|Kundalini energy, the ancient
serpent power of India, has come to the West. It is appearing visibly in
the lives of westerners for the first time. Sometimes it has been
invited, but sometimes it has erupted spontaneously, much to the
recipient's surprise and dismay. This discussion area is devoted to the
encounter of kundalini with Christian spirituality. What happens when
Christians begin to experience kundalini and reflect on it in the light
of their own tradition? This discussion area is based on four resources
written by Philip St. Romain and James Arraj.
Note: For information on how to buy the latest edition of Philip St. Romain’s book, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, go to http://shalomplace.com/books/kundalini.html
Should a person desire the activation of
kundalini energy? It would be a mistake to read the following account of
kundalini experience and the philosophical reflections about it, and
imagine that this question must be answered in the affirmative.
See also A Cautionary Note on Seeking Experiences and a discussion of Christian spirituality and kundalini in our Christian Prayer and Contemplation Forum Newsletter Number 5. Visit Bob Boyd's Kundalini Survival and Support
Now it is your turn to contribute to this discussion. Send us your questions and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for another (rare) intelligent,
informed article on this very misunderstood subject. A misunderstanding about Kundalini is that it is
an "energy." This is to confuse metaphor with mechanism -- and it is
to do so. Many people take up Eastern spiritual practices with the
intention of having an "Experience" and of manipulating "Energy" and have no clue
about what they are doing in terms of meaning, method, or consequences. The
literature is metaphorical, cryptic, and I suspect, incomplete for good
reason, and some Eastern teachers certainly have been irresponsible --
or ignorant themselves -- in how they've disseminated the information. The
Kundalini phenomenon is better described as a process that works with
energy. The process is the catharsis of consciousness. It's equivalent
in Christianity is the mystical descent of the Holy Spirit. Those touched
can experience a dramatic shift in consciousness and they may display "gifts
the spirit," such as glossolalia ("speaking in tongues"), which yogins
may demonstrate as well but do so, not as prayer per se, but as a phenomenon
that spontaneously arises during a certain esoteric meditative practice (the
"feeling" for the yoga practitioner doing this however, can be very
As you can tell, I have a great interest in
this subject and I am hungry for
authentic information and research on it -- which is hard to come by --
because real info seems to get mixed up with a lot of mummery. If you
suggest reading material, I'd be grateful.
Response from Stephen Nelson, email@example.com
So glad to find Kundalini addressed from a Christian perspective.
Perhaps my own story will raise a few issues for folks to ponder. I'll
try to be brief. Was brought up in Brethern churches. Devoted Christian until about the
age of 18 when began to wander into drug culture (And here's something
interesting - Kundalini and drug use). 7 years ago, aged 24, began
experiencing these symptoms -
burning sensation at the base of my spine, hearing my name called as I lay to sleep,
sensation of a bird flying around inside me,
energy rushes - sometimes blissful; othertimes anxious,
burning in my body, telepathic sensitivity, precognition.
Because I was unprepared and on drugs I had a weird mental breakdown.
Every night, when I went to bed, conversations and scenarios filled my
head. I thought I had tapped into some collective consciousness.
Yes, that is a very interesting story. It is also a story that sounds
a cautionary note for the potential readers because it shows the
difficulties involved in keeping such a kundalini energy process in
balance so that it doesn't have negative, as well as positive, effects
on a person's life. Would you really advise people to actively seek an
activation of kundalini? Sincerely, Jim
I would probably advise against active kundalini awakening.More balanced, grounded spiritual growth can be achieved without the excessive intensity of the energy coming into play, although I completely understand that it can be a blessing to some people's lives.
Another ResponseJust read your description of Kundalini from a Christian perspective. Aquinas was certainly as full of wonder for life as he was intellectually endowed! I've had some helpful, personal contacts with Philip St. Romain over the past 9 months. I've also had an active kundalini (or kundalini's had me) for about 12 years, mostly a sane, gradual unfolding of the nondual awareness you describe, as well as an increasing inner space in which to receive God's transcendental grace. Maybe you allude to it in your distinction between the soul's direct apprehension of itself/existence and the intuition of being in its multiplicity of forms, but one aspect of that distinction includes what the affective dimension of Christian contemplative prayer reveals . . . the way we are known by God, the wholly Other, without knowing how we are known/cherished so intimately and personally at the same time.
I guess what I'm saying is that the "Otherness" aspect of God doesn't seem accidental, or simply the byproduct of a lack of abiding permanently in nondual reality . . . but since I'm in no way permanenty situated as such, still an ego being in easily recognizable ways, I'm resting on speculation here. I guess this is where you and others have taken up the discussion on transcendental divine reality and nonduality.
One possible neglected aspect of the kundalini process, as encountered in more mechanical styles of yoga, or through traumatic arousals, is just how intimate and nurturing the holy space of the body is, which Jung seems to know of and respect. I've read very little, outside of Gendlin's Focusing, that treats the body in its subjectivity, always wanting us to learn its language and beingness rather than being treated as a solid inert container, or simply as an impersonal domain of primitive forces. To become as a little child holds whatever meaning people want to put into it, but for me it is the secret of the body in a most intimate way that both apprehends the exquisite order of existence and opens out/in so docily to the surrendered will.
I am a thirty year old female, and I experienced Kundalini about three and a half years ago. At first, I had some energy problems - I really didn't know what I was doing or what I was getting into - but these days, all this seems to have settled down. I am these days a practising Christian, having converted after my Kundalini experience (which occurred during Easter). I think that in many ways, it has helped me to cope with it. Maybe it is not for me to judge, but over the past few years, I feel that I have met many people who were just 'nominal' Christians. However, I also feel that I've met a few who were sincere in their faith, and who were truly 'anointed'. I accept that not all people are drawn to the 'mystical' side of things, and nowadays think that perhaps it not always necessary to have been through a powerful kind of experience like Kundalini in order to have a strong relationship with God. I have read many stories about people who have experienced Kundalini and suffered some very harmful effects. To me, yes it is preferable to have had a stable grounding built up over many years through dedicated prayer and study, rather than put oneself through this. Kundalini is something I'd really only recommend to people who are very mature, stable and responsible - not to young and impressionable people who are mainly out for the thrill of an 'out of this world' type experience, because having had the experience, you then have to deal with it and the repercussions over the long term, for the rest of your life. Whichever way you choose, to me what is most important is the way in which you transmit your faith/beliefs/experiences to your overall life. I wish to thank you for providing an open, balanced discussion and forum on this often very heated topic.
I have just read the article and letters on your website and I would like to tell you my story of the Kundalini Awakening.
I come from Australia and I have been living in Germany for the past 9 years. I am 52 years old and the dramatic change to my life happened in 1995. At the time I was in Jungian analysis and I decided to do some bodywork - Neo-Reichian - Bioenergetics. The therapist worked with me on a mat and strange things happened to me - noises coming out of my stomach, energy moving through my body etc Unfortunately, against the advice of my Jungian therapist, I continued to go for a few more months. In one session something opened up in me and out of my mouth came a primal scream. The therapist pushed me back onto a mattress on the wall. I felt so ashamed by what I had done. This was the beginning of the nightmare!
A few months later I woke up with the feeling that a large female snake was coiled on top of my head. It was pushing me down, down. I was terrified! By this time I had stopped doing the bodywork. I told my Jungian therapist and she told me that that night she had had a dream of a snake in her home. The next day I was walking to work along a busy street in my home town. It was 8.30 am and the sun was shining. Suddenly I felt a movement at the bottom of my spine - I then saw a vision of a snake curled there. It start talking to me and I started talking to it. I was still walking. Then I was in the park and I put my arms around a gum tree with a white trunk and the snake uncurled and attached itself above my head to the tree. This was to change my life forever.
For the next months I managed to keep going with my work and my Jungian therapist supported me. I used to have moments when my whole body shook as if electricity was pulsating through it. I would begin to shake and feel terror and panic. My body would make involuntary movements. This went on for quite a while until I started taking anti-depressants which helped me. I gave up my job as an English as a Second Language teacher, and I started my own business. It slowly grew and I had enough money coming in.
At that time there wasn't very much written about the Kundalini experience or perhaps without the internet it was difficult to find much.
During 1996 I was in the art gallery and I looked up at a huge (I think Renaissance) painting of Christ on the cross. The experience was so powerful and from that moment my life took another direction. I began collecting the small prayer cards with pictures of Christ, Mary and various Saints - made in Italy. Then I heard from my therapist of a Roman Catholic Church. So I went to a service. I started going every week and it gave me inner support as I was experiencing so much psychic pain. The service was mainly run by Dominican nuns and the priests were not old and conservative as many are in Germany. It was always simple with no dogma - singing modern songs accompanied by a guitar. Members of the community gave the homily and then broke the bread with the priest - a very unconventional service and not so steeped in dogma as here in Europe!! I then decided to become Catholic and after a few months of preparation in a small group was accepted into the church.
Since then my connection to Christian spirituality has deepened. I have been to the Taize community a few times since I have been in Europe and the last time was in September. There I met a Catholic priest from India and two Australians from Melbourne. One of the Australians had been to Bede Griffith's ashram and of course the priest had been there too. This was for me another turning point in my Kundalini awakening - meeting these people wasn't a coincidence. It was as if God was leading me in the right direction!! I hope that I can visit India in the near future as I am fascinated by the connection between the Hindu and Christian spirituality that Bede Griffith was part of. At the same time I came home feeling that I was being looked after by a greater energy all around me and that I could leave my burdens at the foot of the cross. Since this time I have been feeling less worried about my future and have a greater sense of inner contentment. I pray every morning, (and do the yoga Tree pose) that the Holy Spirit fill me with love and compassion for others - that the Holy Spirit be part of me, in every cell and an energy protecting me and guiding me.
I still do Jungian analysis here in Germany and my analyst has helped me so much to live my life with `my feet on the ground, but also I have developed a greater connection to God and to Christ Jesus. We look at my dreams and have worked through my depressions and my childhood traumas - I see this inner work as a way of clearing the lower Chakras, so that the Kundalini energy can move through me without any blockages. My life has become richer and it is as if I have a sixth sense - I can feel and see beyond my 'eyes' - I can sense things so deeply and connect to others in a way which just amazes me. I also have to be careful because I need to keep a protection (all my defenses destroyed through the bodywork!!) so that I don't tap into other people's 'shadow' and then take it on my shoulders. I am still taking the tablets (lowest dosage) although I would like to stop in the future. I think I'll know inside when to do that.Another thing before I finish - I paint my visions and dreams and do other creative work. I do Feldenkreis and Yoga which have helped me so much!! I hope to go back to Australia next year. I want to become involved in helping Mother Earth through an environmental movement and also to find a community of people with whom I can share my ideas and life with. I also have a deep desire to be of service to others and the world around me - but I'm not quite sure how these ideas will develop. I want to live my life beyond 'ME'.
A Response from Jeff
At the beginning stages of my conversion to Christianity I had a profound experience. I was spending a weekend at a Trappist monastery. A friend and I entered the church for the first time, We suddenly and simultaneously each had a marked spiritual experience. We stared at each other in shock and surprise. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit, fiery and enlivening. It lasted but a moment. What shocked me most was not the mere fact of experiencing “spirit” (I was used to that in my new age and eastern religious exposure) it was that it simply wasn’t the same spirit as I had encountered in those arenas. I had been taught the cardinal principle that God or Spirit or the Absolute in every religion, despite different approaches and words, was the same in essence. I could no longer think that, based on my experience and what I was reading in the Bible. I was undone. Unless I reinterpreted and redefined the words of the Bible in the light of systems alien to the Bible – making it say things it doesn’t. - I could no longer blend Christ and Hinduism/Buddhism. I still had a way to go but eventually I left eastern and new age thought behind and became a Trinitarian/Nicene creed believer as that understanding had the best fit to scripture and my own experience of the Three Persons of the Godhead.
Jeff later added the following: This happened around the same time as I wrote the Trappist monastery experience post. (above) I was considering the states of consciousness Buddhism promises will happen if you practice it. I said to myself, "I wonder what the Christian equivalent to them is?" when suddenly I felt the personal love of the Father towards me as an individual unique person. Buddhism doesn't promise the personal love of God towards you as a human being for eternity. I said to myself, "Wow, that's better than anything I can get from Buddhism!" Jesus came so we can know the Living God directly and personally beginning in the here and now and continuing for eternity. That's enough for me. One key difference between New Age/Hinduism/Buddhism and what Jesus gives is the promise of being with God forever as an embodied human. After all, that's what Jesus is doing right now! Our own spiritual experience here is to be like Christ's was, in a body walking with the Father filled with the Holy Spirit. Because we have put on Christ by faith and baptism we become sons of God and christs - anointed ones. Of course, Jesus is uniquely THE Son of God and THE Christ as our Savior and the Firstborn among many brethren. We continue this human experience in eternity on a richer, fuller multi-dimensional level, but still in a body with God as Jesus is now as a human, though as God Jesus is omnipresent. Jeff firstname.lastname@example.org
Now it is your turn to contribute to this discussion. Send us your questions and comments: email@example.com