FMBR Editorial: Nov, 1986
The Kundalini Crisis
Excerpted from Mariel Strauss
Can meditation be hazardous to your health? Today we are told that we can have it all, both eastern techniques and western lifestyle. It is true that, with excellent guidance, eastern and western techniques can be practiced in moderation even while one lives the life of a businessman, teacher, housewife, or engineer. It is the excess which is usually the culprit, or unwise combinations, or a few practices which are dangerous in themselves, such as holding the breath too long. I know people who are doing these techniques, plus meditation, plus jogging, plus uninhibited socializing -- plus, plus.
A kundalini crisis is a severe disruption of the balance between the cerebrospinal and autonomic nervous systems, affecting the related glands and organs. It can be precipitated by overzealous spiritual practices, but sometimes arises from inborn weaknesses or physical accidents. Traditionally, kundalini is described as a divine energy lying dormant -- "sleeping" -- at the base of the spine, in or near the lowest chakra. When aroused, it is said to rise upwards like a serpent, coiling successively through the seven or more chakras to the head. "Sometimes it seemed as if a jet of molten copper, mounting up through the spine, dashed against my crown and fell in a scintillating shower of vast dimensions all around me. I gazed at it fascinated, with fear gripping my heart." Some teachers wisely emphasize that this ascending energy, your portion of Divine Energy, is met by descending energy from the Universal Divine, or God.
What of those meditation and New Age groups which disguise the fact that they are teaching kundalini yoga? The transcendental Meditation movement, for instance, initiated a vast number of people into meditation, careful to use a non-mystical terminology, substituting the language of the clinic for the language of the ashram. Other New Age groups which call themselves things like bioenergetics and "Reichian" therapy (and a multitude of other names) teach the equivalent of yogic nervous system alteration, often with technological names for the exercises. Those who perceive imbalances within themselves might be inspired to attend such courses, hoping to achieve "release of blocks." A few, in good hands, might achieve some release; others could find themselves in disturbing states which persist long after the workshop presenters leave town.
However, let us remember that kundalini energy, in spite of all of these growing pains, is a divine force when used rightly. Edgar Cayce encouraged members of the original Virginia Beach study groups to allow their kundalini forces to develop, which he said could happen spontaneously in those who balanced their lives with meditation, prayer, love, and work, and who took proper care of their bodies.
Excerpted, with permission, from material written by Mariel Strauss, who lives in Seattle.