You are on an incredible circular staircase. Behind you the staircase widens as it stretches into deepening twilight and then darkness, and ahead of you the staircase seems to narrow as it disappears into the immensity of the blue sky. With each step you experience a fleeting cycle of emotional torrents and then peace as you move on to the next step. As your weight shifts from one step to another, you become aware of choices made, an agreement, and then an experiencing. Choices made, an agreement, an experiencing, and an ever deepening peace between. You don’t know where you are going but the ever deepening peace, knowing and clarity is what keeps you going, keeps you agreeing and experiencing. Sometimes there is a landing where the going is easier and sometimes the steps feel like mountains that have to be climbed. You are aware of the warm gentle wind at your back, lifting. There are so many steps that you no longer remember any of them, just the shift of your weight from step to step; the agreement, the experiencing and the peace.
Some teachers talk about life on this Earth as being a “Play”, a “Game” or a “Dance”. For me, it feels as if it were a fabulous new game that you “plug” into. You can not only hear and see what transpires in the game, or even participate by making decisions, but can step into the game as one of its parts, just as if you were that character. As Soul, you are less material than dark energy, and you are also that character which you have stepped into. You and that character are one. If the body you are attached to has pain, you feel it. If it experiences the fragrance and taste of a fresh, ripe mango, so do you. If it wakes up with a hangover, so do you. You are a part of everything that happens to that body, acting to help guide and console. You continue experiencing that body/mind until the term of that life is completed, and then, as it is dying, you disconnect. You are what has traditionally been called Soul.
Since this body/mind has consistently been steered away from reading much of the current spiritual dialogue, I cannot consider myself an expert on that dialogue. What I can do, is to make observations about my own journey so that those whose journeys are similar, can be aware of some of the signposts.
Over the years there were periods of time when there was closer contact with Consciousness without even the knowledge of what it was. For about two years following a suicide attempt at 17, there was an uncanny intuition as to the accuracy of statements made by others. Never could pinpoint what was happening, but sometimes it just “felt” as if what was just heard was not quite correct and it was uncanny just how accurate this feeling was. Now I know that if what comes from within is a sense of heaviness, then it is equivalent to an answer of “NO” (i.e. the person’s remark was incorrect in some aspect). If a sense of lightness was perceived, the answer is the equivalent to an answer of “YES”.
There was some attempt throughout my life at developing spiritual awareness, although I was unaware of why I was doing it. There was an old Lutheran Church at age 10 and the Episcopal Church of my mid-teens when I went to church on my own. Something attracted me to the LDS church in my early 20’s but I left when the Bishop offered me a special blessing and there was such a deep sense of embarrassment because I felt that there was nothing that I had done to deserve it. Every five years or so throughout my life I would try another church and almost always came away disappointed. There was an Episcopal church in Juneau that I went to for 10 years as a vocal soloist in my 40’s which was very supportive but I was afraid to tell them know how often there was this sense that there had to be more. Basically, the Christian churches were telling me that they were the only way, and the feeling in my heart always told me that there were other directions more open and more loving. I just had to find them.
Periodically attending Esalen (15 miles south of Big Sur, CA), was refreshing because there were always people there who were headed in roughly the same direction that I was. A discussion with a Benedictine monk who had studied Zen Buddhism (LOC 701) and was a Spiritual Advisor at Esalen was also very beneficial. The classes were always beneficial whether they were on behavioral, scientific, spiritual or artistic subjects. On the catalog sent out by Esalen there was usually a small article on the back page about Transpersonal Psychology and somehow this phrase stuck in my mind as being a direction I wanted to go (at that time an overall LOC of 801). This subject was what I looked for when I wanted to go back to college in 1997.
About 1998 I was working on a Transpersonal Psychology Master’s program at JFK University. It was after several quarters, that the Spiritual classes began to be more interesting to me than the psychology classes. One class, Prayer of the Heart, made such an impact that I audited it again the next year. At one point during the first class, we were led in a meditation designed to move our center of awareness into the 4th chakra, or heart. When asked what we felt, once we had entered the heart space, there was such a quietness within and a sense of knowing (not knowledge because knowledge is composed of words and thought, but just a sense of knowing). It was only later when the quietness wore off and negative thoughts and emotions filled the space, that “I” began to wonder about what had happened (this occurred several times over the next few years). Since that class, there have been occasions when looking into someone’s eyes, when I can feel that this person has had a similar experience of quiet and knowing, or when I can see in the eyes of a painting that the painter has had this experience and is trying to recreate it.
Over a period of years (1985 – 1999), there were several emotional therapy workshops that also featured exercises like Holotropic Breathwork, or exercises that were meant to open us to the energy within. The effect of one week-long class was such that I wrote a $1,000 check to repeat the class before the class had fully completed. The long-term effect of those classes taken before retirement was strong enough that when early retirement came, this is what my body/mind wanted to continue to experience and teach.
After taking several week long classes during the summer of 1998, there was a very strange dream, early one morning. During that dream, there was a bolt of lightning which traveled from approximately the 2nd chakra, through the body and woke me up. For about three days afterward, my body had more energy than the mind could ever remember. Complete Exhilaration!! How could one be frightened? Within a month there was a second episode. This time the energy seemed to branch down my arms and into my neck. WOW! Now I know these as Kundalini openings. In addition to opening the Kundalini, these openings begin to open the emotional blocks that body has built at the neck, the waist and at the junction of arms and legs to the trunk of the body.
After assisting at another class in the late summer of 1998, I woke to a delicious feeling of vibration in my arms and legs and part of my torso. It felt as if someone had yelled “Fire” and my body responded by injecting massive amounts of adrenaline into the blood stream. After waiting about ten days to see if it would fade or disappear in the night, I called my teacher of the time, who shouted over the phone, “Great! You’ve got the Holy Spirit!” Further research brought up the term “Chi”. It is not that this body suddenly “acquired” chi because it had always been there, but that I was now able to feel it in the body. One time, about a year later it appeared to be gone which upset me. I talked to my higher power and it showed up again a few weeks later.
In the fall of 1998, I decided that if my body/mind was really interested in pursuing a spiritual path, I should begin to meditate seriously. I had taken several classes over the years (since 1979) but had never meditated consistently for more than a couple of weeks, or past one hour duration except in class. After trying several techniques (open eyes, closed eyes, counting breaths, watching breaths, a mantra from a teacher, etc.) for about six months, this body settled into one technique and the meditations began to lengthen. However, the first time that the meditation ran substantially past an hour in length, it felt like my body had fallen into a deep hole filled with wonderful energy. After that, it was as if there was no more need for meditation. Many times over the next year or so, this body/mind would sit, but there was always some form of disruption to the meditation. Several years later a traveling teacher (Prince Hirindra Singh PhD, who, as far as I could tell, in mid-2003, was the first person whose Level of Consciousness moved past 1000 since Jesus Christ walked the Earth) gave me a numerology reading. One of the first things he told me was that if there was worry about not meditating as much as others felt I should, that it was normal since I had meditated for many lifetimes and it was more than time to move on to other things.
Early in 1999, there was another form of opening which was much stronger than the previous openings. I was initially asleep, in a fetal position. The lightning bolts of past openings were almost too quick to actually watch, but this one was slightly slower and as “I” watched, the body literally flew across the bed (less than 1.5 seconds), opening as it turned, with a fierce energy that surged from the 2nd chakra, through the 3rd chakra and into the 4th chakra which was in the process of opening. The actual opening of the heart reminded me of the shutter on a camera which rotates as it opens to the light, rotating again as it closes. A teacher at JFK later told me that this was also a form of Kundalini opening.
Over the next eighteen months there were many things happening. The Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue were really beginning to slow my body and mind to the point of not being able to take the stress of the classes at JFK. I sold my house and moved to Sedona, Arizona (early 2000) which had always felt so wonderful and relaxing; but the summer heat and a new teacher compelled me to undertake yet another move, this time to Grass Valley, California. Looking back, it appears that the main reason for the initial move was to come in contact with local author, David A. Hawkins MD PhD, author of Power Vs Force. After reading his book, I found that he was not teaching or lecturing yet. I then felt comfortable moving to a place where there was an active spiritual teacher.
Once in Grass Valley, I began experiencing and learning about Living Essence sessions (Winter 2000 thru Spring 2003). It was an exploration process designed to find and reduce the emotions associated with highly charged areas of memory. In addition to taking classes in preparation for doing this work myself, I also began weekly sessions for myself (15 months) with a psychotherapist who specialized in this work.
During an exercise at a Satsang/dance in early 2003, a strange feeling crept into my awareness. As the exercise completed and we adjusted our chairs for the Satsang, it was as if my body no longer was a container; and as I sat down, all sense of boundary dropped. My mind, which could still hear the dialogue of the teacher, was no longer the center but just a terminal someplace, taking in and storing data. It felt like my body/mind was in a deep meditation, but it felt as if “I” was bigger than the body. Everything seemed both far away and right here at the same time. My eyes were still open, and it was fascinating to watch the Satsang and the dance afterwards from a place of clarity. I saw things about these people that I might never have seen, otherwise. After several hours of not moving a muscle, my teacher approached and reassured me that everything was OK, that he had seen this in India and that awareness would eventually return to my body. Over the next two months, there were three of these sessions which I eventually decided were what is called “Samadhi”. At the end of the first and last session, it felt as if I had to relearn how to move, then how to walk, and how to speak. While the gross motor movements returned fairly quickly (within a half hour), it still took about 6-7 hours before minor motor movements returned fully.
During that first Samadhi, the resident of the house signaled the end of the dance and I knew that this body would have to move, to leave. I walked like I was drunk (probably drove like it too). There was the most delicious energy that encompassed the second and third chakras. By the time I got home, the energy had moved up to my heart; and by the time I was in bed (covered up, fully clothed, with my jacket still on), it was in my throat. It seemed to come in waves; and there was nothing else - not the bed, not the clothes - just the energy. It was probably a year or more before I quit trying to get back to that intoxicating deliciousness, before I recognized that it had been, among other things, a “carrot”.
Later that year, while taking a Chi Gong class from Lee Holden, I asked him about the energy, partly because it did not fit any of the descriptions that I had heard or read about relating to Kundalini energy. He said that for many women, the Kundalini energy flows up the front of the body rather than up the spine. I checked this out with a friend, Terry Hunt (a Bio-Energetic Psychotherapist in Boston), and he told me that it was not about men vs women, but about whether you were a thinking person or a feeling person. The normal route for the thinking person is up the spine, and the normal route for a feeling type person is up the front, through the chakras.