The Biology of Kundalini:
"Our challenge is to recognize and develop the biological potential
within. This is the true goal of life."
-Joseph Chilton Pearce
Kundalini: (Sanskrit kund, "to burn"; kunda, "to coil or to spiral").
A concentrated field of intelligent, cosmic, invisible energy
absolutely vital to life, beginning in the base of the spine when a
man or woman begins to evolve as wisdom is earned. Kundalini has been
described as liquid fire and liquid light. The ultimate outcome of
kundalini is the union of will (sakti kundalini), knowledge (prana
kundalini) and action (para kundalini).
Kundalini is postconventional, postegoic transformation. Those who
have experienced significant kundalini know that it is a top-down
phenomenon. Kundalini is the miracle of life itself amplified. Because
we need to rapidly reach a higher homeostasis and acclimatize to this
strange new sense of being, this process of metamorphosis needs to
become increasingly consciously received and consciously
selfdetermined. That spiritual acceleration necessitates conscious
incarnation, for if the awakening of consciousness does not become
increasingly conscious, several negative outcomes may occur:
. If there is resistance, the body will not be able to handle the
charge, which can lead to the breakdown of the metabolism.
. The influx of energy meeting resistance will generate more primitive
chemistry and structures.
. There may be a reduction in consciousness due to numbing and
. The down cycle will be more extreme, and recovery will be prolonged.
. If we bite down against our own incarnation, we could become
spiritually anxious, essentially losing trust in the benevolence of
the universe. Or we could respond to kundalini in the same way that we
respond to life in general, depending on how our nervous system is set
and how developed we are.
THE FORMULA FOR KUNDALINI
The formula for kundalini is flow times energy divided by resistance-
that is, conductance (amps) times energy resources (watts) divided by
toxicity, or inferior wiring, coupled with attitude, intention and the
ability to allow.
Depending on our acceptance or rejection of our own incarnation, this
will determine the flavor of both our life and our kundalini trip.
Whether we tread the path of fire alone or with a guide or companions
is really up to our individual needs and desires. For the path of
fire, we need a certain strength in order not to become maladapted.
This means that the key to mastery of metamorphosis is to become
superbly adapted to one's own incarnation. It sounds weird, I know;
we are not used to thinking in these terms. Conscious incarnation is
giving ourselves permission to show up; it is a "choice." You could
call it a selfwelcoming meditation.
A PROCESS OF PURIFICATION
Metamorphosis is a process of purification, but it is not a simple
detoxification that is occurring; rather, it is the ongoing evolution
of life itself. Kundalini purifies the body/mind so that our deeper
self incarnates. Evolution simply is. It is simply what is when we
stop suppressing, abusing and holding ourselves back from the fluid
realization of our being. Because of the collective forces of inertia
and resistance, there is a tension between what we are now and what is
trying to manifest from beyond the veil. Due to this disparity, the
pressures of birthing consciousness can be enormous, and there is the
tendency for the poor ego to be drawn all over the map while the
deeper self is coming to light. Thus we need enormous faith,
understanding and compassion in order to ride the wave. To ride the
wave of emergence into the depths of the unknown takes autonomous
insight and intelligence to avoid being smashed under the wave or
vainly try to save ourselves by crawling back up the beach.
The peak experiences of kundalini are a perturbation of conditioned
consciousness. Whether we receive this perturbation through vibration
(music/drum/dance/chanting), drugs, stress, devotion to a guru,
romantic devotion or meditation, it is a taste of our own deepest
source and condition of self. Incarnation is one of the hardest tasks
imposed on us. The instinct is to back away from the edge of our
incarnation, and our entire physiology and consciousness is diminished
to the degree that we do this. Our immune system, nervous system and
mitochondria exist in the matrix of our positive or negative
assessment of ourselves and our world. Intimacy and consciousness are
essentially the same thing.
If you turn your feeling sense, emotion and thought toward coming
forth to the nth degree without hesitation or doubt, you will
automatically increase both the strength and the number of
mitochondria and immune cells. I am proposing a conscious and
intentioned incarnation as a form of mindfulness meditation in
coordination with breath. Imagine an embodiment practice or purposeful
incarnation, not just as a visualization or affirmation, but as an
allowing, letting the universe permeate our being to the max. When you
do this, you can actually feel your cells respond.
OUR INERTIAL ARMOR AND KUNDALINI AWAKENING
That which resists kundalini is the inertial armor we have taken
ourselves to be, which is composed of both positive and negative
conditioning. We are always trying to define ourselves in order to
survive, navigate, defend and justify ourselves, and this reduces the
true infinity of our being down to our limited, local self. Both
freedom and meaning, however, are found through dropping this small
definition of self. The peak experience of kundalini awakening allows
participation in the world/brain and Earth/soul, through not
identifying with the conditioned stage that we are at.
Our resistance to negative experience and trauma tightens the rubber
band of the neuromuscular armor, making the symptoms of our
contraction more obvious: numbness and unconsciousness, displaying
ever-increasing dysfunction, neurosis and removal from reality. Thus
when our conditioning is penetrated, the symptoms are likely to be
more extreme than they would be if, say, we came from a very benign,
loving history. The way we have each built our armor is its own
particular resolution. That is, our kundalini awakening will arise in
direct relation to the specific armor/archetype that we have
constructed. That is why life itself is archetypal: We are inevitably
drawn to the specific great attractor who will break through our veil
and promote touching our deepest level of existence. This is the
humanizing process, the great alchemy.
Since kundalini is the universe becoming more conscious of itself,
when the miracle of metamorphosis happens to us, we should learn to go
with it, not just for our own salvation, but for that of the entire
tree of life. To fight evolution is not only stupid, it is suicidal.
Through the extremes of kundalini, we realize that we have a choice
between surrender and resistance, life and death, Eros and Thanatos.
And love is found to be synonymous with life itself. How we aid
human evolution is to first truly love ourselves in a sovereign
fashion, through our solo relationship with the universe/God/existence
and intimacy with our soul. Every time we resort to our addictions to
back down from the raw edge of our existence and full selfresponse-
ability, we interfere with and resist the spiritual plan for humanity.
In metamorphosis, the body-soul does most of the work, including the
transmutation of elements. All we can really do is get out of the way,
and just doing that takes all our courage, all our intelligence and
intuition and all our respect and love. Evolution just is. Half the
battle would already be won if we just stopped getting in our own way.
Accept or reject? It's only our selves anyway. So the "I," or soul, is
not different from potentiality, which is not different from
consciousness itself. To the extent that we choose energyincreasing
choices in any situation, we create our soul. In reference to Jung
now, this means embracing the tension of opposites-the marriage of
matter and spirit, form and emptiness, which is the heart of the
We could interpret the realm of possibilities to be emptiness, the
void from which all energy/consciousness is birthed. This is what we
mean by the term "spiritual." Therefore, spiritual re-enchantment
would simply be learning to say yes to energy-increasing choices and
to the realm of possibilities. This realm of possibilities is, of
course, not a place but faith itself, via which we are not separate
from God and not separate from the good, the true and the beautiful.
The irony is that we never were separate, but this increased unity is
just the realization of ineffable nonduality-the energy of
spiritualization itself, Eros! Or, as Ken Wilber would say, spiritual
Eros, the trajectory of the matrix of the universe.
Without self-determination, without giving ourselves the green light,
neither our body nor our mind or our soul can fully incarnate. Thus we
have to actively choose to be here, moment by moment. We have to
actively choose to increasingly arrive here in the world as it is, and
as we are, compassionately embracing shadow and light and the up and
the down of the Tao. We have to actively choose to take the brakes
off, choose to stop hiding under our shell of conformity, choose to
stop pretending that we are limited and deficient.
Abandonment is the primary trauma that we must learn to face in
order to to avoid abdicating our own life. All we really want and need
is our self; that is what we are longing for. Total responsibility for
one's condition needs to really be grokked in order to move into the
kind of sovereignty where self self-development is even possible.
Otherwise everything else in the world (according to our triggers)
determines who we are. Love, of course, is the opposite of
abandonment. Love is more like a plant that needs cultivating rather
than a black-or-white thing. Existence, therefore, is either making
love to or abandonment of the degree to which we cultivate this plant.
From the relative perspective, there appear to be various
counterforces and lids on our evolutionary process. Ultimately there
are no obstacles, but our mortal self tends to bathe in inertia. Bad
faith is when we fail to take responsibility for our own choices.
Self-responsibility-that is, becoming responsive to self-is none other
than freedom or enlightenment.
One thing that is not often taken into account is that the body has
the potential to grow spiritually throughout a lifetime, and
conditions need to be ripe for this growth. This is a top-down process
lead by Spirit itself. Our culture tends to prevent this physical
spiritualization, and thus neither emotion-mind nor spirit tends to
grow. Spiritual realization (metamorphosis, spiritual acceleration)
has its corresponding physical component. This must be fully
understood and allowed in order for spirituality to be substantiated.
That is, the body must be allowed to transmute for incarnation to
EVOLUTION IN A SUSTAINED WAVE
Rather than continuing to interpret our kundalini experience through a
traditional lens or theorize a science from our subjective experience,
we need an ongoing empirical investigation of the physiology and
psychology of awakening. By understanding changes to the nervous
system, metabolism, hormones and all facets of the biophysics and
chemistry of metamorphosis, we can work with the changes to increase
our adaptive and homeostatic abilities. In this way, as our life force
(our incarnation) rises, we can prepare to meet it, so that evolution
proceeds in a sustained wave. The way we tend to grow at present is in
fiery spurts that create burnout and take years of recovery. Being
unprepared and maladapted to metamorphosis means that we are spending
so much of our energy and effort coping with the physical, emotional
and mental effects of kundalini, that there is little of us left to
bring our true gifts of spiritual genius into manifestation.
Having foreknowledge or insight into this process can save us years of
fear, regression, secondary fallout and inertial back stepping.
With kundalini, as with life in general, we can choose to be
maladapted or proadapted. It takes more heart, intelligence and
discipline to be proadapted, because often the first impulse to
discomfort is to seek comfort, and often the comfort we choose is to
become numb and asleep through various antilife means. And so we can
even make it that the evolutionary energy of kundalini can dumb us
down and zonk us out, if that's what we "want." Or we can use the
metamorphic energy to awaken us further and further to the mystery and
deepen our experience of life. It's our choice. By searching within
ourselves and learning how to be proadapted under circumstances
that have no precedent, we become pioneers, paving the way for the
rest of humanity to follow.