The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
Mt, you say:
"This transformation – the cross, death, and resurrection – does not happen through our effort or mere luck, it happens because we are given powerful divine energies, infinitely more powerful than kundalini, which purify us and make us transparent for God’s action in us. Those energies can’t “go wrong”, like kundalini, because they are the energies of the Holy Spirit and he controls them."
Personally, when my kundalini opened, or awakened, (or `reawakened`, I should say, because to me it has become clear that these kundalini journeys take place over many lives),
to me it really was like a spiritual awakening, that was being orchestrated, from above.
When the kundalini opened in the beginning, I was speaking in tongues- there were experiences of light and it really did feel to me like "the holy spirit", as I have read the biblical accounts of the early diciples of Christ speaking in tongues after having experiences of the "Holy Spirit"-
however, I understand that you may want to define a difference between the specific energy of Christ- which you may call the "Holy Spirit"- and the kundalini energy, and I do understand that.
I also understand , that Christians will experience the energy of Christ, as something distinctive to kundalini, and something that is transformative, in its own way.
I have also know that avatars, or divine incarnations, can and do use divine energy that is extremely powerfull and transformative, with people, and that they can do this affectively, without any need for awakening the kundalini in people.
However, I was already a `believer`, as it were, in God when my kundalini awakened, and along with my heart opening, or reopening, and third eye opening, all of these phenomena I was attributing to the work of God.
It was all happening from top- down for me.
My position on this has always been very different from the old kundalini sites that you will find on the web, including Bob Boyd, where I could see that people were considering kundalini to be something completely out of control, something dangerous, or something that was not to be trusted.
Obviously if you don't have believe that you are being looked after by God, or any experience of God, it may be very easy to become mistrustfull of kundalini, as it is a very powerfull and life-shattering process.
That is why I was trying to emphasize the need for people who were having problems, with the kundalini process, to try to find guidance or help from an egoless , or enlightened individual.
And critical of Bob Boyd`s site , where he was stressing some of the negative impacts that kundalini has had on his own life, yet still spending a lot of energy attacking and trying to paint genuine masters, who have helped a lot of people spiritually, as charlatans, or "Cults".
"Those energies can’t “go wrong”, like kundalini, because they are the energies of the Holy Spirit and he controls them."
Yet actually , God works in mysterious ways, and even Christian mystics do have extremely difficult experiences, and tests, on their journey towards union.
After all, it was the St John of the Cross, who first came up with phrase, "Dark night of the Soul", to describe his difficult, and testing period before his Union with God.
So, yes, kundalini can cause many challenges, and has done with me also, but really the spiritual life, is always going to be testing, and difficult, as these spiritual experiences are a growth, a huge, earth shattering growth, and growth always requires difficult experiences for us to learn and grow- if everything was easy and simple, there would be no growth.
Osho had a year of total suffering and breakdown before his enlightenment in 1953, where he felt like his whole world , and previous identity, was being completely torn apart, he was losing grip of who he was completely.
The old identity was fading away, yet the transformation was yet to happen to him.
He had no guide, no master.
Eckhart Tolle, also had a `dark night of suffering`, before his breakthrough, where he describes completely losing his old sense of identity and becoming reborn with a new freedom- who knows how enlightened he is, but he has certainly achieved a major transformation.
And the "Power of Now" is an excellent book.
"He gives us exactly what we need to grow, at any given moment of life, he arranges external things for us, bestows suffering or joy, trouble or peace, mystical graces or inner darkness – whatever helps us to die to ourselves and live for his glory. So, obviously, for us those supernatural energies, called “grace”, or specifically the divine powers of faith, hope, and love, which enable us to gradually participate in God’s own nature, are far better than kundalini or any shaktipat from the most enlightened guru."
Mt, I already believe and have faith in, what you are saying here.
I already believed, as soon as my kundalini was opening, and the spiritual `work ` intensified, that God was doing exactly what was needed for my growth.
And God does really test us sometimes.
You also say:
" we learn to let go of experiences and states of consciousness in order to become like our Lord – emptied, humble servant (this is the way of the cross)."
Yet this is also really the way of all other genuine spiritual paths, to let go of experiences, keep moving forward, and to empty ourselves and humble ourselves.
There can be no "enlightenment", if someone is not "empty"- emptied of ego.
Unfortunately many spiritual paths do create extrememly large ego-trips as they progress, the more experiences one has, the bigger the spiritual ego becomes- this is especially true with kundalini yoga, where people create absolutey huge ego-trips with their experiences, and the more experiences they get, the more blissfull, the more experience of `no-mind`, the bigger the ego becomes.
That is what I like about the Christian approach, that the goal is to be humble.
" What would you be your response to those two differences, from the point of view of your spiritual tradition (which I’m not clear about)? Do you imagine you could have a fulfilled life in your tradition without purifying your chakras, without pursuing the way of enlightenment? Do you imagine you could renounce pursuing enlightenment – and if so, then for what reason? Do you think that God, if you believe him to be a person at all, can be a direct guide, showing us the secure path to himself, so we don’t have to rely on our own judgments?"
Personally, I believe that spiritual growth happens over many lives, as the consciousness of the soul becomes more conscious, and more loving.
I also believe that this is not always a straight `progression`- that the next life one necessarily becomes more `mature` than the last- it is not like a `ladder`, and these ideas are just tricks and delusions for the spiritual ego to get stuck in.
I also believe that spiritual life can wax and wane- one might spend six years in intense meditation, seeking earnestly, and then experience a more balanced period of work or family life, and themes can revolve over several lives, the soul learning different experiences and different karmas being rebalanced at the same time.
It is also become clear to me that the idea of `perfection`, after enlightenment, is a completely false idea- no enlightened one is perfect, no matter , how silent, peacefull, and blissfull they become inside,or how potent the energy that is channelled through them, the fact of the matter remains, they are still simply human, and will still have human minds and bodies which can never be perfect , by their very nature-
so they can also make mistakes, and get things wrong.
The point is not what is in the minds or enlightened ones, the point is whether or not they have transcended the mind , permanently, and are able to connect with the true source of themselves, which is the true source of all of us.
So in some cases, someone may have a very `mature` consciousness, may be full of bliss as well, yet the mind that is left behind may be extremely foolish , in some way, and it may not be appropriate for this person to become `a teacher` !.
Better to keep the mouth shut!
And there are masters who will just sit silently with disciples and say nothing.
It is the energetic transmission which is important.
"Do you think that God, if you believe him to be a person at all, can be a direct guide, showing us the secure path to himself, so we don’t have to rely on our own judgments?"
Absolutely, and I actually believe that as humans, we are beginning to awaken out of a long slumber, and more and more people will begin to have direct connections to God.
"sadhu, we've been over this topic many times, and, as Mt. noted, what you're describing is something that some Christians can accept as a "good thing" without confusing it with the Christian journey (there are, however, many Christians who would see this path to enlightenment as pathological, even demonic). "
Phil, we are approaching a time in this world where different religions and spiritual paths are starting to learn about each other, and about areas where we can find common ground.
Kundalini is not pathological, or demonic.
To think such things is a mistake, for it will create unnecessary fear in the minds of meditators.
The journey of meditation, with kundalini, can be difficult at times, and challenging.
But it always ends in unconditional love , and the deepest feeling of inner peace.
I think because Jesus didn`t talk about meditation that much( at least not in the records of the bible- except possibly in the Gospel of Thomas?) , Christians may be unsure of these methods, as they are more familiar with devotion to Christ and prayer.
"The distinction between natural and supernatural union described by Mt. is a key. Christians believe that God has taken the initiative to communicate God's divine life to us where we are, in the body, with Egos and all, and so there is no need to try to get rid of these essential aspects of our humanity to attain union with God. Falseness, selfishness and biases of different kinds much go, but we are still left with an individual person, and that's a good thing."
Phil, when I said that the ego must go, I didn`t mean that the individuality will go too.
The individuality of the soul will still be there, and of course the individual body-mind will still be there, too.
The only difference is the difference in awareness of the unlimited space, the eternal space that exists behind this transient world.
saddhu, I am not among the group that considers K process to be diabolical, as my book and writings on this forum indicate. I take it to be a process concomitant with deepening spiritual growth to "adjust" the body/mind to contemplative consciousness. In that sense, it's a very good thing. Still, there's no doubting that it's a rough ride for many, self included at times. Contemplative consciousness is difficult to integrate with family life, making a living, etc.
In your post of August 9, 4:25, you did speak of stages of growth that went beyond the body/mind, individuality, and even spoke of non-being. Also, I'm probably using the term, Ego, differently from you (another topic I've written much about). All in all, what you share seems very much from the Hindu perspective on things, including references to "divine incarnations" (avatars) and reincarnation. I think this influences your understanding of Jesus and Christian beliefs.
In Christianity, there's no need for many lifetimes to attain union with God, nor for achieving perfection. Through faith and baptism, we are spiritually reborn "in-Christ," who becomes the Life of our life. We've had several discussions here on reincarnation, and how/why it's incompatible with Christianity. Any imperfections that remain in a believer at death are pruned away in Purgatory, which is considered a stage in the afterlife for those souls who are going to heaven but have not yet achieved complete perfection. As you also noted, complete perfection is not really possible in this life.
There are many forms of prayer and meditation taught in Christianity, including some that make use of mantras and similar techniques. Also, one can find emphasis on the virtue of awareness and self-knowledge without resorting to the Gospel of Thomas, which was not accepted as part of the canon of scripture in early Christianity (written too late, no reference to the crucifixion, a few teachings out of sync with established beliefs, etc.).
The closest thing in Christianity to Hindu spirituality was the dualistic gnostic movements of the first few centuries after Christ. They viewed matter as something that confined the spirit -- even evil -- and sought release from it through inner meditation. They also denied that Jesus had come in the flesh, as God could never have taken on a material form since God was good and matter was not. I know that Hinduism is not quite so negative about matter, but its monistic perspective and teachings on illusion resonate somewhat with the gnostics.
It is indeed a time when religions are encountering each other deeply, and I'm glad about that. We can learn some things from each other, of that I am sure. The problem I've had with Hinduism is that it seems to want to appropriate everything into its system -- e.g., Jesus is just another avatar, Christians really did believe in reincarnation at one time (false!), and other teachings. It's better, I think, to let each tradition be itself while acknowledging both similarities and differences. You seem to be of this mind as well, for the most part, and I'm grateful for your sharing here.
"In your post of August 9, 4:25, you did speak of stages of growth that went beyond the body/mind, individuality, and even spoke of non-being. "
Yes, it is true, I did speak of these realms that exist at a deeper level than the body-mind, but this is consciousness becomes strong enough, and recognises itself as inherently One, the One behind the many.
Some people have had this understanding through taking consciousness raising plants and chemicals, but also not only through Hindu, or Buddhist meditation, but also Islamic mystics, the Sufi`s, also talk of the One and experiencing non-duality.
Yes, there are openings where the individuality dissolves, and the `drop dissolves into the ocean`, but Buddhas , or enlightened ones will still have a soul which is always individual, and an individual body-mind.
Unless total dissolution happens, which is known as `Mahaparanirvana` in the Buddhist tradition.
However, I believe that even after `full enlightenment`, the individual energy of a master that has left the body is still available to the lovers and disciples of that master.
This is certainly the experience that I have had, and I know that others also have this experience.
This is because enlightenment transcends space-time.
In a sense, it is eternity.
Actually, I`m not really a Hindu.
I am however, very influenced by several different teachings of the subcontinent, mainly Tantra, but also different schools of Yoga, including the Bauls, and both bhakti and jnani teachings.
I have encountered many different types of `sadhus`, or spiritual travellers,from different traditions, during journeys to India,
I also respect the tradition of the Sufi`s, as well as Hassidic mystics.
And I enjoy reading the works of Taoist masters.
I do believe in reincarnation, so, we will have to agree to disagree on this one.
I also have experience with avatars, and in my understanding, all the avatars come from the same source, which is God.
However, I understand that our ideas about things will be quite different, and you won`t be able to agree with things that I`ve written here, in some ways, so I guess it`s probably time for us to finish this little chat.
It`s been fun and interesting.
All the best
No need to go, sadhu, especially if you have helpful suggestions about kundalini (thread topic). We had a Tibetan Buddhist woman helping out sometime back, so we're by no means closed to hearing how people from other traditions deal with the process.
Inter-religious dialogue is interesting, but it's also hard work: e.g., what do people really mean when they use terms like soul, mind, Ego, God, etc. Hard to have a real conversation if the terms are being used differently. If you want to start a new discussion topic to dialogue some more, feel free to do so.
I also feel there is no need for you to go. There were plenty of people here and some of them seemed to want to just "teach" Christians on this forum. I do not see any of that in you. Actually, you do sound humble and open to dialogue, while having strong views about things. I think your views are sometimes different from the mainstream "Eastern spirituality" in the West. E.g. you seem to be open to faith in the personal God and relationship with him. You have a nuanced view of "I am God" thing, too. I suppose we could either focus on mutual clarifications of terms, if you wish, like Phil rightly pointed out (e.g. what is the Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit - it is not an "energy of Christ" and the dark night ofmthe soul should be carefully distinguished from other forms, of spiritual trials and suffering, which are certainly a part of any growth). Or we could develop the idea of who God is to us and how can he communicate with his believers. I'd also be interested in your personal journey, if you wish to share it with us.
Phil and Mt,
I have enjoyed the discussion, but I have had enough for now.
Perhaps , I`ll join in again sometime in the future.
Thanks again. Wishing you both all the best.
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