A friend of mine who believes herself awakened by an “Awakened Kundalini,” often questions my emphasis on loving another person or other entity as a way of awakening. She says that if it just took love, everyone would be awakened. She says both of her daughters and their husbands are deeply in love, yet none of them ever talk about the Self, and none are “awake.” Instead she talks about awakened Kundalini as her path, which arrived by grace. She did nothing to awaken it, she claims.
She claims everyone experiences Kundalini phenomena, such as flushes, body and presence energies, the Kundalini snake, vibrations, visions, bliss, etc., but says in most people, it is not awakened and transporting the individual towards enlightenment as is her awakened Kundalini. She also declares nothing she ever did, in any way, caused the awakening of her Kundalini—it was pure grace.
She discounts two years of listening to Robert’s Satsangs 10 hours a day, listening to endless chanting, and being with a Jnani/Bhakti guru for a couple of years as instrumental in her awakened Kundalini, even though she was deeply in love with someone for two years during this time and she constantly practiced self-inquiry.
From my viewpoint, what happened to her “feels” like grace because her practices opened her awareness to deeper levels of her own psyche and consciousness, including what I call the Subtle Body level and also Turiya itself where the primal life-energies of sentience reside.
At this deeper level—identifying with this deeper level of Consciousness—makes one feel like an entirely different kind of being than before: an ordinary human occupying what Nisargadatta calls a “food body,” and what Harding calls a “Sentient Meatball.”
This deeper level, in a way, has nothing to do with the more superficial level of mind, thought, image and emotions left behind which function on the gross body/world level.
Her identity shifted to Consciousness itself and she feels that anything she did on her previous gross body identification level could in any way, have caused her life now to focus on Shakti, which she felt was now alive and serving her.
But, you see, from my viewpoint she has merely changed her primary focus and identification to a deeper level of Consciousness, one that leaves her old world and life behind.
In no way is it possible that this spontaneous awakening came just by grace; it came by long effort of gradual surrendering, self-inquiry, ecstatic chanting, and pondering deep issues. It feels like grace alone because that is what that level of Consciousness feels like when you identify with it: great humility, great gratitude, great love and wisdom, far beyond anything ever encountered when identified only with the body, emotions and thinking. Grace is that level which has a completely different feel than the conditioned world and mind left behind.
In one way though she is correct. Everyone experiences Kundalini. Everyone experiences love. And a few spontaneously look inwardly, contemplating the levels of inner awareness, what I call their spiritual mansion of many rooms and splendors.
But her insights created some new understanding in me. I had been advising students just to love as completely and deeply as possible as a method of getting into the deepest part of one’s Self: Turiya, or the love/bliss body, also known by its existential qualities of existence- knowledge- and bliss. But the love that awakened me to the Existential, Manifest Self was not an ordinary love; it was an extraordinary love that grew day by day to an unimaginable intensity accompanied by huge streams of inner energies, love, the descent of Grace and seeing God in a manifest form within me, powering me.
So, I have to use the term “Awakened Love,” or better “Awakening Love”: Love for another that permanently kindles one’s heart flame revealing ever deeper levels of self-awareness, love, bliss, energies, and an enormous self-confidence of knowing for the first time who and what you are.
But this does not mean that all pre-awakening loves are useless to causing Self-Realization, for that would also be discounting all efforts to cultivate an awakening of the Kundalini as espoused by energy gurus, such as breathing and visualization practices to guide the Kundalini into the spine.
Just so self-inquiry. One does not fail to practice self-inquiry because when awakening comes, you shift identity from the practitioner to Turiya or Shakti.
In all these cases of awakened love, awakened Kundalini, awakened self-inquiry, the common element is turning within, investigating the body from the inside, and gradually recognizing that the body is not you: You are that which both pervades and transcends the body—Consciousness, and Consciousness has different levels and objects depending on the spiritual path traversed.
For example, Buddhism in general places great emphasis on emptiness, the inner space one experiences after much silent meditation, and how all of the manifest world arises from emptiness and subsides therein. Besides emptiness, there is also the experience of Nothingess, where nothing manifest is experienced yet you know you existed during those periods of non-experience. This is called the Causal Body and also happens in deep sleep.
Generally all who awaken experience first either emptiness or the blissful energies. This is a complicated subject involving the interplay of two aspects of the self: the witness or Absolute, and the manifest world, the activity within the presence. In the awakened Self both are present. One becomes both the containing emptiness, and also the alive, blissful sentience that fills emptiness with alive, energetic presence.
So the overall principal is developing an inner awareness through introspection, self-inquiry, becoming aware of the Self through focusing and abiding in the I-Am. Or, by focusing on the inner energies and how they travel through the body, and then developing awareness of the Self and Kundalini currents.
Or, by falling deeply in love, more deeply than ever before with someone who is alive to their own depths, or comes alive through mutual introspection and communications of inner experiences. The love grows and becomes the Self as first perceived. You have seen the awesome-ness of the Self in another, and that awakens one’s self to the Self within. Thus though love at first appears to be a focus on someone or something in the outer gross world, in Awakening Love, your Own Self owns the love and arises to display Him or Herself to you in the great awesome-ness. Such internalized focused love happens when at least one of the lovers is, or can be quickly made aware of the Infinite Self within.
That is why guru worship is so heavily emphasized in Hindu religious lore: By loving an awakened soul, one becomes entrained to both the emptiness and Shakti in the other to each other’s mutual “enwonderment.” Devotion to another, for a realized person, is devotion to the Other, which is a manifestation of your own Universal Self.
Such devotion soon generates those feelings of humility, gratitude to serve, bliss/love/surrender, and grace that combined is how the Self at the deepest level is experienced.