Kundalini: It’s not a pasta. The Sanskrit root of the word means coiled or spiral. The image of a snake piled on itself or two snakes rising is used to depict this reservoir of energy at the base of the spine.
Don’t look for it on anatomical charts, though. It’s not recognized by Western medicine. But growing numbers seek the raising of kundalini and many feel that the experience of kundalini in their bodies is as hard to miss as a hurricane.
The ideal result is variously described as union with the divine, one-ness with all being, super-consciousness.
I’m not one of the awakened, have only felt a blip–more on this later. Yet I’m in the camp of those who are pretty sure that “there’s something to it.” (Total disclosure: my novel Cobalt Blue is about an artist’s turbulent kundalini awakening.)
I was fascinated to read recently the personal accounts that make up most of JJ Semple’s new book, Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini. Semple defines kundalini as:
…A biological subsystem that remains inactive until summoned through meditation or other triggers that, once activated, send distilled sexual energy to the brain via the sexual sublimation process.
A Hurricane of Energy
The awakening accounts are dramatic. From Vikram G.:
One day, at the culmination of the sexual act with my wife, and while the (Indian classical) music was playing, I heard a cracking noise at the base of my spine. It was the most intense orgasm in my life; something ran through my entire being and it overwhelmed me…
I ‘saw’ …everything as vibrations. The music, the streams of water, the glimmering light from the bulb above me.
In her spiritual memoir Female Kundalini, Margaret Dempsey reports:
…I felt an energy rise up from within me, and I began to shake. Not an abnormal condition or convulsion, but a physical energy rocking my whole body.
Triggers cited include meditation, yoga, sexual activity, psychedelics, and the trance of making art. There are many reports as well of spontaneous uprising.
Barbara Hand Clow, author of Astrology and the Rising of Kundalini, suggests that mid-life crisis is a peak time for such experiences.
Kundalini yoga is many Westerners’ introduction to the term. This practice, and arguably all physical practice of yoga, is designed to rouse consciousness to its highest potential through raising kundalini energy. I wonder whether most of those who attend kundalini yoga classes know this.
Similar concepts appear in many traditions. Chi is probably the best known example; originating in China’s oldest religions, it refers to energy that permeates everything.
A Shocking Awakening