A PERSONAL STORY OF AWAKENING
A PERSONAL STORY
Man’s task is…to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious. Neither should he persist in his unconsciousness, nor remain identical with the unconscious elements in his being, thus evading his destiny, which is to create more and more consciousness. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. It may even be assumed that just as the unconscious affects us, so the increase in our consciousness affects the unconscious.
Memories, Dream and Reflections by C. G. Jung
Chapter 3 - Dissolution
A few months before the Kundalini release in May/99 I have these dreams.
"A spaceship turns around and I think it will decimate my house and me with it. I lie down and am very still and quiet. Although I am not killed, my house is off-kilter but still standing."
"Our apartment block starts to shake. We are in the middle of an earthquake and I think we will all be killed. It sways from side to side and I realize that, although it has been standing since 1920, it is really going to go over. Peter and I hold each other. We are resigned to it being destroyed."
Shortly after this dream, there is an earthquake in our area. Although our apartment does sway and it is frightening, I feel almost relieved. It is as if I have been expecting it, and now it is over and we are unharmed.
June 20/00. I am in a doctor’s office to get some forms signed. I have just told her about my experiences with the Kundalini energy. As she begins to speak, she looks over her shoulder - I can’t quite understand this because there are just the two of us in the room. Leaning forward, she says in a low, but very emphatic voice, "Don't invite those Kundalini forces into your life; they are dangerous energies and you have to be very careful of demon possession." Then she takes out a pen and, with a shaking hand, writes something on a piece of paper and hands it to me. I am almost afraid to look at what she has written. She tells me about an evangelist who has a program every day on the radio. She says he exorcises demons and she is imploring me to go and hear him when he comes to Vancouver in a month. I am stunned by her words because this woman was recommended to be by someone I trust. My friend told me that she is a doctor who is open to alternative healing and has studied yoga. I wonder what has happened to her since my friend last saw her. I am having a hard time taking in her words. I think only of how to get out of her office without causing any more fear in her or in me. I tell her I will listen to the program and I leave. When I get outside I, too, am shaking. Now I understand why I felt such panic in her waiting room before my appointment.
I have been feeling frightened these past weeks of an unnamable darkness. A powerful energy is coursing through my body day and night - I rock and shake and go into trance states and my head bobs about - I just don’t know what to expect next. I tell Peter that I don’t want to see any dead relatives or other creatures that may scare me. But now, with this experience in the doctor’s office, I have a reflection of my fears. This woman has helped to put them into words. I think of the word 'panic' and how it is related to the god Pan and his Springtime awakening of the Dionysian life forces each year. His more proper name is 'Awe of the Eternal Time.' My etymology dictionary says that the word 'pan' was used freely in Greece in the sense of 'wholly, completely, of all, by all'. A Jungian analyst, Edward Edinger, says:
When the ego is identified with spirit, nature
becomes demonic - witness the fact that Pan and Dionysus were recast as versions of the devil
by Christian mentality.
When I get home, I listen to the radio program out of curiosity, and then I sit down and write the doctor a note. I write it on a card with a photograph of a lotus blossom. I want to assure her that the Kundalini experience is a blessing, and if one is respectful of what one is being opened to and finds guidance from someone who understands these energies, there is really nothing to be afraid of.
With some hesitation, I continue my search for someone who may understand what I am experiencing. I go to a Tibetan Buddhist teacher in the area and, although she is very compassionate, she, also, warns me to be careful of this energy. She tells me a story about a woman who did yoga postures to raise her Kundalini and she is now in a psychiatric ward. I assure her that I am not doing anything specific to make this come about. It has happened to me (although I know on some level I have said 'yes' to it). She advises me not to listen to upsetting programs on TV and to spend time in nature. These seem like sensible pieces of advice, but I want more understanding and guidance. I call a woman who has written a book about Kundalini. She is very clinical in her approach; I feel like a client and it doesn’t seem to honour what I know is a spiritual transformation.
June 23. Dream: An older man and woman come crawling through a tunnel on their hands and knees. I help to clear the way at the end of it as they come out into the light. She gets into a wheelchair with flowers on it and tells me she likes my nursing home better than her's because the bells are softer.
July 2. Dream: I am with a man who is very spiritual. I ask him why he doesn’t speak to everyone about how to help prevent or cure headaches (he seems to know these things). He says he needs to be very quiet so he can contemplate; he is doing important inner work. He is reading Aldous Huxley. I ask him if he has read Adi Da and he says he doesn’t want suggestions. He shows a group of us how to put our hands together in a gesture of reverence and respect.
August 28: I call the publisher of Lee Sannella’s book, The Kundalini Experience. They tell me he is no longer in practice and give me the name of Stuart Sovatsky, the director of the Kundalini Clinic in Oakland, California. He listens so attentively while I tearfully describe what I am experiencing. I struggle with words, "At least once a day there is the feeling of something closing in on me and I have to lie still while I am being squeezed and worked on - as if I am in a tunnel and I have to wait until I get to the end. Sometimes I cry and I don’t know what I am crying about, and my body moves in strange ways." All this pours out into a silence; a silence which feels as if it is containing me. All I remember now is that Stuart tells me that the tunnel feeling is the energy going up my spine. He is very respectful of how I am working with all the purification and clearing that is going on and says, "You should tell your story, for there are so many people like you who feel very alone." I get off the phone and feel as if I can handle whatever will come next.
August 30. I have to be alone right now. I have turned off my telephone and am attending deeply to what is being asked of me. I feel a strong direction of when to be with others and when to be quiet. Every day I have a time when my arms or legs shake and different areas of my body feel as if they are trying to unblock and clear. It can be very painful as memories of different times in my life flood to the surface. I try to just watch them and not get caught up in the emotions, but it is hard. I hurt all over.
Sept 13. I am in the bath letting the heat soothe my sore muscles. The water seems to help the almost-constant burning in my pelvic area. I have just come home from, yet another, unsatisfactory doctor’s appointment - still on a search to get forms signed. All of a sudden, without any warning, I lose all sense of my body. I don’t know what has happened; it is as if "I" have disappeared. I look down at my body; I can see it, but I have no sense of it. I cry silently for help and, although it is the middle of the day and Peter is usually not around at this time, in a few minutes he walks through the door. He helps me out of the bath and into bed. I can’t find words to tell him what I mean when I say I don’t seem to have a body. This feeling lasts all day and night. I sleep, and later that night I call a friend. I am surprised that she doesn’t seem afraid of what I am telling her. I don't understand this lack of fear, for I feel as if I have fallen off the edge of the world and that what is happening to me has never been felt by anyone before. It is her calmness that helps me get through the night. In the morning I feel connected to my body again. I call Stuart and when I explain this feeling of bodylessness he says, "Oh yes, that is called pratyahara. It is a withdrawal of the senses." I am amazed there is a word for what I am going through - I hang on to that word all day. He then says, "There are thousands of people over the centuries who have experienced this…the energy of ego awareness reverses…the senses of the eyes, ears, skin withdraw…you give up on perceptions of the outer world...the adrenals are still functioning and that is where the fear is coming from, but there is no danger. As you get familiar with this experience you will learn how to go in and out of this place. The goal is to remain in a state of awe and amazement, like a child."
I have experienced unusual states of consciousness before. Sometimes while meditating, I would feel as if parts of me were dropping off or dissolving or being pulled out of me; or everything might shift out of focus and the familiar would seem unfamiliar. Sometimes I would feel ten feet tall, or as big as the lower mainland of Vancouver, or feel no boundaries at all. On a few occasions I felt as if I were travelling in space. At these times I would think of when the caterpillar asked Alice in Alice in Wonderland who she was and she told him, " I-I hardly know just at present..at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then...being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."
Later I read this poem which seems to describe a little of what I am experiencing.
In the long journey out of the self
There are many detours, washed-out,
interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously
And the back wheels hang almost over the edge
At the sudden veering, the moment of turning.
The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke
Sept. 28. I am reading a book called Collision with the Infinite. I sit up all night to finish it. I feel quite frightened while reading of Suzanne Segal’s experiences. One day while getting on a bus in Paris she, "lost all sense of herself..and the old Suzanne was never to return." She searched for years to find someone who could help her with the fear she was experiencing from this 'loss of self'. She met a teacher named Jean Klein and told him of how her "individual self dissolved." He said to her, "You must stop the part of the mind that constantly keeps trying to look back at the experience..get that part out of the way, then joy will come."
Over the next weeks, I read these words of advice over and over, and when I do, I find myself taking deep breaths and feel the anxiety dissolve into the space around me.