Editor’s note: For a short time in 2000, Bonnie Greenwell wrote a column for this website called “Kundalini Quest” in which she answered readers’ questions about Kundalini. Here is the column for May 11, 2000.
A reader writes:
My sister-in-law is a medium. For about two or three years she has been having problems that prevent her from helping the bereaved.
She came under a psychic attack and has been helped greatly by a counselor who is also a medium.
In the last nine months or so she has been experiencing what the counselor and I believe to be a Kundalini awakening. Recently we became very worried because she could no longer determine whether her thoughts were hers or somebody else’s. She began to believe that her feelings and her daughter’s feelings were caused by the psychic attack.
She is doing better since I began to research Kundalini. She at least feels that she isn’t crazy! As you can imagine she has no self-confidence left.
She feels as though a huge snake is travelling from her sacrum up through her spine and shooting out of her head at a fast rate. It is very wide and hurts. It cracks as it passes her neck and feels as though it has razor blades on it as it is dragged through her head.
She has bubbles moving up and down her body which usually begin at her leg. She wakes with the feeling of tingling or numbness in one arm and hand. She has severe headaches and pains in her lower back, knee, leg, neck, and eyes. When she sits to clear herself of negative energies which were originally associated with the entities attacking her, she shakes violently. She shakes too in bed at night. She no longer meditates or works at all spiritually. She also has felt at times that she was taken into darkness and this would be followed by bright lights which are blue, silver, white, and gold. She once saw a silver shower in her bedroom along one wall.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
While your sister-in-law has some conditions that could indeed be related to kundalini, she really needs much more assistance than she can get through you or anyone on the web.
I urge you to have her call the Spiritual Emergence Network and get the phone number of a therapist in her community who has experience with spiritual awakenings to help her sort out the issues and find some grounding. She shouldn’t do any practices unless the person who recommends them has met with her and taken a comprehensive history. She has a lot to sort out. This is a wakeup call for her to take a new direction in her life.
Her mediumship practices are weakening her body and her mind, while at the same time opening her energy field. She is taking in the energy of people she knows nothing about, as well as the grief of the families she is working with. The pains could be related to the stress in her body from opening her system to other energy fields. The body needs rest and recuperation.
The shaking that occurs when she tries to release negativity could be the release of energy that doesn’t belong to her, left over from all the people to whom she has played host. When the shaking happens she might want to lie down, pray for the support of a high being she trusts, visualize white light supporting her, and ask for any energy that does not belong to her to be removed. She may shake for a while and then it will pass. It is best to do this for short periods of time if possible, and then come back and do it again later, rather than shake violently for hours, which is rough on the nervous system. A trusted body therapist might be able to help her with something gentle like acupressure. A simple ritual afterwards to balance her could also help — drinking some tea, soaking in the tub, or doing something grounding.
Some of the kriyas (movements) that come with Kundalini act like stress-reducers; they are a letting-go of excess energy. I have found that those who work closely with the dying go through intense release periods. Usually it passes in a few days or weeks if they stay open to it, accept it as healing, and release fear. They are not suffering from possession. We all pick up other people’s energy fields (especially if our Kundalini energy is activated) and painful energy fields tend to stick to us cellularly until they are released.
She would also benefit from meeting with someone to explore the possibility of lifestyle changes and look closely at her spiritual process. When a process is as difficult as hers, it can be caused by many things including the emergence of early childhood traumas, the overuse of psychic energies that overwhelms the normal functioning of the mind, a near-death experience or other bodily trauma, the use of drugs, intense engagement with people in pain, or a prior instability in the psychological system.
Also, if there is a possibility of possession, this can cause pain and unusual energy phenomena that look like Kundalini but will go away if the possession is released.
Another possibility is that an entity wishes to use her as a channel. Some people with the combination of characteristics you describe are opening to become channels. I have seen the unusual light and energy phenomena that you describe in these circumstances. I do not recommend channeling, however, until the lifestyle is very grounded and the person is comfortable with the concept. Your sister-in-law has been doing this without much discrimination for anyone who asks. Just because an entity has passed on does not mean it is wiser than you. It is better to seek your own realization. Channeling can also be a large distraction from spiritual growth because, in a way, you are giving someone else the opportunity to express through you rather than using the openess to connect with your own primary awareness of truth.
It is not possible to understand what her problems really are, where precisely they came from, or how to correct them, without knowing her entire history, lifestyle, eating patterns, belief-systems, and practices. We would need to know who she is hanging out with, what was going on when this began, why and how she became a medium, who has typically come through her in the past, etc.
In general, the way to maintain a positive outlook despite some of the bizarre and uncomfortable processes that sometimes come with Kundalini is to understand that this is a life-changing process. It will challenge all of your existing patterns, beliefs, and habits. It will challenge you to develop the witness within yourself, at the deepest level, so that you can learn to observe these problems and accept them without getting attached to them as part of your story. The task is to find the real Self, the centered Self, the core of your personal relationship to something much bigger than the ego, the universal Self that all of us share.
Kundalini energy seems to clear all the obstructions that are in the way of knowing this Self. People who are committed to the awakening of the Self, to Self-realization, eventually become mature in a new way, a simpler way. They become more grounded in their lives. They have presence and wisdom and are not off in confused or dramatic altered states.
When Kundalini energy is used for dramatic practices, the ego can attach to them. At a minimum, this diverts one from the spiritual path, and at worst, it brings serious dangers to the seeker.
The Kundalini awakening is the intensifying of the energy of the life-force — of consciousness within the individual. All the activity and movement is simply this energy pushing forward to purify the physical, emotional, and energy bodies so that ultimately stillness, presence, peace, and understanding can emerge. One has to learn to be in the body in a new way, in touch with the subtle energy field as the primary life force.
Spending a lot of time out of the body, or engaged in other-dimensional experiences, and allowing other energy fields to reside in our bodies, limit the ability to be fully present with our true Self as it functions within our bodies. The body can get sick because it is picking up lots of toxic energies, or because it wants to get our attention when we are ignoring it, or because it is crying for its basic needs to be met. The ego is terribly threatened by this movement toward spiritual wholeness because it senses its own demise, for once a person is fully awakened, ego no longer drives the life. Ego can throw up many roadblocks such as fear, fascinations, obsessions about other people, frightful images, physical illness, bizarre behaviors, distractions, love affairs, sexual addictions — all kinds of things which differ for different people.
Whatever roadblocks get created, they provide an opportunity to witness how your mind works without acting it out. As you learn to do this, it will strengthen your ability to reach the Self or the center of your being and find peace. All of this is a major task for those who are on spiritual paths, and sometimes it’s more difficult for those who have spontaneous awakenings and never sought out a spiritual path consciously, because they are naturally attached to being who they thought they were before the awakening.
Remember that the Buddha said that enlightenment is the end of suffering. This is true, but it is not miraculous. It is a process of letting go of all identifications and beliefs and turning deeply toward the soul or the core of your being, until the patterns that get you in trouble drop away. Problems still happen, but you do not get entangled. It is a process of listening to your body and going deeper, listening to the subtle energy body and giving it what you need.
I believe your sister-in-law needs to understand the nature ofthe spiritual journey, to care well for her body with food, rest, a healthy lifestyle, and supportive friends, to give up mediumship (at the very least until her mind is clear of all confusion and her energy is in balance), to learn to witness her mind and to find a personal and informed teacher or guide or therapist who will help her find her center. There are gentle practices that may help her bring her energy into balance but they need to be individually prescribed. Many people seem to be having problems with intense energy running through their heads right now. I cannot say why — perhaps there is an astrological or metaphysical reason. Intense concentration can trigger this opening, and when people are mediums they are opening their mind in an intense concentrated way that is very likely to eventually trigger dramatic Kundalini activity. This is not the end of their spiritual journey, but the beginning. The next stage is to develop a plan and a lifestyle to support the spiritual awakening process that honors the activity of the deeper self that is taking place.
I recently met a teacher who I believe exemplifies the completion of this experience of awakening through his simplicity, clarity, and quality of presence. He is not a Kundalini teacher or helper but a spiritual teacher along the lines of Advaita Vedanta (nondualism) who expresses his message in clear Western terms. His name is Eckhart Tolle and he lives in Vancouver, Canada. To see if he is offering any programs near you, or to read his book The Power Of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, check out his website here.
Copyright 2000 Bonnie Greenwell.
Bonnie Greenwell, Ph.D., is a transpersonal therapist and author of three books about Kundalini and awakening.
Letter to the Editor from Bonnie Greenwell received on February 24, 2000 at 1:09 AM.
Bonnie Greenwell’s Kundalini Quest column for March 13, 2000.
Bonnie Greenwell’s Kundalini Quest column for May 11, 2000.
Bonnie Greenwell’s Kundalini Quest column for June 2, 2000.
Bonnie Greenwell’s website.
International group of health care professionals, academics, and others.
Provides referrals to counselors and therapists who treat people with Kundalini problems.
Back issues of newsletter published by El Collie documenting people’s experiences with Kundalini.
The Kundalini Guide: A Companion for the Inward Journey
By Bonnie Greenwell, PhD
Ruth Angela, an Amazon reviewer, writes:
“This book has everything explained, clearly and succinctly for the person looking for clarity about Kundalini awakening. I highly recommend it to anyone who has no idea what Kundalini is or what an awakening means. But it is also very useful for those who have awakened and need to fill in some basic facts and details about the phenomena.
I met Ms. Greenwell recently, and she has a deep and common sense understanding of this topic having had years of interviews with people who have been through this life-altering process. She lays it all out for everyone to understand with examples and a review of commonly asked questions. It could be a primer on the topic. The focus is on practical down-to-earth advice and information. The same information could be in some ancient Indian text, but to a Western reader it would be incomprehensible; Bonnie Greenwell has rectified this problem by covering the thousand questions one would have on this subject in simple straight-forward language. Her first book "Energies of Transformation" was a great help to me and many others who wanted to find out more about this topic. But this new book has condensed everything into a easily absorbed format that can be read both as informational and for future reference. Start here if you really want to get a clear picture of the phenomena of Kundalini.”
This page was published on May 11, 2000 and last revised on June 4, 2017.