God’s existence and nature might always be in question, but what no human being can ever question is the fact of life itself.
This animating principle is in evidence on all sides in each perception and experience. Life Energy has been variously named “Kundalini, Chi, Ki, Ruach ha Kadosh, Divine Energy, Prana, Shakti, the Odic Force, the Holy Spirit, the Pearl of Great Price, the Serpent Power, the Rod of Aaron, the Sacred Fire, Osiris, and the Sun Behind the Sun”. The Kundalini traditions tell us that through its “flow, matter and spirit manifest as opposite ends of a single continuum.” – Olga Louchakova – Kundalini Rising (KR).
The spiritual and moral implications of this insight are enormous in light of the very real challenge humanity now faces. The looming environmental crisis, where all the resources at our disposal have to be employed, include resources which might at first glance seem too esoteric to be practical. Yet, given the toxic nature of consensus reality and the combative prism of so-called ordinary consciousness, it well behooves those of us in the healing and ministerial professions to promote into public discourse any understanding that might allow alternatives to the present mass unconsciousness which threatens our very survival as a species.
Sounds True editor Tami Simon writes in Kundalini Rising “…more and more people are having experiences of spiritual awakening. I base this belief on reports that I hear from contemporary spiritual teachers along with increased public acceptance of practices such as meditation, energy healing and kundalini yoga – all practices that are designed to dissolve our solid sense of self and open us up to the transformative power of awareness.”
Many seekers have had spiritual awakening without the support structure or language to allow an easy embrace of both its unique challenges and its many specialized demands – allowing an understanding that this is simply part of the fact that “All beings are on an evolutionary journey, not just a Darwinian one.” That, “There is an evolution of consciousness reaching towards perfection, oneness and divinity.” – (BLN).
This awakening to the truth of who we are and what this new life appears to be”the path to a new consciousness and the means of our survival as we transition into the next stage of species evolution.” – Dorothy Walters – (KR).
It is said that awakening dawns “when we realize how finite are the limits of gratification or possible fulfillment within the play of forms, then despair arises. That despair is born of the world-weary understanding that nothing in form can provide ultimate meaning.” – Baba Ram Das – (BLN).
Continuing, “the power of Kundalini… has to do with stripping away our illusions of separateness and our attachments to our personal history. Kundalini leaves us with a sense of vastness within and a connection with the entire field of consciousness – both in its essential stillness and its expression as form.”
Within the context of the awakening experience one appears to be overwhelmed by such a vividness and incontestable apprehension of reality, which utterly transcends and overtakes the dull report of the purely physical senses. Bonnie Greenwell states that “as we rest in consciousness without an attachment to “me”, Kundalini may unfold itself, and we are not troubled by its methods, just as the world unfolded its appearance and we are not troubled by that either.” – (KR).
This “peace that passeth understanding” carries us into the next phase of spiritual maturation. She continues: “… relaxing into the living of awakening can takes many years of seeing through and abandoning our old patterns, concepts, and structures, which will arise often or occasionally, following the realization of Self.” Spiritual awakening is “the way the universe is playing itself into conscious recognition of its own roots.”
We are warned that the awakening experience itself “is not the completion of the awakening process – a fact rarely discussed in spiritual circles.” – Stuart Perrin – (KR). Continuing he says that “Without inner strength, it’s almost impossible for love to survive the intense battle being fought in the human mind… It’s almost impossible for innocence to thrive in a survive in a world full of greed. But love and innocence, joy and happiness are essential ingredients in spiritual evolution. They are what makes us human. They are what we are born to learn. They are the highest language of God on earth.” My emphasis.
Ram Das speaks of the essential difference between emotional love and “soul love”, saying that emotional love is based on what is external to us – and soul love is based on our essential nature that we are awakening to. “Emotional love is based on external gratification, having our love reflected back to us. It’s not founded on feeling love from inside. That’s why we keep needing more.” This closed feedback loop would appear to equally apply to all those other all too human “needs” expressed as greed, lust etc.! On the true nature of love R D states that “Love is actually a state of being…. a divine state… the state to which we all yearn to return… The equation changes when we understand love in a more universal way, as a way to get to the One.”
This unity-with-Oneness state which he speaks of is perfectly expressed in part of a poem by St. John of the Cross –
“Oh, gentle fiery blade!
Oh, beautiful wound!
You soothe me with your blazing caress.
You pay off my old debts,
and offer me a taste of the eternal.
In slaying me, you transform death into life.
Oh, flaming lantern!
You illuminate the darkest pockets of my soul.
Where once I wallowed in bitter separation
now, with exquisite intensity
I radiate warmth and light to my Beloved.”
LIVING FLAME OF LOVE – translated by Mirabai Starr BLN
In terms of method where no method is guaranteed Laurence Edwards advises us to “Drown the ego-mind in stillness if you truly want to know the Knower – the Self of All…” He continues in warning “too often people receive so many graces, so many treasures, but their minds are so full of holes, these blessings leak out in no time.” – (KR)
The suggested means for becoming a fit vessel for the receiving and sustaining the gifts of Divine grace, are the fundamental removal, Stuart Perrin writes of“bloated ego, of lack of patience, of lack of compassion and forgiveness.” When this happens, he continues – “there’s the slow dissolution of our tendency to judge other people based on preconceived notions of what’s right or wrong… we gradually get close to a state of nothingness that allows Higher Energy to guide our lives.” –
It is in this divine emptiness that inner silence deepens to become inner stillness, a state where we are not compelled to rise to every reactive trigger in our daily lives – then remaining at rest in sacred stillness we can at last listen to the “still small voice” deep within. Then, living according to the dictates of the Higher Self we find true happiness as self existent.
Gurucharan Singh Khalsa says that “the goal is happiness. It is to be fulfilled as a human being. It is to awaken our potential for awareness and to synchronize our finite and infinite realms into seamless effective action – more specifically – the ultimate control we have is our attention and awareness that add choices to our life beyond the constant flow of instinctual thought, feelings and reactions that form the habitual patterns we live.” – (KR).
Seng-tsan, Third Zen Patriarch in (BLN) says “… to awaken even for a moment is to go beyond appearance and emptiness…”
RD says, “When I speak of a liberated being, I mean someone who is free from entrapment in any plane of consciousness or relative reality… a person who is liberated from this physical/psychological plane is someone who can break the identification with that which is born and dies, that which desires birth and believes in death…” He continues, “the paradox of the One is that when the ego dissolves, there’s an experience, but no experiencer… there’s also the existential reality of that state, being in the physical body and at the same time in the void, the Absolute. Then the ultimate place is to be in form and not in form simultaneously, one foot in the world and one foot in the void, a physical reality completely continuous with perfect luminous emptiness… – this is to go beyond appearance and emptiness as antagonistic to one another.”
One thing RD says is quite beautiful – (if you don’t mind the intrusion of a personal opinion) – “egolessness is not nonexistence, but an effulgence of being.”
Speaking of realized souls RD says these “beings… open my spiritual heart. These beings are like luminous jewels of higher consciousness, beacons to seekers. They are mirrors for others and are themselves pure statements of the highest human evolution…
They have become it all, completed the circuit from the personal to the One. To gaze into the eyes of such beings or to hear of their lives resonates within each of us in a place where we know. These eyes are windows on eternity, a mirror of the Self that we share. These beings reflect in themselves the vast landscape that stretches between humankind and God, form and the formless. The kingdom of heaven is within them – Brahma, the formless source, does exist within each individual, and the sleeping giant within us stirs and is awakened by this resonance.”
Shah Latif (1689 – 1752) says –
“Dye thy heart deep in His love,
For real lovers drink the cup of Nothingness, and
Pass away in the valley of Amazement, in remembrance of Him.”
“When you understand that form is the form of the formless, your coming and going takes place nowhere else but where you are. When you understand that thought is the thought of the thoughtless, your singing and dancing is no other than the voice of the Dharma.” – (BLN).
Continuing this theme of identity with the Self rather than the ego-mind self RD says “As I identify more with my soul, I feel more detached from the drama of my incarnation. As I become more aware as a soul, I am less an actor in the drama. The soul is (pure) my insert awareness.”
RD – “As one dives deeper into the realm of the spirit, there is similarity at the root of each religion. From the standpoint of universality, their founders are aspects of the same Being in different guises. It’s like a change of sets and costumes for a different cultural context.
Consciousness, self-awareness is what makes us human. It’s the tool with which we work out our worldly problems, our personal, social, and political relationships. If consciousness is the arrow of human evolution, then these beings set the bar for all our aspirations. Their unitary consciousness and the depth of their selfless love and compassion are the light at the end of humanity’s tunnel. Their example of what is humanly possible reverberates through history.”
BLN – Ramana Maharshi said, “The Self of the Advaitas (Nondualists) is the God of the bhaktas.”
The nature and purpose of life, the ways and means to achieve it are outlined in each of these books representing the gifts of the divine within the awakened human heart in its ultimate transection with the Heart of the Divine.
Since the illusion of separateness seems to be the cause of so much of our distress, the cure would seem to be allowing that illusion to dissolve. Even though the gates of heaven cannot be stormed, it appears that to become spiritually fit for the grace of revelation might mean allowing the rigid outlines of self-identity to become more spiritually permeable membranes. If any words could ever assist in this process then these two books might give us each the courage to go beyond the boundaries of the limited personal self to find true belonging and the end of grief in the Self of All That is!
Each of them offer unique insights into the landscape of longing and varied practical means to its ready fulfillment and even though they appear to come from different ends of the spectrum of spiritual practice – the yoga of Kundalini and the path of the devotee, they each offer penetrating understanding and real hope beyond the self-defeating habits of the merely material view of reality. A must for any APDS students personal library!
I leave you with this quote from the kundalini experience of Dorothy Walters -“this… was the holiest of holies, the most sacred of all possible human experiences. It told me that the divine was all, and that I was but a minute particle in an ongoing and unfathomable process of an unknown vastness, ultimate love itself pouring through and maintaining the entire structure of the cosmos.”
Rev. Andre van Zijl