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Kuṇḍalinī: Navigating the Lived Experience
Talk and Workshop

Through the lens of phenomenological research, manuals written by advanced meditation teachers and ancient Buddhist and Tantric texts, we will put into context some of the altered states triggered by Kuṇḍalinī and how one might navigate these experiences towards greater freedom.  These experiences will be framed within the Tantric and Yogic worldview to understand how Universal forces play an intrinsic part in human design.  

TOPICS COVERED IN THE TALK 

  • The different states of consciousness that can arise with Kuṇḍalinī experiences and how they are situated Buddhist and Tantric paths to awakening. 

  • The metaphysics of Sāṅkhya Philosophy which underpins most of India’s traditions in Yoga and Tantra and how mechanisms of Sāṅkhya's universal forces are the modus operandi of our psychology and the means to transcend mundane existence.

  • The physical and psychological lived experience of Kuṇḍalinī that can arise spontaneously or as a result of spiritual practice.

  • What these experiences mean in the context of meditation practices on the path to awakening within the Buddhist and Yogic contexts.

  • How certain activities can exacerbate the more ‘negative’ kundalini symptoms and we will look at traditional techniques and theories which can help support this process. 

  • Yogic and Tantric texts that describe the subtle body model of the sun and moon and how this amṛita inducing phenomenon occurs.

  • Theories and studies in current science that mirror these ancient insights

PRACTICES

We will use early Buddhist practices which translate over into some tantric and yogic traditions for our practice session.  Throughout the history of yoga and meditation, we see some of the same meditation principles arise in different traditions.  I have chosen practices that we can find in both Buddhist Tantric and Yogic texts.  These practices are designed to generate relaxation, compassion, awareness and withdrawal of the senses in order to bring kundalini into the central channel.  

Mastery over these techniques is attained over time through ardent effort while at the same time the aspirant lives an honest life to avoid causing harm to others and as a means to pacify mental hindrances.  This workshop is an introduction to techniques taught in ancient traditions of enlightenment.  The context of the practices will be explained in the talk. 

  • Gentle Yoga postures and light pranayama to relax and stretch the body to prepare for comfortable seated meditation.

  • A grounding meditation where we will scan the body and focus on awareness of the bones. This is a Buddhist practice that will bring about presence and mindfulness of the body.  We will also apply loving kindness to the body and the mind as a means to soften any agitation and cultivate self-compassion. These two practices are excellent starting points for a strong foundation in grounded compassion.

  • We will examine the structure, feeling and essence of solids (earth), water, air, and fire.  We will apply our sensory experience of these elements to examine them in our bodies.  Through ritual meditation, we will apply intentions of harmony between the interaction of these elements within and without our bodies.

  • We will use visualisation techniques of the breath through the subtle channels for concentration, balance and purification.

  • We will use techniques for withdrawal of the senses before we practice concentration on the breath.  We will then start to concentrate our minds on the breath to cultivate access concentration (a preparatory state before jhana, Buddhist samadhi).

  • We will end with an open awareness meditation where the inner world and the outer world merge.