Kundalini Activation: Blessing or Curse?

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Kundalini presenting a book with Om, the Universal sound that is heard when the crown chakra is open, and how to remove obstacles through Ganesh represented as a Swastika in Hinduism © Anne Haack

Kundalini power is a mystery. Kundalini strikes whenever she pleases and once she is awake, she makes you shed old skin you where not even aware of having. Since I was asked about Kundalini Activation recently and she hit me two times, I´ll try to lay out what this awakening experientially means.

 

Many books have been written about Kundalini Awakening, I read a few of them, noticing that several write in theoretical terms rendering account to some other books of a few people who managed to put their experiences into words.

 

However, I still don´t know if there is any characteristics of Kundalini activation that can be generalized, as the two times she hit me where very different and also different to what I heard from other people´s experiences. The only thing I could pin down until now is: Once she is awake you have to change and there is absolutely no possibility to hold onto anything that doesn´t serve you anymore. It´s a mental and energetic shift that is so strong, that old beliefs, habits and ideas simply have to go, otherwise there is quite some havoc. The second thing is she demands action. Sometimes that means completely leaving the comfort zone and doing, saying or acting in a way that might be otherwise challenging, when in fact it actually adds to your life something that might have been missing. As if you´ve been being sleepwalking and once she awakes she slaps you in the face and says: Hello, wake up and open your goddamn eyes too, don´t just walk around like a zombie!

 

The First Awakening – A Bomb Strike & A Dance

The first awakening happened more than ten years ago at the tender age of 25. Up until then I thought I was living the life of my (musical) dreams in Barcelona, that I had everything completely under control and that everything was totally great. Turns out somehow that this was a (mis)belief and my soul was strongly yearning for something else, which I was absolutely not aware of. Such is the power of the mind and its shadows!

 

I´d been practicing yoga for a few years, but then started going to a new shala around the corner of my house everyday. The intensity of the practice and my sensitivity to energies might have added to it, but who knows. I had nothing in mind and no goal in terms of practicing, I wasn´t even spiritually interested at that time. The only thing why I went to yoga was it made me feel good. I did lots of kriyas and maintained a regular meditation practice.

 

One day in Mallorca on holidays with my parents my mother said a sentence, which seemed to be simply a trigger, but that sentence struck me like a lightning bolt, blew my head off and made me see in one split second all of my conditioning. Like a computer spitting out tons of data in no time. After that the shift was undeniable. My mind was blown away and in retrospect I´d say, this was the first time ever I became the observer of myself and what was going inside. What had been pushed aside or down and had been dismissed as not so important was shifted to the forefront and everything that had been believed to be true and very important all of a sudden was completely exposed as utter nonsense that had been picked up from conditioning and playing it safe.

 

After that nothing was ever the same. I started to see through the conditioned behavior of myself and became very critical of what people said or expected from me. Furthermore, there was an upsurge of immense anger, sadness and long forgotten emotions from childhood, that I wasn´t even aware of still existed. I physically and energetically could not go back to University, since this was one of the things that had been exposed in the split second as not my ideal, but the ideal of my parents. I tried one time to go, rationally thinking to at least finish the semester, but it was physically impossible for me to even stay in the building. One of my Uni colleagues said to me: ‘You look like a fallen angel!’ People could see that something had shifted overnight.

 

Another thing that happened was that from one day to the next I had the strong urge to go back to Germany, connecting to my culture. Having lived for 5 years in Barcelona it had never crossed my mind to go back. However, after the incident the urge was strong and almost demanding. Go back to connect to your roots.

 

The next shift was, now that Uni was trashed, that I became a DJ. I had been coming to Barcelona fancying the idea of being a DJ, but one million excuses, that all sounded like plausible truth, had kept me from even trying. I had the equipment at home, I had the music from writing for magazines and doing many interviews with bands, I had the taste for the right tunes, and intuitively putting playlists together, but nothing was ever done about it. Until Kundalini started moving. There she said: The time is now.

 

And God knows how these things come together, but right then, since I had nothing left to do then partying, one of my music colleagues asked me to play at his party at which I was a regular. That went well. Then we threw a massive party at our appartment in Raval and the next thing I know was that I was put on stage in one of the most well-known clubs in Barcelona playing for 1000 people that went bonkers. It was almost too much to take for my heart. And this time I could literally see all the excuses, dismantled in ‘not being interested in this DJ thing’ sneaking back into my mind. The ego´s fearful voice has it´s own way to keep you from anything that´s meant to be yours. I could have cancelled any time before the gig, but then I went and basically everything went by itself. There were special effects that I had no idea how they happened and at some point I wasn´t there playing anymore, everything was just one. The people dancing, me pressing some buttons, the music, the atmosphere, total ecstasy.

 

However, getting used to this massive shift was not easy. The rational mind wants to keep things under control. The Kundalini wants to let every thing go and erase every setting. A burn-out from overworking myself in late shifts was sneaking itself in too and my mind was still trying to figure out what was what and why all of a sudden things had changed so drastically and other things where falling apart. Friendships, the idea about how I wanted my life to be, where I wanted to live.. all gone. I was still trying to logically make sense of it and trying to behave as usual, although nothing felt usual. At the same time I discarded the whole yoga and spirituality nonsense and went to the gym instead. No teacher I spoke to, no idea about gurus at that time, no idea about Kundalini awakening, apart from that they told us in each class ‘Imagine a snake going up from the base of the spine to the skull’, which I never really understood anyhow. But here you go, imagine a snake going up your spine and she might just do.

I started debating with myself if to stay in Barcelona or if to really go back to Berlin, rationally and logically trying to figure out the right answer. Such a difficult task. The rational mind says one thing, the irrational Kundalini voice says the opposite. And nobody outside of me had a clue either what was going on.

 

Side Effects of the Awakening

Physically and mentally there were reactions too. For a year or so, I couldn`t think straight, couldn´t keep appointments and timing was impossible and calculating also became difficult. It is said that Kundalini does not necessarily go straight up to the crown, she can also go to the left or right of the brain, which then creates a lot of mental chaos. It might have been that or my resistance to the drastic change that was asked from me.

 

Physically, I was in pain too, though it wasn´t exactly bodily pains you could locate, just the whole body was somewhat aching. As if I wasn´t in my body at all, maybe the soul had left. A depression entered, because nobody could understand what had happened with me and most people simply turned away. My family showered me with disbelief of my symptoms, as if I was making that up voluntarily. My mother afterwards said: ‘I didn´t think anyone could have a burn-out with 25.’ Let alone a Kundalini awakening, which I didn´t mention, since I didn´t know until a few years later and some research on the subject it might have been that. Plus making the connection that imagining snakes floating around in the spine and doing intense yoga every day might have done something.

 

After finally moving back to Berlin, I went to see doctors to seek help, but they couldn´t do much. I felt overall quite miserable, as if dying and being stoned to death as there was nobody and nothing to hold on to. Basically going through hell.

 

  • Do you have sleeping problems?
  • No.
  • Do you get up easily in the mornings?
  • Yes.
  • So then you don´t have depression, try some yoga.
  • I have been doing yoga for years, it´s not that! I still feel really, really bad overall.

 

In the end even the psychologist couldn´t help, so I decided I had to find a way to put myself together again on my own. Whining and complaining that the world doesn´t understand only works for so much time. After that you get bored of your own misery and seek change. What to do. So I started with positive affirmations, writing positive outcomes for situations in my journal, listened to guided meditations every night and did a chakra meditation every morning. It is said that Kundalini Awakening activates and opens all of the chakras. Probably simply releasing all the shadows that have been hiding in there so that with this new found awareness you can work with them and clean up the mess. Maybe that´s the reason why I´m working so much with the chakras now and find them so easy to read in other people.

 

A few years went into the land in which I constantly observed myself and asked myself: If you had one more year to live what would you do? The answers to this question where often irrational, but seemingly the ones that made my heart sing. Soul balm. And from there things slowly started shifting. It was as if learning life in a new way. Life always takes care of itself if one is fearless.

 

After moving back and forth between Barcelona, Berlin and Vienna, the uprootedness of a Kundalini awakening (as she leaves the ‘root chakra’ to go all the way up to the ‘crown’) is really something to be conscious about, I finally made the decision to stay in Berlin and finish studies anyhow. With that decision, this time consciously, a new-found grounding came in. A direction was there and with that a structure, which was so desperately needed. The structure basically gave the chaotic mind time to assemble itself, while the other part of the mind was employed in following logical steps. Good.

 

Back in Berlin, I found a yoga teacher that resonated so deeply with my heart that every class I attended became a guidance on the path and from there things became so much easier, lighter and clearer.

 

Everything came back to normal with a deep sense of grounding, with DJing, art and teaching jobs, everything in flow. Nothing Kundalini like would show up or make me think too much about it again. Until a few years later I met someone in India, who told me ‘Baba, your massages are so good because your Kundalini is fully active’. He also told me that I´d have psychic abilities and would be reading people’s future in the future. Which I thought of as purely ridiculous at that time.

 

Healing Through Kundalini

Anyhow, fast forward a few years, having entered the healing path next to yoga, the energy body got cleaned more and more, alcohol, meat, fish, eggs just fell away by themselves, the personal practice became longer and stronger and slowly got replaced by meditation. In a time of a new emerging shift, which again seemed to slowly question me where the path was leading, I found a power spot in the Himalayas, which is as dear to my heart as the yoga teacher who put me back on track. Pure peace.

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Shivalingam with Kundalini Serpent
© Anne Haack

The Second Awakening – Vibration

Sitting there every day for a couple of hours, coupled with a strong morning practice of yoga and pranayama, seemingly had an effect on the energy system. Again, there was no intention or goal other then living a happy life and letting go of karma through the practice. On the last day after coming for three weeks, before leaving for a few workshops to Sri Lanka, she struck again. This time completely different. After sitting for two hours waiting for the Punditji to start chanting, the moment the mantra set in, tears started flowing down my cheeks. I wasn´t crying though, just tears started flowing freely. Then the whole body started vibrating. Not much, but subtly all over, a vibration that is impossible to imitate by oneself all over the body. At the same time the breath started changing and became so much deeper that it was impossible to keep breathing through the nose. I had to open the mouth to breathe. Here I understood, why in tantra they alway say ‘Breathe through open the mouth!’ Once there is so much prana flowing through the body, there really is no other way than that.

 

Right in this moment a young guy, Indian, Nepalese or Tibetan?, who had sat further away next to the Shivalingam, came to sit right in front of me guiding the process with his hands, as if guiding the cobra up and down through the air. Where he came from and how he noticed, I don´t know, but he was there divinely orchestrated, as long as it took. The unknown master of the session. The male polarity to activate the female Shakti. Tantra. The tourist group that he´d come with was seemingly holding the space, knowingly or not. It seemed to last for an hour or so, and the only thing I could do or ‘not do’ was to observe as the breath was changing, as the whole body starting sweating and as there was nothing else to do than to let it happen. Coincidentally or not, the Shivalingam that he was sitting in front of first has a golden Kundalini wrapped around it.

 

When the process was complete, he made a silent prayer and left with the group. It took me a few minutes to assemble, then I went to take a bath in Ganga. It felt as if even the water around me was vibrating. Again the mind was somewhat blown away, just this time a lot more still, leaving an open space, instead of last times radical upsurge of insights and old emotions. I had a meeting scheduled for later the day, which was impossible to attend. Coincidentally, an astrologer had just told me the same week that I was in a period that was finishing something (through spiritual planet Jupiter) that had started more than 9 years ago. India, everything here is divinely orchestrated.

 

Going to Sri Lanka the next day felt out of tune and teaching yoga there was something so unfitting that I was getting the sense she wanted me to shed skin again, something had to shift, something had to go. After a few weeks I started feeling better about the teaching however, and the response from students made me consider to keep it going. But underneath was still the feeling that this was somehow not the way I should be expressing myself to the world right now.

 

So what is next?

It´s been five months since then and I can till feel the shift. Something is morphing. While last year when I started meditating in India I felt in suspense, I now feel like nothing. Nothing much to talk about, no concrete plans, no projects, no identity to promote. Letting plans go and drift away rather. No idea what´s next. Nothing. Happy about day to day. Still things are happening and a few things are done, but basically spontaneously, not with the urge of planning, effort or too much thinking it through. No marketing tricks. No logic. No big plans. Just being here now.

 

A few things I needed to let go already. This time I´m reacting faster, which makes it a lot easer to transition. Whatever is out of alignment is simply not here to stay, done. And – she is asking me to bring the music back, again. And – again she asks me to connect with my roots. With my family, which through all the miraculous changes that have happened since the first blow, is fully supportive now. Totally aligned. As if the first stroke was to show the misalignment, misalign it a bit more so that change was inevitable and now everything has shifted into it´s right place. A miracle.

 

The DJ, which had become so abandoned the last few years, is pressing forward. Yoga playlists are not enough anymore. As if she is saying: You had enough time to rest and go all shanti planti, now come back! The urge, the demand, that this has to be a form expression now is, just as ten years ago, very clear. It´s a physical feeling that this is what is needed now. No holding back. Maybe just momentary, maybe in a new way, who knows.

 

Kundalini likes to dance. And to move. And to make others move.

She is strict, she is demanding, she knows no mercy.

She says this is what has to be done now, no looking back, no doubting, no maybe.

Just do it.

Now.

And don´t question anything I ask from you.

When you follow, then you know freedom.

If you don´t, don´t whine and complain about the pain.

 

***Side Note: Some people have severe side effects on the physical side from an pre-mature Kundalini Awakening through too intense practice or through someone leading it from the outside. One person wrote to me and said she was feeling extremely hot all over the body and as if her head was coming off the neck, physically very painful. Others can get severe mental problems. Kundalini is no joke and if you think about ‘getting it activated’, think first why and secondly if this is the most healthy thing you can do to yourself. If she is meant to move she will, there is no need to force it. I read once that even Krichnamacharya had severe side effects from Kundalini Awakening.

On that note, I would not trust anyone who claims he can activate Kundalini for you. Your energetic body and your mind (meaning will power and understanding to navigate a great shift) have to absolutely clear in order to surf the wave, otherwise you´ll easily drown. Some people say they activate Kundalini, when in fact they probably just give a Reiki attunment or some other sort of energy activation, which is not was Kundalini is. In Reiki and other energy channeling practice you receive energy from the Universe, in Kundalini Activation your own innate energy is activated to move through you. But in order to hold this sudden activation your whole body, being the container, has to absolutely clean, energetically strong and mentally clear. Not everyone is at a level of practice or lifestyle to be truly able to receive this.

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