QUOTATION • swami khecaranatha • 2006.08.29
Transforming Experience and Consciousness
The single purpose of spiritual practice is to bring us to the freedom and fulfillment available to us when we realize that we are one with the Divine. All Tantric practices recognize that it is the awakening of the Kundalini within that brings about that realization – the blissful dissolution of dualistic consciousness into the awareness and experience of the unity. Kundalini is the energy of life, or the divine, as it is experienced in the individual. It is the energy and power of consciousness, the vital force that gives life to the universe. We are not separate from or different from that source.
Kundalini is represented as a \"coiled serpent\" in the chakra at the base of the spine. The three coils of the serpent represent: Prana-Kundalini – the energy that gives life to the physical body. Chitta-Kundalini – the energy of our mind and emotions. Para-Kundalini – the energy of our spiritual Self. When we speak of the Kundalini existing dormant in the base of the spine, we are speaking of the highest level of the Kundalini – the energy of our spiritual Self. The Chitta and Prana levels are always functioning, giving life to our bodies, thoughts and emotions. It is the understanding that we are not different from our divine source that is hidden from us by the sleeping (Para) Kundalini. It should be pointed out that Kundalini is not just the energy of the chakra located at the base of the spine. It is much bigger than that. The base chakra just happens to be the “bedroom where the Kundalini sleeps”. It is the rising of the Kundalini, piercing and releasing the awareness within each chakra that cuts through our tensions, blocks, ignorance and ego.
In order to activate the rising of the Kundalini we must deeply open our hearts, inviting higher energies into our psychic mechanism. Gradually, we develop a conscious flow of spiritual forces within. Flow is at once the breath, the underlying energy of that breath, and the emergent resonance we feel when all of the chakras are opened and the spiritual energies within them are released to resonate with the descending spiritual forces. Flow is energy in motion when we are completely open. When sound moves through the atmosphere it does so on energy that is projected ahead of it, creating the pathway on which the sound travels. In the same way, flow is about purifying the psychic channels within us for the Kundalini to rise. It is the energetic highway that our awareness travels on.
That flow of energy is but one dimension expressed by the Kundalini. There is really only One Energy in the universe—a central energy that functions in and supports all dimensions of existence. In relationship to Kundalini and flow, you can think of it like this—the Para Kundalini is pure potential, like a river that has a dam holding the water back. The river turns into a reservoir, which has potential energy that is held back from flowing. Flow is when the river flows through a channel (the psychic mechanism)---it becomes an active energy of motion. The potential energy (para-Kundalini) and the energy in motion (flow) are the same energy. You can and will experience the flow without completely unleashing the full potential of the Kundalini. It is the flow that opens up the pathway for the full force (full potential) of the Kundalini to express itself in our lives. Great rivers start with a trickle, grow into a stream, and then expand into a magnificent river. And of course, all great rivers (shakti) flow into and merge with vast oceans (consciousness). Your experience of flow will be the like that. By tuning into that flow and consciously bringing it down to the base of the spine, we begin to awaken the highest aspect of Kundalini, facilitating its rise towards the top of the head. That energy moves up through our subtle body, piercing the chakras and Granthi - the binding gnarls that are the three major psychic knots within us. These knots are crystallized contractions – conjunctions of lifetimes of tension, pattern, psychic trauma and ego. They coalesce around the chakras in the base of the spine, the heart, and the center of the head, blinding us to the intrinsic consciousness within. You cannot actually “find” these knots, nor do you need to.
Instead, focus on the flow of the vital force within you. The flow works like an effervescent, dissolving contractions and tensions as it moves through the chakras, ultimately piercing the knots and releasing the consciousness bound within them. It is this breaking through of the knots that allows the Kundalini to rise and re-unite with pure consciousness in the sahasrara (crown of the head). When that happens we achieve our realization and freedom. That transformation is completely palpable and definable in terms of our individual experience. In Tantric practices the goal is the transformation of individual experience and awareness, from the mundane to the divine, from duality to unity. That is expressed in the progression of our individuated experience which starts with diversity (duality), moves to understanding the unity within the diversity (duality), and finally to complete unity. The breaking of the knots corresponds directly to the stages of our experience: Diversity – The duality in which we experience ourselves as separate from the divine. • Until the knot in the base of the spine is broken we live completely in a dualistic experience. Our life force is projected completely outward. • Once that knot is broken we begin to have glimpses of life other than the limited, “there is me and there is everything else” experience. Unity in Diversity – When the knot in the heart dissolves, we experience the divine. • Our experience shifts from that limited understanding of duality to recognizing the oneness of life. Our life force turns within. • While we still experience all of the diversity we understand that diversity to be a part of a larger whole. We experience life as a flow. Complete Unity – When the knot in the center of the head is broken through, we are completely immersed into the divine. • In that state of awareness all of life, although multi-faceted, is experienced simply as an expression of the life force. • Our experience in and of life is one of witnessing the complete harmony and unity. While it is theoretically possible for a person to have an instant awakening, it is much more common for realization to come gradually. Disciplined inner work, practiced over time, gives us glimpses of our own divinity, inspiring an ever deepening wish to transform our experience and consciousness. By opening our hearts and cultivating a conscious flow, we are awakening the vital force within. This force, the Kundalini, rises up to pierce the chakras and cut through the psychic knots, allowing our true nature to reveal itself. When the Kundalini is fully awakened we experience the complete unity of life.
Swami Khecaranatha lives and teachers full time in Berkeley, Ca. With a mastery etched from 35 years of disciplined inner practice and selfless service, Khecaranatha provides deep spiritual nourishment and guidance to over 50 students in the Bay Area. He has used his own practice to distill the essence of the teachers in the lineage that he is part of. (His teacher was Swami Rudrananda, who was a student of Bhagavan Nityananda).