DO NOT AWAKEN YOUR KUNDALINI WITHOUT PROPER GUIDANCE BY AN EXPERIENCED TEACHER OR GURU - SOME FORMS OF EASTERN YOGA MIGHT BE DANGEROUS AND NOT APPROPRIATE FOR THE WEST - Please notice that the forced awakening of the kundalini through yoga and / or meditation can be very dangerous without proper preparation and guidance. I've been told through an esoteric school that kundalini starts to flow naturally if the spiritual practice is natural and not forced. Once awakened, it can cause tremendous overwhelming mystical experiences with poor guidance of Masters in the West, because these people are more to be found in the East. One might end up in a psychiatric institution if the kundalini is awakened by forcing the energies, instead of the more natural awakening under the guidance of a Guru / Master. From my experience, psychiatrists don't know much about kundalini. I hope this will change soon as we evolve towards a more intagral approach, including East-West-psychology and cross-cultural studies on yoga and shamanism included.
Kundalini is called the "Serpentine" or the annular power on account on its spiral-like working or progress in the body of the ascetic developing the power in himself. It is an electric fiery occult or Fohatic power, the great pristine force, which underlies all organic and inorganic matter. - Helena Blavatsky in the Soul of the Silence.
Gopi Krishna gave birth to the work of the Institute for Consciouss Research where these things can be scientifically studies, as doctor Ithzak Bentov - visit http://www.icrcanada.org/
Professor of Psychology David Lukoff did some important research on kundalini, and made it available for psychology/psychiatry (information from his website below) :
Note : I had my own experience with a very powerful kundalini awakening in my early twenties and I didn't have the comfort of being guided by a guru 24/7. I was most on my own, only the people from the Theosophical Society gave me tips, and a local shaman, but in the end I ended up in psychiatry after a suicide attempt because I was thinking about really losing my mind and I had no teacher that could help me day and night, mainstream psychology don't know anything about shamanic experiences and /or kundalini awakening in the mental health community yet - I hope this will change soon. Their purpose for the psychology of the future, is to master altered states themselves, meditate, get involved in yoga, in order to know these things as facts. Reductionary science doesn't tend to believe in kundalini or shamanic crises, because the medical model can't explain it yet - the field of transpersonal psychology is the first branch of psychology that scientificilly researches these phenomena. Hopefully this will change soon as we evolve towards a more integral approach in science and philosophy, so that these experiences or more known and better guided. Doctor Richard Bucke wrote a book about Cosmic Consciousness (click link to read online), which discusses the lives of people who through the evolutionary crisis developed Cosmic Consciousness, what Bucke sees as a higher stage in evolution. In fact, it's the next step for humanity to take on the long run. The book by Bucke discusses the lives of some prophets, poets and mystics with Cosmic Consciousness.
Don't experiment with kundalini without proper guidance by a teacher / guru, so hard to find in the West. If you've experienced it spontaneously, seek for a transpersonal or integral therapist/psychiatrist or helper. There are spiritual emergency networks online, who offer some help. So far, this is the only thing in the West that is available, because science does not recognise the fact of these experiences (writing 2014 in Belgium) in the biological model and within the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm, which believes only in the visible reality, and exclude subtle realities like chakra's and so on, these states and stages or too often labeled as only hallucinations, Mr Gene Kieffer and the Kundalini Research Foundation are working on the subject (see at the bottom of this page, after Dr. David Lukoff's information). We hope for a paradigm shift towards a more holistic view on things, based on consciousness studies, beyond the brain (thinking that the brain equals consciousness is a reductionary approach, the brain is only a transmitter, but consciousness is non-local). I believe - together with Gopi Krisha - that many forms of psychosis and or bipolar depression might be a disbalanced kundalini at work. Grounding exercises and proper guidance is necessary and if it really gets to overwhelming, sometimes small amount of neuroleptics are helpful, just to survive the crisis.
Excerpt from Dr David Lukoff's website :
Kundalini awakening is probably the most common type of spiritual emergency. The Spiritual Emergence Network Newsletter reported that 24% of their hotline calls concerned kundalini awakening experiences. In the Hindu tradition, kundalini is spiritual energy presumed to reside at the base of the spine. When it is awakened, it rises like a serpent up the spine, and opens the chakra psychic centers situated along the spine from the tailbone to the top of the head.
As each chakra opens, new levels of consciousness are revealed. Since the consciousness of most people is fairly restricted, the opening of the chakras is accompanied by consciousness expansion and purification of the limitations or impurities that correspond to each chakra.It is associated with physical symptoms including:
Bonnie Greenwell, Ph.D., is a transpersonal therapist whose work focuses on kundalini awakening problems. I concur with her view that the term kundalini is most applicable to problems specifically associated with meditative practices. When Dr. Greenwell was queried about a case which included symptoms such as shaking at night, which can occur in kundalini awakening, she responded,
If the person had presented me with a description of an awakening experience, if he did exercises such as meditation, yoga, or a martial art regularly, or if he experienced strong meditative states where he went beyond concentration into stillness or a sense of unity, then I would be more likely to consider it Kundalini.Kundalini QuestThe DSM-IV, in Appendix I, includes "qi-gong psychotic reaction," which is similar to kundalini awakening. (qi-gong or chi Kung is an ancient Chinese moving meditative practice). Meditation and yoga have also been associated with problematic experiences of non ordinary consciousness (see Lee Sannela, The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence?).
Stuart Sovatsky, PhD Director of the Kundalini Clinic, notes,
That some problems arise as a result of the most auspicious of spiritual experiences, long documented in diverse religions, must, in such cases, also be considered.Unlike those suffering from psychosis, individuals experiencing kundalini are,
typically much more objective about their condition, communicate and cooperate well, show interest in sharing their experiences with open-minded people, and seldom act out. (Stanislav and Christina Grof, Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis)
ASSOCIATED CLINICAL PROBLEMS
Kundalini awakening can resemble many disorders, medical as well as psychiatric. The symptoms can mimic conversion disorder, epilepsy, lower back problems, multiple sclerosis, heart attack or pelvic inflammatory syndrome. The emotional reaction to the awakening of kundalini can be confused with disorders involving anxiety, depression, aggression, and organic syndromes.
Bonnie Greenwell, Ph.D. did her dissertation study of individuals who had a kundalini awakening. She summarizes the clinical issues that she observed in her book, Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process
She describes a number of key featrues of kundalini awakening which were difficult for people in her study:
1. Pranic movements or kriyasPrana is the Hindu word for vital energy. As intense energy moves through the body and clears out physiological blocks, some people experience intense involuntary, jerking movements of the body, including shaking, vibrations, spasm and contraction.
2. Yogic Phenomena
Some people find themselves performing yogic postures or hand mudra gestures which they have never learned or could not do in a normal state of consciousness. Similarly, they may produce Sanskrit words or sounds. Unusual breathing patterns may appear with either very rapid or slow, shallow breathing. Some people may not breathe at all for extended periods.
3. Physiological SymptomsKundalini awakening often generates unusual physiological activity which can present as heart, spinal, gastrointestinal, or neurological problems. Internal sensations of burning, hypersensitivity to sensory input, hyperactivity or lethargy, great variations in sexual desire, and even spontaneous orgasm have been reported.
4. Psychological UpheavalEmotions can swing from feelings of anxiety, guilt, and depression (with bouts of uncontrollable weeping) to compassion, love, and joy.
5. Extrasensory ExperiencesSome people experience visions of lights, symbols, spiritual entities. Auditory sensations may include hearing voices, music, inner sounds or mantras. There may also be disruption of the proprioceptive system, with loss of a sense of self as a body, or an out of the body experience.
6. Psychic PhenomenaA person may experience precognition, telepathy, psychokinesis, awareness of auras and healing abilities.
7. Mystical States of ConsciousnessA person may shift into altered states of consciousness where they directly perceive the unity underlying the world of separation and experience a deep peace and serenity. (see Karin Hannigan, Ph.D. for additional description of these)
The sudden onset of these experiences led many in Greenwell's study to become confused and disoriented.
In some cases, the psychological upheaval is so acute that it resembles a psychotic episode. But as with other spiritual emergencies, medication can further complicate the process (see medication). Dr. Greenwell suggests that it would be therapeutic for the individual to study some of the Eastern theories and descriptions of kundalini. Her other recommendations follow the basic treatment guidelines for all spiritual emergencies (see Lesson 5),
Look for ways to discharge this energy by running, exercising, gardening, or working with something solid like wood or clay. I would suggest doing a regular meditation practice, and letting the process develop and teach him. . .The best support is a balanced lifestyle and a commitment to live one's life in alignment with the vision it brings — that is, if you have a heart-opening or a visionary experience, instead of being attached to holding onto it, ask yourself what you can bring into the world as service to it. . .Think of it as if the amps have been raised in your electrical system. This is why balance, taking care of ourselves, being in nature, and regular physical exercise all help. We may have to change old patterns to meet the invitation to a new kind of energy flow and engagement with spirit in our lives. (Nighttime Shakes)She also suggests creative activities such as art, music, or writing for expressing it.
If the kundalini is associated with a specific spiritual practice, such as yoga, then consultation with a teacher who also has mental health training would be advisable. Learning some basic yogic breathing practices, under the supervision of a knowledgeable yoga teacher, can help guide this energy. Kundalini awakening offers a profound opportunity for expansion of creativity and intelligence, emotional depth, and a call to service in the world.
Kundalini Awakens — A Personal Account
by Ruth Trimble
WWW LIBRARYThe WWW Library of Religion and Spirituality contains articles and interviews on kundalini awakening and links to resources such as the Kundalini Clinic.
1 Lukoff, D. The SEN Hotline: Results from a telephone survey. SEN Newsletter, March 1988.
Source : http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/blackboard/lessons/types/kundalinitype.htm
Gene Kieffer, Gopi Krishna and the Kundalini Research Foundation.