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There have been so many discussions about kuṇḍalinī that I wanted to find out more about the phenomenon. Kundalini Rising is a collection of a couple of dozen essays by different authors, thus allowing one to hear from multiple voices on the subject.

The most informative part of the book for me was its first quarter, where half a dozen writers describe their personal experiences of kuṇḍalinī. These give insider accounts with a minimum of theoretical superstructure.

The remaining three quarters of the book offer medical, cultural, and spiritual perspectives on kuṇḍalinī. I have to say that these ventures into a theory of kuṇḍalinī didn’t inspire confidence. The general impression I’m left with is one of “We don’t really know, but we’re going to speculate anyway.” Perhaps the wisest perspective came from an interview with Gopi Krishna. He compares the efforts of psychologists to understand kuṇḍalinī with the difficulties that medieval alchemists might have faced if introduced to modern chemistry. Ultimately, he suggests, “The Reality which is unveiled in the duration of the experience is beyond the grasp of the intellect and the power of language to describe” (p. 278). This doesn’t stop him, though, from speculating that kuṇḍalinī represents evolution in progress — a view since widely taken up without critical examination.

I’m not familiar with the rest of the literature on kuṇḍalinī, but I get the idea we’re still a long way off from anything that might be considered definitive and authoritative.

Lawrence Edwards et al. Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening. Boulder, Col.: Sounds True, 2009. Paperback. 405 pages. ISBN 9781591797289. $19.95.
 
Posts: 921 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the review, Derek. I've looked over this book before and perused it again on Amazon.com There are a lot of familiar names there, some of whom I've met at various conferences on kundalini.

Part of the problem with this book and so many others is that a wide range of experiences seem to be lumped into the k concept. E.g., I haven't experienced the classical K awakening wherein something stirs at the base of the spine and energy rises, opening the chakras as it does so. A few people on the forum have described something like this. For many, it seems a more gradual process, virtually unnoticeable, until the process begins to work on opening the third eye. Then the pressures in the head and flows of energy through the body become very obvious. Should that be called "kundalini," however? I chose to do so, as there really aren't too many other explanations that fit.

I agree that Gopi Krishna (classical K awakening) is one of the most sane voices on this topic. He's also a good writer and well worth reading. Interestingly, his K process was awakened on Christmas day.
 
Posts: 3542 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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And at the other extreme we have Adyashanti, who went through the entire process "in fifteen minutes" (p. 32).

I've purchased Gopi Krishna's Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man. Based on my experience with Kundalini Rising, these phenomenological reports are much more helpful than the theories. As far as theories are concerned, I agree with you that Michael Washburn's account of primary repression and the formation of the ego seems the most plausible.

Merry Christmas, everybody.
 
Posts: 921 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Okay, so I've finished reading the Gopi Krishna book on kuṇḍalinī. There are various editions of it around, including one with a different title. The one I got is the one that includes a commentary by Jungian psychologist James Hillman.

Krishna certainly describes his kuṇḍalinī symptoms in detail -- sometimes too much detail!

The part of the book that doesn't convince me is the final chapter, where he presents kuṇḍalinī as the way forward for humanity and suggests that it should be the subject of scientific inquiry.

After having read of Krishna's distressing physical and psychological symptoms over two dozen years, I can't see kuṇḍalinī experiences as an unmitigated good. Phil, you wrote in your own book that ultimately you became free of the psychological tensions caused by the Mental Ego, but it seems there is an enormous price to pay for this, and I wonder if there are better ways to reach the same goal. Gopi Krishna was non-functional for long periods of his life and says he survived only due to the constant care given by his wife.

As for scientific inquiry, reproducible experiments seem impractical (and quite probably unethical). Gopi Krishna had been meditating several hours a day for seventeen years before his kuṇḍalinī experiences started. Would anyone really want to commit that amount of time to a scientific experiment that might end up having unhealthy consequences?
 
Posts: 921 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Derek, here's what Hillman had to say about Gopi Krishna's experience:
quote:

I am also enormously impressed that our author was saved by a dream, and such a simple one: a dish of meat. When he was first urged by an impulse to eat meat he disregarded the unconscious suggestion perhaps on doctrinaire grounds, still convinced that his mild diet was the right one and that his appetite was a sign of greed (whereas his true 'greed' was spiritual, as our italicized passages above show). This often happens in an analysis: the unconscious urges a step, an advance into health, which the conscious personality, still used to the limits of its neurosis, feels hesitant to make. But a forward step not taken when the time is there is the same as a step backward.

What does this meat mean? Is not meat a return to the human condition in its animal reality, the life of the blood, the instinct of involvement (hunting, struggling, killing)? Meat is the food of the hunter, warrior, chieftain. In alchemy it would belong to the symbols of the rubedo, the red king, of masculine emotional strength. It is also the final integration of the mother complex, eating her as body.

Subsequent to the acceptance of meat, Gopi Krishna returns to the world of action, as a 'chieftain', having organized a group for social work. He is thoroughly involved, not only with paper and ink as in his government office, but now on the plane of daily suffering—widows, refugees, war. The time of the return is traditionally critical. After the 'great liberation' how does one re-enter daily life? After such experiences how does one transfer the love and beauty and meaning to the other hours of the week? How does one bridge the gap between planes of being? If it is a narrow gate, an impossibly dangerous passage to cross the threshold into the releasing other world, how much more difficult to re-enter this known and confining world with all its pettiness and banal sorrows. For our author, the 'return' seems to have occurred quite naturally. (Of course, in one sense he did throughout keep one foot well planted in this world with job, family, and diet.) His crisis was less an externalized one: 'How do I enter society and the world of fellow-man bringing with me the gifts that I have been given?' His crisis came before, symbolized by the meat. Once that was eaten, his appetite 'returned' and with it re-entry into the world in a new way.


This bit about meat says a lot: how austere he had been, and, as you noted, how intense his meditation practice. The old axiom is that "energy follows attention," and if you spend hours every day envisioning your head as a glowing lotus flower, you're asking for trouble. And it came! Still, he was too austere to allow himself the kind of balanced diet that would have strengthened his nervous system.

I agree with you that research on this topic would be difficult to come by.
 
Posts: 3542 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, I came across another book, this one by Yvonne Kason and titled Farther Shores. I haven't bought it because I've been buying far too many books recently! Anyway, chapter 14 is titled "Who Has Spiritual Emergencies and Why." She identifies a dozen factors, of which you can see some on the Google Books preview:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0tiKX3_rRSwC

The most likely predisposing factors for kundalini experiences are a debilitated physical condition (e.g., due to not eating or sleeping properly) and intensive concentration exercises or practices.
 
Posts: 921 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
if you spend hours every day envisioning your head as a glowing lotus flower, you're asking for trouble. And it came! Still, he was too austere to allow himself the kind of balanced diet that would have strengthened his nervous system.



this is a good point you made phil..and the same goes with to many hours of contemplate prayer and fasting as a catholic ..i am testify to that personally..

i never imagined a lotus flower... i focused intensely on the mystery's of the rosary and ran into the same problems.. ANY intense spiritual focus can do the same thing with k...



thank God i have kenosis ( my husband) who was able to help ground me out..

i am still recovering.. not praying as many hours and being still.. the k energy is still very strong early morning hours whether i like it or not.. but i have eaten meat to help ground it out, which has helped during the day.
 
Posts: 281 | Registered: 19 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"The energies first came to me like a gentle shower of golden rain,or,it could be said, like a mixture of champagne and sunshine, a golden sparkling warmth" This is how I describe it in my book Following the Silence. However, it did not stay so gentle in time to come. Now, 36 years later, it is a continuous fire of love and I am sometimes tempted to wish it would abate a little. I too have read 2 of Gopi's books and find them encouraging, if a little frightening at times. I still believe it will lead to a transformation into 'a likeness of Christ' That is to being full of compassion and love to those we meet in everyday life. i could say more but . ...
 
Posts: 25 | Location: Buckinghamshire U K | Registered: 13 April 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Georgina,

Welcome to Shalom Place.

Feel free to begin your own thread to promote and discuss your book, "Following the Silence." I checked it out on Amazon. I wish I had time to start another book because it looks very interesting for those drawn to contemplative prayer. Smiler
 
Posts: 1091 | Registered: 05 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, Georgina, that looks really interesting.

I'm going to order it when I have a little spare cash...and time to read it.

Your input at shalomplace will be most welcome Smiler.
 
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I am afraid I am not yet used to how this programme works but I hope to get used to it!
It is good to find people to share with as K is virtually unknown where I live!
 
Posts: 25 | Location: Buckinghamshire U K | Registered: 13 April 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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thank you very much Samson and Sasha. it is good to be in touch. I hope to be able to say something useful
 
Posts: 25 | Location: Buckinghamshire U K | Registered: 13 April 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Greek Orthodox church have a lot to contribute re K. they call it 'The uncreated
energies of God' See St Gregory Palamas and Symeon the New Theologian and the prayer of hesycham. I went to see a Greek Orthodox Bishop in Oxford, U K, and he was very confirmative of my own experience of 'energy' or as we would say Kundalini.
 
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When we are fully and perfectly energized by the Divine Energies, we radiate the pure Light of God. Translating directly from the Greek, Saint Paul writes “For it is God who is energizing in you, according to His will and to energize for the sake of His being well-pleased.” (Philippians 2:13). The NKJV translates it as, "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure". Note how much clearer the translation is when the word “energon” is translated as "energize" rather than as "works".
 
Posts: 25 | Location: Buckinghamshire U K | Registered: 13 April 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Georgina,

I hope you figure out how to navigate around Shalom Place. You can create your own topic under this general thread if you're interested in staring one to share about your book, your life, etc.

Here's how you do it:

Go to the thread, "Book and Movie Reviews." See a bunch of tabs at the upper left-hand corner? There's one that says "NEW" with an icon of a yellow folder. That gets you to creating your own topic.

Welcome...and peace! Smiler
 
Posts: 1091 | Registered: 05 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by georgina:
The Greek Orthodox church have a lot to contribute re K. they call it 'The uncreated
energies of God' See St Gregory Palamas and Symeon the New Theologian and the prayer of hesycham. I went to see a Greek Orthodox Bishop in Oxford, U K, and he was very confirmative of my own experience of 'energy' or as we would say Kundalini.


Maybe you can share more about this, here or on your own thread discussion, but I see kundalini as a created energy, like any other created thing. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, as the the Third Person of the Triune God, is uncreated. What 'energizes' Christ-followers is the Holy Spirit, in literally transforming us into a New Creation. This New Life we receive is not the same as the kundalini (certainly an energy) and not reliant upon it in transforming us into new beings.

We've had lots of discussion about this important distinction.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
 
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I once asked George Maloney, S.J., who was a scholar of Eastern Christian mysticism, what he thought of kundalini and whether it was similar to the Eastern Christian teaching on uncreated energies. His reply was that he thought kundalini was more of a natural process while uncreated energies referred to God and was a way the Eastern Church affirmed the possibility of real contact with God (via God's energies vs. God's essence -- not a big controversy today, but it was many centuries ago).

Increasingly, I am not even sure that K is a distinctive kind energy, but, rather, a different pattern/movement of energies that are already present in one's system. It certainly feels like new energy has been added to the system, but it could just as easily be that what is happening is an opening of new energy passageways or new patterns of energy movements, especially in the brain. That K is so profoundly affected by diet, exercise, sleep, breathing patterns and sex gives us another clue that we're dealing with something that is more on a natural level, though it can certainly be influenced by grace as well.
 
Posts: 3542 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
I once asked George Maloney, S.J., who was a scholar of Eastern Christian mysticism, what he thought of kundalini and whether it was similar to the Eastern Christian teaching on uncreated energies. His reply was that he thought kundalini was more of a natural process while uncreated energies referred to God and was a way the Eastern Church affirmed the possibility of real contact with God (via God's energies vs. God's essence -- not a big controversy today, but it was many centuries ago).


This is something that interests me a great deal. In the Catholic teachings I've been exposed to, the terminology is very vague when referring to any type of energy or force put in motion by God to create change. The language usually only uses the term "grace," but in enough different contexts that I think it can be confusing.
 
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"Grace" is a maligned concept, usually conjuring up images of some kind of "spiritual stuff" that energizes one to do God's will. It just means "help" or "gift," the greatest being Christ and his gifting us with the Holy Spirit.

Biblically, it is usually God's word or message that "breaks in," setting the course, inspiring the intellect and imagination while disposing the will in a new direction. Grace provides the sustenance and support to enable one to persevere. Obviously, grace can be communicated through created means, especially other people.

Is this address something of what you were inquiring about in your post above?
 
Posts: 3542 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
"Grace" is a maligned concept, usually conjuring up images of some kind of "spiritual stuff" that energizes one to do God's will. It just means "help" or "gift," the greatest being Christ and his gifting us with the Holy Spirit.

Biblically, it is usually God's word or message that "breaks in," setting the course, inspiring the intellect and imagination while disposing the will in a new direction. Grace provides the sustenance and support to enable one to persevere. Obviously, grace can be communicated through created means, especially other people.

Is this address something of what you were inquiring about in your post above?


It does. I agree about the idea of grace. When I was in RCIA, in the lesson about relics, the instructor was talking about how relics have grace "in them" leftover from when the saint was alive. I'm not sure he understood what he was saying - I asked for clarification but didn't get it.

Paul
 
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Well, it's not correct to say that a relic has grace. One could say that relics are a touchpoint with the life of a saint and this kind of contact gives a spark to the faith of another, opening them to receive God's gifts.
 
Posts: 3542 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was greatly helped by Thomas Keating OCSO. In his book Open Mind Open Heart he speaks of a 'an immense and unnameable energy that is welling up inside'.I wrote to him later [1998]and his letters have been invaluable,I also had the privilege of meeting him when he came to the UK. I don't find diet has any effect on my experience of energies though I don't have a very big appetite. Now I just live a quiet life and follow what my intuition tells me is right. I think of Fr Gilbert Shaw who says prayer is not really prayer until it becomes something 'you are rather than something you do'
 
Posts: 25 | Location: Buckinghamshire U K | Registered: 13 April 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another interesting book on Kundalini is The Chasm of Fire by Irina Tweedie. I
met describes her experience with a guru who initiated her. She was in the Sufi tradition. I met her in London once but she has passed on now.
 
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Georgina,

I quite like llewellyn vaughan-lee, who I think is her successor, although I haven't heard him on kundalini.
 
Posts: 538 | Registered: 24 June 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've remembered yet another good book on K. Solar Encounters by Marriane Dubois.[French] it seems a bit simplistic at first reading but I am sure that basically it is very good and it continues to ring very true to me. It was recommended by a doctor who was also a psychotherapist
 
Posts: 25 | Location: Buckinghamshire U K | Registered: 13 April 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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