Introduction to Issue 29
Where does one turn for a "reality check" when awakening reveals life to be maya -- an illusion or dreamlike state? Understanding that reality is a relative concept is useful: what is true on one level may be untrue or only partially true at another. More importantly, there are certain quintessentials that hold up no matter what parameters we're dealing with. Awareness, for instance. Love. And if we can swing it, lots of faith, hope and humor! Speaking of which, there is a trickster spirit that sometimes causes mischief for us (we call him "Froggy"). He pulled a naughty stunt in our last newsletter. The phone number listed for the Pain and Stress Clinic (Letters, Issue #28) was off by one digit. A reader called to discover it was a phone sex line! The correct number for the clinic is 800-669-2256. (Tricksters' pranks are not evil, but they can cause lots of crazy trouble. We welcome stories from readers who have encountered trickster spirits in their own experiences.)
In a recent letter, a reader asks: "Is Kundalini becoming increasingly more common or just more 'out of
the closet'?" I think the answer may be both. She also questions whether there may be a correlation with
"widespread use of LSD thirty years ago." I think there is a connection, although not so much direct,
but through an initiatory collective expansion of consciousness which led to social exploration of many other ways
to awaken. In some cases, people have experienced Kundalini while under the influence of LSD; others with an awakened
Kundalini have a history of psychedelic drug use. But many with spontaneous Kundalini rising have never experimented
with these substances. Here's something else to ponder: some authorities, like Dr. Christiane Northrup, believe
that the hot flashes women often experience during menopause may actually serve a natural function of destroying
viruses and potential cancers in the body. If this is true, perhaps Kundalini-heat may have a similar function!
-- El Collie
A Farther Shore by Yvonne Kason, M.D. and Teri Degler, HarperCollins, 1994. ISBN 0-00-638053-0
Before I had seen her book, Dr. Kason and I shared a synchronistic experience: we both initiated contact with each other on the same day -- I had written her a letter, and she had sent one to me, both unaware that the other had done so. We had never before that day had any contact with one another. Several weeks after this, I read A Farther Shore and was again stunned by synchronicities. There are sentences in the book that nearly word-for-word repeat things I've said in ST! Yet until this year, I had never set eyes on A Farther Shore, and Dr. Kason and Teri Degler had seen no copies of the newsletter!
I am so excited to have come across this book, which is the most inclusive and in-depth coverage of spiritual emergence I have yet read. Dr. Kason's personal Kundalini process began with a near-death experience that occurred after a plane crash she barely survived. This was in 1979, when she was undergoing her training as a family practitioner.
At that time, the phrase and even the concept of a NDE was unknown to her and her peers. Her experience, and the Kundalini phenomena which followed in its wake, led her on an extensive study of what she came to call STEs (Spiritually Transformative Experiences). These are discussed in detail in the book, along with an ample selection of first-person accounts from many individuals. There is also a great deal of advice for dealing with various types of Kundalini difficulties, covering everything from relationship conflicts to grounding techniques. I've learned quite a few new things, such as the fact that my type Kundalini pattern -- where there are no cycles, no breaks in Kundalini activity, no time off for good behavior, ha -- is the most rare, and also the most associated with severe physical symptoms. My experiences thus far have shown this to be true in my case, alas.
Because she is a M.D. who has long experience treating Kundalini patients, Dr. Kason's expertise on the medical facets of the Kundalini process is unparalleled. For instance, she notes that digestive and cardiovascular system problems constellated by Kundalini are the result of metabolic changes in the body. And she has found that in addition to the common Kundalini symptoms, people undergoing STEs are more prone to certain diseases than the average person. "These include respiratory allergies, skin contact allergies, food allergies, food sensitivities, hypoglycemia, diabetes mellitus, and thyroid disorders." For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention when other means of dealing with physical ailments do not bring results.
The authors also enumerate many positive fruits of spiritual awakening. Among these are: "maturation of the personality; spontaneous abandonment of self-destructive habits; resolution of psychological blocks; loss of the fear of death; increased humanitarianism, love and empathy; increased altruism; decreased materialism; increased spiritual focus and deeper spiritual insights; and increased intuitiveness and creativity."
I predict that like its predecessors, Gopi Krishna's and Lee Sannella's books, A Farther Shore will rise
to the ranks of a groundbreaking Kundalini classic.
Life as a Waking Dream by Diane Kennedy Pike, Riverhead Books, 1997. ISBN 1-57322-603-3
In what could be a synopsis of her book, Diane Kennedy Pike says: "Our daily experiences speak to us of what we have developed and of what lies within us undeveloped. To approach each day with that awareness helps us look at life as a learning adventure."
Life as a Waking Dream extends the techniques for dream interpretation to deciphering the meaning of experiences
in waking life. In the prologue, the author tells of learning to study "the people, places and things in
my everyday experiences as if they were symbolic of aspects of myself and my awareness." The book is peppered
with individuals' stories of events in their daily world which, upon examination, revealed karmic patterns, unconscious
psychological issues and other unsuspected information which gave them new personal insight and guidance. Amazingly,
perceiving the metaphoric content of these patterns leads not only to self-transformation, but to profound changes
in others as well: "Once we have realized the significance of the message from our waking dreams, the people
with whom we've been interacting suddenly appear to change, even though we've said nothing to them about the process."
Pike shows the reader how to work with his/her ordinary experiences to understand their underlying meaning. She
is particularly adept at discerning yin/yang imbalances, and helps readers identify and correct these in their
own lives. Overall, this book is an excellent tool for anyone seeking to deepen self- awareness and make more
conscious, positive life choices.