Central Nervous System Irritability After Kundalini's Awakening
Details how an unprecedented central nervous system irritability came to dominate my consciousness immediately following kundalini's awakening.
Argues that this irritability was the result of a heightened sensitivity of my consciousness that would take my body and mind several years to adapt to.
Describes how I used long walks, devitalized foods, and sleep to slow down and ground my consciousness.
Argues that in order to calm kundalini's presence inside of me I had to avoid direct sunlight, panoramic vistas, jarring motions, and intellectual over-stimulation.
Details how I frequently felt trapped in my conversations with tedious and exhausting people.
Explains my use of the terms "drained" and "wired" to describe my fluctuating energy states.
Kundalini Awakening - Spiritual Signs And Symptoms - February 8, 2003
Within weeks of kundalini's awakening in October 1985 several changes occurred in me.
I began to eat dead foods -- foods with little or no life force -- almost exclusively. I found this necessary in order to depress kundalini's energy presence within me. Live foods -- especially fresh fruits -- made my energy race: I could neither sleep nor focus my mind if I ate them. It wasn't until five or six years after kundalini's awakening that I could tolerate eating a cantaloupe, for example, though I had previously enjoyed eating large quantities of them. During these particularly sensitive early years I also ate few of the large raw salads that had previously been a staple in my diet.
I remained a vegetarian, however. I recall eating a lot of steamed tofu and potatoes. This was partly because -- as a college student living in substandard rental units -- I didn't have access to a real kitchen and had to rely on a portable steamer that I operated in my little bedroom.
I also developed quite a taste for health-food style cookies and sweet breads. I gained ten pounds from the preponderance of flour, honey, oil, and butter in these foods. Though these latter items definitely had sugar in them, because they lacked the vital force of fresh fruit, they did not have the unwanted effect of escalating my subtle energy level.
I began to have an unprecedented aversion to casual sun exposure. Direct sunlight became an irritation to me. When walking to school I chose shady sides of the street. I had never done this before. I had rowed collegiate crew the previous year -- with plenty of noonday sun out on the water -- during which time it had never occurred to me to shield myself from the sun. Previously, I had always been eager to feel direct sunlight on my bare skin. I had been an outdoor sports enthusiast for as long as I could remember. Going out for daily hour-long runs, I rarely wore shirts. So it was unprecedented for me to find direct sunlight irritating and overwhelming to my senses. It was only late in the day, near sunset, that I would turn to face the sun directly, standing still with my eyes closed, focusing my attention on its warmth and light. I could only tolerate weak direct sunlight -- and I had to fully attend to it. I did not like direct sunlight on me unless it was diluted -- and unless I stopped everything I was doing and paid full attention to it.
I have a picture of myself at the beach during this time. Though it could not have been that cold, the photo shows me lying down on the sand, wearing a long black wool overcoat, long thermal underwear, and a shirt wrapped about my face, with my hands dug deep into my coat pockets. Only the skin of my feet was visible. My best friend from college, X, took a picture of my feet as I lied in this position, insulated from the sun's rays. I could not have been more comfortable, protected as I was from the sun's rays. I loved the sun's warmth, however, and got plenty of it as the black overcoat soaked up the thermal radiation.
I still continued to enter waking dream states after kundalini's awakening. I enjoyed lying down in bed, with my butt propped up on pillows, feet stretched up on the wall above me. With the pressure of blood and other body fluids increased in my head, kundalini's energy presence would intensify. I would hear a ringing in my ears and a warmth wash over my body that would last throughout this half-hour-or-so-long state of absorption. The sometimes loud ringing in my ears was new, however. As well, there would be occasional instances where there would be a tingling and a suction sensation in my testicles. And, which was also new, and which was also always the case, I would emerge from these waking dream states feeling and looking haggard, with bags under my eyes, as if I had lost vital force via an orgasm. Though I felt more psychologically integrated after these states of absorption, and though these episodes were frequently accompanied by sensations of dripping and pleasure at my brain's center, they came at the cost of my physical vitality. The glow of my skin and the vigor of my muscles -- in short, the radiance and vitality of my youth -- were all sacrificed for kundalini's developmental maturation.
The words "drained" and "wired" became integral to my vocabulary. I had never made use of these words before. My friends became infected with this new perspective and began to use them as well. Both words had a wide range of meanings, and were applied to a variety of situations throughout the day. They referred to a person's energy state. As my own energy had become much more sensitive, irritable, and intense than prior to my awakening, words to describe this fluctuating energy assumed a central role in my self understanding and daily conversations.
"Drained" referred to any state where my energy had been sapped to the point of exhaustion. Such states included, for example, my having eaten too much; orgasmed too much; or listened to someone well beyond my capacity to attend to him/her (usually it was a him). The kundalini process requires much energy for its inner physiological and psychological adaptations. Therefore, I needed much time and space for renewal and self-reflection. Too much food in my stomach stalled these adaptations, diverting much-needed resources to my gastrointestinal tract. Paying too much attention to someone -- especially someone who was not paying attention to me -- also led to a palpable debilitation of my energy level. Anything that "drained" me -- especially external sources of stimulation -- left telltale rings of energy depletion under my eyes.
Being "wired" referred to a condition in which my energy felt hot and irritated. My consciousness at such times seared me. It raced out-of-control. It was quite the opposite of the haggard condition of being "drained." Typically, I became "wired" from intellectual over-stimulation. Being forced to pay too much attention to external events -- or just thinking about anything for too long -- sent my consciousness spiraling out-of-control. Paying attention to anything at these times was a suffering. The only thing that helped calm me down was food, long walks, and -- once my consciousness had settled -- a good long sleep. A boring lecture, a friend who talked too much, or having to read too late into the evening would generally over-excite my nervous system. It would take hours and many fervent prayers of apology to regain my equanimity.
If I persisted too long in an activity that I knew to be irritating me, there would eventually come a distinct shift and an audible "snap" in kundalini's ascending current. Immediately following this snap a discordant pitch would play in my ears that would persist for some hours, until which time, when kundalini's flow normalized, the shrill, irritating noise would be replaced by a gentle ringing.
I'd always been a "control freak" with respect to my consciousness. I'd never pursued altered states of consciousness that were not grounded in the normal, socially adaptive functioning of my body and mind. I'd smoked marijuana only a couple of times and found the loss of control associated with its use intensely displeasurable: It was essential that I knew "who" I was -- and that I had a sense of control over the flow of sensory input coming into me. I had never wanted more stimulation to my senses than what my mind and body could integrate and make meaningful. So it was particularly disturbing to me when, after kundalini's awakening, my consciousness would occasionally race ahead of me, beyond my ability to restrain or calm it. At these times I felt like I was drowning in a cacophony of sensory incoherence and over-stimulation of my senses. These experiences taught me that it was imperative that I slow down kundalini's progress so that input felt integrated and non-threatening -- or vice versa: that I slow down input so that kundalini's progress felt integrated and non-threatening. My intuition told me that a sense of harmony, optimism, and joy should form the daily fabric of my life -- and that any perceptions other than that indicated that things were not right, that my orientation was off, that I had stumbled somewhere along the way.
Most of the time, especially in the years immediately following kundalini's awakening, I could tolerate intellectual stimulation only in small doses. My consciousness and nervous system had new sensitivities and broadened capabilities that would take considerable time to adapt to. I needed to ground and make emotionally and physically meaningful to me all input coming into my brain. If intellectual stimulation passed saturation point -- something that happened frequently -- there would be a perceptible shift -- a "snap" that was internally audible -- in kundalini's energy flow up my spine and into my brain. At these times the gentle ringing in my ears would become discordant and harsh. This occurrence signaled that I had pushed my intellectual attention too far. I would have to stop everything, have something to eat, and go for a walk -- regardless of the weather or time of day. Tedious and contradictory lectures, as well as lending an ear to friends who talked too much, plunged my consciousness into a chaos remediable only by the self-reflective, mind-and-body balancing treatment of a three-hour walk.
The unwanted shift or "snap" of a relatively calming energy flow to a hot and discordant one was always preceded by a physical and emotional restlessness and irritability. My body and emotions would be telling my mind for some time that it was time to stop and do something else with my attention. It was only on account of my obsessive, persistent, reckless disregard of these intuitions that my consciousness would be thrust into a "wired" and out-of-control state. Over time I came to do a much better job of honoring these warning signals.
Basically, after kundalini's awakening, my life became an energetic balancing act. It was quite difficult to feel balanced, healthful, and positively disposed to my worldly demands. My moods -- my energy states -- ranged from being "drained" to being "wired" on a daily basis. It was only through heavy meals of cooked foods, long walks, lots of sleep, and a strong constitution that I made it through the difficult early years of an awakened state.
I recall also that as I approached the danger point during a long conversation that I would begin to pace and fidget like a caged animal. My spirit would beg for release from the hold of the object of my externally-fixated attention. It was difficult for me to tolerate people who siphoned off my energy. I felt defenseless: When in another person's presence, I could not help but give them my full, undivided attention. It was impossible for me to focus internally, or on something other than the person with whom I spoke or to whom I was compelled to listen. It would be nearly impossible for me to part from them without their explicit permission. As good listeners are difficult to find, speakers rarely showed compassion toward me, carrying on at great length with whatever they needed to relate to me. I would feel an over-excitation, building to a breathless madness, like a great roar of ocean surf inside of me. Being pinned down for too long in any social context sent my consciousness into a frenzied state. Arriving at such a state, only a three-hour walk could bring my being back into a state of calm and psychic integration.
I could not tolerate scenic vistas for some years following kundalini's awakening. My consciousness would reel and there would be a burning sensation in my eyes and brain whenever I looked out upon a panoramic vista. There were some places high in the hills above my house that I used to frequent in order to gaze upon the town of [x] and the city of San Francisco across the water in the distance. These mountain perches were particularly beautiful at sunset with the fog rolling in from the ocean to blanket the city, or at night with all the lights twinkling. But just as I shied from direct contact with bright sunlight, so I had to protect myself from such beautiful sights. Both overwhelmed the new and heightened sensitivities inside me. Finding myself in locations of great beauty, I was forced to cast my eyes to the ground: There would be too great an influx of prana and information otherwise.
My habit of exercising heavily changed as well. I found running to be too jarring to my brain. The reverberations in my skull caused by running set my consciousness aflame. If I went for an hour's run, against my better judgment, I would be beset by a searing irritation throughout my central nervous system that would last for several hours. "Long and slow" became the operative phrase for my aerobics program following kundalini's awakening. But it was more difficult now to get the boost to my metabolism that my body craved; so I deepened my practice of walking up hills, and I began to use stationary aerobics machines. The point was to sweat in a meditative manner -- without any jarring to this delicate new awareness.
Similarly, I found that spinning motions and placing myself in an upside-down position caused me to feel unusually nauseous and disoriented. Such motions as leaning over with my head in an inverted position or standing up and twirling about had never been associated with uncomfortable sensations prior to kundalini's awakening. Even now, some twenty years later, I become nauseous easily from spinning and inverting myself. I would have to say that being upside down -- and especially looking from an upside-down position -- makes my whole being feel ill.
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