Maya, Heart, Self and Nondualism: By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

The Self, Maya, and the Heart: The Fundamentals of Non-Dualism

Maya Samara

November 28, 1993

Maya mirrored (or reflecting on itself) = ayam or “I AM”

“Who is in my temple?

Who is in my temple?

All the doors open themselves.

All the lights light themselves.

Darkness like a dark bird

Flies away, Oh flies away.”

Summary:

The concepts of the Self, Maya, and the Heart are the central themes or tenets of the Katha Upanishad and the Bhagavad Gita. Out of these and similar books (or scriptures) comes the philosophy of non-dualism or Vedanta.

Part I: Considering the concepts of Self, Maya, and Heart, as viewed from the sages

The Self:

According to the ancient sages of India, the Self is neither the body, thoughts, feelings, nor intellect, but rather all pervasive Being/Consciousness manifesting as the Heart in all beings, from which emanates the awareness of “I” and Knowledge of the Self, which includes the realization that all knowledge is in and from the subject-“I”, the seer, not the object.

“The individual self, which is Brahman mistakenly identified with Maya, experiences the gunas* which proceed from Maya. He, who has experienced Brahman directly and known it to be other than Maya and the gunas, will not be reborn, no matter how he has lived his life.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 103

“That in which the sun rises and in which it sets, that which is the source of all the powers of nature and of the senses, that which nothing can transcend – that is the immortal Self”

Katha Upanishad, p. 21

“The Self-Existent made the senses turn outward. Accordingly, man looks toward what is without, and sees not what is within. Rare is he, longing for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self.” Katha Upanishad, p. 20

Maya is the self-existent beginningless power of Brahman, the Self, which makes us imagine that the sense of “I” felt in the body and the related thoughts and feelings are the Self. In the Bhagavad Gita (P. 59), this imagining or delusion is stated like a dream:

“You dream you are the doer

You dream the action bears fruit

It is your ignorance

It is the world’s delusion

That gives you those dreams.”

“Every action is really performed by the gunas*. Man deluded by his egoism thinks ‘I am the doer.’ But he who has the true insight into the operations of the gunas and their various functions, knows that when the senses attach themselves to objects, gunas are merely attaching themselves to gunas, knowing this he does not become attached to his actions.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 47

“Maya” – The deluding potency of the Self

What I was able to grasp from this is that, as long as the mind is turned outward, the Self, which is all pervasive, is sensed only as an “I”-awareness in and limited to the body with its thoughts and impressions revolving continuously around a perceived and separate world. But when the mind is purified or made to enquire where the source of seeing, which is to say, the subject “I”, arises from, then the mind reflects the Self. The moment the Self is reflected in the mind at once the idea of subject-object and knowledge vanishes like a mirage. This vanishing is why the perceived world, the “I am the body” idea or “I am the doer” is called Maya, because the sense of being a doer in the world is apparently real to the outgoing mind, but when the Real Light of the mind is realized, the use of the mind has no more value, just as the use of the moon seen in the daylight sky of the risen sun, is of no value.

* gunas: The three gunas are: Sattva – purity; rajas – action; tamas – sloth or dullness

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Again, as long as the mind is outward bent, the individual soul takes itself for the body/mind and accumulates impressions about itself in relation to a perceived and separate world. The mind then tries to coordinate and correlate all it sees into a cohesive composite of impressions it holds to be its identity. At a certain point, though, it begins to become apparent that knowing, comprehension, understanding, or knowledge about one’s world, be it within one’s mind or apparently outside, is coming from within and is not separate, as one is otherwise conditioned to believe. This insight into how we actually know or perceive leads to the conclusion that the impressions we’ve made of the world are actually each individual’s projected idea about it, and not one universally accepted truth. The question arises, “Can these changing thoughts, impressions be all there is, all that I am, all that the world is?” The sages of the Upanishads are asked this question by those seeking permanence in their otherwise “transient” lives.

“To many it is not given to hear of the Self. Many, though they hear it, do not understand it. Wonderful is he who speaks of it. Intelligent is he who learns of it. Blessed is he, who taught by a good teacher is able to understand it” Katha Upanishad, p. 17

“Veiled in my Maya, I am not shown to many. How shall this world bewildered by delusion recognize me, who am not born and change not.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 73

“The Heart” – Hridayam

The Heart is the Self. The sages of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and several other Gitas I found all refer constantly to the identity of the Heart and its location with the all pervading Self.

Significantly, the location of the Heart is intuited or inferred by everyone, as it is the very place we all point to when we say “I”. The realization of the Self in or as the Heart is said to sever the relationship between the Self and the out going mind forever, such that the relationship between the “I” and the thoughts and actions of the body are realized never to have been. At once, attention to the waking state of consciousness ceases, and the enquirer remains egoless, abiding in and as the Heart, observing impartially all states of consciousness as one emanation, as stated below:

“The ancient, effulgent being, the indwelling spirit, subtle, deep-hidden in the lotus of the Heart, is hard to know. But the wise man following the path of meditation, knows him and is freed alike from pleasures and pain.” Katha Upanishad, p. 17-18

“Smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest, this Self forever dwells within the hearts of all.” Katha Upanishad, p. 18

“I am the Atman (Self) that dwells in the heart of every mortal creature. I am the beginning, the life span, and the end of all.” (Krishna to Arjuna)

Bhagavad Gita, p. 88

“The devoted dwell with Him

They know Him always

There in the Heart

Where action is not” Bhagavad Gita, p.59

“Both the individual self and the Universal Self have entered in the cave of the heart, the abode of the Most High, but the knowers of Brahman and the householders who perform the fire sacrifices see a difference between them, as between sunshine and shadow.”

Katha Upanishad, p. 19

“That being, who is the power of all powers and is born as such, who embodies himself in the elements and in them exists, and who has entered the lotus of the heart, is the immortal Self.” Katha Upanishad, p. 21

“That being, of the size of a thumb, dwells deep within the heart. He is the lord of time, past and future. Having attained him, one fears no more. He, verily, is the immortal Self.”

Katha Upanishad, p. 21

“Radiating from the lotus of the heart, there are a hundred and one nerves. One of these ascends towards the thousand petalled lotus in the brain.”

Katha Upanishad, p. 24

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These quotes state that the all pervading Self, as Brahman, is situated in the Heart, and from there light the body and the mind. To gain some clarification about the relationship between the Heart, the Self, and Maya, I’ve also quoted from the Sri Ramana Gita, which focuses on jnana or enquiry into the Self. (As an analogy, the Heart is to the body like the singularity of a Black Hole in the Universe. It represents the substratum, ground or basis behind all appearances.)

“The ‘I’-thought is said to be the root of all thoughts. In brief, that from which the ‘I’-thought” springs forth is the heart. (verse 3)

“The heart is different from the blood circulating organ. ‘Hridayam‘ stands for Hird ‘the center which sucks in everything’, and ayam, ‘this’, and it thus stands for the Self. (v 5)

The location of the Heart is on the right side of the chest, not at all on the left. The light (of awareness) flows from the heart through the sushumna (para nadi*) to Sahasrara (thousand petalled lotus in the brain). (verse 6)

“From there it flows to the entire body, and then all experiences of the world arise. Viewing them as different from the Light, one gets caught up in samsara. (verse 7)

“The Sahasrara of one who abides in the Self is nothing but pure Light. Any thought that approaches it cannot survive. (verse 8)

“The universe is nothing but the mind, and the mind is nothing but the heart. Thus, the entire story of the universe culminates in the heart. (verse 12)

“The notion that the seer is different from the seen is only in the mind. For those that abide in the Heart, the seer and the seen are one. (verse 19)

Sri Ramana Gita, Ch V, p. 26-27

It becomes apparent from reading all these Gitas that they all state that it is only due to lack of enquiry into the nature of the “I”-sense in the body and mind that the True identity of one’s self as the Self, with the all pervading, causeless, Brahman is not realizes. Once this enquiry is made the (para nadi) nerve referred to in the above quote from the Katha Upanishad, begins to resonate or pulsate “I as I” or “I, I, I, I, …” versus the constant grasping of attention to “I-this”, “I-that”, and so forth with each rising thought.

To paraphrase, when the sense of “I” becomes localized through single enquiry, the nerve referred to begins to radiate incandescently, and the whole body is outshined in a blaze of living Light, having no more separation from the all pervasive Brahman. (This is similar to matter that blazes when sucked into a Black Hole.)

In the chapter concerning the vision of God in His Universal Form, Krishna tells Arjuna, after revealing to him essentially what He, as the Self of all, Witnesses, states:

“Neither by study of the scriptures, nor by austerities, nor by alms giving, can I be seen….

But by single minded and intense devotion, that Form of Mine may be completely known, and seen, and entered into…”

Bhagavad Gita, p. 97

Krishna further states concerning the various methods of devotion that:

“Certainly, all these are noble: But the man of discrimination [between Self and not self*], I see as my very Self. For he alone loves me because I am Myself: The last and only goal of his devoted heart.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 72 [*my italics]

In the Sri Ramana Gita the points regarding this subject – the knot between the Self and the body/mind, and their final break were made in the most concisely to the point manner, as follows:

“The nexus of the body and the Self is called the granthi (knot). It is only by this connection with the Self that one is aware of the body. (verse 3)

“This body is insentient. The Self is pure awareness. The connection between the two is deduced through intellect. (verse 4)

“Enveloped by the defused light of pure awareness, the body functions. Owing to non-apprehension (of the world) in sleep, (swoon) and so on, the location of the Self has to be inferred. (verse 5)

“Even as the subtle forces like the electric current pass through visible wires, the light of awareness flows through a nadi (nerve) in the body. (verse 6)

“The effulgent light of pure awareness, taking hold of a center, lights up the entire body as the Sun illumines the world. (verse 7)

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“Owing to the diffusion of light in the body, one has experiences in the body. That center of radiation, the sages say, is the Heart. verse 8

“From the play of the forces in the body, one infers the flow of the light of awareness. The forces course through the body, each hugging their own special nadi. (verse 9)

“The particular nadi through which pure awareness flows is called sushumna*. It is also called atma nadi, para nadi, and amrita nadi. (verse 10) [*between the Heart and the brain]

“As the light pervades the entire body, one gets attached to the body, mistakes the body for the Self and regards the world as different from oneself. (verse 11)

“When the discerning one renounces attachment and the identification of himself with the body and pursues one-pointed enquiry, a churning starts in the nadis. (verse 12)

“With this churning of the nadis, the Self gets separated from the other nadis and, clinging to one nadi alone, shines forth.

“When the effulgent light of awareness shines in atma nadi alone, nothing else shines except the Self. (verse 14)

“He for whom the Atman (Self) alone shines within, without, and everywhere, as (clearly as) objects to the ignorant, is called one who has cut the nexus. (verse 16)

“When the light, withdrawn from all other nadis, dwells in one nadi alone, the bond (between awareness and the body) is sundered and the light abides as the Self. verse. 18

“Since such a one has no sense of doership, his karma, it is said, is completely destroyed. As nothing but the Self exists, no doubts arise for him. (verse 21)

“Once the knot is cut, one is never bound again. This is considered the state of power and peace supreme.” (verse 22)

Sri Ramana Gita, Ch:IX, p. 49-55

Another well known Gita is the Avadhut Gita, the only known work of the Rishi Dattatreya, who lived sometime after Krishna. Avadhut means high Renunciate or Perfected Man. To get an idea of the state of one who ever abides as his Self, with no awareness of the body, I’ve included a couple of stanzas of this Gita here, as well:

“Atman is not the Knower, Nor is It the known. It is not accessible to inference. Words cannot describe This Consciousness Absolute. The mind is lost in Its majesty. How can it be explained to thee? Space-like immortality-giving knowledge am I. (verse 11)

“I am the eternal principle. Free from attachment and aversion, free from imperfections am I, Fate and providence exist not in me. Eternally free from the sufferings of the world, Verily, space-like immortality-giving Knowledge am I. (verse 13)

“Maya is not my modification. Nor is its glamour mine. Deceit, hypocrisy, truth and untruth Have no place in me. Space-like, immortality-giving knowledge am I.” verse 18

Avadhut Gita, Ch III, p 25-27

The following are extracts from the Yoga Vashishta Sara, a condensed version of the Yoga Vashishta, the spiritual instructions of Vashishta to Rama, very similar to Krishna’s instructions to Arjuna, which also helps to get a feeling for the meaning of non-dualism:

“Nothing whatsoever is born or dies anywhere at any time. It is Brahman alone appearing illusorily in the form of the world.” Ch I: 23

“The Self is more extensive than space; it is pure, subtle, un-decaying, and auspicious. As such how could it be born and how can it die?” Ch I: 24

“O Rama, there is no intellect, no nescience, no mind and no individual soul (jiva). They are all imagined in Brahman.” Ch III: 25

“O Rama, the mind has by its own activity bound itself; when it is calm it is free.” Ch III 27

“O Rama, this enquiry into the Self of the nature “Who am I?’ is the fire which burns up the seeds of the evil tree which is the mind.” Ch V: 1

“How wonderful that in me, the infinite ocean of Consciousness, waves of jivas (individual souls) rise, sport for a while, and disappear according to their nature.” Ch VI: 8

“Knowledge is not separate from you and that which is known is not separate from knowledge. Hence there is nothing other than the Self, nothing separate (from it).” ChVIII:6

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Part II: Setting aside preconceptions and basic Western assumptions about the world

In order to be able to have some idea of what the concepts of Self, Maya, and Heart mean in relation to the philosophy of non-dualism, I’ve had to set aside several central preconceptions or basic views about life, myself and the world.

In the West we are brought up to believe, as Descartes, after locking himself in a secluded mountain chalet for two weeks, that “I think, therefore I am.” This is to say that who I am completely depends upon my thoughts in relation to my body and the impressions I make about it in relation to each specific thing (or person) in a separate world. In other words in the West, the conditioning from birth is that “I am this body and the mind’s thoughts, etc.”

This means that I am conditioned to accept my self as always viewing the world in terms of judging, comparing, categorizing, separating, distinguishing, organizing everything as something separate from me. The whole way of thinking and perceiving in the West is one of collecting empirical data, so to speak, and analyzing it in relation to other things.

Thus, the whole idea of analyzing the analyzer, seeing the seer, hearing the hearer, or simply to put aside one’s identity and attention to thoughts and things and abiding as the part that sees, in order to “enter into” a perspective that has no basis in thought related identity, seemed like an impossible task. It was a task that required believing such a view possible, that others had realized it, and to somehow discard all the “truths” or impressions I was brought up to take for granted, in order to suddenly discover that there is another point of view, which in itself may be even more valid than the one I had accepted without question before.

In the West, we have taken Descartes’ idea to its fullest extent, as the basis for all scientific study, intellectual thought, even religious belief, where everything is considered and examined as being “apart”. We take “dualism” as being obvious. Even analysis of the mind is done by considering the thought content, the emotions, the behavior, each to be categorized, codified, classified and so on. In fact, the inner mind to the Western mind is still what the non-dualist calls the out going mind. Even the Western Mystics and New Age spiritualists are categorizing planes and stages and levels of consciousness, which to the non-dualist are all experiences of the out going mind, having no relation to the Reality they try to convey. In their Reality, all this perceived world of inner thoughts, feelings and impressions and outer sensory experiences is only “Maya”, a mirage, non-existent, like a reflection in a diamond. The diamond represents the ever present rock solid reality, unchanging, while the images, however real they may feel, because of their superimposition on the jewel are only that, images.

Thus, when I am forced to consider a whole new “way” (Tao) of perceiving, requiring the consideration of an “I” without a ‘me’ or ‘mine’, I find myself experiencing a pause, a space, as it were, between thoughts. The idea that one might be able to think and act with no sense of being the thinker, the actor, the doer – that one could simply abide as impartial egoless Being, free of thought, was a completely revolutionary idea. That all action occurs by itself perfectly, required, and still requires a sense of radical turnabout in all my preconceptions.

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Part III: The Philosophy of Non-Dualism

Dualism supposes that there is a subject-“I” and an object, the individual self versus the world, man versus God, a thinker versus the thoughts he thinks, and so on. But in the philosophy of non-dualism, these are all only concepts, ideas, or imaginings, which we hold to be real, only because of attention to them as they arise in the waking consciousness. According to the philosophy of non-dualism, as soon as the Self is enquired into, these “ideas” of a separate self just vanish. The ideas of a conscious mind, subconscious mind, unconscious mind, even superconscious mind to one who has enquired into the Self, are only that, ideas (concepts-images-impressions), having no real existence, apart from attention to them in the waking state. The idea of a waking state, dream state, and deep sleep, even the idea of a fourth state beyond, impartially “Witnessing” those three, again, to the non-dualist, are only concepts or ideas of the waking mind with its need for a fixated attention, or need to identify and organize itself around some idea, to establish an identity.

The non-dualist will state that this is the nature of the outgoing mind, but that when this mind is stilled, purified, and made to enquire of its source, the Self shines forth, the True Man emerges, these ideas become ruthlessly disregarded within oneself, and one remains abiding as Self only.

When someone asks how this can be, that the entire world and all one sees and believes about it are just a fiction of the mind, the non-dualist gives the following comparison:

To paraphrase p. 5-7 of Jewel Garland of Enquiry (Vichara Mani Malai), the non-dualist will say that just as in a dream one finds one’s self to be the subject of one’s dream thinking about and relating to all sorts of persons and events over what may seem to be a long period of time, but in reality, both the subject and the objectified world one sees have all been created by the mind in the dream, so too this waking world is all a projection of the Self. The non-dualist states that we seem to believe that we are a subject seeing a world and making impressions and reactions to what we think we are seeing only due to non-enquiry into that Self. Therefore, he states, as soon as we enquire into the Self, the subject-“I”, we take ourselves to be, with all its dilemmas, and the objectified world we project our relationship with, will all just vanish, like the dream, and we remain abiding as Self only, impartially witnessing all the states and planes and levels of consciousness, unattached, unconditioned.

There seem to be 2 paths, both which lead to one path:

One path one might call a path of purification of the mind, a path of the separate soul seeking Union with its Creator. As an outset this would involve a focus on virtuous acts, involving giving, caring, and unconditioned love, with an attitude that avoids selfishly motivated acts, or acts, where one is seeking reward or advantage, as found in greed, lust or hate. This is called Karma Yoga.

These virtuous acts then lead to a giving up of desires, giving way to a sense of longing for the feeling of stillness and purity of the mind, a sense of surrender to that feeling of totally placid, thoughtlessly alert brightness, which many may call the Spirit of God, a state absolutely free from all thought. With this is said to come a feeling of neither an inside nor an outside regarding the body, of beauty/perfection- beatitude. This is called Bhakti Yoga.

The mind becomes so still or pure that when one goes to sleep, the body is seen to go to sleep, and one remains a still witness. Apparently, this purity leads to one becoming awake at, what the Western world would call, the subconscious or unconscious states. The non-dualists also have a name for this – jagat-sushupti, which means waking-sleep, or one who is awake in or to his unconscious all the time, asleep or awake. They see the world within a field of pervasive consciousness from the perspective of the atoms that form it.

Yogis approach this purification similarly, but adding various physical and mental forms of purification, such as cleaning out their intestines, stomach, and nasal passages with water and special exercises, fasting and strict vegetarian diet controls, certain postures – called asanas, postures with movement combined with breathing – called kryias, exercises in concentrating the mind – called meditation, and various types of breathing regulation – called Pranayama.

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The idea is that with breath regulation, combined with a focus on certain nerves in the spine, gradually there will come a profound stillness leading to deeper states of awareness of the unconscious mind. This process is said to have its physiological equivalent of a bio-energy (prana) withdrawing from the outer nerves to the central nerve of the spine, the yogis call sushumna, and entering at its base rising through the spinal cord, uniting the individual soul with higher planes of consciousness, until the highest state in the “thousand petalled lotus” or Sahasrara in the brain is reached, and the soul experiences the Light of a million suns. The yogis say this is Liberation.

The other approach is called the Path of Self Knowledge of the Jnani. The Jnani says that all the planes of consciousness are always already lit by the Self only. He will say that the Self is always realized, but for the idea that it is not. He will state that while some purification of the mind is necessary to bring about stillness, once the Self, which is ever awake, is enquired into, all planes of consciousness vanish like a mirage, and only Self is seen. The nerve here referred to is not the sushumna, which rises from the base of the spine to the top of the head, but the para nadi (amrita nadi) rising from the Heart to the top of the head. This para nadi, jnani’s say, is an extension of the sushumna, which yogis will eventually enter to realize the Heart, when the question dawns, “Who experiences?”

The vision of the Jnani, when the Heart knot is cut, is of a light in the nerve between the Heart (Hridayam) and the crown of the brain (Sahasrara), and that these two radiate, while a flame is seen rising through the spine and through the top of the head. He sees the world, but there is no sense of someone looking or giving attention to it. He observes without attention or interest the thoughts rising up from of the Heart, appearing in the waking consciousness, like bubbles rising from the depths of the ocean appearing on its surface. He sees the world, as the Totality of Existence, neither inside or outside, yet apart from his Self. There is no longer a sense of doer, person, or “I” localized in the body or related to the world. There is no body. The mind is severed from attention, and thinking and acting continue motivelessly by themselves. The world appears as a film in a movie, where the projected light brightens, and the picture is “outshined”. (Spiritual Instruction, p. 10) The picture is there, but only Self is seen, abiding as Self, as Heart, radiating brightness everywhere within Itself. Because thoughts and actions relate to vibrations in time, he, beyond thought, realizes himself to be forever timeless, space‑like, the Heart, the Self of all beings, the Heart of Being Itself, Consciousness Itself.

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Part IV: Could the Teachings of Christ Really Be in the Same Tradition as the Ancient sages, Krishna, and others? Are the Teachings of Christ Actually Centered in the Philosophy of Non-Dualism? Is Christ in reality the all pervasive timeless unconditioned Self, abiding as the Heart of everyone, as Consciousness Itself? If Christ IS the Truth, as He says, shouldn’t His Teachings be examined to discover Who and What That Truth is and abide as That, rather than to seek out for remedies in this world? – as in “Go first to God (“I AM”) and all things will be added unto you.” Luke 12:31

There are many passages in the New (and Old) Testament, where, when the notion of the West, that we are all separate beings, centered in our identities as thinking bodies, is put aside, one is surprised to find that most passages are apparently referring to Christ as being the Self, and likewise He speaks from the perspective of an Avadhut, or as Krishna might speak, or another sage from the non-dualist tradition.

While in the Old Testament God states the Truth as “I AM THAT I AM”, in the West we have built Christianity around Descartes’ dictum: “I think therefore I am.” From, the point of view of a non-dualist, the first two of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20: 1-7) are extremely powerful statements. So, it is no wonder that in reading the words of Christ, as a non-dualist, the statements come out as being also very powerful.

The following are several quotes about Christ as the Self, in terms that are identical to those of the ancient eastern sages:

“All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

John I: 3

‘In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

John I: 4

“And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”

John I: 5

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that is born into this world.”

John I: 9

Basically, these are descriptions very similar to how Krishna describes himself. Here the creation is not only created by Christ, but also all creation throughout all time, as “without him was not anything made that was made”. Who Christ is said to be is Life, and that Life was the Light (Consciousness) of “every man that is born into this world.” The darkness described is the mind, which cannot know the Self, the All Knower, and cannot see the seer, which lights it.

From these quotes and the quotes to follow, we will see that Christ is defined clearly as the Self of all, and that his teachings are to redirect each listener that can “hear” him, to purify the mind, or directly to enquire into and abide as the Self, or to admonish them to take their stand in the Truth and “abide in me”, the Self. Quoting a few passages, it will become clear that these are statements from the perspective of Krishna, or an Avadhut, or someone, who, having realized their Self, no longer has a sense of “I” in relation to the body or mind, but abides as and is “Consciousness Itself”.

“No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”John 3: 13

Here Christ states essentially that the Self is always realized. In John 3: 14-21 Christ elaborates on this theme of the “Light” further, as do many other of his passages. When seen from the perspective of a non-dualist, His passages are intensely strong, giving no ground for alternate ideas that there may be some reality to the world or some basis to the world or some alternate “Ways” or approaches. For example:

“I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life.” John 8: 12

One might think from reading these passages that Christ always speaks as the Atman and of the Father as Brahman, or as the Self realized being One in relation to the All pervasive and timeless Self. Just as Krishna tells Arjuna that he taught Aditia (the Sun), Christ states:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8: 58

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One can see from the way Christ always refers to the Father, as the doer of the miracles and all that He says, that regardless of His apparent actions, that He has no sense of being a doer, that all He says and does just happens, because He abides in the Father. Consider the following passage, where Jesus is speaking to the Apostles in John Ch 14:

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No man cometh to the Father but by Me. (verse 6)

If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from hence forth you know him and have seen him. (verse 7)

“Philip said to Jesus, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ verse 8

“To which Jesus replied:

“Have I been so long with you, yet you have still not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; therefore, how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (verse 9)

“Believe you not that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me he does the works. (verse 11)

“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” (verse 12)

Again:

“I and my Father are one.” John 10: 30

Explaining how his Truth is in fact the Truth of all, Christ states in John Ch 15:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. (verse 4)

“I am the vine, you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing.” (verse 5)

In John Chapter 17, Christ prays to the Father on behalf of the Apostles, that He sanctify them by His Truth, and that they might be one with the Father, just as He (Jesus) is. Here, one can see that His state is always one with the Father. One is quite clear that Christ’s permanent abiding state, when He says “where I am“, is unrelated to the world. He asks:

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou has given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: For you have loved me from before the foundation of the world.” (verse 24)

The notion of Spirit, that He (Christ) and God (the Father) are one in Spirit also conveys the sense of the formlessness of Brahman (the Father), as well as our own Truth as spirit versus body:

“God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

(John 4: 24)

Apart from all Christ’s statements and parables about non-judgment (Mat Ch 7: 1-2; Luke 6: 37-42; John 8: 6-11), non-attachment (Mat 6: 40), non-anxiety (Mat 6: 25-34; Luke 12: 22-32), perpetual forgiveness (Luke 17: 4; Mat 19: 21-22; Mark 11:25), compassion (Mat 25: 34-40), humility (Mat 18: 4), and so on, which all relate to a discarding of attention to the world (“Take no thought for your life.” Mat 6: 25), probably the most profoundly direct instruction Christ gave concerning the teaching of non-dualism is from Luke 11:

“The light of the body is the eye: Therefore, when thine eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light….” (verse 34)

To a non-dualist, this is easily paraphrased as follows: The part of you that sees (the seer, one’s Self) is your true light. Therefore, if you hold the seer (subject-“I”) singly or exclusively (versus giving attention to thoughts) you will have illumination – or what some call the “enlightenment of the whole body”. This is the exact instruction of the non-dualists of the Vedanta tradition, with the same described outcome, as related above. (As if God’s First and Second Commandments weren’t clear enough in terms of having no images before the “I AM.”)

And as to the Heart: “The wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but the fool’s heart at his left.” Ecclesiastics 10: 2. And: “The pure in heart shall see God (“I AM”).” Matt 3: 8.

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Anyone in the east, coming to a similar conclusion about Christ, might call the approach of Christ the path of “sudden realization”, because his teachings are often in the form of commandments or statements giving no ground (room to maneuver). His approach permits no delays, no second chance, no outs, no remedy, no alternatives to the tribulations of the world. His way to God (the “I AM” of the Old Testament) is full of beatitudes and purity (Mat 5: 2-11), blessedness and love (Mat 6: 38-48). But those that oppose the Spirit “will never be forgiven” (Luke 12: 10, Mat 12: 32; Mark 3: 29) and “will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there is great suffering and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 8: 12;14: 50; 22: 13; 24: 51)

In considering Christ as a non-dualist, like Krishna, or the Avadhut, the Rishis of the Upanishads, or one of the Buddhas, the approach might be stated as “radical” or “ruthless”. The reading of the New Testament requires a constant coming to terms with Christ’s life: His all knowingness of each person close or far away, now and in the future, how they will act, what will happen, when, and why; the constant ceaseless flow of power, where miracles fall from him, undirected. In the non-dualist texts, these are the powers described as God’s, to be all knowing, all powerful, and so forth. In Revelations, Ch I: 8, Christ tells John:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending” sayeth the Lord, “which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Many of the stories about Christ and the words He spoke are similar to stories we might read of Saints and sages in India, Tibet, and China, as found in “The Tibetan Book of Great Liberation” and Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa” by Evens-Wentz, “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda, “Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge” by Arthur Osborn, “The Ramayana” by Tulsidas, books about the lives of different Buddhas, or the 10 Sikh Sat (Truth) Gurus, and many other books one can find about the miraculous lives of these sages, Saints, Avatars, Jnanis, and so on. But what was special about Christ was the sense of awe-inspiring fierceness, the intensity of rock hard Reality that packed each moment, demanding … commanding perfection of everyone, now. For example:

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

“I give you a commandment: Love one another.” John 15: 12, 17

“For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know his commandment is life everlasting.” John 12: 49

As Christ repeatedly stated “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark Ch 4: 23, again Mark 7: 16, etc.. This “hearing” is central to the entire teaching process of the non-dualist. In the “Lamp of Non-Dual Knowledge” (Advaita Bodha Deepika), Jewel Garland of Enquiry” (Vichara Mani Malai), “The Cream of Emancipation” (Kaivalya Navaneeta), “The Essence of Yoga Vashishta” (Yoga Vashishta Sara) – instructions of the Saint Vashishta to Rama, Shankara’s “Crest-Jewel of Discrimination”, and others, over and over again we see that the three necessities to realizing the Self, apart from the prerequisite of a “still mind”*, are “hearing”, “consideration”, and “perfect abiding”. Hearing is to understand the concept of the non-dual Self; “consideration”, to reflect inwardly: “From where do the thoughts arise?” or “Who sees?”, which includes a steady, even ruthless disregard of all rising thoughts, as “not this, not this,..” (“neti, neti,..”); and finally “perfect abiding” in the form of “objectless abiding as the seer” or as Ground (asraya) is to a Lightningbolt (Vajra Siddhi), until the Self flashes forth, as in “I say unto all, Watch!” Mk 13: 37. *“Stillness of mind” means “Be still and know that I am God (‘I AM’ Ex 3: 14).” (David, Ps).

Probably the best summation of the possibility, potential, or promise that Christ represents to the Western world is in his following statement from John 16: 33.

“These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulations: But be of good cheer; I have overcome (conquered) the world.”

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Actually, not to see Christ as the personification of non-dualism is to turn all He says into demagoguery, to make him into another “zealot” of the time, the founder of a bizarre cult, of strange rituals based in fanatical superstition and myth, a revamping of paganism in monistic form. It seems quite obvious though in reading the first three parts (above) concerning Part I, the subject of the Self, Maya, and the Heart, as they relate to the philosophy of non-dualism; Part II, the nature of (Western) preconceptions that needed to be set aside in order to “enter into” the subject; and Part III, a discussion of the nature and experience of non-dualism, as a philosophical reality, that if we can “hear” Him Christ (the Vajra Siddhi Guru), ever abiding in and as the Father, may be one of the most profound Teachers of the non-dual nature of Reality and proof of its philosophy in terms of realizing the Truth of our own Reality as all pervasive Self!

Blessed am I

In freedom am I

I am the infinite

in my soul

I can find no beginning

no end

All is my Self

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What Is Yoga? By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

What is Kundalini Yoga?

As taught by Yogi Bhajan

Introduction:

Yoga has 2 aspects: By the first is meant the idea of yoking, to link the limited idea of self through purifying efforts with the Universal Consciousness. By the second is meant the realization of Union, wherein the purified individual unit of consciousness awakens to realize that it is one with the non-dual, all-pervasive Universal Consciousness.

The Purpose of Yoga:

In the spiritual text or treatise on Eight Limbs of (Ashtanga) Yoga by the ancient Sage Patanjali in the 7th Century, the third aphorism states that the purpose of Yoga is to “isolate the seer.”

In the Gospel of John, Ch 11:34, Christ tells the Apostles similarly regarding this same purpose, practice, and its result, that “The eye (the seer – one’s awareness – the subject “I”) is the Light of the body. When thine eye is single (isolated and held to without attention to images, impressions and sensations), thy whole body will be filled with Light.”

Yoga as Yoking (Aradhana):

In Kundalini Yoga, the yoking aspect comes under the term Aradhana, which means a sustained daily practice (Sadhana) through which impurities are distilled from the conscious field leaving the attachments to images impressions and sensations that make up the identity of the pervasive “I” sense with the body and mind. Through daily persistent practice, the mind comes to a zero point completely clear, empty and still, the term for which in Kundalini Yoga is called Shuniya. The result of this zero-point/emptiness of the “I” sense is the possibility that upon “hearing” that one’s sense of “I” is really derived from and not different from the Universal Consciousness, That True Self (the Atman – the pure individual unit of consciousness or Soul) recollects Itself as single pervasive Being and abides in and as Itself, effecting a radical force that pierces through and outshines the mind and body. The feeling or sense of “I” that you feel now doesn’t change, only the realization of Its True nature, which is to say who and what you really are.

Hearing, Remembrance, Abiding:

This “hearing” in Kundalini Yoga, which uses the terms from the Sikh Gurmukhi is called “sunia,” reflection or recollection by the term “Mania” and “perfect abiding” by the term “mamu kita bhau” It should be noted, however that these terms and this process of experience are used in every religion and every yoga to denote the same process and experience. In Christianity, Christ repeats these terms to explain the practical process of realization in every text. In Hinduism/Vedanta the terms are Sravana, Manana and Niddidyasana. In Buddhism the process is incorporated in the practices of Mahamudra and Dozchen. In all these, when the Truth is pointed out, this “hearing” becomes possible when a person is “pure in heart.”

By “pure in heart” is meant that the tamasic and rajasic tendencies of the mind have been overcome by the mind’s satvic essence, which radiates from the spiritual heart (Ik Tar” or One Star – a center unrelated to the heart chakra) in the reflected consciousness of the mind, when it becomes pure, i.e., in yogic terms “satvic.”

These three, tamasic, rajasic and satvic are together called the gunas, which one might call interrelated levels of force that give a sense that one is acting in and through the body and mind, even though, in Reality, only the Self is Real.

By tamasic is really meant those impressions that have through emotion or stress been deeply encoded / embedded in the physiology (molecular and cellular structure) of the body, so that impressions of the mind will trigger over and over the same chemical electric emotions and projections of those emotions on the world. This means that we chemically imprint and store impressions and then project them on the world around us, with such a force that the only people and events that come to play out our roles on this planet are those that respond to us in the same manner as we project, i.e., they have similar innate tendencies, while others drift from our world all together. In other words, based on the predispositions we have been born with, we react and form impressions, some based on strong emotion, others through persistent repetition, and we project an apparently separate world, each of us imagining intense realness to that world, based on the chemical triggers elicited in our bodies by our thoughts. Thus, the tamasic force binds our “I” sense to the body.

By rajasic is meant the activity of the mind, impelled on the one side by the chemical triggers in the bodily encoding and on the other side by the life force emanating from the Universal Consciousness that pierces through the Spiritual Heart denoting the sense of “I” through-out the nervous system, so that we think “I am the body,” and through a major nerve (mind nerve) to the brain, so that we think “I am the thoughts and impressions of the mind.” The rajasic force has a unique deluding potency that gives us the sense that “I, the body and mind, am the doer.”

Satvic then is the pure non-objective etheric consciousness that reflects the force of Intelligence rising from the Spiritual Heart, which force inclines the Soul to look inwards and recollect Its True Identity. The satvic is really the reflected force of pervasive purity emanating from the Universal Consciousness our True Self.

Yoga, as Union (Pradupati):

Thus, when the mind becomes pure, it reflects the Self in the Spiritual Heart. At once, one abides as single pervasive consciousness, without separation or differentiation, the selfeffulgent screen within which and upon which appears all the dimensions of the Universe vast and small. You stand transfigured, both Grounded as though a force of a graviton, yet radiant, like a Sun. In Kundalini Yoga the term used to describe this timeless eventuality is “One Star Spirituality.”

This realization in Kundalini Yoga is called “pradupati” or the crystallization of the Soul. But even though this realization has taken place, one’s Sadhana continues, but at a different level, until the realization is complete.

In Kundalini Yoga, the first realization, which brings you into the experience of your “Diamond Body” – clear like a diamond, i.e., “pradupati,” is called “Sat Nam,” which is the experience of one’s (pure) Self as Truth, a Truth which is beyond all notions of duality, even the ideas of a subject and object of perception, beyond conception. The final realization, wherein there is only the Universal Consciousness and there remains nothing separate is called “Whahe Guru.”

This experience is described variously in every yoga and religion. Just as Guru Nanak emerged from a cave after being drawn there to meditate for several weeks, saying, as his first words, “Sat Nam,” Christ emerged from the dessert after several weeks with his first words, similarly translated, as “I am the Truth.” In Buddhism, this experience is termed the Dharmakaya or the Embodiment of Truth. In Hinduism the experience is called “Satchitananda.”

Always keeping in Mind the Purpose of Practice:

When one practices yoga, what one keeps in mind always is an inner quest to try to “isolate the seer” to arrive at the subjugation of the mind through one means or another through which one comes to a state of non-objective awareness, a state of etheric consciousness on the belief that one will arrive at the Truth about themselves.

The nature of the Universal Consciousness is that it is like a self-effulgent pervasive screen. What we see is like a movie that we ourselves project, and due to the force we project through the thought impressions and the intensity of the chemical reactions the thoughts trigger, i.e., the gunas, we have the strong belief in the reality of what we see. But we hear, again and again, in spiritual texts and clues from events in our lives that there is something more to who and what we are.

And so, we begin a new journey, where, instead of filling our lives with outward activities, we begin a daily search and exploration to find out what it seems that we are missing.

The Universal Consciousness is similar to a Cinema, where we sit and watch a movie that is run from reel to reel on a projector that passes light through a lens through the frames of the film being projected onto a white screen. The difference is that the Universal Consciousness a multi-dimensional screen, including time and space, that lights Itself and all the images appearing, manifesting within Itself both awareness and being, or the sense of “I.”

If the Truth is that we are really not the limited scope of thoughts and impressions and body sensations, but really Consciousness Itself, then what is the cause of the delusion, amnesia, mistaken identity?

Practically speaking, the body, while a powerful vehicle for the Soul, in that it has the nervous system, the chemical power of the glandular system and the force of prana, nevertheless, operates at a conscious energy or voltage level, which bonds the Soul’s astral body to the identity with the chemically imprinted images and impressions.

The Nature of Awareness:

On the other hand, awareness with the sense of being or “I” – the seer, wherever projected, gives the feeling of life and a mild sensation of energy or voltage when directed in the body, and, when combined with thoughts that trigger the chemical electric sensations in the body, can result in very powerful feelings of life and voltage.

Therefore, the application of awareness must be the key, and if we can somehow isolate it, then we would have access to the total force inherent in that awareness.

Now what is this awareness, which is synonymous with the sense of being or “I” and the feeling of life force or prana (voltage)?

The awareness is what yogis call the Atman, while the Universal consciousness is called

Brahman. In Christian terms, the Atman, or pure sense of “I” without identity or association to images is called the Christ Consciousness or the Son, in relation to Brahman is called the Father.

To try to show the relationship between the 2 and why these 2 are really one, we can use the following analogy that was often used by mystics in the Dark Ages of Europe, before the Renaissance.

People would ask what the twinkling lights were in the sky at night (the stars). What they

were told was that at night God pulled a shroud over the planet and that on the other side of that shroud was the Infinite Light and Glory of the Father. And that within that shroud were pinpricks through which that Light shone. This answer usually satisfied.

But when people asked more the nature of this Light, they were sometimes told that within each of us is a pinprick (Star) in our Spiritual Heart, through which is projected the light of awareness that animates the body and the mind and denoted the sense of “I.”

So, when the mind is pure and reflects the Spiritual Heart, we experience ourselves being Transfigured. The mind and body fill with Light, and we abide as spatial consciousness in the Heart.

From the perspective of Kundalini Yoga practice, Yogi Bhajan provided his own experience in a poem he wrote in 1968, where he explained that in the depth of his heart the Temple of God lives, that he realized the Infinite Being in his Heart, and the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth dwelled with him. He experienced electric radiance and undifferentiated pervasive consciousness, where “inside-outside everything is whole.”

Thus, when we can pierce through the Star in our Heart, we suddenly awaken to the Truth we have always been grounded in.

And so we begin a practice of yoga.

The Pratyahar Path of Yoga:

Now there are many types of yogas, but, as we can see from the practical understanding of who and what we really are, all practices are essentially designed around a methodology for “applied awareness” and “letting go.” This is so, because we want to develop the recollection and ability to apply awareness in order to trace it back to its source without clinging to the images and sensations elicited by the application of that awareness.

Every thought has an electrical charge. When couples with impressions that elicit a chemical electric (glandular secretion) in the body, the charge is even greater. We all know about how, when we touch an electric wire, we get gripped by its shock and pulse and cannot let go unless someone hits us or tells us forcefully enough to “let go.” Disengage! Relinquish! Discard!

In the terms of the Kundalini Yoga, as Yogi Bhajan taught, most yogic and religious practices are what he termed as the Path of Pratyahar.

Pratyahar used in this way, different from the term pratyahar in the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga, such as commented on by Swami Vivekananda in the 1920s in his book “Raja Yoga,” means those practices or methods that slowly draw one into the deeper experience and source of one’s awareness through systems whereby one applies one’s awareness slowly through every part of the body, then to the major nadis and so on.

As most people know, the term “mindfulness” is a key practice in Buddhism, whether Hinayana, Mahayana or Vajrayana. It is also one of the main practices in Christian Monasteries, and was taught, for example, by St. John of the Cross, St. Francis of Assisi, etc.. It is also the basis for all hatha yoga practices, pranayamas and even martial arts. The Shao Lin Temple was started by the first Zen Patriarch, Bodhidharma, who went to China from India and taught what are now called the Kung Fu movements. Tai Chi is the same. Taoism is also the same.

There are also mental practices and meditations, including visualizations and the use of mantra, which have the intention to gradually lay down new patters with so many layers of repetition that the old patters are, so to speak, drowned out, releasing energy in the process.

Applied awareness and the generation energy/consciousness:

The idea is that, as one applies a still steady flow of awareness throughout the body, whether through sitting still, holding a posture, in movement or watching the breath and movement of prana in the body, the very directed act of applying awareness causes energy to build in that area one focuses, and that energy or voltage is remembered and retained, until eventually, through steady practice, several events begin to occur within the body. One of these is that, as the voltage increases, the frequency of that voltage becomes such that it supersedes the frequency of thoughts, so that you begin to find yourself in a pre-thought cognitive state – thought free.

As thoughts are not being produced with the prana flowing in the body, where atoms are brought together momentarily to trigger sound and images and store impressions, there builds within the still mind and empty body a kinetic or potential energy. At the same time one has spontaneous intuitions or revelations regarding stored impressions and past judgments that emerge from their vault in the subconscious, are resolved and dissolved, releasing more energy.

As this process continues, the voltage reaches a point where a kind of lightless or etheric spaciousness is experienced, where the energy or voltage that is used by the mind to focus is also superseded, and suddenly, the focusing mechanism of the mind disengages and you experience yourself as a field of pervasive consciousness and feel a gradual increasing of radiance throughout the body. With this often arises a pervading sense of perpetual forgiveness or compassion.

Pratyahar – The beginning of sensory awareness:

This feeling of radiance is the beginning of what in the 8 limbs of yoga outlined by Patanjali is called Pratyahar, or the beginning of sensory awareness that flows into the body and mind. It does not mean, necessarily that you loose consciousness of the outer senses. But it does mean that through the inner senses your awareness both within and around the body field begins to increase exponentially. From the feeling of voltage, you begin to also see spatially within and directly around the body without the subject-object focal point of a seer. Then you find that within the still pervasive radiance you are able to hear spatially, and so on.

Dhyana – The beginning of the experience of Union:

When the mind becomes pure enough that it reflects the sense of “I” as “I” in the Spiritual Heart, there arises a sense of a force of Intelligence that sucks the mind inward with a radical force, while radiating Light everywhere. In the 8 limbs of yoga, this is called Dhyana or True Meditation, because you no longer practice meditations, rather the Meditation of Self abiding remembrance pulses or reverberates soundlessly within you, both dissolving and outshining the mind and body at once, with the impalpable sensation of “I, I, I, I, I….” wherein no me versus you, this versus that, arise – no concepts al all. The mind and body fill with utter purity yogis call the “Cloud of Virtue.”

The mechanism of awareness:

Looking into the mechanism of what is happening in the body relative to the increasing voltage, as the voltage increases throughout the body, an electromagnetic pressure builds, and eventually causes the downward flowing prana, yogis call apana, which has to do with all aspects of elimination to be drawn upward to mix with the expanding pranic radiance in an area just below and behind the navel area. This area will pull up and lock automatically, causing the upward flow or voltage to be released through and along the spine. At the same time, the crown will also open and a golden radiance will flow downwards.

But it must be remembered, that in reality, this mechanism is triggered by the force of the inward flowing awareness, where the astral body and Soul is no longer is limited to the identity to the binding forces of the body (tamasic) and mind (rajasic) and is free of them (satvic), experiencing their Transfiguration. So, that what is really happening is that, with the release and expansion of awareness back to its source and natural state, the body mechanisms also open and unfold automatically.

This means that the sense of being a “doer” also dissolves.

Jnana and its predecessor Bhakti:

In yoga, the force of discrimination or Intelligence that causes the mind to invert and reflect its source purely is called Jnana or Gyan and means Self-Knowledge or True Wisdom. This force emerges suddenly, usually due to having the nature of one’s True Self pointed out, through spiritual text in a book or someone reading the text to you, or telling you in a way that elicits a the primordial memory within you, where your True Self suddenly recollects in a sensation like coming out of a stupor into clarity, or from a progressive amnesia into full recollection of who and what you are, such that a radical force of relinquishment takes hold that puts aside every and all practices, even radiance, stillness and beatitude.

But there is something that has to happen first to the Soul in the body that triggers this final event of purity, which causes the mind to surrender the last vestige of ego or the desire to cling to the thoughts and impressions of the mind and the sensations of the body. This penultimate event will usually come as a result of suddenly and inexplicably realizing that the life story about a Saint, Sage or Savior (living or historical) is True and Real. For the most part, we hear these stories told, whether the Ramayana or the various Gitas, the story of Moses and Mt. Sinai, the Gospels and Revelation of Christ, Guru Nanak, Guru Teg Bahardur, Ramakrishna, Meher Baba, Ramana Maharshi, the stories about Sakyamuni Buddha, Padmasambava Buddha, Milarepa and others in all Religions, yet to a large extent these stories appear to us like a kind of a mythology, fairy tale or “opiate for the masses.” In some practices, meditations are devised to somehow get the seeker to imprint the images of the selected Sage, Savior, Saint or Celestial Being and their pure attributes into the mind and body as a means to somehow trigger this penultimate event, again in the applied awareness and letting go methodology. But ultimately, in the process of one’s Sadhana a level of purity does manifest that tips the balance of the downward pulling forces of the body towards upward pulling, and, as the chakras from the heart to the crown begin to open, there emerges a feeling of devotion and uncaused unconditioned love of God, in whatever form, that dissolves even the idea of form. You will notice this starting to happen, when telling a story hearing it read or reading one and suddenly feeling choked up with the whole area around the heart, throat and head radiating upwards with a pervading sense of “Goodness.” Yogis call this “Bhakti.”

The result of the experience of Bhakti is that one’s practice suddenly takes on a fervor and depth of penetration and resolve that is of a caliber one had not been able to imagine before this. You suddenly and truly believe that you really are something wonderful, and that it is hidden inside you, close at hand quickly to be found. Moreover you feel the love of God drawing you inward.

What is Kundalini Yoga?

What is the Kundalini Yoga that Yogi Bhajan taught, disseminating untold volumes of information relentlessly for 35 years? And what makes it different from the above outlined Pratyahar Path?

In the Pratyahar Path, there are many practices of what are called “Kundalini Yoga,” but these have mostly to do with breath retention, and are usually only taught to very advanced students, who after many years of practice in their given methodology of sourcing the seer through practices of “applied awareness” and “letting go,” who have begun to experience the sense of etheric radiance, and the 5th limb of Raja (Ashtanga) Yoga, called Pratyahar, as mentioned above. This is because practices that suddenly release voltage into the body field, where the physiology of the body has not yet reached this stage, has no where really to go, sometimes causing physical and psychological problems.

Naturally, if one enters a retreat or Monastery and begins long periods of fasting, hours of hatha yoga exercises, and even more hours of slow channel cleansing pranayamas, while focusing on the main nadis, which yogis call the ida (to the left of the spine, pingala to the right of the spine and sushumna through the center and forward of the spine), then progress will undoubtedly be quick.

Kundalini Yoga that Yogi Bhajan taught has 2 aspects to it:

Breath repetition (Simran)

One of these is an aspect of the Pratyahar Path, with its main intent and focus of “applied awareness” and “letting go” as a foundation to the way in which all practices are done, but the aspect drawn from the Pratyahar Path side is primarily limited to long periods of slow pranayamas focused on the main nadis, what might be called the meditation on prana and its source itself. The term used in Kundalini Yoga for this practice is “sanjam” or “breath simran.”

Radiance

The other practice which predominates in Kundalini Yoga is what Yogi Bhajan calls the Laya Path, or the Practice of Radiance, the generation of which is entirely unlike and unrelated to any other yogic practice mentioned above. This Practice of Radiance, with its foundation in “applied awareness” and “letting go,” rapidly, systematically, evenly and smoothly increases the voltage throughout the body field in a manner that cannot be compared or even understood from the perspective of someone practicing the Pratyahar Path of yoga, because, unless they have experienced total body field radiance and related non-objective awareness, they have no reference.

This yoga is extremely practical and has 2 main aspects: One of these is called Tappas, which really means to generate heat, but we can call it the Yoga of Light. The other is called Jappa which has to do with the use of mantra in what we can call the Yoga of Sound. But, again, these practices, their effects and results are unrelated to those of the Pratyahar Path.

The Yoga of Light:

The Yoga of Light combines posture, movement, breath and energy locks in a unique manner to produce a desired effect, which yogis call a kriya. The effect of the posture and movement is to bring about an expanding or contracting pressure on some part or system within the body field, which in practical terms causes the blood to saturate in that area, gradually opening the capillaries and cells of the organs and systems.

With the combination of various kinds of yogic breathing techniques, which have specific purposes and effects, the blood is purified and electrified and circulates in a manner that the areas brought under pressure are able to discharge accumulated waste, sloth and chemical bonding and absorb life force (prana) and voltage.

Each exercise (or at times short combinations) has as active aspect, during which period the energy is generated, which is followed by a passive aspect, during which time, the glands secrete to support and sustain the voltage generated in the specific area. The use of internal locks (bandhas) and suspension of breath either in or out further enhances the generation and sustaining of voltage. Sets of Kundalini Yoga exercises and kriyas are put together in manners that affect a gradual and systematic penetration of every system and organ of the body to build the feeling of electric radiance or voltage.

The practice of radiance necessarily includes the practice of applied awareness and letting go, because the application and focus of awareness in the specific areas affected by the exercise generates a kind of a memory of the sensation that is then sustained by the voltage generated by the secretion of the glands.

This is similar to the way that an emotion is triggered by the focus on a thought together with a sensation, only in this case, there are no thoughts, and the practice ends with disengagement of attention, i.e., letting go, the result of which is a deepening of the awareness of the source of the seer as non-objective in nature and origin.

Radiance and voltage:

This practice of Radiance is similar to having a car battery of 6 or 12 or 24 volts, wherein you have mostly water and a thin metallic plate. When an electric charge is put on the battery, the combination of the water and plate result in stored voltage, only in the body, which is also mostly water, the potential to increase and store voltage through the secretions of the glands is unlimited.

Another way to understand this is as follows: Let’s say that someone has a house in which the electrical system – wiring and fuses – is designed to carry 110 Volts, and, in order to access better quality equipment, you set about systematically rewiring your house with a new fuse box to carry 220 volts. Then when completed, you decide to install industrial machinery and, therefore, continue on to 440 Volts. In this fashion the practice of Radiance has the same intent and purpose, i.e. to have better access to the potential inherent in the body, mind and spirit.

As mentioned above, at a certain stage the voltage begins to exceed the voltage and frequency of thoughts and exceeds the voltage of the focusing mechanism of attention in the mind, at which point the awareness becomes both spatial and non-objective. What you feel is a sort of energy vibration throughout the body field entirely at once without focusing. You realize your self as the field, not a focal point directing attention through new inner senses within or outer sense around the body.

You feel deep within the center and throughout the body a sensation of deep penetrating dissolving energy coupled with a sensation of blowing apart in the cells and atoms of the body, which in Kundalini yoga is referred to as the dissolution of the “body armor.”

The body armor is a deeply embedded impression of who we think we are, rigid and reactive to that rigidity, intractable, and yet it is like a suite we have become so accustomed to wearing that we no longer notice that it completely limits our spontaneity, creativity, fluidity, perceptions, while covering our True Nature. But then this sensation of penetrating dissolving takes hold and expansion and pervasiveness are realized to be our True Nature.

What happens in this practice is that voltage and electromagnetic mechanisms are strengthened throughout the body field in a manner that begins to emulate the sensation someone feels and experiences in the body when the force of the Self in the Spiritual Heart takes hold of the mind and sucks it inward, collapsing the body armor and blowing it apart at once. Then suddenly “impact!” The individual unit of consciousness reaches a level of pure and radiant voltage and radiance that from one perspective has so filled the astral body that it disengages from the body and mind and links to its source, the Universal Consciousness, which pervades and sustains the Universe and each of us in the Spiritual Heart, and the seemingly 2 are realized to be One. The Yoga of Union.

The Yoga of Will:

Included under the Yoga of Light is the Yoga of Will. The Will is the pure “I” sense, what some also call the Spirit. Quite often the sense of “I” is mixed with the body or the mind, so that there is a predominant feeling of the “I” sense with one or the other. The result of this is an imbalance of the mind and body, i.e., the breakdown of one’s character, personality or behavior in times of stress that can lead to mental or physical illnesses. But through certain Kundalini Yoga exercises or kriyas that are practiced for an extended period of time the imbalances or stresses are caused to come out, as the mind and body alternately resists the continuation or the practice. However, as one perseveres, at a certain point, the complaints, resistances and agitations of the mind and body subside and one feels the steady predominant sense of one’s Will prevailing.

The result of this sustained practice of the Kundalini Yoga exercise or kriya is that, as previous points of stress come up in life, the memory of the sense of Will, one’s Spirit, predominates, and the body and mind remain in balance or integrated under the Will, meaning that the Self inherent “I” sense, devoid of the vagaries and attachments to the identity with the body and/or mind, is felt to be steady, consolidated. This, in turn, gives rise to the specific awareness or cognizance of “isolating of the seer.”

The Yoga of Sound:

The use of mantra in the Laya Path practice of Radiance and Kundalini Yoga is also unrelated to the use of mantra in the Pratyahar Path. This is because, as the voltage of the body increases through the Yoga of Light, the body becomes an amplifier of sound and the nadis or energy channels in the body begin to resonate.

The effect of the increased voltage running evenly and smoothly in the body field is like having a piano, where the dull strings have been tightened, tuned and toned, or a guitar or harp or violin, so that when a sound is chanted in a particular manner, and in a correct posture, the sound is felt to vibrate throughout the body field, and in the process releases and magnifies the even balanced flow of voltage, such that a 5 to 10 minute session of mantra can generate a voltage that is geometrically greater, yet smoother, than a previous hour of the practice of powerful kriyas.

There are 2 types of mantra in Kundalini Yoga practice, generally speaking. The first is mantra, which is called Laya, combines with the use of locks, mudras, specific breathing and cadence, which will have a deeply penetrate effect that directly dissolves the encoding of thought energy patterns of stress and emotion. The second, which can be equally as powerful, is the use of mantra in kirtan, devotional singing, where the intent is to create new overriding positive patterns to overcome imbedded thought impressions, but in a manner greatly more effective than the use of mantra in the Pratyahar Path.

Kundalini Yoga Meditation:

Kundalini Yoga Meditations are uniquely designed to engage all the modes of the mind and body, so that in order to keep up or maintain the meditation one is required to apply one’s awareness at once in these diversified areas, that all relate to one effect, in terms of opening physiological systems and energy passages that relate to the experience of single pervasive awareness. Similar to the Yoga of Will, the effect of the maintenance of the meditation is that the mind and body are bought in the process to the subservience to the Spirit or Soul, which is always the source of their light and inherent sense of being (identity), but what is significant is that the practitioner becomes aware that who they really are is grounded in the flow of awareness and in the awareness Itself, as the real source of Light and Being, so that attention and interest in the mind and body field diminish and shift to and, thereby, reflect their source. It’s like a balance, wherein, by maintaining the precise balance required, something unique happens, but when you take out any component, you never achieve the balance or realize the unique experience that results from coming into that balance.

Physiologically, this balance is actually the Shakti system aligning itself in polarity with Shiva. When Yogi Bhajan speaks about polarity he says that the polarity of the balance body field is God. Thus, by Shiva is really meant God. In Sikh terms this would be Parbrahm-akal, Hindu terms Brahman, Buddhist Terms the Boddhichitta, but simply put, That Awareness, which is both single and all-pervasive, all-absorbing and infinite, that pierces through the spiritual heart (Ik Tar – One Star or Hrdayam) illumining the mind and body field, the Self of all.

As you maintain the meditation in balance, an electromagnetic force field forms that draws in and binds all the power centers creating a pillar of light, what some call the Transfiguration.

Summary:

The overall effect of the practice of Radiance is that, in the process of strengthening the nervous system and glandular systems of the body, very quickly one becomes aware of an ever deepening and expanding electric radiance throughout the body field, which leads to pervasive seeing and hearing initially in the body and gradually around the body. What is happening is that as the nadis become more radiant and luminous, they also brighten the darkness around the body, similar to turning up the voltage in a light bulb, where the incandescent filament of the light bulb first can be seen in the darkness, but then fills the darkness with light, so that within the field of consciousness around the body you begin to feel and sense and then see pervasively.

Turya, the Forth State:

Turya is the state of one’s Transcendental Consciousness at the substratum of one’s waking dreaming and deep sleep modes of mind. It’s the screen upon which these appear in relation to the body field. Within these changing modes of mind, suddenly shines forth the recognition of who you are, as single pervasive awareness, unconditioned uncaused being. This is Turya.

But this is only the beginning of the awakening process, as by awakening is really meant that one first awakens to their (transcendent) Self as this underlying substratum, meaning that you see Maya in the waking state for what it is, yet abide in a continuous state of recollection / pulsation of your True Self, and then you begin to awaken in the other modes of mind.

When this begins to emerge in your consciousness, it is the beginning of the experience of one’s awareness as awake in the sub-conscious. You’ll notice that, as the mode of mind begins to shift into sleep that the radiance throughout the body increases and you experience a dissolving of attention.

The focusing mechanism of the waking consciousness disengages and you experience your awareness pervasively, beyond thought and imaging. This is a process the body field goes through every time we fall asleep, the only difference now is that you progressively remain aware of the transition(s). This means that, as you arise into the mode of waking consciousness, you, nevertheless, remain aware of your Self, as the Forth State or substratum to all states, but also retain the awareness of the sub-conscient.

When this wakefulness of the sub-conscient emerges in the waking conscious field, it comes with the feeling of being transparent and weightless, entirely empty and utterly pure and still. The world begins to feel like a dream in which you recognize that you and the manifestation of the dream are simultaneous, i.e., not different, not separated.

This is not the same as what some people call “lucid dreaming,) where you watch the dreams unfold. It’s an experience of being at the substratum of the emerging dreams.

You abide as One with the Creator of the Dream and the Creation, and recognize and experience this both in the waking and dream sleep state. As this continues into the retention of awareness in the un-conscient, you, a pervasive field, begin also to experience luminosity or brightness, where in dark hovels you see and experience brightness, and when you look at the sun it seems dim by comparison. Whatever you say happens, and all you say dissolves karma and produces only good. Those that come within your field become pure in heart. Other intuitional abilities arise as well, emerging also more as a sense of recollection of what was always yours, not as something new. While utterly here and clear, you are empty, spatial, beyond even Oneness.

In terms of meditative practice, this transitional state between the waking and sleep state is one of the “intervals” within which one can experience the substratum of the changing modes of mind, Turya. The other intervals are between inhaling and exhaling, and between thought.

You will discover in reading the text here above, practicing and experiencing yourself the transformational effects of proper practice that the words of Christ, Buddha, Vedanta Gitas and so on all have this same inimitable quality that elicits within you the recollection by the essence within your own feeling of “I” of who and what you are, and that essence, while flashing forth, entirely grounds the outgoing mind into the unconditioned reflection of Itself. At once you relinquish all ideas and concepts of who you thought you were, and what God and the world might have been, and you in your totality pierce through the veil and abide as undifferentiated being, no thoughts, nor a thinker.

For that matter, as you read this, you might reflect back to the inimitable way that Yogi Bhajan had of describing his perception of events, people and the world, intermixed with his simultaneous precognitions, multidimensional clarity of perception, maybe best summarized by what an astrologer said of Yogi Bhajan after his passing, that for a Soul such as Yogi Bhajan, Life and Death are just different aspects his ever abiding experience of Eternal Life.

Once you come to the stage of Union or Pradupati, which are other terms that describe the Turya state, a process takes hold that you might say Meditates you. You experience a force of radical relinquishment, the Transfiguration, like being at the center of a Black Hole, yet blazing like a Sun. Yet, even though you abide in Truth, there is some remaining sense of being the doer, of Me and God and Oneness, but finally, even this Oneness has to vanish.

You feel the anahata, the soundless reverberation of the pulsing sense of “I” irradiant, pervasive and prevailing, all absorbing, yet spatial, what Yogi Bhajan refers to as “One Star Spirituality.”

When the Soul undergoes this transformation, the body manifests a certain positioning, where whether walking or sitting, the spine will automatically pull straight from within, the shoulders press back and the chest expand forward suspending the breath. The Vedanta term “Niddidyasana” is the term that expresses the state of the Soul (spirit), mind and posture in simultaneous perfect repose. Radiance emanates from the Spiritual Heart filling all the nadis, while radically disengaging attention. In terms of better understanding the technology of Kundalini Yoga, there are many Kundalini kriyas and meditations that Yogi Bhajan taught that emulate and penetrate into the physiology of this perfect repose bringing about a condition for the spontaneous manifestation of “hearing,” “recollection” and “abiding.”

In yoga practice, the isolation of the seer is the same as the realization of the Forth State. The other three are waking consciousness (jagrat), dream sleep or subconscious, and deep sleep or the unconscious (sushupti). Turya is their substratum, their support and basis, the screen upon which the other 3 play out. When one begins to have what yogis call waking-sleep or “jagratsushupti,” then one is experiencing the grounding effect of the Turya or Fourth State.

One description of the experience of Turya has been that there is no one acting, no doer. Everything is seen (Witnessed) to happen by itself. There is no inside, nor outside, no time, nor space, neither near nor far, no conditions or causes whatsoever, and yet there is seeing of your body as translucent, no longer having any sense of me, mine, nor “I.” Without attention appearing within the pervasive field of consciousness, a multi-colored flame rises within the body field through the spine and top of the head, together with an incandescent radiance between the Spiritual Heart and Crown; the knot that binds the sense of “I” to the identity with images and impressions of the mind and sensations of the body entirely sundered.

A final note regarding one’s practice:

It is important in every practice to develop the ability, tendency and understanding to “apply awareness” and “let go.” It’s important to read scripture and try to grasp for yourself how the words and lives of the Sages, Saints and Saviors that exemplify the non-dual experience apply to who you really are. Then one day, as Yogi Bhajan says, “Impact!”

Pieter Schoonheim Samara

Dissolving the Accumulated Blockages in the Subconscious Mind: By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

This is a yoga where numerous means have been developed and preserved over thousands of years to release and free up energy blockages. You may have heard the phrase from the Third Zen Patriarch, “When thought is in bondage, the Truth is hidden.” The Truth is that our individual consciousness is not different from the Universal Consciousness, which is the support and substratum of the entire manifestation of the apparent diversified universe in all its planes.

The accumulation of subconscious blockages:

The mind is like a movie film running frame by frame through the focusing lens of attention through which the undifferentiated light of the Universal Consciousness passes projecting the images onto the single, uncaused, unconditioned, screen of pure Being.

What has happened is that the sense of “I” (which is the seer) which pervades the body and lights the mind and the universe has become focused through attention to the images that appear in the mind, such that an idea or notion of an identity merges between the all pervasive single non-dual “I” and these images, with the result that the images are bound, and the mind fills up with, what we might call “takes” (using the cinematography term) of impressions of who we think we are, and we become bound by those thoughts and we come to believe we are those thought. The bondage becomes a habit of thought patterns that plays like a record over and over.

These impressions then locate themselves throughout the body and its magnetic field creating a weakness in the natural flowing voltage and sound current of the several centers along the spine, and, as a whole, in the brain and magnetic field or aura – each center related to nerve plexus, glands and organs. The result of this weakness is that the nerve groups in these centers don’t fire fully, such that some of the nerves atrophy and fire weakly. The related glands and organs,
loosing their natural voltage, then begin to accumulate toxins that crystallize in their capillaries, so that the voltage of these organs also becomes weak, the glands no longer secrete properly, and there is an overall mental and eventually physical loss of natural or inherent balance that becomes in the weakened light of consciousness what we take to be our identity.

An example of the manner in which impressions are stored throughout the body can be experienced when you sit quietly for a while, and you begin to notice thoughts immerging and with them related twitches or stresses in various parts of the body.

This illusory or contrived identity defines itself continuously in our daily thought patterns, through a kind of a self-talk just at and under the surface of our waking consciousness, constantly commenting on the events of our lives. There is a whole new psychology involved in simply changing this self-talk in order to change ones life, through planning, repeating and mentally imaging affirmations, called self-image psychology. This self-talk further influences the dreams we have related to the building of the identity around the mind’s ongoing attempts to bring all these images and takes into a unified identity. This process all happens at what we call the subconscious level.

Releasing blockages and dissolving the subconscious mind:

The purpose of yoga, from the psychological point of view, especially as it relates to the emergence of the True Man and True Woman, is simply to dissolve these subconscious blockages that have been stored throughout the body, with the result that the subconscious mind simply vanishes like a mirage, energy is released and flows freely once again, and only the single all-pervasive Truth is seen, again to quote the Third Zen Patriarch, “Infinitely large and infinitely small, no difference for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.”

In order to sunder this bondage between the sense of “I” to thoughts and impressions, many postures and movements have been designed by ancient self realized beings to put expanding and contracting pressures from all conceivable angles and positions in systematic yogic sets that focus on specific centers and systems in the body field. These are combined with a number of powerful breathing techniques that purify and supercharge the bloodstream with oxygen, electricity and the other vital chemicals in the air. The charged and purified blood then flows into the areas are saturated with blood due to the pressure of the positions and movements, with the result that the nerves begin to charge and fire completely, the capillaries in the related organs and glands open and discharge their toxins, the cells discharge accumulated waste and vitality and life force begins to flow back into these centers.

Systematic practice:

Systematically, as one continues to come to the classes and eventually begins a daily Sadhana of ones own, these centers begin to build up a charge towards the natural voltage of these centers themselves, much like a battery of a car, but our physical vehicle has a number of batteries and the destination is always homeward bound to the source of Being. As the charge builds in the centers, heat is felt in the nerves as they purify, and then electricity and eventually the whole body and magnetic field become etheric, seen and experienced in the mind’s eye.

But it is not enough to simply build a charge, as these centers resonate with different frequencies that need to be tuned, brought into balance and harmonized in a process that completely releases the charge built up and stored through the practice of these yoga sets, which opens not only the higher centers, but also brings about the regeneration of the nerve of the soul – the sushumna. The sushumna starts at the base of the spine and goes to the neck, then through the passage to the crown and to the point between the eyebrows, called the silver cord, then from the point between the eyebrows to the crown, called the gold cord, and from the crown to the heart (where we point when we say “I” located the point 1/8th to the right of the sternum) – called the atma or para nadi, because, when regenerated, it resonates with the pulsation of “I.”

This harmonic resonation of the centers is accomplished through the practice of many different kriyas or specialized yogic actions that direct and channel the flow of energy, and Laya Yoga, which involves very specific techniques using sacred sound (mantra) to vibrate and open and release the stored energy in the centers. The charging of the centers, nerve channels and magnetic field (aura) is like tightening the strings on an 8-string guitar. The Laya yoga chants are like the tuning, playing and releasing of the spiritual music of the guitar, until the soundless sound of the pulsation of the “I” resonates everywhere and one experiences pervading light and being.

Ultimately the mind becomes very pure and clear as blockages related to thought patterns and images are simply dissolved, and the balanced resonance of the unified mind in harmony with the universal consciousness becomes ones prevailing pattern.

At a certain point, the energy flow and balance comes under pressure and this pranic pressure results in the mind being drawn inwards. As the mind is draw inwards, the heart (to the right of sternum) begins to pulsate like a graviton, and the feeling of the Singularity of the “I” begins to pulsate throughout the body field. At this time three force centers in the mechanism of the body begin to open. One of these is at the Kandal, between the navel and 4th vertebra, the center of chi, which regulates the prana throughout the body. The body has three major locks, and with the opening of the Kandal the lower lock pulls up and energy is released downward to the base of the spine from where it flows upwards directly opening the centers along the spine. At the same time, the centers in the brain also open, in particular the area of the hypothalamus, which opening allows the increasing flow of pervasive energy in through the crown, like the opening of the top of a jar so that the inner air and outer air become one.

The causal center that triggers these other force centers to open is the seat of the “I” sense Itself, in the heart (to the right of sternum). It is not the same as the heart chakra, but that place through which the sense of Being Awareness or “I” consciousness originates and permeates all the nerves of the body and through the atma nadi lights the images in the brain with the feeling of “I” consciousness. With this causal center opening the sense of “I” related to any images dissolves completely, as all images are “sucked into” the heart in a process that releases the realization of ever abiding single universal consciousness, wherein all other energy flows seem dim and inconsequential by comparison. This awakening experience is like going through the night seeing with the light of the moon. Then, as the sun of the heart begins to rise, even though the moon of the mind can still be seen, it is no longer needed for seeing, as “everything is clear and
self-illuminating with no exertion of the mind’s power.” (Third Zen Patriarch)

Kundalini Yoga

The entire systematic process of purifying and charging the centers (chakras), channeling the energy (prana) and awakening to the opening of the force centers is called Kundalini Yoga – an ancient yoga, or spiritual technology, that was traditionally taught in secret, but which Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga and head of the Sikh Dharma of the West, began to teach openly in 1968, so that people of all religions and backgrounds could purify their minds in a completely dynamic and balanced manner, have an enhanced experience and finally “hear” the Truth their religion teaches regarding the One God, which hearing results in the sudden abiding in That Incandescent Truth.

The awakening of the generative, organizational and dissolusionary force is known as Kundalini, which is simply another word for Awareness. The mechanism of the chakras, channels and force centers that is innate and inherent in every human being is designed to automatically resolve the individual consciousness into its universal Truth as soon as that individual consciousness begins to seek its source.

There is nothing mystical or secret about this yoga. It is a completely practical and scientific spiritual technology based entirely on experience. One’s initiation is accomplished by one’s self through one’s own sincerity, honesty and adherence to the practice, through Sadhana, through experience and the satsang or the ardent practice in a community of like-minded. The practice and teaching recognizes only one universal Truth consciousness within the heart of each person
and not any person or place or event as an initiating factor. The True Guru is, therefore, the Truth which is revealed inwardly through a systematic practice that is powerful and complete enough in itself that very quickly the Generative, Organizational and Dissolutionary force manifests and one awakens and abides as the True Man and True Woman.

While anyone that practices this yoga will naturally begin to have spiritual experiences and the dawning of Self-Knowledge (the discrimination between the Real and unreal) and True Faith and Devotion, there is nothing held as secret or hidden or mystical, as everything is taught and made available openly and presented in a clear, practical and scientific manner.

All this to say that one needs to come to the classes on a regular basis until one is able to develop a Sadhana on ones own. Better yet, if one comes to regular classes to gain some practical experience with the yoga and then comes to the Teacher’s Training course, when it is offered, then through teaching the yoga one will also be able to master it, while becoming directly linked into an organization of thousands of people around the world that practice and teach this yoga
and the spiritual line and source of these teachings.

“I have come to create Teachers, not to gather disciples.” Yogi Bhajan on teaching: “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.”

The Right Path: Akal Purkh Illuminates Me: By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

Regarding what some call kundalini experiences: Actually, Kundalini and isolated Awareness (the experience of self-effulgent Awareness), are the same. There are movements of prana that have all sorts of phenomenal effects, but these movements, even when they move the body, are only effects of prana and not Kundalini, which is singularly different.

Here is an example of Kundalini: In the summer of 1973, the center on Pruess Road in LA was converted into a Gurdwara, and we were all dressed in white with our turbans waiting for Yogi Bhajan to arrive. When he did, some 45 minutes after the schedule, as he came through the doorway, he stopped and said that that morning God had taken away his vision and that now all he could see was the light of a million suns, and yet, there he was talking to us. This is the experience of abiding as That All-Pervasive Light, which sustains and supports the universe, which gives life and animates all living creatures. In effect he was saying: “Akal
Purkh illuminates me.”

(Listen to Liv Singh’s rendition of Yogi Bhajan’s 1968 poem: Adorned with Honor” from http://www.invinciblemusic.com, or go to: http://www.adityahrdayam.com/songtext.html. This poem is a good guidance regarding the right path.)

In summarizing the e-mail postings I sent, which referenced the radiant series: https://luthar.com/kundalini-yoga/, as you begin the practice and take up a Sadhana of the Kundalini Yoga that Yogi Bhajan taught, there is a process of awareness of the expansion and deepening of the experience of this radiance that is eventually felt throughout the body, until the pervading voltage becomes so penetrative and even that it exceeds the frequency of thoughts. Then you will notice that the focusing mechanism of the mind disengages and you feel the entire body within and to some expanse outside at once without focusing. With this comes a special knowledge that who you are is a “unit of consciousness” and not the mind and body, which, because there are no thoughts or reactive emotions surging through the body, becomes clearer and clearer. In effect the disengagement of the focusing mechanism effects a decoding of the impressions that make us think “I am the body” or “I am my thoughts, emotions and sensations related to a body separate from the world.” You experience: “I am the Light of my Soul.”

A kind of a Singularity begins to form, a Polarization of the magnetic field, and with that a unique awareness of an innate Intelligence reflected in the mind (Akal Takht – the Holy Spirit). This Intelligence has the sensation of Remembrance and pulses soundlessly without limitation “I” as “I.” The mind is completely gripped by this and inverts in a way that reflects the all pervasive Self, which “lights each one born in the world,” located in the Spiritual Heart (Harimandr – Temple of the Holy Spirit), what in Kundalini Yoga Yogi Bhajan calls the “Ik Tar” or “One Star.” This is because you have an experience of abiding singly in the Spiritual Heart as “I AM, I AM.” Thoughts cannot penetrate this. Physically, the major power centers of the body illuminate by themselves:

  • At the base of the spine is a piercing light.
  • At the crown an expansion of radiance and inward turning reflective consciousness,
    meaning that the purity is beyond the vibration of the reflection of thought
    impressions that we previously mistook to be “I.”
  • The Spiritual Heart (not the chakra) irradiates, as well the sushumna and paranadi
    (mind nerve) extension between these.

You might say that this experience within the body is like the movement of mercury in a barometer when the atmospheric pressure increases.

In this case, what has happened is that, through your sustained Sadhana, the awareness, frequency and voltage of one’s Self, experienced as a unit of consciousness (Atman), suddenly “impacts” the Awareness, Frequency and Voltage of the Universal Consciousness (Akal Purkh – Infinite Being – Brahman), and you abide as pure Spirit, which is the substratum of the appearance of the Universe, the same as the light in a TV (or movie projector) is the basis for the appearance of images projected on the screen.

The experience has a unique sensation (the Singularity of unconditioned Being) in which your first words might be Sat Nam or “I am the Truth” – an experience of Transfiguration of the Body and Mind into Pure Singular Pervasive, Unconditioned, Uncaused Spirit, That alone which is Real.

All this to say that, when you take up a Sadhana, and also read the holy scriptures of the Saviors Saints and Sages, who express this experience of abiding as Truth in their words and actions, then there arises a Remembrance that causes the discarding of attention to thoughts and images and results in singular abiding.
The practice of Kundalini Yoga speeds up the transformation from “I am the body and its thoughts” to “I am a unit of consciousness” to “I am the indwelling single pervasive Spirit.”

The various experiences of energy, visions and so forth that one might have along the way are just movements of prana, however purifying. It’s when the mind inverts and turns inward, beyond thought, impressions and images, when the mind is consumed by the Truth of your Awareness as Self, the Ground of Being, that you are experiencing Kundalini.

If this isn’t clear now, it will become clear as you continue to practice every day and this transformational process and this experience dawns on you. “Keep Up! regardless of circumstances.”

So, when you talk about activating the Kundalini, you are really talking about isolating and abiding as the Singularity of the all pervasive Self, which is who and what you always are.

This means that you now experience directly through and as consciousness itself and not the senses, which are always illumined by that consciousness, like the lens in a movie projector is illumined by the light within it. In you, the light, which is single and all-pervasive, emanates from the Spiritual Heart and lights the  body, mind and senses. When you are drawn to the source of that light, which, as described above, follows inexorably from the sustained practice of Sadhana, you pierce through the Heart and now abide as the Substratum of all.

Then your mantra or experience of vastness and solitude is:

Blessed am I
In freedom am I
I am the infinite
In my Soul
I can find no beginning
No end
All is my Self
All is my Self

What is the One Star, the Hrdayam?: By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

This Center in the Heart is that point within the body through which the Infinite Being animates the body with the light of consciousness and the sense of being, as “I.” Where the chakras can be compared to prism-like lenses of a movie projector providing interpretation of gross, subtle and spiritual images, the Heart Center is the pure light, like a self-effulgent screen, in that projector that gives the sense of identity and reality to the projected images appearing on its surface.

The Hrdayam / One Star is located in the heart itself. The physical heart is 7/8 to the left of the sternum and 1/th to the right. In that 1/8th portion is located the pacemaker or synod of the heart, which give the pulse or beat to the heart. It is the place where we point when we say “I.” In Ayurvedic medicine it is mentioned as the seat of consciousness. in the Katha Upanishad (and others), it is said to be that place from which all the nerves of the body have their origin, as well as a major nerve (the right Vegas nerve), which rind from this location to the crown center (the Sahasrara or thousand pedaled lotus).

It is not the same as the anahata chakra, which is the nexus of nerves and related glands and organs located directly behind the sternum, between the bottom of the sternum and nape of the neck.

The awakening of this Heart Center is the purpose of all religious teachings and the focus of all religious experience, where that experience relates purely to the spiritual, i.e., the purpose of yoga – to isolate the “seer” – the subject “I” through the relinquishment / dissolving of the limited idea that our identity is bound to sensations of the body and the tyranny of thoughts, impressions and images in the mind.

In the Bible: Ecclesiastics: 10:3, is stated “The wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, the fool’s to the left” In the New Testament, Christ says: “The Pure in heart shall see God (“I AM THAT I AM)”

The Hrdayam is called the One Star (Ik Tar), because it has a pulling force, like gravity, that sucks in and dissolves all thoughts and images from the mind, while at the same time, like the sun, It radiates living light that outshines all images. “Hrd” means literally “That which sucks in everything” and “ayam” – “This” and “Expansion” – together meaning the core of ones being or “Heart.” The Heart is the place out of which everything expands and is withdrawn. In terms of the realized experience, it is similar to a concept of a Black Hole, wherein one experiences the pulsing incandescent radiance of Being in the atma nadi between the Hrdayam (Heart) and Sahasrara (Crown), while attention is disengaged, so that no objects can be seen in association to the pulsing pervasive sense of “I” – felt as a radical force one might call spaghettification, as physicists describe the dissolution of particles and atoms being sucked into a Black Hole. Nothing remains, not time nor space.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali there are 2 areas recommended to focus ones awareness in meditation. One of these is the crown center and the other, the self-effulgent light in the heart. While some mistakenly assume that heart means the anahata chakra, in fact, only the Hrdayam is self-effulgent. All other centers have their light from this one center, similar to the light in a movie projector (the Self), that animates (lights) the images through the lenses (chakras) onto the screen (of consciousness).

The Hrdayam is called the Solar Orb, because it is the source of being and consciousness (gravitation and light), and the Sahasrara is called the Lunar Orb, because it is the reflected consciousness in which the dimensions of the gross, subtle and spiritual universe appears.

When the sun in the heart awakens, the experience is like coming out of a stupor or amnesia. The sense of “I” – the seer, abides in Itself without attachment, clinging or attention to objects. Even attention to silence, stillness or a blank is relinquished, along with the identity to the sensations of the body and images, impressions and thoughts of the mind.

You experience a sense of single pervasiveness, timelessness, and unconditioned, uncaused being. “Nothing is separate and you cling to nothing. Everything is empty, clear, selfilluminating…” (from the 3rd Zen Patriarch: Faith Mind”)

The 2 poles of the heart (Hrdayam) and Crown (Sahasrara) blaze with light, and the nerve between (called atma, amrita or para nadi) radiates incandescently, vibrating with unstruck soundless sound. Simultaneously, you may see a flame, sometimes multi-colored, rising through the spine and the crown of the head. In Kundalini Yoga, the Mind Nerve. In Physiology, the Vagus Nerve that runs from the Spiritual Heart to the Crown.

Yoga is the union of the individual unit of consciousness with the all-pervasive universal consciousness – the infinite being. But this union is not of 2 separate things that have to be united, as the ever present Reality and Truth is that the infinite being lights each of us born in the world in the heart as the Light of our light, the “I” of our “i.”

As the mind begins to become electromagnetically still and balanced, there is an automatic inversion of the mind from outgoing reflecting images, to pure reflection of the Heart. We call this the discriminate facility (budhi), but it is the pulling force of the Heart that turns the mind inward. There is nothing outside of the Self, and when the mind reflects the Self in the Heart, there is a “hearing” – recognition (sravana/sunia), “remembrance” (manna) and “abiding” (niddidyasana) that resonates in a manner that attunes all the nerves of the body to the Heart, resulting in awareness of one’s Self as undifferentiated consciousness, where “inside – outside” simply dissolve and vanish like a mirage, “…everything is whole.” (Yogi Bhajan)

Sadhana, Ardhana, Pradhupati: By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

As you continue your daily sadhana, something new will begin to emerge, which Yogi Bhajan
calls ardhana, where the experience of sadhana seemed to take on a more etheric dimension,
and you begin to experience a sublimation of the minds outward flow of attention to the
changing polarities of the mind, as though there are periodic jumps in the overall atmospheric
pressure of the energy consciousness in and through the neutral body (4th chakra), physical
body (5th chakra), arc line (6th chakra) , auric body (pineal gland – crown chakra), pranic
body, subtle body, radiant body (energy pulses down through the tenth gate and up through
the crown expanding a golden hue radiance over 9 feet from the body).

The idea of raising Kundalini from the base of the spine to the crown, begins to become an
afterthought, as the overall satvic pressure seemed to open every system, from the Kandal to
the ida and pingala and sushumna, to the gold cord and centers in the brain, to the One Star in
the heart and right major vagus nerve to the Crown – as through there was a continuing influx
or infilling of what one might call a feeling of inward pulling (like gravity) and
expansive/pervasive light from inside and outside, even dissolving the notion of
inside/outside. Subject without a seer. Action without a doer.

All this to say that you shouldn’t feel surprised in your daily practice of Sadhana to begin to
notice similarly a sense of the pure indwelling light of your own infinite being, quietly shining
through the thoughts and images in your mind, as the sense of “I” disengages from attention.

These words will become meaningful: As you begin to find yourself abiding as single
unconditioned pure living light, “the screen upon which moves the kaleidoscopic picture
composed of mobile and immobile objects of the Universe” (from The Cream
of Emancipation verse 144) – the experience of “pradhupati” or crystallization that Yogi
Bhajan talks about – that over time prevails through the waking state (opaque), then the dream
state, as dream sleep becomes less (semi-precious gem), then the unconscious state, as you
awaken to the ever present awake awareness of the Self of Its Creation (gem state), and then
beyond, the Turya state – the purely crystallized consciousness, like a flawless diamond.

Sadhana and daily practice comprises

  1. KY exercises and kriyas
    • [Tappa – to generate heat and electricity on the body field]
    • What we’ve called the Yoga of Light that elevates the minds vibration above
      the frequency of thoughts and images, filling the nadi’s with energy
      consciousness (Prana) that has an effect like the tightening of guitar strings so
      that the whole body resonates and radiates

      • Meditations on radiance through short Kundalini Yoga exercises with a
        dynamic aspect of posture, movement and breathing, followed by a
        static aspect of watchful awareness of he flow of etheric radiance in
        and through the body
      • Meditation on the force of “will,” which produces a powerful single
        sense of Self, resulting from the persevering and enduring of long
        periods of stress in maintaining a posture, movement and breathing,
        followed by an equally long period of feeling the sense of abiding as
        single Self Witness.
  2. chanting mantra
    • [Jappa – to generate radiant/resonance that links the conscious mind to the
      pervasive Naad vibration of the universe]
    • What we’ve called the Yoga of Sound that takes hold of the 72,000 charged
      nadis, releasing their energy into a crescendo of radiance exponentially greater
      than the vibration produced by the Yoga of Light

    Tappa and Jappa together producing laya, i.e., expansive radiance that absorbs
    identity to thought and impressions

    Producing a decoding of the habits and impressions stored and bound throughout the
    body field and

    Substituting the re-imprinting of sacred sound of the mantra that links the body and
    mind to the unexcelled experience of simran/ Naad/ anahat (unstruck sound)

    • and
  3. slow controlled repetitive breath
    • Sanjam – resulting in simran, the attunement to the soundless sound of the
      infinite being

    Producing pratyahar – a singular stillness of “simran” from and within
    which thoughts and impressions are seen to rise and fall without the least trace or
    effort to grasp them or hold them within the mind’s power of attention

    • and
  4. Study – reading (without thought, conjecture or opinion, but just to “hear” (sunia /
    sravana) the sacred words of Saints and Saviors (Sat Gurus) describing their
    experience, recollection and abidance in and as the Self, that Light that lights each of
    us from and through the Heart (Hrdayam/One Star)

    • scripture, such as Jaap Ji, Jaap Sahib and other non-dual texts and Gitas
    • which results in the Self “hearing,” recollecting (as though coming out
      of an amnesia) and abiding in and as Its True Identity,
    • which we experience as our own Self
    • which we call the Nam
    • where hearing and recollection refer to the soundless sound of the “I”
      pulsing as “I” and abiding refers to cessation, final relinquishment,
      dissolution of ideas of seer and seen.
    • and
  5. the words of Yogi Bhajan about all this in your TT Manual and other sources.
    As your sensorial experience expands, these words read over from time
    to time will fill in with a new meaning and depth, and moreover that it
  6. is possible to become pure and in that purity “hear” the Truth. Pieter
    https://luthar.com/kundalini-yoga/

Understanding of the Active/Passive Aspect of Kundalini Yoga Practice: By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

pieter

It is often said that Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, comprises all systems of yoga. This is meant more in the sense that the result and benefits of other systems of yoga gradually and suddenly emerge into the experience of the Kundalini Yoga practitioner, such that one will notice the emergence of a deep intuition of posture and prana, and awaken to the experiences of shakti, laya, bhakti, and gyan (jnana), which emerge spontaneously into consciousness. While providing all the benefits of physical and mental health, fitness and fortitude, Kundalini Yoga is entirely different in approach, practice, technique, benefit and result than any other system of yoga. Kundalini Yoga is a Path towards direct experience of the non-dual all-pervasive and single Self.

This article is to provide some clarification and guidance as to how to practice Kundalini Yoga to realize the full physical, mental and spiritual benefit, while attempting to make it clear that, even though the various aspects of Kundalini Yoga may seem somewhat like the practices of other yogas, one should not make the mistake of teaching or practicing Kundalini Yoga, as one might have learned in another yoga discipline, because the dynamics of Kundalini Yoga are entirely different.

While other yogas often lose their direction – hatha becoming a “stretch and bolt,” martial arts – a sport, bhakti leading to fanaticism, jnana into intellectual mind-games, daily practice of Kundalini Yoga generates a relentless force field within the body mind and soul that turns one to experience their True Spiritual Self, as a magnet turns to true north.

Through the daily practice of Kundalini Yoga, there is a gradual strengthening of the nerve pathways and centers of the body towards the experience of an increasing electromagnetic voltage that corresponds to the influx of the awareness of the universal energies that support and sustain the body and mind, like the conversion in a house of a 110 voltage system, gradually to a 220 voltage system, then to a 440 voltage system, where, by analogy, the electric wiring, fuses and energy support systems are progressively strengthened throughout the body field. The results are systematic, holistic, expansive, balanced and complete, where Kundalini is experienced as an awakening of Awareness. This awareness brings about a total opening of the systems of the body. The governors, which are energy control centers in the Kandal, between the navel and fourth vertebra, the brain and the Heart, which restrict (like the surface of a bubble) the sudden influx of the ocean of energy that surrounds us, are able to gradually open the body’s energy channels to this ocean.

Voltage throughout the body increases to allow the infinite energy that supports, sustains, and pervades the universe in all dimensions to emerge as our normal awareness. As a result of this systematic strengthening of the body field, as energy increases, it diffuses throughout the system, so that even sudden bursts, which in other yoga practices may seem troubling, become no more that waves on the shore of an ever widening ocean to the practitioner of Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. There is a shift in awareness from reflected consciousness (the moon of the mind) to direct consciousness (the sun in the Heart), from notional “i” to the True “I” that is seamless. The Guru becomes the inner divinity in one’s Heart, no longer the reflected images of the mind.

Kundalini in other yoga practices is something different, because the body and mind are not prepared and adequately balanced, except in a monastic situation, and then under the careful guidance of someone who has practiced that yogic system, who assists the practitioner in the long and arduous purification process unique to that specific practice. Otherwise, there may be sudden bursts of energy that become disconcerting to the practitioner who experiences them, who then has no one to go to for direction. Thus, yoga / mediation teachers often tell their students to disregard energy flows or to sublimate them, which in reality is like the lifeguard at a lakeside resort telling someone, who is swimming with some discomfort in the middle of a lake, to avoid the experience of water against their skin and wetness in the mouth.

In Kundalini Yoga practice there is acceptance and opening, not denial or rejection. As the higher centers open, the devotion one feels, the deep inner longing, are for the ever increasing experience of purity, lightness and Truth that begins to permeate them, versus images of devotion that often trap devotees into an imaged concept of God.

Shakti becomes Bhakti, and Bhakti becomes Gyan (Jnana), a realization of inner Wisdom and Self Knowledge that is beyond thought and conjecture, beyond endless intellectual discourse and argument, into which many other practices degenerate. The power of the discriminative mind emerges, a Force of Intelligence permeates and rivets the body and mind to the Spirit, and the pure mind inverts and reflects the True Self in the Heart. The ancient Sages and Yogis call this the Enlightenment of the Whole Body.

Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is very practical. Innumerable sets of Kundalini Yoga exercises, kriyas, mantras and meditations, with their origins going back thousands of years, once hidden and imparted secretly are now provided openly, each with specific purposes that culminate in the systematic strengthening of the energy pathways, centers and governors, resulting in the simultaneous influx of the universal energy consciousness pervading us. But there are basics that need to be covered in order to realize the full power and benefit of a daily Kundalini Yoga practice, i.e., sadhana.

 

Invocation / Dedication:

 

Kundalini Yoga practice always begins with a dedication. Our life and being, our consciousness is based on one simple component. Awareness. This simple Awareness is a light that illumines everything. It is the subject-“I” to all objects. Its source is the substratum of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. It is the support for the physical, subtle and causal bodies. It is the consciousness behind the conscious mind, the subconscious and unconscious. It is a self-effulgent screen within which and upon which everything seen and unseen appears. While single and all-pervasive, it manifests in the Heart, the Harimandr, from there filling all the nerves of the body and a major nerve up to the brain with the sense or awareness of “I” – of identity. All that is required to awaken to the True Self is to hold onto this Awareness and just watch. In Kundalini Yoga we begin with a dedication to apply this Awareness to our entire practice and life. This is the Adi Mantra: Ong Namo Guru Dev (Day) Namo: In the Name of the Creator, the Creative Force in the Universe. In the Name of That Inner Divinity that takes me from darkness to Light,… i.e., I dedicate my awareness.

This means that throughout the practice the orientation is always to be aware, as follows:

 

Concerning the Awareness of postures and movements in Kundalini Yoga:

When there is a posture, movement or angle, it is also important that you s–t–r–e–t–c–h. For example, if you are instructed that the arms are to be held at 60o, you bring them to 60o (not 45o to 90o) and stretch the shoulders, arms, fingers, opening the armpits. Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of angles. The angle leads to a specific effect. By stretching, you will discover that the exercise becomes easier and achieves its full physiological intent. The same for raising legs, or arching. There needs to be an attention and awareness of a full and complete execution of a Kundalini Yoga exercise, not necessarily to do a posture or movement to perfection, as with some yogas, but to do ones best to perform the Kundalini Yoga exercise correctly (and never to over exertion or strain, which might hinder practice later). A little done right will enable you to do much more later. In time, progressively, you will find that what you can do now for 30 seconds or for a minute or 2, within a matter of weeks it will be easy to do these same exercises for 3 minutes, 5, 7, 11, 31 minutes. The stretching is the key to holding a position for a long time, because it vitalizes the entire life system in each area. Otherwise the body will feel like a dead-weight.

Also, in movements, begin slowly and feel the link of the awareness to the pranic radiance; then begin to add breath. Then, to effect the electric charging of the body, begin to gradually increase the power of the breath and the movement. The result will be that you will see a tremendous difference in the overall experience and realization of the benefit of each Kundalini Yoga exercise.

In Kundalini Yoga, awareness is the important factor to the practice. That’s why Yogi Bhajan emphasizes that “Kundalini yoga is the Yoga of Awareness.” He doesn’t say the yoga of postures, movements, angles, breath, bhandas, and so many other factors, but specifically “Awareness.” This is because our Awareness is the True Self, and through the practice of Awareness in a yoga that generates and deepens the experience of radiance, identity to the limited mind dissolves, and the substratum support Awareness emerges – the Infinite Being, and you abide as That.

Therefore, when we move into a posture and movement, we begin slowly, being aware of every part of the body, of the stretching of muscle and ligaments, of the relaxation of all parts of the body not involved in the exercise, so that the energy generated can flow directly to the areas under pressure, and then to relax inwardly those areas under pressure, so that these too will be able to fully absorb the energy flow being generated. The very directing of awareness to these areas will also greatly expand the growing sensation of radiance that flows from the muscles and organs, then deeper from the cells, then deeper from the atoms, and then even deeper, as ever expanding radiance is felt that you eventually realize to be the Radiance of the Self, the light of your consciousness.

 

Awareness in Breathing:

 

It is also very important that you learn to do the breathing properly. The basic breaths are long deep breathing (yogic breath), breath of fire and suspension of breath (holding the breath). But there are other breaths as well, such as kapalabati, canon breath and others that have specialized applications in conjunction with posture and movement that result in a unique effect that is exponentially greater and different than as practiced in other yogas.

 

Breath of Fire – whether one is sitting cross-legged with hands on the knees or arms extended in front of the chest, hands clenched or other angle, the main focus is on the rhythmic expansion and contraction of the diaphragm powered by the movement of the solar plexus and navel, so that the air is felt deep in the lungs, in the middle and through the chest area without using the muscles of the abdomen, chest or shoulders. This means that as you enter lightly into this breath, once you feel the light flow of the breath and the beginning of the emergence of a delicate pranic radiance, you begin to watch through the abdomen, the sides, the legs, the lower spine, the middle and upper arts of the back, the solar plexus and chest, the shoulders, neck and throat, the facial muscles, lips, jaw, eyes and forehead, relaxing each and every area. Then you refocus on the light rhythm of the diaphragm, relaxing its movement. The very application of this awareness to the diaphragm also gives it a greater voltage and energy, so that you’ll notice that the power and movement, combined with increasing radiance all through and around the body, deeper and deeper, becomes steadily stronger. In this way, you develop the Awareness to practice in a manner that allows the energy being generated to go to the actual areas under pressure from the posture or movement and not to be dissipated in other areas that might be under tension or stress only because awareness was not applied to relax and release these areas. Then the focusing of the energy flow to the areas under pressure will bring about the greatest benefit.

This same approach should be used in the beginning and active part of every Kundalini Yoga exercise, kriya, mantra and meditation.

 

Long Deep Breathing – in the Breath Awareness exercise, which is simply the practice of the yogic breath, there are three areas one becomes aware of: The inhalation together with the expansion of prana or feeling of radiance through the legs, lower middle upper part of the body, the chest/heart, neck head, up through the top of the head and expanding outward around the body field.

You inhale deeply down to the bottom of the lungs by allowing the lower part of the diaphragm to unwrap and expand downward and out against the abdomen. Then, pushing lightly down in the knees with the hands and pulling in with the hands against the knees, the spine will arch, chest come forwards, shoulders back, chin come in slightly and neck stretch upwards, slightly back at the axis and atlas. This is neck lock. Then “suspend the breath forward in the chest, and you will feel the gradual expansion of the energy flow, as described. With each breath more and more prana is stored in the heart, located it the 8th vertebra pranic center. After 5 to 10 seconds (initially holding 5 seconds and then gradually increasing to 10), slowly exhale, squeezing from the top of the lungs downwards until, as sensation of upwards contraction of an area just below the navel is felt. Then you will feel all the expanding energy, the prana, withdraw and flow down from the centers in the brain and higher centers, down into this area, which you just maintain in a contracted state without pulling upward as with root lock, for 5 or more seconds. In this way, the prana is expanded then together with the downward flowing apana, contracted. With every breath a greater and greater radiance will be felt throughout the body, all around and deeply into the cells and atoms of the body. Then inhale and hold the breath, come into neck lock, suspend the breath, meaning there is no downward pressure at the throat on the expanding pranic radiance. Then pull the root lock, which draws the accumulating polarity of energy in the Kandal below the navel up into the spine and experience a flow of energy radiating upwards and out, expanding in an ever widening field through the 10 Bodies – the chakras, throughout the aura, ark line and radiant body. This is a key breath (prana) awareness exercise, often used between Kundalini Yoga exercises.

In the Breath Awareness Exercise, you also become aware that in the suspension of breath you will notice that the radiance felt in the chest extends all through the front of the body, a kind of an infilling electric sensation that entirely suspends the breath and the mind. With each breath, you will notice a sense of abiding singly as the seer, with less and less interest or focus on the energy increasing throughout the body. The emergence of a sense of being “empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind’s power (attention).” (from faith Mind of the Third Zen Patriarch) Thus, suspension of breath in holding the breath produces an effect that is vastly different from the breath retention in other yogas.

By incorporating this in the way that Kundalini Yoga exercises are practiced, the body becomes acclimated to the experience of greater energy flows, the mind becomes more expansive, pure/satvic, inertia is relinquished, and your awareness grows in inward clarity and expansion and the emergence of a deeper knowledge of who and what you really are, less and less centered around the focusing of the sense of “I” identity, more and more simply abiding in the consciousness of radiant, expanding being and the inward emergence of your True Identity in the Infinite.

 

Awareness and Bhandas:

 

Learning the bhandas properly from the beginning is also important, i.e., mool bhand (root lock), uddyana bhand (diaphragm lock) and jalandara bhand (neck lock). Bhandas are meant to direct the easy flow of circulating energy during and after the completion of the active portion of a Kundalini Yoga exercise. Eventually an automatic electromagnetic locking effect will be felt, as the energy increases in the body. Practice makes this eventuality come sooner.

 

Preparation:

 

Each Kundalini Yoga exercise has a specific effect that can be felt in the radiance generated and longer term deepening of awareness. Kundalini Yoga exercises are usually put together in sets with a specific purpose or more powerful kriyas, which may also be part of a set.

In order to derive the full benefit of sets, kriyas, laya mantras and meditations, it is suggested that a few kundalini Yoga exercises and pranayamas be practiced in preparation, in order to activate the radiance throughout the body and charge and balance the channels, then the effect of the sets, kriyas and meditations will be immediate and much more powerful.

An example would be to start with the breath Awareness Exercise, lead by the teacher.

This might be followed by bringing the palms of the hands together, with thumbs against the sternum to begin the Invocation / Adi Mantra repeated 3 to 5 times, then inhale, hold the breath, pull the root lock and 30 seconds later, relax the breath. When you exhale you may feel a sensation of strong electricity moving through the spine and throughout the body. Just remain entirely passive and relaxed and the energy will flow outward.

Then sitting, spread the legs wide and bring the arms up to the sides, parallel to the ground pressing the shoulders back. In this exercise you slowly begin the lean forwards keeping the spine straight, leading with the heart and not the head, so the head remains slightly up. Then slowly start to stretch the arms forward, reaching and stretching the arms as far as possible. Feel the flow of radiance as you move.

Then slowly come into the starting position. Be aware of the stretching of the ligaments and muscles in the back and shoulders. With each slow forward and back motion, feel the radiance expanding throughout the body. You may notice a certain brightness in the source of the flow of attention between the heart and the brain. After 9 or 10 such stretches introduce a long deep breath as you come straight, hold a moment, then exhale as you stretch forwards. Again each slow motion will add pranic radiance. Then to increase the power and voltage much further, begin to move through this exercise with greater power in movement and breathing. You should begin to feel the radiance becoming electric. Then inhale and hold the breath, pull the root lock and let the energy fill the body, expand upwards and all around the body field. Exhale and lower the arms squeezing all the breath out until you feel the area below the navel contract upwards. Repeat in the same manner as Breath Awareness Exercise, several times, then inhale and hold again. Pull the root lock, feel the electricity flow through the legs, torso, back, arms and through the head, then relax for a minute, and come sitting cross-legged. The spine and back will be open and the Heart will be open from this exercise, and the whole body will radiate.

The next exercise is similar to the Breath Awareness Exercise in the intent to irradiate the body field. In this case one prepares for the practice of Kundalini Yoga exercises by bringing the arms forward, parallel to the ground, hands clasped in Venus Lock and doing the Breath of Fire. You begin lightly, then, as the prana begins to expand in the body, you will notice that the power of the breath, both in terms of volume of air pumped and speed, increases steadily throughout the exercise period. As you continue for up to 5 minutes, you will notice that all the muscles of the body are relaxed and that the powerful motion of the diaphragm itself becomes more and more effortless. A sense of clarity and electricity will begin to be felt expanding up from the legs and lower part of the body to the upper areas until you feel and expansion of this clarity and light filling the head and flowing out through the entire crown area, radiating around the body. Then inhale hold the breath, pull the locks, hold for 30 seconds or longer, then exhale squeezing all the breath out until the area below the navel contracts upwards. Keep the breath out in this way, without pulling the root lock, and all the energy will stabilize into this area and polarize. Then continue with the Breath Awareness Exercise, holding the breath in, then holding it out for 10 seconds after each inhalation and exhalation, while the cells of the body decontract, absorb the energy and begin to radiate.

Next comes spinal flex – camel ride. Again, you begin slowly. Sitting with legs crossed, holding the shins with your hands, then pulling the hands inwards, the spine arches straight and the neck comes into alignment stretching upwards in an easy neck lock. You will feel a releasing of energy all through the spine and flowing up through the top of the head, a clear, yet blissful sensation. After a few moments completely slouch the back, pressing the back arched spine back, stretching the nerves, muscles and ligaments that start to release their energy. Slowly come into the straight position, pulling the spine straight, and feel the released energy radiate upwards through the spine. Continue this slow motion several more times, then bring in the breath, inhaling to fill the lungs as you come straight, exhaling back, continuing slowly, feeling the radiance increasing even greater. At a certain point you will begin to feel the sensation in the spine of a will to vibrate more quickly, which in turn increases the power of the voltage being generated. In classes the teacher usually leads the movement until the power and speed is felt, then students continue on their own. Then inhale and hold the breath. Pull the locks, pressing the shoulders back, chest forward, suspending the breath 30 seconds, or longer. Then exhale, again, as previously squeezing all the air out until the area below the navel contracts upwards bringing about a polarization of the flow of prana (radiance) throughout the body field. Again continue with the Breath Awareness Exercise, as above, than sit still and relax, and feel the circulation and expansion of the radiance throughout the body, inside and eventually outside.

The exercises that follow are to open the moon channel and sun channel (the ida and pingala nadis). There are many variations, but here are 2 that open these channels in opposite ways.

The first is to come kneeling on the knees. Then extend the right leg straight to the right side. Then raise the arms up by the sides until they are stretched up, arms hugging the ears, with palms pressed together. The pelvis is pressed slightly forwards to keep a straight tension throughout the spine. Then begin very powerful Long Deep Breathing, completely expanding then contracting the lungs with every breath for 10 to 15 breaths, stretching the arms upwards with each inhalation. Then inhale, hold the breath for 10 to 15 seconds, pull the root lock, stretch the arms up, press the pelvis slightly forward and stretch the spine upwards. Feel the radiance fill the body, then slowly exhale, bringing the hands down in front of the kneed, bring the right foot back next to the left foot and come sitting back on the heels. Bring the spine straight, stretching the neck upwards, shoulders back slightly, chest forwards and wait. You will begin to feel a releasing of an electric current all along the left side of the spine, the moon channel, up through the back of the left side of the neck, up over the left side of the top of the head, to the point between the eyebrows. Wait, notice the flow of the energy, then release your attention and remain passive (negative mind meditation). The energy will begin to increase and expand all through the left side of the body, flowing upwards through the top of the head and around the left side of the body field. Just wait, maybe a minute or 3. Then repeat the same exercise, kneeling and extending the left leg out, arms stretched up, and so on to affect the sun channel to the right side of the spine.

The second part of this ida pingala / moon sun channel cleansing is again to come up in the kneed, but this time, you press the pelvis forward as far as possible, arching the spine back, pressing the shoulders back, expanding the ribcage forward, then arching the neck and head all the way back. Feel the radiance. Then slowly extend the left arm up stretching the arm and the fingers upwards, as though to reach for a lightning bolt. Then twist slightly to the right to put the right hand on the right heal, then over the right foot. Press the pelvis forwards more, extend the left arm and fingers upwards even further and begin the Breath of Fire for a minute. Then inhale deeply, hold the breath, pull the root lock, press the pelvis forwards, reach up, arch the spine more, feel the expansion in the chest area. Feel the energy radiance beginning to increase forcefully throughout the body field. Then slowly exhale, come sitting on the heels, hands resting on the thighs, spine straight. You will begin to feel a powerful radiance through the moon cannel, then expanding to all the organs on the right side of the leg, torso, neck and head, with energy flowing powerfully upwards. Wait.

After 2 to 4 minutes, feeling the radiance increasing, then balancing, you can repeat the same exercise extending the right arm up and left hand back to the left heal, to affect the sun channel.

Now that the ida and pingala are charges and balanced, the exercise that follows is to open the central canal (the sushumna) and the Heart, simple but powerful. I this exercise, simply sit cross-legged. Bring the arms behind the back with the hands clasped in Venus lock. Bring the spine straight, arms stretched straight, press the shoulders back to bring the shoulder blades together, expanding the chest forward. Now inhale deeply, then lean forwards keeping the head slightly up, leading with the heart, while stretching your arms up from the back as high as possible. Hold for a few seconds, then exhale coming straight, again pressing the shoulders back. And continue slowly 10 to 15 times, then when you come up, after inhaling down, this time inhale deeper, using all your strength to press the shoulders back, clasped hands pressing into the lower spine, neck extending and stretching upwards, pull the root lock and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Exhale completely, inhale immediately remaining with the spine straight, again pressing the shoulders back, while pulling the root lock and neck lock 10 seconds. Repeat one more time, then very slowly exhale and bring th hands slowly around from behind the back to the knees. Relax the breath. You will begin to feel a surge of e pillar of light all through the spine, upward flowing through the top of the head, opening the central canal of the spine (the sushumna) and the Heart. Wait for 1 to 3 minutes until the radiance extends throughout the body through the top of the head and all through the aura.

The final preparation exercise is to open up the higher centers from the Heart to the brain and the arc line. This is a very simple exercise. Sitting cross-legged, you reach your arms up 90 degrees, palms facing eachother. Then begin to stretch the shoulders and arms back, arching the spine, opening the chest cavity. Stretch. Stretch the nick upwards and drop the head back slightly, as though to look between the up stretched arms and hands. Begin a powerful Breath of Fire for 3 to 5 minutes, all the while focused on the arching of the spine, stretching the arms and shoulders up and back, expanding the chest. You will feel the radiance begin to flow upwards through the neck and the chakras and governors in the brain and through the top of the head, possibly feelings of bhakti and purity filling the mind. Then inhale, pull the root lock and hold for 30 seconds. Slowly exhale bringing the hands to the knees and wait. You will feel the radiance expanding throughout the body and flowing upwards. Just apply the awareness to the flow, without direct attention, and the radiant flow will deepen and increase.

Try this series, as an example of what some might call a “warm up.” But in Kundalini Yoga, what in other yogas and sports is called a warm up, is a preparation of the body and mind for deep meditation on the radiance to be developed through every set, kriya and meditation.

There are variations of these after the Breath Awareness Exercise, but you are now ready to experience the full benefit of a Kundalini Yoga set, kriya and meditation.

In Kundalini Yoga practice, while the importance of stretching may be taught, the breathing and locks are somewhat different from hatha yoga practices, so it’s important to understand how to do them so that the energy flows easily and correctly.

 

The Active and Passive Aspects of Each Kundalini Yoga Exercise:

 

Finally, it is vitally important to understand that each kundalini yoga exercise has an active part and a passive part. In other yogas this is not the case. Each posture is a complete exercise in itself, whatever the series might be or whether in a series (like a karate karta) or single posture to corps pose.

But in Kundalini Yoga the purpose of the practice is to develop radiance (laya) and depth (pratyahar), which is only felt in other yogas much further along in their practice.

In Kundalini Yoga you are maximizing and working directly with all the systems of the body simultaneously – circulatory, pulmonary, endocrine, nervous etc. Each posture and movement brings about a pressure in a specific area or system of the body. This pressure means that the blood will saturate in that area. As powerful Kundalini Yoga breathing techniques are combined with the postures and movements, these areas put under pressure will have the strong effect of the purified and energized blood flow into that area. Initially, this means that these areas, where the capillaries and cells open under the pressure of the exercise, discharge their impurities and toxins in return for the vitality of the purified energized blood flow. Moreover, these same areas begin to build a charge – a voltage.

 

Now, here is the important part to remember:

The body is like a car battery, only with many batteries working together. In a car battery, there is water, and there are chemicals. As the chemicals are increased the voltage of the battery also increases – 3 volts, 6 volts, 12 volts, 24 volts, are a standard we can buy at any K-Mart. The body is mostly water, with some chemicals, whose secretion is the basis for the maintaining of voltage generated in the body. (This is why it is said: You are as young as your glands.

In the practice of other yogas, there is a gradual process in which the tensions and blockages of the body are reduced and the mind begins to become still. The process accelerates with increase practice and especially fasting and internal purification, such as (in the west) colonics (versus Nauli Kriya for cleaning the large intestine).

Then, as the energies of the body are used less and less towards the incessant pressure of thinking and identity encoding, imaging, impression taking and so on, there is a build up of unused kinetic energy, that begins to fill through the body, so that the body begins to lose its inertia, becoming satvic pure, transparent, blissful, easing into the ever-present oneness of the yogi’s surrounding.

Awareness to movement and eventually prana, as in Kundalini Yoga practice, is a key to the expansion of this kinetic energy in other yoga practices, what in Buddhist meditation and martial arts is called “Mindfulness.” This is because that simple awareness through which we experience the inner and outer world is really the light of the Infinite Being. When the mind becomes pure and still, this light of awareness, through which we experience the inner and outer world, sinks into its source, and illumination flashes forth.

In Kundalini Yoga, the posture/movement (always practiced with still awareness) combined with powerful breath creates this purification in various areas of the body directly, and with it comes an electrical charge to these areas. To support this electrical charge, and this is the very important point to remember in your Kundalini Yoga practice, the glands secrete very specialized chemicals. The charge or voltage generated directly impacts the glandular system causing the glands to secrete so that this charge may be sustained and maintained. Chemical electric pathways open. Once the active part of the Kundalini Yoga exercise is completed, the passive part begins. The reaction of the glandular and nervous system to the vitality of the bloodstream impacting the specific areas of pressure brought about through the posture or movement takes some time to complete. The time period depends on the duration of the exercise and other dynamics of the body’s ability to circulate the secreted chemicals.

Therefore, you have an active aspect of each Kundalini Yoga exercise and a passive aspect, which must be experienced for the exercise to achieve its full benefit!

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In the experience of the passive aspect of a Kundalini Yoga exercise, initially, there is the sensation of decontraction of the cells and muscles and ligaments in the area. Then comes the sensation of opening and radiance. Then the radiance begins to balance with all the other organs and cells of the body, strengthening the magnetic field of the whole body, bringing it into balance with the area affected in the exercise. And you begin to feel a previously impalpable sensation of “electric radiance” / “transparent electric” – which grows and expands (and brings about a deepening) through each progressing Kundalini Yoga exercise (and kriya) that make up a set, and then progressively building from set to set.

At the end of each set, usually before a meditation, we allow the body to go into a deep relaxation, yoga nidra, through which all the energies compacted in various areas of he body may finally release, merge, deepen, effecting an entire systemic new increased voltage plateau in the body, so that gradually you will become aware of the inner and outer radiance continuously.

In Kundalini Yoga, we usually diversify the sets practiced in order to bring about the opening of the cells, glands, organs, nerves and systems in every area of the body.

Typically, the passive part of a Kundalini Yoga exercise is as long as the active part, but what you are looking for is a sensation of the radiance circulating and rising through the body to the crown and beyond, which indicates the balancing of the electromagnetic field is complete.

Typically the Yoga Nidra is 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Purification of the subconscious:

 

The body is a mechanism that stores the impressions of who we think we are. (The body is like the hard drive for computer storage, versus the brain as the RAM/cache storage.) Because the impressions are stored in the body structure, we call it the subconscious. With Kundalini Yoga practice, the electric chemical balance of the voltage of the body increases to bring about a system wide vibratory frequency that is higher – more subtle – than the frequency of thought vibration, so that your sense of identity begins to become clearer and clearer, less linked to thought and sensation. No longer drawn to this or that reactive thought or imbedded compulsion, but open single clear awareness of the pervasiveness of consciousness throughout the body field (i.e., the ten bodies).

At the lower voltage level of the body, the mind’s focusing mechanism of attention needs to be used to see and know. It moves through the darkness (unawareness) of the body/mind field like a flashlight used to see on a dark night whose light grips each arising thought, sensation, impression in order to compare or merge with the sense of “I” inherent in the light. Sometimes more is seen. Like the waxing and waning of the moon cycles, the mind becomes brighter (feelings of love, compassion – satvic) and dimmer (feelings of hate, distrust, judgment – rajasic, tamasic).

Many people have no real sense or feeling of the energy radiance that pervades and sustains the body, i.e., their own life force, let alone that this force of Life is actually the Light and Life of the Infinite Being that denotes the single sense of “I” in the body. We focus to each part of the body and feel that part of the body.

But with Kundalini Yoga practice, in particular a daily morning sadhana, the overall voltage of the body begins to become the same as, even greater than, the voltage of the focusing mechanism of the mind……..

The result of this is that you begin to lose your experience of the need to focus, i.e., direct attention, as your awareness now simultaneously encompasses the whole body! You realize yourself to be the single seer of the whole body and the radiant field around, which you actually experience without focusing.

 

Kundalini Yoga practice includes the use of mantra and meditations.

 

Mantra in Kundalini Yoga is much different in effect and impact than with other yogas, because through the practice of what we might call the “Yoga of Light,” as described above, the “Yoga of Sound” is amplified. With the Yoga of Light, the whole body begins to resonate. When you add the Yoga of Sound, the sound amplifies throughout the body, and has the unique and special effect of integrating the energy that has been systematically stored from each Kundalini Yoga exercise. It’s like playing a regular guitar versus playing an electric guitar, where the reverberation increases with the amplitude of the voltage. But with Kundalini Yoga, the very use of the mantra also increases the amplitude of the voltage, so that you have a leveraged effect. Part of this is due to the effect of the sound causing a breakdown of subtle blockages of energy flow. Part has to do with the effect of releasing of energy stored in areas of the body from practicing Kundalini Yoga exercises. And, with the use of mantra, the glands also secrete to support and sustain the increasing voltage. You may practice a Kundalini Yoga set for an hour, and feel the radiance throughout your body and mind, and now you practice a mantra, and within 5 minutes the energy is so tremendously greater, and yet at the same time easy flowing and expanding, that there is no comparison.

While there are kriyas to benefit every part of the body and every aspect of the mind, and kriyas to activate the energy channels and control governors between the base of the spine and crown, there are also special kriyas and meditations to trigger the opening of the Spiritual Heart (not the anahata chakra) and the Pathway of the Self between the Spiritual Heart and the Crown. The Radiance felt here is both inward pulling and expansive, all absorbing and pushing out from within and between the atoms of the body. Time and space lose there meaning altogether. Stillness, radiance, pervasiveness, and all notions are relinquished.

Once you are able to “hear” the soundless pulsing of the “I as I,” the radiance takes on a different characteristic that inwardly reflects the Truth (Sat), giving the continuous sensation of Remembrance of your True Self single and pervasive and Abiding as That.

Kundalini Yoga meditations have a very specific purpose of opening the gate to the Infinite Spirit, which is to say, to subtly dissolve the remaining idea that the notional sense of “i” we feel as myself in the body is separate or different from the True “I” of which our notional “i” is only a reflection in the mind of the Temple of the True “I” in the Spiritual Heart.

As the mind becomes pure and satvic, there emerges a sense of a clear Force of Intelligence, that pervades the body field, but is felt initially in the area of the brain, wherein you feel the question arising, without a thought formation, of inquiry into where the sense of seeing arises. As the inner intensity increased, you feel a pulling force in your Heart (not the anahata chakra), initially like a magnet, and then like a graviton, transfixing the body and mind as one in Spirit, where inside and outside vanish, and “Everything is Whole” (YB)

Yogis call this force of intelligent awareness the budhi or discriminative faculty of the mind. The emergence of this discriminative faculty is because the mind is experienced to be radiant, clear, pervasive and still. Abiding in that stillness and pervasive field of radiance, which has no here or there focus, the experiencer Itself amplifies Its own Intelligence to ask “Who …? And suddenly something new happens, which we can call Yoga – Union. A Hearing, Recollection and Abiding. You hear and experience with a deep inner clarity that draws your sense of “i” powerfully inwards to a remembrance of who you are behind everything. Yogis call this experience Turya. You feel as though a sun is rising in the Heart, and with it that the moon of the mind is less and less needed to see and know, even though it may appear in the crystal blue sky. The notions of here and there become meaningless, and you abide in the recollection of your True Identity, the Ground of Being, as though coming out of an amnesia.

Initially, this “hearing” (sunia, sravana) is felt like a pulsing of “I as I” – like the striking of a tuning fork that reverberates as a soundless sound, or like a self-effulgent pervasive screen upon which everything emerges into appearance, only the images on the screen are seen from their perspective of the undifferentiated whole, and the idea of separateness simply dissolves from the conscious field.

In Kundalini Yoga, the evolutionary/involutionary practice taken as a whole is called One Star Spirituality, the One Star being the Reality in the Heart that expands Light of Being outward while drawing the self inward to abide as one’s True Self. The True Guru within us is experienced as sound and light that subtly draws us inward to awaken to our whole Self.

While Kundalini Yoga is not a religion, with daily practice the words in the spiritual texts of all religions will be heard, and you will feel the force of your True Self awakening to the meaning within the sound of the words, like being called from a sound sleep.

All this to say that, if a daily sadhana is taken up and you practice the breathing and locks properly, and you practice each Kundalini Yoga exercise, kriya, mantra and meditation understanding that with every active part there is an equally important (more important) passive part, then fear, imbalance, and everything related will pass and you will experience your True Whole Self.

“Wait, be patient,relax, consolidate integrate, be You…” Yogi Bhajan

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Just practice, practice the right way, and keep up, and “everything that is good will come to you.” (YB) Sat Nam

Pieter Schoonheim Samara with his daughter

pieter

Pieter has traveled a long and fascinating spiritual path, having close contact with and studying under Yogi Bhajan. He lives in Thailand with his family, where he teaches Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. You can find more of Pieter’s articles at the following link:

https://luthar.com/kundalini-yoga/