THE MANIFESTATIONS AND CAUSES OF SPIRITUAL CRISIS
(Just a reminder for those interested in the subject there is an excellent movie called Crazywise showing at 7pm, 24th of April at Montecito Hall. See flyer below.)
Last week's blog was on the various manifestations of Kundalini rising. Its important to know that one does not want to have a full blown Kundalini experience which can be devastating. A spiritual crisis can occur from overzealous involvement in various forms of spiritual practice which open up access to the "Field." A Vegan or vegetarian diet can facilitate the predicament. The idea is to slowly raise the Kundalini up the hierarchy of chakras and gently energize and balance them as well as their energy channels. A life long, dedicated spiritual practice is essential for this. For practitioners of Kundalini yoga this is the intention although many would prefer their practice to be more dramatic. Fortunately most of the time it is not. It is often in those who are spiritual neophytes that this serpent power can run rampant. In the last blog we discussed mostly the more positive, transformational aspects of Kundalini awakening like those described by yogis and shamans. This week's blog is on the more adverse presentations that occur with no apparent Kundalini phenomena although the mechanism may still be important. Involvement in shamanic rituals especially those involving entheogens or mind altering plants may also be responsible, as may substance abuse. Clearly there will be many patients who have a crisis because they do have a psychosis and need treatment. They will require psychiatric care and medication.
DISSOCIATION It is important to know that the Kundalini does not always appear to operate in case of spiritual emergency or crisis. Sometimes Dissociation can be the mechanism. The human condition may demand that for survival we dissociate from what is happening around us when it is extremely traumatic. Soldiers in dire situations sometimes Dissociate and carry out extreme acts of bravery almost without knowing it - in a sense they are no longer "there" but somewhere else. This is often well portrayed by Hollywood war movies when the disastrous situation becomes quite surreal and the director actually captures the mood of Dissociation on film. The same mechanism can occur in children who have suffered sexual, physical or even severe verbal abuse. It also occurs in those involved in horrendous Satanic cults. Anysevere traumatic situation which is unbearable can precipitate this survival mechanism. The Flight or Fight reaction also includes Freezing and Feigning Death - possible Dissociation should be added to these four. Just as Kundalini is a catalyst for crossing the veil between worlds and entering a "non local Field" of possibilities, Dissociation can do the same thing. This is why those who have been through extremes of trauma also have the ability to access the Field and have paranormal or psychic experiences and gifts.
Any of the factors in the figure below can cause Dissociation (as well as soul sickness and even soul loss.) Under these circumstances the victim may also begin to access the spirit world. S/he then may begin to get downloads from the Field which, somewhat like the internet, is open to both light and dark forces. It is hard to predict who will get what and from which source.
The person's weakest energy system or chakra will usually be the most vulnerable to these energetic or vibrational effects - good or bad. Even if there is no malevolent intent the effects can still be very disturbing.
Dissociation can be a gift if it can be channeled into receiving non local information from the positive rather than the negative side of the Field. Hence the person may be labelled schizophrenic, bipolar, psychotic etc, or a gifted channel or talented psychic. Indigenous societies are adept in channelling the right energies in the best directions shamanically and preventing negative entities from intruding. In contrast our medical paradigm serves to suppress the dynamic with pharmaceuticals and inhibit spiritual transformation and growth.
"Out there beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a Field. I will meet you there."
The Field like the internet is value neutral. Would that the sufferer meets Rumi out there rather than Lucifer.
Causes of Dissociation
MANIFESTATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS Having a spiritual crisis is a little like getting a complex disease with many possible manifestations. There are conditions like toxic mold, Lyme disease and others that are very confusing to the medical profession because the symptoms do not fit neatly into any specific category. Many systems in the body are attacked and this can be confusing. Often the weakest system is the most vulnerable. Unless one thinks of it one will miss the diagnosis. The same is true for Spiritual Crisis. Eventually spiritual "dis"-ease can lead to organic disease but initially there are no organic problems. The Southern African indigenous healer (Sangoma or Nyanga) is fortunate in being able to diagnose a spiritual illness either with divination ("The Bones",) trance possession or even following a dream. Frequently sufferers in Southern Africa with a spiritual disease are evaluated by the medical profession only to be told that they have nothing wrong with them - that they areconfabulating or are crazy. On going to see a sangoma they will be correctly diagnosed and treated effectively spiritually rather than with anti-psychotic drugs. This is frequently relevant to a shamanic calling, the Wounded Healer archetype and what is called in South Africa "The Ancestor Sickness." The client or "patient" then may have to undergo a rigorous initiation called "Thwasa" before becoming a Sangoma.
These sufferers may also be having one or more of the following;
Dreams of rivers. lakes, ocean and water. Psychic dreams. Psychic and paranormal revelations - just knowing things that cannot usually be known. Buzzing in the ears (tinnitus.) In indigenous societies a "stroke," paralysis. Migraine/headaches, neck pain and other somatic manifestations. Dreams of dismemberment, being torn apart by wild animals, traveling into the underworld or mythical realms.
On the other hand spiritual counsellors in the West may want to know - have there been?
Episodes of unitive consciousness or "Oneness Experiences" (Maslow's "Peak Experiences".) Vibrational energy moving through the body and especially up the spine, tingling, burning or heat sensations. A crisis of psychic opening with paranormal downloads, past-life experiences or de ja vu. Communications with spirit guides and "channeling" or the more devastating possession states - light or dark. Near-death types of experiences (NDEs.) Visitations, hallucinations, visions, hearing voices and are these useful or chaotic. And even close encounters with UFOs and alien abduction experiences.
THE NEXT FEW BLOGS WILL BE ON SPIRITUAL AWAKENING AND CRISIS Last week's blog on the Wounded Healer Archetype is really about a primal spiritual crisis which has been on the planet since the beginning of time. This crisis turns the potential "healer" inward so that s/he can actualize a difficult rite of passage or hero/ines journey to become a shaman (but also a seer, guru, healer, musician, artist etc - all of these subcategories being part of a broader visionary archetype.)
Spiritual awakening usually occurs as a result of vibrational energy moving up the body in a positive and sometimes a seemingly negative way. At the end of the day, however, if channeled correctly, no matter how drastic, it usually turns out to be positive. This type of illness is poorly understood among most mental health professionals. It requires nurturing in such a way that it leads to spiritual transformation. Instead, however, it is usually misdiagnosed as psychosis requiring administration of powerful anti-psychotic medications which block any further spiritual growth.
Psychiatrist Lee Sanella has written a seminal book on the modern day misunderstandings of the Kundalini crisis.
Like a Near Death Experience which also leads to spiritual transformation Kundalini rising can be pleasant and even ecstatic but also dark, drastic and extremely difficult to manage. With more and more Westerners doing intense forms of meditation the phenomenon is becoming more prevalent. I have dealt with Kundalini in earlier blogs but some repetition and background is needed.
Kundalini is potential primal feminine energy residing at the base of the spine. The intention is to move this Shakti power gently up the spine balancing the two main Sun and Moon energy channels that spiral around the Central channel and that energize the seven Chakras. The Kundalini takes the form of a serpent. All indigenous Southern African shamans acknowledge a snake like energy which resides in the lower belly that is key to spiritual power and sangoma and Bushman initiation. The Zulu call it Umbilini and the San Bushman call it Num. The phenomenon is universal and not unique to Eastern traditions.
Normally energy in the sun and moon energy channels oscillates up and down these two "nadis." However, when balanced with spiritual practice they can move into the central channel and mobilize the Shakti, Kundalini power to ascend. If it travels all the way up the central channel to the crown or seventh Chakra it unites with Shiva the male principle leading to an ecstatic or a Onenes Experience. This occurs when the Knower (the seeker,) the Known (the object being observed) and the process of Knowing fuse into one thing - also called Unity consciousness. The observer "becomes" the object or the music or the sunset etc s/he was "knowing."
This experience can take many forms depending on culture, upbringing, belief or religion. Below are two examples; the Bushman experience of Kia which is similar to the Eastern Samadhi or Nirvana; and a healing experience rendered to a woman in the Amazon with the help of Ayahuasca - the vision vine of the jungle. Heat, trembling or vibrations moving up the spine and in the body are the hallmarks of this phenomenon. Kia is the Bushmen equivalent of Samadhi.
This photo of a Bushman rock painting demonstrates this vibrating energy moving up the body.
The description of De Wys's spontaneous healing of her breast cancer by a curandero (shaman)
The typical Kundalini symptoms include; heat rising up the spine, creeping, tingling, vibrating, shaking, paralysis, falling, light experiences, inner sounds like bees buzzing in the ears, smells, an empty mind, out of body experiences, control of fire and other paranormal phenomena including channeling and in shamanic instances shape shifting into power animals. Mudras (hand gestures) and krias (spontaneous movements often resembling yoga postures) do not only occur among Yogis but Westerners too. Experiences of past lives and de ja vu can also be part of the experience for some.
The master guru can induce a Kundalini experience in a devotee by just touching the spine. Bushman shamans are known to shoot invisible arrows of "Num" to help the dancer trance and travel out into the spirit world for non local information with his or her "Kia."
For the Yogi this awakening is a hero/ine journey as it is for anyone who has come through the ordeal.
They can also be extremely unpleasant and include; traveling into the underworld, demonic encounters, dismemberment or being torn apart by wild animals, and death like experiences. This can be the classical crisis of the wounded healer/shaman.
The shamanic personality is typically a wounded healer who has come through this ordeal in order to help and heal the tribe. Psychotic breaks, seizures and other phenomena are also reported and all of these result in s/he having psychic powers once the energy has been channelled through formal initiation. This ultimately leads to the helping and healing of others. Indigenous cultures are expert in managing this phenomenon which is usually controlled and suppressed by Western physicians who are ignorant of the mechanism.
In the case of the Yogi the energy is channelled towards enlightenment and self-realization.
For those who may have travelled to sacred places of power such as the water at Lourdes in France the energy is coming from spirit to heal the believer. Faith and frequently Kundalini like expressions are a prerequisite to the countless numbers of spontaneous remissions of incurable diseases that have occurred here and similar places of spiritual power (eg. John of God.)
The person who has come through the trial by this type of initiation is usually never the same after. Forgiveness, compassion, love, trust, surrender, gratitude, a greater sense of meaning, no fear of death, equanimity, contact with spirit guides, scripted dreams and the Field manifest.
Maslow's Peak Experience is a manifestation of the same thing and can be induced by many events but as described by him commonly; childbirth, dancing, drumming, music, spiritual practice sex, mind altering substances and immersing in nature.
An example of a nature driven onness experience is this description by Bunnell one of the first white people to enter Yosemite valley.
“Haze hung over the valley, light as gossamer and clouds partially dimmed the higher cliffs and mountains. This obscurity of vision increased the awe with which I beheld it and as I looked a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being and I found my eyes in tears with emotion.” Dr. L. Bunnell
Some of the paranormal benefits include; increasing synchronicity in their lives, superfluidity or getting into the "zone," telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance/audience/sentience, remote viewing or diagnosis, distant healing and a richer "instructional" dream life.
Most people have had similar experience but sadly we either forget, trivialize or rationalize them instead of bringing them home to our hearts,
This Candelabra, a Tree of Life like symbol in Paracas in the Peruvian desert was a place of initiation for shamans. The Celts also have a Tree of Life that is nature bound as are they.
The most popular energy map is the Chakra system of the Yogis. More mysterious - the Tree of Life of Kabbalah.
For those interested I recommend this upcoming event on the topic
April 24th, 7pm, Montecito Hall, 1469 E. Valley Rd.
To listen to the song click to highlight and then download and play
"Thy eternal providence has
appointed me to watch over the life and death of thy creatures. May the love
for my art actuate me at all times; may neither avarice nor miserliness, nor
the thirst for glory or for great reputation engage my mind... May I never
forget that the patient is a fellow creature in pain ... I have been sanctioned
to care for the life and health of mankind."
court physician to Saladin in the eleven hundreds.
The key factor about the primal wounded
healer archetype is that the wound turns the shaman inward. It is often a
"wound" or crisis, physical or psychological that is required to
force a medicine man or woman on a journey of transformation, or a "hero's
journey." Whereas many shamans become healers because of this archetypal
wound, most physicians are attracted to medicine for other reasons such as,
altruism, power, prestige, financial considerations, security etc. Any wound in
the physician is usually the result of the training process rather than the
reason he or she embarks on the career. It is secondary rather than primary.
When it comes to indigenous healing it is
frequently a physical disability, a severe illness, an accident, a psychotic
break or similar health catastrophe that turns the future shaman’s focus
inward, enabling him to heal him or herself. This leads later to an ability to
go “in,” in order to heal others as well. The medicine man or shaman having “been there,” is much more likely to be
empathetic and become directly involved with the feelings and emotions of the
patient. Medical students are taught at all times to
remain objective and detached from their patient’s suffering.
In the case of the wounded shamanic healer, the wound creates inner growth, and self-awareness, and endows the healer with
a greater appreciation of the suffering of others.
who are unconscious of their own wounds or cannot deal with them are more
likely to ignore the potential of a balanced healing relationship. The
healer who recognizes the inner healer within is able to see both the
wounded and healthy part of the patient, just as he can see the wounded part of
himself. This help is always given in
humility knowing there is a mysterious force at work with which we need to
align. For millennia healers have paid homage to this inner healer. In the
current era where the seduction of technology is so compelling, we need to
remember who actually is doing the healing. Shamans realize that they do not fully understand the mysteries of healing and
work within this framework. They pay attention to psychic forces and uses
intuition as well as intellect, compassion as well as their shamanic skills. They recognize that each patient is different, and may require a
different psychological approach to trigger his or her specific inner healer.
It is just as crucial to understand which patient has the disease as it is to
know which disease the patient has.
THIS LAST BLOG ON DEATH FOCUSES ON THE ASTRAL OR IMAGINAL REALM
When we pass over to the other side most of us will go to one of the countless vibrations in this realm where we first will reconcile with our karma. Those that have a confused, sudden or traumatic death may end up earth bound which will retard this process of reincarnation to perfect the soul's journey.
We go to that vibration where the soul feels most comfortable. Hence higher vibrations in the Causal become unavailable to us. Those in the Causal retain free will and can travel to the lower vibrations but not vice versa. Usually we end up with spirits that have already past on who are of our family, culture and religion - in other words we retain our "blood root."
There are a few options from the Astral but be aware that our understandings of how things really work are very incomplete. In the Astral we retain our astral body and when we see our guides in dreams or visitations they usually look the same as they looked in real time with the apparel that they now prefer to "wear." They may look younger or older, be resplendently dressed or not, happy or sad. They retain their personas and are who they always were and may retain their idiosyncrasies.
Since the Astral is a school for the higher Self some of their misconceptions may have changed. For instance someone with a dogmatic religious belief in life may become much more tolerant. Other rigid attitudes they had may also change. Astral spirits have the huge advantage or being non local in time and space so that they can travel to any location to check out conditions and warn the living of upcoming events. They usually do this by scripting dreams but also through visitations or even verbal instruction. One may be driving down the freeway and decide to change lanes but hear a voice that says "NO!" This kind of message can save one's life. They also have access to our past lives (Book of Life or Akashic records) and know what our unique destiny is. They can become guides to keep us in line with our Divine purpose.
Since there is no time on the other side it may take years for someone to become a guide. My favorite uncle showed up at least a decade after his death as a guide especially with reference to the sangoma path. Their tasks are well defined and often very specific according to the skills they had in their life time and to what purpose they are designated. For example a business person in spirit will come with that kind of help but may not venture to give other information.
Since they are not perfected beings like those in the Causal their information is not always correct. Those in a lower vibration may have an agenda to influence situations in favor of the living loved one which could be harmful to their karma and to others they are trying to disadvantage to help their loved one.
Usually the help given is in the form of warnings of what not to do which is highly accurate and even life saving. They cannot influence your free will which is the cosmic law. Therefore when someone makes a request of their guides they have to be very specific. They cannot tell us what to do with our lives but can assist when it comes to specific questions such as; should I buy this house, go into this business venture, marry this person etc ???
The Ancestors tell us...
...With their help we are able to receive "supernatural information from a Field of possibilities.
Some of the options we have once we have reconciled with our karma include;
Reside in the Astral, become a guide and reincarnate later.
Reincarnate sooner after reconciling with our karma. Usually we choose a family who is best equipped to help us correct our previous deficiencies. This is not always a happy situation since we will be challenged with the very dysfunctions we need to correct which we failed to do in the past.
Sometimes we can graduate to a higher vibration by doing service on the other side or even improve our vibration and reincarnate next time at a higher spiritual level.
Buddhists work hard to inherit a reincarnation where they can advance their spiritual practice or better still inherit the "Pure Land"
or the Causal.
We have no options in the Astral. Having lost free will it is decided for us.
The dead can assist the living in becoming congruent with their destiny but this requires a spiritual practice which includes our ancestors and guides. Remember a "foreign" guide may well have been someone from a remote past life who loved you and still loves you. Love is the catalyst which gives them the desire to help and also the facility to more easily cross the veil between worlds.
At the end of the day preparation for death must also include living consciously and embracing truth, love, spiritual awareness as well as acknowledging the importance of karma and the power of dreams in communicating with the spirit world. Spiritual awareness encompasses subordinating ego, judgment and desirous attachment to the higher Self.
If you want to review how best to connect with your spirit guides go to www.davidcumes.com and download that video.
Click to highlight the link and download - then play
THE NEXT TWO BLOGS ON DEATH ARE ON THE ASTRAL REALM
Rumi said; "Out there beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a Field - I will meet you there." For most of us accessing the Field is quite difficult and dreams may be the easiest way of gleaning information from this vast source of the Unknowable and its multiple realms. Even Einstein said that we would know a little more than we know now but that the real nature of things we would never know - never! The Zohar states that as sentient beings we live in a 1% universe. The other 99% is beyond our limited perception. Moreover, there is no time in the Field. Einstein also acknowledged that the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion albeit a stubborn one. Our spirit guides are non local in time and space which gives them a huge advantage in being able to provide information that we are not privy to. They live in the moment in a timeless space but have no free will of their own. They can, however, assist the living through their free will. Those perfected beings in the Causal realm retain free will. All of us have guides in differing vibrations in the Astral who can help us. We too may be guides one day soon. Some of the ways to facilitate getting into the Field are with spiritual practice, opening our hearts and paying attention to our dreams (the topic of the talk in July.) The benefits include spiritual transformation, equanimity, access to paranormal information, guidance and healing. There are many paths to spirit that do not have to embrace Eastern methods of going inward or shamanic techniques. Even walking on the beach, playing the guitar, dancing or anything done for its own sake and for the purpose of going inward can qualify.
Our guides are there to help us negotiate our way to a higher vibration and eventually to spiritual perfection. Most of them reside in the Astral and are reconciling with their karma before they reincarnate. The easiest way for us to access them is through dreams. There are several dream paradigms; subconscious, Jungian and Yogic but scripted dreams by our ancestors are usually not even considered a possibility.
Our guides keep us in line with our unique destiny and purpose on the planet if we ask to receive their help.
They will also be there to help when we cross over after death.
In next week's blog we will talk more about the Astral realms.
The Ancestors stress that time cannot be found but must be made - we need to be careful of how we spend the hour and beware of what we taste and where we immerse. Time is short to ready ourselves to meet death skillfully with good karma.
A PRELUDE TO THE TALK ON DEATH AT C.L.L. SCHOTT CENTER - MAY 20th
Today's blog will focus on the Causal Realm
Our Spirit Guides await out attention and our "asking to receive." As mentioned in last week's blog this requires a devoted spiritual practice in order to "spiral into existence spirits that are needed."
Spirit guides reside in multiple different vibrations and go to the vibration they have earned by their karma. Most of us will not receive a higher order of information coming from enlightened beings in the Causal (saints, boddisatvas, gurus, visionaries, seers etc.) If we are fortunate enough to download information from the Causal we can ourselves become "seers" and as Sri Aurobindo teaches...
According to the great Yogi Patajali there are five sheaths of consciousness seen in the figure below. As we go inwards toward the center of Ananda or Bliss where we come into direct contact with our Higher Self we reach increasingly refined levels of vibration. The Mind Sheath (Narrow Mind) is our monkey mind. This primitive mind chatters persistent messages of delusion to us and together with Ego gets in the way of us attaining a Causal vibration. The Causal body presides in the Intellectual sheath (also called Buddha mind or Spacious mind.) If we can attain this vibration in our life time it is likely we will retain it when we pass over. This, however, is extremely difficult and as Kabir says; "Friend there are very few who find the way." Without a dedicated spiritual practice it will be almost impossible to subordinate Monkey Mind and Ego to the Higher Self.
As the Ancestors teach there are as many pathways in death as there are in life. Each spiritual or cultural traditions will have different descriptions of where they go to when they pass over. I think that is why the Dalai Llama tells us to keep our respective religions or traditions because that mind set is likely to propel us into the realm where we feel most comfortable. He stresses that Buddhism is a tool rather than a religion. The yogis say the same thing. There is no contradiction between between using Buddhist or Yoga technology and having one's own belief or retaining or religion. When it comes to the realm of enlightened beings it will look different for each according to their belief system; Buddhists will go to the "Pure Land," Yogis to the "Causal," Kabbalists to the "Garden of Eden" and so on. It will be what they always imagined it to be.
We are propelled by our karma, love, truth and imagination to the realm where we belong. Our state of mind and vibration when we cross over is critical.
To yogis the Causal is a bliss state of pure consciousness where the soul can go to dream. The soul can gain knowledge here or not in eternity, One can reincarnate to do service or not. It is also called Moksha, liberation, the absolute, nothingness. It is nameless, Netti or "not that."
Here there is no duality, no body, mind or ego and no female or male unlike the Astral.
Kabbalists call their equivalent the Garden of Eden. There were two Trees in the Garden; the Tree of Knowledge which got us kicked out and the Tree of Life through which we can reattain Eden if we use it as a path for conscious living. Spirits in the Garden retain free will unlike the Astral and can do service from the other side actually even more effectively that when they were alive. Being non local in space and time is a huge advantage for these "quantum"guides.