Shared Transformation Issue 12
Once the Kundalini has risen, the sensory (and extrasensory) faculties become intensified. This heightened sensitivity is also frequently reported in the wake of NDEs and other encounters with the extraordinary. Super-sensitivity results from experiences that leave us psychically wide open. In his autobiography Of Water and the Spirit, African shaman Malidoma Somé says that those who are newly initiated are "as vulnerable as a sick person who has passed the most critical stage of his or her illness and is now convalescing." The American healer/shaman Vicki Nobel explains it this way: "Whereas it seems that the skin is the boundary of the person in 'normal' reality, when that same person opens psychically, the boundary expands. The person feels herself extending out beyond the body, taking up more space, feeling things in an extrasensory way. What we took for granted as a kind of density in the physical realm is suddenly called into question on every level." (from Shakti Woman)
There was a period in my awakening when I was so hypersensitive I was like the fairy tale princess who could feel the pea under a mountain of mattresses. For over a span of five or six months, my consciousness continued to soar, evaporating my ordinary boundaries. Every few days I would find my awareness expanding in unexpected and often uncomfortable ways. At times, even my body seemed to dissolve in a staggering radiance of omnipresent energy. I developed hypersensitivity to both physical and mental vibrations. Everything became greatly amplified: colors were extremely vivid, odors pungent, tastes exquisite and sounds penetrating. As my hearing became more acute, if someone so much dropped a pencil in the other room, I jumped as if a door had slammed. Sounds ceased to have an external quality; instead, every noise seemed to explode somewhere deep inside my brain.
I also became painfully sensitive to the coarse and strident mental/subtle-field energy that is generally regarded as normal human output. I found I couldn't tolerate any programs on TV but nature documentaries. Eventually even these became too jarring. As my condition intensified, even if I wasn't watching television myself (and was in another part of the house), if someone else turned it on, I would feel as if psychic shrapnel was exploding out of the TV set. This would jolt me into painful bodily seizures. (Several other people with awakened Kundalini told me they experienced this same progression of intolerance for television "vibes.") I've always loved to read, but here too, I found myself reacting adversely to anything written from ordinary third chakra consciousness (which covers the majority of printed material). I would feel physical pain (particularly in my solar plexus) when I tried to read these things. At the same time, I craved sacred writings: the Bible, the Upanishads, the yoga sutras, Buddhist texts, Native American and other ancient spiritual teachings, mystical poetry, etc. These scriptures were mental "food" to me. At the pinnacle of my altered state, focusing to read anything was impossible. I became sensitized to electric fields and discovered I couldn't be in the vicinity of operating electrical appliances (even a gently humming computer) without feeling electric shocks and disturbances in my aura. When meditating or asleep, this sensitivity was even more heightened. My psychic and physical energy seemed so fragile and tenuously balanced at this time that the slightest stimulus would throw me into turmoil. For several months, if my husband so much as brushed his hand against me in our sleep, I would go into painful convulsions. One time, when he took a shower, I felt as if the earth's gravitational pull had suddenly increased tenfold. All the energy in my body was draining down to my feet. I couldn't tell if my energy was following the sound of the water flowing in the shower, or if it was being drawn by a magnetic pull from the water itself. Either way, it was a very strange experience. My own psychic antennae became so acute that I overreacted to the slightest tension in the atmosphere. If anyone in my vicinity was even mildly annoyed or worried about something, I would immediately be overcome by nausea. Other people's thoughts and feelings toward me had a strong psychic impact, even though I was living in almost total seclusion. Before the phone rang, I would know who was calling and the emotional state of the person making the call. Several friends and family members were concerned about me during this time, unable to accept that I was actually having a psychospiritual experience. Their worry sent out waves of fear that hit me like a blunted physical blow in the pit of my stomach. I felt no personal fear, but I did feel gut wrenching physical distress from this. I could also feel people praying for me. The first time this happened, I became aware of a powerful but wondrous energy washing through the top of my head. Suddenly I knew this energy was generated by others' prayers. This was profoundly moving to me.
During this tremendously heightened period, I discovered I could detect physical problems in other people by simply scanning their auras with my hands. When I would pass over an area of the body that was injured, I would feel sharp, stabbing sensations in my hand. W. Brugh Joy developed this same ability after his Kundalini awakening. Since he was already a M.D., he was able to establish and confirm medical diagnoses in this way. I had a remarkable encounter with another psychic during this time. My only contact with this man was via the telephone. As we were talking, I could feel myself being psychically explored. The best I can describe this is that while this man was doing a psychic reading on me, I literally felt something that had a very active and gently probing quality -- the sensation was very much like a little creature scurrying around within my aura (or subtle body). This man told me that my energy was so strong it was causing his body to shake so much he could hardly hold onto the phone receiver. To steady himself, he decided to put up a mental "wall." I didn't directly sense his wall, but I immediately appreciated the result: I was nearly knocked off my chair by tidal waves of my own deflected energy! This was startling but even more astonishing was that the energy boomeranging back to me had a euphoric effect. This was the most literal demonstration I had ever had of my own "good vibes." I was thrilled to be able to feel the reality of psychic forces. The man I shared this experience with was equally gratified to find someone of sufficient sensitivity to fully meet him at this level of consciousness.
A fascinating (and apparently lasting) development from this period of hypersensitivity has also been reported to me by several other people. I call it the "truth chills." Whenever something is said that contains wisdom or spiritual veracity, I feel an immediate and pleasant shivery sensation. Two other women I know who experience this same response refer to it as "the tingles."
During my most sensitive periods, I have to be careful about what I eat. I've discovered that during these times, my system cannot tolerate foods cooked at restaurants. Ram Dass has said that one of his teachers warned him against eating any cooked food that was not prepared with love, although Ram Dass felt that it was not until one entered the high-vibrational states that the "loveless" energy permeating the food had immediate and harmful effects. (For some people, the hypersensitive condition can somatize as allergies to foods, chemicals, or just about anything else in the environment.) The worst part of being hypersensitive was that I didn't realize it was a temporary phase. I thought I'd have to live at this level of intense sensitivity from then on. This was a frightening idea; I couldn't conceive how I would be able to cope with the world (or how anyone else would long be able to cope with me) in this state. I imagined myself becoming a total recluse for the rest of my life. (Actually, some degree of residual hypersensitivity may be lasting. Swami Muktananda's eyes were so sensitive to light that he had to wear sunglasses much of the time throughout his life. Anne Armstrong, who became a gifted psychic and spiritual teacher after her fifteen year Kundalini awakening, says that more than thirty years later, she remains hypersensitive to sounds.) Although I no longer feel like an exposed nerve, I continue to be exceptionally sensitive, and I still need to protect myself as much as possible from abrasive situations. But I have also found that increased sensitivity is a great gift. I have a much stronger awareness of which influences are nourishing or damaging to my own psyche. More wonderfully, being extraordinarily sensitive allows me deeper degrees of intimacy and rapport with other people and living things than I ever dreamed possible.
-- El Collie
© El Collie 1995