The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
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Grace, I liken the process to adolescence, which transforms one from a child to an adult. There is an increase of hormones to initiate the process, and this is more or less maintained for many years, after which time a diminishment begins to take hold.
So it is with kundalini. Once the process is awakened or intensified, its work in transforming the body-mind to be a pure vessel for higher consciousness never stops. One can become sufficiently pure and integrated so that it isn't noticed much, but I don't think we reach such a perfect state in this world that we can ever say we're done. We're always absorbing some kinds of junk that needs to be purified, and we continue to generate negativity with our own minds and will, even if it's a very low level.
I don't think this addresses your poing about kundalini being "more than a purification process," however. Inasmuch as kundalini is related to helping establish one more deeply and consistently in the life of the Spirit, we shouldn't lose its orientation unto that end.
I agree that kundalini works at different level in different ways. If we see from the classical definition of kundalini awakening the process started from the base of spine and go upward until its unification at the upper part of the head. I experienced this process. Nevertheless, I couldn't say my kundalini awake when the coiled Serpent at the base of spine began arises. As far as I know the process of my awakening started 6 years ago when I saw those sparkling lights and when I experienced the presence of almighty energy since then. It is the same process that intensified when the coiled Serpent began arise. So, I can�t say that my kundalini awakes when the coiled Serpent began arise. The question is where is the starting point of kundalini awakening?
Another point I want to touch in relation with kundalini is the roll of St. Maria. In my experience the roll of St. Maria and kundalini is very similar if not the same. The more I become in contact with my higher being the more I become convinced of it. For me it is clear that the roll of Maria is purification and I sense somewhere she has also higher task than purification but how I can't define it.
Kundalini awakening is not a spiritual emergency. Kundalini awakening is a natural, universal process of spiritual development. Kundalini is a sacred energy known in each culture by different names. The symbolic representation of dormant Kundalini energy is that of a serpent coiled at the base of the spine. When this energy is activated it rises. As it rises, it purifies the subtle energy centers of consciousness along the spine referred to as chakras. Kundalini awakening can occur spontaneously, as it did for me. It can also be triggered through the concerted effort of specific practices, or through traumatic events.
Spiritual emergencies may occur during the Kundalini purification process. This process takes place on physical, emotional, and psychological levels. For instance, a person in a Kundalini purification process may begin to experience the symptoms of latent diseases or repressed psychological memories as they are being expelled from the body. Those symptoms can as panic attacks, depression, dissociative disorder, memories of abuse, etc. If the process is properly supported the spiritual emergency resovles and the individual is stronger and better able to contain spiritual power.
More information on this process can be found at the Kundalini Research Network, www.kundalininet.org.
Good points, Jean. I didn't mean to imply in the forum name that a kundalini awakening was a spiritual emergency, for, as you've noted, that need not be the case. It was just to designate this forum as the place where we discuss kundalini-related issues, rather than, say, the one on Christian Spirituality Issues.
We've had quite a few people posting who have a range of kundalini-related problems that include those you've listed, but others of a more metaphysical nature as well. Some have been described as tears in the subtle bodies, with the consequence of painful, imbalanced flows of energy. Others have reported psychic attacks. You'll find a few of these discussions around the forums.
Are you affiliated with the KRN? I've attended several of their conferences in the past and have given presentations as well. I don't see any listed for the future, however. Is the organization still active?
Jean, I agree with you when you said Kundalini awakening is not a spiritual emergency. You pointed out that when the dormant Kundalini energy at the base of the spine activated, the energy rises. If that is the case what can we call the pre-kundalini process?
Prior to the arisal of kundalini energy I experienced some kind of divine energy in 1998. I can summarize that energy as the energy of purification. Recently I experienced that dormant energy at the base of the spine. I see the later development as a natural continuation of the first one. For me they are not different except on their level of intensity and deepness. It is natural that as the energy purifies the mind and body the experience of spirituality deepens. With the arisal of kundalini energy at the base of spine my spiritual experience deepens very fast. Without undersatnding ourselves, means without anchoring in spirituality, touching this explosive energy is very dangerous. What I'm concluding from my experience is the energy of kundalini by itself is nothing if it is not accompanied by some kind of spirituality. So, my question is if the energy at the base of the spine is called kundalini energy, what can we call the enegy existed before the arisal of the kundalini energy?
I am not affiliated with KRN. My dissertation chair and one member of my committee, both of whom were my teachers at ITP, are affilated with that organization. Yes, the organization is still alive.
There are different levels of Kundalini rising: no rising, partial rising, intermediate, full, and complete. Each level of Kundalini rising contains its own characteristics. Thorough and detailed information on this subject can be found in the text, "Kundalini Vidya: The Science of Spiritual Transformation", by Joan Shivapita Harrigan, www.kundalinicare.com
Jean, I'm familiar with Joan's work, having corresponded for years with her and then through attending her workshops at the KRN. It was largely through my interactions with her and other KRN presenters familiar with Hindu teachings on kundalini that I came to the conclusion that the kundalini process is something altogether different from the Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit. You would never, for example, speak of receiving the Holy Spirit in terms like "rising, partial rising, intermediate, full, and complete." The two can and often do work in sync, but as Grace has noted above along with many others who've posted here, that need not be the case at all. Joan and most of the KRN leaders disagreed with me on that, but I'm not sure they knew the Christian experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to compare.
My opening post on this thread might help to shed more light on the kundalini/Holy Spirit discussion. It might also help to bring more info to this thread's topic on what kundalini and spiritual emergencies are.
That is a rich thread Phil, and saves much time in redescribing the differences between the Holy Spirit and Kundalini. Even the kundalini openings that have resulted in a profound, wakeful peace, via the central channel through the heart and piercing the crown, have fallen short of the pure grace/peace wrought by the transcendental presence of Christ. But that's just my nervous system, so one could argue that a more evolved human is capable of a more complete kundalini arousal which opens into a nondual presence which may well be the presence of Christ. Nevertheless, so many people chasing after the Kundalini, even via devotional practices, seem more at risk for a darker crisis than those surrendering to the mystery of God in Christ.
Thank God we don't have to disentangle this . . . maybe it is quite impossible to do so, experience being the only way to tell . . . and being of the variety so difficult to describe.
If the energy of kundalini exist in every human being it must have some purpose. According to my understanding the purpose of this energy is to prepare well the body to accomodate the light of God by purifying all things which are incompatable with that light. Now I ask if it is possible to experience God without going through the process of kundalini? or can Holy Spirit heal the body independntly without cooperating with kundalini? Please don't refer me to the thread, I have already seen it and I couldn't find answers to my questions there.
You may be waiting on a response from Phil, but I'll share from my own experience.
Your question may not have an answer, or at least one that doesn't emerge slowly and uniquely from within your own experience. Kundalini, for all its usual descriptions, doesn't necessarily emerge in obvious ways. For myself, I have many of the bells and whistles, but mainly because of needing so much psychological healing. People without the blocks and nervous system deficits often notice little of K as it responds to the grace of Christ. I actually envy them.
The Holy Spirit is uncreated, Divine Presence, and can operate beyond our created faculties, which includes the K, which is itself a created energy. The Holy Spirit and K know each other intimately, and the former is the latter's source. So it sounds like, from your post, that perhaps you are wondering if your missing out on something, if in fact all the talk of K seems to represent some extra bit of the divine mystery to you.
I remember the years of K before I simply trusted and opened myself to the presence of Christ. Man . . . . I can tell you that it was like taking the first drink from a clear spring, never having imagined such nourishment before. Prior to this, I thought my Carmelite friend was just quaintly deluded . . . a Christian who just didnt' know what K was. Boy was I wrong. And it does seem that many folks I've encountered are still wanting for this very different, yet intrinsically compatible, opening to grace. In my case, receiving the grace of Christ was so simple I missed it. K required a lot of work, at least in comparison to the simple prayer and indescribable peace I encountered in Lectio Divina.
But what did emerge from this opening to God in prayer was a clearer sense of the ordering of things. K will really respond to the utter quite and peace of the Holy Spirit with its own deepest longing. The HS is what K yearns for the most - its resting place beyond polarities, both personal and utterly transcendent. K has a lot of work to do in me, and is much more balanced now that I'm cooperating with its origin (well, more than say 10 years ago).
I still struggle with deep wounds, but can surrender more to God, let Him see them (He always does anyway), offer them to Him (He loves them, and they transform in His hand), not for purification because they are bad, but because they belong to Him most of all. Every pain in me longs for God, and it has been a challenge to both unlearn and surrender through simplicity, while at the same time finding ways to be present with the pains and deep longings embodied in K, which make it so alluring and perplexing at the same time. I am learning to keep the yearnings company just as God keeps me company beyond my comprehension.
And so I would say there is, for me, a middle ground in this struggle to understand the relationship between K and the HS, and that is a compassionate state of attention toward what I don't know and what is troubling or painful. IOW, being with the part of me that wants to know what can't be known creates space for K to do what it needs to do, and increases receptivity to the mystery of God.
Your urgent question may have some of the energy of K, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, already in it, waiting on you to be with it receptively, allowing it the time to reveal itself in its own way. Many of these questions can only be answered experientially.
Very good reply, w.c.
Grace, I will say that absolutely, definitely--people can and do receive the Holy Spirit and show great signs of holiness and spiritual giftedness without the more overt kundalini signs and symptoms. I meet with them all the time - - am even married to one such. In such cases, the Spirit (God's grace) works through one's human nature to build sound character and to build community. I am aware that some have a very broad definition of kundalini, which would encompass and account for interest and pursuit of all things spiritual, but I don't think that's being entirely true to how the process is described in yogic traditions.
I think kundalini is the ignition of a process of transformation to enable the body to accommodate higher states of consciousness. As I don't think higher consciousness is the same thing as holiness (which is the goal of the Holy Spirit), you can therefore have one without the other. It also seems to me that this ignition takes place primarily in people who have sustained some kind of contemplative meditative practice, for this is what activates the higher centers.
I hope this helps to clarify. As always, I am only sharing my opinions on this matter.
That is a good distinction, between holiness and higher states of consciousness, and describes my own confusion years back. K doesn't necessarily impart love, even though it can feel quite powerful in yielding an intense sense of aliveness. K isn't unloving by nature, but isn't the source of love either, except perhaps if one refers to K as the Mother, as in Vedanta or Bhakti or Sufism where this is strongly devotional.
I agree with Phil that K is often distinctive in its physical signs, eventually, in most people over time. But I know contemplatives that experience it much more softly than I do.
Phil's distinction between holiness and higher states of consciousness is really esential. Some people do seem to become more open-hearted and sane as K proceeds, but without a devotional context that is simple and earnest and receptive to God the prospects of developing power without love is quite real. Higher states of consciousness without love is what the saints in all traditions warn us of.
Thank you for being here. I've been going through a lot of anxiety about how to handle this K awakening... started last Nov.
Long story short.... Your discussion about Holy Spirit and K is a real "light unto my path." I've been anxious and confused about where this growing energy will lead me.
Please pray for me. I've got a lot of "blockage" in my heart chakra. I'm holding onto a lifetime of pain and resentment. I finally decided to surrender to the process this afternoon and I can feel the cleansing process beginning.
Trust is so difficult for me... even to the point of not trusting God. I find prayer difficult.... And I've also been fear-ridden about surrendering myself to an UnGodly Power... Now there seems no choice but to surrender to this awakeing.
Your stories show me that I'm really OK and this is a Godly path.
I'll try to write more later...
Thanks again for being here.
Thank you for your comments. w.c wrote "The HS is what K yearns for the most - its resting place beyond polarities, both personal and utterly transcendent." I agree with you completely. In my case there was any resistance from my side from the first day when those sparkling lights emerged. I believe from the bottom of my heart that what happened was the Grace of God, eventhough I couldn't differentiate whether it was kundalini or Holy Spirit. Prior to this experience I was simply seeking the truth. I didn't belong to any religious organization except in my formative years. It is very interesting to discuss spirituality out of own experience. Back in 1998 when that thing happened I didn't know about kundalini and other spiritual staffs. I was wondering and asking but I was not in panic. I was definitely sure it has to do with God and therefore I simply watched what happened without worrying so much. Lastly Christ with his mother prevailed to me recently. The kundalini ignited in 1998 continues in very deep way but my approach is totally changed. Prior to the recent experience I was simply trusted the unidentified God. Now with Christ and Mary I began to understand and appreciate the symbols of Christianity in its deepest meaning. w.c, what I want to say is Trust and Faith in God is very crucial in the experience of kundalini and then the Grace of God unfolds in very mysterious way every moment as it began happened to me now.
Phil, You wrote "Grace, I will say that absolutely, definitely--people can and do receive the Holy Spirit and show great signs of holiness and spiritual giftedness without the more overt kundalini signs and symptoms." It sounds like you didn't deny the existence of kundalini activity (perhaps covertly) even in those persons who received Holy Spirit. My question is if the signs of kundalini doesn't unfold overtly to those persons who received Holy Spirit, could it be possible that K works unnoticed covertly? How can Holy Spirit reign properly without transforming the mind and body? Do you see my point? I want to explore the function of kundalini universally.
It is very interesting to read about the distinction between higher consciousness (HC) and holiness you mentioned. But I don't understand how you see HC and holiness. What do you mean by HC and Holiness? I think you need to elaborate it Phil. HC and holiness is the same for me. HC for me is to reach the point of holiness or to become Holy. I don't think one can reach HC without the Love and Grace of God. One can possibly manipulate the energy of kundalini, but you cannot manipulate the HC. The person in HC has no that corrupting mind which manipulate. It is impossible to reach HC with beholding the false self and corrupting mind. Therefore, HC is beyond everything and nobody can manipulate it because the key of its gate is in the hands of God and no manipulative person can reach that key.
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