February 27, 2015

The Basics of Kundalini: Awakening our Serpentine Energy.


My first Kundalini awakening came when I was looking at a sunset.

It thought it was beautiful—the golden rays of the sun filtering through clouds, the beautiful red orb of fire descending into the horizon. And then, without knowing why, I began to weep. Something quite fantastic and indescribable happened: I began to see the sunset. I mean really look at it, enjoy it, immerse myself in it. The way a child can be absolutely fascinated by a flower, or a new toy, or anything interesting for hours on end.

The sunset quickly faded in the skies, but it stayed with me, churning powerfully through my body. My hands and face were flushed with an intense heat. I began to take in my living room, fascinated by every minute detail that I’d seen a hundred times before.

I felt a powerful sense of connection that I’d never known before. It was the direct experience, at the cellular level, of feeling One with all things. It wasn’t light and floaty, but a powerful, primal, fiery and earthly sense of connection and awakening. And no, I wasn’t on drugs. I felt old, older than I could ever be in this physical lifetime—Ancient, in a good kind of way.

However, after a few hours, I knew something was not quite right. Two weeks prior I had begun my work with activating the Kundalini with two teachers from Tamil Nadu (South India) and I understood it was a gradual process. They’d warned me about trying to do it too fast, and to go in phases. I hadn’t expected this lightning-bolt of energy to suddenly split wide open and fill me with a sense of absolute awe, focus and reverence for all that existed. I barely felt human!

And then the pain started. My head began to hurt and the center of my forehead felt like it would split open. The intense heat wasn’t going down, and with so much information and experiences coming my way, all I could do was sit in a chair.

I was having a “premature awakening,” where the being (Self) is not yet ready to handle the full-on experience of Kundalini Awakening. Quite a few of us go through this, and sometimes several times in one lifetime before we are really ready.

Thinking back to the way my facilitators had guided me through the process, I began to calm that ferociously wild, fiery, primal energy rising through my spine. A few hours later, I was back to my normal self. I still find that energy waiting to rise the moment I “let go” as I listen and dance to certain forms of rhythmic drumming, or am seated in deep meditation or intense chanting. Trusting myself, I’m making sure that I’m ready before I fully engage in the Kundalini Journey—and it seems to be coming up soon.

That brings me to why I’m writing this piece.

Raising the Kundalini is one of those “hot topics” within the spiritual community. More and more people are being exposed to the idea that it exists, that it can be raised, and that raising it is good for you. But that’s where discussion tends to stop, with a few notable exceptions. Whilst the Kundalini has the potential to be tremendously powerful and beneficial to you on your spiritual journey, it has an equal capacity to de-stabilize and destroy.

For those of you new to the topic, the Kundalini is a serpentine energy that remains dormant at the base of the human spine. Through spiritual activation, yoga and/or other practices, it can rise from the Mooladhara (Base/Root Chakra) up to the Sahasrara (Crown Chakra) or from the base of the spine to top of the forehead (with a strong emphasis on the Ajna / Third Eye Chakra). Once it reaches the Crown, you experience a profound moment of spiritual awakening and transformation that’s very hard to put into words, but utterly life-transforming.

Kundalini energy is also linked to the energy of the ‘Dark Goddess’, or Shakti in her primordial, raw, (often) terrifying, form—much like Mother Kali. It can be fiery-red, burning like the Core of Mama-Gaia, and somehow as ancient and dark as the Origins of the Universe itself. (Darkness here is a different form of sacred energy, it has nothing to do with negativity or evil).

There are various reasons why one’s Kundalini may spontaneously rise, especially for women as they progress through the biological life-cycle: When a young girl has her first period, when a woman pushes a child out of her womb, when she reaches that point in life where she enters menopause—these are times when that dormant Shakti energy can begin to rise spontaneously. Women are advised to attune themselves to their biological cycles first before working with this life-changing energy.

But what are its dangers? What do we need to know beforehand?

One thing we don’t often hear about is why learning how to lower the Kundalini is as important as learning how to raise it. If it stays upright too long, it can lead to profound imbalances in mental health and general well-being. Especially if it gets “stuck” at the Ajna (Third Eye) Chakra situated at the center of the forehead.

I’ve seen this happening with others. At first, there’s this sudden rush of energy which then continues on for too long. Left that way, it can lead to a manic-level of intensity, opening the gates to complete mental over-stimulation and breakdown, where hallucinations are not uncommon. All of this can be avoided with adequate preparation and getting the right kind of guidance from a seasoned facilitator.

Good questions to a prospective facilitator are: How long have they performed facilitations? For how many people? Do they teach how to both “raise and lower” this energy? How have they dealt with any adverse effects?

I hope sharing my experiences and suggestions will be of use to those of who you seek to raise your Kundalini.


Author: Bairavee Balasubramaniam

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Author’s own

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