Unit V. The Power of Life


  1. Light
  2. Sound and Vibration
  3. Thought
  4. Creation
  5. Polarities
  6. The Gunas
  7. Kundalini
  8. Work
  9. Granthis and Seals
  10. Cycles and Circuits
Books needed:

Planetary Brother
Divine Light Invocation

Practices and Exercises:

Dance of  Creation
Strength and Selfless Service
Microcosmic Orbit

Basic Life Energy

We have said that each symbol in each chakra has special meaning for spiritual development. So let us now begin to open up those packages. In the first chakra, called the muladhara chakra, there are arrows pointing out of the chakra in every direction. (This is not shown in the Johari diagrams.) These arrows designate our basic, neutral life energy which is sometimes called kundalini. This energy is free to be used for anything we choose. For instance, we use it to work, play, love others, engage in sexual behavior, and to fuel our emotions, to name a few. However, most of us have no idea how to consciously harness it. When we do learn how to do that, we can use it to power our spiritual development and to withdraw it from harmful activities. So let's look at some of this energy's manifestations.

Physicists tell us that everything is composed of particles and waves and that, for an observer, only one of these is perceptible at a time. They change into each other. So it seems that, if we could observe the world with a very, very strong electron microscope, everything would disappear. There is only energy. Matter, even, is not indestructible as we once thought. This information shatters our entire way of perceiving reality if we give it some serious thought. Nothing is solid, nothing we see has any substance in the last analysis. What is even stranger is that this knowledge was already held by the rishis and seers we referred to above several thousand years before Christ.

Buddhists speak of the Ultimate Reality and the Relative Reality. The Ultimate Reality is the way things really are - all energy, perhaps conscious energy. It is also referred to as the Ground of Being. Relative Reality, on the other hand, has to do with the everyday sensory information we have to deal with in order to function in the world. Because we are in a body, we have to use our senses to tell us what is "out there," and our senses say there is certainly something real in the world before us. Furthermore, our brains are constructed to make use of that information. As we grow up, we learn to put together a system of perception that represents the world, and this system acts as a filter for sensory input. Once this is in place, we literally see and hear what we want or expect to see and hear, what passes through the filter that is.

The basic energy, or Ultimate Reality, is what the topic of this unit refers to. It is neutral and as yet unformed. It is the context or container for everything that exists. And, if It is indeed the Ground of Being, It must also be aware for, out of It, has come the entire universe as well as conscious awareness of so-called objects.


Light is one of the universal symbols for the Divine One or for the Absolute. Interestingly enough, the Void is a nearly universal symbol for the Ground of Being that goes beyond and contains the Absolute, or any presence or consciousness. And the Void has connotations of darkness or the absence of anything - like space. However, out of the Void comes everything, arising into creation. Humans have probably wondered since the beginning of time how this creation takes place and who wills it into existence. Perhaps no one yet has a final answer. However, many of the traditions speak of sound as being instrumental in the action of creation. Some specifically refer to language: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God... In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (St. John, I:1). The Light, in this case, refers to Jesus as does Logos the Greek word that is translated as "word." Somewhere I have not been able to retrace I once found a meaning of Logos as "Essence" which, to me, conveys a closer approximation to what I sense to be the truth of the matter.

Light is a form of energy (cf tanmatras in Figure3. Yoga Psychology) which depends upon matter to reflect it in order for it to become visible to the human eye. The astronaut's trip to the moon offers a good example of this. Because there is little or no atmosphere on the moon to reflect and diffuse light, the sky there is black. The moon itself, however, because it is made of solid material reflects light and so we can see it. Remember the Samkhya idea that the human mind reflects the light of pure consciousness. This principle of reflection is obviously important. Bartholomew (direct communication, January 14, 1995), for example, says that human beings act as mirrors for each other, so that we see ourselves in others rather than the other person in his/her essence. The ego defense of projection is the same phenomenon.

Light is a symbol in nearly every culture and society for the Divine One, the Absolute Being. We use candles on our altars, for instance, to remind us of the presence of God in our midst. The Divine Light is real, divine, creative energy coming from the Source, and it may be invoked for protection, for energy and for sustenance. Swami Sivananda Radha has given us The Divine Light Invocation as a way of bringing this nurturing energy into our lives.

Exercises: Light

1. Read The Divine Light Invocation by Swami Radha (1987a) and begin a daily practice of it. Keep notes on what you experience. If you regularly put someone into the Light, you will find that they are, indeed, protected by it. It is important for you not to try to specify what you want to happen to those you surround by the Light, but that you simply see them happy and well. Allow the Light to work its own magic. You may also call on the Light to bless projects or work that you may be involved in. Of course, you protect yourself in this way. It may be useful to surround yourself with a cocoon of Light if someone is coming at you with a lot of negativity or if you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Keep up the practice until it becomes a habit to call upon the Light.

2. If you have a copy of Planetary Brother by Bartholomew (1991), read the chapter called "The Curtain of Separation" for a different perspective on how to bring the Light to bear upon separation issues.

Sound and Vibration

Let us look now at sound, this time as vibration. We all know that energy moves because of the mutual attraction of positive and negative ions. In fact, this electromagnetism is even used to explain the attraction between men and women and their so-called sex differences. If we think of vibration as the action of positive and negative ions, it follows that we are talking about the basic energy of creation. We now know that, tracked down to its tiniest forms, energy is found to be particles and waves which are mutually exclusive, at least from the standpoint of the observer with the tools we now have available.

Light and sound both operate through vibration. In Yoga the creative principle is called sabdabrahman which means vibration. Yogis chant mantras to clear their minds and tune the body and etheric channels in order to experience the Divine Essence. It's as if chanting realigns the energy in the body so it is not so chaotic. If I understand it correctly, electricity is made to travel through a wire by using magnets to align and direct the ions or particles of energy. Same principle. However, we need to go a further step to explain how creation occurs. And that involves thought.


There is a common cliche that says, "Thought creates reality." You can test this out for yourself and, if you believe it and practice long enough, you will probably be successful. One of the Yogic practices described in Patanjali's Sutras results in the control of one's visibility, so it is possible to become invisible to others when one wishes to; for example, if or when threatened by someone. Making oneself invisible was also an alchemical practice during the middle ages. The details of how to do this involve using the mind to coagulate the energy that is available in the space that surrounds us in order to make a shield. The same practice can be used to create forms (Richards, 1992). That this is a lost art is probably due to the Church's influence and superstition rather than its impossibility.

It is also said that we must be careful what we wish for because we might get it, and not necessarily in the form we had in mind, I might add. How does this connect to creation through the use of vibration? Well, what is a thought anyway? From what is known about brain functioning, a thought manifests there as neuronal activity. This is electrical along the stem (axon) of the nerves; and, at the synapses (connections between neurons in the brain), it is chemical, but still it is vibratory. So it follows that those images we form in our mind, at least, have a vibratory component. Since the world is one seamless web, according to Bohm (Keepin, 1994) and since our ego [and body] boundaries are imaginary according to Almaas (1990), perhaps we can make the leap from the individual mind to creation of forms in the outside world. In fact, this is part of our everyday experience. We have an idea, and we set about bringing it into form. The Creator probably didn't use exactly the same sort of technique, but the principles are the same. Mind is a creator.


The reason creation comes up in this chakra is the symbol in the very middle of the chakra that looks like a downward facing triangle which encloses something that looks rather like a rounded post with a snake coiled around it. The triangle is called a yoni and represents the feminine aspect. The post is called the lingam and represents the masculine aspect. The snake in its three turns around the lingam represents the three gunas. The positioning of the two main parts of this symbol represents procreation which gives rise to all life on the planet. That is a direct manifestation of our basic life energy in the form of sexuality. We will see, in the next section, how polarities are a basic part of our life experience on this earth. And this symbol offers another reason why the first chakra deals with birth and rebirth which we will encounter in the next unit.

However, creativity refers to more than the creation of life. It also means anything that is brought forth in the world from our minds and hearts such as forms, art, music, dance, science, the written language, creative thinking and problem-solving, creative relationships, and so forth. That is, anything that is new and unique.

In the Hindu tradition, the vibration of creation is referred to as Shiva's dance. One of the popular images of him depicts him dancing on a small figure that represents the ego or ignorance, and he is surrounded by a ring of flames which symbolizes the energy in question. In Yoga, energy is divided into manifest forms of it and unmanifest, or potential, forms of it. This division represents the polarities or dualities in our experience. If you glance back at Figure 3.Yoga Psychology in Unit IV, you will notice that everything below Brahman or the Ultimate Reality is based on the first division into Consciousness and Matter. So, all of creation and consciousness as well is separated from the Ultimate Reality.

Exercise: Dance of Creation

Find some music that appeals to you and a private space and begin to dance. After you really get into it, start to pay attention to the rhythm and notice how it affects your body. Imagine you are creating something. Dance it into existence. See how your mind and imagination are involved and how your body participates. Mind and body are not separate, are they? When you are finished, make some notes in your journal. Repeat this several more times on other days using different types of music and note how the creative process differs with different rhythms and tempos. Is there any relationship between these activities and how you have created yourself? On how you create your world? Reflect on these issues.


It appears that the human mind is built in such a way that we learn to perceive everything in terms of either...or. Edmund Leach (1964) once wrote an article pointing out how we repress the boundaries between classes of objects, so that we can do this kind of separating. For instance, a pussy willow can be either a bush or a tree depending upon how it is formed when it is growing. But most of us see it as, and would call it a bush. However, I have seen a pussy willow tree thirty feet tall that, by no means, could be called a bush. There aren't any hard and fast boundaries in nature. Nor are there in human functioning. For instance, the basic human being is a female as an embryo and must be programmed by male hormones to develop male characteristics. If this hormone is absent, the body develops as a female. In addition, the only reliable sex differences (Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974) that can be found consistently in the body of psychological research at that time were in amount of aggression which can be attributed to the amount of testosterone (a male hormone) in the system and spatial orientation (due to a sex-linked gene favoring males). Yet, in spite of that knowledge which has been around for nearly twenty years, we still polarize our perceptions and experience probably for ease in thinking about things.

Yogis also tell us that the polarities are not real. And, in fact, after many years of practice and achievement of sixth chakra level of consciousness, we may actually experience the unity that goes beyond them. So it seems that polarities are only a function of our mental activity and have no objective reality except perhaps in the electrical pulse of the universe.

This pulse is interesting. Some years ago, two scientists at different locations simultaneously detected a background hum in the universe that was not coming from any body in space. It had a frequency of around 7hz which is almost exactly the frequency of brain waves in the alpha state, the state of the brain during meditation. Are we tuning in to some Divine Being? One of the Hindu myths speaks of Vishnu, the creative aspect of the Divine, who rests in the arms of a seven-headed serpent. His breath is said to create the universe; presumably the outbreath creates all the multiple forms and the inbreath draws them all back into him. A sample of this may be experienced in meditation if you watch your breath long enough. This is one reason for the importance of the breath.

Exercise: Dualities

Write a paper on how you experience the most problematic dualities or polarities in your life. Which ones give you the most trouble? Are these largely conscious or unconscious? Have you ever experienced the merging of opposites? If so, what happened and what provoked it? What are you doing to overcome the separations formed by these learned perceptions?

The Gunas

If you consult Figure 3. Yoga Psychology (14K) in Unit IV, you will see that the gunas or attributes are one of the first manifestations of Matter. They have to do with the characteristics or qualities that give physical things in the world their particular identity. There are only three of them, and it is said that everything created is made up of a combination of these three. In the first level of the gunas' manifestation, they become Light, Energy and Inertia. Note that, as we read down the diagram, things get progressively more concrete in terms of how they manifest.

There are some interesting interactions between the gunas and Mind. The Higher Mind is mainly informed by Light while Light and Energy together dominate the Sensori-motor Mind. Energy and Inertia together become Potential Energy. These emerge on the physical level as the Gross Elements (Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth) and Sensations (Hearing, Touch, Sight, Taste and Smell).

Inertia dominates the physical world including our bodies. As you can see, these factors become increasingly dense in the order given above. It appears that physical manifestation depends upon a sort of precipitation process in which the denser material gradually becomes visible to the eye. The human being is part of this process. Some aspects of us are nonvisible, such as the mind and soul or psyche. Our energy is visible to the trained or psychic eye, and the body is visible to everyone.

The implications of this theory go further in that they require us to consider the prospect that all objects, including those we normally think of as inanimate, have at least a small portion of mind in them. We know they are composed of atoms which are forms of energy though we can't directly observe that. Overlooking the energy aspect of concrete objects allows us to think of them as stable and unchanging. In fact they are not. Everything is constantly in motion at the atomic level.

And the idea of mind being a part of everything requires a more drastic alteration in our usual conception of how things are. Is this the mind as creator, or is there a conscious aspect or thinking aspect or perceiving aspect in each object as well? How can we integrate the fact of cellular consciousness as discovered by Candace Pert (Grodzki, 1995) into our world view? Could everything be conscious? What are the implications if this is so? Why is The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird (1973), which scientifically documents something like consciousness and sensitivity to people and music in plants, not a commonly known book? And how do we explain the faculty of healing in crystals, one of which is the hardest substance known to man - a diamond? Such questions inspire us to keener observations of the world around us.


Kundalini refers to an aspect of our basic life energy that is capable of powerfully accelerating our spiritual evolution. In Yogic mythology, it lies curled up, asleep at the base of the spine. But it can be awakened and put to use on the spiritual path

Kundalini is an aspect of the eternal, supreme consciousness, which is both with and without attributes. In the attributeless (nirguna) aspect it is the will of cosmic consciousness, and is pure consciousness. In the aspect with attributes (saguna), this energy is often personified as Kundalini, an aspect of the Great Goddess, just as primal energy, or shakti, is personified as Shakti. It is through the power of Kundalini that all creatures act. In individual bodies the same energy lies dormant, as a static center around which every form of existence revolves. In the phenomenal world there is always a power in and behind every activity, a static background. (Johari, 1987, p. 17)*
Kundalini energy has been much maligned. It is not unusual for people to do a little spiritual practice and have an experience of profound energy, then go out and begin to teach so-called Kundalini Yoga. This is a very dangerous thing to do, more for the students than the teachers, perhaps, although negative karma may be created thereby for the teacher who is being irresponsible. This is a good example of ego-involvement in spirituality which inevitably detours one from the path. If a teacher promises instant psychic "experiences," beware!

Kundalini energy when misused may produce a psychosis that is difficult for the average psychologist or psychiatrist to diagnose, so the person may end up in an institution receiving shock therapy or mind altering drugs that are totally inappropriate. Or it may cause physical symptoms, illness or disease if a chakra it tries to penetrate is blocked.

A whole network of healers has been formed to diagnose and treat people who are suffering from spiritual emergencies, of which kundalini psychosis is one. A spiritual emergency is caused by the sudden and unprepared for emergence of psychic material or experiences of other realms with which the individual is not familiar. It can be terrifying and cause symptoms that emulate ordinary psychosis. For more information, consult The Call of Spiritual Emergency by Emma Bragdon (1990), Kundalini: Psychosis or Transcendence by Lee Sannella (1981) or The Awakening of Kundalini by Gopi Krishna (1975). Or call The Spiritual Emergence Network in Santa Cruz, CA. They may be reached at (408)426-0902.

There is a lot of confusion over the distinction between psychosis and mysticism because they seem to have some things in common such as psychic experiences, apparent loss of ego and inattention to the environment. However, a distinction can be made in terms of level of development. Mysticism is another much maligned term. It has nothing to do with magic as that is usually conceived. In other times a distinction was made between black magic which was used for ego gains and white magic which was used for healing or spiritual development. The term "mysticism" is now used to refer to spiritual disciplines about which there is nothing obscure, occult or hidden. Anyone who is willing to put in the time and energy can become liberated from their social hypnosis and experience higher levels of conscious awareness. But, back to psychosis and mysticism. A mystic is not anxious, has appropriate ego strength in terms of being able to cope with the world and reality and perceives a profound sense of order in the cosmos. Such a person can communicate with others coherently and is relatively free of repression. They also have an enduring center. None of this can be said of the psychotic.

For some of the reasons presented above, it is extremely important to go through the initial stages of preparation of the body and mind before the experience of "raising kundalini." This takes a great deal of time and work with which most Americans have little patience. We want instant everything. However, this effort ultimately is worthwhile. Kundalini is the spiritual energy we need to lead our lives on a higher level of consciousness. And, if the mind and body are gradually prepared, the emergence of kundalini needn't be traumatic. It produces a radiance in the one called "illumined." And it powers unconditional love and selfless service among other things.

The emphasis in the early stages of Kundalini Yoga is on purification or cleansing. This is intended specifically to provide an opportunity for the self-examination that is required to clear the mind and clarify one's reasons for being in the world, and that is why it is the basis for these lessons. This work is the preliminary to more esoteric practices which will enable the experience of unity consciousness. Kundalini Yoga is a subset of Raja Yoga, and Hatha Yoga is a subset of Kundalini Yoga. They all have the same ultimate goal: Liberation from ignorance about who we truly are..

Exercise: Mysticism

Read Chapter 6 in Yoga and Psychotherapy for a better understanding of the difference between spiritual development and pathological states. Think about the role of ego in both. How does the healthy ego participate in spiritual development and what are the weaknesses of ego that cause pathology? Why are we asked to give up our ego (ego death) in order to become enlightened? What does ego death really mean? Where would you place yourself on a continuum between psychosis and enlightenment? What is your reasoning for this placement? Make some notes about mysticism in your journal.


Since work is the form energy takes in our daily lives, it is appropriate to discuss it here. A whole branch of Yoga, Karma Yoga, is given to work although it is not usually called that. It is more likely to be referred to as selfless service. When one is identified with the Divine One, the only action in the world that makes sense is to give service to others. The form that takes may depend upon what skills have been bestowed on you, and/or it may take the form of complete renunciation of one's will to the Universal Will: "Not my will, but Thy Will be done." In both cases, the work will be addressed to what is immediately present to experience. It depends upon complete control over ego so that the motives being served are neither selfish nor egocentric.

By selflessness and control over ego, I do not mean destruction of ego as that would produce psychosis, by definition. In fact, one needs a healthy ego in order to sustain the Spiritual Will to persevere on the journey. But the ego must be subordinated to the Higher Self. The difficulty here and the reason Liberation takes so much time is that, without a great deal of spiritual practice and self-discipline, it is impossible to tell whether something is an ego desire or the will of God. This is the main reason one needs a teacher - to give feedback, to question motives and to close the doors of ego defense against the diminution of its power.

Work is the way a person manifests enlightenment. The Buddhists say, "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water" (Fields et. al., 1984). But there is all the difference. The service after liberation is given freely and gracefully as an act of devotion and commitment to the welfare of all. It is tied in to attunement with Divine Will or Plan as well as it can be discerned. And it is given with openhearted love with no expectation of return. The work is done because it is there, immediately present, and because one can do it. It is done with joy and good humor, with consideration for others and a vision of each person as a personification of the Divine One. It is Love in action.

Exercise: Strength and Selfless Service

1. Strength. Give some thought to how you use your energy. Do you feel full of vigor and ready to go most of the time, or do you have to force yourself to get up in the morning, get to work, fix meals, etc.? What kinds of things lead to "low energy?" What stimulates you? Is there any pattern in your "lows?" Do you do physical exercise? If so, does it invigorate you or tire you? Is your fatigue usually physical or emotional or mental? If you are tired a great deal of the time, you may need to assess how you are using your time. On the other hand, it may be due to stress.

If you have a fatigue that is a generalized feeling of weakness, it may be due to anxiety. Almaas (1990, p. 214) says that separation anxiety is the main reason the strength aspect is blocked. Weakness is the result of resisting separation, not the cause of being unable to [separate]. The ego uses energy to repress things it can't or won't deal with. So energy can get tied up in neurotic conflicts. Confronting and working through the anxiety can release that energy. This usually requires therapy.

2. Read Chapter 3 in End of Sorrow. What recommends the path of Karma Yoga to you? What are the pitfalls in trying to do selfless service? Do you think it is better to act in the world or withdraw into retreat and meditate? Why? Which would you prefer? What other options do you see for actualizing your spiritual wisdom when it is attained? Can you see selfless service as the Divine acting through a person? How might that manifest in your life? Do you ever feel threatened that the spiritual journey might change your life in ways you don't want it to? How are you going to deal with this, if so?

How do the gunas manifest in your practice? Do you think they need to be balanced? If so, how would you go about doing that? What role do the gunas play in separation?

Why is desire such an issue in spiritual development? What is self-will and how is it related to ego? Where would you place yourself on a dimension of self-will: lots or little? When is there too much? Not enough? How would you decide whether you need to get rid of aspects of your ego? Is there a relationship between the mind and desire? Between mind and ego? What is meant by "intellect" in these readings? How is it to be trained and why? What does nirvana mean?

3. Please make some notes in your journal about your thoughts on these issues. If you are trying to process your work, write a reflective paper on selfless service.

Granthis and Seals

There are, apparently, places in the ascent path of kundalini that are particularly difficult to pass through. These are called granthis, seals or knots. They are located in the first, fourth and sixth chakras. Granthis represent major obstacles or attachments on the spiritual path.

The first one is the Brahma Granthi and is associated with attachment to the physical world of names and forms. Because the mind is accessed primarily through the senses, there is a tendency to get attached to things that stimulate them. For instance, some people get addicted to food and overeat, others prefer visual experiences and get attached to particular colors or designs. Still others are attached to their music. Because attachment is a constant occupation of the mind, it causes it to become restless and scattered. Therefore, the mind "chatter" is what most often interrupts meditation or gets in the way of concentration or rest. The first five rungs of Yoga all address these problems especially pratyahara which involves withdrawal and discipline of the senses.

The second knot is the Vishnu Granthi, located in the heart chakra, which produces compassion and a need to help others. It often results in attachment to the preservation of spiritual orders or traditions perhaps to the exclusion of the uninitiated. The need to help, and it is experienced as a need, is something we all should examine in ourselves. Women, particularly, are prone to this because of their natural tendencies toward nurturance. However, one must think carefully about the message that is being given when we rush in to assist someone. It may be that, however unconsciously, we feel like they can't take care of their own problem. Jack Gibb (1964) once wrote an article called, "Is Help Helpful?" and I believe Ram Dass and Gorman (1985) also have a book on the same subject. Because this knot is associated with the heart chakra and its attendent love and devotion, it is difficult to unravel. One must learn how to be discriminating in whether to offer help and also how the service is offered, so that it may be received with gratitude and not rejection.

In a wider sense, this granthi is associated with emotional attachments to people, family, and relationships. For this reason, some seekers renounce all personal attachments and take the vows of obedience, chastity and renunciation called sannyas. This marks the entrance into monastic life in Yoga. There are similar vows in the Christian tradition.

The Rudra Granthi is located in the sixth chakra. Breaking this seal entails transcendence of time and space dimensions as well as all of the psychic powers that may have been accruing due to the progressive clarification. The danger here is getting lost or attached to the siddhis or psychic powers. Intuition is far advanced and the person's capabilities vastly extended, so it is tempting to become ego-involved in them or to give them unwarranted attention. The yogi must ignore them in order not to become attached to them. In this granthi, the attachment is to thought, ideas, visions and intuitions.

Cycles and Circuits

One of the symbols in the first chakra which might easily go unnoticed is a set of arrows pointing out of the chakra in all directions (not shown in Johari). This indicates that energy needs direction or it may be wasted through dissipation. So, like an electrician forces the current through a wire, we learn to direct our energies through proper use of the body and mind. It only takes a few minutes of sitting meditation to discover how uncontrolled the mind is. Likewise, you may discover all sorts of aches, pains and tensions in the body when you come to sit. Some of this is due to habit, some to blocks in the circuitry, some to stress and tension and some to lack of discipline. It takes conscious attention to one's life to determine how to use the life energy, so it is not wasted or drained off in unfocused activity.

Another characteristic of energy that is not often noticed is that it travels in a circle or circuit. The most common experience of this is to have a short circuit in your house. If two wires running in parallel are bridged, the current returns to its source via the bridge rather than through its normal course in your household wiring. Normally, the current returns to its source, or it goes to ground if the system is grounded and there is a short circuit. So the circuit must be a limited, closed system for the current to move.

This is true with other kinds of energy with which you may be familiar. In social interactions, it is usual to reciprocate gifts and favors that are given to you if only to say "thank you." More important is the circulation of Love. Unconditional Love is given to us by the Creator; it is the universal energy. Because it is energy, it needs to be returned to its Source either by giving it to someone else or giving it directly back to the Divine. If you do not do this, if you try to hold on to it, it blocks the channel and causes pain, or disease. The chakras also abide by this principle. Vital energy may be raised through the chakras, but it needs to be returned to the hara or Muladhara chakra and stored. The hara is roughly the belly area. It is known in oriental mysticism as the storage place for Chi or Qi, the life energy we are calling kundalini.

Exercise: Microcosmic Orbit

Directions: Find a comfortable seat on a cushion or the edge of a chair where your back can be held erect with the least amount of effort. Relax and get in touch with your breath. Sit quietly for a few moments allowing yourself to relax and release any tensions you may discover in your body. Then breathe into the third chakra, imagining that you are drawing in Light, and hold your breath for a slow count of four. [One way to time your breath retention accurately is to repeat a short mantra four times. "Om Namah Shivaya: is a common mantra. Others are "Hari Om," "Rama, Rama, Rama," "Have Mercy on me," "Holy Mother of God," etc. any short devotional phrase or repetition of the Lord's name will suffice to focus attention.]

From the third chakra, breathe Light into each of the others in this cumulative order: first, second, third again, fourth, seventh, sixth, fifth and end in the third. Go up the back of the body to the crown (seventh chakra), then down the front to the third chakra. Notice that this forms a circle around the body. After you have touched each chakra with Light, begin to breathe deeply through them again, more rapidly and without repeating the mantra for each one. Use the inhalation to breathe through all of them up to the seventh, then exhale through numbers six and five to three. Once you have this going, you may use your mantra to synchronize this breathing. Do this as many times as is comfortable although do not allow yourself to hyperventilate. It is refreshing to imagine that on the exhalation, you are releasing amrita from the Soma chakra and allowing it to flow down over your body bathing it in divine nectar. When you are ready to stop, wind up the energy in a coil and store it in the hara.

Make notes on what you experience.


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Krishna, Gopi. The awakening of Kundalini. NY: Dutton, 1975.

Lamsa, G.M. (Transl.) Holy Bible: From the ancient eastern text. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1968.

Leach, Edmund. "Anthropological aspects of language: Animal categories and verbal abuse." In E. H. Lenneberg (Ed.) New directions in the study of language. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1964, 23-63.

Maccoby, E.E. & Jacklin, C.N. The psychology of sex differences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1974.

Radha, Swami Sivananda. Divine Light Invocation. Spokane, WA: Timeless Books, 1987a.

Rama, Swami, Ballentine, R. And Ajaya, Swami. Yoga and psychotherapy: The evolution of consciousness. Honesdale, PA: Himalayan International Institute, 1981.

Richards, Steve. Invisibility. San Francisco: Aquarian Press, 1992.

Sannella, Lee. Kundalini: Psychosis or transcendence. San Francisco, CA: H. S. Dakin, 1981.

Tompkins, P. & Bird, C. The secret life of plants. NY: Harper & Row, 1973.

This completes our study of basic neutral life energy. Unit 6. Creation: Birth and Beginnings, Evolution and Earth will go into more detail about creation; in particular, how our earliest experiences caused the separation from Spirit that we so long to repair. We will meet Divine Mother and begin to work toward opening the heart. To that end, you will be asked to begin a meditation practice. We will meet the Three Poisons from the Buddhist tradition and work with some of the offshoots of ignorance (maya) and materialism. And we will reflect on the first step in the journey of awakening. The Divine Child archetype is introduced, and we will take a look at prayer.

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