By Yogi Baba Prem Tom Beal Vedavisharada, CYI, C.ay, C.va
It has been well over 20 years since my kundalini first awoke; I have never written about my experiences during this time, but for some strange reason I feel compelled to record this experience now. But before I can recount the experience itself, it is important to cover some basic information.
Compared with many westerners, I was young when I started this journey. I was in my early to mid-twenties. My journey towards kundalini awakening did follow the traditional path, as I did not come to yoga seeking enlightenment. I did not really come seeking spiritual answers; I did not know what the kundalini was and really had no interest in it. Rather, I came to this path as a means of addressing stress and in desperation for relief. So it would be true to say that ‘pain’ brought me to yoga and spirituality.
I found yoga enjoyable, great at stress reduction, but strangely it seemed to be almost like coming home. I found that the basic philosophy I had learned resonated somewhere deep within my being. This place seemed like an old friend, but yet, it was someone that I did not really know. It was like discovering all the things I knew somewhere inside but had no way to express or embrace, for that matter. I discovered a strong connection with philosophy; this philosophical connection has continued throughout my life and has remained in my teaching, writing and training programs. In this journey, I quickly embraced a daily sadhana, and found about 25 minutes every day to meditate. After some time, I turned a spare bedroom into a meditation room. I filled it with plants, and a comfortable place to sit that included a small tape player for some soft music and an incense burner.
I practiced daily for over a year, during this time I completed training in yoga philosophy and then studied and became certified as a teacher. My concern was more with yoga, as opposed to the kundalini itself. Then I was invited by my teacher for more advanced study. This continued for another year and some months, after approximately 2 ½ years of dedicated study, an event occurred that would change my life forever.
I had assumed that if one had a kundalini awakening that this would occur while practicing yoga. It seemed logical. After all, this was when one would apply the proper techniques and attempt to move energy to awaken the kundalini. My first kundalini experience did not occur under those conditions. It actually happened while I was at work.
At the time, I was working in radio in New Mexico. I was doing afternoons, called afternoon drive. We were a radio station that was called urban-contemporary. We were a popular and progressive radio station. While we were beginning a sweep of uninterrupted music, I suddenly began to feel strange. It was as if I was losing awareness of my body. In fact, I was losing awareness of the world. For a moment I tried to resist, using all of energy to become aware of my environment for a brief moment. I observed that all the music was set to play automatically. Then it was as if someone strapped a rocket to my consciousness, and I was gone. This continued for about 40 minutes; with me occasionally have brief glimpses of the physical world, only to be shot out of physical consciousness again. Then I slowly had awareness of my physical body again and could stay conscious of my physical body and environment. I loaded more music and we proceeded to have a commercial free hour of music, while I became familiar with my body and world again.
This was not a frightening experience. It was very intense and altered my consciousness considerably. But the truth was simply this, I had no idea what had happened. Once I was at home I called my teacher. This was a major reminder of the importance of teacher that was knowledgeable about such things. I called him with a tense feeling in my voice. My teacher meditated for a moment and told me that my kundalini had awakened. He proceeded to tell me that I did not want that to happen while I was work; though I seemed to have figured out that kundalini awakenings at work were less than ideal. Of course there are worse places to have your kundalini awaken, and I would soon find out what those were. He was able to calm the energy and bring it back to a ‘sleep’ state. Life return to normal again.
Being in Albuquerque, New Mexico, there is a great deal of Indian reservation land around the state. I had been contacted by a tribe to come out and D.J. for a dance at the reservation. D.J. work was a side thing that I did, and I enjoyed the special events, fundraising etc. My equipment was packed, and I was heading west on I-40 when the unimaginable happened. Just outside of town, I felt suddenly felt strange and started to lose consciousness of my body. Hurling down the highway is not the optimum time to have a kundalini awakening experience; obviously, it is not the ideal to start to lose awareness of one’s surroundings, as well. I quickly pulled over and somehow the car stopped. I was gone again. I don’t know how long I was gone, but since I always like to arrive at events very early I did have some time to work with. After awhile, I was back in body. I quickly took off, pulling off an off ramp and trying to eat some heavy food to ground me. I arrived at the event about 15 minutes before I was supposed to start and quickly setup for the show. Though I was rattled, the show continued and everyone had a good time.
The next day I called my teacher and explained what had occurred. He meditated for a moment and said, “The kundalini is moving again. You don’t want that to happen when you are driving.” Again, the not happening while driving portion I had figured out already. At this point, I came in for sessions with my teacher and began to try and get this process under control.
One of the first lessons you learn, is that it is difficult, initially, to get the awakening process under control sometimes. Or at least it was for me. But with time and practice, I was able to move to a space where the kundalini would move at more appropriate times. Once I was successful with that initial goal; then began the process of integrating my experience and new levels of consciousness into my physical being. Over many years, I learned more and became quite proficient with the kundalini process. I experimented with different ways to activate the energy and what occurs in the body when the kundalini encounters blocks in the sushmna. That experience made it quite clear as to why it is so important to cleanse and detoxify prior to the kundalini energy awakening.
To many they do not understand why the kundalini awakening is important. I am not sure it is important to the layperson. Those that choose the deep spiritual path are looking at obtaining liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. They long to continue their journey deeper into oneness with Divinity. The kundalini awakening is largely for them. If you attend yoga, meditation, spirituality or similar system possibly you are interested in your personal transformation as well. Under these circumstances, the kundalini awakening may be appropriate for you. The general teaching is that each time the kundalini enters the sushmna, it is equal to 10 years of spiritual work and growth. Of course this is just a general guideline, as it is different for different practitioners. But if you think about this general rule, with the kundalini just activating twice a year for the rest of one’s life would allow them to achieve lifetimes of work in a single life. This is why most yoga systems, including hatha, evolve into or use kundalini techniques. Some may debate the decade of spiritual growth numbers, the only way to know the truth is to go and experience the truth for yourself. Debate is useless as it is only theory or belief, as opposed to directly knowing the truth.
If one is drawn to this path, they should seek guidance and counsel from an experienced and knowledgeable teacher. One that has had their kundalini awaken is preferable. The kundalini awakening may be the goal, but the journey to the most is initially the most important.