The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
Hang in there, Will.
This morning while in prayer a memory arose of being about 2 years old and really feeling how little I could trust my parents. This memory came as the part of me that really struggles trusting God. As I young child there was actually the sense of not being able to trust God (not much of a concept, but an intuition at the tiime, as most children have) if I couldn't trust my parents.
So in prayer I just offered this part of myself to God, who sees and loves this part as well. The part in fear became my offering to Christ, and there was definitely a sense of this being received.
Then another part/memory came, a memory of adolescence, and this was anger at losing that innocent trust through such early experiences of desolation and pain. How could God have allowed a young child to suffer so much? Instead of trying to answer that question intellectually, I just listened to this part as well, which seemed to fit with the prayer of offering it to God. This part was trying to protect me from being hurt again.
Yes, Will, hang in there, and do persevere in prayer. You don't mention if you're Christian or not, so I look forward to hearing more from you and how this transformative process got started.
Grace, you're asking some good, probing questions that are not easy to answer. I guess a lot depends on how one understands/defines kundalini--whether, for example, any growth in holiness must needs be accompanied by kundalini transformation or whether kundalini is understood in a narrower sense. My own inclination is to the latter.
That said, it is true that any change in one's habitual patterns of thinking and desiring will be accompanied by changes in the body. I don't think that necessarily means that anyone interested in living a spiritual life must have kundalini activated to transform the body accordingly. What seems likely to me is that the body can adjust to a large degree to accommodate spiritual growth without awakening kundalini; after all, the changes in thoughts and desires that come with spiritual life are usually good for the body in many ways.
The ignition of the kundalini process seems to be most correlated with a sustained shift toward a more contemplative consciousness rooted in the higher chakras. My own sense is that the body must make radical adjustments--especially in the nervous system and endocrine glands--to accommodate this higher vibrational consciousness. And so the kundalini process is triggered, shaking loose all sorts of impurities that were repressed and beginning a kind of spiritual adolescence in which a whole new lifestyle must be learned.
In cases where the K process is triggered before a contemplative practice has been established, it could be that the awakening is an issue of destiny, where the individual is being prompted by the process to develop a spirituality to accompany the changes being initiated. That seems to be the roughest kind of ride, imo.
If we understand holiness as living fully in union with God's will, then this doesn't necessarily happen if one is living in higher consciousness. There are people with psychic gifts, for example, with the higher centers opened who serve powers of darkness. Higher consciousness doesn't completely remove the influence of ego or false self, although its perfection surely tends in that direction, as you noted. Nevertheless, higher consciousness is naught but the manifestation of what Maslow and others have called the farther reaches of human nature. We ought not consider it a sure sign of God's presence and we ought to be open to recognizing the holiness that exists in people who don't seem particularly charismatic or outstanding. You can have little children and teenagers living good and holy lives insofar as they're as united with God as fully as it is possible for them to be given their stage of human development.
Phil, now I understand why you are classified HC and holiness as two distinctive entities. I agree with your definition of holiness above and my understanding of HC is the same as holiness. Let's see closer to the terminology of Higer Consciousness. For me the word Conciousness in HC deals with the conciousness of God and the word HIGH indicates when man reaches God and recieves its divine power. HC can include psychic ability but it is always directed toward GOD. These psychic able people you mentioned above have probabliy another dimension (may be third or fourth dimension) than ordinary person have, but surely their focus is not directed towards God. So, for me a person who has psychic ability doesn't mean he/she reachs HC. I know this seems abstract philosophical theory. It is my own way of describing HC based upon my experience. I'm open to any criticism and suggestion.
Regarding kundalini Phil contend,"What seems likely to me is that the body can adjust to a large degree to accommodate spiritual growth without awakening kundalini." If you mean by Kundalini awakening as the arisal of the coiled Serpent at the base of spine I can agree with you. I don't see kundalini awakening only through the arisal of the coiled Serpent. My sense is kundalini can work in a very very subtle way without we noticed nothing in our body. Actually this happened to me. Between 1998 and 2000 the activity of kundalini was very noticable in my body and then it hides from my senses until its revival in May month this year. What happened between 2000-2004? During this period I continued to be concious of spirituality without fully sensing kundalini in my body. Nevertheless, I had some kind of very subtle movement deep in my self. I sensed it only in deep meditation. That must be kundalini in its subtle activity. What in the books of kundalini described is mostly its impact on our physical body. What about its subtle movement?
I don't think God put that explosive energy in our body without any purpose. My contention is kundalini works either in its subtler or denser way in any persons spiritual growth. So, I don't understand how our body can easily accomodate spiritual growth without going through some kind of process. I will close this post by putting one question to Phil. I would like to know why you are inclined to see kundalini in its narrower sense?
Grace, we do have a different understanding of higher consciousness. OK. And I do by Kundalini mean the rising of the "coiled serpent at the base of the spine." I think that's the most common understanding. It may well be that all spiritual growth has some connection to kundalini, but I don't think we need awakened kundalini to account for it. Spiritual growth can certainly proceed without requiring an awakened kundalini. As I've noted in other posts, we see good and holy people of deep faith and prayer all the time who can't relate to the usual symptoms of kundalini awakening. So the reason I relate to kundalini in the narrower sense is because I think for the concept to have meaning, we must be able to relate it to certain consensual symptoms and descriptions.
You are not alone, however, in considering kundalini to be involved in almost all growth, including subtle manifestations. One of Gopi Krishna's friends and promoters--Gene Keiffer-- would agree with you completely. For Keiffer, almost everything is kundalini related, including wars, political movements, etc. He sees the coiled serpent straining to awaken in the human race around every corner. The problem with this is that if everything is kundalini, then the concept has no meaning.
The Hindu sages and yogis have done a great service to the human race in studying and describing this process. Joan Harrigan at http://kundalinicare.com/ has done a nice job of presenting this information in a systemmatic manner. See this page for her description of different kinds of kundalini risings.
Phil, when I said that I see kundalini in its subtle process I don't mean that the movements of kundalini can extend to the sphere of politics.
In the folowing quote you said one important point in which I can agree with you."... all spiritual growth has some connection to kundalini, but I don't think we need awakened kundalini to account for it." Nevertheless, I think it is necessary to have some kind of purification such like kundalini to reach the level of sainthood.
Suggestion on the integration of kudalini to Christianity
The term kundalini and what it means is strongly related to East religions. The word by itself is borrowed from Hinduism. Among Christians and within Christianity kundalini is almost unknown. Phil has eloquently described this phenomenon in his book. The one term widely known and familiar to all Christians is Holy Spirit. Even today there is no consensus among the student/practitioner of kundalini if the two are the same or not. It is this disagreement which reflected in this thread as well. Everybody who is familiar with the term kundalini knows the energy of K is feministic. It is an interesting insight. In this post I will discuss this feministic energy in relation to Maria. As usual my suggestion is based upon my own experience of kundalini.
The roll of Maria in Catholicism is more emphasized than other Christian religions. If we go back and see how the Vatican handled the question there has been many divergent views on the topic. Namely: Mary's Immaculate conception, her cooperation in the Redemption of Mankind, Mary as Mediatrix of all graces and the Assumption of Mary into heaven are some of them It is not the purpose of this post to discuss those issues. However, I will refer some of them in relation to my experience and kundalini.
Let's first to see my observation of Maria in the process of kundalini. Direct after I experienced the arousal of kundalini at the base of the spine I attracted by the image of Maria and Christ. I observed/felt that Maria's lower part (down from her knees) entered to the base of spine and it went up just like the movement of kundalini did and when it reached the upper part of my head her head become united with the halo of Christ's image. I observed this phenomena several times. Now it is part of my day to day meditation. This observation of Mary as kundalini urged me to see Maria as the one who cooperated in the work of Savior. Interestingly I found the view of Catholicism on Maria matches with my observation. Let's see her cooperative role as the Redemption of Mankind according to the Catholic Church.
The earliest fathers of the Church, such as St. Justin Martyr (c. 145-150) we find the New Eve doctrine, i.e., that just as the first Eve really contributed to the damage of original sin, so Mary, the New Eve, really contributed to removing it. Today�s Church has developed this teaching. According to the Constitution on the Church of Vatican II, P61: Mary in suffering with Jesus Christ as he died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life in souls. Moreover, when they clarify by what they mean her faith it reads like this "First, at the Annunciation, she was asked to consent in faith, to be the mother of the Messiah...[and] she did consent." By obedience they mean she gave her fiat, her obedience to the will of God, as the angel told her of his will. In Vatican II, Lumen gentium ## 61-62 there is an interesting passage, which I can relate with my experience of Mary. It reads like this: "For after being assumed into heaven, she has not put aside [her] saving function, but by her manifold intercession, she continues to win the gifts of eternal salvation for us. By her motherly love, she takes care of be the brothers of her Son who are still in pilgrimage and in dangers and difficulties, until they be led through to the happy fatherland." Now back to my experience.
During my daily meditation I clearly observe how Maria cooperate with Christ through their images. Whenever there is some blockage of energy in my body the image of Maria appeared and the purification process proceeds. Whenever there is need of Grace, I feel how that immense energy enter to my body through the image of Christ. If that immense energy interact with some blockage and then Maria appears. Here is important to note that I don't sense the immense energy emanated from Christ is the same as the energy used during the purification process. It seems they have two different functions and different qualities. Based upon this experience I can sympathize with Phil when he argue that kundalini and Holy Spirit is not the same. Having this experience at hand I can easily relate to the above quote of the Church, which said Mary cooperate in the work of the Savior.
Kundalini in the west has been viewed as the phenomena happened in the East. It is possible that the energy of kundalini has different name in different religions. But when it comes to Christianity I don't think we have an equivalent term. There are people who said kundalini and Holy Spirit is the same. I don't think it is a true statement. So, how can we integrate kundalini to Christianity? I know it is a big question and it has no easy answer either. Nevertheless, what I learned from my experience is that the energy of Kundalini IS Maria and I can confess how she cooperate with Christ to redeem Mankind. No wonder why many of Christian mystics appreciate Maria. So, my suggestion in integrating kundalini to Christianity is we need to see Maria more seriously and grasp the deep meaning of those passages the Church has stated.
Based up on my experience I can conclude that the energy of kundalini is Maria and she cooperates with Christ with this powerful energy. I hope the insight gained from my experience can contribute in how we integrate kundalini to Christianity.
This is only my opinion. It is open for any for and against suggestion.
Grace, that's an interesting connection you make between Mary and kundalini. You've shared before how this is your experience of kundalini/Maria, and so it's not surprising that you want to suggest a wider application.
I have several responses, the first being that I don't think the feminine aspect is as widely experienced with kundalini as you note. W.C. said it is for him, but that's not my experience at all; rather, it seems impersonal--kind of an intense and purified psychic energy. That's what I noted in my book as well.
The Church doctrines you quote on Mary apply more to a theological and doctrinal perspective, but I can see how they could relate to a personal, transformative one as well, as you are suggesting. An objection, here, would be that many people find their way to Christ without invoking Mary nor even any sense that she plays a role in their journey of faith. This includes contemplatives with deep meditative practices as well as people using other prayer forms. To be sure, there are many who find Mary a helpful guide and intecessor, but as noted elsewhere, very few show signs of kundalini awakening as the term is commonly understood.
Your point about the widespread devotion to Mary is probably related to her role in providing access to God through a more feminine connection. Carl Jung noted as much in essays years ago, and Jim Arraj develops Jung's work on Anima (unconscious feminine side of males) to help account for some of the attraction to Mary. Of course, we also believe that she is in heaven, body and soul, and is still much involved in the affairs of the the earth, especially in leading people to Christ, so that accounts for some of the interest in her as well.
Good post, and I do see how you made the connections you shared.
Generally kundalini is not experienced widely among Christians. So, it is not strange that the feminine aspect of Maria is not widely experienced as I did.
Reaching Christ without any intercessor has been one of the dispute factors that Christianity is divided in many centuries. Therefore can many people object the idea of intercession. I think this topic has to do with kundalini and Holy Spirit.
Personally I don't think awakening of kundalini is necessary to receive the Holy Spirit. But receiving Holy Spirit is not the end of Christians journey. If we go further into the deepest mystical part of Christ the spirit and energy of him must work within our body without hindrance. As we know we are full of sins and that created many hindrances and blockages. So, this hindrance must be removed before Christ reign fully in our being. It is at this junction that I can see the importance of kundalini. One can ask, If kundalini has such an important role why is it unknown among Christians. Do we have an answer if we ask why is very few people reach the state of sainthood? I think it is the same thing with kundalini within Christianity.
Another relating point is whether Holy Spirit can purify all hindrances without cooperating with kundalini. It is something that I can't answer in certainty. We have touched this topic previously but we didn't scrutinize it. I think it is important if people with deep experience of Holy Spirit share their experience here.
Grace, no Christian denomination (including Catholicism) has ever taught that you can't go directly to Christ. There have been times when his divinity was emphasized so strongly as to encourage devotional practices focused on Mary and the Saints, but that hasn't been around for decades.
But receiving Holy Spirit is not the end of Christians journey. If we go further into the deepest mystical part of Christ the spirit and energy of him must work within our body without hindrance. As we know we are full of sins and that created many hindrances and blockages. So, this hindrance must be removed before Christ reign fully in our being. It is at this junction that I can see the importance of kundalini. One can ask, If kundalini has such an important role why is it unknown among Christians. Do we have an answer if we ask why is very few people reach the state of sainthood? I think it is the same thing with kundalini within Christianity.
I can go along with this. It does indeed follow that kundalini, as a human potential in each person, must itself be brought into the order of grace effected by the Spirit. It also does seem to have been active in the lives of many Saints.
Joan Harrigan notes on this page that there are different levels of kundalini risings. This is probably a factor in many of the dark night experiences that anyone on the spiritual journey will come upon. Joan's work, here, notes that some of these risings are partial and only temporary, which might also be associated with people who get excited about religion and spirituality awhile, then go back.
I think we are in agreement about most things, here--especially the distinction between the kundalini process and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the work that kundalini does to purify our inner being so we can be fully formed in Christ. That's quite a lot, actually.
Joan Harrigan notes on this page that there are different levels of kundalini risings. This is probably a factor in many of the dark night experiences that anyone on the spiritual journey will come upon.
Yes Phil. Would you say kundalini is a pre-condition to reach sainthood if it brought by the spirit of God?
I'd nuance that a little more considering that martyrdom is also a ticket to Sainthood. My sense is that most other Saints who had lives of deep prayer and outstanding service had awakened kundalini, at least to the heart level. They don't always show the classical signs and symptoms of the higher awakenings, but a few certainly do -- e.b., Teresa of Avila.
Well Phil, integrating kundalini to Christianity is the thought I have in my mind when I asked you the above question. I have the following suggestions in how we integrating k to Christianity:
1. As you pointed out if most saints had awakened kundalini at least to the heart level I think it is worth to study the case. Because it may help us to integrate k to Christianity. Research to see how our saints experienced dark night expereince and compare it with the symptoms of k.
2. Since many saints appreciate Maria, doing a research in this area to know how they relate with Maria is worthful in understanding K.
3. Study how contemporary Christians experience K.
These are some of my thoughts. I'm sure you and other participants in this forum come up with other suggestions.
"One can ask, If kundalini has such an important role why is it unknown among Christians."
One reason for this, and there may be several, is the Holy Spirit's distinctiveness from K. In the context of the Holy Spirit, K is known to be the creaturely response, rather than the transcendental source, of grace. Christian mystical prayer, while acknowledging the affective-bodily dimension of devotional life i.e, the body as the temple of the HS, is quite different than the forms of meditation that directly seek the arousal of K.
And, of course, there is the church's long history of struggle in understanding the purpose of the body, and the differences between exiled, subconscious aspects of the human experience and genuine evil.
Exactly. In fact, if the kundalini concept had become more widely identified, it would have nonetheless been contextualized in terms of growth in the life of grace.
It's worth noting here, btw, that some esteemed spiritual traditions--most notably Zen--don't place much stock in kundalini and even view it as a distraction to be rejected. A couple of zen masters I've spoken to deny that they have anything of kundalini going on and claim it's possible to come to enlightenment through zazen without a kundalini awakening. This raises a whole host of questions concerning the relationship between enlightenment and other mystical states, but that's a whole other topic that we've addressed here and at other web sites.
w.c and Phil, it sounds like the essence of kundalini (not its process)is already integrated in Christianity without focusing on its effect on body. I understand your points. What I mean by integrating K to Christianity is understanding the process of kundalini within the context of Christianity. Because understanding the process can be helpful for Christians who experienced it.
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