Images by Steve Watts
When we move beyond our traumas and emotional baggage, we find ourselves more balanced. We can recognize and accept support for times when we feel like we’re drowning.
A massive shift in perspective occurs when kundalini awakens the upper chakras. The heart is a sort of pivot point between the lower and upper chakras, where we begin to notice, listen to, and perceive much more than our own personal experiences of this world.
Through the perspective of the heart we understand how freeing it is to release long-standing beliefs.
The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Chakras
When kundalini awakens beyond the heart, our perception deepens and we open to psychic capacities. It is through the third eye that we recognize and move away from the noise and chaos of the world. This perspective shift is difficult to describe, but is what I refer to in my book The Body Deva as the “tornado of chaos.”
This is not a state of disassociation. Disassociation creates a different vantage point, an ability to see outside of oneself, but rather than an evolved perspective, it is one of great pain and disconnection. The spiritual awakening process is one of both expansion and consolidation simultaneously, giving our mind and emotions a solid and grounded container from which to expand.
The psychic and physical structures within the body need to be rewired so awakening can occur. Without them, we are unable to properly evolve. Without the stability of our bodies as a container for kundalini to awaken, and without healing past trauma so we can achieve a healthy ego-mind, our perspective shifts will not result in clarity, and we are likely to be significantly lost or stuck in our process.
This perspective shift takes us deeply inward, and it is quite easy for people to get stuck at this gate. We lament a world so filled with noise and illusion, and we may come to think of ourselves as superior because we no longer attend to the nonsense and illusion.
We may get stuck in the vacuum that is created by such a state. If we are no longer creating noise and drama for ourselves, we end up with a lot of time on our hands. We may also find ourselves in a bit of an existential crisis because the world does not recognize such things, and we may stagnate in the loss of meaning that emerges as a result of realizing the world is illusory.
Being of Service to the World
If we can recognize that we are here for more than just ourselves, and reorient ourselves to being of service to the world, this sense of meaninglessness dissipates. If we can overcome these blocks, the creative impulse of kundalini completes the cycle of ego death by moving through the crown and blossoming into the divine “I.”
There are a series of knots between the third eye and the crown. The initiatory gate of moving beyond the third eye and allowing kundalini to flow to the crown involves the release of the ego, but often not in a way that people commonly imagine.
Acquiring a Healthy Ego-Mind
We require a healthy ego-mind, not an absent one. It is through healing trauma and mental-emotional conflicts that our minds can become clearer and we can become healthier. As a result we can recognize who we are as individuals, as well as what we bring into this world.
Any ego death is a transformative process in which the ego-mind is reoriented towards health and greater stability. Without the container of the physical form and a healthy ego-mind, the transformative process of spiritual awakening cannot occur properly.
The emerging of kundalini into the crown creates a meeting or marriage between the forces that govern duality. It also creates enlightenment states of emptiness, ego death, peace, and ecstatic bliss. Many consider this to be the end of the spiritual path. It is true that such experiences are quite high realizations.
This raises again the question of temporary states versus permanence. There are many people who believe they are quite enlightened because they have had a temporary experience of bliss or emptiness. They may even experience many states of bliss, or some permanency of the state.
However, because they cling to such experiences and fall into the same ego trap that occurs in every single chakra in different ways, there is typically not any greater self-realization.
The Spiritual Heart
Experiences of lack of meaning and complete undifferentiated oneness give way to the final phase of the path: the opening of the spiritual heart. This is the descent of grace, re-individuation with our physical form, grounding in everyday life, and realization of the cosmic “I.”
This cosmic “I” is a feeling of complete flow and opening of the spiritual heart. While the heart chakra may have been previously opened, the spiritual heart has different energetic structures to it. In Ramana Maharshi’s system, it is located two digits to the right of the physical heart, in the space of the fourth vertebra (the center of the heart and then laterally to the right).
This is an opening of the energetic structures of the heart, which include the aorta (top of the heart), the pericardium (the heart covering), and the “high heart” which is above the heart and associated with the thymus. The activation of this center allows us to recognize that our purpose is enlightenment within the human, physical form, and to be of service to the world through our unique capacities.
Aligning with Cosmic Intelligence
The spiritual heart aligns our unique elements and capacities with cosmic intelligence. When we reach the gateway above the head, paradoxes are reconciled; we understand that something can be one thing and its complete opposite at the same time. We know that opposites live together, inform one another, and are often oddly the same thing. We know that awakening occurs at the conjunction of opposites, and that it is through reconciling paradox that we can awaken.
It is through being in the liminal space between paradoxes that we can see through binary existence. Without fully grasping this concept, it is impossible to understand that we can experience both oneness and separation, that one in fact creates the other, and that they exist only in conjunction with one another.
We conceive mental constructs through polarity. The idea that the spiritual path is one of katabasis—a descent into the depths and darkness of self in order to rise—cannot be understood by those wishing for a spiritual path in which they do not have to dig around in their own dirt. We can hold light only if we traverse our darkness; we can have “no I” only by discovering what our “I” is. Such things will never be grasped by the intellect or supported by false realization.
Compassion, Creativity, and Divine Potential
When the spiritual heart is open, we feel ever greater compassion for the self and creativity and our divine potential can flow through us unimpeded. This showers the world with grace, while clear light flows through every cell in our human form (en-light-enment).
The initiatory process through these chakras is about surrender. We realize that we can always evolve more, be more. We are willing to realize that it is easy to stagnate either in lack of clarity or lack of knowledge, to project what is unhealed within, and to see the first step (or the five hundred and twelfth) on the path as the last.
What is needed for us to proceed on this path is to be willing to take personal responsibility for ourselves, to look within, and to understand that every stage of the spiritual path presents ego traps for us to proclaim illusory superiority or enlightenment, and then to say “no” to such illusions.
Working with Kundalini: An Experiential Guide to the Process of Awakening
by Mary Mueller Shutan
Kundalini awakenings can have profound physical, emotional, and mental effects, making it difficult to cope with everyday life, yet these powerful awakenings can also allow you to release past trauma, see past the illusions of the false self, and awaken your spiritual heart, enabling you to recognize the divine self. Providing detailed guidance for each phase of Kundalini awakening, this experiential guide supports you as you transform not only emotionally and spiritually but also physically and socially into your divine self.
About the Author
Mary Mueller Shutan is a spiritual healer and teacher with an extensive background in Chinese Medicine, CranioSacral therapy, Zero Balancing, and energy work. She is the author of The Spiritual Awakening Guide, The Complete Cord Course, The Body Deva, and Managing Psychic Abilities. Visit her website at www.maryshutan.com