The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
Wow, Christine. This has been my thought and meditation for the past week. The phrase "stripped away"! Meditation on dying. It's that surrender of everything that we have constructed, everything false, to the pure Presence of God expressing itself in us - the point of death. Amazing!
Yes! In the Christian tradition, the point that we must move beyond (or beneath) intellection is made by St. John of the Cross: "No knowledge that can be comprehended by the understanding can serve as a proximate means of Divine union with God."
Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book Two, Chapter 8
Some of the recent discussion seems to be exploring the relationship between kataphatic and apophatic approaches to spirituality and religion. Christianity has affirmed both, and cautioned against emphasizing one over-and-against the other. Both streams are simultaneously complementary and yet somewhat "corrective" of the other.
- E.g., there is indeed a content to Revelation, and the conceptual understanding that takes expression in doctrine is formative and essential. So the kataphatic tradition and its emphasis on content has its place. Meanwhile, the apophatic reminds us that we're dealing with Mystery, and that the kataphatic is always a kind of stammering . . . metaphoric, in a sense. So it's not either/or, nor that one is better/higher than the other. Radical aphopaticism is as great an evil as dogmatism, imo -- just as dehumanizing in its anti-intellectual emphases. Lots of that going around.
One thing we can say about Scripture is that, while we need not constrain our sharings, explorations, and discussions to its boundaries, we also ought not go against what it affirms. The latter position leaves lots of room for ecumenical and inter-religious enrichment.
exactly.. kinda like the bones have need of the muscles for support... BOTH are needed..... and if either is over emphasized we become out of balance...
Phil, I completely agree with you that it is hard to put apophatic or kataphatic approach above one another.
Yet I suppose we should always reflect on the present distortions and dangers. In the "spiritual" circles nowadays apophatic thinking is overemphasized and is often used to destroy traditional theology in the name of subjectivism. But I think this is confined to the relatively small number of people, those interested in Eastern religions and contemplative practices. Perhaps dogmatism can be more deletrious, because it's not confined to small groups. Maybe fundamental, protestant Christians in America can be regarded as too rigidily "kataphatic", especially, because they reject intellect and philosophy as tools to understand revelation, which tends to make dogmas not as the best expressions of our understanding of the revelation but irrational "things to belief" (according to a popular understanding of what a dogma is). Even though I get really angry with those apophatic fanatics who say that God is beyond concepts, so we shouldn't rely on theological tradition, I must admit that they are less dangerous to faith than fundamentalists.
On the other hand, fundamentalists tend to more conservative, so they do not want to overthrow cultural order, while apophatics nowadays tend to be postmodern apostles of relativism, anti-cultural.
What do you think threatens more Christianity in 21 century?
Both reject thinking - the non-dual apophatic does not think, because he thinks he is above thinking; the kataphatic fundamentalist does not think, because he is suspicious of thinking and prefers strong conviction.
And a beautiful passage from St. Augustine (Confessions, book 1, trans. Outler):
"What, therefore, is my God? What, I ask, but the Lord God? “For who is Lord but the Lord himself, or who is God besides our God?”13 Most high, most excellent, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful and most just; most secret and most truly present; most beautiful and most strong; stable, yet not supported;
unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; making all things new,
yet bringing old age upon the proud, and they know it not; always working, ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing; sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all things. Thou dost love, but without passion; art jealous, yet free from care; dost repent without remorse; art angry, yet remainest serene. Thou changest thy ways, leaving thy plans unchanged; thou recoverest what thou hast never really lost. Thou art never
in need but still thou dost rejoice at thy gains; art never greedy, yet demandest
dividends. Men pay more than is required so that thou dost become a debtor; yet who can possess anything at all which is not already thine? Thou owest men nothing, yet payest out to them as if in debt to thy creature, and when thou dost cancel debts thou losest nothing thereby. Yet, O my God, my life, my holy Joy, what is this that I have said? What can any man say when he speaks of thee? But woe to them that keep silence--since even those who say most are dumb."
That is a great quote from St. Augustine, Mt.
You ask who I think is the greater threat to Christianity in the 21st C - the fundamentalistic "fideists" or the radical apophatics? I'd say the latter, as the fideists don't have much influence in university circles because of their anti-evolutionary biases and other disconnects with science and philosophy.
The radical apophatists give the impression of being open to all that reason can affirm while also being "beyond" all that kind of "dualistic knowing" now. As you noted, they do eventually end up with an anti-intellectual bias, at least regarding the value of philosophical and theological knowledge. Hence, spirituality and religion become disconnected, with postmodern relativism further undermining any hope of a kataphatic counterpart to apophatic knowing. They will also point to the works of scripture scholars like Bart Ehrman and the Jesus Seminar academics as evidence that modern Biblical interpretation is incongruent with later doctrinal affirmations.
One’s aphophatic encountering of God mystically, in ways beyond comprehension and expression should fulfill and should testify to the kataphatic encountering of God given us by Divine Revelation. Fulfill and testify to --- never strip away, and never supersede!
If the above is not the case for any of you … then you might consider the clanging cymbal you have found me to be … to have been … your alarm bell. I won’t sound it any more then.
(Unless HE presses me. I hope He doesn’t, and I know you hope so too. Lol.)
Yada yada … let him who has ears to hear, hear…
Back at ya…. with love always,
Poppington (a.k.a. Johnnie One-note -- from the Blue-meme Clan)
p.s. Obedience is where it's at, btw. Jesus knew that, Son though He was, He learned that, lived that.
Pop, I completely agree with this. I'm wondering if you can give an example of anyone violating this principle on this forum lately? Personally, I haven't noticed anything that smells funny lately.
Thanks, Mt., for chiming in and sharing that wonderful quote.
The exchange above between you and Phil on the dangers of the kataphatic/ apophatic imbalance is very interesting.
Here's the quote published in Phil's "Daily Spiritual Seed" that is fitting to some of the thoughts floating around on SP lately. Again, in this quote, we see Augustine was keenly aware of the intimate dance between the kataphatic and apophatic knowledge of God.
Now we are conscious of two powers in the human soul: the active and the contemplative; the former maps the way, the latter marks the journey's end; in the former we toil so that our hearts may be purified for the vision of God, in the latter we are at rest and see God; the former calls for the practice of the commandments of this life that passes away, in the latter we drink in the teachings of the life that shall never pass away. "
- St. Augustine: De Consensu Evangelistarum, 5th C. -
Yes, I'm not really seeing where any imbalance might be. What's happening is that there seems to be an abundance of apophatic graces with some at the minute, and the likes of pops seems keen to ground them in some serious orthodoxy. Which is very, very fine. Let's not go over the top in either direction. Remember too that much of what is experienced is open to interpretation and correction, and much of what is written in doctrine is flexible and subject to progress. There will be challenges to doctrine from experience, which is good, just as doctrine will prevent some wilder flights of apophatic fancy. While we're all throwing quotes around, let me add this, which I came across from Abraham Joshua Heschel, an official observer at Vatican II:
"To have faith does not mean to dwell in the shadow of old ideas conceived by prophets and sages, to live off an inherited estate of doctrines and dogma. In the realm of spirit only he who is a pioneer is able to be an heir. The wages of spiritual plagiarism is the loss of integrity; self-aggrandisement is self-betrayal...
Authentic faith is more than an echo of a tradition. It is a creative situation, an event..."
Let the pioneers stay anchored in tradition, but for heaven's sake don't hold them back.
I have replied in a PM to your question above concerning my dibs on where I might be detcting the smell of burned pudding. A PM precludes my unnecessary wounding or affront to any of my fellow or feline posters. Therefore in endeavoring to keep the unity that the spirit gives --- voila: a PM. Will definitely arrive by Christmas too.
On another tack, you once or twice mentioned interest in the effects of EMR/EMF. You might be able fairly inexpensively to fabricate a telephone booth sized faraday cage out of copper screening and copper pipes (given you have no friends on the praire with a two man sub in their backyard.) You could pray within the cage and see if there is any attenuation of kundalini vibration. A check of whether your cell phone transmits from within might serve as a quick test, though brain wave frequencies are not in the microwave region of the spectrum.
You can google faraday cage for some details. You might be able to understand if attenuation occurs.
Somehow it seems worse imagining what might be being said behind one's back, old Poppington, or am I just being paranoid?
No matter, it's your prerogative.
I know you'll be fair, as you see it, but maybe some things are best out in the open, and I think we are beginning to know one another enough not to be offended or affronted. But again, your pregorative...
Pop, I got the email notification of your PM, but it's not in my PM box. I think we've had trouble connecting like this before, but I'm at a loss to explain why as the permissions are all as they should be.
I'm pretty sure the examples you listed in the PM were posted openly by you on this and other threads, so you have already been direct in expressing your concerns. I thought you might have some other examples in mind. The points you've raised help to clarify and make for good discussions, so thank you for that. As Stephen noted, too, I think there's enough trust among the "regulars" to be honest with each other, so long as the communication is respectful, which (happily!) is almost always the case out here.
Let's all carry on . . .
Okay then lads. A pox on enabling paranoia! That’s the devil’s work after all. Out into the light let’s venture.
Herein is the content of the PM, which I would not have bothered to write had Phil not requested specifics as to what I see as ‘off the mark’. Indeed, as Phil notes, the PM contained little that I hadn’t already been direct about in earlier posts. So you may all yawn a blah blah blah yada yada yada and exclaim of course: ‘just more of Pop’s typically narrow dogmatism’. And of course, you may see all this as a case of conservative versus liberal… or stodgy vs. progressive …. or ‘still asleep’ vs. ‘awake and aware’….or trapped vs. free …or inflexible vs. flexible … or ‘old world’ vs. pioneer…or kataphatic vs. aphophatic or …. mundane vs. mystical.
I see it of course (as you are likely quite aware), as ‘true to the gospel’ vs. false -- and thereby heretical. (Now, there’s a word that generates disdain nowadays! – a testament in itself to my antiquated inflexibility, lol.)
And so, from your perspective we can ‘agree to disagree’ whereas from mine I say NO. We can’t agree to disagree. No more of that nonsense any longer. That’s heretical. That way of thinking tolerates abortion for example. We must come into harmony with the gospel and move towards unity. Our souls and the soul of Christendom hang in the balance. The gospel is not analog. It is digital. One must choose Christ. (That means obedience and fidelity to Divine Revelation.) No truth shaping, no ‘progressive’ anything, no ‘mining’ for some new truth when truth has already quite openly and dramatically hung upon the cross and returned from the dead.
Everyone wants to be a pioneer these days…an experiencer of new illumination…no one wants to be an obedient son or daughter awaiting their master’s return; nor a sheep awaiting the Good Shepherd. (BORINGGGG!!) Everyone wants to follow the cosmic Christ, wants to be modern. Some will tolerate evil in doing so. Some will generate or embrace false teaching in doing so.
The Prince of Verona in the last scene of R&J bemoans: “And I …. for winking at your discords…have lost a brace of kinsmen! All are punished! ALL ARE PUNISHED!”
No one wants to live the Shema…the two great commandments. Now THAT would be something NEW! Unity within Christendom would be something NEW … would be progress.
And so, in my PM, I took odds with the content of posts from Derek and Samson and extracted from them the areas of my discontent and the reason for it.
Here goes: (most of it you’ve already seen had you been paying attention)
Derek: (More thoughts on Non-Dual Consciousness thread) 8 Aug.12, 6:52 PM writes:
“The thing is, there isn't really an individual self to possess free will. The appearance of a separate self is an illusion created in the mind.
There's something going on around this planet. More and more people are waking up. I think Dominicus, who used to post here, was another one, though he maybe didn't say so explicitly. I'm part of a Facebook group of around 300 people -- all ordinary people -- who've seen through the illusion of an independent, personal self. People are waking up!” (Bolding mine).
It is creedal in Christian faith that there will be a judgment. This necessarily means that there is indeed an individual self that possesses free will. This means we have personal responsibility. No matter how much awareness and consciousness one has, we all will see a personal judgment based on the exercise of our personal free will -- and that judgment will include an accounting for any gifted awareness that we may have been blessed with.
To come to such a conclusion based upon one’s expanded non-dual awareness……?????? If such a statement is the fruit of one’s new and increased awareness ….. WOW and Aiyee. Here are 300 souls believing they have ‘awakened’ and are now essentially blogging: ‘come follow us’. This is not enlightenment it is a journey into darkness. ‘Ordinary people’ Derek says, who don’t think they are better than anyone else; (yet .. it seems.. they are a mega-tad better than Christ when it comes to knowledge of Divine Reality). People are waking up, all right ……. but in la-la land. Alas.
From Samson, 14 Dec 12, 4:55AM, (K & the HS thread):
“on that super spiritual highway, awareness becomes more and more important, intellect less so,” (Bolding mine).
The use of the bolded wording inclines me to believe that there may well be some spiritual pride and naivety in play here – as if Samson is now in a place somehow beyond the boundaries of Divine Revelation and beyond the need for it and of his intellect. In reality, we need those boundaries and our intellect all the more when we move into the aphophatic and pathless wilderness. It is dangerous to abandon or even partially discount their value. It is never an either/or, it’s always a both. Stephen holds awareness above intellect—saying IT becomes more important.
“It's a denial of our true human nature, a retrograde step to the tyranny of the Word, rather than freedom in it.” (Bolding mine).
There is no tyranny in the Word of God. To express oneself in this way indicates an as yet impoverished understanding. And yet Samson feels he is on that super spiritual highway and in the zone because of the kundalini stripping-away process he is going through. (He had mentioned that process in an earlier post on this same thread.)
“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.” (Bolding mine).
Now Samson may be solely clowning here of course …. but maybe not solely. Hard to tell for sure. But he does write past life memories not simply memories nor past memories, and later he states past lives. He still may be clowning, I realize. But then again, maybe not. He took this turn because I had in an earlier post alluded to there being no reincarnation. Hard to tell for sure, but evidently a whole bunch of past life memories exist and are ‘awaiting’ in the wings. What does he mean? Is this reincarnation based?
From Samson, 12 Dec 12, 1:47 PM, (K & the HS thread):
“the process [kundalini], 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.” (Bolding mine).
Certainly there is a valid sense to what he says being okay, but that smelled a tad funny to me and so I had responded to it in an earlier post. Taken in conjunction with other posts of Samson’s, it reinforces my sense that he is in danger of putting awareness above intellect and the Divine Revelation that an informed Christian intellect reflects. Many folk get lost when they do this.
Samson, 17 Dec 12, 10:00 AM: “much of what is written in doctrine is flexible and subject to progress.”
One of the attributes of God is his constancy. His Divine Revelation is not flexible and subject to ‘progress’. Therefore, doctrine shouldn’t be considered flexible and one day subject to change via ‘progress’. That ‘smells funny’, methinks. As for the quote he provided from Abraham Heschel …. whacked!! Everybody wants to be a pioneer these days nobody wants to be His sheep – the delighted sheep of the Good Shepherd.
So, Stephen, there you have the contents of my PM in all its gory. No longer any need to be paranoid – as for affronted…? Hopefully not … or not too much.
And now since I have my oven door open and blazing (lol) I might as well add a tad more of Poppington heat – some text not in my PM.
That quote you provided of Abraham Heschel’s …. ? It is just the finest example of cockle that I have ever seen and a great example for a teacher to use in a seminar or bible study.
Christ gave us the parable of the enemy who came and sowed cockle among the wheat just after good seed had been sown. If ever there was a distillation of the evil spirit’s entrance into post Vatican II understanding that is it. Heschel’s remark captures it all via spinning an interpretation of the Council’s work in a patently skewed direction So many took off and ran with the same devilish skew. Alas, my Samson, you quote me Heschel’s swill in support of your thinking. You break my heart in the doing.
(Father forgive him…for he knows not what he does.)
Ever in your corner,
How sad, pop. How terribly sad. I breathe a long, slow, weary sigh...
You wield the term Divine Revelation like an axe, a club, a shelaghlagh (sic).
You say there is no tyranny in the Word and yet you use the Word tyrannically - that is want I meant.
You judge me, scold me, refuse to tolerate me, cast me out. Ouch! How I love you! Genuinely.
You accuse me of spiritual pride for using the term "super spiritual highway", when all I was doing was referencing our brother Phil:
Alas, for the poets for being so misunderstood. Alas for the progressives who know that God is constant but not fixed, unchanging yet infinite beyond word and idea, a veritable universe to be explored and yet never fully.
How you latch on to my call to awareness, seize my words, mangle them, subject them to the tyranny of your understanding, oblivious to the fact that I have never once decried intellect, that I indeed, have one...and use it.
Not once in your clinging to concepts and ideas do you mention the heart, where God is, where Christ is, where I am, in connection with the whole of creation, where awareness is centred, where love is prince, where life is abundant and joyous and as infinite as the sky, where birds fly, where fish swim, where children are born and die and are taken into the bosom of the Father, where mothers nurse, where old men weep, where I, pop, hold you as brother, friend, scared little boy who won't come out into the sunshine to play.
I'll leave you to your God shaped box, my friend. You seem comfortable there. Far be it from me to stir anything which troubles or concerns you.
How sad, pop. How terribly, terribly sad...
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