A PERSONAL STORY OF AWAKENING
A PERSONAL STORY
When Kundalini awakens one invariably feels some involuntary movements of the body, which begin with trembling and shaking, with an intensity varying with different persons. Some experience violent shaking of different kinds, as does a car before starting when the dynamo begins to work. Such physical movements are accompanied with a heretofore-not-experienced feeling of pleasure of spiritual awakening, and the brain becomes heavy as under intoxication. These are the first symptoms of an awakened Kundalini and are followed by various signs and experiences too many to be enumerated.
Devatma Shakti (Kundalini): Divine Power by Swami Vishnu Tirtha (see Manifestations)
Chapter 1 - Awakening
May 13, 1999. Life is about to change in ways I could never imagine. I have been suffering from a Chronic Fatigue-type Syndrome for 13 years and have tried every conceivable type of treatment to shift this devastating condition.
In the morning, I go for my regular acupuncture treatment despite a dream in which my husband, Peter, says, "Stay home and look after your little boy and girl". The treatment feels different from any other in my long and often grueling years of needles and herbal remedies.
I come home and fall into a deep sleep. When I waken I can't seem to move my arms or my legs. This is not a new experience for me; it has happened many times before over the past years of illness. However, this time something feels different. After several minutes, I am able to move my limbs but I don't seem to be able to get up. At first I can't seem to remember who I am or where I am. As I will discover much later, the old Cathy is gone and a new person, "the essence of the rose," is beginning to emerge. I fall back into sleep and when I waken the second time I feel as if I am pulling myself back from the land of the dead. I am totally disoriented and cannot find words to tell Peter what is happening to me.
Over the next few days, I drift in and out of a place where there are no words to describe what is happening to me. It is a frightening and bewildering place. It will be several weeks before I come upon this poem by Rumi-
Out beyond ideas of
wrongdoing and rightdoing
there lies a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
In this last acupuncture treatment, Dr. Wang puts a needle in just above my navel. I read later that this is called Conception Vessel Nine and it is where some cultures feel the divine enters the body. During the treatment I seem to enter another place and time. For the next few weeks I am awash with dreams and strange symptoms. I have trouble speaking to anyone about what is happening to me. My body is burning up. I can hardly lift my arms; I have to prop them with pillows because they hurt so much and I am afraid to jar them. The headaches, which I have suffered from for many years, become violent and there is enormous pressure and heat in my head. My brain feels as if it has closed down or is wrapped in thick layers of cotton. Every cell of my body feels as if it is on fire.
I recall a dream I had a few months before. My older brother is crying on the floor with his head in his hands - almost in a posture of supplication. From the sky two large hands rest lovingly on his shoulders. I know they are the hands of the Goddess. At the time I don't think of Her as Kundalini. I paint a picture of the dream and hang it on the wall behind my head in my bedroom. She watches over me as I travel into the underworld.
In the following weeks, I look back at my dreams and journal entries leading up to the awakening:
April 8. Journal entry: I throw my Chinese coins and find this reading in the I Ching. No. 41: Decrease, "..by this decrease of the lower powers of the psyche, the higher aspects of the soul are enriched. If the movement of the spinal nerves is brought to a standstill, the ego, with its restlessness, disappears, as it were..all thoughts should restrict themselves to the immediate situation..all thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore."
May 8. Dream: I fall into a valley. It is a long way down and I am amazed that I can manage it. At the very bottom I turn and slip into a man's arms and we kiss. When I get back to the top of the valley, I meet my husband. There is a woman beside him, who is psychic. She says two words 'no aim'.
May 8. Journal entry: It's a death right now, everything in me is wearing out: in the outer world as well as the inner. My clothes, kitchen utensils, car - all seem to be disappearing. This has been happening for some time but it is getting more powerful. I keep leaving people in my dreams. My body feels as if it is wearing out. All I can attend to is the inside.
May 9. Dream: I move temporarily to a new place with friends. It is such a big job. I do as much as I can and leave the rest to others. I haven't seen the place before I move in; I can't believe how run down it is and yet I feel as if I can manage it for about three months.
May 12. Dream: I am to be a companion to a woman prisoner. I realize that I, too, will be a prisoner by having to live with her. We go on a motorbike and fly over a cliff, sailing a long way down into a gully. It is freeing and thrilling. We have no seat belts. I realize that we have a long drop and the wind drafts don't allow us to descend. I try my best to stay calm. She is brave but I am sure she is scared, too. Then I am on the ground with her. I had blacked out. I am told people are coming to help us and then I see a sign; it says 'memories'. I feel as if I have let this woman down. Then another woman comes and takes a whole roll of pictures of the prisoner and me. I am self conscious, but I know I want a record of this event.
As I lie in bed over the next months, I take heart from the I Ching readings, my dreams, and Peter's quiet, steady presence. I am reminded of what I have learned in working with others and from all of my studying - that the most important thing a person can do, in accompanying someone going through a spiritually transformative upheaval, is not to show fear, to be quiet and available when needed, and to have faith that ultimately what is happening is a blessing. All of these things Peter seems to instinctively know. I think of all the years he has spent immersing himself in the natural world, as a naturalist and photographer, and of the many times in our years together when I would be frightened and he would remind me that when one is lost in the forest it is best to stay still and not to panic.
I have read many books, over the years, about the spiritual aspect of illness in a desperate attempt to understand the experience of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and to find some meaning in the terrible suffering I have been going through. I read about the shamanic initiatory illnesses, which can go on for years, and about Gopi Krishna's very difficult experiences with a Kundalini Awakening, but it takes me several weeks before I realize that I, too, am in the process of a spiritual transformation. I feel as if I am awash in the unconscious. Every day I experience a sense of something narrowing and closing in on me and then my body begins to shake and jerk (later I learn that these movements are called kriyas). I cry or laugh and have no idea why. These states come and go and seem to have no connection to what is happening in my outer life. When I need support, Peter lies beside me very quietly, just holding my hand, while I go through what feels like a tunnel squeezing in on me.
For four days I lose my sense of balance. Every time I move my head, the room spins around. It is terrifying in the night, when I jerk out of sleep, to feel a sense of whirling about in space with no ground beneath me. I hang on to Peter to steady me. Dr. Wang says the damp weather is aggravating the dampness in my head. This gives some framework for the experience, but when I read about the ancient shamanic ritual involving a swiveling board, I feel a sense of peace.
The medicine men of Carib Pujai (Dutch Guiana) are known as masters of the
spirit..Experiencing the other world is referred to as ascending. The body is
in a state of unconsciousness, in which the spirit of the novice must learn
to ascend to the celestial realm. (One initiate describes his initiation)..a
bench was constructed on which he had to sit. This bench was mounted on a
swivel so that it could be rotated rapidly, with him seated on it,
and then unwound at a great speed, in order to induce a trance state.
(Along with other practices) he soon found himself at the "crossroads of
life and death", where his guide instructed him about life after death.
The initiate chants, "The turning bench..will bring me to the wall of heaven.
I shall see the village of Tukajana (the spirit) from within."
I open this book, while lying spinning on my bed, just to the page which tells of this initiation practice. I find great comfort in knowing that others have gone through this experience, and that there is meaning in this off-kilter state I am in.
I wonder who my guides will be.