A Kundalini awakening can be highly demanding and intense process for some individuals. The intensity may be experienced as discomfort, physical and emotional pain, anxiety and depression, which can cause an overall feeling of suffering. If you are experiencing such challenges in your awakening, reframing your perception may help you feel less angry, frustrated or victimized by Kundalini’s difficult aspects. In order to do so you need to understand why these challenges arise. This can help make it feel less personal. It can also bring about relief, or at least reduce fear. The more you learn about what you are going through, the more you will be able to recognize that you are not doing anything “wrong”; you haven’t caused these symptoms; your awakening hasn’t gone off the rails; this is merely the nature of Kundalini at work. The worst type of suffering can occur when we think that what we are experiencing shouldn’t be happening. We then start fighting something that is already happening, and which we cannot control; that in turn makes us feel all the more miserable. Accepting what is happening in the moment without fighting against it is so hard when it involves pain, and yet this alone can make the experience much softer, and lessen the pain dramatically.
Use this series of blogs to better contextualize and verbalize your current challenges. Know that despite the intensity of pain or anxiety you may be feeling, you are on the right path. If you are having an intense awakening, know that you are not alone, and trust that it will get better and more manageable as time passes.
Different sources of Kundalini challenges (or what some call a "spiritual crisis"):
Kundalini and healing the Inner Child:
When we experience trauma in childhood (verbal/physical/sexual abuse or even disapproval or dismissal), if we cannot reconcile what happened to us, we fragment in order to survive. That fragment stays frozen in time at the age of the trauma, since when we were too young to process our pain. That part of us is completely vulnerable and unable to function or survive in the world on it’s own. This vulnerable fragment is then “assigned” a protector part that would do anything to keep our vulnerable fragment out of harms way. Its role is to try to prevent us from experiencing the same devastating emotion from the original trauma. Our “self” is in a sense an assembly of all these frozen wounded parts we can call our “inner child” and all of the protector parts we can call our defense mechanisms or ego. The inner child parts reside in the subconscious and the protector parts comprise the conscious mind and thoughts. These parts dictate our lives according to what has happened to us and what we don’t want to ever happen again. Ironically, whatever we resist we draw into our experience since healing is the purpose of this life. Our ego is just as innocent as our inner child, it is merely trying to protect us, to keep us safe by guarding the vulnerable parts of us at all cost. Some of us would not have survived our childhoods without this fragmentation defense mechanism. Knowing this, there is no value in fighting against or blaming your ego, it only leads to further fragmentation.
Part of the reason Kundalini can feel so intense is that the protector parts are unaware that it is safe to come out of defense mode. Consequentially they fight Kundalini with all they’ve got, making sure she doesn’t reach those vulnerable parts they have sworn to protect. The issue is that Kundalini will not rest until she gets all these parts exposed, since she knows you can’t heal without meeting them with love and compassion. Both forces in you have your best interest at heart, yet their perspectives on how to help you contrast. The result is that you feel pulled in several directions. It can feel like immense internal pressure, anxiety or agitation all at once.
To achieve a sense of inner peace one must begin to integrate the parts of the self. The goal is to get your protector parts to know that it is safe to feel the original trauma’s emotions. You can assist the healing by creating an inner dialogue between your protector parts, your inner child and yourself (as a grown up or a parent figure to them). The more you try to connect with your inner child, the safer he/she will feel to be vulnerable, thus the less battling the protector parts will engage in. In addition, when you feel an inner battle take place, remember to practice surrender methods as described in the article here.
If this feels too overwhelming, seek help from a therapist who specializes in Internal Family Systems called IFS, or a trauma therapist if you can’t find one.
Our bodies hold on to or store old wounds that become integrated into the cells beginning in early childhood. The body absorbs the trauma as a part of the whole. Kundalini asks us to release this wounding. Releasing this energy from your body is similar to having surgery on an energetic level. Your body will most likely contract around the cells that are being “cut” into by Kundalini and fight in it’s own way to keep itself whole. Your body doesn’t mean you any harm; the contraction is merely a protection reflex, yet this can make the physical release more uncomfortable or even painful. In truth the gap between the emotional, energetic and physical bodies is non-existent. These cellular releases of what you can consider energetic “tumors” are very real for your body. Although the release brings healing essentially, your body is still going through trauma and needs time to recover after each purge.
Breathe into the pressure or pain you feel in your body to help soften the contraction. Practice self-care during releases; support your body with supplements, plenty of water and rest. If possible titrate the intensity of the purge by listening to your body and not over doing it each time. Ask your guidance for help hearing your body’s needs clearly through the distress. Dialogue with your body to reassure it that it is safe to release the trapped energy it has carried for so many years. Be extra gentle and patient with yourself in this time.
“Loss of the self:
When Kundalini pushes against your core beliefs and asks you to release an identity you’ve held on to for most of your life, it can feel very unsettling, as if a part of you is dying. This “identity death” occurs when you are asked to let go of what you perceive to be an integral of yourself. A part of you, the ego, will fight with all it's got to protect your identity. This can feel like an inner battle. Once this part has been surrendered grieving begins. Even if in the bigger picture this loss is in fact a healing and can be liberating for you, any loss is still experienced as a loss. Be gentle and allow yourself the time you need for this grieving; for as long as you need it. Trust that grief ends in due time when you let it be felt fully. This process can be sad, difficult and disorienting, so bare with yourself, and treat yourself with compassion. Don’t try to bypass any of the stages of grief, they are necessary for your healing.
Shame and isolation:
Kundalini can take you on an extremely internal journey, one that isn’t easily recognized, nor is it experienced by your friends, family or society at large. Experiencing intense emotions and life changing realizations without the ability to share them with loved ones is isolating. Worse yet, being judged or misunderstood by those closest to you, can make you feel alone, different and that there is something wrong with you. We are social creatures at our core, so a lack of connection can feel like soul starvation for us. During Kundalini you need to be mindful to get support from people who understand and can validate your process, in order to mediate the suffering. It would be wise to avoid sharing inner truth with people who shame or judge you in any way. Surround yourself with the right support system of people who can relate to your experiences or at least love you through them without judgment. To get additional support press here.
Think of Kundalini as a magnifying mirror. You may have felt “normal” – balanced, sane and even pretty self-aware before this force woke within. When looking at a magnifying mirror, your normal skin all of a sudden looks filled with flaws. Similarly, Kundalini magnifies everything. The “flaws” are our wounding and conditioning, small or big. When Kundalini brings an issue to consciousness, it overtakes our perception and occupies our experience in its entirety. The reason Kundalini does this is so you won’t have the ability to suppress, avoid or dissociate as you’ve done in the past, therefore you are forced to heal it.
A good visualization is picturing yourself bigger than the feeling, sensation or emotion that is overwhelming you. Note that sometimes you can feel the intensity without a direct context (If you were too young when the wounding occurred to have any cognitive memory of it). These feelings or emotions may come out of nowhere and you might not know why. It’s hard not to fight and resist these states when you don’t know you are experiencing a healing. Yet, learning to recognize what is happening and allowing the feeling to be felt can help heal it faster. All of these feelings inside of you are like a child and need to be treated with the same patience love and care as you would a child. Compassion always comes before context; love it without needing to analyze it. The context will follow if needed.
Kundalini is a force, much like the water pressure coming out of a firefighters hose. When released into your system it can be overwhelming for the body and the nervous system. Initially you can’t control the force of the water coming out of the hose, all you can do is keep grounding the energy and keep practicing self-soothing techniques such as breathing or walking in nature. Your body is doing its very best to accommodate Kundalini and adjust to its force but that takes time. In this time, try to remember that Kundalini isn’t trying to hurt you; she is just “coming on” a little too strong for your body. Leaning on other people who are further along in the process and praying for a softening of this force of nature can be helpful. Be patient and keep reminding your poor body and self that this isn’t always going to be the case.
To be continued.