Is kundalini a separate phenomenon?

Eva Nie, modified 7 Years ago at 2/15/15 9:02 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 2/15/15 9:02 PM

Is kundalini a separate phenomenon?

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
Reading a recent kundalini thread, I notice I am having trouble in my mind seeing kundalini as a separate phenomenon than enlightenement, paths, etc.  I am wondering if it's more like different labels for slightly different paths that aren't really all that different.  To take an anology, say a person wanted to improve their physical strength and fitness and went to various health gurus,  The first guru said that to get fit, one must swim every day in a swimming pool and splash vigorously for an hour.  The second guru said one must run every other day around a track and be huffing and puffing at the end.  The third guru said one must lift heavy weights every third day and feel strong muscle pain and feel the urge to make loud groaning noises during the event.  The fourth guru said one must make various poses on a mat daily until one became more and more flexible.  Etc.  Such activities sound at face value as quite different things going on with quite different side effects and indicators, but thanks to science, we now know that the benefit mechanism behind all these activities is fairly similar and has to do with cardio and muscle cell improvement, just that different techniques emphasis in different directions and those different leanings yield surprisingly varying kinds of side effects.  But if you look, you can still see similarities, tendencies towards breathing hard during the activity, being tired afterwards, growth of muscles, improved strength, muscle soreness later, etc.   All of the methods described do work, but some may be better for some than others, depending on various predispositions in the individual.  

So getting back to the main point, what I see in meditation is a lot of kundalini like phenomenon and experiences, and in kundalini, a lot of cycles like the paths describe, and in those that do not meditate, also sometimes similar things to meditation.  Except when it is not in meditation, there is a tendency (from some) to then just call it overactive imagination instead, as if your weirdness is probably only special if it's directly linked to meditation.   I am wondering if there is really a diff from kundalini and the paths or is it more about emphasis and leanings of description.  There are some kundalini schools that say kundalini is typically experienced as a series of stages, not all at once, stages that look rather similar to the descriptions of paths in a variety of ways.
-Eva  
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tom moylan, modified 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 1:44 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 1:44 PM

RE: Is kundalini a separate phenomenon?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy eva,
some traditions call the whole basket of varying groups of sensations that contemplatives go through "the awakening of kundalini energy".  there is a peak experience in just about every contemplative tradition which goes by different names but is in some traditions called The kundalini awakening.  in the mahasi tradition that peak experience is referred to as the "knowlege of the arising and passing away of phenomena".  while not as sexy as "kundalini" as a label, it still can blow your mind.

but the question you ask about it being a seperate phenomena is not too clear to me but i would say that names matter if only to help us talk about apples as apples.  so while in certain traditions the word kundalini can refer to the general energetic process..one could interpret that as a "path".  one could also use the term to describe the common peak experience described above.  maybe eevven kundalini enlightenment although i'm not familiar with that usage.

a further nomenclature point is the word "path" itself.  here, in the mahasi tradition, it refers to 'permanent' state shifts, or the completion of a cycle of insight which is thought of as a 'stage' of enlightenment. i hope i didn't make this too confusing.

tom
: ladyfrog :, modified 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 7:50 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 7:47 PM

RE: Is kundalini a separate phenomenon?

Posts: 38 Join Date: 8/6/13 Recent Posts
My perspective is from someone who has never pursued awakening "kundalini" as a practice goal, so i can't speak to those pursuing that as a central focus.  

Many advanced practitioners I have spoken to describe gross piti, makyo, and big energetic stuff I can relate too, but it seems to be an ocaissionnal thing vs. ongoing over years. When someone on this board refers people with kundalini issues to info on the A&P, I feel they are talking about something other than kundalini awakeninging/activation.  There are many posters on that board who do describe something i identify with (in the other thread you refer to, but also many other posters over time).  

My guess (speaking not as a follower of a path explicitly pursuing energetic development)  is that it just happens to some people and will be a part of the whole deal for them, just as others may have other predominant experiences/tendencies.  but it seems like a separate phenomenon from discreet energetic experiences within meditation.   Some teachers I have worked with seem to have had a similar ongoing kundalini thing, some have not.  I have encountered, as far as I can tell, more who have not and this does not seem to be an indicator of their depth of realisation (this is just my impression of course).  I have talked to some teachers with awakened kundalini who seem bananas to me.

My kundlaini awakening/activation process happened years after stream entry (which had a nice blissful heart chakra type expereience for me at the time but was a discreet energetic experience).  The fact that it did not happen before stream entry probably makes me less inclined to weigh it as primary.

It was for a couple of years a non-stop white-knuckle kind fo affair for me.  Managing the process and/or my experience of it was very consuming, highly ego-activating, and has left me with a lot of questions and a more open mind about what is possible.  I was practicing only in a buddhist context, and not gunning for it in any way (not even really aware this could happen). I now read about kriya yoga, self-realization, kundalini yoga and take them to be pushing towards that kind of "awakening" at least as a starting point.  Shaktipat etc.

For me, while I am open to the idea that a version/path to awakening results from that process, i am not convinced.  Personally, my ego got very soldified (both up and down) over it (its such an experience!), but I did not have the sense of egoless freedom intimated at by stream entry and subsequent insights.  I did learn a lot from that ego constriction tho.

This is an interesting post on the hamilton project by Nikolai. http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/09/physio-energetically-speaking.html

It kind of is where i am sitting with it at this point (his disclaimer at the top, i mean).  I was interested in this as well as Kenneth Folk's descriptions as a completed circuit meaning a kind of "doneness"… but while it seems like my circuit has reached a stable and usually lovely place, i certainly don't feel "done".

That being said I am trying to learn from it what I can, take the plusses that came with it (higher concentration, experiences of a sense of unity or holiness, bliss) and take that into my practice.  Therefore, I wouldn't trade it away… but I don't see it currently as essential or even more desireable.  It does kind of put you in a mindset that there is no going back, but I hear this from a variety of practitioners in other contexts.
Eva Nie, modified 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 9:30 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 9:30 PM

RE: Is kundalini a separate phenomenon?

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
Seems like if there is a lot of certain side effects and the intensity is strong, then it seems more likely to be called 'kundalini.'  But seems like all kinds of physical sensations are common in meditating, at least that is what I have been gathering from reading here..

Another issue is when should a term be applied?  At what stage is one enlightened?  Is it one of the paths, kensho or ?  Same goes with kundalini.  There are some schools that say there are prekundalini sensations and then the k awakens at base of spine which is the next stage, then usually goes only to heart chakra as next stage and then next stage is usually to 3rd eye chakra and then final stage is through the crown.  But also that k can cycle up and down within these stages.  So at what point does one know it is kundalini?  Seems we can only tell if there are strong sensations of certain kinds but we might not even know what part of the kundalini stages we are in.  Or might pass through some without strong sensations, it would seem, thus making it harder to identify what is happening. 

But anyway, interesting to notice in kundalini, it is said there tends to be 4 main stages to the process, awakening at base, passing through heart, passing through 3rd eye and then passing through crown.  Within those stages, the kundalini is said by some to back and forth.. 
-Eva
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Daniel - san, modified 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 10:46 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 2/16/15 10:34 PM

RE: Is kundalini a separate phenomenon?

Posts: 308 Join Date: 9/9/14 Recent Posts
Eva M Nie:
Another issue is when should a term be applied?  At what stage is one enlightened? 

Hi Eva. As regards Kundalini, schools differ. The teachings that I have found most in-depth and comprehensive say that K energy moves from the base of the spine through the crown chakra (mostly not in any particular order) and when the shakti energy meets with the shiva energy in union, it then decends back through the crown, through the throat and then opens the heart chakra. The process is complete and one is fully awakened (according to these traditions) when it has finished opening the heart chakra and completed the main cycle

Is it one of the paths, kensho or ?  Same goes with kundalini. 

Many have tried lining up different maps from various teachings (see MCTB for Daniel's admittedly rough attempt to do so with various Buddhist traditions) and not everyone goes through (nearly) the same thing. This is a tough question really and will probably continue to be debated for a long time. Jack Kornfield wrote an great piece in 2010 that brushes against this fascinating subject called  'Enlightenments'

There are some schools that say there are prekundalini sensations and then the k awakens at base of spine which is the next stage, then usually goes only to heart chakra as next stage and then next stage is usually to 3rd eye chakra and then final stage is through the crown.  But also that k can cycle up and down within these stages.  So at what point does one know it is kundalini? 

I'd say diagnoses is like when a psychologist has a list of ten items that makes you officially schizophrenic, and if you check off seven of the ten boxes you win a prize, admittedly a shitty prize. Only six boxes and you're not quite there yet - try harder! Same goes for kundalini. Very intense A&P symptoms that don't subside after a number of years are good candidates. The energy does not move in a linear way for most. Take a look at www.kundalinicare.com to see how indepth the subject can be with the various types of risings etc. There's a great interview with the founder of that site and teaching lineage in two parts here, one and two if you'd like to learn more. In all my research I found this source to be one of the more credible - there's a lot of New Agey junk out there that's well worth skipping over

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