By David McCain


We wonder about the meaning of life. We seek understanding of our circumstances and purpose. We also want information about of the general circumstances of humankind. Where did we come from? Why do we do what we do? How can we take control and change things?

There is in humans an organic element or principle that provides understanding for all of our varied activity. It allows us to awaken, to open to who we really are in the moment – in the here and now. Kundalini is the conscious grasp of wholeness and the primal force of rebirth. The source of life is utter mystery, but everything else has the potential of our knowing through kundalini. Our consciousness revolves around the kundalini force. Kundalini is the expressed energy – usually subtle, sometimes powerfully felt – that drives our personal transformation and the evolution of our species. Kundalini was known in ancient times but its knowledge has largely been lost in recent eras as people have pursued external knowledge to a much greater degree.

Although kundalini is actually quite simple in action, this underlying principle gets lost because every human activity is found in a complicated context, and we tend to consider only the outermost layers—the most apparent forms—which are often couched and veiled in symbolic terms. We live in a vast web of interdependencies and relationships on so many different levels that the web defies simple analysis. Of course we want to know! But whatever frameworks for understanding our minds invent are insufficient if the totality of body-mind-spirit is ignored. Looking at a part of the web only provides understanding of part of the web. Since the web extends beyond what our perceptions offer the mind from the five senses, it is impossible gain a complete mental construct. There is hope: a particular, momentary experience imbedded with many levels of meanings can be analyzed and understood for the simple action of kundalini.

Kundalini is at the core of a vertical organization of meaning and perception that transcends horizontal complexities. It is a transcendence that leads to ultimately the realization of the oneness of all things. In the process of ascending to oneness, expansions and contractions of consciousness (essentially the specific joys and pains of life) provide the soul with the reflections of the entire web that are necessary to understand and determine exact locations on the path of soul’s great journey to union with God. Ultimately the hope transforms into a simple rebirth, although the rebirth may not be what is expected or projected or even what is believed to have happened. It behooves us to learn how to read these reflections of expansion and contraction because the potential of consciousness is unlimited.

What astonishing statements! I have no ready language to unlock the mysteries of this knowledge. My struggle is to find a few words that reveal the momentous glimpses I have seen. And I do have much to say—however difficult the words come—because my experiences have provided me a wealth of developed learning. Starting here I will say that my experiences demonstrate to me that kundalini is by its nature simple and direct, yet thoroughly comprehensive. It is not my position to convince others of this. Rather, I wish to provide a buoy by which some may orient and interpolate their own intuitive knowledge. For those on the path of discovery there are many other buoys as well. There are signs everywhere about these mysteries. With words and teachings—some ancient and some quite contemporary—many generous people continue to nudge humanity towards a fuller realization that kundalini is at the core of human knowledge and experience. 

Nevertheless, the task of “explaining everything” with kundalini is a tremendous challenge. Besides the obvious burden of embracing an all-inclusive totality of knowledge, there is the additional burden of contending with kundalini’s commonly accepted significance. Kundalini has typically been associated with specialized experiences and practices—mystical in nature, limited to a few and unrelated to ordinary people. Yet, as I see it, kundalini is comprehensive. It underlies conventional knowledge and the ordinary world as well as the mysterious and the extraordinary in life.

To start this excursion it is good to consider some brief definitions about terms with ancient, traditional roots. In considering kundalini and mysticism, it is useful to make a distinction between “Western” and “Eastern” thought. Both have long traditions of great continuity. In the East the transmission of knowledge of higher consciousness has most often been direct between teacher and student. Also the East has readily included the body’s manifestations in the development of higher consciousness. The West on the other hand has relied heavily on the written word, to the extent that an individual studying higher knowledge has great freedom to reach across centuries and geographical distances for sources to develop very personal interpretations. It is a lineage of books and interpretations of them. Furthermore the body gets short-changed in recognition in Western mystical consciousness. The mind-body split is a well-known Western perspective, and with that duality Western thinkers placed a premium on the mind. In the West there is no comparable term to kundalini, which has a distinct body orientation in the beginning of its process. Yet both East and West have something in common: secrecy in esoteric knowledge. There are probably many reasons for the secrecy. Eastern teachers provided close instruction and control least the student misinterpret the knowledge. The Western Church sought monolithic institutional unity through controlled interpretation of doctrines. Also esoteric knowledge is by its nature “intimate,” so in general it may be better protected by secrecy.

Obviously the statements above are broad generalizations. For instance, categorizing “the East” into one generalization disregards numerous, dissimilar traditions from many lands. It is not my purpose to justify the generalizations here. They probably tell more about myself than about history. My own broad considerations of traditional knowledge are bound in what is stated above. So my story—my personal history—is that of a Western mystic who has studied Eastern practices. And I am living in a remarkable age that for some strange reason seeks to divulge all secrets. My dance has been a private affair of transfiguration but I wish now that others hear my story that goes with the dance.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit word for the spiritual force that lies coiled at the base of the spine. The ancient sages of the yoga and Tantra traditions of India thought of kundalini as almost always dormant. According to the traditions the awakening of kundalini may, in rare cases, occur spontaneously or more frequently occur after long and arduous esoteric practice under the guidance of a guru (teacher). Such practices usually include work with breath, sound, and other physical yoga exercises. Meditation is almost always used.         

Once awakened, practitioners—ancient and modern—see kundalini rising through a series of “subtle body” energy centers (chakras) of the esoteric anatomy up the spine and into the brain. There are many physical symptoms in the body that may occur with activation. Once there is a strong current in the brain, kundalini gains full expressions of spiritual knowledge and mystical visions in accordance with the ancient systems of thought and belief. This is the basic vertical orientation of kundalini experience. The movement of kundalini energy from bottom to top is an alchemy or transmutation of physical or sexual energy into psychic and spiritual energy. There is also a return of energy downward and some systems emphasize this over the upward movement. The individual chakras also have aspects of horizontal organization.

Each chakra has its own characteristic set of vibrations which draw a person’s conscious attention. This attention is invariably directed or pushed outward to the external world because of the strong centrifugal force of kundalini as it spirals along the vertical axis. For instance if there is a certain vibration at the solar plexus or third spinal chakra hunger is experienced, and attention is directed towards getting food. But rarely do people ever turn inward to examine the sensations and energy flows of the body (and even psyche) to understand the vibrations of the third chakra. All of humanity’s varied activity can be understood in terms of the vibrations of the chakras and kundalini’s passage. Yet with our constant externalization of attention to the outside world we think the explanations will be found out there.

To say that kundalini explains everything in our lives means that our consciousness, our attention is explained. The external world (cosmos) exists whether humans are here or not, but we only know of the external world through our kundalini driven consciousness. We are good at presuming that we can know the external world “in its own terms,” but this false. Science does an excellent job of explaining the external world in terms of a human sense perceptual framework that has been set to the lowest common denominator. But science is not “out there.” Science is one more aspect of kundalini driven consciousness. It is based on intellectual vibrations mostly of the fifth spinal chakra that are very efficacious for interacting with the external world. All of our other perspectives are likewise driven by kundalini.    

Some may ask, “If the interior world of consciousness is paramount in our existence, why is it that our lives seem to be driven so much by external events beyond our control?” The answer is our lack of awareness. Of course in the external world there are numerous, powerful actions independent of us that greatly effect us. We are often at the mercy of Nature. Surely, solar flares and sunspots are completely beyond our control. But don’t be so sure that the external world is as full of independent actions as we commonly think. This is especially true in the world of people where we are all greatly connected. We may think that various persons have acted independently and effected us accidentally, but, really, what is probably happening are the intersections of several projections (perhaps unconscious) of human minds through kundalini. And Nature itself does not escape projections of the human mind. Coincidences are potential openings to greater awareness. This will be treated later under “the material basis of spiritual thought.”   

By tradition a mystic is someone who has direct communication with God or who has direct experience of oneness with Ultimate Reality. History is filled with stories of mystics who have had these divine communions. The mystical communions are ineffable—utterly beyond attempts to fully describe them in words. The extraordinary sense of oneness or nondual nature of these communions precludes considering many rather ordinary experiences of “talking with God” as full-fledged mystical experiences. The mystical experience also has a unique immediacy and directness that points to the potential of living life by “direct experience” or recognition of things as they really are without unnecessary preconceptions.

There seem to be somewhat different paths to what is really the same type of experience. Western mystics approach a transcendent god that is figured to be outside the individual person, whereas Eastern mystics search for an immanent god within the individual psyche. This is something of an oversimplification, and a lengthy discussion is not necessary here. It is sufficient to say that these distinctions are generally made sharply by those not knowing a full communion. Mystics themselves recognize the universal nature of all communions. In that regard it is a non-issue; however, the distinctions are sometimes useful in discussing various practices and systems.

Certainly there are also mystical elements in many experiences that are not direct communions with God. For example, many “lower level” connections with the spirit world are often called mystical. The rather ordinary “talking with God” spoken above has a mystical element even as the person remains largely in everyday consciousness. But indeed, the term in popular usage is often brandished quite loosely with little meaning. Nevertheless there is an aspect of mysticism that is most useful with work in the kundalini process: almost any experience of oneness. This can range from very simple experiences of everyday life to complex experiences involving many layers of meaning. For instance, while cooking in the kitchen a person may slice a lemon and feel a sudden unity of purpose, movement and senses. The lemon is colorful, juicy and a great addition to the coming meal. The flow of such a moment brings body, mind and spirit in play even if quite simple. Moreover, any grasp of wholeness is an expansion of the mind that involves an activation of kundalini.   

A full-fledged mystical experience offers to both the individual mystic and the world at large the potential of extraordinary understanding and change. For the individual, life will probably never be the same—things are seen in a different light. For the world, it seems that civilization is slowly—very slowly—groping towards an enlightened future. Each century several mystics provide a few steps forward. Recently (within the last century, that is) Pierre Teihard de Chardin (1881 – 1955) has provided the world with a remarkable vision in which matter and spirit, as two aspects of the same cosmic stuff, are bound together in an evolutionary spiral that leads to the Omega Point, which is a future convergence of Christ consciousness with humanity. Teilhard presents a system of thought that emphasizes the natural evolutionary processes of humans and maintains the cultural integrity of its author. The system also projects an inspiration of change for civilization.

Consider, now, the basic facts and the necessities of progress. The individual mystical experience is a natural phenomenon. The individual mystical experience is also found within a cultural context. It is important for civilization to recognize these points, promote the inspiration and seek a higher plane of human unity. I emphasize the latter because divisiveness is too much with us.

Mysticism, kundalini cultivation and various internal practices are all based on natural processes that occur in humans. Traditions produce systems of thought and practice. Moreover, all systems that work with these internal activities reflect the natural processes. However, even systems that have essentially the same goal using basically the same natural pathways may have marked differences. But this can be expected of practices from very diverse cultures and eras. The specific forms and emphases make for diversity. With this said it is helpful to keep two things in mind. First, try to sense the underlying natural process of any given practice rather than relying completely on the system’s own explanation. Second, be wary of dogmas that exhort only one system as correct or “perfect” and that denigrate other systems. 

We humans by our very nature respond positively to systems. Systems of thought and practice in many areas of life organize our beliefs and provide substrata for our lives. This is certainly true for kundalini and mysticism which have many associated schools. With kundalini and mysticism the past has many examples of precise handling of knowledge, of proscription of certain behaviors and of setting forth doctrines in systematic fashions. This is good to the extent that instruction, development and continuity are promoted. Unfortunately we tend to get systemcentric, i.e. the system itself becomes the center of our understanding rather than honestly approaching life with open eyes for new and altogether different possibilities. My upbringing in the twentieth century—an era of revolutionary thinking—has allowed for some general interest in past systems of thought and practice but has promoted to a greater degree the interest in novel syntheses.

I initially heard of kundalini when I was twenty-six and taking a yoga class for the first time. But I know now that I had mystical experiences with kundalini long before then. I had begun looking inward at an early age. Often my early experiences were confusing; however, my personal experiences and introspection continued to inform my awareness into an adult path of transformation and transcendence. Mostly my younger life was an up and down seesaw. Brief periods of mystical experience and wondrous expansion were followed by lengthy periods of ordinary life in slightly painful contractions and by occasional horrific downturns. But starting in early adulthood I had many excellent teachers in various internal systems, and the dullness of ordinary life receded as I engaged in the internal practices.

During the mid-1970’s I figured out that kundalini is active at every moment in everyday life. From there the path opened much wider, and its horizon became much clearer. So I see the idea of kundalini dormancy as a mischaracterization. (And much else needs to be viewed progressively to bring kundalini study into modern considerations from ancient practices couched in traditional cultures.) While kundalini activity rarely stretches beyond a very low level of expansion for most people, nevertheless it is at the core of everyone living his or her life. I reached this conclusion for myself from my own experiences, and I see it in others. This conclusion is an extrapolation from what I have proven for myself. It is so compelling that I see no reason to offer any further proof.  

Kundalini is therefore characterized by several expressions. The traditional view sees kundalini mainly as powerful awakenings with peak experiences. These expressions occur when the kundalini travels deeply and fully in the esoteric energy channels of spine. To this view I add that all experiences in life are rooted in kundalini—mundane as well as peak experiences. My view presents two aspects: on the one hand the kundalini process is a continuum running from basic, gross behavior (mundane kundalini) to refined, beatific behavior (rhapsodic kundalini). On the other hand there is a distinct qualitative difference between these two which comes with a special opening or break over point. This discrepancy can be accounted for with energy flow in the various channels. It will be explained later.

In1979 I identified Omega energy as the fully transmuted kundalini energy and the system of Omega Arts began its development. I say development but really the work often feels more like an uncovering or channeling. Omega energy is a natural part of the universe and it is accruing around the earth as human activity increases. Omega energy is at the refined core of the noosphere (psychic field above the earth). This implies that we humans may somehow connect more directly with kundalini and its transmuted Omega energy. We use so little of our potential. We are asleep. What is needed is awakening to the established natural pathways. And really the spiritual work of uncovering our Omega roots is like gentle, blissful play. The hard work of transcendent consciousness is with the individual ego—the mind is a very squirrelly thing.

I feel fortunate to have been able to work with Omega energy over many years. There is much to relay about this work. This writing explores some of the ideas of my personal work, but there are many ideas that will not get complete coverage here. To conclude this introductory section some of the various ideas that will be treated later are clustered into the following points:  

  1. Kundalini’s Universal Nature. Kundalini is at the core of the spark of life that enters the human body. So it is at that core of all human activity and experience. All of the various states of consciousness are rooted in kundalini. Aspects of kundalini are active at all times in every individual; however, in most cases most of the time the activity remains in the lower chakras which center on sex, food, social relationships, etc.
  2. Kundalini Mechanisms. Kundalini is the basis of consciousness, and the basic mechanism of kundalini is that of transmutation which is the change of physical or sexual energy into psychic and spiritual energy. The fully transmuted kundalini is Omega energy. The transmutation (alchemy) is accomplished by ascent in the subtle body anatomy from lower chakras into higher chakras. The energy moves in spirals. Kundalini activation is related to energy projection and reception, essences and the individual’s microcosmic orbit. Tracking kundalini can be accomplished through understanding reflections. Thought and attention are basic to directing kundalini.
  3. Omega Arts. This is a comprehensive system of practice for working with kundalini and Omega energies. In a way any arts or techniques working with these energies can be considered Omega Arts. In practice there is a developed system relying especially on meditation, movement, polarity, symbolization and sexual alchemy. Besides ‘empty & direct,’ microscopic orbit and other general forms there are two prominent, specialized meditation forms: (1) fission which releases the energies of symbols, memories, desires, etc and (2) fusion which brings together the energies of polarities, such as sexual essences. The moving Omega mudras (hand and finger gestures) achieve spiraling whole body postures which gain an alignment with Omega energy. Besides the individual internal alignment with Omega energy, the Omega mudras can connect with the spiraling geopranic (heavenly earth energy) arcs coming from the noosphere. The making and manipulation of symbols is a very complex process and has a great potential for transcendence. Since kundalini and sex are closely associated in the body, the stimulation of sex is a useful way of awakening and achieving transmutation (alchemy) of kundalini.  
  4. Alignment. Kundalini is intimately connected with coordinates of time, space and symbols. There is the internal alignment of body, mind and spirit, and there is the external alignment in the environment. Everything in the environment presents a pattern that connects with all aspects of body-mind-spirit totality. The One is always present. In any given situation there is portal by which attention can gain consciousness of the One—the simultaneous connection of the whole web of the cosmos. This can be achieved in quite ordinary circumstances as well as greatly charged spiritual experiences. With the latter the great alignment with Omega energy can be realized as a transfiguration, in which the Omega artist can achieve pure consciousness, freedom and healing powers.
  5. Stepping into the Divine. A name given to a general progression of seven levels of waking consciousness: 1. Numbness, 2. Ordinariness, 3. Sensual physicality, 4. Energetics,               5. Essential duality (or ‘Heaven and Earth’), 6. Oneness and 7. Transfiguration. There is a remarkable breadth of consciousness with this progression. Consciousness is often spoken of as simply “ordinary” and “non-ordinary.” This listing not only divides consciousness into practical phases but also indicates a map by which to progress naturally. The ascent of kundalini energy generally starts with a body orientation, proceeds through higher mental functions and achieves awareness of spiritual alignment. At any given time an individual’s consciousness will likely be a mixture of several phases. A considerable amount of inner work may be necessary to move from one phase to another. The final phase of transfiguration is an extraordinary experience of oneness in which, among other things, a person gains a wondrous lightness of being and is so empowered as to have thoughts naturally manifest in the material world. 
  6. Material Basis of Spiritual Thought. Spirit is everywhere and in everything. But this is not always apparent and our models of reality generally deny this perspective. In a sense thought and symbols are for humans the moderating force between the purely material (phenomenal) world and the purely etheric, spiritual (noumenal) world. Most of our thought lacks cogent force to truly connect these worlds. Hence, fantasy has virtually no such force and ordinary thinking has a weak correspondence. Kundalini is really the power to make the connection. Sexual alchemy is one of several useful methods in this work. Such work would likely be called magic by the uninformed.  
  7. Direct Experience. Elsewhere it was stated that the mystical experience has a unique immediacy and directness that points to the potential of living life by “direct experience” or recognition of things as they really are without unnecessary preconceptions. Humans typically experience most of life through symbolic veils. Some awareness and actions may be deeply symbolic and even deeply unconsciousness, but daily life is also largely lived through a symbolic prism. For practically everyone a constantly running subjective dialog occupies a very large portion of time, energy and consciousness. And usually the subjective dialog is based on old preconceptions, habits, stereotypes and memories, so that it appears like well-worn tape loop recordings in the mind. It is wonder that anything fresh ever appears in awareness. Direct experience can come with the transcendence of points of view clouded by the veils of symbolic understanding. 
  8. Law of Internal Freedom. The law states, “Attention directed fully inward to consciousness beyond the phenomenal and noumenal extensions of matter, energy, time and space brings unity and liberation of self.” Attention is the key. The inward direction does not exclude the external world because awareness of the external is actually enhanced in an inner state of peace and grace.
  9. Personal Transformation. The field of personal transformation is a collection of many possibilities with numerous approaches. Yet, at the hub of things the term implies a great metamorphosis in which a person finds his or her true nature. Story provides the foundation for transformation. Stories are meanings shaped by life, and we all have stories of ourselves. Creating a “personal mythology” might be part of the work of evolving a new story, but there are many other possibilities as well. At the high end of kundalini work the transformational Omega shaman uses kundalini and Omega energies directly to gain higher consciousness and healing powers.
  10. Centering and Grounding. Kundalini tends to take people into heavenly conscious states. This can be wonderful, but it can also be not very well grounded. The challenge of operating in both ordinary and non-ordinary consciousness requires good centering. The microcosmic orbit—up the spine and down the front of the body—is the basic kundalini channel. Completing the entire cycle by bringing the energy “to rest” in the lower belly is basic to centering. Alexander Technique, Tai Chi Ch’uan and other practices can be very helpful in centering the body, mind and spirit.      
  11. Kundalini Blocks. Blocks or obstacles to the full, free flow of kundalini are very common and very numerous. Blocks range widely from those in the physical body (such as a misaligned and contracted spine) to emotional problems (such as with addictions) to spiritual considerations (such as a psychic invasion). A complete catalogue might be impossible to make, but each individual can come to know his or her blocks. Blocks are connected with kundalini’s mechanism, but, since blocks are usually a significant issue for personal transformation, alignment and virtually every point in these listings, there is a separate listing here. Thus much of the practice of working with kundalini is frequently about uncovering and eliminating blocks.
  12. Kundalini Dangers. The traditional belief is that dangers may arise unless the kundalini practitioner works under a guru. There is some truth to this, but it is largely a bubble of misconception. First, very few teachers are available, and a person may already be noticing kundalini. Kundalini can certainly be scary, but that is very different from being dangerous. However, it is good to learn the ways of shutting off the kundalini energy flow, especially with many physiological symptoms. Everyone “has” kundalini. People are already dealing with kundalini on the mundane level. To consciously start working with kundalini is to turn inward, pay attention and make connections that are right before you. Also everyone knows his or her suitable approach to kundalini if the psyche’s intuition can be accessed. Tapping into the intuition is very important. Kundalini presents the biggest danger to the ego and its arbitrary personal construction of reality in the ordinary state of consciousness. Generally this is not a real danger, but it can be very scary to lose that which is so familiar. Anyone with the wherewithal to undergo “ego death” (which may or may not happen in kundalini work) will probably do fine with kundalini in this regard. People who are neurasthenic with low ego strength or people who have serious doubts about kundalini should avoid working with kundalini.  
  13. Occult Powers. In kundalini’s trajectory from the mundane to transcendence there is a prominent level of psychic sensitivity. Clairvoyance, clairaudience, precognition and other psychic manifestations abound at this level. Generally the best approach in kundalini work is to simply recognize any newfound sensitivity as demonstrating the efficacy of kundalini development and then drop any further attention to it. The problem with putting too much attention on psychic powers is that the manifestations are still of the external world, albeit noumenal and hidden from the mundane world. The ego is still operating at this level, and people get stuck here. The real possibility is that the ego will get over-inflated about its great power. Occult powers are a normal part of kundalini development and can be very useful in tracking the path to transcendence. However, it is best to be cautious and judicious at this level least one gets caught in a big trap.
  14. Internal Technologies. The popular use of the word “technology” is for external technology. In fact internal technologies exist for working with internal energies, such as kundalini and chi, and for working with states of consciousness. Omega Arts, acupuncture, Alexander Technique, tai chi and yoga are just a few examples—some ancient, some modern—of the many internal technologies that have been developed over time.

June 27, 2004