Heart Chakra Opening - Kundalini's Descent - Kundalini Awakening - Descending Force / Current
or The Awakening of Kundalini's Descending Force - The Heart Chakra Opens
Details the opening of my heart chakra, some nine years after my initial kundalini awakening.
Describes my use of meditation and hiking as a means to intensify kundalini's presence within me.
Describes my aversion to disabling, body-erasing, "pyrotechnic" states of samadhi. Describes the seeking of enlightenment via the central nervous system and the ascending current of kundalini as largely escapist. Makes the case for the state of whole body enlightenment as being far more preferable and of greater evolutionary importance. Argues that such an enlightenment involves the fulfillment and liberation of one's body, emotions, and entire range of perceptual relations to the world.
Describes an experience of near-enlightenment within my brain. Details how this experience was associated with a feeling of perceptual disconnect from my body and all worldly relationships. Describes how my heart muscle erupted in protest, bringing all my attention to my heart and body. It was as if my heart screamed to me, "No, you idiot! Salvation lies here!"
Describes my body's reaction to the near trancendence of self-consciousness via the brain and kundalini's ascending current as one of a brush with actual, physiological death.
Describes how later that same evening I directed the kundalini energy downward into my brachial plexus. Details how this event was associated with an emptying of fluid from the center of my brain and an irrigation of fluid into the brachial nerves splayed horizontally across my chest. Describes how this irrigation was associated with a perception of the most maddening, intense, freeing, and fulfilling love I had ever experienced. Argues that this radical awakening of love was at least 500 times more intense a perception than sexual orgasm -- and of an entirely higher qualitative order. Argues that the will for this event came from my pituitary gland.
Describes how this newly established pathway for the descending force of kundalini was like the planting of a seed: It would take several months before my peripheral nervous system and endocrine glands would be capable of sustaining this radical awareness for more than a few seconds at a time.
Argues that this milestone event brought me one step closer to a permanent grounding of my being in whole body enlightenment and heart-centered consciousness.
Heart Chakra Opening - Signs And Symptoms - November 17, 2002
In July 1994 my heart chakra opened. It was nine years since the kundalini process had been awakened in me. I was twenty-nine years old.
I had been hiking over six hours per day during the preceding three months. As well, I had resumed meditating for the first time since October 1985. I meditated in short bursts of ten or twenty minutes three or four times per day. Typically I would create a mental image of a hibiscus flower effulgent with light. I wouldn't usually be able to hold the image steady for more than a few seconds at a time. If I went longer than that, the energy inside me would become overwhelming and I would have to stop. My intention was not to enlighten in this manner, but rather to use the meditation to concentrate and intensify my energy. I wanted to keep kundalini's energy presence in a state of as mad a froth as I could tolerate without my having to submit to it. I was following an intuitive strategy of heightening my yearning and vibration level to the point that some spontaneous event would occur -- a triggering of some innate process or law.
I returned from my hike one evening at about 8:30 p.m. After showering and having a light dinner, I sat down in my study chair and visualized the radiant hibiscus. It was a detailed, bright image. My mind couldn't tolerate holding it steady for long, so the flower's position would change and my attention would be drawn distractedly to its changed angle and placement. It was somewhat obnoxious that my mind would do this. But intuitively it felt like a death of my mental functioning to still or control my mind so fully. I've always felt that forcing the mind to be still was unnatural -- that it was the mind's nature to be engaged in and analyzing whatever phenomenon the mind or body encountered. Of course, you can encourage the mind to calm down and narrow its focus, but you shouldn't be coercive or punitive about it. The best way to overcome the obstacles -- the analytic roadblocks -- that the mind creates is to give it such overwhelming sensory input that its constant stream of verbalizations and analysis ceases, leaving it in a state of awe. That is, if you jump into this world fully enough, you can break through to -- or initiate the development of -- a holistic and developmentally superior level of awareness. So I was not excessively frustrated by my mind's seizing on this or that part or position of the flower. The main thing was that the visualization felt good and was accompanied by a feeling of intensification of my consciousness. In any event, the inward focusing on the flower's radiant light was much more important than the particular details or degree of constancy of the image itself.
So I sat for about fifteen minutes focusing on the radiant hibiscus. I then walked about the house and had a little more to eat. I felt intense, with a particularly strong sensation of heat and pressure in the back of my head where the spine enters the brain.
I reflected that I was twenty-nine years old and that the time was ripe for some change or developmental milestone to occur. I reflected also upon how I was engaged in what I intuitively felt to be a last-ditch effort to achieve transcendence of my self-consciousness. For the preceding three months I struggled to overcome a sense of spiritual stillbirth that had been growing inside me. I knew that if I didn't make something happen soon, that a door would be shut, that some thing or some capacity inside me would die. I intuitively knew that this kundalini process that had been so alive in me for the preceding nine years did not offer me a lifelong ticket redeemable for God consciousness at any time of my choosing: there were moments -- developmental periods -- that I had to seize. I knew that there are times in a being's lifespan that are optimal for certain spiritual milestones to be achieved. The intense amplification of life force needed for this process to occur spontaneously and optimally is only available in a human being's late twenties or early thirties. At younger ages the nervous system is immature, and at older ages the physical demands too taxing.
Feeling full of health and mentally balanced, but also feeling spiritually desperate and unsure of what to do, I decided to meditate one more time that evening. It was about 9:30 p.m., which was late for me to be fooling with my endocrine system, and if overdone, could make it difficult to sleep. I knew I didn't want an exclusively central nervous system experience that involved an incapacitation of my body's senses. I didn't want the pyrotechnic samadhi experienced by Gopi Krishna and one of Adi Da's devotees that I had read about. Rather, I wanted to have a simple physical, emotional awareness of God that was consistent throughout the day. I didn't want any of the inner visual or perceptual dramas that so obviously impaired other aspirants' daily functioning. I wanted God to take me the way that I was -- or not at all. I wanted God consciousness to be integral to everything I was and everything I did. But the problem was that I didn't know how to achieve this deepened state. I had read only of meditation as a vehicle for self-transcendence and spiritual transformation.
So I sat again for meditation. I brought my attention to the center of my brain, the golf ball sized area that is the fulcrum of individuated self-consciousness. As I did this I felt the heat and pressure at the back of my head grow stronger. This ascending current of kundalini began to envelop my sphere of self-consciousness. In an act more of despair than courage, I decided to submit to this energy's intention, rather than stave it off any longer. As I submitted, or as the controlling function of my pituitary gland relaxed its defenses against this intrusive energy, my self-concept, my sense of "I," began to free-fall.
It was a strange and unprecedented sensation. Two shifts, both part of the same phenomenon, occurred simultaneously. One was a sense of free-fall within this central, golf ball sized area of my brain. But it wasn't so much a free-fall as it was an implosion. It was a sense that I was imploding upon a miniscule, weightless point. But in the very moment that this was happening there occurred a corresponding enlargening of my self-consciousness that filled my entire brain. I could literally feel the periphery of the inside of my skull become filled with this widened sphere of consciousness. I was being uncaged from the spherical trap of limited self-consciousness at the brain's center. It was an opening -- a broadening -- that appeared to be limited, however, to a consciousness within the central nervous system.
But there was more that was going on in this moment of conscious free-fall and expansion. Emotionally, the feeling was predominantly one of distancing and coldness. I had an unforgettable perception that I was leaving everything in this world -- my friends and family, my material possessions, my bodily sensations -- for the sake of this new awareness. There was a surgical, pristine quality to the sensation, as if I were entering a form of consciousness unmoved, unsullied, and unconnected to this world. There was no intellectual fear, no central nervous system drama associated with this event.
But then something incredible happened. My body convulsed with a spontaneous, enormous, "NO!" A feeling of unprecedented intensity erupted in my body in protest against this kundalini-driven, central nervous system event. A sensation of fear of an intensity I had never known possible sprang from my heart muscle. A three-inch long swath of energy rose up out of the upper right portion of my heart, going upwards toward my throat and diagonally toward my sternum. It was an instantaneous pulse of overwhelming energy. It lasted but a second or two. It was like a claw of fear tearing into my body, anchoring all my attention to the heart. It was in direct response to the impending implosion event in my brain. Though it was a non-verbal communication of profound feeling, my mind gave words to it, recognizing it as an unprecedented shriek of fear and reprimand, as if to say, "NO! DOWN HERE, YOU IDIOT!" It was the most intense sensation I had ever experienced. It easily overpowered the events in my brain, bringing immediately all my mental attention to my body and heart.
I sobbed for some time after this happened. I sat in my room bewildered, crying, shaken to my core. My unmistakable perception was that I had almost died. It was a very strange perception, because there I was safe in my room, with no threats to my physical safety; yet I had the undeniable, overpowering sensation that I had the closest brush with death that I had ever had. My whole body shook and quivered with sobs at this perception.
There had been two types of death occurring simultaneously in this central nervous system event. One was a death of my limited self-consciousness as it imploded upon a point and was reborn in a larger, unlimited field of awareness. The second event was the simultaneous perception that I was cutting off -- taking leave of -- all worldly attachments and relations. My normal feeling-awareness, which was always full of warmth and physiological buzz from my myriad pathways of sensory input, became in an instant: cold, sterile, cerebral, a past dead artifact. It was that -- this latter perception -- that my body and heart found intolerable. It was the cessation of conscious, feeling contact with my body that my overall body-mind perceived as a physical death. And on an intuitive level -- as well as on a level of consciousness -- that is precisely what it was.
This departing or untethering of conscious connection to the body that is integral to an enlightenment of the central nervous system via the ascending current of kundalini is identical to the same withdrawal of awareness that occurs upon one's physical death. That is why, intuitively, my body felt that it had almost died. I had experienced an event nearly exlusively associated with physical death.
After ten minutes I called my brother in New York City. He's an artist, so of course he was up still, though it was 4:00 a.m. for him. I was still crying, my body shaking with fear. I told him how much I loved him, and how I was so happy that he was my brother. I also told him that I had almost died, and that I might die yet that night. I told him that I didn't know for sure what this death meant; but that if I really died, in the physical sense, I wanted him to know how much I loved him and that I was formally passing the torch on to him in the sense that at least one of our parents' two children would go on to do something important with his life and make them proud. I also went over an oral accounting of my will, giving him everything I had that was of any value. We talked for an hour, at which point, being 11:00 p.m. or so, I went to bed.
But the energy at the back of my head was still hot and hungry, ready to spring upon me like some predatory cat. All aspects of my central nervous system were in heightened alert, with all hands on deck. My consciousness was churning, revved up, and completely ready for some kind of event or transformation. The ascending current, from the base of my spine to the back of my head, heaved with lust for the prize of the inner sanctum of self-consciousness that my heart had stripped from its hands just an hour earlier. Had the ascending current held my self-consciousness in its grip a split second longer, without my attention being forcefully diverted down into my body, an enlightenment of my central nervous system would have occurred. There would have been a perception of inner illumination accompanied by transcendent, ethereal awe and peace. Of this I am certain. But it didn't happen. My body had interfered in a spontaneous and unprecedented manner. Never before had I had a feeling in my heart; not even a small feeling, much less a shrieking, anchoring exclamation of fear of this magnitude.
I tossed and turned in my bed for the next two hours. The ascending current was too active and I couldn't calm it down. I knew that what my body was telling me was that I wasn't supposed to become enlightened in this manner. I wasn't supposed to submit to the ascending current in such a cerebral, antiseptic fashion. But I didn't know what to do, and my defenses were wearing down. There was only so much will and determination that my mind could bring to bear on the situation.
I thought about Adi Da who had said that everything is about the heart: that the heart is the true center of our being, and that true enlightenment occurred there. I thought about Ramana Maharshi who predates Adi Da and who had said the same thing. Though I intuitively knew this to be the case, I had no methodology, no systematic approach to enter this mode of awareness. With my determination and defenses against the ascending kundalini energy failing me, at about 1:00 a.m. I sat up in bed. I was at a loss as to what to do, and I felt too tired to fight anymore. I felt that it would be better for a transformation to occur while I was at least minimally coherent, rather than being worn to a state of total incapacitation. The energy inside of me had not calmed down in the previous two hours. It was intent on some culminating or milestone event; I had to stop blocking its way or go insane in my intransigence.
Sitting up in bed, feeling nearly delirious from this tug-of-war going on in my central nervous system, I brought all of my attention to the center of my head. The ascending current immediately gathered force. There were several instances of its nearly gaining control of my self-consciousness and then, each time, my will power shoving it back just enough to retain my limited self-consciousness.
After perhaps fifteen minutes of this struggle, the event happened. The energy came forward into the domain of my self-consciousness; but at the very same moment, in one last final act of will, I shifted my attention down to my chest. At this very instant an incredible, amazing, unimaginable event occurred. I felt a release of fluid from the center of my brain and a simultaneous sensation of irrigation of four brachial plexus nerves splayed horizontally across my chest. The sensation was of an emptying from the center of my head; but the will or direction for this event came from my pituitary gland farther forward. The sensation of filling or flooding of these nerves was accompanied by the most pure, overwhelming, unthinkable, intense, insane love I had ever experienced or imagined to be possible. It was an earth-shaking, mind-blowing feeling, the likes of which were totally beyond my comprehension or expectation.
I, for the first time in my life, was in love.
On a level of intensity, this feeling of love was five hundred times more powerful than any feeling associated with sexual orgasm. Qualitatively there was an even greater divide. Never had I experienced anything so pure, so freeing, so enobling, so outrageously pleasurable. In fact, pleasure is much too gross a concept to be used accurately here. It was a radical sensation -- a physiological and emotional knowing -- that this was divine fulfillment. It was not so much a feeling of great pleasure as one of overwhelming, utterly spiritual, emancipatory feeling. It was as if my senses -- previously shackled to a cold and damp cave of darkness -- had finally been released to a tropical paradise under noonday sun. I instantaneously recognized that this insane love was the answer to my every prayer and aspiration. A flood of feeling coursed through my body and consciousness for just a few seconds and quickly faded.
A seed had been planted. The ascending current had found it's descending pathway into the front of my body. My attention had found a growing anchor in my chest. Something far more marvelous than any phenomenon my mind could devise or experience had been opened up to me. All my life I had bemoaned my never having fallen in love. I had enjoyed and appreciated the handful of girlfriends I had had over the years, but I was never crazy about them. Well, this was it; I was finally, madly, more in love than I had ever dreamed possible.
The event of the opening of my brachial plexus was just the planting of a seed. My peripheral nervous system was immature, and neither it nor my mind could tolerate this radical, awesome feeling of love for more than a second or two without collapsing from its maddening intensity. There needed to be a gradual acclimation to this new, profound feeling-awareness of love. Slowly, over time, my being would be able to tolerate and sustain this profound intensity of feeling coursing through my body. Over time, this feeling would become a fixture in my daily life -- the ground or lens though which all thoughts and sensory inputs were perceived.
I lay in bed in a daze for while, and then was finally able to sleep. Though the ascending current was still strong, its intensity had abated somewhat. It had not been grounded in the descending pathway. The opening into my peripheral nervous and endocrine systems was new and merely a trickle of a stream as compared to the wide river flowing up my spine. It would take time, and new developments before there could be a parity of electrical force between the opposing currents of this single circuit of subtle energy.
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