FOREWORD by Thomas Keating, OCSO (insert cursor in text box and scroll with arrows)
This book is the first description that I know of in Christian literature about the awakening of kundalini energy in a purely Christian context. Kundalini has long been known in Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist spirituality. The fact that this complete awakening occurred in the context of a classical development of Christian prayer makes it an important contribution to East/West dialogue. Given the newness of the kundalini experience in Christian circles, however, any theological interpretation is bound to be tentative.
Reading the Christian mystics from the perspective of his own experience of kundalini energy, the author sees many examples of its working in the lives of Christian saints and mystics. Since this energy is also at work today in numerous persons who are devoting themselves to contemplative prayer, this book is an important contribution to the renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition. It will be a great consolation to those who have experienced physical symptoms arising from the awakening of kundalini in the course of their spiritual journey, even if they have not experienced it to the full extent described by the author. His compelling testimony is a powerful affirmation of the potential of every human being for higher states of consciousness.
The awakening of kundalini energy and its various stages clearly enhances our understanding of how the body takes part in the spiritual journey. Spiritual writers of our tradition have long known that the body must be carefully prepared if it is to receive the higher communications of divine grace. For example, St. John of the Cross considered bodily ecstasy a weakness that gradually subsides in the process of transformation.
With keen insight, the author raises several crucial questions that arise from his experience of the full unfolding of kundalini. Prior to the awakening of kundalini he received the Baptism in the Spirit and enjoyed the gift of tongues. While appreciating the immense value of kundalini, he sharply distinguishes it from the action of the Holy Spirit. He considers kundalini a natural evolutionary energy inherent in every human being. There is a tendency in Hindu spirituality to identify kundalini and the Holy Spirit, perhaps because the Baptism in the Spirit is not a part of the experience of the East.
Kundalini is an enormous energy for good, but like all human potentials, it could also be used for selfish motives and thus become a source of serious harm. This is probably the energy that is so attractive in cult leaders; they may well impart a spiritual experience through the transmission of kundalini in a way that we do not yet understand. Energy, however great, is only energy. It is how one uses it that counts. Thus the importance of the moral context in which kundalini is awakened. Most spiritual disciplines worldwide insist on some kind of serious discipline before techniques of awakening kundalini are communicated. In Christian tradition, the exercise of the moral virtues that quiet emotional turmoil, the service of others, and the regular practice of the stages of Christian prayer from discursive meditation to contemplation are the essential disciplines. Without such positive preparation and the passive purifications described by St. John of the Cross, kundalini could serve the purposes of the false self and be used for spiritual power plays, to the great emotional and spiritual damage of other people. Thus, for a Christian at least, it is essential that the Holy Spirit direct their energy. In Christian spirituality, the unfolding of the stages of prayer described by St. Teresa of Avila in the Interior Castle may be the fruit of the kundalini energy arising under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Kundalini may also be an active ingredient in the Dark Nights of St. John of the Cross.
Kundalini has influenced ancient Eastern methods of medicine such as acupuncture and ayurvedic medicine. As these forms of healing become better known in the West, the question as to the exact nature of kundalini will certainly arise. All the Eastern traditions concur that this energy should not be awakened except under the guidance of a qualified teacher. Since this energy can arise through the practice of ordinary Christian prayer forms, the need of spiritual directors who are at least knowledgeable in this area is evident. The personal predicament that the author describes could be happening to other Christians in our time. Moreover, as Christian contemplation becomes better known, a number of persons who have experienced the awakening of kundalini through Eastern techniques may wish to return to their Christian roots, where their spiritual condition needs to be understood.
In order to guide persons having this experience, Christian spiritual directors may need to dialogue with Eastern teachers in order to get a fuller understanding. The importance of the “Document on the Non-Christian Religions” comes into focus here. The document states, "the Church therefore has this exhortation for her sons [and daughters]; Prudently and lovingly through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions and in witness of Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men and women] as well as the values in their society and culture." (no. 2)
This book will initiate Christians on the spiritual journey into this important but long neglected dimension of the transforming power of grace.
CONTENTS (insert cursor in text box and scroll with arrows)
FOREWORD by Thomas Keating
1. THE BRIGHT NIGHT OF KUNDALINI
Personal Background and Contexts / The Throat Phase / Lights! / Asanas / Crown Phase / Adjustment Phase / Emergence / Regenerative Stage / Summary / Update (2002)
2. PSYCHOLOGY AND KUNDALINI
The Nature of the Ego / The Mental Ego / The Spirit-Centered Ego / Regression of the Ego / Kundalini and the Ego / Kundalini and the Unconscious / Second Childhood / Altered States of Consciousness? / Jungian Interpretations / Communication Skills / Summary
3. THE PHYSIO-KUNDALINI
Hindu Teachings on Kundalini / Science and Kundalini / The Kundalini Current / Cerebrospinal Fluid Dynamics / Sexuality Issues / Inner Seeing / Single-Seeing / Autonomic Functions / Trance / Healing of Emotional Pain / Asanas / Completing the Cycle / Conclusions
4. SPIRITUALITY AND KUNDALINI
Contemplative Prayer / Contemplation and Physiology / The Nature of the Dynamic Ground / Sinful Realities / Spiritual Disciplines / Stages of Spiritual Growth / Convergence and Divergence among Mystics / The Cosmic Christ
5. CHRISTIANITY AND KUNDALINI
Kundalini in Christian Mysticism / Dark Nights of the Soul / Siddha Yoga and Pentecostalism / Scripture and Kundalini
What Is Kundalini Energy? / How Is Kundalini Energy Awakened? / What Is the Significance of a Kundalini Awakening? / What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Kundalini Awakening? / What Are Some Ways to Cope with and Integrate Awakened Kundalini Energies?
APPENDIX ONE:KUNDALINI AND THE CHAKRAS, A HINDU PERSPECTIVE, by Philip St. Romain (new)
APPENDIX TWO: KUNDALINI AND CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, by James Arraj (new)
APPENDIX THREE: A JUNGIAN VIEW OF KUNDALINI, by James Arraj (new)
APPENDIX FOUR:THE COSMIC EGG, by Philip St. Romain (new).
POSTSCRIPT by Lisa Bellecci-St. Romain
AFTERWORD by James Arraj
I have been reading books about Kundalini for over 30 years--starting with my own Kundalini experience--and Philip St Romain's book is one of the best I have had the pleasure to read. . .
An accomplished book which starts with the specific manifestation of the author's kundalini symptoms and works toward embedding it in a larger and essentially new framework of spiritual maturation. . .
This is a pioneering and first-of-a-kind work that will be a great help to Westerners and Christians who either want to know more about kundalini or who are struggling with their own kundalini issues. . .
Amazon.com book reviewers
This book describes the awakening of the kundalini process in Philip St. Romain, a Christian who knew nothing about this energy. Here, Philip recounts the phases of the process and attempts to understand its relation to physiology, psychology, Christian spirituality and theology. Helpful Appendixes by James Arraj, STD, provide additional reflection on kundalini and Jungian psychology, kundalini and theology.
Published in 1991 by Crossroads Publishing Co., New York.
Revised in 2002 and 2010, re-published by Contemplative Ministries, Inc.