The Kundalini Process: A Christian Understanding
Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality
- by Philip St. Romain
Paperback and digital editions
I did not read the whole conversation.
But i just met my Christian friend who is high spirited and like that. He said Holy Spirit has kissed him. He also said he feels Holy Spirit is feminine in essence. He is not so familiar with Eastern traditions.
And it reminded me of reading from one tantra book that Ma can give a kiss.
Ma is not kundalini, they both are forms of the feminine. I worship Ma as well as God.
I guess it seems now that Ma = Holy Spirit
I read with interest your spiritual/k-awakening experience. I was active on the forum about 3-4 years ago and shared parts of my own story. I can relate to your sense of bewilderment, pleasure sensations, insights and transformation that happen in the initial stages.
Regarding your change in sleep, I also experienced that same phenomenon. It seemed like it lasted about a year. Some nights it seemed like wasn't sleeping at all but was always full of energy. I could even go for days without hardly eating and again without any detriment. But these states shifted and fluctuated over time.
It'll be interesting hearing how your transformation and mission unfold. Please give updates even if the forum isn't very active.
Hi acuveda, I'm just seeing your post now, and hope Velimir will reply.
How are you these days? Has the process settled down for you? Please post an update sometime.
thank you for your post.
To give an update - I had COVID-19, the first symptoms (fever) started on October 15, for two weeks I had the fever and for another two weeks I was recovering my strength.
The feeling was quite strange, like a mixture of pleasure and pain (in previous cases where I had a fever from viruses it was only pain), and all my 'powers' (like low sleep) were gone. The worst part of it was that I was feeling extremely irritated, like I wanted to argue and quarrel with everyone (and I know I'm not like that, so I had to put a high amout of conscious effort into evading verbal fights).
However, for the last two weeks (after being fully recovered) I noticed a change in the pleasure part. It's as if the virus made some kind of transformation, like the pleasure is now very spread, almost at the level of individual body cells (so I feel), before it was much more localized (i.e. in the lower back, in the upper back,...). This week my average sleep was 4 hours per day (and with high energy during the whole day), so this is back it seems. Also physical strength is back, I can run and swim and exercise again with full strength and the pleasure is there, it seems like it's increased (and it's also spread). So all in all the virus didn't make anything bad in my case, as I said the feeling is it was like a transformation of some sort, very strange feeling.
Regarding the physics part (mission), I've been putting around 6 hours per day in studying this week, I gathered a lot of literature and am aware of how much I need to learn if I'm to be really familiar with the topic. The thing is, I've been quesioning the Holy Spirit regularly to check if this is really what I'm supposed to do, every time I got a yes answer. Also part of the answer was that I should not worry or care about what will come of it, I'm just supposed to do my part and not care for the outcome. So I'm trying really hard to do my part as best as I can
How long this will last and what will come out of it I have no idea, but I feel very peaceful and certain for now. We'll see.
Peace to all.
Velimir, sounds like you had a tough time of it with Covid-19. Glad you're feeling better now -- seems like a complete recovery, and then some.
Thanks for the update.
Thanks for asking about my situation. I have been very productive these least three years. I finished my two-year program at the Living School, the last of our gatherings being extremely fruitful. I met so many wonderful people involved in ministry, which left me vibrating a couple of weeks after the event. Interestingly, one of my circle group members told me then that during prayer he had had a vision of spiraling light moving upward from the lower part of me. I have never spoken to him kundalini.
I decided after the LS ended that I wanted to pursue a spiritual director formation program. I have been seeing directees independently since this August. I feel so blessed in this new role. And since the program required that I also be in spiritual direction, I have been meeting with my spiritual director regularly. It’s been beneficial for me to share what I have been experiencing over the last 5 years with a spiritually-minded person.
Since Covid hit with my own social distancing and India being in lockdown since the end of March, I was able to complete a 200-hour and 900-hour yoga teacher training program through the oldest modern yoga institute in India via Zoom. The primary focus of this particular yoga institute is yoga philosophy and its student body is primarily Indian. It was very insightful and it allowed me to see yoga philosophy at a depth I would never had been able to experience via other yoga schools, the positive and the negative—definitely more material for my book ;-)! Aside from the grueling schedule of 5.5 hours a day in Indian-style education, it was definitely worthwhile.
A couple of highlights from the yoga experience was that my daily compulsion of over-consuming chai tea completely left me. The yogasana teacher had shared how he used to be a tea addict and quit cold turkey one day since yoga recommends avoid caffeine. I remember thinking at that moment I really needed to cut down on my tea. At the same time in my spiritual director program, we were covering addition and one of the articles asked us to delve into what was really driving our “minor” addictions such as coffee, tea, sweets. Later that week, I was sitting in my garden praying and meditating, I kept hearing the Sanskrit words from my asana teacher over and over. The next day I woke with one of my awful kundalini headaches. I remember feeling really dizzy too, in a kundalini kind of way, and a bit nauseated. The next day after that I woke, went to the kitchen and pulled out the pot to make my delicious chai. Only when I looked down at the pot, I had actually no craving inside of me and I knew I was done with tea. Haven’t had any tea since July 1 except one cup offered in love by an Indian friend of ours.
Another shift came during a yogasana session, I wasn’t doing anything particularly difficult, but suddenly I began feeling extremely dizzy, again the kundalini swirl. It was so bad that even the slightest turn of my head in either direction caused room to spin. That night I had to sleep without turning my head to one side, otherwise the vertigo would overtake. I entered a very deep sleep, and the next morning my entire neck and jaw were completely free of tension—all the years of accumulated neck tension gone and complete range of motion restored. I felt like a new person! I couldn’t believe how much tension was stored in my body, and I now have regained a great deal of my flexibility from my youth and acquired some new flexibility that I have never had.
Overall, I’m doing great—so many blessings, but missing some of the ministries I was involved in pre-covid such as EM at the hospital and adoration. I could go on and on about all the ways God has been working wonders in my life. I still have periods of interesting and sometimes uncomfortable kundalini energy mostly of a purgative nature. The headaches are still frequent and thus bothersome, but I did ask God to show me how to treat them and I was shown an acupuncture point. It’s one that makes sense and effective for headaches.
Have a blessed Christmas and healthy New Year.
Thanks for the update, acuveda. It sounds like you're exploring some deep, integrative disciplines in those yoga training programs, and that you've been able to do so in the context of your Christian faith. Please say more sometime about that, and about this book you're writing (if I read that correctly). We need more people like yourself who are deeply immersed in both yoga and Christian spirituality to share how these traditions interact in your experience.
Kundalini headaches! I guess in a way I'd have thought the yogic disciplines would have helped to deal with those. What about glossalalia? I think I recall that being part of your prayer. It can often be helpful to set things right -- establish a kind of contemplative openness.
Re. spiritual direction: how wonderful that you're pursuing this ministry. I think you'll be very uniquely suited to assist people with a wide range of spiritual issues and will probably refer some of those who contact me about kundalini issues to work with you when you feel you're ready.
Christmas and New Year blessings to you as well.
Phil, I have so much to say about yoga that with the material I would have to write three books to capture it all! There is a desperate need to dismantle the assumptions of “modern postural yoga”, what yoga scholars are calling the yoga that grew out of its western interpretation and has now actually been quite successfully exported back to India, about what Yoga actually was/is. Which elements are historically part of the classical school of Indian philosophy called Yoga (which had died out a thousand years ago but has been revived as "householders' yoga"), and which are not? For example, it’s important to tease out that Vedanta is an idealist school of thought, while Yoga is a realist school of thought. This is an important distinction that is all but lost in its western practice, where "non-dual" is the trend. Last spring before Covid hit, I was doing a 6-session series on the chakras at the Franscican spirituality center here. I began with establishing how the chakra system has evolved historically out of the Tantric school (not Yoga) and then been reinterpreted for the western market. I think I burst a few bubbles in the room. Most people would be shocked to know that being a true yogi(ni) and a social activist are incompatible, at least from the Indian understanding of yoga. Even more would find the dogma on karma that they teach in India as appealing as fire and brimstone Christianity.
However, I am putting my energies into a handbook on the”bhavas”, or attitudes of introspection, for each yoga pose, contextualized for Christians practicing yoga. This technique is particular to the institute that I did my studies with and is not found in any other school of yoga in India. This aspect of body-mind-spirit connection interests me the most as it’s part of my endeavor for creating a Master’s degree program on integral Christian healing as a pastoral degree (versus in a M.A. in holistic health that can be found in various institutions in the US.)
As far as yoga and my Christian journey, I think I see yoga as an important methodology in body-mind awareness, the kriyas (the yogic cleansing techniques) as complements and aids to the process of purification and strengthening that is taking place through the kundalini process, though all ultimately part of “the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others”. So much yoga of is compatible there, and I know which areas of it are not. One thing I have noticed is that yoga gets people to realize the there is a lifestyle to follow that promotes human development, where the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all taken into consideration. I think this is the appeal for many yoga practitioners as it’s difficult to find these in any widespread application in Christian contexts, which I have personally found to be primarily about beliefs and eternal observances.
Yes, I would be interested in assisting those with kundalini issues in spiritual direction. Thanks for thinking of me and feel free to pass on my contact info.
Have a blessed Holy week. I’ll be a lector for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Masses this year, so I am looking forward to celebrating these after missing them last year.
What a great update, acuveda. Thank you so much. Let us know when your book is available, and please do consider writing those three books sometime to share your learnings about "modern postural yoga." Interesting that you say the Westernized version is being "successfully exported back to India." Does that include works like The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, by Swami Vishnu-devananda Saraswati, or Yogi Bhajan's various books on chakras and kriyas? They certainly give the impression that they're handing on some ancient tradition, but I've wondered.
It's unfortunate that Christianity has largely deteriorated to emphasis on belief and doctrine. Granted, these provide the focusing vision, but if we're really understanding the meaning of Incarnation, it should follow that the body needs to be cared for and integrated into our psycho-spiritual reality. Romans 8:11 states, "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." Paul might be referring to our own resurrection in Christ, but it seems he's also referring to a transformation of the body in the Spirit during this lifetime. To my thinking, this very much belongs to the theotic process -- of how we are transformed into likeness of Christ. That's part of our theological understanding, then, of the significance of Christ, and I think there are ways in which meditative movement can help one to better open to a bodily integration of this gift.
A happy Easter to you, and all who read this. I've been vaccinated and plan to attend services this week.
Phil, unfortunately both the examples you give have been disgraced:
“In 2019, the Board of Directors of The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres published an apology for not believing the allegations made in 2007 by Vishnudevananda's assistant Julie Salter about sexual abuse committed against her by Vishnudevananda.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...udevananda_Saraswati
“Harbhajan Singh [Yogi Bhajan] has been accused posthumously of sexual abuse by some female followers; a report found the allegations more likely than not to be true.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik...rbhajan_Singh_Khalsa
A while back, I read Mark Singleton’s book Yoga Body. If I’m remembering correctly, the modern yoga class was an East-West creation of the nineteenth century. European calisthenics classes were Indianized by the incorporation of traditional poses, along with newly invented ones. For example, calisthenics classes started with everyone standing at attention, and this became the tadasana that starts modern yoga classes. Other postures were invented by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in the 1930s. The oldest text I know of, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, dates back only to the fifteenth century. You can probably find it online somewhere.
Thanks, Derek. I've heard about sexual abuse by Yogi Bhajan, but was unaware of allegations against Vishnudevananda. There are additional instances of abuse by Swami Muktananda and other well-known names.
Teachers from the Buddhist tradition have also had their abusive teachers, and, of course, Christianity has had many as well.
I was responding more to the authenticity of some of the yogic practices taught these days, assuming that well-known teachers from India were at least sharing practices well-established in their own religious tradition. Upon doing a little research, it does seem that many of the asanas taught are mentioned in literature dating back many centuries.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asana reviews medieval documents:
The Goraksha Sataka (10–11th century), or Goraksha Paddhathi, an early hatha yogic text, describes the origin of the 84 classic asanas said to have been revealed by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. Observing that there are as many postures as there are beings and asserting that there are 84 lakh[b] or 8,400,000 species in all, the text states that Lord Shiva fashioned an asana for each lakh, thus giving 84 in all, although it mentions and describes only two in detail: Siddhasana and Padmasana. The number 84 is symbolic rather than literal, indicating completeness and sacredness.
Pantanjali in his Yoga Sutras (c. 2nd - 4th century CE) also alludes to them but doesn't provide much in the way of specifics.
A search for Hatha Yoga also leads one to:
Matsyendra, also known as Matsyendranātha, Macchindranāth, Mīnanātha and Minapa (early 10th century) was a saint and yogi in a number of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. He is traditionally considered the revivalist of hatha yoga as well as the author of some of its earliest texts. He is also seen as the founder of the natha sampradaya, having received the teachings from Shiva. He is especially associated with kaula shaivism. He is also one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas and considered the guru of Gorakshanath, another important figure in early hatha yoga.
Given the dearth of much of a written tradition in centuries prior, one wonders how pervasive these practices and the teachings surrounding them were in the oral tradition.
The significance for me between yogic asanas and kundalini was, early on, recognizing that some of the kriyas (bodily movements and breathing patterns) accompanying kundalini activation were similar to asanas taught in various schools of yoga. I wondered if the teachings were, in some way, a preparation for kundalini activation, perhaps even a means to it. A number of books suggested as much, always emphasizing the importance of a guru, yogi, accomplished teacher, etc. to initiate shaktipat when the time was right, or to help guide the process if it came about spontaneously (as in my case).
There is also, in all of this, the question of the relationship between kundalini activity and some of the more extreme examples of pentecostal worship.
So it will be interesting to see how acuvdeda's research on this topic develops.
I think all Patanjali says is that the posture should be firm and comfortable (sthirasukhamāsanam 2.46). That, together with the fact that āsana just means seat, suggests that, at that time, the postures were only sitting positions for meditation. The elaborate postures taught today must have been conceived later than Patanjali.
I'm not familiar with the Goraksha Śataka. The Wikipedia page about it referred me to a paper by James Mallinson on Śāktism and haṭhayoga. There I learned:
"Scholarship on haṭhayoga, my own included, unanimously declares it to be a reformation of tantric yoga introduced by the gurus of the Nāth saṃpradāya, in particular their supposed founder, Gorakṣa."
So postural yoga (c. 1000-1200) came out of the kundalini tradition (i.e. the tantra literature of c. 800-1000). That would explain why you found similarities between the yogic asanas and the bodily movements and breathing patterns of the kundalini tradition.
I would call these dates "medieval." But in any case, as acuveda and Mark Singleton point out, the original medieval tradition was reshaped for the modern mind in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There's not a lot of justification for yoga studios marketing their offerings as "ancient wisdom."
I'll watch the Andrew Strom video you linked to later on.
What did you make of the video about kundalini and Pentecostalism?
I have a few comments about kundalini and pentecostalism in my Kundalini Perspective book, but some of the stuff going on in some of those prayer meetings seems to be in a class by itself. I'm fairly sure it's as much voluntary as involuntary -- that they could stop in an instant if they needed to leave the building for some reason. I'm reminded of Paul's cautions about disorderly prayer meetings in 1 Cor. 14.
Jim Arraj had some good reflections on Toronto Blessing and other extreme pentecostal manifestations.
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