I enjoyed a beautiful seminar with Judith Blackstone yesterday. She guided us through a subtle meditative process that allowed us to take time to be each part of our bodies AND engage the unified field of consciousness.
I’ve been meditating for years, and I have always heard the guidance, for example, to “be aware of your feet.” But Judith guided us to “go inside your feet.” So, with my entire consciousness, I occupied my feet. Then she guided us up the entire body, part by part, inviting us to go within each part of the body and BE inside that part of the body.
This was a nuanced way to focus for me.
Because someone at the seminar asked Judith, “what is the difference?” I would like to try to describe my sense of the difference between being aware of a certain part of the body and actually going inside that part of the body.
In the process of being aware of my feet, my mind sees my feet and my sensitivity feels my feet. But in the process of going inside my feet, I do not just see and feel my feet; I AM my feet. This made me subtly engage with my feet, investing my whole state of being inside my feet.
I wept during the process because it was as if my feet were sweetly singing to me, oh, thank you for being here, finally.
Being inside various parts of my body and actually dwelling inside those parts was a way for me to access total embodiment. I liked it.
Then Judith guided us to merge the content of our whole being with the infinite space surrounding us and within us. We connected deeply within before and while connecting to the unified field of consciousness.
According to Judith, and I agree with her, if we do not engage our entire body and bodily experience in its entire here and now existence–with all the garbage and all the bliss–but we just try to go straight to meditating on and connecting to the unified field of consciousness, that is when we experience spiritual bypassing.
Recently I walked away from practicing Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan because Yogi Bhajan is a known sex offender. Many people who are hurting in that community are calling out the elders, the legacy teachers, and the KRI / 3HO establishment and pointing out the ways they are spiritual bypassing.
Because the term is being thrown around a lot, it has became a term that needs defining, analysis, critical inquiry, and play. Where KYATBYB is concerned, many people who stake their livelihood on teaching Kundalini Yoga are now scrambling to disassociate with Yogi Bhajan. They’re working to separate the teacher from the teachings. They are attempting to rebrand. They are removing the old “master teacher’s” image from their books and altars and t-shirts and mugs and whatever swag shit they sold to make money. They are doing this without telling the story honestly about how and why they are doing this. They are doing this without clearly coming clean about their intentions for doing this.
So it feels like we need to be careful out there, anything that is being sold as “kundalini yoga” should probably most accurately be branded as “kundalini yoga that was once taught by yogi bhajan who abused women and children.” But I guess that is too long of a brand name to fit on Instagram posts. Maybe a better brand would be “kundalini yoga as taught with a heavy dose of organizational spiritual bypassing.” Because just as it is dangerous to go straight to unified consciousness without going through the body, it is also impossible to apply, share, and spread teachings without attempting to know and engage with that practice’s history and thus its teacher.
What I have found most helpful in moving away from kundalini yoga is embracing Celtic Magic. I am reading The Book of Celtic Magic by Kristoffer Hughes. At the same time, I am also enrolled in Embodied Philosophy’s year-long Yoga Philosophy certificate program. I don’t need another certificate; I just adore the community and the critical inquiry that I have found here. Feels like home.
My morning Sadhana includes practice of Surya Namaskar, Chandra Namaskar, Shiva Namaskar, Nadi Shodhana, fluttering the breath, and watching the breath. It’s simple. Not rocket science. I chant to the Dark Goddess of Celtic lore, and I chant the Tantoktam Devi Suktam. It’s a powerful practice that calls my power back to me and fills me with joy. I don’t need whatever program so many folks are trying to sell to me.
That said, I do like this yoga philosophy certificate program that I have enrolled in for this year. This year, I will complete a self-study project that engages me with both Yoga tradition and the Celtic Magical tradition. I will not do this as an objective study but as a quirky scholar / practitioner of both traditions. I’ve found a community of like minds who value critical inquiry. This is the best way I have found to move forward and to heal from the seven years during which I now feel like I was being duped by institutions that claimed to teach yoga (the Kundalini Research Institute, Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization, Sikh Dharma International, and Making of a Yogi). To me personally, I see these organizations are flawed at the core.
Ultimately, I don’t even like institutions. I like a small group, intimate experience, that welcomes creative thinking, integrity, transparency, zero tolerance for abuse, and is genuine and playful.
If you like that too, please join me this Saturday (12:30 – 1:30 PM) for Meditate and Write Flash. This class benefits the Writers Ink community so this community arts center can stay open (online) during these times.
As I am growing in my love for the Cauldron and all that it symbolizes (the womb). I have become more and more excited about inhabiting my belly during my meditation. The gut is a wonderous place to dwell. All the conjuring and brewing and digesting that happens there! Wow! Besides, I need a heavy pot to melt the huge mix of contemplative practices I have engaged (plus, all the bull shit I have been forced to digest) over the years. Though I may be accused of spiritual window-shopping, I don’t care. I am a creative writer. I shall humbly study the Celtic Magical tradition and the yogic tradition as a way to move through life with clarity, balance, and exuberance. If you have read this far, thank you for being with me. May this expression of longing be my way of bowing to your consciousness. I bow to the cauldron within you. Peace!