Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Significant Other is the Kosmos: Return of the Aesthetic Jedi Part 2 - I Feel the Earth...Move...Under My Feet

Aesthetics and Kundalini indeed do have something in common, and that is that they are experiences.  So, in the spirit of backtracking in my musings on aesthetics, I'll talk here about Kundalini as experience.

It seems the simplest way to begin an exploration of the Kundalini process is with the obvious physical manifestations.  In earlier blog posts within the series 'My Significant Other is the Kosmos' I described the first eruptions of energy almost as if I was weathering a minor epileptic seizure.  This might seem alarming, but in fact I never felt completely out of control, and the accompanying waves of electricity coursing through me were astonishingly pleasurable - I've spoken before of 10 times your best orgasm running from the base of the spine to the top of the head over and over and over again.  Very, very surprising, but not alarming.

Accounts by others of that initial opening vary widely, both in intensity and in the descriptive particulars, but the starting point at the base of the spine is quite common.  For some that  first surprising explosion is the end of it; the process stops, leaving a vivid yet elusive memory.  Indeed, for me the energies subsided immediately and didn't return for a couple of days.  When they did return it was much less intense, and there was an uneven series of recurrences over time, peaks and troughs coming and going with their own agenda.  Eventually they became more regular, still characterized by what the Hindu tradition calls kryas - shaking and trembling, violent and sudden muscle contractions as lightning bolts of energy surged through me.  At times these currents of electricity seemed to almost jam up, and I would feel as if I was plugged into an electrical outlet.  Regardless of ecstatic lightning waves or sharply painful electrical buzzing, throughout I have had the good fortune of being able to literally get up and walk it off, letting it simply fade away.

There has been an arc of development in these strictly physiological/sensation aspects of the process.  Always there has been a steady increase in intensity, and paradoxically a parallel smoothing out of the kryas, the shakes and spasms.  The peaks and troughs have also smoothed out, appearances and non-appearances have been gradually replaced with a steady presence.  The energies are always with me now, always accessible.  Any time I put my awareness to it I feel the electrical flow, and if I choose I can simply fall into it, surrender to the most intense yet indescribable physical rapture.

(I realize 'rapture' might seem a bit hyperbolic, and I will admit I'm reaching for words here.  I've been asked if I would describe these experiences as bliss, but unfortunately I have no referent for that word and therefore avoid it.  With rapture I think we can look to the experience of orgasm as at least a kind of 'little' rapture; the French phrase 'little death' comes to mind.  So when I use the phrase"most intense yet indescribable physical rapture" I'm hoping you'll use that referent to get the gist I'm trying to convey.)

In delving into the literature and accounts of this process I came across a curious phenomenon.  Many people make a list of common occurrences and experiences, usually as guides to the newly initiated.  A typical label for this kind of list is "Kundalini Symptoms", or worse yet "Kundalini Syndrome Symptoms".  The use of the terms 'symptoms' and 'syndrome' bring connotations of illness and disease, and indeed it seems many people feel they are suffering through the appearance of these energies.  The googling of the word Kundalini brings up a cacophony of warnings and horror stories, not to speak of a few solemn assurances that it is literally the devil inhabiting the body.  In my own case it has all been good despite the occasional  'plugged into an electrical outlet' experience, and so I would be inclined to use, not the term 'Kundalini Syndrome Symptoms' , but rather 'Kundalini Process Experiences' for my list of indicators.

And guess what?  Aesthetic experiences, just like Kundalini experiences, are processes.  That is a key that I will explore next time.

To be continued...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Significant Other is the Kosmos: Return of the Aesthetic Jedi Part 1 - The Goddess and the Book

Note to the reader: I began an investigation of aesthetics in my last posting hoping to continue with further discussion, but I found myself bogged down and let it rest for awhile.  I've now come to see that the problem was simply that I started in the middle, jumped right to the meat of things without laying down a foundation.  So I'm now taking several giant steps back, and ask you to rest assured that the Aesthetic Jedi is still at the helm.

The Goddess and the Book

As I approach the 8th anniversary of my Kundalini opening I find myself reigniting  the urge to use the written word as a way of getting into form a map of where I am in this mysterious and ongoing process.  A bit of fuel was thrown on the fire recently when I dove into the murky realm of YouTube videos.  There I found an apparent increase in discussion about the Kundalini experience.  I was struck by the number of people who pass themselves off as experts, or at least as having meaningful advice to give.  It amazed me how many were that self-assured, that confident that they have the truth of it.  Here I am, after 8 years of increasing intensity and ever changing experience, with very little to say that I know is true.  So I come to these pages to explore what it is that I do know, or can at least tease out enough to clear the path a little.

But first I start with the help of an old and neglected friend - the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, or the I Ching, as translated by Richard Wilhelm.  This is a copy I've been carting around for 40 years, tattered and torn yet for now holding itself together.  Overseeing the rekindled relationship is a new friend, one I found quite by accident lying at my feet while in conversation- a small stick with silvery bark that seemed to glow,  the clear shape of a goddess, arms raised above a snake-like torso.  This was Kundalini Shakti, the goddess of goddesses, perched now on top of my working easel, benignly overlooking the lounge area of my studio as I write.  So I bring together the Goddess and the Book, and ask them both - What has happened, what is happening, where is it going?

For those unfamiliar with the Book of Changes, it is a book of divination that more or less came into its present form around 500 BCE in China.  It came out of the philosophical context of Taoism, and incorporates the duality known as yin and yang.  It's use as an oracle is achieved by building a hexagram of 6 lines, each line either yin or yang, broken or solid, usually by throwing three coins six times in succession.  There are 64 possible combinations, and the book gives several commentaries for each.  The idea is that at each moment everything is in change together, and that the hexagram brought forth at this moment will express the qualities of exactly this moment, which the book will reveal.  And so I throw my three coins with the above questions in mind, and get
                                              __    __
                                              __    __
                                INNOCENCE (The Unexpected)
Heaven above, movement below.  When movement follows the law of heaven, man is innocent and without guile.  This brings the unexpected

                               Innocence.  Supreme success.
                               Perseverance furthers.
                               If someone is not as he should be
                              He has misfortune.
                              And it does not further him
                              To undertake anything.

Yes, as I sit here a bit baffled yet curious about the Kundalini phenomenon, innocence is the best attitude.  Beginner's mind, as they say in Zen, clear of concepts and 'truths' but with an open and clean slate.  And a warning to watch for agendas and assumptions, most notably my own.  Seems the oracle did indeed give me a relevant answer.  Plus a double warning - the line at the top was thrown as a changing line (in this case three tails), and the Book comments on all changing lines.

                                Innocent action brings misfortune.
                                Nothing furthers.

When in a given situation the time is not ripe for further progress, the best thing to do is to wait quietly, without ulterior designs.  If one acts thoughtlessly and tries to push ahead in opposition to fate, success will not be achieved.

This strikes me as a comment on an underlying desire I sometimes have to push the Kundalini process toward a breakthrough, knowing at the same time that it will happen only when the time is ripe (which may be never), and when that is, is not for me to know.... until the time is ripe!  So my wiser side, my beginner's mind, has been called out and I will wait quietly, pondering the mystery that is working, always.

And that, my friends, was an aesthetic experience.  If you're asking yourself what aesthetics has to do with Kundalini, well....so am I!  Stay tuned!

To be continued...