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The Kundalini Guide

An intense energy spasm suddenly rolled up my spine and through my head. My body jerked upright as rivulets of bliss moved through my nervous system. It was like becoming electrified with joy. With the persistence of labor pains the energies pushed upward over and over, each roll more intense than the one before, and my mind became progressively less focused. After a few minutes I was barely present in the room where I was sitting, listening to a college lecture on developmental psychology. I did not know it then but the direction of my life, my interests and my work was being blasted into new territory, and I would never again see the world through the same lens. Something powerful had grabbed me and turned me in a new direction.


When the class was over I stumbled down the hall and into a small meditation room at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where I was a graduate student. I sat on a cushion leaning against a wall and fell into a vast and open sense of spaciousness, my mind empty and quiet, my body completely lost in floating pleasure. Eventually I came back into my senses, but for weeks following I was in state of awareness that was untouched by the normal challenges of my family, studies and work, even though they continued as usual. Walking down the street felt like floating, waking in the morning felt like entering a new adventure. Sitting to meditate felt like falling into a world of light and bliss. At night my body would awake and shake itself, move into positions that stretched the spine, plunge my nervous system into a vibration of happiness, and occasionally produce an other-worldly dream.


During these weeks I was to decide on a topic for my doctoral research, and since I was aware that what was happening was called kundalini awakening in the culture of Indian yoga, I chose this subject for my research. I talked with a few others who had experienced similar awakenings, and discovered that for some it was not a pleasant experience, but instead it was painful, disturbing and frightening. I wanted to know why. What was the difference between a positive or challenging awakening?


I decided to read everything written on the subject, which in 1986 was not much, and entered the second phase of my professional life as a psychotherapist specializing in spiritual emergence. The dissertation morphed into the book Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process in 1990, and led me to meet and consult with several thousand people over the next 25 years who had experienced some variation of this awakening.


This book condenses all I have learned over these years, through the continuation and shifts in my own experience and the reports of the many people who have shared their unique stories with me. It is a guide for those who will awaken through spiritual or devotional practice, near-death experience, energy or body therapies, or spontaneously. The purpose is to offer support, encouragement and understanding and to help one move in this process from struggle into bliss and the freedom of stillness. It is dedicated with profound gratitude to everyone who ever told me his or her own story of awakening.