A PERSONAL STORY OF AWAKENING
A PERSONAL STORY
When Kundalini is struck, she awakens, uncoils (i.e. is dynamized), and begins to rise upwards like a fiery serpent, breaking upon each chakra as she ascends, until the Sakti merges with Siva in lay-yoga (laya = absorption), in deep union, samadhi or enstasis.
Kundalini: the Arousal of Inner Energy by Ajit Mookerjee
Kundalini is poison when she remains asleep in the lower abdomen;
she is nectar precisely when she rises up through the medial channel of the
subtle body to reunite with Siva, the Absolute, in the yoginís
In the image of the uroboros (the serpent swallowing its own tail)
lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process...
The uroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite,
i.e., of the shadow...it is said of the uroboros that he slays himself and brings himself
to life, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself.
Chapter 4 - The Serpent
The earliest memory I have of snakes is from when I was eight years old. My family would rent a cottage each summer at a place called Sunset Beach. Those months were such happy times for me - swimming in the sea, water-skiing, and playing with my friends. In the evenings we would have wiener roasts on the beach and then dive into the water in the dark and watch while phosphorescence glowed around our bodies.
The cottage was built on the side of the mountain and to get to the beach I would have to walk down a steep path, which was almost hidden underneath an overgrowth of salal, blackberry bushes, and sweet smelling wild roses. On each trip, inevitably I would encounter a snake. Suddenly, at my feet, there it would be. I would stand frozen with fear, trying not to look, as it would slide off into the bushes. What terrified me the most was the unexpectedness of the snake's appearance and the fact that I couldnít see it coming.
Many years later, I became a close friend of the granddaughter of the owners of the cottage. One of the first stories she told me was about her experience of wrestling with a rainbow snake in her apartment. "It wasnt like a vision or a dream," she said, "it felt real. It was as if for three days and three nights I was fighting for my life." This began her experience with an intense pranic awakening.
Ever since the Kundalini release in May, I have seen snakes every few days on television. I have seen every conceivable type of snake: snakes giving birth, mating, devouring their prey - big ones, tiny ones - many with intricate patterns.
The story which most intrigued me was of a young Sri Lankan woman who danced with a hooded cobra. I watched as she swayed, moving her arms in exquisite gesture while keeping constant eye contact with the snake. After she finished her dance, she leaned forward and placed her mouth on the snake's head to kiss it. The narrator said that she had been bitten four times in one year; the first time she became very ill from the poison and then, with each succeeding bite, the reactions became less severe.
June 20/99. In the morning I look back in my journal and find this dream from a year ago. "I am on the way to pick up my mother and I see a very long snake curled on the side of a wall. It moves and I follow it. It leads me to a butterfly covered with a beautiful yellow and orange pattern. The pattern suddenly dissolves - rolling up bit by bit until the butterfly is all white. No one else sees the snake or the butterfly."
Later in the day, I drive to West Vancouver to do some shopping. I am so glad to be feeling strong enough to go out on my own. After completing my errands, I stop in a small park by the sea to lie on the grass. The sun is warm and flowering bushes surround me. I am very weak, so I need to stay very still to recover my strength. All of a sudden I feel that I have to get up, even though I am still tired. Something prompts me to turn around and there on the grass, near where my head had been, is a beautiful Northwestern Striped Garter Snake slowly making its way into the nearby bushes. It doesnít seem in any hurry and I watch in awe as it undulates its brown body with a yellow stripe down the center and rows of red spots on each side. It has been years since I have seen a live snake and I know it is a gift from the gods.
Later, I read this quote by Swami Muktananda:
If, even in a dream, one who
practices Siddha Yoga is bitten by a snake, that, too, is a
sure sign of liberation. But in meditation it is particularly auspicious.
A few days later, a snake appears as I begin to paint. The serpent picture begins a time of intense creative energy and I start painting every day - often into the night. This is a new experience for me. Since failing art in Grade Two, I have seldom had the courage to draw or paint. Now the opinions of others, or even myself, do not seem to matter.
Sept. 30. I am having a terrible time dealing with my headaches. I have taken, yet another, course of chinese herbs to clear the heat and detoxify my body. I am so weak; these treatments are very hard on me. I donít know how to keep bearing the pain. I remember that the word 'suffer' means not only to undergo and endure but also to allow and to bear. I am looking for clues these days on how to bear this physical suffering. What I want to do is run out of my body screaming in the opposite direction, but I am caught. I think of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's words, "You canít jump over yourself."
This poem by Shunryu Suzuki, the Zen Buddhist Priest, gives me clues:Donít move. Just die...over and over.
Donít anticipate. Nothing can save you now
Because you have/ only this moment.
Not even enlightenment/ will help you now
Because there are/ no other moments.
With no future/ be true to yourself/ and express yourself fully.
When I talk to Stuart about the pain I am experiencing, he says, "This process is like being in labour; itís a kind of childbirth." I come upon a passage in The book of Revelations which some say is a description of a Kundalini Awakening:
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown. She was pregnant, and in labor, crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth.
My stomach is swollen; I look as if I am pregnant. My abdomen has been like this for many months. Stuart says that Kundalini resides in the abdomen and that this distention is due to a purification of this area. Bonnie Greenwell says in her book Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process, "A few men and women have what appears to be a false pregnancy, with the belly swollen (called Buddha belly) periodically for a number of months." I talk to a woman from California who also has had this condition. She tells me it lasted for ten years and when her abdomen finally started to flatten she bled and had immense pain for three weeks, "..as if I were giving birth."
Oct. 1. I am trying to find a way to relate to the snake that keeps appearing in my meditations. I see it in front of my face and I wonder if it is the pain that I am afraid to feel. A few years ago, I heard a Tibetan Buddhist Lama give a teaching on staying with whatever feeling comes up in the body. He talked about not acting it out or repressing it, just sitting with it. I asked him, "What if you donít know what you are feeling?" and he answered, "Then it goes into symptoms in the body."
I feel as if I am the uroboros devouring its own tail. When I turn towards myself, to sit with the pain, I feel as if a train is coming towards me at a hundred miles an hour and there is nothing I can do but stand on the track and face it. For three days and three nights, I stay with the terror and depression that courses through my body. I feel terrified that the snake will bite. As I begin to communicate with the snake, I try to stay flexible and listen to what it has to teach me. I think of the Bhakti yogisí devotional worship and how they would enter further and further into a particular feeling state, staying with it hour after hour for days or months at a time.
Oct. 20. I donít know how to relate with the serpent. I know it has two sides - the poison and the nectar. I feel as if I am missing something important and I donít know what it is.