Unit IX. Bindu: Gateway to Liberation
1. Makara Point
2. Point - Differentiation and Dissolution
3. Transformation Project
4. Portals to the Unmanifested
5. Choice Point
Materials needed: Journal, paper and pen,
Shamanic Journeying tape
The power of Now
The Bodhisattva of compassion or
The Isaiah effect
Keep the portal open
Bindu means point, dot, seed, source, the basis from which emanated the
first principle (Mahat-tattva). It can also mean a gateway or a choice
point. I am reminded of Bentov’s (1988, p. 136) idea that black holes
might be entrances to other universes. I associate Bindu with the void
or the gateway to the void. And, as we shall see, this is not far
from the truth. But, to begin, let us think of bindu as the gateway
to liberation. It is the point at which all forms begin to dissolve
into the Creator on the return journey. It is represented in the Ajna
Chakra diagram as a small point at the top of the chakra above the crescent
moon and below nada. The Yogis called this the Makara point after the
“M” in A-U-M. You will recall that Om is the seed syllable for this
chakra. The phoneme “M” refers to the deep sleep state of consciousness.
Bindu is also a choice point. Rather simply, there is a choice
of whether to go through the gate or not. But there are other choices
involved as well. Some of these we will take up later in this unit.
The Makara Point
First let me say that this is not the makara of the second chakra.
That was a water animal that represented imagination. The makara
point is a form of bindu or entryway. Most importantly, it is the
gate to the seventh or Sahasrara chakra. This means that, once we
pass through this point, there will be no more karma either to be created
nor to be worked off. Consequently, there is no more rebirth.
Hence-forth, we will be free of cultural conditioning and able to maintain
detachment from materialistic concerns.
Recall the five bodies or kosas that make up our being. The middle
three make up the subtle body. Now, at the makara point, we can go
beyond the subtle body and step into the stillness of the causal body.
We can equate this with the Nirbija level of samadhi. This is a distinctively
different realm of existence in which we can have occasional glimpses of
the Divine One and enjoy an inner stability, contentment and equanimity
based on direct knowing and experience.
We can also think of Bindu as a still point or center around which all
of one’s life revolves. It is located at the top of the susumna and
brahma nadiis. It is the point of emanation and dissolution, as in
involution and evolution. As such it is the point of origin of life
as we know it. It is like a launching pad from which we will make
the final run to the Bindu in the seventh chakra. The distance between
the makara point and the final Bindu in the Sahasrara chakra marks the
journey yet to be traveled to achieve enlightenment.
Reaching the makara point results in self-mastery which means all aspects
of personality, ego and mind are subdued in service to a higher Reality.
This is sometimes called self-transcendence. It requires us to be
able to tolerate a certain amount of vulnerability which, in turn, requires
trust. We need to be able to surrender our will to the Supreme Will:
Not my will but Thy Will. This does not mean to succumb but to pull
in the same direction as the Divine One.
Bindu is the point of no return. We cannot go back, but only go
forward. From this juncture, Kundalini takes over the housekeeping
tasks. She will take time to retrieve all material that is left in
the unconscious and resolve all the issues that tie a person to the bodily
There are many ways we might discover we have reached this point.
We find ourselves open to new ways of being in the world. Many of what
we experienced as obstacles before are now simply gone. We may be
able to tap into a new source of power and be able to manifest the things
we need much more easily. There is a shift in understanding to openness,
perceptiveness, awareness and direct know-ledge or prajna. We now
have easy access to inner space and can sink into it whenever it is convenient.
We may become aware of the presence of Spirit and/or a spiritual guide
or angel. In time, these guides are able to take up our spiritual
direction and will make themselves available for consultation, protection
and advice. This is especially true if we make known to them that
we need their guidance. Along with the guides, the Witness Self emerges
and becomes a stable presence observing one’s life and experiences.
There may be voices and visions, white light or sparks of light, subtle
sounds or sensations in the brow or upper head along with floating, sinking
feelings. There may be times when we feel bodiless or distracted or
confused especially in the beginning. Or we may experience light, subtle
breath retention. Or none of these.
Since we are becoming beings of light, our auras become suffused with
light that is now perceptible to many people. They may comment on how
beautiful we have become even if they do not recognize the reason for it.
One person may experience some or none of these markers depending upon
prior preparation and the individual path that has been chosen. Certainly
it is not something to worry about if none of these experiences occur.
And when any of them do occur, they should be taken as a sign that we are
on the right path, but they are not to be dwelled upon; for, like
siddhis, an ego attachment to them can lead us astray.
There are a variety of ways that Kundalini can travel toward the Makara
point some of which are dead ends, and these may require skilled assistance
to re-navigate. Joan Harrigan at the Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care
Center in Knoxville, Tennessee offers spiritual guidance and retreats to people
who are having difficulty with Kundalini energies. She knows how to
reroute Kundalini into the proper pathway for its rising. Harrigan
can be reached at 865-531-2004, email: email@example.com
or www.kundalinicare.com. Her
book, Kundalini Vidya: The Science of Spiritual Transformation (Harrigan,
2002) offers much more detail about this process than we can go into here.
Point – Differentiation and Dissolution
Switch your mind, for a moment, from Yoga to geometry for an analogy.
In geometry classes, I learned that we begin with a point or dot that is
infinitesimal. It has no dimensionality. From the point, we
draw a line. Now we have one dimension: length. If we take this
line and extend it out sideways into a plane, we have a second dimension:
width. Then we can give it height for a third dimension. These
dimensions are characteristic of all form within space. Einstein told
us that time is the fourth dimension, and I have no doubt that there are
many more we do not know anything about. But the point of this digression
is to suggest that movement from a point to the various forms of dimensionality
is one kind of creation. It enables all of the myriad forms of the
universe to come into being and differentiate themselves. And we have
already seen how differentiation is an essential aspect of creation in itself.
Now, in the Ajna chakra, we are looking at the reverse process of dissolution:
how all forms return to their essence or point. [This point we can
think of as Universal Reality or the Divine One, Creator.] So,
if it is the reverse process, we can expect to see the dimensions begin
to disappear as we go along. Almaas (1986) has given us a description
of how differentiation and dissolution occur in the human psyche beginning
with infancy and extending to the final outcome of no-self. I want
to share a few salient points of his theory with you.
In normal life, perceptions are filtered through various kinds of representations.
These are usually some kind of image or, later on, words or concepts.
You may remember Bruner’s (Bruner, Oliver & Greenfield, 1966) research
on this topic [First Guidebook ]. Margaret Mahler (1975) gave us
another perspective on representation in her discussion of the development
of object relations. Almaas (1986) uses her ideas to explain how
we come up with a body image and a self-image in childhood. It involves
a kind of differentiation that results in psychological structures and boundaries
that separate us from other people and from Being.
The body-image has two parts: 1) self is perceived as separate from the
external world based on information from the senses. And 2) there is
a core of identity based on the internal feeling of self. The self-image
also has two parts: 1) shape, contours, size and textures of the body itself
and 2) feeling of self-boundaries or sense of separateness. These two
sets of representations make up the ego identity and it has two salient characteristics:
1) separation from others and the environment which is related to the external
body image and self-image, and 2) individuation, a feeling of selfhood and
agency that is related to the internal images. You can clearly see
how differentiation has occurred with the help of the senses and feedback
from experimentation with objects in the world to produce these aspects of
personality. This process is mostly complete by age two. In the
following two or three years, the personality is rounded out by the addition
of various and sundry roles that are learned through imitation and play.
The mind’s job in this process is to create images to stand for or to represent
one’s recurrent experiences. Details of these processes can be found
in earlier guidebooks. Suffice it to say that, by around age five,
most of the pertinent filter systems are already in place, and we can no
longer relate to our experience directly because the incoming information
is sorted through already existing categories on the way in. This is
how we lose touch with Presence, Essence and Being.
Now, how can we return to the glory of direct perception that we knew
in childhood? By removing some of the layers, of course. The
tools we use are meditation and self-inquiry. Almaas’ (1986) contribution
to this process begins with recognition of a feeling of deficient emptiness
he calls the “genital hole.” That is “genital” because of its location
in the lower abdomen and also because of the psychoanalytic theory of penis
envy that, for reasons of imbalance and misogyny in this case, I am going
to ignore. That we all experience a feeling of emptiness or a hole
in the lower abdomen, you can explore for yourself.
It appears that this hole is due to what is called deficient emptiness
that, in turn, comes from not being held enough and properly in infancy
as well as from various kinds of wounds incurred in childhood. You
will recognize this as a kind of soul loss. It is this emptiness that
seems to be largely responsible for addictions as well as all sorts of unhealthy
Almaas (1986) found that if a person got in touch with the feeling of
emptiness and held attention there, often the causes would surface from the
unconscious. When the associated affects and the deficiency was understood,
the sense of emptiness would give way to emergence of a sense of space as
a peaceful spaciousness. This is reminiscent of the “Spacious meadow”
that comes in vipassana meditation and is often referred to by Trungpa’s teachers.
The sense of space gives a contact with Being. So we see that the deficient
emptiness is due to the loss of contact with Being due to identification
with psychological structures such as self-images instead of with Being.
When all this is recognized, the person can now identify with Being and Essence.
To tie this in with Kundalini, this is the kind of work Kundalini must do
in order to complete the spiritual journey. Harrigan (2002, p. 143)
calls it “The Renovation/Restoration Project.”
Almaas (1986) goes on the describe the layers of space that arise as
a result of dissolving the boundaries created by the four self- and body-images.
These are alternately clear or black, and light or dense depending upon
which image is being worked with. It goes without saying that fear
is an accompaniment to this process because the ego is being dismantled or
deconstructed and along with it the personal identity. In deeper realms
of experience there is an annihilation space in which the identity itself
is extinguished, one loses consciousness and the mind stops. However,
this is also experienced as the greatest peace.
Beyond this is the Void which is complete and total emptiness without
any boundaries. This “. . space is a facet of Being. It is the
openness of Being, or the open dimension of Being” (p. 154). When we
experience Being, as it is, it is space, only space. Being “. . is
open in all possible dimensions, to all possible experiences” (p. 157). An
experience of this is called the experience of no-self. I hope and
trust it is accompanied by consciousness, in the last analysis.
So, to return to bindu, Almaas (1986) says,
. . although
each point is infinitesimal, its openness to space is infinite. In
words, each point is in contact with every other point, for the inside
each point is space, the very space that is the inside of all points. .
. a point
not in space. . . the point itself is a manifestation of space. . . In
is the inherent openness of all reality. . . That is why. . [in] Dzogchen
is described as having emptiness as its essence. . . Being is presence
essence is spaciousness.” (p. 156)
What this means for our purposes is that when we enter the space of bindu
we are joining “all that is” while giving up our psychological separations
and boundaries. The fact that saints live among us and walk around
behaving rather normally, to all appearances at least, indicates that it
is possible to live in the world with only a shell of personality to interface
with others while the inner landscape is totally without personal identity.
Practice: The Hole
Using a shamanic journey tape or any other useful tool for regression,
explore your childhood to find the original wound that created the hole
in you. Then, upon completion of the journey, write down what you
experienced. Next, trace the manifestations of the wound throughout
your life. Make a timeline of it. In the process, allow yourself
to become conscious of the pain-body associated with it. Make note
of the emotions you experience. Then watch for changes in your experience
The Transformation Project
We have seen that transformation occurs in stages, and that we can only
understand a stage while observing it from above, having already traversed
it. We also saw that we must let go first and take the leap of faith
in order to leave one stage and access the next one. This requires
trust even in the face of fears of extinction. We have also determined
that self-examination speeds up the process. Now, at this level, we
find out that Kundalini is going to come to our assistance in cleaning out
the closets of our unconscious.
Kundalini Renovation and Restoration
What Kundalini will be doing is working through all levels of the subtle
body. This includes 1) the Etheric, pranic or vital energy body,
2) the intellectual or Manas body and 3) the discernment or Buddhic body.
In the process, we clear out all contents of the unconscious: toxins, repressions,
negative impressions, samskaras, vasanas, habits, traumas, old wounds and
anything else not dealt with before this point. If you have been
working on yourself before this, especially if you have had psychotherapy,
this may not be too traumatic. If not, you may need to allow some
time for it to take place. Kundalini can work during meditation, deep
sleep and in the gaps between thoughts. So you may find yourself
spending what seems like an inordinate amount of time in bed asleep.
Or you may become disoriented or confused. A regular spiritual practice
and daily meditation time will allow her the time she needs, so there is
less disruption in your regular life activities.
Along with the unconscious, Kundalini clears the chakras and the brain
centers associated with the chakras. During this time, the Witness
Self may emerge if it has not already done so. It can hold the container
for this process as it perceives and disidentifies with the contents of
what is being removed. So it is possible to detach oneself from the
cleanup process and just watch the action. This should help with any
fears that may be present.
The results of this housecleaning may be more insight and understanding,
clarity, direct perception and direct knowledge and a sense of connectedness.
We may meet our guides. And there may be experiential knowledge of
“I am the One” in essence; I am not my body, mind or energy.
Supporting the Process
Spiritual practice is essential to maintain equilibrium and focus.
You also need to care for your body in terms of nutrition, exercise and
sleep. Peace and quiet and avoidance of stress is essential.
So, if possible, remove yourself from crowds and the negativity of others.
Retreats are a great help. Find some guidance if you can. It
is important to cooperate with the process, to let go and surrender.
It helps to realize that you cannot do this for yourself with your mind,
attention or any other activities. It is a venture that requires
you to “go with the flow.” Imagine yourself floating down the river
on your back allowing it to carry you to the sea. There is no way you
can speed up the process, so do not try to rush it. This is a
time to be kind to yourself with generous doses of compassion. If you
are living with others, they should have some idea of what is happening in
terms they can understand, so they are not worried about your sanity, and
so they can support you.
Portals to the Unmanifested or Formless Realm
There are a number of ways you can access the Causal body or the undifferentiated
life, the Source, pure consciousness, or the Light. Tolle
(1999) discusses these in Chapter 7 beginning on page 107. You can
begin with the exercise on that page.
Practice: Inner Body
1. Do the exercise on pages 107-8 in The Power of Now in
order to experience your inner body as a single field of energy with a sense
of presence that is boundless. See if you can transcend the body and
simply remain aware of yourself.
Exercise: Inner Body
2. Read Chapter 7 in The Power of Now.
Since we are discussing bindu as the point of dissolution, it may help
to think about some of the possible portals that can assist the transition.
All of these have been touched on at one time or another, but it might
help to see a list just for reminders. You can choose whichever ones
speak to you or discover others that work for you such as being in a natural
environment or a hot bath.
Tolle mentions deep sleep, and we know that is conducive to Kundalini’s
work. Keeping your focus of attention in the Now moment is
helpful because it reduces the resistances that get in the way. Cessation
of thinking is probably the most difficult because it is a habit of
such long standing. Yet, it is worth chipping away at it because the
mind is not going to go along. Surrender is essential and should
be thought of as relaxation rather than something you do. Silence
allows space to open up which relaxes you and helps you learn how to trust.
It also gives you access to your guides who you need at this juncture.
Space will open out if you remove the constrictions that are binding it.
Meditation is the best tool to accomplish this.
Remember that the essence of all things is emptiness. Think of
time as eternity and space as infinity. This will help you relax
your boundaries, constrictions and resistances thus removing many obstacles
that are bound up with them.
Keep in mind that presence is essentially no-mind or true mind and that
true mind is universal rather than individual. It is all God’s Mind
and we may be allowed to participate in it.
A final portal is death. This one is involuntary.
However, it is your choice whether to be conscious at the time of transition.
If you elect to be conscious and attentive, you may be able to identify
the portal to the Unmanifested which is a choice you can make during the
Bardo or transition period if you are focused and present. Instructions
for how to do this may be found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Fremantle
& Trungpa, 1975 or 1992) or in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
by Sogyal Rinpoche (1992). The latter is excellent preparation for
death as he outlines all the stages of death, so you know what to expect.
Tolle (1999) reminds us that every portal is a portal of death – of the
false self. If you can manage to use the opportunity of physical death
to find the portal, you may avoid any further reincarnations.
Practice: Keep the Portal Open
Commit yourself to the spiritual practice Tolle describes on page 109
of reserving some of your attention to stay connected to the Source.
This will, indeed, take practice since we are all so immersed in our daily,
stressful affairs. But it is a practice that eventually will win
you a steady background of inner peace and stillness that never leaves
you. If an emergency should arise, this stability will enable you
to make the right decisions without thinking about it.
The Choice Point
There are several important choices than can be made at this juncture
of the journey. The most crucial is life or death. When
you enter the causal body, you become able to know the time of death.
And there are practices available for intentionally leaving your body when
you are ready. These you will have to discover for yourself.
It is not appropriate for me to give them to you. If and when you
are ready, and not just as an escape from life, they will come to you.
Another choice is known as the Bodhisattva choice. Note
the implications of “sattva” in this terminology. You can die and
merge with the Source or you can choose to continue to reincarnate to help
others until everyone is enlightened. If this is a choice that speaks
to you, I suggest you study some of the literature in Buddhism on Bodhisattvas.
Exercise: Bodhisattvas (optional)
Read either or both The Bodhisattva of Compassion by John Blofeld
(1978) or Kuan Yin: Myths and Prophecies of the Chinese Goddess of Compassion.
by Palmer & Ramsay (1995). Or you may find other interesting
Bodhisattva material in your favorite bookstore.
You may choose to give your life in selfless service. Joseph
Campbell spoke of the hero returning from his journey bringing boons or
gifts to give back to the world. When you reach this level of development,
nothing really will satisfy you except some form of service. Once
you realize that you are a manifestation of the Divine One, you must try
to live Its life on earth. So it becomes a matter of what would God
do in this position? Buddhists say, “When enlightened, chop wood and
carry water.” The seeker in the ox-herding pictures comes back into
the marketplace. . . in the end.
The challenge now is to be in the world but not of it – in the
world physically, but in the heart of God internally. In The Naropa
Institute, this is called “exchange.” It is a kind of direct perception,
colored by compassion, of what is going on inside the other person of which
you are now able to become aware. As our boundaries dissolve, we
become more and more the other person(s). So we want the best for
them and, in our compassion, we move to make contact with them on a soul
Soul death involves a choice. If, as Roberts (1985) suggests,
we are confronting the end of personality life, crucifixion and resurrection,
complete detachment, loss of self-awareness and self-consciousness and,
if we experience no-self as the void, we may find ourselves faced with the
choice of whether to surrender our souls. Bailey (1982, p. 695) spoke
of the fourth initiation as soul death, so this is not a new idea.
It just is not a very palatable one. Bailey says that because a direct
line of energy has been established between the Spiritual Triad and one’s
mind and brain, we discover that we no longer need the soul. “. .
his[her] relation as a soul-infused personality is now directly with the
Monad” (p. 695). This surrender is the one Jesus made in the Garden
just before his crucifixion. When the renunciation is made, “. . the
causal body, the soul body, is relinquished and disappears” (p. 695).
This renunciation is consciously faced, understood and consciously made.
What this death means is that the individual is dead to all that is material
and physical. A commitment is made to Divine Will as the only source
of motivation and to service as the only activity available to us.
Roberts (1985, p. 144) says, “The ultimate reality, then, knows no
distinction between itself and ‘other,’ because the other has been ‘exanimated’
– become lifeless, selfless. Here there is no question of identity
between the soul and God; rather, the soul has died, undergone ‘spiritual
death,’ and without a soul, God is all that remains.” She reminds us
that being “exanimated” means only the death of a personal, individual life
because the “true life” remains; i.e., God’s life. As an aside, Bailey
says the lower centers are emptied at this point, testifying to Kundalini’s
A final choice has to do with the current condition of the planet
and the excruciating need to restore it to balance in order for all of
us to survive. We are all aware on some level of the devastating
effects our civilization has had upon our life-support system, but we choose
to ignore it most of the time. As a way of ending this unit, I would
like to offer you a bit of hope and a practice you can do to help remedy
In his book, The Isaiah Effect, Braden (2000) summarizes information
from multiple sources that points to the possibility that there are alternate
outcomes possible from any one point in time. Which one is chosen
depends upon how a certain small percentage of the population elect to focus
their prayers. In this case, prayer has three primary elements: thought,
emotion and feeling. [Note: This is eerily like our other triads.]
The most important of these is feeling which is what is most obviously missing
from our modern cultural practices and activities. The Tibetan abbot
that Braden visited in Tibet said “. . the object of each prayer is to
achieve a feeling” (p, 132). Feeling is actually the focus of each
prayer. “We are all connected. . We are all expressions of one life.
No matter where we are, our prayers are heard by all. We are all
the same one” (p. 135).
We have to live the intent of our prayer. Braden says emotion is
the source of the power of prayer. Thought gives it direction.
And feeling is the union of the two. The desire of emotion merges
with the imagination [image creation] of our thoughts, and feeling expresses
it. Feeling is the key to prayer. Braden then goes on to submit
evidence that a very small number of people can have an enormous effect
if they focus their intentions simultaneously.
I would add to this that, when we are clear and motivated by the wish
to give service, a simple image that is touched and released can create an
outcome. There are rivers of possibility that run more or less parallel.
At some points, they are closer than at others. At these points, it
does not take much to leap to another river leading to a different outcome.
Please think about this...
Exercise: Alternate Outcomes
Please read The Isaiah Effect: Decoding the Lost Science of Prayer
and Prophecy by Gregg Braden (2000). Then formulate for yourself
an outcome for the planet that it needs and pray for it. If you can
enlist the help of some friends, that will be even more effective.
We have examined some aspects of Bindu as the gateway to another level
of spiritual development characterized by renunciation and choice.
It is at this point that dissolution reaches its climax, and we may return
to the Source if and when we are ready to do that.
Almaas, A. (1986). The Void: Inner spaciousness and ego
structure. Berkeley, CA: Diamond Books.
Bailey, A. (1982). The rays and the initiations, Volume
V: A treatise on the seven rays. New York: Lucis Publishing Co.
Bentov, I. (1988). Stalking the wild pendulum: On the mechanics
of consciousness. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.
Blofeld, J. (1978). Bodhisattva of compassion: The mystical
tradition of Kuan Yin. Boulder: Shambhala.
Braden, G. (2000). The Isaiah effect: Decoding the lost
science of prayer and prophecy. New York: Three Rivers
Bruner, J., Oliver, R. & Greenfield, P. (1966). Studies
in cognitive growth. New York: Wiley.
Fremantle, F. & Trungpa, C. (transl.)(1975). The Tibetan
book of the dead. Boston: Shambhala.
Fremantla, F. & Trungpa, C. (transl.)(1992). The Tibetan
book of the dead: The Great Liberation through hearing in the Bardo.
Harrigan, J. (2002). Kundalini Vidya: The science of spiritual
transformation. Knoxville, TN: Patanjali Kundalini Yoga Care.
Mahler, M., et al. (1975). The psychological birth of the human
infant. New York: Basic Books.
Palmer, M. & Ramsey, J. with Kwok, M. (1995). Kuan
Yin: Myths and revelations of the Chinese goddess of compassion.
San Francisco: HarperCollins.
Rinpoche, S. (1992). The Tibetan book of living and dying.
New York: HarperCollins.
Roberts, B. (1985). The path to no-self: Life at the center.
Tolle, E. (1999). The power of now: A guide to spiritual
enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library.
This completes Unit IX. Bindu. The next Unit X. Healing Ideas offers some other approaches
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