When I returned from Bali I straight away began to research yoga and was amazed and a little confused by the vast array of choice available. I initially searched for the type of yoga I did as a child but the yoga centre was gone, the teachers dead and I could find no trace of the swami on the net. Then, it seemed most natural to research kundalini yoga, the ‘k word’ was still vibrating strongly within me and I felt guided in this direction. I started off by ordering some kundalini yoga DVD’s. These typically consisted of a warm up set, the main set and a meditation to finish. At the start I was so unfit that I could barely even do the warm up sets but over the following couple of months I did a set everyday and began to enjoy it, particularly the beautiful mantras. This had the effect of strengthening my body and nervous system, which was a good preparation for kundalini to come. Eventually I became drawn much more to the meditation aspect of yoga than the physical asanas. I found myself to be a complete natural at meditation, I seemed to have very little ‘monkey mind’, and I was able to go to inner silence quickly for long periods of time. After exploring many kinds and methods of meditation I realised that I really needed to concentrate on one practice and I felt strongly guided to an exercise called Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. This is from the school of kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan and is reputed to be the most powerful kriya in all yoga. It is said to raise kundalini, bring psychic powers and bestow many health benefits. This active meditation has a number of components which when combined create an incredibly powerful system. First you position your eyelids one tenth open and gaze at the tip of your nose. Then you cover your right nostril and breathe in through the left. Once you have breathed in fully you hold your breath and begin to internally chant the mantra, wahe guru. At the same time as chanting the mantra you pump your stomach rhythmically, focusing at the navel point. The mantra is chanted sixteen times per breath, which means a total of forty-eight stomach pumps. Following this, you breathe out of the right nostril and start all over again, doing this continually for thirty-one minutes. Gazing at the tip of the nose stimulates the pineal gland, breathing in through the left nostril stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, pumping the navel point stimulates the kundalini to rise and the mantra stills the mind.
Very soon after starting this meditation I felt energy rise up all around my pelvis, it was very sexual, very pleasant but I was certainly rather frightened. It did confirm to me though that this legendary kundalini energy was a reality and it gave me the encouragement needed to carry on. For the next few months absolutely nothing happened during my meditations but I continued, it just seemed like the right thing to do and I really had no expectations. Of course, once you start a regular meditation practice, it might seem like nothing is happening but in fact major changes may be taking place on many levels. During this time, something I now recognise as the divine at work happened. I was sitting in the hairdressers, when suddenly the thought came to me, that we should sell our nice big house, and move to the country and try to live in a far more natural way. I went back to the café where Michèle was waiting and ran the idea by her. She loved it immediately and we straightaway set about putting the plan in motion.
After some months of searching we still hadn’t found the perfect place. I had seen one property, which seemed right but it was out of our price range. Despite this, we did enquire, but found it had been sold. Sometime later we were in an estate agents and saw the property again for sale. It turned out the sale had fallen through and due to the economic crisis it was now available, at a considerably reduced price. We went to visit the house and fell in love, not with the house but with the land. Twenty-four acres of prairie, woods, drystone walls and a one kilometre drive up an un-tarmacked walking path to get there. It was perfect for our cats and perfect for us, as we wanted to lead a more ecological self-sufficient lifestyle. The house however was a complete wreck, built in 1789 it was in need of total renovation, the roof leaked, the windows and doors didn’t close, you had to go outside to go upstairs, water came in but didn’t go out and to top it off, the man we bought the house from had been keeping his goats in it and the smell was appalling! That would not have been a problem if we had had money for repairs but we didn’t, we’d used all we had to get the property and our old house just wasn’t selling. Despite this, we moved into these terrible conditions both physical and financial, as it just seemed like the right thing to do. We endured for two years before the other house sold and despite the fact that in winter it snowed inside the house and the temperature in the bedroom was only two degrees, the sight of owls, hares and herds of deer in the fields made up for it all.
I feel certain that through being stripped of physical comfort and financial security whilst at the same time being in a wild natural environment, that perfect conditions were being created for my kundalini to awaken. I spent more and more time going into the forest to meditate. I soon began to feel energy bubbling strongly up my spine from the area of the sacrum. As soon as I sat down to meditate it would rise up to between my shoulder blades and stop. I began to get some back pain, which made meditation difficult but I was motivated to continue. I have to say that I found this interesting but not spiritual. It was interesting in that it further confirmed to me that the kundalini was actually real, but it was in no way a spiritual feeling, physically it felt quite neutral, neither pleasant nor unpleasant. I was very happy to be having this experience but honestly did not expect anything more, that would be the preserve of the great saints and sages, a category which I didn’t and still don’t fall into! After a couple of weeks of this I had the trinity of dreams described at the start of the narrative, of Isis, the goddess in blue and the anaconda and the jaguar. This last dream was particularly important. I knew that snake dreams often accompanied kundalini awakening and initially I simply regarded the anaconda as kundalini, which of course at one level it was. I didn’t understand the jaguar at all. It wasn’t until years later when I went to South America, to drink the shamanic entheogen ayahuasca, that I discovered the Peruvian trinity of Serpent (kundalini), Feline (you in this reality), and Condor (higher consciousness). Then, I understood the jaguar as my ego-self, fighting the kundalini about to rise. However, this was not only a dream of kundalini awakening, it was at the same time a shamanic initiation. The anaconda and the jaguar are both avatars of ayahuasca, which is in fact a kundalini plant. From the very first, the shamanic animal and plant spirits were calling me.
The next morning after these three dreams I sat down to meditate and as usual, energy bubbled up my spine to between my shoulder blades but then something happened, the energy changed completely in character. It was no longer thick and bubbly, it became very sharp and focused and whipped suddenly in a snake-like motion up my left shoulder blade, up the back of my neck and into my brainstem. The feeling of the energy is very difficult to describe. The words electric, sensual, fiery, all come to mind but fail to convey, even a combination of all of them does not come close. It felt like my brainstem had been injected with some strange living liquid intent on entering my brain. I have to say I got a bit scared at this point, in fact my heart was beating like mad as I had read many of the scare stories of people going mad or being hospitalised or incapacitated as a result of kundalini awakening. Now the thing is, I wasn’t actually really afraid of any of these phenomena, it was just that it would be very inconvenient. I was just about to go on tour and so a lot of people were depending on me. In retrospect what seems really crazy is that the great goddess of creation was rising up within me, giving that most rare and exquisite of blessings and that my western mind was saying, actually Goddess, this is really not a good time, things to do, people to see, maybe catch you later, you know how it is! Anyway, I prayed for it to go back down and eventually it receded. After some time I gathered myself together and attempted to go about my day, but all day I could feel kundalini still subtly residing at my brainstem.
That evening I was compelled to sit down again in meditation. This time I had absolutely no control whatsoever. The kundalini whipped straight into my brainstem and up into my brain, which is undoubtedly the most strange and shocking sensation I have ever experienced. From this point on I could see the kundalini inside me as a point of light, like a mini comet. I became aware at this stage also that it was intelligent and had an agenda. I sensed strongly it was searching for something, that ‘something’ being the crown chakra where Her consort was waiting. This mini comet proceeded to spiral round and round my brain finding the pineal and pituitary glands, the glands physically associated with the third eye and crown chakras. Energy began spiralling over my forehead and then on the top of my head. Round and round it spiralled, inwards, inwards, until it reached the fontanel. At this point the kundalini exited the fontanel (I could feel this distinctly), and headed for the crown chakra, which is actually located above the head. When the awakened goddess within me reached the crown she unified with her god, the great still consciousness of the Universe. As the union occurred, the energy of unification fountained down upon me as light. At this point a round patch of heat about the size of a coin formed at my fontanel. This became very hot indeed, not painful, but far hotter than any part of the human body is supposed to get. This patch of heat then expanded outwards and downwards to cover my whole head like a helmet, then from there, big drops of light energy poured down my body, and it was over. I think I was perhaps in a state of shock and really not sure about what had happened. I understood that something truly extraordinary had occurred but as far as I could tell I was neither insane nor enlightened, did this mean it wasn’t kundalini awakening? I was later to realise that kundalini awakening is not the end but really just the start. I went outside, sat on the steps and thought about how they certainly don’t teach you about this in school!
Life went on but the kundalini energy remained with me, it was particularly noticeable in the forehead/third eye region. I continued with various yoga exercises and meditations, as I didn’t want it to go away. I didn’t realise that this was to be a permanent condition. I didn’t understand that the unified energies of Shakti and Shiva were now beginning the long process of transforming every aspect of my being, a process that continues to this day.
Over the ensuing months I began occasionally to experience some rather odd internal phenomena. The first was explosions of light in my head. It was like someone was letting off a firecracker in the centre of my brain. This would occur when I was relaxed and lying down but not asleep. It wasn’t at all painful and actually rather fun. Another phenomenon was hearing my name called, out of nowhere a clear female voice would softly say, Brendan. One day, I was lying on my bed and right from the centre of my head an owl hooted very loudly. Somehow I knew that this was going to happen again and it did, straight away. I told an Indian friend about this and he got quite excited. He informed me that that night, there had been a special moon, sacred to the Goddess Lakshmi. On this night it is said that whoever Lakshmi visits will receive financial blessings, he said our money problems would soon be over. Indeed, the next day our house was sold. Lakshmi is nearly always depicted with an owl.
Around this time I also had occasional out of body experiences. I’m no expert in astral projection, it is not something I have pursued but it still happens occasionally, usually to give me some kind of teaching or information. The first time it happened was actually before kundalini came. I was lying in bed and I literally fell out of my body and began floating up to the ceiling. I remember seeing Michèle below me, and calling out to her but of course I couldn’t make any noise. I continued to float up through the ceiling and got stuck in the attic before being drawn back down into my body. Another time I woke and I could see a moon some distance from me, as I focused on this, very loud machine type noises began, like cogs grinding against each other. I knew I was about to leave my body and when I did I decided to fly. I flew high over our village before getting confused and being pulled back into my body once again. These experiences were quite fun but one OBE was more serious. I was pulled out of my body and taken high into the sky. There, I encountered a sort of matrix/web of blue light. I could press against it and it would move but I couldn’t pass through it and I was brought back down. When I came back I entered a sort of dream state, I could see a being made of orange light sitting at the foot of the bed, I sensed strongly that it was a tiger. On the chair next to my bed I could see a huge beetle like a stag beetle or a scarab. The meaning of the scarab in ancient Egypt was, he who is to become.
As well as these phenomena, my dream life took on a whole new character and became almost more real to me at times than waking life. Early kundalini dreams were very intense.
There is a shimmering mist; Michèle and I are naked, floating over a moonlit pond. Rising out of the pond is a huge spine, it is risen up like a snake. I am scared of it. It bends down, penetrates my root chakra and we are lost in ecstasy.
Another time I looked out of a window onto a misty lawn. I could see a group of naked dancers forming the shape of a chakra. A woman came forward from the rest and a voice said, this is the Goddess of the Moon. She looked straight at me.