Storytelling, Music, & Natural Magic

I’ve been listening to the songs and stories of an extraordinary composer/singer/guitarist, Mark Knopfler. His songs are often stories of ordinary people — doing their work, loving, suffering, singing — maybe remembered and maybe not, but usually caught in the grip of something bigger than they are. I kept going back to listen. There is something uniquely satisfying and heart-touching about his music, his songs, especially the more recent ones. He has made the art of songwriting into the art of telling powerful stories. As a writer, I feel a need to understand why his songs are so powerful.

The key skill set I noticed:

Mastery: The music, both rhythm and melody distinctly fits the words. I can’t guess which comes first, but suspect Knopfler goes back and forth between them as he composes. Neither one is just tacked on to the other. In written storytelling, you may have good illustrations to enrich and inform the imagination of the readers; in songs the music enriches and informs the emotion of the listeners. Imagination and emotion are tightly inter-related. In either case the music or picture must be superb — and therein lies the requirement for mastery, for years and years of developing a skill to the highest point of art.

Acute observation: Seeing clearly, telling it like it is, including details that show character and feeling and make it both vivid and memorable.

Empathy: Truly understanding the people and their feelings from the inside, not just the outside. This is a kind of nonjudgmental acceptance, which leads to —

Compassion: “Sympathy” means “I hear and feel sorry for you.” “Empathy” means “I feel your feelings with you.” “Compassion” means “I hear, feel, and love you. I make no judgement about your goodness or badness — just knowing who you really are and loving you.” I remember something I learned from participating in healing — everyone at their very core wishes to give and receive love — it is what we are. We all have roots in the same ground and that ground is something we call love.

You don’t have to believe me about this — just learn to meditate and do healing, and sooner or later you will discover this truth for yourself. And sometimes when we make that connection, miracles happen.

We wrap other things around that core, thinking it needs to be protected while really it is the strong, eternal center of us. But we create all those other things — fear, anger, barriers, judgments, denial, and more — to protect something that never needed protection. That loving part of ourselves and others is what we experience as compassion when we consciously become aware of that connection. The songs, the stories become healing.

Inclusion: starting with the thread of one person, one feeling, and weaving that into something larger so it speaks for and to many. Ultimately the song may bring in the earth, the sky, the sea, the stars. The part fits into the whole quite neatly, inextricably.

The last two things on the list above are what makes Knopfler’s music truly exceptional. He didn’t start out that way. Yes, he had empathy, he has extraordinary musical talent, and he loves music enough to do the incredible years of practice with the devotion that leads to mastery. Talent is something you are born with, but mastery like this and compassion only comes through years of devotion. If you listen to what he’s saying, both in interviews and in the music, you can hear that his music is a means for communion (not just communication, but communion) with others — and with deeper parts of himself. And that touches other hearts as well. People respond, even when they may not know what they are responding to.

I understand now why so many of the comments on his YouTube recordings simply say, “I love you.” Of course, many of the comments focus on the music. Yes, he is a master guitarist and they say so, but he isn’t the only master guitarist around even though you’d think he was from his fans. Although I’ve heard him discribed as having a “golden voice” yet his voice seems quite ordinary to me — his delivery is low key and almost conversational, but the energy his voice carries is far from ordinary.

I suspect his fans are hearing/feeling that special something more — the genuine love and compassion he seems to have for people, especially for the outliers of our society who live on an edge. A few of the many examples: the lost ones (Telegraph Road and Sonny Liston), the unique ones (Jerimiah Dickson), transcendent human love (Our Shangri La and If This Is Goodbye) and the geniuses (like himself) who are so focussed on one thing, one form of self-expression that it consumes their lives (Monteleone and The Sky and Piper to the End).

(Disclosure: Writing this is surprisingly difficult. It comes out a phrase at a time, not all at once in a rush the way things do when I really understand them. So. Clearly I don’t fully get it. Sometimes a thought dissolves under my fingers as I try to type it. I find myself saving this every few words so the thoughts won’t escape.)

All right, with all of this I still haven’t said what I set out to say about writing stories — what the big take-away for myself as a writer is. Marzipan’s Adventures — she is just a young faery cat in another world, which is linked to both Earth and to Faery. But for the story to be whole, it has to show how she fits into her own beloved world. It needs to show the vastness and grandeur and possibilities of that tiny world and the connectedness of the web of relationships in it. In a way, her story represents that world with its universe fitting neatly into the multiverse. And it has to show it, mostly in the details and the little moments, not tell it.

Marzipan’s actions need to show those interactions with her neighbors, both humna and creutairean, and with Didean, the world herself. (Humna are part Earth human, part Faery. Creutairean are part Earth animal, part Faery being. In fact, humna are creutairean too, and the humna are the only ones who don’t know this and who think they are different, This little blindness comes from the Earth human part of them, which tends to see differences rather than common ground.) (Sorry, I got side-tracked there but I’ll leave it in just in case you needed to know.)

The story itself, the plot as it were, has to carry all of these details and insights almost invisibly. If an author is preachy-teachy, he or she evokes resistance — and boredom. But if, as explained in Magical Writing the storyteller just slides things in with no fuss, the reader is more likely to just take it in as they gallop along with the plot, which is the obstensible reason for the story. But the plot is just a vehicle for the real story.

So, to some extent good storytelling seems to me to be about seeing reality compassionately and sharing that vision so we all better understand how we are connected to and can support each other.

I wonder if Knopfler knows what he is doing? He wouldn’t have to… it might just be the way he naturally has grown into the world. He spent some time being a social worker and that would have enriched both his view and his understanding of people. Or he might have just figured it out for himself — he’s an intelligent man. Listening to him in the documenteries talking about his craft, he knows. He sees how in songwriting, composing in bits and pieces, fragments and fictions, he often is telling the story of the person, of the society, of the history (and perhaps the future) of the world. For all I know, he may be telling the story of the multiverse.

ALL storytellers in all of the multiverse may be doing the same.

I just had a thought-concept; I wonder if I can say it clearly? What if we who tell stories in the multiverse — and perhaps we all do — no, wait! What if living is the real story? What if we are showing the Multiverse who She is and what She shall become with every moment of our lives?

After all, we are all one piece with the trees and stones and creatures.

Kundalini Rising & Spiritual Healing, Part II

This is in two parts: first, how to recognize and take care of ourselves in a kundalini rising experience, and second, some tips on working with a client with kundalini rising. This, the second part, won’t make as much sense as I would hope unless you have read the first part, Kundalini Rising: The Experience, which preceeded this.

These are just some suggestions for those of you who may be inexperienced in doing healing work with kundalini energies on the rampage. Having been through it myself, on both sides of the chair, I think there are some things that you may find it helpful to remember.

First, be sure that you are very earthed, centered, and connected. This is powerful energy — you are working with a surplus of energy instead of the more usual energy deficit encountered in working with illness. If you are in any doubt about your own ability to stay absolutely stable and earthed, leave this work for others. There are plenty of us able to do it, so don’t do something that may put you in need of healing too.

Second, concentrate first on earthing the client’s energy. This is the major need. Many of the symptoms of runaway kundalini are a direct result of excessive and ungrounded energies. The healer’s first task should be to restore the system to a well-grounded balance.

Kundalini rising experiences can be quite violent in nature, very gentle or anything in between. They tend to occur when some kind of inner block, that has been restricting energy flow, is released. When these blocks are released in a sick person with deficient energy, they tend to allow the energy to rise to normal levels, healing body and emotions. When they occur in a person with normal or above average health, they may allow the energy to increase to unprecedented levels. The person will not, at first, be able to adequately earth the energy, and so that becomes the first consideration in healing — get it grounded! A lot of the emotional stuff involved in kundalini rising experiences disappears when adequate earthing is achieved — or becomes much more manageable for the person involved.

These experiences also sometimes happen to healers and meditators whose practices increase their capacity to allow energy flow through them, especially if they are also focusing on clearing their own blocks. A healer who is close to having a kundalini rising experience may find that it is triggered by working with someone else’s kundalini overspill. So take care of yourself, earth and clear your own energy after working with such cases very carefully, and be aware of what is happening to you and your energy as you work.

Third, DO NOT put energy in. There is too much already. Concentrate on earthing, centering, smoothing, calming, relaxing what is already there — but not on adding, which will only make the symptoms worse.

Fourth, if you feel over-energized, unstable, or ungrounded after working with someone in this state, you need to focus on your own grounding and centering until you get back in balance. Watch it!

Fifth, keep the actual hands-on sessions short. Again, 15 minutes is about right. Remember, you DO NOT need to put energy in; you do need to help the client develop sufficiently strong channels for earthing it, which they will not yet have.

Kundalini rising is sometimes a violent experience, radically changing one’s subtle energy field (making it much less subtle!) and consciousness and perception of energy. The experience can be (and often is in the West) mistaken for insanity (usually acute schizophrenia) or emotional or physical breakdown on a fairly large scale.

Therefore, when I spoke above about “grounding” being the primary need in working with a client experiencing kundalini rising, I meant something far more heavy duty than perhaps a visualization and a glass of water at the end of a session. I meant that the whole session, especially for the first several sessions, should focus on grounding, helping the client to “rewire” to handle far more powerful energy than they have hitherto been accustomed. This needs to combine hands-on earthing, possible physical exercises, and visualization — physical body, mind, and subtle body.

Sixth, teach the client whatever they need to know about meditating and earthing themselves. If the client doesn’t meditate, show them a simple meditation exercise, preferably focused on the breath, and encourage them to start. I usually recommend that people sit quietly, count each breath until they reach ten, and then begin counting again, focusing their awareness on the movement of the breath in the abdomen (an important point in grounding!). Five minutes a day the first week, ten the second, and fifteen thereafter. If they do meditate, make certain that the meditation they normally practice is centering and earthing and not merely a means of “spacing out”. Meditative exercises that concentrate on raising the energy are also inappropriate during the integration process.

The client will probably need to be shown some earthing exercises. They will need to learn some yoga or chi gung or t’ai chi techniques (some of the Reichian exercises may also be useful in this context) for physical earthing. They also need to develop skill in using visualization techniques that are especially powerful for them. The healer who works with kundalini-rising clients definitely needs to know and practice both the physical and imagery earthing exercises himself on a regular basis.

The meditation exercise above is a very grounding one, but clients also need some effective earthing exercise that they can do more frequently and quickly. They need to be encouraged to earth themselves often during the day, especially when they feel the symptoms of too much ungrounded energy. These symptoms may be physical (trembling, energy surges), emotional (unusual fragility, strong surges of emotion only partially based on circumstances, or unusual mood swings) or mental (obsessive or other abnormal thought patterns).

A major lesson for most healers is about taking care of ourselves. I am not altogether certain about the advisability of working with kundalini if you have not yourself been through the experience and are not therefore able to operate at the energy level involved. Obviously, it is of great importance to be careful to keep yourself clear and earthed. You can and must evaluate your own needs and situation!

A CASE HISTORY

I’ll briefly describe one case below, but people exhibit a variety of symptoms which confuse both themselves and doctors: symptoms may mimic some of the symptoms of a heart attack, of psychosis, and/or of neurological disease, as well as an almost random selection of other problems, depending on where they are blocking the flow of kundalini, as we all are. They may have sensations of intense heat, intense itching, intense discomfort. They may experience severe trembling or momentary loss of motor control. Other, less predictable things may also happen. It’s very understandable for people to be alarmed and for doctors, who in general know little about the subtle energy body, to be confused!

One of my first kundalini-rising clients had spent two years in a mental hospital prior to coming to me. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. (I have his permission to discuss his case as he hoped others might learn from his experience.) When I first saw him he had been out of hospital for about six months and was afraid that he needed to go back in because his symptoms were worsening again, in spite of the medication, which he hated for its side effects. (The medication suppressed the symptoms by suppressing him) Someone referred him to me, and we worked together fairly intensively for about six months — twice a week at first, then once a week. Later, after about six months, we dropped down to once a month, then only when he felt the need, which wasn’t often.

He had attended a public lecture where the speaker described a kundalini-rising exercise and told people that if they did it, interesting energy things would happen. Geez. Talk about irresponsibility from someone who presumably should know better! He practiced the exercise for an hour, sometimes two or three hours, a day, which tells you something about his then-obsessional traits. This precipitated a kundalini rising experience for which he was totally unprepared, both emotionally and energetically/physically.

When he first came in to see me, he said, “I’m crazy – I hear voices.” I replied, “Well, I hear voices too, and I get paid for it.” We both thought about this for a moment, and then I added, “What’s crazy is if you believe everything they tell you.” That was apparently the right note for him, and we proceeded from there.

His “voices” were very intense. They followed him around all day and woke him up at night. They cursed and screamed at him, they told him to do horrible things (which he fortunately didn’t). He thought they were demons. He feared that they could do the things they threatened to do to him and to the people he knew, although of course they cannot.

We worked at first almost exclusively on earthing him, helping him to develop stronger subtle energy channels, better grounding, and skills in closing down psychically when he wanted to do so. Since he spent a lot of time in bars when we first started working, the latter was very important. As we were able to move from first aid to longer term concerns, we began to work with the psychological issues which had been blown into awareness and energized by the kundalini energy. He worked very hard (the advantage of being obsessional, even moderately!) and within six months he was functioning normally most of the time and had begun meditating and pursuing spiritual studies. Good outcome!

One of the advantages I had over the therapists and doctors who had worked with him before was that I could take the “voices” seriously. Some of them were certainly disassociated parts of himself in need of healing and integration, and we could identify and work with those therapeutically. Others of the “voices” were other entities, not “demons” as he thought, but just really nasty people without bodies. Once he understood that they had no power in this world unless they could get him to act on their behalf, he began to accept responsibility for his own inner space and for who he allowed in there. He learned to listen, evaluate, and deal with the voices appropriately.

It took longer, but in a fit of exasperation one night, he finally learned that he could control that inner space as well. I had been telling him for some while that, if he told these entities to GET OUT! and meant it, they would have to go because it was his space. He didn’t think he could make them go, but finally one night they woke him up several times running. He’d had a hard day at work, he was expecting another hard day the next morning, and he was tired and irritable. He sat up in his bed and roared, “Get out of here, you fucking bastards!” And they did. He said it was the first time he experienced having an empty space around him in years. He was very pleased with himself. Exorcisims need not be fancy. 🙂

Catch 22 situation: A disassociated part of oneself masquerading as another entity cannot be “cast out”, but can only be dealt with by therapeutic reconciliation. Another, separate entity cannot be dealt with by therapy, and can only be offered healing. If they don’t accept the healing, as they may not (it’s their choice, after all), then they can and probably should be banished. This is simple, but the person saying GO AWAY! has to really mean it, and that is harder. So here we can see why therapists find some of the “voices” intractable, resistant to therapy, and why mediums and ministers bent on “casting out devils” find that it doesn’t work on some of them. One has to be prepared to work in both worlds in order to be effective in these situations.

In most cases, the arousal of kundalini does not produce such severe psychological/psychic problems. However, occasionally, especially in the case of a “spontaneous” arousal of the energy where the person had not been doing the spiritual/psychological and energetic/physical groundwork, they may occur. For someone who hasn’t done the groundwork, as this client hadn’t, the psychic and psychiatric problems are much larger. I’d say that he became wide open on a psychic level, and a pretty low one at that, able to hear and communicate with whatever was around. Like attracts like, and he was fearful, bullying, and obsessional when we began working together — not very nice energies/entities to attract and live with. By the time he had worked on himself for quite a while he was attracting an altogether different kind of being and getting some valuable teaching.

If a person has done the groundwork — the personal growth, the strengthening of subtle and physical bodies — the more psychotic episodes are very unusual and the emotional disturbances are much easier to deal with just by earthing oneself. Also a person who has that kind of background is not going to rush off to an allopathic doctor for either emotional or energy symptoms. They are much more likely to go to their teacher and/or spiritual peers, who will probably recognize what is going on.

Some people seem to think that doctors “should” understand and properly treat such psychic disturbances. I think this is asking a bit much of them. MDs usually do what they are trained to do reasonably well — sometimes extremely well. The big mistake in what we expect of them is ours — as a society we make them into little gods, and if they assume the mantle, believing the propaganda, and then we are stuck with only their limited knowledge when we really need something altogether outside of their field. However, it really is important to not expect more of them than they are actually trained to deliver. I would want an MD to treat my broken leg; I would want a healer to reduce the trauma and to help speed the healing of that leg; and I would want a suitable person (probably a spiritual consultant rather than a conventional therapist) to help me look at what may have led me to break my leg in the first place.

All of these people are specialists, and it would be very difficult for any one person to skillfully combine all of these aspects – there is just too much to learn. I’ve been studying and practicing healing for almost 60 years now, and I don’t begin to know the half of it. I know some things about psychotherapy and am reasonably competent in dealing with some things and at recognizing others that should be referred to other therapists. I certainly would never have had the time to learn medicine as well. People (including doctors) need to be educated to the alternatives so that they can refer appropriately — and that education, I feel, is best done by the people experienced in the alternatives, if only doctors would listen. Some do.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the kundalini rising experience is a good thing. Yogis work for years to achieve it. It is the energy that carries us through to the next natural phase of human evolution. It is there to clear and strengthen our systems – physical, subtle energy, and psychological. Handled well it makes us both both stronger and wiser.

This article originally appeared in Otherworld Arts, 1997, a small bimonthly magazine published by Jessica Macbeth.

Copyright © 1997 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.
Your comments will be read with interest.

Kundalini Rising: The Experience, Part I

I wrote this article many years ago, and am reposting it here just so I can find it to include it in my WooWoo pages (classes on healing and psychic and spiritual development) when I get a chance. However, some of you may find it useful so here we go.

This is in two parts: first, how to recognize and take care of ourselves in a kundalini rising experience, and second, some tips on working with a client with kundalini rising. I’ll post the second part soon after this one.

It has been many years since I went through my own kundalini rising experience, but it isn’t the sort of thing one forgets. An explosion of energy in my root/sacral center hit my feet and the top of my head hard enough to throw the masseur who was working on me against the wall. He clung to the wall with both hands, I clung to the massage table with both hands and all my toes – and I think I remember biting the sheet. Have you ever put an Alka Seltzer or other effervescent tablet in your mouth by mistake? It foams madly and has to run out because you can’t swallow fast enough. Well, I felt like that everywhere inside, and there didn’t seem to be any place for the wild energy to go.

John, the masseur, spent the next hour holding my feet, trying to earth us both, while I lay there and fizzed and fizzed and fizzed. It was months before people stopped getting electrical shocks when they reached out to touch me. And other exciting things happened as well — books leaping off of shelves, lights turning themselves on and off, that kind of thing. Nothing harmful, just a lot of busybody activity from ungrounded psychokenetic energy.

I was fortunate. I knew things about kundalini energy; I’d been reading about it for some months (intuition tries to guide us, if only we will follow). Since then I’ve worked with a number of people going through this process, and learned quite a lot both from them and from other sources. The experience itself is rather like waking up one morning and finding yourself on a roller coaster just headed down that first long dip. Exciting! It certainly can be alarming if you don’t know what to expect, and if you don’t realize that this is a part of a healthy evolutionary development process.

Kundalini usually rises as a result of different events or processes. First, and most likely, is the strengthening of the subtle energy system through meditation, yoga, the practice of healing, some martial arts, or other practices aimed at developing that kind of psychic energy strength. The second most likely cause of arousal is as a result of releasing emotional/structural blocks in the body/mind that have served to repress the energy. Either of these things may, by themselves, result in the rising of the “serpent power”. There is a third possibility as well. Sometimes kundalini rising is triggered by trauma or misguided exercises in a person completely unprepared for it. This can be an extremely difficult experience, as you will understand from the explanation below.

Kundalini rising experiences vary a lot from person to person. They can happen in a sudden, drastic whoosh, or in repeated bursts extending over a longer period of time. Or both. The important thing about recognizing it, is to remember that it is very powerful, a radical change in one’s energy. If a person has managable energy surges and can cope with them with a little extra earthing, it probably isn’t kundalini — or they have been practicing one of the disciplines like kundalini yoga , which often make the process more managable. If they think that they may be having heart failure, becoming psychotic, developing a severe neurological disease, or similar symptoms, it may be kundalini rising. On the other hand, it may be heart failure, psychosis, etc. Tricky.

Often the “main event” of the rising is preceded by a series of “precursor dreams” and by the experience of strong, but unstable energies. The dreams are usually symbolic of the sudden movement of vast energies — such as tidal waves, earthquakes, burning heavens, et cetera. The unstable energies are often powerful surges. They may be experienced first in the legs and pelvis, resulting in strong sensations there. Sometimes this triggers powerful sacral center energies, which may be interpreted by the unprepared as strong sexual drives (that one, as you might suppose, can create a whole range of problems and confusion all on its own). On the other hand, there may be a temporary loss of interest in sexuality while the process unfolds through the higher chakra. There may be sensations of intense heat and/or moments of loss of motor control. There may also be emotional disturbances (see more on this below). What is happening is that the energy in the root chakra, awakened by meditation or healing or whatever, is trying to move upward, where it encounters a block (often in the sacral or solar chakra), and it earths itself through the legs until the block above is released. At that point, the energy may rise explosively and very powerfully.

In traditional yoga, a balanced program was followed to prepare the adept for the kundalini rising experience, which they consider to be an evolutionary step forward for the human nervous system and subtle energy field. Several yogas (body, emotions, mind, and devotional) were all practiced under the close supervision of an experienced teacher. This meant that the student was prepared for the radical changes that occur and also that they were more clear — there was less emotional and mental and physical “pollution” to be stirred up by the rising power. Unfortunately, in the West many have not yet fully accepted that healing, meditation, and practices like yoga and other exercise systems that affect the subtle energies also require continuing personal growth work in order to avoid the worst of these emotional disturbances with the precipitous rising of kundalini.

When the energy rises through the subtle channels and the chakras, it tries to radically open and cleanse the chakras. If a person has been prepared for this by the resolution of emotional blocks and traumas and by the strengthening of the subtle energy channels and physical body, the process is simply a very wild, but often enjoyable ride. However, if the personal growth work has not been done, great emotional disturbance can result — in some cases going so far as to appear to be an acute mental/emotional breakdown or psychosis. If the strengthening of the subtle energy channels and of the physical body has not been adequately accomplished, there can be alarming physical and energetic symptoms, especially in the heart and nervous system. Modern Western medicine is not prepared to cope with any of this, and in fact, may offer treatments (aimed at relieving the symptoms) that work against the real needs of the client. For example, people experiencing kundalini rising will not usually be helped by tranquilizers, beta blockers, anti-depressants or sleeping pills.

There are some standard, routine things we need to do to take care of ourselves in this situation. Most of them are common sense, but a couple are less well known. It helped me to think of what was happening in terms of electricity. Suddenly there was 220 v. running around in a 110 v. system — and the grounding was inadequate. Whatever you have been doing for centering and grounding yourself needs to be done a lot more, and you need to do it repeatedly during the day and when you wake up at night. You may even need to learn or invent some new and better earthing techniques. I spent a lot of time paddling in the sea, which helped wonderfully but is not necessarily practical for everyone.

In such an experience we can expect all sorts of bizarre sensations of energy, trembling, shaking, muscle spasms, et cetera. Dreams of earthquakes, tidal waves, and so on are also common and really have nothing to do with our psychological state. Also, we must expect all sorts of emotional disruption. Don’t take this too seriously (I know it’s hard not to!) because much of this is quickly alleviated when we become more earthed. There is a kind of wackiness (technical term) that goes with unearthed energy that can seem like real psychological disturbances, but disappears as soon as we are grounded again. That is stuff that doesn’t have to be dealt with, because it isn’t “real”. What remains once we are grounded probably is real, but until we are solidly earthed, we won’t really know which is which.

As I said above, this process is very individual, so some of the things I’m suggesting may not be appropriate in specific cases, but this article is just suggestions for first aid.

First, one of the important things is meditation. It is very helpful to meditate 15 minutes a day. This helps to earth and stabilize the energy, especially if you begin and end your meditation with centering and earthing. For this purpose, I recommend a meditation that focuses on the breath as they tend to be inherently grounding.

The “15 minute rule” is very important. That gives just about maximum relaxation, stabilization, and integration. After that, the energy in the system starts to increase, which is just exactly what you don’t want. So 15 minutes, no more, and preferably no less each day helps a lot.

Diet is also important. Are you a vegetarian? If so, it makes it a bit harder, because meat is grounding, and you will need to include more earthing vegetables in your diet. We need to avoid stimulants like sugar and caffeine. Using minimal salt is also a help, because salt and acids (like vinegar in pickles and salad dressing) stimulate the adrenals. Red meat does too, so the lighter meats like poultry and fish are better in general. I’ve been told that a vegetarian should eat a lot of root vegetables — at least, that is supposed to help. (I can’t say from personal experience because I am carnivorous and didn’t have to pay a lot of attention to the grounding qualities of vegetables.)

Exercise helps, but it needs to be moderate and regular. A rule of thumb in dealing with kundalini is to avoid overdoing anything. The system is already overdoing things, and it needs moderation and calmness.

The primary requirement in dealing with this experience is to learn to earth and to integrate this enhanced energy flow. To do this we may, especially at first, need help with earthing the sudden release of these powerful energies. We may also need help with the emotional/mental patterns and malfunctions brought into increased activity and under increased pressure by the rising of kundalini.

As you may guess, it is very helpful to try to avoid making a huge drama about this. The more we can be calm and grounded, the easier, swifter, and more smooth the passage is through all the dreams and other exciting things.

In cultures where kundalini is known and understood by many, people undergoing the experience will usually be encouraged to work closely with a teacher who understands the process and probably to take time from their ordinary life for a retreat while the energy rebalances. In our Western society, we often do not realize that we need to do this and attempt to carry on with all the demands of ordinary life while we try to integrate the kundalini changes. This can be done, but it requires special attention to the things mentioned above like diet, exercise, and meditation. It is also very helpful if we can get time for mini-retreats — occasional days of solitude and quiet. Things like long outdoor walks or working in a garden also are helpful, as is paddling in an ocean or a river. Time spent with nature is never wasted and you may well discover new aspects of nature with your enhanced subtle senses.

The one thing I can say for sure is that the kundalini rising experience is worth having (but I like roller coasters), and the end results of enhanced psychic strength, increased stability, and greater healing ability are well worth going through the turmoil of the transition period. Full integration may take several years — two or three is not excessive.

This article originally appeared in Otherworld Arts, 1997, a small bimonthly magazine published by Jessica Macbeth. Copyright © 1997 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Your comments will be read with interest.

Inner Journeys May Gang Aft Agley

 

I wrote the first part of this over a year ago,and will update it at the end.

My question for this inner journey exploration was “Why am I finding it so difficult to lose weight?”

The Topsie Turvets suggest…

Things need to be looked at from a different angle. Back out of your emotional entanglements, take a deep breath, and look anew. Much of the apparent confusion about your current situation is caused by a faulty point of view.

Get the honest opinions of sensible others, and then re-look at your own. Defensiveness and denial may be causing much difficulty.

Try imagining that you are looking at the situation from the viewpoint of each of the others involved. This is not an exercises in seeing how others “ought” to see things, but in simply understanding what they feel. Words like “he ought to see that…” are not useful at this time.

And don’t be angry with yourself if it turns out you were missing something and need to change your point of view. It shows you are learning and growing and to be congratulated!

Faery blessings on your little toes, for they will carry you into wonderful things!

I’m thinking that perhaps in this case “others” may refer to different aspects of myself — it might be useful to think of them as body, mind, spirit — or perhaps as the chakra system with each chakra an individual entity, linked though it to all the others. I don’t know — it might be something else.

I also am not certain who I need to ask to speak to. I think I’ll draw another card and see if it suggests someone.

The Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies, Morna, says, “The answer to your question is, put simply, love — love given with wisdom and compassion, love without selfishness or possessiveness.”

Morna tells us that giving and receiving love and intimacy in a wide variety of relationships is important at this time. She gives you notice that this is a time to open and heal your heart.

Different aspects of life may well be flowing happily together, healing separations and hurts from the past. Bonding may take place and deep feelings emerge. Changes for the better may occur in all aspects of life, but especially in relationships which are deepening and becoming richer.

You are experiencing love therapy for your heart.

Faery blessings on the loving!

So perhaps it is about Morna. Perhaps it is about loving — loving myself? The best I can say about where I am with that is that I’ve overcome my antagonism with my body, and my body and “I” are currently on moderately friendly but distant terms. I try to take care of myself — but things like nurturing and sleep seem to come after everything else. Right now I’m doing a typical thing. I’m quite tired, having trouble staying awake, but at the same time, here I am trying to do an inner journey because it’s important to know why I don’t take better care of myself! Is this ridiculous or what?

I shall close the computer right now and sleep. And if I awaken during the night, I shall go back to sleep until morning. Then I shall think about this!

But I didn’t do that. Instead I went ahead on to the inner journey:

There is a small garden. I know that Spring lives there. She is waiting for me to come out of winter into her garden. Her other name is Aurealia. There is a prickly hedge around the garden — hawthorn or blackthorn. It has buds, but is not yet blooming. A cold wind blows across the back of my neck. I walk around the garden looking for a way in. No gate. Is it a magic word I need?

I say, “Please, may I come in?”

The hedge pulls apart in front of me, and I walk through. It rustles impatiently. “Thank you,” I say. It closes gently. My grandmother’s “magic words.” The fae love them too.

There is a winding path, edged by tall banks of flowers — hollyhocks, delphiniums, sunflowers, other tall ones I can’t think of the names of. Or don’t know them. I follow the path and from the turns begin to feel that I’m in a maze — not a maze, you can get lost in them. There are no choices to make here — this is a labyrinth instead. One path to the center. It’s a long way, a lot of walking. I’d like to sit and rest, but there is no place to sit down. I look behind me and the path has disappeared, the flowers drawing together. There is only one way to go.

I’m still walking. And thirsty. I don’t see how it can be so far — O, silly me. Of course it can be as far as it wants. Wait. A hollyhock whispers, “It is as far as you make it.” I stop again. My fingers are sticky. I touch one with my tongue to see why — it tastes like honey. Odd. I haven’t touched anything. “No,” a sunflower says, “but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been touched.”

I don’t know what to say to that. I lick the honey off my fingertips. It makes me more thirsty. I should quite like a glass of apple cider vinegar and water. Lots of water. Or cool tea with lemon. I just discovered I am wearing two pairs of glasses hanging on strings around my neck. Did I think that would help me find my way? My way is very plain. I remember that usually I ask an animal to come and guide me to whoever I’m going to meet, which may be Morna, the Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies. Or it might be Spring. Or they may be the same person.

I wonder if I need a guide on this one-way path? As I hesitate, an ostrich steps out of the bushes beside me. “Bother!” he says. “Bless my tail feathers — don’t touch them! Naturally you need a guide. That’s how you know where to go.”

I point out the one-way nature of the path. “Right!” says the ostrich. “Naturally it is one-way — all paths are! So how will you know when to get off the path without a guide? You’ve already gone too far.”

I stop. “Too far? Then why are we still walking? I’m tired and thirsty. Shouldn’t we go back?” I hurry to catch up with him; he’s going quite fast.

“Don’t be silly — it’s one-way. I thought we’d established that — and that all paths are one way. You can never really go back the same path — it is always changing.”

A philosophical ostrich yet!

He stops abruptly and I run into his tail feathers. “Eeeek!” he shrieks and jumps ahead. I didn’t know ostriches could jump that far. I apologize profusely. He grumbles and mutters to himself. “You tell them and tell them, but do they listen? NO! Now my tail feathers are probably crumpled. Botheration!”

“NOW!” he squawks, jumping sideways into the delphiniums.

Theflowers quickly part, obviously annoyed. “No, no,” the ostrich says. “Not my fault. She forgot to call me and missed the proper path, and now we must take a short-cut through here or we’ll wind up on the other side of the moon!”

The delphiniums hiss at me. I didn’t know flowers could do that, but why not? The ostrich and I take a few more steps and we’re suddenly in a small clearing — just big enough for a bench and a chair and a tall lady standing beside the chair, her lovely pale green skirts flaring out around her. I feel quite scruffy in my jeans and with sticky fingers. I hope she doesn’t offer to shake hands.

She has one hand up in front of her face. She is snickering and trying not to let me know it. I would like very much to sit down. I am quite tired and hot and puffed. But I stand there saying nothing, waiting for her to speak.

“Sit,” she commands, between giggles. “Sit. There is a glass of apple cider vinegar and honey and water behind the bench for you. Drink!”

Obediently, I sit and drink. Then I thank the ostrich for being such a good guide. He goes out the other side of the clearing, still muttering to himself.

“It seems like I have not made a very good start here,” I say with my head down and my hair hanging in front of my face.

“That’s all right,” she says. “You’ve made it to the end anyway.” She bops me on the head with a wand I hadn’t noticed before. I immediately go to sleep. I wonder if I’ll dream…

**************

I woke up in my bed at home in the morning. I’d hoped I’d dream, but if I did I could not remember it. At the moment I have no idea what that was all about. Perhaps it will come to me later?

More than a year later, in the wee hours again!

I just read this again, and at last, I get it. That took a while. I have discovered just this moment that when I relax about diet and don’t do anything extreme or be critical, my weight goes slowly down. Also, it makes a difference to get as much sleep as I need, which is more than I think I want or should have.

Both of these things are a surprise — counter intuitive. The reason she bopped me over the head and put me to sleep a year ago was that she was trying to show me something, but I was too tired (and dim) to get it until now.

The reason I finally got it is that I weighed myself this morning and found five pounds gone since I checked a few days ago. And what have I been doing? Sleeping a lot. And eating things my body wants. Not stressing. Hmmmm. I wonder if I’ve finally got it? We’ll see. I’ve been feeling sleepy for a long while, but not letting myself sleep, even though the cats clearly think I’m silly. I guess I’ll go and try it. I’m grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Good night, dear hearts!

Calling All Cells

You know how sometimes you say something you hadn’t even been thinking about? Just spontaneously, as if you’d thought it all along, but didn’t ever know it? What happened last night was something like that, but not exactly. I woke up sometime in the small hours. Pain woke me, but I was very sleepy. This happens pretty often these days and I’ve tried various ways to heal or at least cope with it. This time I heard my half-asleep voice say softly, “Calling all cells! Calling all cells! Time to relax! Be aware. Relax, relax, relax. All cells relax!”

The interesting thing was that the cells seemed to do exactly that! I could feel it happening — tension and pain draining down through my head, body, arms, legs, and out my fingers and toes in waves. I was surprised that it was happening so vividly, so quickly, without what I think of as “me” taking any active part in it.

Now, I’ve had other experiences of rapid energy change in healing and self-healing, in meditation, in dreams, but this seemed different in that it felt so mechanical. I know that after 70-odd years of doing healing, I’ve experienced a lot of strange things and learned a lot of surprising things, but I the more I learn the more I know that I’m just a beginner. Now I need to figure out how to practice this effectively when wide awake as well as nearly sleeping. I wonder if a lot of conscious repetition would drill it into the half-conscious state where it seems to work most effectively and could be automatically accessible when I need it?

I’m curious (of course) — what happens if YOU try it?

© Copyright 2017 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Waking Up, Coughing

I’ve got the Awfuls. It isn’t a cold, it’s a sore throat and maybe bronchitis. The lady at the clinic said it’s viral so antibiotics won’t help. She’s sure it isn’t pneumonia, which is a very good thing. She prescribed sugar-free popsicles and ice cream. They do help temporarily, and so do ice packs on my chest. But I wake up in the night coughing instead of breathing.

So at 3 AM, well after the eclipse, when I wakened trying to turn my lungs inside out, my first thought was what am I doing wrong to catch this? What did I do wrong to make myself so vulnerable? The question immediately billowed out much larger — Where did I go wrong in my life that bought me to this moment? Eclipses seem present questions like that.

From deep in my still half-dreaming mind, the answer immediately came: nothing! This was so shocking that I froze halfway out of bed and nearly fell over.

Nothing? I thought. How could the answer to such a huge question be — nothing at all? I’d thought I’d need a lot of soul searching and would wind up with a long list of answers — mistakes, misbehaviors, wrong decisions, weaknesses, maybe even wickedness. But how could it possibly be nothing? Nothing at all?

I got back into my bed and tried to think about it, but kept slamming into the same brick wall — nothing. Nothing at all. Period.

Finally my mind stopped spinning in the same tight circle enough to let another thought in. It kinda tiptoed as if afraid to startle me again. “What’s the matter with what and where you are?”

“I’m sick and I feel horrible.”

“So? It happens to everyone.”

“But, if we did everything right — right thoughts, right action, right contemplation, and all the rest — surely our bodies wouldn’t do things like this.”

“Yes, they would. You’re not immortal, you know.”

“Of course I know that!”

“Let’s suppose you’re here to learn things. What teaches you the most — the things that go ‘right’ or the things that go ‘wrong’?”

I don’t much like the obvious answer to that. But I also realize that regarding myself as a failure when something goes wrong may just be getting in my way of learning what O Universe is actually trying to teach me. And, no, I’m not anywhere near ultimately understanding what that is. But I’m again reminded that all of the ‘negative’ things we know we don’t want to do to others, are not helpful when we do them to ourselves. Peace and love travel in circles — it’s better not to stop them anywhere.

“O, and by the way, you could be taking a bit better care of yourself. It probably wouldn’t have stopped you from getting this — it’s quite a nasty virus. Think about what you’d do differently for someone else and try doing it for yourself. “