Between Two Worlds

The last essay I wrote was exactly four months ago. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just begun an intense spiritual transformation process called a kundalini awakening.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have had spurts of shaktiput throughout my life. This summer, however, I got the megadose. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t even really believe it was possible. Years prior, I had written off the idea of a “kundalini awakening” as a human fantasy, as something that maybe could happen but was highly unlikely, as kind of a joke. I had no faith anyone really knew what they were talking about. I thought they were just nice people trying to live good lives. Yet this summer, I found myself on a spiritual rollercoaster I couldn’t control anything about. No matter how bad I wanted off the ride (and sometimes I still do), I know there is no stopping this process.

My experience left me feeling totally disconnected from the third-dimensional material world and much more in tune with the unseen, intangible parts of our existence, with the fifth-dimension. I felt my chakras literally move, as if a dial had been clicked into place. My spiritual gifts exponentially expanded, and I found myself able to tap into a place of deep peace, unconditional love and surrender, where the illusion of separation disintegrated. I began to experience myself as so much more than a body. But life on planet Earth didn’t stop, and neither did my bills! I had to come back down and integrate the two worlds or keep paying late fees… or worse. I googled quite a few times, “Have I gone insane or am I having a spiritual awakening?” Luckily, there are a couple TED Talks that answer that very question.

So what is a kundalini awakening? The word kundalini translates as “coiled.” It is considered the feminine creative principle, a latent energy at the base of the spine that, once ignited, moves up the spinal column until she arrives at the crown of the head, where the masculine creative principles rests and waits for her arrival. She is depicted as a snake with its tail in its mouth; a spark releases the tail and off she goes.

So what starts the fire? It can be a spontaneous, tremendous force such as great emotional trauma, a near death experience, a chance encounter with a stranger (it can even be in combination of those three), or through the hands of a spiritual master transmitting their energy to you [sidenote: this is what I believe Jesus used to heal people]. Kundalini yoga is another method whereby people can generate the spark through a series of specific breathing exercises. Years ago, I had read that this (as well as the guru’s hands) was a dangerous method to attempt because aspirants might not be prepared for the sheer force of the kundalini and what it could bring about. I didn’t understand at all what I was reading at the time. Like I said, I discounted it at face value. Now, I see. Now, I know it’s possible, it’s real, it happens, and I don’t think anyone is ever ready for it. At least in my experience, it is a systemwide shock of fear, confusion and emotional pain—not to mention the routine questioning of your sanity.

Essentially, it’s like a spontaneous ball of fire burning through and shining light on the darkest, most terrifying corners of our consciousness. The purging on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual—is very, very real. It moves through the chakras, revealing all the samskaras trapped in each one, and begins to incinerate them.

What are samskaras? The word translates as “impressions,” but I think “residue” captures the thick and sticky essence of a samskara better. You can call them karmic seeds. They are the pieces of us that are stuck. They are our unhealthy expressions of ego. They are our shadow. They are why we gravitate toward certain experiences over and over again to our detriment. They are our blind spots. They are like a deep, dark knot of regret, fear, shame, pain, rejection—you get the idea—something so awful you never want to have to look at it again, so you stuff it so far away never to be seen again. Unfortunately, like dirt under a rug, there is only one way to clean house—to turn on the light, lift up the rug and get to work.

I was forced to face exactly who I was and had been, all the pieces of me that I hated, ignored, abandoned, rejected. All the ways I thought I was ugly. All the ways I had been ugly to myself and others. Then, from there, finding forgiveness. Then love. And once there, the heart of the mystery began to reveal itself, an infinitely expanding rose.

From what I’ve read so far, once the kundalini rises, she doesn’t stop, but she doesn’t necessarily stay put either, so it is a constant effort, a constant tending, a constant clearing. We can fall. We will fall. The trick then, I think, is to make immediate course corrections when necessary, and otherwise practice forgiveness and loving kindness in every moment. All we have—all that truly exists—is this moment. I have witnessed miracles this last year through the seemingly simple acts of forgiving myself, asking for others’ forgiveness, and finding forgiveness for them. Forgiveness is the miracle. It is what allows us to forget about the past and release the future.

Now I find myself living much more day-to-day, receiving and following Divine guidance so regularly sometimes I only know my schedule on an hourly basis. I’m learning how to be in the world but not of it, how to have one foot in the world of Spirit and symbols and another on the land. Most importantly, I’m learning how to align my will with that of my Creator’s.

I have found more surrender to and trust in the Divine than I knew was even possible. I see how interconnected we all are, how all of it is. When my ego pops out, as it often does, I can better see it, which reminds me I’m not it, so then I can remember what I am. I see the Light, and I am more committed than ever before to my mission of bringing more of it here to Earth.

Full Moon Yoga