The Art of Meditation
If prayer is talking to God, then meditation is listening to God.
Meditation is a state of mind achieved by relaxing the physical body and suspending conscious awareness. If that were all there was to it, it would just be a relaxation technique to help one deal with stress, and a very good one at that. You don't even have to be religious to benefit from practicing meditation. However, practicing mediation beyond simple relaxation alters brain wave patterns in such a way that the doorway to higher consciousness opens and the meditator is able to reconnect with the Divine... with practice. That doorway was closed when we took on human form, but it was not barred shut. The key is in learning to listen to the Silence in between the thoughts, which activates dormant connections to one's Soul Mind. This happens physically in the pineal gland in the center of the brain, a gland previously thought to go dormant and useless following puberty (something for Science work on).
Various religions and philosophies have attempted to structure meditation techniques to achieve God-Consciousness, but they require giving up the rest of the world and devotion to sitting in meditation all day for one reason or another. Certainly that works for those who persevere, but most people don't have the patience, aren't going to give up their lives and retire to a mountain top, where, by the way, it is comparatively easy to become enlightened. It is really difficult to reach even the slightest level of higher consciousness while pursuing a career, maintaining relationships, raising a family and being part of a community and the global economy. Who has time to just sit? It's not practical.
So I'm going to teach about meditation for seekers who lead busy lives but are ready to set aside a minimum of 20 minutes a day to activate their connection to their Soul-- who will then, if you are ready, guide you on your spiritual path through this life, instead of your ship continually being dashed on the rocks by forces you can't control. It's not going to happen in a week or a month or two, you're looking at roughly a year commitment to your own personal growth if any of this is going to work for you, but after you get it, you can meditate anywhere for 30 seconds and get all the benefits you got from the 20 minute sessions when you were first learning. You'll have conditioned your body and mind to maintain a relaxed, but ready-for-anything state. Physically, you have your stress-response system (parasympathetic nervous system) in balance. Nothing throws you off center for very long and you recover quickly. You find yourself reacting calmly and rationally, no matter what is going on around you or in your life.
Is there a downside? Sure. You may go through some periods of angst, especially in the beginning, maybe even some dark despair before you break through to the light. It depends on where your consciousness is when you start. Some people interpret parts of the Bible as warning against such practices as meditation saying it conjures up devils and whatnot. We all have our biases when we interpret things and some people may interpret visions or voices as coming from some dark, evil place because that's what they were taught. That doesn't make it so.
The thing to realize is that this is part of our own mind, our thoughts, our fears, our hates, and, as in any mental processing, including psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, the dark, shadowy stuff is all on the surface, and has to be taken out of denial and worked through until we realize we created it all in the first place so we can transform it-- oddly enough, into creativity. So you're forewarned that you may have to climb through some muck first. Become the observer, not the emotionally-involved participant. Ask it what it has to teach you then let it go. It only has as much power over you as you give it.
So if that hasn't scared you away, let's begin by discussing the four important components to learning meditation, and exercises to get you started. First, in any form of meditation, it is suggested to mentally surround yourself with Clear Light* for protection from negative energies. This is as simple as saying out loud or to yourself, "I surround and protect myself with the Clear Light of (God, the Christ, Buddha, Allah, Totality, Love) so that I give and receive only good."
*"Clear Light is the key. If we use white light, it creates the polarity -- dark light. Clear light is between white and dark light. It is a creative light. It is a light that does not react to good or bad. We are choosing to find a center in dualities. If we attract white light, once that is diminished, the opposite fills in, like a void. Many metaphysical people go back and forth -- into white light, into dark light, then back to white light. They are being thrown over the whole spectrum of creation. When you stay in the middle, centered in Clear Light, you are in the light that creation resonates with, so it allows you to be all you are and to not react so traumatically to people being very positive or very negative. It allows you to experience, but gives you more choices. It makes things easier and brings more stability to your own self. Clear light is the key that allows us a quiet center place where the dualities of this Earth are not so threatening or hurtful. I can have positive and negative energetics around and still attract my lessons, but they won't be so severe; they will be clear and gentle. Eventually, by being in clear light, your vibration changes and you will no longer react to white or dark light or anybody that is projecting their energy onto you. You will have such a fine vibration that energy will pass through you without causing an emotional reaction from you. You can react if you choose, or you can recognize what it is and choose how to be. Clear light is the key to what you will have around you and what you will resonate with. You will see this in the Hindu tradition and also in some of the old tantric mystery schools. They knew that there was a balance between white light and dark light."
--Ken Page Newsletter - May 2001
Yoga and other disciplines offer many techniques for breathing which are worthwhile to learn for further development, but we'll concentrate on abdominal breathing for now.
You know how to breathe, right? You do it constantly without ever thinking about it, right? Now I'm going to ask you stand up and think about it for a minute. Put the palm of one hand on your chest, the other over your abdomen, and take a deep breath. Did your chest expand and your abdomen contract? Exhale. Did you chest contract and your abdomen expand? Buz-z-z-z-z-z! Wrong.
If you watch a newborn baby breathe, you'll notice that it's the abdomen that expands during inhalation and contracts during exhalation. That's correct breathing; expanding the lungs fully provides a rush of fresh oxygen to all parts of the body. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, we're conditioned to hold it in, suck it up, show no fear. When life teaches us to be filled with fear and anger, it seems we forget how to breathe. Oxygen isn't getting to the brain so we can't think straight, the brain gets its signals crossed. Under stress, we fall apart or explode in rage. Constant adrenaline poisons the system it was meant to protect and illnesses result, organs break down. Panic attacks, phobias, fear, anxiety, obsessions, rule our lives. So just some time doing abdominal breathing calms the body and mind, and allows all systems to return to normal. Definitely beneficial to your health and sense of well-being.
Sit or lie down, whatever is most comfortable for you. Allow your abdomen to expand as you inhale, count slowly to yourself 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (or whatever number works for you), hold for a few seconds counting 1, 2, 3, then contract your abdomen as you exhale, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, hold counting 1, 2, 3. Expand your abdomen, etc. Some people find this difficult to do at first, don't pressure yourself, if you get confused, start again. Do it about ten times then just continue breathing normally for a few minutes and experience the feeling of relaxation. When you are ready, do another ten breaths then relax. Continue for about 20 minutes. You may get a head rush and feel dizzy at first if your brain hasn't gotten much oxygen lately... it'll pass.
After doing this for several days, try it without counting but keep the same rhythm. Don't be concerned whether you do 10 or 6 or 15 breaths, just do what feels right. Focus your attention on the breath, the coming in, the going out. Imagine a warmth coming into your body, filling every cell of your body each time you inhale. Imagine toxins and negativity flowing out through your fingertips and toes each time you exhale.
You may become aware after this breathing exercise that the thoughts that normally run through your mind, ceased. You were able to suspend normal consciousness for a short period. This is what you are working toward achieving during meditation for longer periods. If you find that thoughts do intrude, think of them as doves flying around a belfry. Some fly on through, some stop for a while then move on. Notice them but don't dwell on them. When you become aware of thoughts, return to focusing on the oxygen flowing in and out of your body or resume counting to yourself as you inhale and exhale. Most people need practice shutting off their customary stream of consciousness. If you need it, take a month or more of just doing the breathing exercise before moving to the next step, but just work on the breathing for at least two weeks. A way to remind yourself to tune in to your breathing during your day is to set a time, like on the hour or at 15 after. Most people are constantly looking at their watch or looking for a clock, so it can be used as a reminder. If you happen to look at the time and notice it's 15 after an hour, that's your cue to pay attention to your breathing. Notice if your breathing is shallow or if you're so tense, you're not breathing at all, then find a place to sit quietly to do a few minutes of abdominal breathing. Notice the difference in how you feel afterwards.
It is only in the exquisite simplicity of doing absolutely nothing that you begin to be able to see yourself in ways you ordinarily would never be able to do. If you really engage with this unbearable simplicity, it’s impossible to hide from yourself.
If you're really stressed out or hyperactive, you probably don't recognize the difference in your body between relaxation and tension. This exercise will help you become aware of where your body holds tension, learn to relax all your muscles, and retrain your body to maintain a relaxed state.
The human body can be isolated into muscle groups and to begin we will start with the small muscle groups, then move to the larger muscle groups, and finally the body as a whole.
Small Muscle Groups
Large Muscle Groups
Lie down in a comfortable place, remove or loosen tight clothing, belt, shoes. You're going to tighten each small muscle group, one at a time, as you inhale, then relax each group as you exhale. You can use the count you found comfortable in the abdominal breathing exercise, including the hold in between.
As you count from 1 to 5, inhale and tighten the muscles of your right foot, hold-2-3, exhale and relax the muscles (count 1 to 5), and hold-2-3. Do each muscle group twice.
Next do the left foot, then the right calf, left calf, right thigh, left thigh, pelvis/stomach, buttocks, chest, back, right hand, left hand, right forearm, left forearm, right upper arm, left upper arm, shoulders, neck, face. You'll notice that in tightening one group, another may also tense (e.g., foot/calf), but your attention should be on directing oxygen to only one muscle group at a time.
Focus your attention on the life-giving oxygen flowing into each area as you tense, and the toxins and negativity flowing out as you relax. Notice the difference in your muscles. The areas where pain is experienced are where you hold your tension. For most of us, it's in the neck and shoulders. When you finish the whole body, go back to those painful areas, and tense and relax them several more times. You are getting in touch with your body, learning to read its signals.
Progress at your own rate, but after doing the above once a day for several days or weeks, do the same using the large muscle groups: the right leg, left leg, lower body, upper body, left arm, right arm, shoulders, the head. Do this for several days or weeks.
When you feel you have mastered the muscle groups, you can do the abdominal breathing while tensing and relaxing your entire body or isolate large or small muscle groups as needed. Notice that the time it requires to do these exercises has lessened considerably from small muscle groups to whole body. Use the rest of your 20 minutes to include a Focus exercise (below).
After several months of practice, you should be able to use this exercise, tensing and relaxing your whole body and taking one or two breaths while stopped in your car in rush hour traffic, standing in line at the grocery store, waiting on hold for tech support or just before you go to sleep at night to shift into a peaceful state of relaxation.
"There's a very fine line between meditating and snoozing."
Now that you've learned to relax your body, increase the oxygen flow, and, if only momentarily, distract your conscious mind, we're going to turn to focusing the mind on one point and listening for the Silence. This is probably the most difficult part for most people because the ego/personality puts up such a fight for attention. It fears annihilation by the Soul. You can tell its the ego/personality because it goes on and on about physical matters. This is when most people quit meditating. Their ego/personality tells them they don't need this or it's a waste of time or it isn't making them any richer or it's not happening fast enough. And it's likely to throw up all sorts of roadblocks, including some of those nasties I talked about earlier. Anything to keep you from waking up and evolving to a higher consciousness.
If the ego/personality only knew that the Soul doesn't want to be in control nor kill the ego/personality, but there's no way of convincing it. Your ego/personality thinks it's protecting you, which it did during your childhood, but as an adult, it's actually harming you by keeping you from self-actualizing, truly knowing who you are and your purpose in this life. When you try to concentrate, the ego/personality sends distractions, like suggesting you go out and buy a new widget or get a pizza instead. Resistance is not futile.
Be patient with yourself. People have been working on this a long time and have come up with various tools to help focus the attention on a single point, and I'm going to share some of them with you. When you are able to do that, you will be looking back at your Self. You will have reopened the connection to your Higher Self and it will remain open, in a sense to transmit information, as long as you remain focused on that single point. In this state of consciousness, God's Love is able to pour down to you through your open connection to your Soul-- Grace.
Some Buddhists call it the Blue Jewel. It appears out of the darkness as a tiny, brilliant spark of white light about a zillion miles away. As you maintain focus, in such deep concentration that you are hardly breathing, it moves closer, becomes brighter, but doesn't hurt your eyes, then it bursts into its colors, like sunlight through a prism. Against pure blackness, a tiny jewel sparkles, first as a brilliant, glowing red orb with a yellow-white center, which transforms into the most brilliant, shimmering blue jewel. It is composed of zillions of tiny vibrating particles of all the colors of the spectrum. It is the most beautiful thing you will ever see. And the more often you meditate on it, the longer you will be able to keep it in focus, and keep the window open to the down pouring of God's Love. Much of this happens at the subconscious level. You may be aware of seeing the Blue Jewel but not of the gifts you receive through the experience. They will often manifest in your life without you're even being aware until after the fact. You will become more loving and compassionate, and will change your life and your thinking to a more peaceful way of being in the physical world.
When the mind of the Yogi is in harmony and finds rest in the Spirit within, all restless desires gone, then he is a Yukta, one with God.
Then his soul is a lamp whose light is steady, for it burns in a shelter where no winds come.
He sees himself in the heart of all beings and he sees all beings in his heart. This is the vision of the Yogi of harmony, a vision which is ever one.
But I digress. You just wanted to learn to relax, right? I'm just letting you know that you can take meditation as far as you want to go. You are always in control. With practice, you should be able to tell yourself that you want to meditate for 20 minutes or 60 seconds and you will come back to full consciousness in that time. It's better not to lie down unless you want to go to sleep right after. If you doze off while sitting, your head falling over is enough to remind you to get back to your meditative state. If you want to play a CD while you're doing any of these exercises, that's also a good timer as you're likely to wake up when the music ends. Meditative type music or chants are more conducive to meditation than rock or rap. Ocean waves, running rivers, rain storms, also are good background sounds for meditation.
So here are some focus techniques to try to find what works best for you. If you have trouble stopping the chatter of your mind, keep doing it. Eventually, your conscious mind will give up and allow you to move into a meditative state.
Choose a word like Peace, Love, Relax or simply the word One-- or a word related to your religious beliefs, such as God, Jesus, Allah, etc. Each time you exhale, say the word to yourself, drawing it out the length of the exhalation
Ah and Om give off good vibrations, especially when vocalized as you exhale, but can be said to yourself. When vocalized, Om sounds like Aum, drawn out the length of the breath, Au-u-um-m-m-m-m. Ah is the natural sound of exhaling, ah-h-h-h-h-h-h-h...
Light a candle in front of where you are sitting. Close your eyes and do several minutes of deep breathing. When you feel very relaxed, open your eyes and stare at the flame as long as you can keep your eyes open (avoid crossing your eyes). When you close your eyes, an after image of the flame will appear in the darkness. It will become smaller and smaller, seeming to recede in the distance, but hold the image as long as you can. Watch as it transform into the Blue Jewel I described earlier. This method gives you the image of what you are searching for in the darkness without using the candle flame, if you want to pursue the deeper level of meditation I mentioned.
This gives the same effect as the candle flame for the outdoorsy types. And, for both the candle and the full moon, when the image fades, open your eyes and stare at it again until you have to close your eyes, and hold the image as long as you can.
If you desire to meditate at your computer, these images work the same as the candle and the full moon. A good break while at work!
Mandalas are fun to create, color, stare at as you drift off to other realms.
Create your own mandalas-- really cool program!
Contemplating a beautiful image whether it be a painting, a photograph, or a real sunset, and allowing your thoughts to come and go without dwelling on them, changes your level of consciousness and frees your mind from the baggage you usually carry around in your head. Just a few minutes' gaze may wisk you a thousand miles away, lower your blood pressure, give you a moment's peace, recharge your energy system, and return you to optimum performance levels, simultaneously (with practice). It's a stress management system. It's a relaxation technique. It's a meditation tool.
As you drift into a deeper level of consciousness, other images may arise in the darkness. Some may appear frightening and, at first, may startle you awake, but there is nothing to fear. Just allow them to arise and fade away. They may appear as black and red figure-ground images, which at first may appear menacing, but if you just continue to observe calmly, as they get closer, you will see them transform into neutral images-- faces of ancient teachers who have come through to guide us to the Light. The fearful images lose their power over you when you stand up to them. Ask what they have come to teach you, but don't wait for an answer, and let them pass by as you continue to listen for the Silence between your thoughts. The answers will come to you in your daily life... pay attention! These images will lessen with time, perhaps depending on the state of your consciousness to begin with (i.e. if you're carrying a lot of garbage around in your head, this is a way to release it, and people some carry more baggage than others). They will transform into much more pleasant images as you get cleaned out.
Something I discovered while teaching meditation classes many years ago is that some people see images, especially during visualization exercises, while others imagine what they might see but don't actually see images. As a test for yourself: close your eyes and visualize standing outside your front door, reaching for the knob or handle, and opening the door. Walk into your living room and observe the decor. Did you actually see the door, the sofa, the painting on the wall, or did you imagine what they look like? There's no right and wrong here, it's just a difference in mental activity so if your inner experience doesn't match my description, don't feel you're doing it wrong, accept your own mind's interpretation.
Visualization can be used for relaxation, to enhance creativity, to improve performance, or for personal growth. The technique is similar to hypnotherapy where a script is read that takes the person on a journey, and all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, which is similar to meditation. As a relaxation technique, it's basically sending your mind to Tahiti to give you a break from stress. You can condition yourself to zone out for as little as 60 seconds to calm yourself down and is especially good to use when experiencing fear, anxiety or panic. Creative people can design a special workplace in their mind where they go to generate ideas, overcome blocks, prepare for a performance, or just to get into the right frame of mind for what they want to do. Personal growth is best done with a hypnotherapist who has been trained to write scripts in the language of the subconscious mind.
After getting into a relaxed state, you begin to design your special place in a corner of your mind. Decorate it any way you want using color, light, sound, patterns, odors, temperature, whatever gives you the feeling you want to achieve. Each time you do the exercise, you can add, change or delete without having to use so much as a mouse click until it is just the way you want it to be. If this is difficult for you, find a picture, photo, postcard, or calendar of a place you like and stare at it until you have to close your eyes, then try to imagine it. The great thing about this place is that everything in it is yours and nothing or no one can come in unless you invite them.
Some examples of relaxing places would be a tropical island, a mountain top retreat, a meadow in the forest with a lake or river running through it, or a mystical palace surrounded by fountains and swans. If you need a creative space, it could be a comfortable room decorated to your taste with all your tools or the stage of an amphitheater.
Pay attention to all of your senses when creating this special place. Some people are more visual, some more tactile, some have a strong sense of smell, some like music or ocean waves or the sound of a waterfall; others prefer silence. When you feel this place is exactly the way you want it, picture yourself in it, simply relaxing or doing exactly what you want to be doing in a relaxed way.
You can work with your subconscious mind in this place by asking a guide or a person or an animal to come in and have a conversation about something that's bothering you. You're more likely to get clues that are symbolic (personally to you) rather than actually have a dialog, although that can happen. It's a good idea to keep a journal and write in it as information comes to you (often in dreams) and working with a counselor can help put things into perspective if you are doing personal growth work.
Here is a good meditation with visualization for spiritual growth from Sitting in the Lotus Blossom.
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The time-tested method for achieving union with God is Yoga. Yoga means "union," to unite, to join, to weld together with heat and hammer. Kundalini Yoga is a process of directing the breath to arouse your kundalini energy to expand your consciousness and open your connection to your Source, and using your mental discipline to weld that connection together to maintain it. It is the union of the personality (the ensouled human being) with the Divine Spirit (God). To raise kundalini from the Root Chakra to the Crown Chakra results in Illumination, the opening of the Third Eye, the down pouring of Grace, communion with God.
Now don't all go running off to a mountain top to spend the rest of your life sitting in bliss. That's all well and good, but we didn't ensoul multi-dexterous bodies and brains to have them sit in meditation day and night. For some it is a calling, but even they must chop wood and carry water sometime. For the rest of of us, we have lives, families, jobs, responsibilities, stuff to do, places to go. We want enlightenment to fit into our lives rather than make time for it. We came here to participate in the world, to have relationships with others, to explore this incredible planet, to do things we love to do, but it isn't all about making money, accumulating possessions, being king of the world. It is about experiencing the wonder of the physical world through the form of a human being with arms and legs and eyeballs, and giving to that human being the freedom to become whatever he or she desires to become. It is all about balance, balancing our energy, becoming centered, balancing our human nature with our spiritual nature. It is living in peace and harmony with our environment, our neighbors, our families, our societies, all nations. When everybody realizes that each and every human being on this planet is both human and divine, we won't have anything to fight about or kill each other over or even be rude about. The nightly news will be short and dull. That is the power of kundalini. Eventually, maybe eons from now, that will happen to all human beings, but if you want to help speed up the process, start with you, then tell two more people, and tell them to tell two more people, etc. Kundalini Yoga is a self-induced method for achieving union with God.
It is what all religions have been trying to get across, but it got all mixed up with rituals and rules and dogma, and fighting over which way is the right way or whose book has all the answers and who is the right leader. From the snake who tempted Eve to the Pharaohs who wore snake heads atop their headpieces to today's Christian rattlesnake dancers, they've really all just got pieces of a greater puzzle which, when combined, reveals a picture more awesome than they ever imagined. It doesn't even have anything to do with serpents, that's just a picture-word. I understand the reticence because there is a downside to all of this. You have to be prepared, physically, mentally and spiritually, to receive illumination, otherwise it reeks havoc, physically and mentally and spiritually, with the aspirant. Every religion has a way of saying "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you live your life by the Golden Rule and have love in your heart, you are prepared, and raising your kundalini should be a piece of cake. If you start working with kundalini and you are not prepared, you're in for a rough ride. I sincerely suggest that you find a personal teacher to guide you in the beginning because there are risks. I'm going to provide a link to some Kundalini Yoga exercises, but I really don't recommend going any further than just trying them out without someone to guide you, unless you have been doing yoga, meditation, tai chi, chi gong, or a similar discipline for some time.
NOTE: Ten years ago I found an adult education course at a college taught by a Sikh woman, and I highly recommend a Sikh teacher, so there must be more classes around today. You can also check community center calendars, adult education classes, or metaphysical bookstores/healing centers often know of teachers in the area. Take a class, not private sessions.
Over the years, I've received a lot of email asking about kundalini and I think most of them came from young people who think it sounds like a fun thing to do while on Ecstasy at a Rave Concert. NOT! I want to get really serious for a moment and say that under no circumstances should anyone who is not willing to do the work that needs to be done to prepare themselves for the kundalini experience, even think about doing the exercises. Go live your life for a while and maybe come back to kundalini another time when you're in a better space.
If your mind is filled with negative thoughts; if you are sad, lonely, depressed or looking for something outside yourself to give you hope; if you do a lot of drugs, alcohol or have other destructive addictions; if you have a hard time controlling your anger, you need to get into therapy or treatment and deal with these issues before you try anything like kundalini. Remember the nasties I mentioned that may come up during meditation? Nothing compared to what you might experience if you mind dwells in the gutter when practicing kundalini yoga. That's what the priests were afraid would happen if they let this knowledge out to the general population. Instead they tried to make people be good, follow the rules and go to church to prepare them for the gradual awakening that comes through living right. If they hadn't threatened eternal damnation and executed people for not believing, it might have worked. Now there are a whole lot of angry people in the world who feel hopeless because they're convinced there is no God or at least not one that cares about them.
But if you've been doing personal growth for a while, reading self-help books, going to a counselor, analyzing your personality, attending personal growth seminars and workshops, learning to look within yourself for the answers, writing a journal, analyzing your dreams, doing inner child work, expressing your creativity, meditating, doing yoga, helping others in need, exploring your spirituality, living by the Golden Rule, you are a good candidate for kundalini work. It will accelerate your spiritual growth and transform your life.
Then you are truly on your spiritual path, but this doesn't mean there isn't still work to do. You will experience physical changes as you body adjusts to the activated kundalini energy as you practice the exercises. You are likely to want to change your diet to accommodate the new energy, probably turning more to vegetarian meals. You may experience new aches and pains as your body adjusts. Rather than run to the doctor for a pill, you may turn more to holistic heath care, vitamins, body work, other kinds of yoga (or tai chi, chi gong, martial arts), more disciplined meditation, and try new things like reiki, past life regression, vibrational healing, mystical practices. All this is part of a spiritual path.
You will read voraciously for periods, then stop and integrate what you're learned and experienced. You'll find the more you know, the more questions you have, and you begin the cycle again and again. It is all about getting to know who you are and just being that. Who You Are is twofold; first, the personality, which basically needs to be taken apart and put back together in the right order; and second, the spiritual aspect, becoming the spiritual being having the human experience. I think it was Sri Ramakrishna who said that once we remember who we are, we're out of the game. Or we no longer have a need to participate in the ordinary, mundane aspects of life. We are on a different path, but we still live in the material world and have to manage to integrate that.
The trick in all this to to find balance. One can become so spiritual, they are no earthly good, just as one can be so earthy they have no spiritual concepts at all. Raising kundalini energy through the chakras should be gradual to allow you to adjust to changes in energy flow. There is a sequence to opening the energy centers in order to adapt to the changes, one wants to avoid blowing the top of their head off by jumping ahead or going too fast. You'll learn to set your own pace. You need to work through negativity, fear and anxiety as they come up and stay with that chakra until you get release. You'll learn to integrate the increased spiritual energy into your lifestyle gradually and will find yourself releasing your addictions, making changes in your relationships, your career, your attachment to things and people and old ideas, your lifestyle, your choices. This will be happening over years, not days. This is a long term commitment to Self-Actualization. Also it's not a good idea to stop once you get going because, once activated, the fire of kundalini will not be squelched, and can lead to all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
Our Ego can pop in at any time and try to convince us that we are entitled to more or are better than anyone else. It's not the Devil made us do it. Our kundalini energy level has dropped into the lower chakras which opens the door for the old greed, lust, power, sexual energy to come in and deceive us again. How many religious leaders, priests, gurus have we seen disgraced by doing just what they tell others not to do? Anyone who says you must have sex with them to become enlightened should be avoided. Anyone who says you must give up your possessions and give up responsibility for your life to them should be avoided. As wonderful as their message may sound at first, they're working out of their lower chakra energy, get away from them. It is a karmic lesson as to when we become aware that we are living out of our lower chakras and take action to do what needs to be done to return our energy to a comfortable balance between being both human and divine. Achieving illumination doesn't give one some special power over others because we are all both human and divine and have that latent ability, some of us just don't know it yet. When we can maintain the energy above the Heart Chakra, it awakens compassion and love in us, and we use our creativity to live in harmony with our environment instead of devising ways to destroy everything or get more for ourselves.
When we know who we are and are living in balance with our spiritual energy, we begin to express who we are out in the world in our own unique way. We know God is in our life, we don't die, and there is nothing to fear. Coincidences and synchronicities will lead us in directions we only dreamed of but never thought possible. When you look back on it ten years from now, you will say you never could have predicted where you ended up. Life becomes an amazing adventure filled with love and happiness and a sense of wonder.
Another point I must mention is that in some people, kundalini arises spontaneously and rapidly with no effort on their part, and the bad thing about that is the person usually has no clue what's happening to him/her. Physicians don't know what it is or how to deal with, mainstream psychologists don't recognize it. A number of yogis have written books about the nightmare they went through before they found out what was going on with them, but that's dismissed as eastern mysticism. In the U.S., hospital beds, mental wards and prisons are filled with people whose kundalini activated prematurely and no one knows what to do with them-- because here in the enlightened West, we don't recognize kundalini-- because we can't see it, it doesn't exist. We give people Prozac instead. High anxiety, phobias, panic attacks may be symptoms of activated, uncontrolled kundalini energy. If medical science hasn't been able to help you control these symptoms, find a metaphysical/new age bookstore or healing center in your area and ask for a referral to someone who works with kundalini. There is some research going on, money isn't exactly being poured into it however, and I've listed some recommended links for further study. Learn how to get control of your energy-- your life force.
In order to understand the path of kundalini and how it becomes activated by yoga postures and breathing exercises, I'll discuss kundalini energy and the chakras in relation to the physical body, in the next section.
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You've seen this symbol before, the Caduceus. The symbol of the medical profession. Two snakes intertwined around a sword with wings at the top. Would you believe it also represents awakened kundalini? Interesting symbol for a bunch of people who don't believe in what they can't see, but think they are enlightened anyway.
Esoterically, the symbol reads kundalini rising up the spinal column to the Crown Chakra bringing illumination. Kundalini energy is represented by the two snakes, the sword is the spinal column, and the wings represent freedom from the limitations of the physical world enlightenment. The snakes intersect at each Chakra.
Kundalini is the snake who tempted Eve. Awakened kundalini is represented by the upraised serpent on top of Pharaoh's headpiece. The snake is the energy that lies coiled in the regenerative organs of the human male and female until it is activated either spontaneously or purposefully bringing illumination of the Soul and God-awareness to the human being. If it were to suddenly shoot up through the head, the human being would probably spontaneously combust, but there is a system in place to moderate its ascent to allow the human being to adjust to the higher vibrations gradually. It is not physical, it can't be observed or measured. So in order to understand it, we have to use our imaginations. As you read through this, try to imagine spinning wheels and colored vortices of energy because later you will use these images in meditation as you begin to work with your own chakras and learn to balance your own energy.
The drawing below represents the Seven Chakras that we will be talking about here (there are more). Chakras are vortices of light, color and sound, gateways to other dimensions, and psychological mirrors. They correspond to the spine and certain organs and glands, and mirror our evolutionary state. They are the points of contact between the etheric and physical bodies where the life force is drawn in, enters the glands and disperses into the bloodstream. The Chakras are also relevant to the dying process as the Soul withdraws from the body.
Crown Chakra - pineal gland - illumination - violet
Brow Chakra - pituitary gland - Third Eye - indigo
Throat Chakra - thyroid gland - creativity - blue
Heart Chakra - heart and thymus gland - compassion - center point - green
Solar plexus Chakra - liver - feelings, emotions - yellow
Navel/Sacral Chakra - spleen - fear - orange
Root Chakra - prostrate/uterus - sex, aggression, animal instinct - red
If you look at the world the way it is today, you can see that a lot of human beings have kundalini activated as far as the solar plexus. Their lives are dominated by selfishness, anger, hate, lust, envy, greed, vengeance, retaliation. They are stuck in their animalistic tendencies and refuse to see that the world could be any different. To the credit of religions, they have lifted many human beings to living from the heart, but they have kept us from reaching higher. The heart is the center point, the fulcrum, the place where we find balance and harmony, but it is not the final destination. Religions teach love and compassion, even though in many cases religious leaders drift down to their lower chakra energy, often damaging those who believed in them and leaving them disillusioned... just what the current scandal in the Catholic Church is about. It's like being on a teeter totter. All the more reason to raise our energy above the heart where we see things more clearly, from a higher perspective, where we have a better view. The counter balance is transmuting the sexual energy into creativity and seeing yourself as you really are. When you are avidly working on that aspect, the baser instincts atrophy from lack of attention and life becomes an adventure into wonder. The challenge is to become enlightened and still contribute to society. I can tell you how to become enlightened but you have to learn to make it work in your life. (As a practical example, I mean you can still have a career as a dot.com CEO, but do some volunteer work or if you're a busy soccer mom, take a tai chi class for yourself).
I'm going to ask you to visualize the path of kundalini energy by using the analogy of the snake, but there really is no snake; the chakras as cups and spinning wheels, but there really are no cups or wheels. The activity involved takes place in our etheric form which surrounds and interpenetrates our human form; think of it as an invisible shell with corresponding spine and glands. The chakras are swirling vortices of energy radiating colors through which the life force flows into the glands they superimpose and is carried into the bloodstream. As you get good at visualizing, you will see some of this activity in your mind's eye, but for the most part it happens beyond awareness. And it happens whether you are practicing kundalini yoga or not, which explains how it can get out of control.
Before kundalini is awakened the chakras are like inverted cups. The incoming energy runs downward energizing the lower aspects of man. The purpose of the yoga exercises is to change the energy to an upward path to the head region which turns the cups to catch the higher energy currents coming down from the Soul. My cup runneth over!
Now you can't walk around in this condition, actually you can't hold it for very long unless you've become a monk and sit in a cave all day. You may get sudden flashes of energy and insight with extended practice, but the goal should not be to maintain that level at all times. It can become an addiction like anything else. If you can learn to live from your heart and express your creativity in the world by doing these exercises, you'll be a giant leap in evolution from where you are now. In order to do that though, to stay centered, it has to be combined with some degree of healthier eating, living and loving, or your body may suffer physical or mental problems from the increased energy flow. Some sects believe you must purify the body and mind to extreme degrees before you can receive the nectar of the gods, but if you clean up your act, be more helpful to others, and take responsibility for yourself, you can get close enough to prove to yourself that there is more to life than you have been led to believe.
There are many forces swirling about and you will attract to yourself what your mind and emotions dwell on. When you turn to a spiritual path, you attract more positive energies which further helps you in your spiritual practices. If you started doing these exercises for some self-serving reason, you would not get very far because you can't fool energy. It's important to clear your life of negativity before you start because you don't want to go there.
So this electromagnetic force that we call kundalini, or the snake, lies coiled, essentially in the pelvic bowl, waiting. It is something like a pilot light, a tiny flame waiting to be ignited by an infusion of gas. As I said, we don't want it to flare up and rise straight up to the head centers, so we have two nervous systems in our human bodies, the sympathetic and the cerebrospinal, to control the flow. The sympathetic governs our fight or flight response and extends from the brain near the opening of each nostril connecting to the heart, the solar plexus and the pelvic area along the spine. The cerebrospinal consists of the brain and spinal cord which allows us to be conscious of ourselves and our surroundings. There is also the vargus nerve which acts as the bridge between the head and the heart. All the elements are connected. When a person starts living by the Golden Rule, the pineal and pituitary glands deep inside the brain are activated, and altruistic love develops from the infusion of Grace. You don't have to practice kundalini yoga to get there, just do for others what you want others to do for you and it will come, in time, but practice the exercises along with that and you will find yourself becoming more kind, giving, compassionate and joyful.
When we are worried about survival (food, shelter and money), it pulls our consciousness to the lowest level, fear, anger, greed, lust, and it is hard to get back up. We can't see solutions, only more of the same. When we let go of worrying, we shift our polarity, and awaken to new possibilities. Your kundalini goes where your attention goes so if you don't like where you are, put your attention somewhere else! Sometimes we experience power struggles between chakras when we think in terms of good versus bad, us versus them, and we stay stuck in these solar plexus conflicts. We wonder why these things keep happening to us. When we can't stand it anymore, or it leads to a life crisis, we usually begin a spiritual search out of desperation. We may start with prayer or a desperate plea-- God help me! Our intent lifts our kundalini energy to the heart chakra and we may feel an infusion of love and healing begins. It's still a long process, but getting your kundalini under control can pull you out of it faster.
The etheric counterparts of our nervous systems consist of a channel that runs along the spinal cord which carries both positive and negative forces; and two channels, which run from the root chakra to the crown chakra and criss cross the spinal channel. One carries negative electric force, the other, positive magnetic force. Look back to the Caduceus at the beginning of this section and now you can get the picture of two snakes criss crossing their way up the sword. At each cross point is a chakra and when these forces unite in the head chakras, activating the pineal and pituitary glands, they explode in illumination. This connection extends beyond the physical body to the Soul and beyond the Soul to the Divine Spirit. Awakening kundalini bridges the gap and we are engulfed by the Clear Light, surrounded by love, floating in heavenly bliss, fully conscious of what we are experiencing. It is similar to the first stages of a near death experience, only without being in a life or death situation.
I found a site that has a good set of exercises for beginning to work with kundalini so I'm going to refer you there now to look them over. It is presented as an Exercise Set for Maintaining a Flexible Spine. Print them out and get started when you are ready. Work at your own pace, don't push yourself beyond your abilities. I suggest you try all the exercises, start with one per session, then develop your own routine from the exercises you want to continue. The mantras work to tune your energies through vibration, but if you don't want to use them, don't, or chose your own mantra according to your own beliefs.
A 20-minute meditation following the exercises will help you process this new information on a subconscious level. Focus on one chakra at a time beginning at the root chakra and, without skipping ahead, using the breath to explore the energy. Focus your attention on the Silence. Don't be impatient. You're likely to need to stay with your lower chakras for some time (days, weeks, months). If pain or anger or fear come up, don't react, allow them to come up, ask what they want of you... and just listen. Once you get it clear, move on to the next. This isn't about just doing some exercises but involves mental cleansing, resolving old karma, asking forgiveness and forgiving, reassessing your relationships and your life, getting over the past, getting to know yourself and your Self.
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We're going to take what we've learned about meditation, kundalini yoga and clearing the chakras, and combine them into practical exercises.
If you have tried the exercises recommended for kundalini yoga and chosen the ones you like, do them first and then settle into meditation. If you prefer not to do yoga postures, take 5 or 10 minutes to get relaxed, comfortable and centered. For this purpose, it is important to sit with the spine straight either in lotus posture, easy pose or in a chair (but not leaning against the back). The ankles should be crossed, the thumbs and index fingers touching lightly with the other three fingers extended, back of the hands resting on the knees. This gives you a complete circuit through which the energy flows freely, and keeps you from falling asleep.
Begin your meditation by taking long, deep breaths for a few minutes to become centered. In any form of meditation, it is suggested to mentally surround yourself with the Clear Light for protection from negative energies. If you wish to add a prayer, a mantra or to chant, do so.
Begin to focus your attention on your concept of a power greater than yourself. On each inhalation, experience the love of God flowing through you, drawing energy from the earth up the spinal column. On each exhalation, experience the love of God surrounding and protecting your being.
When you feel quite relaxed, begin to focus your attention on the chakra you will be working with. We'll begin with the root chakra. Direct your breath to the root chakra. At this level, you might imagine a small flame in your pelvic area which gets brighter and redder with each breath. Do Breath of Fire for 10-20 seconds then inhale deeply, hold the breath, apply Rootlock, exhale, and relax. Sit quietly, breathe normally continuing to direct the breath to your pelvic area, and feel the energy circulating up your spine and through your body. Allow whatever images or thoughts or physical sensations that arise to come into your awareness, but don't dwell on them. Allow them to rise and fade away. You may do Breath of Fire and Rootlock again any time you sense the energy dissipating if you wish to prolong the exercise, or you can end it at any time. Stay with the root chakra until it feels clear. This is likely to take many sessions with time in-between to process the emotions and issues that come into awareness.
I suggest you make notes in your journal or draw anything that comes up immediately following each session, and later information that comes up which relates to previous information. This is where to analyze, criticize, make judgments, question old beliefs, get angry, gain a new perspective on old issues, note the changes you are going through, etc. With the root chakra, negative images, thoughts, and feelings related to sex, aggression and animal instincts will arise. With the Navel chakra, it will be fear issues (worry, jealousy, greed); with the solar plexus, your emotions may run wild.
Be aware, when practicing these exercises, of your emotions in your daily life. These will give you clues about what your subconscious mind is processing. Instead of reacting, deal with them in your journal. Once you get these things out of the subconscious mind and on paper, they will lose their power over you and can be transmuted into strengths. You can disidentify from them by recognizing that they are part of you, but they are not who you are. Integrate them into your whole self in their proper perspective and let them go. You are learning to let go of your attachments, your addictions and your lower desires.
Your imagery will change with each chakra. Remember those swirling vortices of light? The lower chakras tend to be mixed or change from red to green to blue. They will spin faster and become brighter as you clear the energies. The heart chakra is blue; the throat, silverish; the brow, violet; and the crown, white light. Some people are able to use imagery better than others. It doesn't mean you're a failure if you don't see color or spinning energy in your mind's eye. Just imagine it however you can. Some people get more information later in a dream or while sitting in rush hour traffic or when someone says something that triggers a memory. However you get it, write it in your journal. Illumination may also come at a strange time rather than when you are sitting in meditation. You will get it the way you are suppose to get it. Your Soul will be working with you on this and is probably more in charge of it than you are, so relax and be open to where this is taking you.
A spiritual being is considered to be one who has few, if any, attachments to the physical world. However, most of us aren't going to leave our families, give up all our possessions and become yogis nor monks nor priests nor nuns who surrender themselves to God or some guru. The human species would die off rather quickly if we all decided to become celibate. Our whole socioeconomic system would collapse if nobody wanted to buy any material goods. Our food distribution system would fall apart if we all decided to become like the lilies of the field. If everybody decided to meditate on a mountaintop, nothing would get done.
But there is another way. By learning to balance the spiritual with the physical, we become One Being, both Human and Divine. By learning to connect with our SoulSelf through kundalini yoga, we no longer feel lost and alone wandering in the wilderness. Our HumanSelf (no longer our insatiable ego) is in control of the physical expression of the SoulSelf which loves us unconditionally and has just been waiting for recognition and for us to open ourselves to this connection. We become open to the guidance of our SoulSelf through this maze we call life instead of wandering around aimlessly bouncing off the walls we put up to protect ourselves from our fears.
There is no more fear when we have felt God's love flow through us, when we know we do not die and realize we are One with our Soul (I and the Father are One). Kundalini gives us the power to know God directly and helps us to realize we are truly spiritual beings having one human experience after another. The purpose is the evolution of the process of creation. God, or the Singularity, however you want to put it, didn't stop creating with the physical universe or human beings. We are part of the continuing process. Just look at what human beings have accomplished in a relatively short period of time. As corrupted by materialism as we are, we have made great progress, but that is not the end of our creativity. We have a whole universe in which to play for all eternity. To develop our full potential, we need only to integrate our spiritual goodness with our physical desires.
© Diane Goble 2000
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Books & Links for further study
- The Awakening of Kundalini by Gopi Krishna
- Cyberspace Ashram for Kriya Yoga God Yoga, Divine Love and Godrealization - Learn to apply Solutions of Love for all Situations of Life and find the complete Initiation to the holy science of Kriya Yoga and God Yoga online
- Historical Sources & Knowledge of Kundalini
- Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man by Gopi Krishna
- Kundalini: From Hell to Heaven by Ganga Karmokar
- Kundalini Network in Denmark - 76 cases of kundalini arousal
- Kundalini Research Network Kundalini Warning! Pitfalls on the Spiritual Road
- Kundalini Yoga
- Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care - Spiritual guidance through the process
- The Process of Kundalini Awakening Shared Transformations - awakening kundalini
- Science without Bounds: A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Mysticism - An online book and links
- TheWorld of Tibetan Buddhism by The Dalai Lama
- Yoga - description of eight yoga disciplines
- Yoga Asanas - virtual yoga teacher
- The Yoga Site - teachers, retreats, products
- Yoga Technology - links to Kundalini Yoga
- You Forever by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa (this author has many books to help understand Kundalini and who we really are, however, be aware that the author is not who he claims to be)
Disclaimer: The information contained in Lessons Beyond the Veil are solely from the Soul of Diane Goble. It is offered as food for thought, grist for the mill, for those on their spiritual path, not to create controversy nor imply any disrespect to anyone's beliefs or religion. This is merely a stop along your path to drink from the well and then be on your way. The author only asks that students keep an open mind and discern the truth for themselves. If it doesn't feel right, then dismiss it and continue seeking elsewhere, this is not your path. If it resonates with your beliefs, you are welcome to continue the journey and explore the mysteries through these lessons on your search for your own Truth. It is my intention to open your mind and get you to re-examine your belief system, not to tell you what to believe nor to dissuade you from your religion. What you read here may expand your consciousness and strengthen your beliefs or you may chose to dismiss it and remain unconscious. The goal of a human being is to achieve higher consciousness, a connection to our divine nature, during one of our human lifetimes. If you choose this lifetime, these Lessons are a step along your path of spiritual development.
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