Shared Transformation Issue 12
To Tell or not to Tell
Genevieve Lewis Paulson, whose Kundalini awakening was not so severe as to prevent her from working, notes that "associates, co-workers and friends may not understand what is happening to you." (For some of us, this is an understatement!) Rather than offer "long definitions and treatises," Paulson says that she "excused the heaviest symptoms of my own release on menopause and low-blood sugar." This explanation was not entirely untrue in her case, since she "was of menopausal age, after all, and did have some low-blood sugar problems." (Kundalini and the Chakras) Throughout my life, I've had many psychic and spiritual experiences which, with the exception of a few carefully chosen confidants, I had kept to myself. Since these experiences were primarily of an interior nature, and had no visible effect on my body or my behavior, these secrets were not hard to conceal. But when my Kundalini arose, it was no longer possible to pretend that nothing out of the ordinary was going on. Where my previous unusual experiences comprised a small portion of my life, the Kundalini monopolizes my life. It is not something I can keep in the closet while carrying on an ostensibly "normal" daily life. Still, not everyone connected to me knows the truth about my situation. Relatives who keep in touch with my mother have been told I am suffering from a strange illness my doctors have been unable to diagnose. (From my doctors' viewpoint, this is true.) To my neighbors, I am some kind of eccentric recluse with health problems. (This also is not far removed from the truth.) Yet even these unsuspecting neighbors have not been spared some of the wilder paranormal manifestations of the riproaring Kundalini. During the most spectacular period of my process, the elderly couple next door (who had no inkling of my condition) asked my husband (who is an electronics engineer) if he knew what might be causing a very peculiar "malfunction" in their TV set. With considerable embarrassment (and fear that we might consider them crazy), they told him that for the past week, the set had been turning itself on full volume in the middle of the night! They hoped he might be able to offer some mechanical explanation for this bizarre happening.
My husband told me he almost replied, "Maybe it has something to do with my wife." Instead, he discretely answered that he knew of no logical explanation for the phenomena. (These were two very conservative, Methodist-Republican senior citizens who were not likely to find reassurance in the discovery that they were residing next door to a human psychic-power-dynamo!) During this same period, he and I had gone to a bookstore to see if we could find any books on Kundalini. The clerk asked us if we had read Gopi Krishna's autobiography. We told her that we had. "Isn't it incredible what he went through?" she asked us. "It's hard to imagine such a thing." We both smiled and nodded. Little did she know it was all I could do to keep my arms held stiff at my sides to prevent them from going into sweeping mudras. In The Stormy Search for the Self, Christina and Stanislav Grof observe that: "Spiritual disciplines have varying attitudes about whether people should talk about their inner journey. Some schools believe that it detracts from the power of the experience to talk about it and that such discussion may lead to undesirable traits such as pride... Other traditions encourage expression, however limited, as a way to integrate these inner states into daily life. By talking about your experiences with people who understand, you will further comprehend what happened to you." Overall, they advise that it is safest to confide only in "people who are receptive -- someone who has been through a similar process, a knowledgeable therapist or spiritual teacher, or a support group." While it can be very helpful to discuss our visions and mystical experiences with trusted advisors, Native Americans such as the holy man Medicine Grizzlybear Lake warn that it is best to wait at least a year before openly sharing such things. Indiscriminate sharing can dissipate the power of these experiences. I did tell my closest family members and friends the truth about my situation. Yet even among the most receptive and open-minded, there was misunderstanding. One person thought I had deliberately decided to precipitate a Kundalini awakening. Appalled that I would initiate such a dangerous undertaking, she tried to talk me out of it. Another assumed Kundalini to be some kind of tantric sexual practice. Some assumed that I was using a religious metaphor to help me cope with my terrible “disease.” Several feared that I had lost my mind under the strain of my illness. Initially, my sister was afraid that I was in denial about an undiagnosed manic-depressive disorder, and my son asked me if having a risen Kundalini meant that I was now a "pagan." Unless someone is personally undergoing the process, or has read a substantial amount of authentic literature on this phenomena (or has been in close contact with someone experiencing transformation), it's a good bet they won't have a clue as to what you are saying. I solved the problem by sending nearly a dozen copies of Bonnie Greenwell's Energies of Transformation and half a dozen of Lee Sannella's The Kundalini Experience to family members and friends who were valiantly struggling to comprehend me. Many of those I know who are involved in lengthy transformation processes have simply given up trying to explain it to anyone. Some who are undergoing unmistakable Kundalini awakenings won't even use the word Kundalini any more, so weary are they of being misunderstood. For years, I managed to avoid mentioning anything about Kundalini to my doctors for fear if I did, they would not only dismiss what I said, but would likely diagnose me as some kind of neurotic/hypochondriac and stop taking my legitimate medical needs seriously. When my spine injury forced me to seek medical help, I first saw a general practitioner. When she witnessed my kriyas, I explained that this was a lingering neurological condition that previous physicians said might be the result of a virus. (Not the whole truth, but true enough.) She sent me to a neurologist; again, on the examining table, my legs jerked spastically several times. The neurologist assumed this was because I was in pain and tense; he told me to "just relax." (Actually, the more relaxed I am, the more vigorous the kriyas. I did the opposite and tensed up; the kriyas subsided.) Sometimes it seems as if the Spirit wants to be known, and pushes us into situations where telling is unavoidable. After eleven months of relentless back pain, my neurologist became insistent that I switch from a very small daily dose of codeine to antidepressants for pain relief. I had told him previously that I did not want to take these drugs because there was "too much controversy" surrounding them, but he wouldn't let it go at that. He kept questioning me as to why I was so deadset against taking these medications. Finally, I broke down and confessed to him that I was in the midst of a Kundalini awakening, and that antidepressants were known to be antagonistic to the process. I said that I knew it sounded weird, and that I was very uneasy talking about this because I knew that others who revealed their condition to their doctor were met with disbelief and hostility -- and in some cases, a refusal to provide further medical care. Much to his credit, although he was skeptical, my neurologist did not berate me, and was willing to drop the argument. It helped that I was able to tell him that the DSM-IV (issued by the American Psychiatric Association and relied upon by mainstream doctors and therapists) has accepted the new category of spiritual emergence! In a March ‘93 memo, SEN told its members of this groundbreaking medical recognition of the mind/body/soul connection: “Because any diagnosis that appears in the manual must be included in medical school training, physicians and therapists will be educated on the subject.” (A standing ovation for doctors Robert Turner, David Lukoff and Francis Lu for working hard to get this category recognized!) Who and how and when to tell are not easy decisions -- and, as in my experience with my doctor, the decision is not always in our own hands. I have been wonderfully blessed in having a husband with whom I can share the whole of my truth, and with connecting to others who not only understood, but who were experiencing many identical manifestations to mine in their own emergence process. There was a time when admitting to a telepathic or precognitive experience, or to making contact with the "ghost" of a loved one who had died, were met with blank stares and serious question about one's sanity. Now these and stranger things are featured topics on popular TV shows. If, as it seems, the planetary vibration of the Aquarian Age is inducing ever increasing incidents of spontaneous spiritual awakening, perhaps not too far in the future, there will be so many of us and enough honest discussion of these experiences that we all will feel free to speak openly of such things.
-- El Collie
© El Collie 1995