Bonnie Greenwell – Internal Deconstruction
We could hardly wait to share Bonnie Greenwell’s great article. Bonnie has used two words ‘Internal Deconstruction’ within her write-up and we thought them to be an interesting thought. There are just some words that spur one on.
The Awakening of Energy and Consciousness ~ by Bonnie Greenwell, Ph.D.
Spiritual awakening is always both sudden and gradual. The sudden aspect is a shift in consciousness and energy that opens us to a new way of seeing. The gradual aspect is an internal deconstruction of our subtle energetic wiring and the eventual opening of what feels like spaciousness within us. If transformation is to happen it will shift both our way of seeing the world and our way of moving within it, and it will impact both consciousness and subtle energies. Spiritual awakening is not about dramatic events, although extraordinary experiences may occasionally arise, but is about the movement of the psyche toward inner peace, clarity and acceptance.
In tantric and some yogic traditions concentration and breathing practices are used along with asana postures to increase the potential for these changes through the activation of kundalini energy. Kundalini is seen as the life force coiled at the base of the spine that can be activated and moved up through the sushumna, a line of energy potential through the spine, thereby turning over chakras and bringing about inner changes that release old patterns and activate new ones in the subtle body. This movement has an impact on the physical body as it spreads through 72,000 invisible energy channels, so there can be lots of vibrations, jerking, heat, sensations of bliss, even pain where old wounds or latent issues are holding blocks. It impacts a person emotionally because it can pry loose many old memories and traumas held in the body, often some that were not conscious before this awakening of energy. In a few people it may also release creativity, and psychic or healing capacities, at least temporarily.
As certain chakras are activated there can be a release of apparent past life memories, an intensification of emotions, odd sensations around the heart, strange jerking sensations in the neck (or anywhere in the body), a dimming of the ability to focus or think clearly, shifts in appetite, and many other odd conditions. All of these eventually pass but are part of the changes that bring a person eventually to a new presence and stillness, self-acceptance and compassion, awareness and capacity to live more fully in the moment.
Although in these yogic traditions activation is encouraged, many people have these experiences without being part of a tradition or connected to a teacher who understands them. Meditation, energy practices (such as Qigong , martial arts, Reiki, or breathwork), therapy in altered states, or shamanic work may activate kundalini energy. Deep concentration or very deep emotions can trigger it. A great longing for Truth or to know God may be a factor. I’ve met people who had an awakening that appears completely spontaneous, or awakened during a dream, or because of a sexual or spiritual encounter with someone else who had activated kundalini. A few appear to have activated kundalini in early childhood or even come in with their energy awakened.
Sometimes a person has a profound realization of Oneness or unity, and the energy awakens later. It is not necessary to activate kundalini before spiritual realization although this has been a theme of Indian spiritual practices. In Buddhist, Sufi and Christian traditions it may work the other way — realization may precede the movement of energy. We are beings of energy and consciousness — the spirit housed in our body is formed of both. We are vibrational entities living in apparent physical forms. Spiritual awakening is simply the direct realization of this: consciousness remembering itself in its natural state, and thus its connection to the whole of existence. That is why it frees a person from the fear of death and allows one to enjoy the feeling of simple presence in being alive. For this to happen, the way we think about ourself and others, and the way energy flows move in our body, must be transformed. We can no longer carry all the old beliefs, memories and wounds that color and condition our thinking and actions in the world. So they are released. These changes create temporary challenges, as does all change in our lives. We have to learn to live authentically and become free of judgment and fear.
Energy releases can happen without kundalini being activated. These are opportunities for tensions, stress, and blockages in the subtle body to be released and this often happens when people do body therapies, or massage, breathwork or deep psychological work. These are called pranic energy releases. Sometimes they occur during meditation. When kundalini activates it is usually with a sudden vibrational push or force from the base of the spine or the feet that noticeably changes how the body feels, as if moving from 110 to 220 wiring. Once it reaches the throat area it is unlikely to go away. Sometimes there is a sudden awakening of heart energy or a downward flow of energy, which is not the same as kundalini awakening but may activate it. These energy occurrences are more occasional and do not feel like permanent changes. As energy bodies we are available for many energy experiences if we stay open to them. All of them create changes in our perspective and feelings.
I have found it is useful to be curious rather than frightened when these events come into our lives, to be welcoming and be willing to become free, rather than contracted against change. I see these movements as the life force that created us moving us to another stage of experience and expression, one that is free of the difficult conditioning of lifetimes, and ultimately relaxed and appreciative of the opportunity to be alive. It is a great blessing to be brought into this new territory and discover what we are.
(For a better understanding of the kundalini and awakening processes, Bonnie Greenwell Ph.D., transpersonal psychologist and non-dual teacher, has written two Companions for the Inward Journey, based on 30 years of consultations with over 2000 people, — “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide”, available at amazon.com. Her websites are www.kundaliniguide.com and www.awakeningguide.com and her blog is shantiriver.wordpress.com.)