night of the Soul in the sense that St. John of the Cross described it. What is being described is much more than some kind of Dark Night aridity.
I went through very similar...
But that doesn't make it a Dark Night of the Soul a la St. John of the Cross, Les.
Hey Les, sorry to hear that you experienced something similar. It is truly terrible and also unfair. Did you show all the symptoms of a kundalini awakening prior to getting closer to the God of the Bible aswell? How did you overcome the numbness and the messed up world of thoughts? I don't think this is a Dark Night of the Soul either. Because I already had mine before my awakening. This is God's wrath that's resting upon me I'm afraid
Daniel Ingram uses "dark night" in the loose (non-sanjuanist) sense of the emergence of distressing states of mind after a quasi-mystical event he calls the "Arising and Passing Away." This is in a non-Christian context, of course. See Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, chapter 24, for a list of the states he groups under the heading of "dark night."
I haven't explored his definition in-depth, but others...
"A period of spiritual desolation suffered by a mystic in which all sense of consolation is removed."
"The most intense period of that great swing-back into darkness which usually divides the “first mystic life,” or Illuminative Way, from the “second mystic life,” or Unitive Way, is generally a period of utter blankness and stagnation, so far as mystical activity is concerned. The “Dark Night of the Soul,” once fully established, is seldom lit by visions or made homely by voices. It is of the essence of its miseries that the once-possessed power of orison or contemplation now seems wholly lost. The self is tossed back from its hard-won point of vantage. Impotence, blankness, solitude, are the epithets by which those immersed in this dark fire of purification describe their pains."
“The unconscious nervous system is the autonomic nervous system…which yogis do have some control over. Many of the kundalini symptoms arise from the brainstem, which consists of the medulla, pons, cerebellum and midbrain…that is the majority of kundalini symptoms originate from areas of the brain that are beyond our normal control. Hence many of the symptoms and feelings arise directly from physiological events triggered by specific neural circuits and changes in neurochemistry. Over the period of peak awakening sex hormones and other pituitary hormones are raging; the heart is radically expanded and engorged with blood, and the digestive system venting due to parasympathetic hypertonality; skeletal muscles are ready for action and hypervigilance is up due to the fight-or-flight activation of the sympathetic nervous system.”
This... (https://www.jashow.org/articles/general/kundalini-yoga-part-1/) is very interesting article, though I have some reservations with a few aspects based on my own experience.
Anyways, there are lots more that are very similar... including Gopi's, some of that included in these references. In many cases, as in mine, the experience was excruciating.
In general, I think there are two types... one is labeled a "Spiritual Depression" with few chronic physical symptoms, the other can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually disabling. I've experienced both... the latter leaving me curled up in the bathroom in a fetal position on more than one occasion. It was a very trying few years... and yes, compulsive suicidal thoughts were part of it, which was completely off the charts and out of character for me to have incurred.
Les and Derek, this is absolutely not the Night of the Senses or any other kind of Dark Night as understood in St. John of the Cross's teaching on this topic. A possible backslide, yes, but not a Dark Night.
With a Dark Night of the Soul, there is:
- no depression or suicidal ideation
- no loss of faith
- no disregard for sin or repentance
- no diminishment of spiritual practice
- no loss of a sense of humor or affectivity
- no inability to focus mentally
- no attraction to evil
What predominates (in the first Dark Night) is a loss or reduction of a felt sense of connection with God, with a consequent aridity. This can come upon one suddenly, but there is generally a peace about it.
I could go on, but you can see from what I've shared already that this is not the issue expressed by Ralnagor.
Of course, people use the term "Dark Night" in all kinds of ways that have nothing to do with St. John of the Cross's teachings, but at least on this forum I'd like to be faithful to its original meaning as he's the one who coined the term and wrote about it.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,
There are different sorts of depression so having no "depressive thoughts" or even not feeling sad or guilty is not making it non-depressive state. Depression in the course of psychosis has often a blank, empty quality and is very hard to treat.
I also wonder whether the spiritual experience reported by you was not to a lesser or greater degree mixed with a manic episode followed by psychotic depression. What you feel about an abrupt change of"personality", being spontaneous, enthusiastic etc. while before you were struggling with emptiness, resignation, suicidality, would point to that. Conversion or mystical experience can be sudden and violent but I don't think that it is mostly about being a different person, socially skilfull, fun - as you describe it. But this sounds very.much like mania episode. I suppose this may have been an overlap of actual spiritual awakening with manic episode, but there are very serious symptoms here that point to psychosis and need to be managed properly.
It is an illusion that antipsychotic or antidepressant medication can fix any mental disorder. It is not a flu! People struggle with psychosis or depression for decades. Your mind has cognitive problems, as you say, and there is a mood or affect problem as well. But mystics don't experience difficulties in ordinary thinking - there is usually a problem with abstract meditation or the use of imagination but the mind is just fine. Also the loss of affectivity is some states is not like a painful, desperate state you experience. Peace and internal silence predominate. There is a sense that bad things are going on "on the surface".
You seem to feel a great pressure for immediate relief, immediate restoration of that episode of enthusiasm and elation. And I have an impression that it is this pressure that makes the matters even more desperate. I am certain God worked through your experience, using it to draw you to himself, reading the Bible etc. but to me as a psychotherapist who does not reduce any spirituality to mental disorder there is a lot here that indicates that you brain is ill and not working properly.
Hey guys, thanks for thinking with me about this situation. Your posts are all full of useful information.
I think Phil is right about this not being a Dark Night of the Soul, because I am quite sure that I had mine prior to the spiritual awakening, when I was heavily depressed and looking for immediate relief. I was so lost and lonely and desperate and 'sensed' that maybe God could help me, so I started praying and it was really the prayer that lifted me up and probably gave me that kundalini awakening prior to me finding out about the Holy Spirit which drew me closer to God. That prayer was from the heart and in desperate times and God promises us to help us out in dark times.
Isaiah 40:29: "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak"
Isaiah 40:31: "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will rund and not grow w
eary, they will walk and not be faint. There are probably many more and better scriptures on these promises, but these were the ones that I found first.
Phil is right about this being a matter of backsliding. I found God, I was given a HUGE opportunity but I couldn't live with the fact that I'd have to be celibate all my life, because I was in love with sexual sin. I still believe that I have backslidden to a point where I've reached the point of the unforgivable sin, making it unable to repent. I'd say, and many friends of mine tell me, that I was an enlightened being, which brings me to Hebrews 6: 4-6 : " It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[a] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace". This basically means that I can't repent and that's the truth, because I truly can't repent.
Also, I'm not sure if I already told this on this thread, but there was a time in September 2016, when I was already off the faith train and where I lost the Holy Spirit, that I used psilocybin mushrooms in order to get some sort of revelation or to restore myself to my better days. At the end of the trip I saw a glimpse of my funeral, hearing my father say that I was gone and would not come back. My whole family cried and when that image dissappeared I saw a part of me sliding into a red sea and I briefly felt the heat coming off of that red sea, which I suppose was hell. I still believe that it was a sign of God, showing me my final destination. I am eager to try psilocybin mushrooms again to see if I could get another 'message' or some sort of revelation through it. I can't try them right now because I'm on abilify, which blocks the psilocybin, making it an useless trip.
I found a video on the corrolation between Christianity and psilocybin mushrooms. Suppressed History of Christianity Magic Mushrooms DMT and Psychoactive Plants At 10:40 of this video the narrator says: "Then I may prove them whether they will walk in my law or no", so that means that the mushrooms are a tool to find out whether you walk in God's law or not. I hope you understand why I then believe that the funeral and glimpse of hell which I got means that I am not walking in God's law and am therefor going to hell if I were to die now.
No, don't do that. That video is nonsense, even claiming that Jesus was a mushroom! It opens the door to delusional information.
Carefully consider Mt's thoughtful post above (he's a professional psychotherapist) and stick with the therapy recommended by your doctors. Invite Jesus into your life each day. Read Scripture. Read the lives the the Saints. Pray as best you can. As I shared with you already, God accepts anyone who backslides and repents.
Jesus tells us to forgive one another 70 times 7 times (Mt. 18:22). You think God doesn't do that, too? Of course God does!
- Quit talking yourself out of that forgiveness! You can repent. Just say, "I'm sorry, God: let's start over again." Mean it as best you can and then go to Confession.
That's what I've been doing all this time now, but my prayers remain unanswered. Every day I start a tiny monologue asking for God to forgive me and restore me. I pray in the morning and before going to bed and I pray the Jesus prayer from time to time. I just can't focus when I'm reading because of my mind wandering off to utter nonsense all the time.
I've turned inwards in a very annoying and inexplicable way, which makes it even harder for me to find proper help. They can't help someone who claims that he can't explain what's going on in their head. When I just awakened, my way of thinking changed, I became very introspective and was learning a lot about my relation to God. My mind was on 100% for a long period of time and eventually, by backsliding, it got into wrong thinking patterns which have now been burned into my mind.
These are some thoughts that I have, they don't represent a single % of the things that happen in my head all the time, but most of these thoughts cross my mind often. The text between the quotation marks is what I tell myself all the time. It's as if I'm having a monologue with myself.
“This doesn’t come forth from my mood” after I whistle a tune
“I just can’t explain it, that’s how entangled I am” while thinking this another thought pops up. This thought has something to do with the initial thought, but I can’t recall the actual thought
“Turn on your lights, fool” when I’m riding my bike and I imagine a car coming around the corner without it’s lights on. I get this sort of anticipation of situation thoughts very often.
“I’m just confused all the time, can you imagine?” When I was with my sister and I think about what I’m going to say
Think about cutting my carotid artery whenever I see a set of blades
“It’s as if I’m hypersensitive and have to think about every minor thing”
“Sorry Sinan, but you really need help” filling in other people’s thoughts
“I’m continiously thinking and it drives me nuts” while I’m working but I get this thought very often outside working hours aswell. It’s as if my mind is in explaining mode all the time and wants to repeat what’s going on so I can tell the people that are offering me help
“I don’t think about life stuff anymore”
“Are you leaving? I was about to start this party” when I think what I could spontaneously say to a guest who’s leaving the party. Ofcourse I don’t say it because I’m not spontaneous anymore but it crosses my mind though.
“You might not perceive my struggles, but that’s because I can’t express how tough this is for me”
“Shouldn’t you start studying? No I can’t because of my handicap"
“When will I wake up and find that this misery has ended”?
“You don’t understand, I just want to die”
“I don’t think about relevant things anymore, no wait, they’re not irrelevant, they’re just not right”
“No, not necessarily negative, just confused and turned inwards,which is very annoying” another thought about what I would say to the people that help me.
Understood. So from this perspective, how do you quantify or reconcile Gopi Krishna's experience? There are others, but you seem to be very familiar with his journey and challenges.
As for myself, the Christian definition occurred in 1989. I experienced the more physical crises as similarly described by Gopi starting in 1997... a bit over 2 years after Enlightenment. I can see where these are not the same thing, though I never considered the first as equating to St John of the Cross' definition. I simply didn't have any frame of reference at the time.
Ralnagor, please tell your counselor about all these thoughts you're having. With the exception of Mt, none of us here are really qualified to help you deal with these kinds of issues, and he has already given you some good suggestions.
The one thing I can tell you is that God still loves you and hasn't rejected you because of your backslide experience. If you're having difficulty feeling this, it's not because of God's rejection, but because of mental, emotional and maybe even physical turmoil.
Forum members, let us all keep this young man in prayer.
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