The Daimon of Socrates communicated Extraordinary Knowings to him; the Romans would have used their own word — a genius was what they called a Daimon. We use the word loosely, but Glenn thought the kundalini process could raise the IQ since it wires you more directly into the genius or superconscious self. There’s an obvious connection with last post’s concept of self-actualisation, the fulfillment of potential. In the kundalini process we have a cross-cultural bio-energetic correlate for this actualisation process, foreshadowed in legends the world over and now available to all via a variety of methods. I’ll give you as much here as you’ll need to convince yourself this is for real.
We’ve got a lot of evidence by now that kundalini as an approach has a degree of universality. It was probably Gopi Krishna’s experience that set everyone looking into this, as he believed in the cross-cultural nature of it and I think he was right. I’m still evaluating some of that research but will report. A stream of liquid light entered his brain via the spinal column during meditation, up from the coccyx/genital area — that was the beginning of kundalini proper for him, as for Glenn (see Path Notes, p. 33), and for so many who have worked well with a method that does the job. As harped previously, the connection with sexual energy is obvious. When certain centres open you don’t need pickup lines to get dates. If I keep my energy bubbling, my wife’s tango partners treat her with a lot more instinctive admiration. We’ve tracked the differences. Most people can’t really stop energy getting in, which is one reason why ethics matter.
I don’t need to say sex energy is very personal stuff, and turning it into virtue, genius and actualisation is even more so. Plato’s Symposium may spring to mind as it did previously. Sex energy is therefore valued by spiritual practitioners who often work to hold onto it with methods from celibacy to sacred eroticism. It seems to have a lot to do with the personal genius. (Reich certainly thought so and is still a name to conjure with.)
Psychological anthropologist Felicitas Goodman writes beautifully of her openings to shamanic experiences. As an academic she followed Glenn’s path — research on yourself, then replicate on the students. It worked for her too. She does encounter spiritual uses for specifically sexual energy in many places eg.:
I woke up around two-thirty or three A.M. from a startling feeling of a vibration, as if my womb had been touched by a live electric wire. I suffered it for a while, then had the intuition that if I guided that excitation from the depths of my body up to my eyes, I would be able to “see”. And that was exactly what happened. Images of lustrous clarity began forming before my eyes, a village street, a garden, all bathed in an orange glow, beautiful…
— Where Spirits Ride the Wind, 1990, p. 38
One wonders how many shamans experience such energy from a sexual source but don’t mention it. Bringing it to the visual centre is a normal move for yogis, although they’d refer to the third eye, brow or ajna chakra, and some to the associated pineal gland. The “seeing” is a normal effect of the energy at that level. Rob Williams, currently kundalini warrior-in-chief, writes well of his visionary experiences. What we see appears to be a parallel world for whose status science is still clutching. OBEs happen and spirits appear in this environment. Goodman’s seeing is not full kundalini but it is a kriya or moment of energetic clearance and movement, which would be classified under ‘Lesser Kan and Li’ in the Chinese terminology. Plenty of her students have strong energy experiences, including the spontaneous bodily movement so characteristic of kundalini arousal.
In some systems the semen or egg energy is said mythically to have begun in the brain and descended in response to the sexual impulse — all you’re doing is returning it. McEvilley finds traces of this in Plato’s Timaeus (73bff., 91a ff.). He also gives interesting illustrations such as the Sumerian Gudea vase, which strongly resembles the caduceus of Hermes:
Those seven crossings of the serpents should interest, seven chakras being the most common layout. The beginning (although probably not the fulfilment) of the kundalini process can occur spontaneously. NDEs set it off — some examples are given by Kason, and Bruce Greyson provided a thorough article on NDE and kundalini for the Kundalini Research Network blog. The big recent Sounds True compilation book on Kundalini, although it has new age tendencies, also contains good personal accounts of spontaneous awakening. If it can just happen, that means every culture has a chance at it. Earlier posts mentioned how Christian prayer did the job for Philip St. Romain. Glenn himself used Chinese systems but met Indian deities (amongst others). Why wouldn’t a social group want to understand, preserve, even idolise the process, once they knew something of it? As Glenn says of this particular method:
The end mental product or psychological result seems remarkably similar to what we in the West identify with creative genius and preternatural physical skills if you have properly prepared your body for the onslaught of living energy and hormones.
— Path Notes, p. 22
It screams ‘evolutionary advantage’, and he’s not even mentioning the shamanic and spiritual awakening aspects yet. This is self-actualisation de luxe. Glenn had an involved theory about how some of the best parts of older techniques were kept secret for the higher priests and kings in less democratic times. These are the systems modern investigators are beginning to work their ways into.
Kason goes over Krishna’s version of the general kundalini theory in which redirection of sex energy or ojas is termed urdhava-retas, “upward flow of semen”. (The Taoists have a full technique book of ovarian kung fu for the ladies.) Greer mentions similar terms from the Gnostics, which are coded — “the waters of the Jordan flowing uphill” is the phrase on that page.
The previous post being all about psychological ramifications of self-actualisation, here we have energetic ones. Where Milton Erickson’s trances engaged the personal genius, unblocking it from its fetters so creativity could be exercised, Gopi Krishna experienced creativity as direct access to non-physical worlds on an instinctual level, and intuited that was the case for all.
Looking at this common human inheritance of actualisation, we find patterns in how it’s engendered. This is where the can-do approach of modern investigation comes in. Humans have gathered both practices and belief systems concerning such energetic motions and worlds ever since we have had culture. Shamanism is the root, not only of magic and religion, but of poetry and music as well, all areas in which human creativity transmutes sex energy. Put aside the belief systems and there are often strong commonalities in how people get the energy to manifest. We are all human, having a mind and nervous system with energetic components. Underneath the outer clothing, actualising that system has many great human civilisations thinking alike.
Particular bodily positions and breathing systems, particular brain states and gatherings of energy, activate human genius reliably and cross-culturally. When someone sits with, say, a Buddhist belief system, activating the mind and energy in a certain way, the activation itself is more what matters from the psychological and neurophenomenological perspective. The belief system is always personal in the end, as is all actualisation and all sexual energy. In preparing, it is more important to draw on a range of wisdom than a constriction of thinking to a single sect, paying particular attention to what you feel you stand for. Learning the uses and abuses of texts speeds the process. Maslow and Jung can sit comfortably alongside Plato and Patanjali.
Different Buddhist sects have very different beliefs and personalities in practice. Christian ones too. When Glenn looked briefly at hesychasm, he focused on the interpretation of the command ‘be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10) as an injunction to attain meditative stillness, finding a use of mantras paralleling his own chakra psychology, and detailing the breathing and the bodily positions used by the Orthodox monks (see Martial Arts Madness, pp. 162-7.) This is how one gets things to happen.
Goodman got her bodily positions from ancient statuary and had great and replicable success in contacting the Otherworld. When ch’i kung made its appearance in the modern era, what Palmer calls ‘traditional Chinese body technologies’ were plucked from their original settings and studied for their health, martial and mystical benefits. He notes how strong the effects were on him personally. You work with mind and energy and breath in certain bodily positions, including transformation of the sexual energy. Many of the early successes of medical ch’i kung substituted simple affirmations of health for traditional imagery, and achieved results. We now have a usable set of systems which can actualise the genius of kundalini and has numerous other benefits, usually extending to realms that have been referred to as paranormal and celestial. I haven’t written a lot about those yet but they’re perfectly real. It’s just that deep contact with the truth in you is even more important, although inseparable in the end.
So all of these approaches begin to confirm each other. The way things work so far as I can see, believing is secondary to becoming, via specific, tested, testable methods and states. ‘Spirituality’ is nothing without that energetic transformation. Moulding the techniques into the current cultural approaches, anything that works can be integrated. (That was Glenn’s method in martial arts.) The very energetic patterns themselves reveal the depths that mystics talk of but which are not easily amenable to analysis. Musashi would have been surprised to see his five rings used as psychological typologies but it works, not least because his own personal genius was very much awake.
Plenty more research will be done, but what we already have will keep people busy for quite a while. I wish all my readers the best in their personal quests.