Kundalini shakti is the name given to the dormant energy lying at the root of the spine. It can be described as a storehouse of creative energy, the very foundation of our consciousness. When this force moves through our body, a change is brought forth in our consciousness. The initial awakening is only a starting point. The arousal can be quite dramatic and is traditionally understood as an intense process of purification that leads to transcendence of body and mind, culminating in the unification or oneness with Consciousness as Whole, which can be termed as God, Source Consciousness or Pure Consciousness.
Except in rare cases, it can take years for the body to be purified and ready enough to handle the high-powered voltage of a full-blown Kundalini awakening. In its unmanifested state, it is symbolised as a serpent coiled in three and a half circles. When it is ready to awaken and unfold, it ascends up the Sushumna (the subtle channel in the spinal cord) passing through the chakras, starting with the Mooladhara, then Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi and Ajna chakras, and up to the Sahasrar centre where it unites with Pure Consciousness.
If your physical, mental and emotional bodies are in balance, then you are ready for Kundalini awakening. This means that you are able to manage your mind in emotional conflicts. Ask yourself these questions: Are you tolerant? Are you able to take insults without reacting? Are you fearless? Are you able to endure ill-will, spite, hatred, greed, envy? Can you stay calm in the face of anger? If you can handle these and other such emotions with equanimity, then you are ready for Kundalini awakening and the subtle dimension of experience, provided you find the right guru.
The following note outlines the process of purification of the body and mind organism.
Master Charles Cannon on The Primary Trinity
When the primary trinity of the physical, mental and emotional dimensions are in balance, the subtle dimension actualises as witness consciousness, the detached observation of the relative field. Herein we are watching the physical, mental and emotional dimensions from the now dominant subtle dimension of witness consciousness. Yet, the mental dimension has several levels, and a complete detachment from them is a gradual process in meditation.
Firstly, there are the gross levels of data and interpretation. Then there are more subtle levels of mental impressions with less interpretation and data processing. As witness consciousness in the subtle dimension becomes more dominant and constant in meditation, there is complete detachment from all the levels of the mental dimension. Then there is just the observation of stillness. Remember, we meditate to be present… to simply watch the experience. By simply watching we extract our focus from the physical, mental and emotional dimensions and they progressively become still. Then we are watching stillness and it is then that we progress to more subtle states of pure awareness in the causal and supra causal dimensions.
An aspirant who is in the energy field of the guru and who meditates regularly may, in the course of his sadhana, experience various colours of lights such as yellow, red, orange, blue, green, indigo, purple or white. Sometimes, one experiences flashes of light. If you are sensitive and observant, you will be able to understand from which centre the experience is coming. You will be able to identify the chakra and know its attributes.
With the movement of energy, there can be experience at the physical, mental and emotional level. This can come in the form of trembling, sudden jerks, the feeling of ants crawling all over your body, a tingling sensation in the scalp, the rolling of your eyeballs, or your tongue may revert back or rise up towards the palate. You may experience fragrances. You could get locked in a posture and hear different kinds of nad (subtle sounds). All these experiences arise when the energy is moving through the subtle body meridians. When it encounters any resistance, there is a spasm in the subtle body meridian which is manifested one way or the other in the physical body. You may experience your body going up in flames and then see yourself as a heap of ashes or you may feel as though a snake is moving up in your body.
The body can get into different postures and you could go through different kriyas. If you feel you have stopped breathing, it is a sign of an active Kundalini. You may emit sounds like those of animals, birds, lions, dogs. This, too, is a sign of an awakened Kundalini.
As you progress on your path and purification of your subtle bodies occurs, you may experience a feeling of expansion. You may feel as if you are growing taller, or your mouth is opening wider or your limbs are twisting. All these are experiences of the subtle body.
In meditation, there are experiences from different levels of vibration, from the gross vibratory level to the subtle level of existence.
When there is a shift in your vibration, it means you have moved from one level of consciousness to another level of consciousness. If you are at a lower level, you may encounter entities of that vibratory level. No one likes an intruder in their space. Just as you feel threatened when an unknown person encroaches on your space, similarly, these entities can react and will use any means to scare you off. Do not panic at this stage, but take yourself away and move up to another vibratory level. These entities can do you no harm. They are of subtle vibration and can only attack your mind. If you are strong-minded and fearless, you can pass through unharmed. If, however, you are weak and fearful, then great damage can happen. The energy field of the guru is what will support you through the hazards that you may encounter on the way.
At the gross level of vibration you may encounter thought forms which can be repulsive, distorted, absurd and comic, with distorted figures and faces. These thought forms are all around us and are created in the course of our daily lives through the emotions let out because of bombings, rape, and violence. Pain, sorrow, fear, disgust, ill-will, spite, hatred, lust, greed, all take on a form and float or hover around. Anyone going through some form of sorrow will attract similar thought forms. As a result, his sorrow gets multiplied. If someone is having a fit of temper, his magnetic field at that moment will attract similar thought forms and his temper can turn into a rage. Similarly, hatred can turn into violence and so on. If during meditation you see these distorted thought forms and get fearful, that fear will attract similar thought forms and further add to your fear. In order to be able to move away from this lower vibratory level you have to evolve a keen sense of discrimination.
Once you have crossed this level successfully, then, each time there is a shift in vibration, you are moving to another subtler level. There will be the astral level, which according to my experience, resembles in all its aspects the physical level except it is subtle and not tangible. Thus consciousness will keep shifting depending on how you are progressing, because to shift the state of consciousness, both the physical and mental systems must be stimulated and coordinated to create a subtle change. The kriyas of the programme you are following code these particular combinations in an extremely subtle way and control how the various energy systems interlock. Each kriya produces a different effect. Some bring understanding, others create mental stability, some develop sensitivity and still others bring forth physical changes. Your journey will depend on how effective your practice is.
The experiences of the subtler levels cannot be put into words. You will have to undergo your own journey to experience it. If you want to know mine then you will find it described in The Kundalini Trilogy.
You may hear sounds which are not from the physical realm, they are the soundless sounds. The first sound is what I call the ‘Chinnnnnnnn’ sound. Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri says that this is the sound of Consciousness.
With the purification of the subtle bodies, sensitivity increases and you may see or feel the vibration of the chakras or see or feel the energy flow from or to you.
Each vibratory level offers its own challenges.
As you progress on your path and the dormant pathways open up, you may see new vistas or get glimpses of lives lived earlier.
Instead of just going through the experience, the endeavour should be to go deeper to find the source of all experience. Just don’t pass off your experience as something meaningless. Every experience is a part of the whole that is your journey and goal.
The short notes below by Master Charles Cannon will provide a better understanding of tingling, lights and tears.
The tingling ‘electrical’ that you experience is a reflex from the subtle body meridians into the connective tissue of the physical body. It is caused by a change in the frequency of vibration of the energy within the meridians. In each successive level of its course the frequency is decelerated and until you integrate this new frequency, it can be experienced as such.
Flashes of light
The flashes of light are experienced when the subtle dimensions become dominant in one’s focus. In these dimensions, the oscillation of polarity within the field of relativity is so accelerated that awareness appears as a continuity. This is because the mind cannot cognise these subtle dimension polar oscillations. The frequency of vibration corresponds to the speed of light and, when the mind is momentarily activated, it cognises the experience of light. Again, you are perceiving from a multi-dimensional awareness which includes all dimensions simultaneously. It demonstrates constancy in witness consciousness.
This is associated with the clearing of the ocular meridians related to the third eye vortex. In the Kundalini traditions, it was referred to as appropriate purification. As the primary trinity – physical, mental and emotional – becomes more constant in balance, harmonic coherence results. With duration in harmonic coherence, the subtle dimensions actualise. The first of these dimensions is termed as the Subtle Dimension and relates to the third eye vortex. It is your harmonic frequency of vibration that is evolving. The associated meridians – as you actualise multi-dimensionally, generate reflexes that can produce tears. The result will be increased constancy in witness consciousness.
When the energy first awakened in me, my Guru's first questions to me were: Did I have old parents or in-laws to take care of, and did I have young children who needed my attention? I understand now that these questions were essential because once you get on to the path of Kundalini, it requires your full attention or you have to have the rare ability to handle the mundane and spiritual simultaneously.
Once the Guru ascertains that the Kundalini has awakened in an aspirant, then it is guided by him through means appropriate to the receptivity of an aspirant. It may be done through transmission of thought, through one- to-one dialogue where the Guru clears an aspirant's doubts and allays his fears, or he may guide an aspirant by telling him when to slow down, when to stop and so forth.
An aspirant who has been practising a form of pranayama and meditation for some years will, through the practice, have created a free-flow of prana through the subtle body meridians. Such an aspirant may not feel the energy moving. Individuals on the Bhakti Marg also may not feel the movement of Kundalini because they operate from unconditional love and devotion and will not face hazards of Kundalini.
Similarly, there are masters who through lifetimes of sadhana have reached a stage where energy flows through them freely. In another aspirant, a breathing technique may have a sudden impact and the dormant energy lying coiled at the base of the spine may be jolted from its resting place. In such an eventuality, the physical, mental and emotional bodies of the aspirant may not be ready for the sudden arousal of Kundalini. Such an aspirant will feel the workings of Kundalini, because the balance that is brought about by meditation and pranayama is taken over by the Kundalini. If this happens, then the aspirant has a very interesting and challenging journey ahead
These days there are various workshops being conducted on yoga, pranayama, chakras and the mass awakening of the Kundalini. Such activities can produce a premature awakening and, if the teacher is not equipped to guide the awakened energy, it can prove to be harmful at the physical, mental and emotional levels.
Normally, a Guru is essential for the awakening of the Kundalini. In rare cases, the awakening may happen due to past samskaras during which a person has probably practised some form of sadhana. So, at an appropriate time in this life, the symptoms of Kundalini are manifest to lead that individual to his next level of growth. In this situation if the individual can surrender, then the Kundalini itself becomes the Guru. However, even in this situation, the person instead of getting confused and groping in the dark will have to seek the mentorship of a living Guru who can provide guidance.