Those who embark on a spiritual path do so because, on a profound and intuitive level, we know that what our conventional stories tell us about what it means to be alive do not tell the full story. We know that we are part of a living and conscious universe, and our primary senses convey only part of the picture. One of the most powerful experiences that we can have, and which confirms that we are much more than our minds think we are, is the awakening of the kundalini, the dormant spiritual energy contained at the base of the spine. In 2016, my kundalini awoke with a roar. It was a spontaneous experience, not one I was seeking or anticipating, but it has given me enormous insight into the chakras and how they contain with them aspects of our past lives that have significant impact on our incarnation in this lifetime.
The chakras are traditionally presented as a series of energetic vortices that correspond with certain points on the body. The seven major chakras, no doubt familiar to many readers, are the root (or muladhara) chakra, associated with survival; the sacral (or svadhishthana) chakra, associated with sexuality; the solar plexus (or manipura) chakra, associated with willpower; the heart (or anahata) chakra, associated with intimacy and connection; the throat (or vishuddha) chakra, associated with expression; the third eye (or ajna chakra), associated with intuition; and the crown (or sahasrara) chakra, associated with higher consciousness and transcendence. Traditional representations depict them as colored and multi-petaled flowers, which can be open or closed. The chakras are connected by an energetic column, the sushumna, that tracks the length of the spinal column. Traditionally, the kundalini is depicted as a kind of twisting serpent at the base of the spine; once awakened, it travels up the sushumna and through the chakras.
My own experience confirms this model. For me, the feeling of the kundalini awakening began as a kind of muscle tension, an ache in my lower back, which I initially attributed to tight lower back muscles. After three days of stretching and yoga failed to alleviate the pain, I intuitively laid down, sensing that this was something else altogether. The ache quickly turned into a strong burning sensation, like a hot coal igniting. That energy expanded and grew, and then began to move, up from the base of my spine through the sushumna, up to the top of my head.
The energy felt both internal and external, like it was inside of me, and yet it did not feel like any kind of internal sensation I had ever had. This burning ball of energy would move up from chakra to chakra. The experience was at times quite blissful and at others uncomfortable, as the energy s intensified at each chakra, clearing out old, negative energy. I also experienced kriyas, which are spontaneous movements in which the body shakes and spasms as the energy clears blockages. The kundalini had an agenda all of its own; I was not directing it at all. I never felt afraid that I was somehow in danger, as if any harm would come from this, and I was often in a state of bliss for much of the time. Despite its intensity (no doubt rather dramatic to see me shaking to and fro), it was clear through that this was one of the most loving and transformative experiences available to a human being.
What I came to appreciate from the kundalini awakening is that the chakras are like floors in a house, with your root chakra corresponding to the foundation of the house, the sacral chakra corresponding to the basement, the solar plexus chakra corresponding to your first floor, the heart chakra, to the next floor, etc. Importantly, these floors all contain multiple rooms—in fact, each floor is a sprawling complex of connecting rooms. I also realized that many of the techniques that are often prescribed for “opening” and “balancing” the chakras—many of which I had done for years—are the equivalent of doing some light dusting, perhaps rearranging the furniture or repainting, in one of those rooms. The kundalini awakening is the gut renovation of the entire floor, one room at a time. The reason they need to undergo a gut renovation is the quantity of old, traumatic energy that has been stored and carried with you into this lifetime from past lives.
My most profound healing experiences have come from opening up those hidden rooms. One experience involving my sacral chakra released very dormant energy relating to betrayals from romantic relationships from past lives. Another healing experience involved my heart chakra cleared out an entire set of rooms where I had suffered in more than one past life a tremendous attack that had instilled in me a great deal of fear and paranoia about retribution for defying conventional wisdom. When the repressed energy surfaced, I was flooded with visions and memories from lives I do not remember but which are a part of me, and I would experience again residual feelings and emotions from those past experiences, such as pain and anger. Understanding how deeply embedded these energies were and where they came from helped me to understand why these emotional patterns had been so deeply entrenched in my life and psyche, and why they had remained immune to traditional therapy or meditation.
The awakening was not limited to clearing negative energy. Some of those rooms also contain faculties that are dormant. When the energy had worked quite a bit on my third eye and crown chakras, I distinctly heard a powerful voice say, “We are going to write, and we are going to write quickly.” Shortly thereafter, I began to channel with great intensity three volumes of spiritual writing during the next six months. (My second volume of material, Bending Time, is due out in June 2018).
Nor did the kundalini awakening start and just stop. The period of greatest intensity lasted well over six months, but the kundalini remains “awake” still today. The process continues to unfold, waning in intensity and then picking up pace again. When the time is right, the kundalini will open up and start renovating a new room. The kundalini, with its own wisdom, knows when the time is right. The kundalini is like a contractor who never gives you a firm timetable for when the work will be done!
A kundalini awakening is not necessary to heal and open up spaces of negative energy in your chakras. While a kundalini awakening is something like jumping on the express track, other techniques can bring this energy to the surface, slowly and with commitment. But no effort to cleanse a chakra or awaken the kundalini should ever be forced. You can work with energy healers and use yoga, meditation, pranayama and other techniques to clear as much as you can from your chakras, but for a kundalini awakening, you must allow for it to happen. For me, it unfolded naturally, when I was ready, so that it was not a traumatic experience. Many who have forced themselves to awaken their kundalini before they had done sufficient work have made themselves ill doing so. The purgative effect of the awakening is such that ideally you will have already done years of cleansing work. I had already worked intensively with my teacher for nearly 5 years, doing significant cleansing of my belief systems, karma, and energy field. Without that preparation, the awakening might not have happened, or if it had, it might have been debilitating rather than transformative and empowering.
A kundalini awakening is an experience of profound grace. It will alter your understanding of your own nature, as you begin to delve into dimensions of your consciousness that you had never had access to, and it will fundamentally alter how you look at what it means to be human. It is also a humbling experience, as you recognize just how deep your karma runs, and how much unconscious yet profoundly influential material resides there. Yet even if you never experience such an awakening, you can very much work with the chakras to help clear out as much negative energy as you can. And when you confront emotional patterns and beliefs that you cannot seem to uproot, pause and consider that they may very well be vestiges of a distant past life, housed in a back room deep within you. With sufficient care, tenderness, and patience, one day you too may be able to open them and release the past once and for all.
Patrick Garlinger first experienced awakening many years ago, when he met numerous spiritual teachers and experienced higher consciousness. While training under his spiritual teacher, Mirabai Devi, Patrick underwent a profound evolution of his inner world. As his ego began to dissolve, he experienced a kundalini awakening that opened intuitive faculties, and he began to channel works of spiritual wisdom.
For more information about his writings and services, please visit www.patrickpaulgarlinger.com