Awakened Goddess: Kundalini at Play The Opportunity
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By Ruth Angela
(This chapter 1 is from an earlier version of the book The Hero's Path Within: Kundalini at Play which has been radically revised since this was first published. Nonetheless the information is still helpful. )
"Imagine a blind turtle, roaming the depths of an ocean the size of the universe. Up above floats a wooden ring, tossed to and fro on the waves. Every hundred years the turtle comes, once, to the surface. To be born a human being is said by Buddhists to be more difficult than for that turtle to surface accidentally with its head poking through the wooden ring. And even among those who have a human birth, it is said, those who have the great good fortune to make a connection with the teachers are rare; and those who really take them to heart and embody them in their actions even rarer, as rare, in fact, "as stars in broad daylight." (114)
Sogyal Rinpoche The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Few passages I know can explain so clearly the wonder and incredible privilege that is part of being born a human being. I often heard my teacher, Muktananda, say to be born a human is extremely rare and auspicious. Yet it seems such a paradox for these saints to tell us how rare this life is when we all live in such pain and many seem by their addictions and use of mind-altering substances to be trying to find a way out. Who is truly happy? We might ask, why do souls clamor to be born here?
As always the knowers of the truth have enigmas and paradoxes to offer our minds. This incredible value of human birth must appear to most of us to be some kind of cosmic joke. In discovering for myself what a human being can be, I have been able to see this paradox, even if for a moment, from both sides: that is from the side of the seers and the side of the trapped and limited human being. This was possible because I had a rare opportunity to meet an enlightened teacher and to be initiated and guided by him. The opportunity such a being offers is for us to become one with the divine while living in a physical body, and in my case, this involved awakening sleeping energy within me called "Kundalini."
Rising Kundalini is a normal part of our lives as we go through puberty and then later in the midlife crisis. Longings, sexual desires and yearnings for the ineffable arise at these times that send us on quests for answers to the meaning of our existence. However, the awakened Kundalini is this power magnified, made manifested within the body, and tuned up many degrees to create an alchemical fire; we are refined like mercury in the alchemist's crucible until we are transmuted into a higher being.
In 1974, I was given this gift of grace by Swami Muktananda in a dream and again more dramatically in 1979 at a meditation center. It is called "Shaktipat," or the touch of God, and caused the sleeping "Kundalini" or Holy Spirit to rise up through the body, creating a classic spiritual awakening. This began a mystical, alchemical process in me that has lead to many adventures and struggles, ultimately leading to a new understanding of myself and the meaning of life.
Thus human souls find their way to this blue jewel of a planet for the opportunity and the even rarer chance to meet the teacher who can point the way to the exit, the doorway to the cosmos and multidimensional awareness. The words of Muktananda reassure us, "Kundalini is the essence of Om. When She is awakened, lives which had seemed commonplace and arid, unenjoyable and frustrated, become gay and fluorishing [sic], filled with sweetness, contentment, and delight." (Play of Consciousness xxxvi). This is the reason life here is so rare. This is why only lucky souls are born human. This is why the process is so mysterious and life-altering. Becoming divine, finding unending joy is the jackpot, the billion, trillion to one opportunity. If this book can convey this important point to just one reader, then all my words and the nine years of writing this book will have been worth it.
Yet it gets better because, the really good news is that all the souls born on Earth now have more opportunity than in past aeons to awaken. There are signs that the phenomena of Kundalini awakening is increasing. Uranus is known by astrologers to influence the rise of Kundalini in mid-life, but this same influence is happening to the Earth. In ancient Sumerian times the Earth was called "Ki" which is to this day the name given to Kundalini by the Japanese and Chinese. Astrologers say that the influence of Uranus on the planet is having a powerful effect and "there will be an ongoing series of mass kundalini risings, no matter the age"(Marciniak 201). This is because the planet herself is moving to a new evolutionary level, and all those on board her too will be given the opportunity to evolve.
My friend James Clarke has a wonderful web site at http://www.theion.com which is full of wisdom and enlightened teachings. He says of the current period of our history :
I believe that we are living in a very special time in history. There
are windows of spirit that open to allow us a clear understanding
of what we are. These gates of awareness constellate like the stars,
creating patterns we can feel and understand with the heart. We
are entering into an epiphane of the soul, and the magi within us
can read these lights if we choose to follow the eternal star that
guides us home. It is everywhere around us -- from the east to the
west. Over the next few years many people will choose to accept
the inner light, bringing it ever closer to physical manifestation in
a variety of forms. As we approach this release of critical-mass, the
old portals of light will reappear and verify the ancient stories of
the eternal flame held by the spiritual initiates who say... You
have never left the Sacred Temple. This is your test of honoring
eternal truth. Are you up to it?
Is this awareness new to mankind? This knowledge of ascension or transcendence for man was always ours, but we have been mistaught, misguided and mislead by darker elements who have kept this knowledge to themselves, or forced it to be secret and hidden. This growing awakening will not come as a cloud from above, a huge space ship, a burning bush, a golden angel, but from inside the individual who is existing fully in the body, functioning as a member of society and family. This awareness will arise from the silence of the heart, a heart fully connected to the body. Many call it self realization.
Kundalini appears in many guises, almost as many as there are people. Symptoms of its awakening can be dramatic or subdued. In any case, trying to convey the experience of being in the throes of Kundalini awakening to others, is like trying to describe the depths of the ocean to a being who has never known water. Nathan Swartz-Salant writes:
Whoever has known the numinosum in a deep enough way for his or her life to have been unalterably changed by it
changed in such a way that they now see differently and now experience the center of personality as existing outside the egoŃsuch a person never understands this process. It for ever remains a mystery, one that he or she has been graced to participate in, and survive. (6)
Because I had a great teacher who initiated me, I have been surprised in my research that many souls have sought far and near for a guide who could ease some of the stressful symptoms or throw light on the confusion that often comes as the ego is dissolved. Even in saint-saturated India, such gurus are rare it appears from the reports. Thus any information on the subject, particularly from someone who has herself gone through the experience over twenty years ago, may prove helpful in times of confusion. Today it seems, there are more and more texts written about Kundalini as the interest appears to be increasing. For through Kundalini awakening, as the limited ego is dissolved by an alchemical transmutation, there comes a world beyond pain, limitation, fear and death. Everyone should have the opportunity to know this realm of possibility for humanity. Everyone should know why a human birth on this little planet is so prized, so rare and so treasured.
My initial experience was in early April 1974, a month before my daughter was conceived. I had a vivid dream of a visit by a tiger that filled me with an intensely wondrous love for months after and still to this day. (See appendix for a full transcript of the dream). Everything in the dream seemed prophetic and meaningful. I recently discovered that my guru was visiting Midlothian, Texas in April 1974 when I was living in a small town near there. I had just graduated from college and had been married about four years. It was the spring of my first successful year of teaching. The dream had been prophetic and--unlike my normal dreams. I know now that this was a "Shaktipat dream."
Years later I was able to look back and recognize the tiger's visit as Muktananda coming to awaken me from a long unconscious, unhappy life. Four years later in 1979, we were living in Hawaii. I had a beautiful daughter, a lovely home close to the most beautiful beach in Hawaii, and I was returning to University to get my Masters degree. I was, however, unhappily married to an unresponsive, emotionally blocked husband. My attempts to get help for our marriage were futile. This feeling of being suffocated by unhappiness, together with the overt flirtations of an attractive student in my classes, and my own clinging to marital conventions, combined to drive me to seek urgent release for stress. It was thus, I ventured into a meditation center for my teacher, and my life was never the same again.
My experiences and the outcomes I believe reveal insights about the hidden truth of our existence as human beings. The first clue is the story above told by Sogyal Rinpoche about the rarity of human birth. The reasons why human life is so rare have been revealed to me gradually through the years since the awakening. My birthday signifies the anniversary of my birth, which for astrologers is very significant in telling the story of ones' destiny in this life. However the date of spiritual birth, called Divya Diksha, is the one day in a thousand, thousand lifetimes when the repetition of rebirths (as in reincarnation) begins its final╚. This date truly is more rare than even the blind turtle surfacing through the wooden ring.
As significant as this date is in terms of the many incarnations into human life full of sorrows, loves, griefs and victories, the birth of spirit does not come without disturbances--significant ones in some cases. As H.W.L. Poonja states, " The mind has been cheating you for thirty-five million years, my dear children. You have been cheated. Stop this, now, hitchhiking from womb to womb"(74). The mind has been running the show for aeons, making us reincarnate to pay back endless and unfathomable karmic debts and dues. Yet this mind/ego is NOT who we are.
When the Kundalini is awakened she is the full consciousness returning to claim her place within us-- AS us. She sweeps out all the illusions that the mind has created, including the need to reincarnate over and over. With the awakening of Kundalini comes the opportunity to find the meaning of life and the full privilege of being human.
Following my awakening in 1979, I went through some dramatic changes, and over the years these changes have continued in more subtle ways. Initially I experienced enormous peace and bliss from the meditation. But later, as I began to clear past life karmas from my subtle memory, it felt as if my whole world was a mattress that was being turned over. Nothing I had clung to as reality prior to this event remained intact after this process began. It became a sort of mental, emotional, neural scouring scrub. Nothing I had ever done or learned in my life could have prepared me for this deconditioning of my mind and psyche. It is easy to feel that one has gone mad. But according to the renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Dennis Gersten, "Although there may be discomfort in Kundalini, there is no pathology"(111). My source of help with the crises and unusual experiences of this process was the faithful and true teachings and practices of my teacher. Without these, my story could have been very different. For this gift I remain eternally grateful.
The reader may be going through similar transformations which may involve the entire restructuring of the subtle nervous system. It can be frightening and confusing, as few people, even trained psychiatrists and therapists, can understand Kundalini in this 21st century. Knowing the limitations of trying to convey subtle experiences, I offer what I have understood; I am as much in awe of Kundalini now as I was in 1979 when I first experienced it. I am only an adept of my own awareness, yet trust that something here may resonate with the reader and bring some grasp of the awesome marvel that is the human being.
The truth of Kundalini dwells in the etheric realms for which there is little concrete, overt or empirical medium of communication to the human mind. Its passage through the human being creates symptoms, much like a large sea creature creates on the surface of the ocean. One can see movement and activity, but what is actually happening beneath is not easy to discern. It is an experience of the numinous--the supernatural or spiritual realms-- that requires faith and intuition. For as Gersten confirms, "when the kundalini has run its course, the so-called "symptoms" stop, and the individual finds himself much better integrated, mentally and physically" (111). The time that this takes varies, but in my case it was about two years.
The paradox of this awesome power of Kundalini is that it comes into the limited human being who is completely duped into believing himself separate from this very essence of his being. This birth that each human earned by great merit, this birth that is accomplished against all the odds should be so celebrated, yet is not respected particularly in the material world of the 21st. Century. Everyday we hear of youth throwing away their minds and lives in drugs, alcohol and carelessness. Their deepest need for the meaning of life is not being met in the modern life of society. This modern world of technology, artificial entertainment and fun, fake food, slave-like regimentation, and spiritless monotony does not speak to the inner states, the soul realm, the cosmic realms, the heart's yearnings and the primal human quest for meaning. Instead this world feeds more and more of the ego's two dimensional limitations, the linear, and soul-less. Many souls are stirring now to find the true significance of their birth.
Humans so pressed in by 21st Century meaninglessness and boredom are questing for something that speaks to the life force within. Without knowledge of the ancient yoga teachings, they try drugs or alcohol finding a glimpse of the truth of their being, yet becoming inevitably hooked by the greedy entities of these substances into a downward spiral to hell. They mistake that drug-induced glimpse of their inner world as belonging to drugs, but that glimpse of beauty, of peace, or joy belongs to the higher states of every human being. It is not in these substances, but deep within the beingness of the person. It belongs to the human being, the being so honored by birth on planet Earth.
After my Kundalini was awakened, I had many awesome experiences that I am told parallel drug experiences, yet I have never taken recreational drugs. Awareness of the truth of man's nature gives all we seek without harm to others, harm to the physical body, or harm to the subtle nadis, or subtle channels, through which enlightenment takes place. Education and awareness of the inner resources that come built into human birth would end all this suffering and waste. It is nothing short of tragic that the preciousness of human birth is thrown away in mind-altering, greed-controlled drugs and alcohol.
Ken Wilber in The Atman Project states that "the re-discovery of this infinite and eternal Wholeness is men and women's single greatest need and wantń --every sentient being constantly intuits that his prior Nature is the infinite and eternal" (102). Some souls rem ember dimly the infinite universe they belonged to prior to entering the physical body. But these are few. We all agreed in taking a human body on Earth to be limited, shrouded from our true nature and connection to the divine as part of the opportunity to experience life in this dimension--the dimension of time/space and free will. But the good news is there is an opportunity within this limitation to know something incredible about ourselves. We are THAT which is the divine ONE in whose body we dwell. Kundalini awakening is the spark that activates the unravelling of the limitations. It is the Goddess returning to claim us for Herself.
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