The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
I think a lot of deep pain or trauma is stored in the belly and the lower chakras. This sounds a little like a huge release of pain, perhaps triggered by the Holy Spirit using some movement of energy. Interesting.
Thank you for sharing that wonderful video! I was gushing with gratitude and love for those prison ministers who brought new life to this young man. Great story.
I really appreciate you taking the time to write this all out. Yes, I believe this is where the person who first spoke with me was coming from. Except working with chakras as some do never appealed to me.
My experience with Kundalini has been so interlaced with Christianity & Jesus that I am still sorting this out. As i learn more about Christianity it really helps.
Derek thank you for sharing in on this. Regretfully being on dial up i miss out on seeing films.
Bliss, I think your comments above get to the heart of what this thread is supposed to be about -- namely the relationship between K and the Holy Spirit. As such, it does entail a consideration of what the Hindus are saying, and how we might relate this to a Christian understanding of human anthropology. I've attempted to do this in numerous places, including in my book.
Generally, when I speak of K it is of the transformative energy process that integrates body, mind and spirit in higher consciousness rather than the Hindu theological system. I realize that even using the term kundalini can be problematic because of its Hindu origins, but, as you noted, there's just no equivalent concept in Christianity.
A few thoughts… man-on-the-street stuff. I don't think this contradicts what Phil and Bliss have posted. It's just my blue-meme take on it all from another though I think analagous way of expressing it all. I didn't know if this was the best location on the forums to post this, but....
I understand from the various posts of a number of the folk who visit here at SP and who experience felt-sensations (that are, or are leading to, a kundalini awakening) that the
felt-sensations can be sexually pleasing in nature. ‘Erotic’ is a viable term, though perhaps unduly laden with connotation bearing a negative valence in a Christian’s mind. How negative or scary that valence might be in one’s thinking depends on one’s upbringing or experience, I think. Erotic is neutral though, and without valence. JPII in his work, Love and Responsibility, gives it no valence.
It kind of makes sense to me, since the genitals are very sensitive organs and if any nerve endings around chakras would be stimulated by vibration or energy or qi or kundalini (whatever term you best relate to) that is moving through the body then certainly the genitals are a prime candidate for excitation.
What I don’t understand, indeed what I disagree with, is that Christians would and do introduce shakti, the divine feminine, goddess and other concepts into their understanding and conceptualizing of what is going on in them via the energizing sensations they experience. Sensations are physical phenomena and not the presence of deities or spirit guides; and their source may or may not be attributable to the Holy Spirit. Keep it simple. Sensations are just that – sensations. Their source is ultimately known by the fruiting – and that fruiting can be known by one’s intellectual conceptualizing of truth, as well as by one’s feelings and actions. How one intellectualizes and expresses their understanding is an act after all. Is that act in consonance with the revelation of Jesus? “It’s what comes out of a man…” Christ said we should pay attention to.
The use of, and the conceptualizing via, Hindu terms and concepts -- though such terminology and conceptualization exists in other religions of course -- does nothing to retain or promote a Christian’s focus on devotion to Christ nor towards a maturing and developing of union with Him (a union of wills not consciousness). It does nothing toward promoting union with HIM. And the Holy Spirit is all about engendering our relationship with Jesus as the H.S. himself relates to Jesus. He is the love of the Father for Jesus -- and the vice versa as well.
And the terrible thing is that the use of such non-Christian terms and concepts undermines correct Christian conceptualization and even loyalty to Jesus. One begins to believe that other faiths have some higher or greater or equivalent understanding of Divine Reality than Christ had, and that Christ gave us! That is crazy for a disciple of Christ to entertain. Confusion ensues. Folk move away from Christ not towards Him. They thereby, I believe, frustrate the very graces that the Lord might well be giving to them via the energizing they are experiencing.
It is important, and vitally so, to remember that growth in virtue, holiness, and love for Christ is not the same as growth in consciousness nor sensations or other psychic phenomena. If we are moving away from Christ and/or His revelation and the experience of 2000 years of Christian activity under the tutelage of the H.S. – then we are moving in the wrong direction and with a wrong understanding.
There is no need to embrace other conceptualization. One should be focused on, and thankful to, Christ Jesus as one moves forward in Christian life.
St. John of the Cross in his Ascent of Mt. Carmel informs Christian mystics that the optimal stance to have when receiving apprehensions like felt-sensations as one example (whether the sensations are natural or supernatural) is a stance of disinterestedness. He recommends a kind of mental sidestepping of such activity, while not denying its ongoing occurrence. Lol, not always such an easy thing to do it seems. [At least that’s how I understand his teaching.]
Anyway, give some thought to totally abandoning Hindu-ish conceptualizing and the accompanying terminology, and to approaching any ongoing sensations as they occur with a Christian mindset and its total (not diluted) focus on Christ and He alone --- no Shaktis and Shivas etc.
I very much liked Shasha’s posted thought on one of the forums that there is no necessity to divide God into masculine and feminine.
As for dealing with pleasurable sensations that one experiences – that can be a tricky thing I think. One needs be careful not to auto-eroticize while at the same time neither dismissing nor becoming guilt-ridden by consolations that may come with the process of praying. Retaining intentionality on God and not self or pleasure is key. Anyway that’s my take on it all, fwiw. God will bear with our fears and our fumbling a bit in the course of our learning new things and receiving new graces.
In the long run, one needs to be sober concerning one’s ongoing growth in virtue and living the Christian life ever more sinlessly, ever more generously and in growing more and more in devotion to Jesus, His truth, and the church the H.S hovers over. No Shakti-stuff required. I have never read of a saint’s witness to Shakti, goddesses and so forth. None of the church’s mystical doctors introduce such conceptualization.
The saints caution us as to being easily deceived. We need to be humble in that regard, realizing that such caution applies to all of us and at all times.
I can, and indeed must, live ‘Here, Now in Love’, and felt-sensations absent or present need have no part in enabling that. Though methinks they do for some of us, as they can draw us more deeply to Him and can be part of the betrothal process.
‘Christ be before me’, eh? as the lyrics to St.Patrick‘s Breastplate go.
Now, you will argue that kundalini or felt sensations are not typically discussed within Christian mysticism, and that is correct. And you will point out that the non-Christian religions of the East have familiarity with felt sensations and so the terminology of chakras, qi, kundalini and its movement within one’s body is well worth utilizing, and that is correct (imo). But using the jargon and conceptualizing of the non-Christian religions relative to sensations as pertinent as that may be, is not the same as using their jargon and conceptualizing of the divine. Thus there should be for a Christian, no conceptualizing of Shakti and Shiva and goddesses and deities when dealing with what are merely felt sensations and not God. Christ Jesus is Divinity. The Trinity is and must always be a Christian’s sole conceptualization of God.
imo, qigong provides a much safer venue for understanding and dealing with felt sensations than does kundalini yoga. In qigong there is no mention of the various deities that Hindu religion introduces into the mix, and which causes confusion among many Christians and has the potential to distort their conceptualization of Christian revelation from that which has been gifted to us. Qigong keeps things on the natural plane and does not intermix the natural and supernatural. Thereby it is considerably safer imo.
I have not read of any qigong avatars being in competition with Jesus in a distorted Christology that Hindu and Buddhism produce in some Christian scholars and result in their Sophia-focused distortions in understanding and contradicting the Divine Revelation of Christianity.
Mother Teresa lived in the land of the Hindus and grew to heroic sanctity without taking up the conceptualization of non_Christian eastern religions. Ahd she was never gifted by the consoling graces that may attend growth in some of us Christians ( I say may because some folk get misdirected via such consoling graces -- as we can read here at SP). The H.S. led her by the path of desolation and aridity. God does as He pleases. He is the Creator after all.
p.s. The other reality is that felt-sensations can cause us to misstep, and journeys begin with a single step -- as they say. There are posts at SP by and about folk who had started enthusiastically towards Christ and have wound up in a wrong place. “Stay sober and alert.” St.Peter said: “Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
The energy is not just about sensation but has certain qualities which affect the psyche, and the way one relates to it is important. It's too powerful to dismiss as sensation. For instance, k energy is feminine, active, sexual; consciousness is masculine, passive, and both are felt or intuited as such. The journey to integrate the energy in union with consciousness is profoundly transformative and deals specifically with these polarised qualities. I don't see a problem personifying them because they often manifest in the psyche as such. Shakti and Shiva are models for this, mythologies which relate to human experience. No real problem here imo.
It's pretty clear k can be integrated into Christian understanding and practise and I don't think we should be afraid of Eastern concepts. One should at least be aware of them. It makes things a little clearer. Like fable, metaphor. Personally, I feel shakti working as an agent of the cross, bringing about the death of the old self, awakening not just higher consciousness but a realisation of sonship, my true identity as a child of God, healing the wounds of self which are really the genesis of sin. When the self is stripped to its barest elements, it becomes a vessel for Divine action. Kundalini works towards this and the image of a feminine energy uniting with masculine consciousness is such a profound existential experience, it serves our humanity to have it related as metaphor or mythology. No need for a full blown awakening of course, but the energy can work gradually and quietly in service of the HS to strip away layers of false self and manifest true being as it expresses Divine Being. Funnily enough, the process, whether swift and dramatic or a subtle working of chi, strips away the need to conceptualise God and opens one up to direct Presence, if one turns one's attention towards it and simply surrenders.
K is used in tantra as a path to the divine, and while there may be contention as to what that means, I don 't really have a problem with a Christian tantra. In fact, it's become rather necessary for me because my k experience has been highly charged sexually for a couple of years now. I don't use gods and goddesses, my intention and devotion is turned towards God and Christ but you can imagine the need to feminise some of this. I don't use Eastern personifications because the psyche tends to throw up its own pantheon, its own images and expressions of the energy. It doesn't worry me greatly that the Hindus took it upon themselves to standardise their own experiences of this in mythologies of gods and goddesses.
Right, and the boundaries between religion and not-religion aren't as rigid as most people assume them to be. Jesus didn't assert that what he was teaching was a teaching only applicable within the confines of religion. In fact, for most people in those days, religion was not distinguished as a category separate from life as a whole. I'm not an expert on k (I have no experience of it myself), but I do see from reading about it that some people interpret it as having a religious significance, and some don't. Could it not be that this points not to a difficulty in understanding kundalini, but to a flaw in the idea that religion is separate from everything else?
Derek, Stephen, Pop, et al: K process definitely does have an orientation to transcendence, which is why in Hinduism it's considered a way to divine union. Another way of saying this is that our "natural" psychic energy, if not mired in attachments, moves to awaken our human spiritual consciousness and its aptitudes for awareness, intelligence and freedom, all of which open to fulfillment in relationship with God, others and the creation. So K is profoundly "spiritual," in this sense, and to the extent that spirituality is lived out in a religious context, it's also understood to be religious in significance as well. Of course, for many these days, "spiritual" is enough, but it does seem that spirituality and religion belong together.
When you write: “It doesn't worry me greatly that the Hindus took it upon themselves to standardise their own experiences of this in mythologies of gods and goddesses.” I understand what you are saying. Without the Divine Revelation gifted us by Christ, man/woman naturally takes it upon himself/herself to standardize (conceptualize) via his/her own experiences….as you have written.
A Christian however, does not conceptualize (standardize per your wording) via his/her own experiences. To do so, brings loss not gain. This is important, and crucially so. Scripture tells us to test the spirits always. What does that mean, except that we are to always test our conceptualization against the standard of Divine Revelation gifted us by Christ. We are to be guided by the light of Christ as we live out our lives, by the divine illumination that God has graced us with.
Now I fully realize that you love the Lord and are in most regards on track. Your heart is rightly focused, but your mind and its thought, imo, may need a tad of chiropractic straightening. I say that because of what you say when you write: “[the kundalini awakening] process strips away the need to conceptualize God and opens one up to direct Presence, if one turns one's attention towards it and simply surrenders.”
That’s a terribly dangerous thing to say and do. You use the expression ‘need to conceptualize’. Our conceptualization per our gifting from Christ is not sourced in our own need to conceptualize. Our conceptualization is based on the authority of who we know Christ to be — by the light of our faith. (Who do you say I am?)
To abandon our intellect and its Divinely-informed understanding, in favor of opening oneself up to direct Presence and simply surrendering is fraught with danger, and takes one down a path that many have shown leads into a hedgerow of thistle. That thistle is the last barrier … beyond which is la-la land.
We must never fail to self-test, to calibrate our understanding and conceptualization against Divine Revelation. Abandoning oneself to Divine Providence is not the same as opening oneself to ‘direct Presence’. God equipped us with an intellect – an informed intellect. We must take it with us and use it as we make our way. One can become too aphophatic in a sense. That Holy Spirit that guides the church as she guides us -- is a spirit of truth – a spirit of reality – a spirit of Divine Reality and not illusion. He is our Paraclete.
Allowing some kundalini process or any mysticism for that matter to ‘strip away’ our conceptualization of God……????? To strip from oneself the gifting given us by His revelation of Himself…..???? Aiyee!
On a slightly different note, your statement: “healing the wounds of self which are really the genesis of sin.” is inverted. The wounds of self are the consequence of and not the genesis of sin. The genesis is rebellion. The rebellion results in our wounding – the wages of sin are sickness (mental, moral and physical) and death. Continued rebellion results in continued wounding (both of self and others). I know you know that, but it is interesting that ‘off the top of your head’ you didn’t employ that knowledge. Your everyday conceptualization (that you are thinking with) thereby seems to show some skew. You wrote as you typically think, methinks.
‘The energy is not just about sensation but has certain qualities which affect the psyche, and the way one relates to it is important. It's too powerful to dismiss as sensation’ Well, I will give you your thoughts on that since my experience of sensations are evidently not at your level of intensity; but in truth, I wonder whether you may be giving said sensations more valence than they deserve. As you state: ‘the way one relates to it is important.’ Are you relating to it correctly – that’s the key. “The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,” as your Burns wrote. Are you really experiencing the gold you believe is present and justifies the ranking you attach to the process you are going through?
Be careful in your journeying, pilgrim. That’s what I am trying to say. Many are getting lost. Heaven needs bagpipers and poets. I in no way wish to negate, nor invalidate your experiences and what has been and currently is going on in you. Only a man knows his own spirit, as scripture says. But your dialog seems a tad funky and so makes me fret.
There is no reincarnation, so one has to get it right this time through.
Certainly I agree with you that ‘Jesus didn't assert that what he was teaching was a teaching only applicable within the confines of religion.’
There are to be no boundaries, no compartmentalization between our religious practice and the living out of our lives in their entirety – every facet. Religion is not to be ‘separate from everything else’, ‘from life as a whole’ (as you correctly state). But alas, for some, perhaps many, it is; and the boundaries folk emplace can be rigid. Folk like to compartmentalize God; some like to force truth away. (Therein lies the judgment – as the gospel of John states).
When you think about it, religion (the practice of the worship of God) is very much .. in its essence… the worship of truth. It is the adoration of Divine Reality.
Divine Reality is omnipresent. We swim in it and it courses through us -- immanent and transcendent at the same time. So there really can be no compartmentalizing of it. We kid ourselves when we think it might be compartmentalized – that we can stave it off, or redefine it, or interpret it to our liking. Ha!
We adore God and we adore truth when we defer to its reality (which of course includes its goodness. God is good. God is love). We adore truth when we form our lives in consonance with it. That’s why our conceptualization of truth is so important and crucial to our well-being – to mankind’s well-being.
Deferring to Divine Reality means being obedient to it, being docile to it -- (as opposed to rebellious and resistant to it; as opposed to hardening our hearts or dismissing what reality includes and demands). What does it demand? It demands our humility; and that in turn brings about thanksgiving and praise and the fruits of the Spirit.
AND of course it means holding on to it.
Incorrect conceptualization and/or distortion of truth lead to severe consequence in the totality of life -- not merely in our ‘religious practices of piety’. Incorrect conceptualization leads to the observed reality of infanticide via abortion and to genocide as well. The Hutus in Rwanda slaughtered the Tutsis and claimed God had aided them in doing so. (That’s how they conceived things). It leads to the unhappiness that divorce and family breakup bring about for both individuals and society at large. It leads to mental and physical health problems and crime and injustice. It leads to loss of freedom. These things pertain to more than some mere religious practice, certainly. These are life and death realities: good versus evil; freedom versus addiction; wisdom versus inanity: sanity versus insanity. Our faith must inform all the decision making of our lives and our understanding of life.
No boundaries permitted…. All your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength!
p.s. By the grace of God, of course. Ha!
Consider this: Christ in the garden of Gethsemane that Thursday night was in agony due to an anticipation based on His intellectual knowledge of what must take place in a short while. (A knowledge that was scripturally based – i.e. Divine Revelation – based.) He was not on that evening undergoing some kundalini- based experience stemming from some cosmic consciousness ongoing in all or some portion of ‘all humanity’.
Christ always lived eschatologically as indeed we too, must live. (Here I mean: in anticipation of his personal ‘end times’). He knew, and had mentioned on several occasions what was before Him and why He must head up to Jerusalem. His intellect was engaged scripturally.
Even at twelve years of age He was engaged in pursuing scriptural understanding (much to His mom’s anguish at his being lost to her sight for a few days). His intellect, not just his experiencing-consciousness guided Him. Our intellectual understanding of Divine Revelation must always guide us.
Buddhists are keen on living in the Now, and there is a real fruit to that, but not the totality. Christ’s Nows (like that night in the garden for example) were permeated and motioned by an eschatological anticipation; the future aided the formation of that present moment, of His then-present Now.
Our Nows must always be permeated with the gifted knowledge of Divine Revelation with which we have been blessed. That permeation does not come by a mere expansion of experiential-consciousness. We need and must…rely on Divine Revelation. That’s a whole lot more than relying on an expanded consciousness.
We celebrate His Incarnation soon. It is immensely significant. His Incarnation assisted, indeed enabled our conceptualization of God and Divine Reality. We could not have a correct conceptualization without his having come Himself and enabled it. (That other religions have different conceptualizations only goes to show that mankind needed and still needs this Divine Revelation.) Divine Revelation enables correct conceptualization.
Mysticism eventually takes us beyond conceptualisation. There is room for both Presence and intellect of course, awareness and concept, but on that super spiritual highway, awareness becomes more and more important, intellect less so, especially with a headful of kundalini. To imply that we shouldn't conceptualise our experiences beyond the light afforded us in scripture or by the church is just narrow, restrictive and frankly, plain dumb. I'm sorry. It's a denial of our true human nature, a retrograde step to the tyranny of the Word, rather than freedom in it. Form is important, but at some stage we have to move beyond form into a deeper realisation of the Divine.
As for wounding and sin, yes, sin deepens the wounds but sin only manifests after a child develops a sense of self and perceived injury of self. We are all Adam, pre-fall and post-fall. Rebellion? Gee whizz you're old school. Surely that needs a little examining. I'd recommend you read Derek's pamphlet.
Is there really much point in going down this road again, pop? Your fretting is becoming a little wearisome. I've responded hastily and without much consideration, I'm afraid, because, well, I can't really pay much heed to your warning. It's a clanging symbol. I'm just on a different track.
Our understanding of scripture, authority, life is just different. And let me drop this one, and scamper off as speedily as the midnight fox - I got a whole bunch of past life memories just awaiting to shockify your bony brow, old boy. Past lives? I've had a few.
With love as always,
StephenThis message has been edited. Last edited by: samson,
He withdrew himself into the wilderness - Or rather, He frequently withdrew into the desert.
do you really think Jesus communicated with the Father on a conceptual level?
do you really think Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane that night spoke to the Father with many words defining His situation conceptually to Him?
the ONLY way to KNOW God is to live 100% in present time.. we can learn of Him conceptually, we can learn scriptures .. and indeed, it is a good thing to learn them.. BUT if that is as far as it goes we cannot know God.... or at best on a very superficial level.
Ever been with a person who is seriously ill/ dying? All words all conceptualizations .. go. this is when we are stripped of all we think we are.. and simply.. are.
let go into That.. before you die.. and live. Die before you die... and live.. Jesus calls us to do just that.
conceptualizations have there place in helping us understand intellectually . They point to the Divine Revelation.. that is all. One must embody the Divine Revelation beyond the intellectual, beyond the conceptual mind to Know God. God is the God of the living...and yes, the Word within Scripture IS living...but it must, by grace, transcend the limits of mind...... with the entering of the heart...
i think Samson put it beautifully when he wrote:
" on that super spiritual highway, awareness becomes more and more important, intellect less so, especially with a headful of kundalini. To say that we shouldn't conceptualize our experiences beyond the light afforded us in scripture is just narrow, restrictive and frankly, plain dumb. I'm sorry. It's a denial of our true human nature, a retrograde step to the tyranny of the Word, rather than freedom in it. Form is important, but at some stage we have to move beyond form into a deeper realization of the Divine."
now having said this.. time to trod off and spend some time in prayer.... prayer without words, without form.. by grace to desolve before and within the Light God... and touch the hem of eternity.
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