Responding to Kundalini Awakening
My acceptance of what has been unfolding within me has been gradual. Early on I realized that I was in this process whether I liked it or not, but it has taken a long time for my ego self to begin to graciously accept it.
It was hard not to complain. I went through many phases, first the not knowing, then the initial adjustment, then “I didn’t ask for this”; “I’m too old”, then finally sufficient acceptance to allow a letting go of control, resulting in smoother forward movement.
As it became more intense, my kundalini awakening process took prominence in my life. I managed my energy as best I could, pacing myself, meditating through wakeful nights. Sometimes there was fear but only occasionally a sense of terror… feelings and dreams that made me wonder where this was all leading.
Some people do feel that they are going crazy, and a few end up in the psych ward, usually misunderstood by medical personnel. Christina Grof had unusual physical symptoms after plunging into kundalini experiences after childbirth. She went blind for a few days after one incident, I have read. Her modus operandi was to see a medical doctor whenever any physical symptom bothered her, to rule out serious issues, not revealing anything about her kundalini process.
My medical doctor is very special, and is aware of my process to some degree. He understands that my experience is one type of spiritual awakening, as he has been on his own unique path, and has helped others for many years. I believe medical personnel and energy workers need to be aware of the possibility that their patients are having experiences that are not “mainstream”, therefore part of my job is to be open about my process in order to educate them.
Bonnie Greenwell’s wise advice for dealing with initial awakening may be helpful to you. I only discovered Bonnie a few months ago, and wish I had found her sooner. However, I was in a reactive stage, fighting the process earlier, so my ego self may not have been open to Greenwell’s counsel.
Everyones’s process is different, yet there are major overlaps. Some folks may experience more physical symptoms, while others have more emotional/ psychological manifestations of kundalini. Not everyone has each symptom.
Chapters in the Kundalini Process
From personal experience and from her work with others, Mary Shutan describes three phases of kundalini. The problem here is that the phases are not discrete, the kundalini process is ongoing and circular, we go back to earlier stages and areas of the body that have already been worked on.
The First Phase, often centred in the first three chakras, is intense, Shutan writes. Often we have no idea what is happening to us, as in my case. Some people write about temporary experiences of oneness, bliss and peace during this time, but this was not my experience.
As things evolve, we begin to question many things about our lives and our society, what Shutan calls the Second Phase. This fits for me, my questioning of how our society and the world functions has intensified. Many random memories have arisen over the past three months in year three of my process, as I struggle to place my life to date within the context of my current life passage.
Although the clearing symptoms are still heavy often, I sometimes feel that I can ‘see the forest for the trees’ now. I am able to access more insight and positive thoughts and feelings than before. This gives me a feeling of moving forward. There is a growing sense that I have been freed from some internal constraints. My heart chakra is more open, and despite needing to socialize less, I feel connected to some people in a different, somehow truer way, and love myself more now. My Grandmother guides help me tremendously in this process, as does my connection with the Divine Love energy and my Chopra meditation technique.
Unfolding, resting and learning characterize Shutan’s third phase. I do feel that I am unfolding, and also resting, and unfolding does require a great deal of space and rest. My internal push to do has faded as I let go of control more. There is a sense that I am more me now, a truer me. My already simple life has become simpler.
Getting Help: My Wise Holistic Practitioners
Since Kundalini is mostly unknown in the West, undergoing an awakening is often a lonely, isolating experience. When I tried to tell people what was happening to me energetically, emotionally, and psychically they were at a complete loss as to how to react, often saying unhelpful things or perhaps making a joke. In the earlier days I sometimes felt as if I had two heads! “…Most people can only apply their personal paradigm, says Bonnie Greenwell , “…a perspective based on their own experience.” Now, farther along in my process, I am more confident about putting myself out there, however, I only speak to those I trust about the subject.
As the months slowly wore on, my holistic doctors realized that I was ungrounded, and taught me medical chi gong exercises meant to help me ground myself, ones that I still practice today. They are subtle but helpful. My acupuncture and chiropractic treatments work with the kundalini energy to balance my body and ground the energy also. I’m very grateful to have these doctors. Sadly, they and one dear friend are the only people who appear to have more than a superficial understanding of what I’ve been going through.
Finding the right support people is important. If you have troublesome physical symptoms, consult a trusted MD or naturopath, for old emotional and psychological issues, a spiritually oriented or transpersonal therapist may help. If in doubt about physical or emotional issues, always seek out trusted professionals to rule out medical issues, and confide in supportive friends and family, (even though they may be mystified by your process, they will want to help). The Spiritual Emergence Network, founded by Christina & Dr. Stanislav Grof, may be a good place to begin.
The unfolding of my kundalini has so far been challenging, but containable. My life experience, spiritual underpinning, my “good ego strength”, (according to Judith Duerk, my mentor many years ago), and non-working lifestyle have meant that I’ve been able to manage the day to day experiences relatively well. Being a survivor (of life and of sexual abuse), I have learned to function in most circumstances, even when I feel unwell. I guess you could say my motto for life is “Never give up”!
There has been no choice for me but to ride this energetic process through. As Greenwell says, “It’s doing me.” It feels like a rebirth. I am able sometimes to stand outside myself and observe…both myself and others. The Grandmothers have been a constant in my life, they have held the space for me and, I believe, accelerated my process, particularly the work we all did together at the Gathering retreat at Joshua Tree Retreat Centre last April, two years into my process.
This is what I have learned:
- Daily walks have been of great benefit, along with specific stretches when parts of the body call out to me; both help move the energy.
- Plenty of quiet, alone time helps me be in relationship with my process.
- Kundalini awakening draws much energy from the core, so lots of rest is necessary, especially in later stages.
- Eating regularly helps me stay grounded. Good food along with B vitamins and a herbal nervous system tonic have helped build up my nervous system. Although alcohol may seem like an effective self medication, little or no alcohol seems to be best. Recently I have found both the taste & effects of wine quite unsatisfactory.
- Energy work with acupuncturists who have knowledge about kundalini has helped me ground the rising energy & balance my body overall.
- To bring the energy down later in the day, I soak my feet in a pail of hot water with epsom salts, do medical chi gong exercises and take Traditional Chinese Medicine harmonizing pills called Cinnamon-D.
- CBD oil with low level THC has assisted me with anxiety and sleep issues over the last two months.
- Most importantly, I am learning to be kind and gentle with myself as I go through this amazing process.
Although I have continued to go out into the world in a somewhat limited way, socializing, volunteering with refugees, and singing in a choir, the place I dwell in is not the same one as before. I am different now.
Coming Next: Part 3
When Will it Be Over; My Life Now; Final Words
Love & Light
Copyright 2019 Ellen Besso
Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & is an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.