Archive for the ‘Personal Views’ Category
An ARTICLE derived from The Guru’s Gift: A Kundalini Awakening by Ruth Angela © 2013. This article is COPYRIGHTED to the author, Ruth Angela. Permission to use or reproduce any material in this document must be obtained from the author.
Today the word “Kundalini” is widely recognized in New Age terminology,but in July of 1979, when it was first mentioned to me as the reason for some of my incredible physical and psychological symptoms, few people had ever heard of it outside of the sacred texts of India. The word was totally foreign to me then, although I have now come to know it as representing the most intimate aspect of my being. There is virtually no other language with a directly translatable name for this phenomena. Thus it is not surprising that most people will seek the dictionary for a clarification. Unfortunately, there is “kung fu” but no “kundalini.” The nearest meaning is under “Holy Spirit” which is “spirit of God” in Random House or “God as spiritually acting” in my Oxford Dictionary.
Neither of these actually conveys the full sense of the Kundalini. If one takes the time to look up the ancient yogic texts, their explanations are often more confusing and puzzling. Can such a phenomena be universal to the human species if so little is known about it, and it is not even a part of the vocabulary and understanding of most cultures?
The answer is, “Yes.” It is a universal phenomena and it is becoming more widely understood because the incidence of its awakening, though rare in the past, is becoming more and more common. The reasons for that lie outside the domain of this essay, but there are many texts now by writers such as Barbara Hand Clow, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Greg Braden, Carl J. Calleman Ph.D., Barbara Marciniak, Ken Carey, and Neale Donald Walch that explain the awakening planet.
There are likely psychiatrists or psychologists right now trying to help patients with Kundalini awakening symptoms. Unfortunately, doctors that are trained in the traditional psychology field neither know what it is nor how to treat the phenomena. Thus hapless patients are being misdiagnosed, mis-medicated and misunderstood. There may be young people experimenting with drugs, herbs and/or yoga who have awakened the kundalini and find their bodies or emotions out of control, manifesting strange heat surges and mysterious physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological explosions. Actually, there is no one symptom that defines kundalini awakening, but a complex of symptoms can be identified as pointing to the likelihood. Yet, judging by the number of people who write to me in despair, some of these symptoms can be upsetting and frightening even to an accomplished psychologist or elevated yoga teacher. There are very few avenues available in Western culture giving clear information about the phenomena of Kundalini awakening.
I offer this article to throw some light onto the subject. I have been deeply involved in understanding my own experience since 1979, and have had the wonderful and auspicious assistance of my guru. However, just like falling in love defies exact words, so does the experience of kundalini. It is an experience and thus can only be fully understood as a living experience.
The awakening of Kundalini is a spiritual awakening, a major step towards realization of the divine. It is, in fact, a great boon, a great blessing and a magical gift. Just after my awakening that night in July 1979 when I received a mantra and was given Shaktipat, I certainly knew something divine had happened to me. This bliss was to become the beginning of a transformation process that was very dramatic for the two years which followed; it continues to this day in a much more subtle manner. It is apparent now according to Lee Sannella, a psychiatrist who has written a seminal work on what he calls “a form of psychospiritual energy” ( 8) the Kundalini Shakti, that is a “process of psychospiritual transformation” that is found in human beings all over the world “transcending personal and cultural differences” (23). I was participating in a universal human experience of transcendence. According to Sannella’s research, Kundalini is integral to the teachings of “Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese Taoism,” some “American Indian tribes, and …even of the Bushmen of Africa.” It was “most carefully studied and conceptually elaborated” in Hindu India (8).
Although the word Kundalini may appear strange for many readers and the concept of it even incomprehensible to the Western mind, in fact it is closer to each person than his own heart. Kundalini is closer than the breath in the body for it is the breather and the breath. In its dormant form it is the very essence of all life. It is the basic energy of all motion and activity. The coiled Kundalini lies dormant from birth at the base of the spine in every individual until one day it is awakened, then it ascends through the spinal column and the subtle nerve channels of the subtle body cleansing and clearing blockages as it rises towards the crown…where it merges with the energy of the higher Self. This connects the individual to the cosmic energy source so she is no longer an isolated, separated entity, but a conduit of the divine cosmic force.
In the awakened form, this uncoiled force becomes the Kundalini depicted in Indian scriptures both as a Goddess of immense power, often called “Kundalini Shakti,” and as a snake or serpent. It is She who is the manifest universe, and when She wakens within an individual, She will sweep one up in Her tremendous passion to reunite with Her Lord, Shiva–the unmanifest –in order to dance once again in his arms. Thus begins a crazy, wonderful,unpredictable ride with Goddess where She rules the body, mind and soul as she ascends through the body to the crown of the head- the seat of Shiva.
The concept of a snake out of control in our bodies seems unsettling to our Western view. We are by our conditioning and training taught to fear snakes and abhor their very existence. Yet there is a familiar symbol of it in Western culture that exemplifies the Kundalini as it snakes through the body. The symbol for medicine and a common logo on ambulances is the caduceus, the rod with two snakes coiled around it in spirals. At the top are two wings on each side of an orb. Images of Mercury or Hermes show him with a caduceus in his hand. It is also claimed to be representative of the DNA double helix. The caduceus’ central rod represents the central column akin to the spine in
the physical body called “sushumna”(a Sanskrit word with no equivalent
word in English). No surgeon will find this sushumna as it is part of the subtle body. Irving states the “kundalini process occurs in what is sometimes called the etheric,or subtle (nonphysical) body…comprised of nerve fibers not visible to the naked eye”(10).
In the manifest world, we all recognize the physical aspects of earth, water, air and fire. However, the fifth element, ether, is rarely identified with physical matter. In my estimate, it is the missing conduit between materiality and spirituality. The ether is where the true transformation takes place when Kundalini is awakened. The ether is the element of human experience which has been dormant and sleeping. When this awakening occurs, man becomes aware of all five of the elements of himself, he becomes whole and complete. Thus he can reach to and communicate with the cosmic energies and access his full dimensional self. That is, man is not just one body, nor
one soul, but a part of a multi-dimensional domain of existence
encompassing not only this universe but many other universes and on into infinity… the full extent of the expanse of the divine becomes man’s playground. A full human has unlimited capacity. The human being with Kundalini awakened is an unconquerable force unto the entire cosmic universe.
People who meditate, yogis, mystics, awakened masters and those who study the Oriental martial arts based upon Chi or Ki, are able to see this light. The great yoga masters were able to assist their “chelas.” disciples, with the ascent of the Kundalini because they could see where it was blocked or stuck, and send their own psychic power to aid in releasing it. The ascent of the liquid light is not always simple or smooth. As my first experience attests, my head was forced back very sharply in order to release my blocks, which were about my ignorance as to my true nature and my concepts of who I thought I was. The Kundalini clears out blocks in every aspect mental, emotional, physical, psychological etc. Everything is on the line for review and cleansing. Although there are tremendous rewards in the spiritual realm
with blissful ecstasies for long periods of time, for many persons such
cleansing can be akin to “hell.” This awakening can be life-altering,
shattering, awesome and devastating to many people who have constructed a concept of who they are that is based on lies or denial. Kundalini will wipe it away and replace it with love, truth, and divine understanding. Thus the importance of an enlightened master during this experience who can keep a balance for the individual as he is transformed into a “true human being.”
The Kundalini has two aspects: one manifests the world as we know it, the outer form or physical and is pervasive. In China they call this outer cosmic energy, Chi, in Japan Ki, in India it is Prana, and the nearest to it in the West is Holy Spirit. We have a limited form of Kundalini energy running through our bodies the moment we are conceived or we should not be able to move our bodies or live – it is indeed the “life force.” It is this outer energy we see in the energetic meridians that are used in acupuncture. It is this energy that pervades and enervates the world as we see it. The hidden, or inner form of Kundalini is usually asleep in a small “bulb” of energy that is stored at the base of the spine. According to Bonnie Greenwell, (Energies of Transformation): “..after Kundalini enters the fetus and activates the pranic system the residual energy coils three and a half times at the base of the spine, and goes into a dormant state. The mind becomes engaged in the process of living, and we identify with our bodies,
our genetic heritage and our mental, sensate and emotional processes,
separating from any awareness of the Self, or the Soul or the source of our existence, however one wishes to identify it. “(22)
It is a time of joyous celebration. Swami Vishnu Tirtha says that Shaktipat is “the process of spiritualizing a man with the charge of psychic force….not to be confused with mesmerism or hypnotism” because it is “everlasting and elevating” (77)
Swami Vishnu Tirtha explains the awakening Kundalini as the “dynamic
life-principle” that is the true evolution of man. Until awakening, man is in a state of involution, rather than evolution. He views involution as a static process of reincarnating again and again where there is gradual psychological development. The true meaning of evolution for him is when man is transmuted into his full God self (26).
Thus this cleansing, divine light snakes its way up through the subtle nerve threads of the body and expels the darkness of the past, unknotting any traumas that are caught in the memory of the body, so that a person ceases to be limited by past lives, present life traumas or old thought forms. The Kundalini expels the ghouls and fears of the subconscious, as past life agonies and griefs appear briefly, taking a last turn on the stage of opposites before the Kundalini transmutes them into light. It is an opportunity to become new or reborn.
References and citations for full bibliography please consult : The Guru’s Gift: A Kundalini Awakening by Ruth Angela http://TheGurusGift.com
Avalon, Arthur. The Serpent Power:
Beattie, Paul. “Alchemy and the Great Work.” Kundalini (Vol VII)
Brennan, Ann . Hands of Light & Light Emerging
Greenwell, Bonnie, Ph.D. Energies of Transformation :
Grof, Stanislav M.D. and Christina Grof. The Stormy Search for the Self & other books
Irving, Darrel. Serpent of Fire:
Krishna, Gopi, Living with Kundalini & other books
Mindell, Arnold. Working with the Dreaming Body & other books .
Sannella, Lee, M.D. The Kundalini Experience:
Tirtha, Swami Vishnu . Devatma Shakti (Kundalini): Divine
Spiritual Progress ? Beware.
Any boasting about spiritual attainments, I would say is a sure sign of a non-awake being. Beware. I have also heard of wicked people claiming that they have “special” energy and that a spiritual awakening can be attained by becoming their sex slave. Beware. I also know many people who give “diksha” (spiritual energy) as a matter of course on a regular basis to others claiming that they are waking them up. Beware. (Sadly, I have seen some people completely burned out from this behavior.) Eventually these become corrupted and exposed, and we are all aware of the host of fallen gurus. Even with the best of intentions, it is very hard for the ego to not take over the show when admired and praised constantly. Only a being who has erased that ego should be trusted and these are hard to find since they do not brag and there is no waving flag to find them!@
Over the years, I have heard such declarations from many scholars, teachers and pretenders to great spiritual wisdom, and they are so authoritative. I used to be impressed too. I wanted to be wise and have all this knowledge of spirit. I wanted to climb the ladder to their state I thought.
If a person is innocent and vulnerable, if he/she is insecure about being God in human form, he or she may be fooled. If a person thinks he/she is so puny and weak, then that person will project onto these teachers an ideal that is sent out from insecurity and lack of confidence. Anyone who seems to know “more” is to be worshipped, followed and emulated. We even see this with idiotic personalities from Hollywood or pop singers.
The fallacy here is that these spiritual teachers “know” the truth and we do not. Wrong. Spiritual knowledge CANNOT be known with the mind. It cannot be imparted with words or mental concepts. We are spirit in form. The mind is not THAT. The mind occupies the spiritual form, not the other way around. Looking behind the mind, we find ourselves. So there are no “stages of waking up” like we have in our University courses where we learn and build a body of knowledge. Forget all that. It is not about “learning” or “doing.” It is not cumulative. It is THERE all the time, but our task is to keep working away to reach the truth behind the mind.
I have only published my book recently, but already I have noticed people are assuming I am “more advanced on the path”. I quickly debunk that. There is no sequence to this process, no scale of “more” or “less” awake. It is wake up or be unawakened. We are seeing that left brain once more trying to assign control of reality. There is no control of it, no progress chart. It is an unveiling of who you are. It is a RECOGNITION. It will come if you are diligent in seeking it.
How that happens is the process of wiping the mirror clean so the truth shines through; there is the practice. But no one can say when that will happen nor how much is still to be accomplished before it happens. There are some teachers who impart this experience directly such as Gangaji, Ramana Maharshi and Bhagawan Nityananda. This is the kind of teaching that helps clear out the muck. These teachers push you to that space. They do not teach you knowledge. They give you the truth of your being.
There are millions of yogis who have meditated, done penance, tapasya and years and years of effort who do not even glimpse even one glimmer of the light of their true nature. Imagine that. So listen to your own inner guide and keep working away at the mirror; but let not your mind wrap around other people’s claims; do not limit your own opening into your own being; forget your inferiority complex, just one more aspect of the ego; keep working at your own polishing job.
Interview at Smashwords
This is an on-line interview at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/RuthAngela
Ruth discusses her writing process and answers questions about the publication of the book.
Smashwords publishes digital versions of the above book.
Go to “Purchase Here” to download the book in digital format or see the Print version at Amazon.
The Guru’s Gift:
Published at Amazon today 14 December, 2013. I am celebrating 20 years of research, intense revisions and the mountainous climb to get it published. All done! I hope you can celebrate with me.
LOOK INSIDE feature is available at AMAZON:
(See ORDER PAGE for International Amazon links)
Mindfulness or focus
This is the new buzzword for meditation or concentration. In the Indian tradition this is called Dhayan. Every student of yoga begins to learn how to turn within and find inner awareness–to focus within instead of without. It is like step one of the yoga process. But today this has become the new educational tool for helping children to develop. Dan Siegel has written many books on this topic, and comes highly recommended from many sources. (http://drdansiegel.com)
I am fortunate to live in the Bay Area where there are many great teachers and institutions which foster and nurture new thinking; consequently, this area not only houses the great IT companies, like Google, Apple, Adobe, Facebook, Oracle, EBay, Twitter etc. but the area universities such as Stanford and Univ. of California at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz, as well as a host of famous writers living here, influence the rest of the world. So it was I was able to hear Daniel Goleman speaking about this topic of “focus.” He is the author of Emotional Intelligence which “became an international sensation. It topped bestseller and ‘most influential books’ lists and sold five million copies worldwide.” (http://www.danielgoleman.info/ )
Daniel Goleman has practical, empirically valid facts, yet he demonstrates inspired insight. His new book, Focus includes studies that show that the ability to delay gratification is a more accurate predictor of success in life than any other factor, including social status, education, birthplace, intelligence and so forth. Children who could delay gratification at age 3 or 4, were many times more wealthy, happy and accomplished at age 30 than those who were unable to delay gratification.
He said that one can assist children in this “looking within” by having them lie down with a favorite stuffed animal or doll on the tummy; by breathing to a count of 3 in and out they can watch their toy rising and falling. This creates peace and concentration. I have two young grandchildren, so I tried it out with them one day. The girl is 5 and she did it easily without any hesitation for about 3 minutes… then declared it was, “Boring.” The boy is 3 and his very physical way was to lift his stomach off the bed in order to get the toy to go higher than his sister’s! So much for that experiment!
However, this could be the ideal practice for children’s nap time or when they are in ‘time out’. They are so stimulated by their outer world, that it is vital for them to have time to turn within and be alone with themselves. Joseph Chilton Pearce reports that children prior to developing language, meditate for short regular periods during the day where their learned knowledge is “uploaded” and integrated. This inner focus is where the true meditation begins and from all I have discovered from writing this book, that is the beginning of a return to our humanity. From meditation and inner awareness, we can remember the state that is our highest selves. We become more compassionate and human.
When I was in graduate school, we studied students who came from two different environments not related to socio-economic status, race or ethnicity, but simply what the family social environment encouraged. If the student had been raised sharing in close proximity with family members such as a bed or bedroom with others and had never had quiet alone-time with a door closed to him or herself for example; the students related to the world as if everyone were intimately ‘inside their heads’ and understood their thoughts and feelings, their inferences and references; this was considered “restricted code.” I found this same phenomena in Hawaii with the phrase “Da ‘Kine” spoken so frequently and incomprehensibly that outsiders who were not born there, had no idea what the topic of conversation was. It was the “restrictive code” at work with people living on a small island in hot weather. The energy to explain things was too much effort, and not necessary because of their close island mentality and shared experiences.
The students who had had their own ‘space’ to daydream alone, to think alone, to do homework alone, to read books alone and to be with themselves, were able to abstract their audience as “away” or “outside.” These students were considered “elaborative code” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Bernstein ) because they could appreciate the space between themselves and others and realize that others would not know of their experience. They could abstract their audience. They also knew an inner space that was where they could contemplate, consider, ruminate and explore their own inner mind. In other words, they could create an identity not based on others.
I see this daily in my interactions with students how some of them cannot “explain” reality for a distant reader. They can only write with a pile of assumptions that their reader could only understand if that reader were a family member with shared experiences. It seems more marked than ever today with the internet, Facebook and Twitter such that students feel like family “inside” these systems where thousands around the world are connected and thinking the same thing. Part of their mentality is with this “in crowd” but they are unable to let go of that “inclusive” paradigm to relate to the academic world of expository writing for a distant audience.
It is not just poor reading skills that we are seeing today, but it is sentences that make no sense even after being edited, proofed and examined; such syntax is not even perceived as meaningless unless it is read aloud to the student. Receiving it from another part of the brain, they are astonished to find that what they thought was on the page was in fact not there, but their brain had invented the missing meaning. Their brain had filled in missing information very much as the “restrictive code” member would. Such minds do not think in terms of links and relationships that need to be explained. These connections are not recognized… and it is a serious impediment to their ability to proceed in college.
The elaborative code students, increasingly a minority in my classroom, have spent time alone, pondering his or her relationship to ‘others’ and has realized that a person outside of their reality does not share it and concepts must be conveyed with details and elaboration. These students display creativity, inventive ideas and thrive in the academic environment.
But the other aspect of the “restrictive code” is that these students rarely have turned within to find their own “domain” or inner realms. They are focused on the inner/outer world as one thing, so the world inside them is the world outside as well. There is no gap, no space for time to look inside and say, “How do I feel about that?” The opportunity for them to find this is becoming increasingly fragile with the dominance of social media and life with the phone attached to the ear.
For these people such a practice of mindfulness could open up their awareness and give them a whole new perspective on inner and outer. At the least mindfulness, focus and concentration would give them some peace from the invasion of other people’s ideas and thoughts bombarding them from TV, Internet, social media and radio incessantly and unrelentingly. To this end, I include in my curriculum 30 minutes of quiet, contemplative writing at the beginning of every class. At first they sit uncomfortably resisting this need to focus in. But after a few sessions, there is a marked change where they do not want to stop writing because their thinking and writing flow is manifesting as something creative, unique, interesting and most of all satisfying. They are discovering the realm of their inner world and expressing it in writing. For many this opens the door to writing as therapeutic, and they never look back. That is one step towards mindfulness.
November 24th 2013.
After 20 years of devoted writing, the final stages of this book are here. I want to give praise to some of my helpers. I finished the book in 2011, but had no idea how to go about publishing it. Thus I needed these helpers, books, advice and benevolence to have reached this stage of “about to publish.”
Nothing I write here would be of any value without the careful guidance from within. I call that my “guru” as it is a benevolent inner being who has spurred on this endeavor, sent books and information my way when I needed them, and even given me the title of the book. When I asked inside for advice about a certain sentence, phrase or attitude in my writing, always there was a clear answer to be honest, not to blame, to be fair and realize that this work had to reflect the truth always. How to thank this source, whether it is my higher self or the person that lived as Bade Baba, I am not sure because the boundaries are blurred; but nothing could have been done without that urge, impulse, loving guidance and gentle spur. Thank you.
My first venture into getting self published was with Carla King’s book “Self Publishing Boot Camp: Guide for Authors” at Stanford; this helped me learn the sequence of events and steps to get a book published. From software to government agencies, she provides concise and clear instructions for creating a Print on Demand book, an Ebook, using Vanity Presses or not, getting a mission statement, creating a web site and logo, working on a business plan, establishing a platform, using social media, design, marketing and promotion. Her tips and suggestions are insider information that, for a newbie into this market, are invaluable.
Next I attended a one day event in San Francisco for the San Francisco Writers in October 2012 and met some of the people whose job it is to help writers get published. Joel Friedlander (thebookdesigner.com) gave me some good advice during a short interview and has sent me his PDF book on how to self publish. Nina Amir (Nina Amir of firstname.lastname@example.org ) has sent me endless letters with valuable suggestions, advice and tips as well as giving me connections to people who helped me get to where I am today. One of those is Pat Rasch, (http://bookandcoverdesign.com) who has produced a beautiful copy for printing and ebook with great respect, accuracy and she has still left my budget intact. At the conference I heard Mark Coker talking about his wonderful idea of “Smashwords” which has taken the publishing industry by storm. Clearly there is a huge demand for people to see their work in print. I got to hear Dan Millman in person, and Paul Hawken our local hero. I was so impressed that I used some of Paul’s essays in my English classes, exposing my students to a world of social goodwill. Michael Larsen and David Carr also were generous in offering their advice. I also met other writers and saw their joy and excitement which spurred me on to keep working on my book.
After the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, I began to gather more permissions for my extensive bibliography and research various printing and publishing options. There is so much available now. Meanwhile I continued to read and thanks to my daughter, I rediscovered the work of Carlos Castaneda. It seems that I had been waiting to find this as the Toltec understanding of non-linear, shamanic states paralleled my own experiences and explained so much. Nothing I had researched or read up til then had come close. Psychology seems to ignore the issue of “entities” and non-visible beings influencing us. Yet these are very real to a person in the throes of Kundalini awakening. The words of don Juan perfectly explained many of my experiences as nothing else could. Finally I knew that the book was really completed. I had finally got the satisfactory answers I was seeking when I started the book in 1993.
The workshop with Anne Hill in September 2013 was invaluable for providing web sites, helpers, resources and support for writers like me just getting started. I highly recommend her workshop. Find Anne at <serpentinemusic.com>, <http://CreativeContentCoaching.com> or email at email@example.com. Anne knows many resources for writers as her field is writer education. Her workshops are one day packed with valuable tips, lists, names and resources for a very reasonable price.
Next month I will go to the next San Francisco Writers Conference again, and that is just before the publication Launch of The Guru’s Gift on October 15th. Stay tuned…