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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part IX

Turtle Medicine by Bruce Manaka

Turtle Medicine, artwork by Bruce Manaka

The paradox of subtlety (of sensations) in the body, to me, is a grand mystery! It is a mystery how certain sensations in the spine/body, so subtle and seemingly insignificant, can be so powerfully activating when we allow ourselves to feel their fine reverberations!

I realize now that what was always accessible feeling-wise (subtle vibrations), I did not give much or any attention to. Even with all the years of meditation practice, with intention to go below the surface of the superficial, I did not truly “get” the significance of feeling into finer and finer sensations.

Here is what I believe happened that prevented me from connecting with the subtle vibrations. In my strong desire to meditate and to live the monastic life, my focus on meditation “practice” and living the monastic lifestyle created a protective shielding that insulated me from primal energies, of sex and wild, chaotic stirrings of the unconscious mind.

The paradox is that, for me, although the monastic lifestyle was able to provide structure and community to seek the Divine, at a certain point the “structure” was unable to accommodate the wild unraveling and unwinding of the awakening Life Force….Kundalini!

Think of it in this way: as you surely know, life and circumstances can at times get messy…really messy! With the awakening Kundalini, there seems to be an added component of “strangeness,” especially during times when body/mind/psyche are getting severely shaken.

During such times, the body can go through spontaneous contortions and gyrations as the energy builds up to a crescendo in the spine. It seems to me that the body lagged way behind in its capacity to process and manage the resonance of the high vibrations of Kundalini.

Leaving the ashram provided the initial “pattern disrupt,” shaking loose the structures and mind habits of how I approached meditation and spirituality in general.

I find it fascinating how the mind (my egoic mind) wants to make sense of its place in the world as well as to define and ascribe “meaning” to all things, including the wild ride of the awakening Kundalini.

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part VIII

Bruce Manaka Art

Considering how pulverizing to the body, mind and ego the Kundalini process can be, where does the “sweetness” come in? Now, this is an aspect of the awakening Kundalini that to me is quite paradoxical. It (sweetness) is there along with all the feelings of getting crushed, ground to dust.

For me, the concept of “sweet sorrows” somewhat captures an aspect or part of the experience of the awakening Kundalini. It is akin to the feelings of nostalgia, where there is a heart-wrenching longing to return “home”… where our sense of home is not so much the longing for our earthly abode, but rather the intuitive knowing and longing for a return to the Divine Sacred.

Of course, when going through a lot of pain, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, the pain has a way of taking up all of our attention, and the biggest desire is usually to be free of the pain.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this, that when pain (of whatever cause) is so prolonged and unrelenting, that you feel you cannot take one more moment of it…and there is only a cry/scream for help that comes from the deepest place of longing…of surrender.

I believe there is a place within each of us that has a memory of not only our own sufferings, but also a kind of collective memory of the sufferings of all beings. This happens through the field of resonance that surrounds the heart, connecting us with the wider field of the Cosmic Heart.

This is something that can only be felt…and we get glimpses of this Divine Connection through the haunting experience of “sweet sorrows,” when we’ve been prostrated by life circumstances, “forced to our knees” so-to-speak, to the point where our inner cries for help come from of an intuitive, spontaneous longing to “return home.”

However fleeting this experience might be, it is one that is forever haunting, creating a connection with what I think of as “grace.” To me, grace is a kind of ethereal lifeline that seems to show up miraculously through the darkest of nights!

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part VII

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Regarding the feelings of “sweetness” mentioned in the previous post, I would like to elaborate further because it is, I believe, at the crux of the process of the awakening Life Force (Kundalini).

Of course, there is no “one-size-fits-all” process of what happens when Kundalini begins to awaken in individuals, but in my opinion, I believe there is a foundational vibration (of Kundalini) that imparts the Bliss response in the spine…which can manifest as “sweetness.”

As Kundalini begins to “awaken” in the spine, a refinement process takes place. For me, in the beginning this “refinement process” felt more like being worked on by jack hammer and wrecking ball! Hardly blissful or comfortable!

A lot of toxic and stuck energy in my body, mind and psyche had to be moved and expelled! Part of the “stuck” energy was my spiritual world view, which served me well for a number of years, but at a certain point got in the way through all the assumptions, expectations, beliefs and attachments regarding how things were “supposed” to work.

In a sense, I created a “hard shell” of protection around my world view, around all that was familiar and “safe” (which included my negative patterns of thoughts/behaviors as well).

Kundalini was like a great shaking that turned everything upside down, introducing me to a very different relationship and perspective with my sense of self and my Life Force.

It was/is a very wild ride! As well as paradoxical, non-linear, impossible to fully quantify or put into a step-by-step process!

Of course the mind likes to encapsulate, define and give meaning to things…and if I can “put in a nutshell” what the process of Kundalini is, I would describe it in this way: refine, purge, integrate…refine, purge, integrate…refine, purge, integrate…and on and on.

The periods of refining and purging are times when old and unhelpful structures of thoughts/behaviors are shifted and then released. The periods of integration allow for adjustment to the new and higher frequencies of being.

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part VI

Butterfly-Expansion

Artwork by Bruce Manaka

The play and dance of Kundalini is a most delicate feeling connection with finely nuanced sensations inside what seems to be the central core of the spine. We all have the capacity to feel these “currents” of vibration but miss them for want of “tuning in” slightly below the dense and heavy vibrations of the five senses, as well as with the habitual patterns of thoughts, desires, memories, etc.

There is so much that keeps us “busy” and distracted…engaged with all manner of outer distractions! Even with the intention to turn the attention within during periods of meditation, distractions and patterns of mind can distract us from connecting with the subtle vibrations.

When I look back on all the years of my meditation practice, I believe now that it just did not occur to me how important it was/is to feel into the overall sensation of the body…composed of all the seemingly insignificant sensations.

Now, the “overall sensation” of the body seems to resolve to a resonance or “hum” that, when focused upon, opens the awareness to extremely subtle sensations…the awakening of Kundalini!

As you gain greater facility and familiarity with Kundalini, it becomes more and more a play and dance with subtle forces, a most delicate balance of stillness and movement, of thought and no-thought!

My suggestion here, when feeling into the overall sensation/resonance of the body, to pay special attention to the subtle feeling of sweetness…even if it is just a “grain of sand’s” worth! Remember the paradox of subtlety: what seems to be so small, insignificant, can have huge impact on the consciousness!

The smallest feeling of sweetness, however it shows up for you, can be latched onto and followed to its source. There you will begin to understand and “get” the power (and paradox) of subtlety!

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part V

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When feeling into the “overall resonance” of the body, you might notice feeling a fine underlying vibration/sensation that can be tracked to deeper and deeper levels and that is refined to a most subtle “activating center.”

For me, this “activating center” is felt between the shoulder blades. It is “activating” in the sense that it seems to have a kind of push/pull play (like a magnet) of forces that creates a dance-like dynamic…between tension and relaxation, stillness and movement.

Another way of explaining this: if you observe the incoming breath, along with all the muscles involved with breathing in, you will feel a certain amount of tension, with a very subtle “lifting up” sensation. With the outgoing breath, you might feel a relaxation of tension, along with a “down-flow” of sensation.

Normally we do not pay much attention to the subtleties of the incoming and outgoing breath, but what I’m suggesting here in these posts is that, when you allow yourselves to explore the inner landscape of finer and finer sensations/vibrations, you will begin to also notice extremely nuanced forces at play in the body, especially in the the spine.

As you become familiar with these forces, you will also notice how the body will automatically, spontaneously adjust in most delicate micro-movements and ultimately in dance-like movements that allows for the greater expansion and flow of the Life Force, Kundalini.

This is all a play and dance of Kundalini, the activated primal life force in the spine. When connected with these subtle (and at times not-so-subtle) forces, you will have a very different perspective with your body, breath, life force, mind, Self and Nature…a perspective that experiences these things as waves of fine vibrations/sensations, connected with the underlying resonance or Hum of Creation!

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part III

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To me, the “paradox of subtlety” is the mystery of how feeling into barely perceptible sensations can serve as a “doorway” into profoundly blissful states of being.

For example, take a deep breath, tense the muscles of your upper arms for a few seconds…exhale and relax. Feel deeply into the vibration that continues on in the arms. Continue focusing upon the slowly diminishing sensation to finer and finer degrees of subtlety.

Now, if you continue your focus of attention for a number of minutes, you will recognize for yourself that you can “hold” the vibration almost indefinitely, long after the initial tension/relaxation period.

There is a significant point here because it is important to viscerally “get” the experience of your Self as vibration that is innately connected with a vastly wider, underlying vibration.

As you continue feeling the gradually-diminishing vibration moving through your arms, the sensitivity of your inwardly focused mind may discover the energetic connectivity of the arms with your shoulders, with your neck, with the rest of your body.

In other words, as you track vibration to its activating center, you will begin to feel yourself as a vast vibration!

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part II

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There is an aspect of the awakening Kundalini (the subtle current of life force in the spine) that is anciently familiar. It imparts a sense of wonderment that a sensation so close and intimate could have remained seemingly elusive for so long!

Here is my thinking about this: for years I sat in meditation practice with intention to connect with Kundalini, with the fine currents in the spine. The connection did not come with a “Big Bang.” Rather, it came more like a “Thief in the night.”

It is now somewhat baffling to me that it took so long to make this connection, considering how very close and accessible the subtle vibrations have always been! I believe that, perhaps, I did not give due importance to simply feeling into the overall sensation of the body…in the moment…and then going slightly deeper…and then deeper again.

At a certain point while simply noticing fine sensations, my attention was drawn to extremely fine forces at play in what seemed to be in the spine…a push/pull/play of subtlety!

Again, to me, it seems to be a grand paradox that a vibration so intimate and accessible could remain elusive for such a long time! Another way that I think about this mystery is that, metaphorically, I was walking in “lock-step” with a certain drum-beat that aligned with the vibratory realms of the world and all its drama and distractions.

All the while, beneath the din and turbulence of the worldly drumbeat, there was/is another drumbeat that is in resonance with the heart…so very close! It is not that this subtle vibration was less accessible or more difficult to connect with. Rather, for me, I believe it was just that it did not occur to me to simply feel deeply into subtle sensations!

Is that all? In looking back, it seems that, even with all the meditation practice and spiritual “seeking,” the momentum of my routine, day-to-day state of mind, created a resonance of being that did not take the time or bother to recognize the underlying vibration/resonance just below the busy-ness of my spiritual seeking!

This deep and wide “underlying vibration” was always there, readily accessible, because I now recognize its “on-the -surface,” entryway “signature” in the familiar sensations that I had not given much attention to: the gut feelings, of giddiness, of nostalgia, etc.

Another important point to consider: in order to “shake” me out of the patterns of my day-to-day way of thinking and being, in my estimation I believe I needed something that was strong enough to shift the resonance and pattern of my limited perspective of feeling and being. I needed a “pattern disrupt.”

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like “A Thief in the Night” Part I

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During the fleeting moments of “no-thought,” when the experience of all sensations/vibrations felt in the moment resolves in the mind to the primal “Hum” of the body, a visceral connection is made with the awakening Divine Current, the Life Force….Kundalini!

This is not necessarily a “Big Bang,” “Big Wow!” kind of experience. At least not at first. It may come as a gentle whisper, a quiet rumbling, like a beautiful song being played far off in the distance.

It is very clear, however, that in this experience, you have connected with and created a very different relationship and perspective with your Life Force and sense of Self. There can also be a major shift in your spiritual world view. You will see your belief system in a different light…and you may very well see some “systems” fall away from your life.

For me, as profoundly helpful and inspiring my spiritual beliefs and practices were to me in the beginning and for many years thereafter, at a certain point they began to have less meaning for me. As my perspective and relationship with my body, mind and life force began shifting to one that was more and more on a level of subtle sensations, the philosophies, stories, forms and practices of my spiritual world view began to fall away. My relationship/attunement with Spirit seemed to move towards a very different “resonance.”

The experience may come like “a thief in the night,” so very gently, unobtrusively…and yet the “reverberations” and “echoes” of this subtle vibration can have profound impact in your life!

It is such a paradox that a vibration (Kundalini) so subtle can “shake” things up to such a degree! To me it seemed like every little dark nook and cranny of my life had to surface and “see-the-light-of-day” so to speak.

Looking back at my years of sickness and dealing with so many of my previously unseen shadows, it seems fairly apparent to me now that my body, mind and psyche were not in sync with the subtle, yet fast-moving (like quicksilver), primal “hum” of the awakening Kundalini.

The process seems to go on and on…and on. Sometimes it feels like living with a giant motor that, through resonance, is bringing the “slow” motor of my body/mind/psyche “up-to-speed.”

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