Coincidental I think I was browsing some of this information recently.Somebody on reddit posted some really good questions on Kundalini Awakening, which I took the time to answer. I think I should also post it here, in case anyone's interested. Enjoy.
1. What exactly is Kundalini and how is it experienced, day to day? Is it just something you "use" or does it change the way you exist? Some of the posts I have read here almost seem to suggest that this energy can be turned on and off, like flipping a switch to put it roughly. Many suggest that it helps you learn about yourself, but that's not all it does, is it not? Psychologising yourself is no substitute for Kundalini awakening. A Kundalini awakening, at least as far as I understand it, entails at the starting point an awakening to a previously unknown dimension of spiritual awareness and action and at the end point when Kundalini conquers the Sahasrara Chakra and is fully integrated into you, it entails total enlightenment along the lines of Nirvana. Is that not correct? So in other words, from the start a Kundalini awakening should open up a whole new, different, previously unknown spiritual mode of consciousness/awareness? Does that not entail a sudden and total shift in mode of existence and perception, even if it only becomes perfected at the final stage?
- There is a difference between various stages of Kundalini awakening. Those that you may call “enlightened” are the ones in whom the condition of Kundalini Awakening is a permanent fixture. The actual term is Jivanmukta, Christians would call them saints, Buddhists would refer to them as Bodhisattvas, Jains as Tirtankharas, The point is, the serpent not only rose to the top and pierced the crown (Sahasrara), but is now permanently lodged there and doesn’t descend, ever. We know from Gopi Krishna’s writings that what is required to achieve this is to keep the serpent lodged in the crown for three days and nights. I once almost managed this, during a summer solstice, when I was particularly close to the goddess and the serpent was lodged in the crown for about three days and two nights. Ultimately, I feel short and it descended again, but during that time, it was like there was a sun next to me, I felt constant heat and light emanating, even during the night, when I was trying to sleep (but really couldn’t).
2. How do you distinguish Kundalini energy and its manifestations from a merely physical sensation of the body? Someone has suggested to me before that because of the Kundalini understanding of maya, no distinction is drawn because ultimately it doesn't matter. This seems to check out with my understanding of the tradition, but I still have the nagging feeling that a physical experience would not have the qualitative, spiritual character that I am hoping to obtain.
- Kundalini has many aspects, they can’t be divided from each other. There is a physical level, where there is noticeable neuroelectrical activity that takes place in the nervous system and the brain. There is an energetic aspect, which is closely linked to it. Then there is a spiritual and emotional aspect and finally a divine one, which is union with Brahman.
3. When looking for a teacher, how is one supposed to find anything on Kundalini other than Kundalini Yoga? I am aware that the posters on this subreddit dislike Kundalini Yoga. Having seen the reasons why, this makes sense to me, although admittedly I have not spoken to any proponent of Kundalini Yoga that could offer a different perspective. Nevertheless, the real issue for me is that I have no ties to any "spiritual" circles and looking up "kundalini" on the internet will in 100% of the cases return results about Kundalini Yoga rather than non-Yogic version of the Kundalini tradition, because of the nature of modern search engines and the popularity of Kundalini Yoga. I am consequently at an impasse.
- It’s tough, but Gopi Krishna’s writings remain the best source in my view. Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) is also pretty good, if a bit sensationalist. Other than that, anything you can find on Tantra and Shaktism could be helpful.
4. When still looking for a teacher, are there any recommendations on what preparations to undertake in order to make the best, fastest progress in the shortest possible time once a teacher is found? What preliminary work can an aspiring practitioner undertake alone in order to ensure a smooth, fast and easy journey?
- I never had a teacher (couldn’t find one where I lived), so I’ll pass on this one. But, you don’t actually need one, in my view. Sure, it would be much easier that way, but they’re hard to come by, especially if you live in a country with zero reputable teachers or absolutely no tradition in Kundalini or spiritual awakening, like I do. You’d probably have to move countries in most cases, if I’m honest. I once a found a suitable teacher in rural Rajasthan, but he would have required me to leave everything behind and move to the forest with him and his disciples, to devote the rest of my life to Yoga and meditation. I was 23, living half a world away and it was simply not practical for me to leave everything behind at that point. I also don’t know how you would handle the visa situation if you wanted to spend a couple of decades meditating under a tree. Normally you can only stay in India for 6 months as a tourist, and no, Indian immigration won’t care that you’re seeking enlightenment.
5. I have seen some posters here claim that they combine methods from multiple traditions for their own personal spiritual journey. I am drawn to this approach. I have marked out another method I wish to use later on, but it is hard to use without some sort of spiritual basis already achieved and it is difficult to reach that stage since today it's largely a "self-taught" method and it's very difficult to actually verify what consists in successful or unsuccessful practice. I have arrived at the conclusion that learning in the Kundalini tradition and then going with the flow of what I feel would be best, perhaps including the aforementioned method, should suffice to bring my spiritual journey to conclusion, but I am unsure if combining different methods is a good idea.
- If you’re going your own way and forging your own path, which for most people outside South and Southeast Asia, will pretty much be a necessity, I don’t see how you could avoid doing that. You will just have to try what works for you as an individual and stick with it.
6. I initially did not plan to ask this question and the next one, but I feel like I should. I know that in these matters, time is not something that can be calculated, but does it sound plausible for someone with a good teacher to have Kundalini pierce the Sahasrara in three months of serious and fully dedicated practice with some reasonable chance of success?
- Unless you almost got there in a previous life (there would be unmistakable signs of that) and are just completing the process now, that would have to be a no. Years to decades is more realistic if you’re just starting out. Age also matters, Kundalini Awakening usually takes place around age 33 , with a couple of years either side the norm. I simply don’t buy stories of 50-year olds starting from scratch, having never meditated before, achieving full Kundalini awakening in a matter of months.
7. If I recall correctly, I also saw a reputable poster on this subreddit suggest once that there are some techniques that exist which can instantly awaken the full extent of kundalini, presumably in a basically external manner, entirely administered through the teacher - although this second part is just my assumption. Is such a thing really possible? I suspect there would be some drawbacks to this, which I don't currently need to know - I just want to know if it's possible. Similarly, I believe that this is a separate matter from Shaktipaat, which as far as I understand it refers to awakening only the base or starting form of kundalini. I would welcome any corrections to possible misconceptions in that regard as well.
- They can transfer their own Kundalini energy and cause an awakening yes, but it would be more like a glimpse of the real thing, to motivate their students. It would then be up to them to work on themselves to make their Kundalini awakening a self-sustaining process. Masters can also remove blockages that hinder the process.
8. I have seen some posters refer to what they have called "physical kriyas", meaning physical movements that occur without their control and that can even throw them around a couple of metres into this or that direction. This sounds concerning to me, since phenomena of this type seem to entirely contradict the entire purpose of Kundalini - namely, growing and developing ever more advanced forms of self-understanding and self-control. A desire for self-control is one of my reasons for aiming at spiritual enlightenment and the possible existence of phenomena like this has unsettled me. Can anyone please explain this apparent contradiction?
- Kriyas shouldn’t be violent like that if the student is prepared. They are usually quite gentle, more like spasms and convulsions as the energy is trying to escape and overexcited neurons keep firing. Convulsions can get quite intense if a major blockage In a chakra is being cleared, but it will move into a state of bliss and utter relief after that, not unike what happens during and after a sexual orgasm, only this is spiritual in nature.