In more ways than one, Kundalini is an electrifying experience. A woman going through an extreme Kundalini process told me that her boyfriend got a shock every time he touched her, and her generally mellow-tempered cat's hair stood on end and it bolted away from her whenever she entered the room. She said her hands emitted such static electricity that papers and other small objects on tables would skitter away from her when she reached for them!

Shakti (the risen Kundalini) frequently interferes with household electricity. I know of several people who called in electricians to check all their home wiring (without finding defects) when this interference caused concern. Lights go dim or may flicker, or blink off and on in the vicinity of the awakening individual. I went through a period where I couldn't touch a light switch without the light bulb instantly burning out. Radio or TV channels may produce static in the presence of such a person. Electrical and mechanical equipment may break down far more frequently. One woman told me she had "burned out" four answering machines in a period of five weeks. There were times when my energy was so strong that if I simply walked into the room where Carl was using the computer or printer, these machines would instantly malfunction. As soon as I left the room, they would operate perfectly again! At the peak of her awakening, a woman told us her Kundalini voltage was strong enough to register on a compass; another was able to light an incandescent bulb simply by holding it in her hands.

Seemingly paranormal electromagnetic incidents are commonly reported. In my case, a television repeatedly turned itself on full blast in the middle of the night. Electrical appliances and battery-operated toys may turn on and off or malfunction like a movie scene announcing the landing of a UFO. Curiously, this kind of phenomena is frequently encountered by fibromyalgia victims, leading some to the speculation that FMS may be a severely physically impairing form of Kundalini awakening.

Objects may crack, move or fall in the presence of shakti. I went through a phase where whatever room I was in would make creaking, popping and other random noises for no apparent reason. One afternoon, I felt a sudden wild and emphatic throbbing in my spine. "Now what?" I thought, hoping this wasn't signaling some new physical disaster. After about 30 seconds, all this commotion in my spine stopped. I happened to turn on the TV and catch a news broadcast some while later, and it turned out that at the exact time I was feeling the throbbing in my spine, a moderate sized earthquake had struck in the region just east of us.

Vicki Noble had a similar synchronistic bodily manifestation as mine; a large boil developed on her back that she experienced as "a volcano needing to erupt." The day after she made this comment to her partner, "Mount Helens did erupt, and so did my boil!" (Shakti Woman).

These types of synchronistic inner and outer experiences are common with awakened Kundalini. I awoke the morning of April 19, 1995 feeling as if my body was full of shrapnel: I hurt all over. Later, I heard from many others who had similar stories; they had felt terrible on this day. Some felt "irrationally" angry or sad; others felt as if they were suffocating, buried alive or psychically exploding. Our sudden painful symptoms and reactions did not make sense to us until we heard news of the tragic Oklahoma bombing which occurred on this day.

As in the wake of NDE's and other encounters with the extraordinary, after Kundalini awakens, hypersensitivity is commonly experienced. Acute sensory awareness is technically known as "hyperesthesia" and is considered by the Aborigines to be the first stage in the entry into the mystical, primordial state they call "Dreamtime."

In his autobiography Of Water and the Spirit, the African shaman Malidoma Some says that newly spiritually initiated tribe members 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 Noble 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 for over a span of five or six months, my consciousness soared increasingly higher, 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 as 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 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 sustenance for 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 more exaggerated. My psychic and physical energy were 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. Once, when my husband 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 psychic antennae grew so acute, I overreacted to the slightest tension in the atmosphere. If anyone in my vicinity was even mildly annoyed or worried about something, I would 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.

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. The author and New Age teacher, W. Brugh Joy, developed this same ability after his spiritual 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 definitely feel myself being psychically explored. 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 unmistakable reality of psychic forces in this way. The man with whom I shared this experience was equally gratified to find someone of sufficient sensitivity to meet him at this level of consciousness.

Going out in public -- especially where there are crowds -- can be an ordeal for someone who is hypersensitive. Temporary agoraphobia (a misnomer which literally translates as "fear of open spaces" but, in this case, is actually avoidance of psychic bombardment emitting from the general populace) is common among those whose Kundalini is very active, The disturbance is the result of the individual's undefended and vastly heightened receptivity to chaotic internal and external energies invisibly broadcast by others. To someone who has never experienced the raw vulnerability of psychic openness, this may seem like a paranoid excuse for withdrawn or asocial behavior. The fact is that many people who have these psychic-sponge experiences were socially gregarious and extroverted personalities prior to their Kundalini awakening. Stage fright (or fear of public speaking) is the most common phobia reported by otherwise "normal" people, and in my own case, all throughout my twenties and thirties, I thought nothing of doing weekly stage readings of my poetry before large audiences. Yet during my most sensitive times, simply riding as passenger in a car through the most ordinary street traffic felt like running a gauntlet.

It's possible that what is considered normal sensory reception is actually a state of self-protective numbness. Everything in the modern world serves to disconnect us from our instincts and blunts our awareness: our social conditioning, emotional repression, our obsessive left-brain thinking, incessant noise pollution, the visual cacophony of glaring advertisements everywhere in sight, the myriad EM waves and electrical fields intersecting our living space, and perhaps even the
artificiality of our diets, our architecture and clothing.

In his book Voices of the First Day, Robert Lawlor has pointed out that "The technological and industrial superiority of the northern hemisphere has been accomplished through a diminution of the bodily functions (such as decreased sensitivity to sensory stimuli and lowered sexual appetite) and a proportional increase in the conscious activities of the mind and brain." The use of metal and insulating glass structures in our buildings and rubber-soled shoes have all diminished our innate human sensitivity to the earth's geometric fields. Says Lawlor, "Western civilization is now enveloped in artificially induced magnetic fields that disrupt the organic functions of the body and mute human sensitivity to the magnetic ambience of the natural world."

Our basic physiology has been altered. "Almost all the functions of autonomic nervous system slow down when one is enclosed in a building or vehicle," says Lawlor, "because these functions are tuned to the subtle changes of natural light and geomagnetism." He speaks of studies revealing "the enormous physiological changes that occur in going from indoors to outdoors, or vice versa: breathing and heartbeat change; digestion, perspiration, and excretory functions alter; hormonal activity associated with the light-sensitive pituitary and pineal glands are also affected."

Even the structure of our language dulls our perceptions. "Our drive to impose generalities, categories, and fantastic projections on the world around us expresses the need to withdraw from the actual moment and to define the living uniqueness of nature with fictitious constructs or the familiar categories of our language and science," Lawlor observes. "We have closed ourselves off from the multilayered, spiritual dimensions of existence."

Add to these the manic pitch of our collective emotional state in a world based on competition and conflict and the toll of environmental toxins. When for the sake of self-preservation we learned to shield ourselves from the excesses of our screaming culture, we shut ourselves off from the raw vibrancy of existence. Life in its pure form is an intense sensory and psychically engaging experience. "Without awareness," says Ginny Whitelaw, "we essentially live the same day over and over." (BodyLearning: How the Mind Learns from the Body)

Spiritual awakening restores our original level of sensitivity, but this hurts when we are living in an embattled world. The problem then lies not in our level of sensitivity, but in the violent disharmony human beings have created and accepted as the normal state of affairs. Short of retreating to a pristine wilderness environment, we have little recourse in the midst of the disruptive factors of modern life. Our restored natural sensitivity becomes a mixed blessing.