This is an excerpt from Chapter 12 of my book, My Enlightenment Delusion.
I am positing that there seem to be two kinds of mania:
1. Psychotic mania caused by some mental/physical state that is unrelated to spiritual practices.
2. The mania of a kundalini crisis that is caused by spiritual practices: I use the phrase “kundalini crisis” to discuss a bumpy spiritual journey even though I do not believe the standard yogic theory of a kundalini energy center. “Kundalini crisis” is a prevalent term which usually evokes the idea that spiritual practices caused the crisis. Therefore, when I use the phrase, “kundalini crisis”, I am referencing an overwhelming experience caused by spiritual practices.
Mania is defined as mental illness marked by periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions, and over-activity. Manic patients are frequently grandiose, obsessive, impulsive, irritable, and belligerent. They frequently deny anything is wrong with them.
No one knows exactly what physiological state underlies mania. Scientists are studying the complicated changes in neurotransmitters that have been observed. Some other clues to understanding mania may come from particular people who are predisposed to mania; some have manic episodes triggered by antidepressants; sleep deprivation triggers mania in some people; and light therapy for seasonal depression has been reported to trigger some cases of mania.
Grandiose delusions occur in as many as two-thirds of patients in the manic state of Bipolar Disorder and occur at lesser rates with other types of psychiatric patients.
Grandiose delusions are characterized by fantastical beliefs that one is famous, omnipotent, wealthy, knowledgeable, or has an exceptional relationship to a divinity or famous person. Often having a religious theme, some patients have delusions that they are God or, famously, that they are Jesus.
Symptoms during manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder are:
1. A feeling of being on top of the world, exhilaration, or euphoria.
2. Over-self-confidence, an inflated sense of self-esteem.
3. Delusions of grandiosity (or sometimes delusions of persecution, illness, or romance).
4. The patient’s judgment may be impaired.
5. The patient talks a lot, and very rapidly.
6. Thoughts come and go quickly (racing thoughts). Sometimes, bizarre ideas come to the patient’s mind, and they are acted upon.
7. The individual may be extremely forthcoming, sometimes aggressively so.
8. The individual is more likely to engage in risky behavior, including promiscuity (higher libido), abuse illegal drugs and/or alcohol, and take part in dangerous activities.
9. The patient may squander money.
10. Easily distracted.
11. Missing work or school and/or underperforming.
The mania of a kundalini crisis
I definitely had the first 5 manic symptoms listed above during my kundalini crisis in 1990. I expect that many others having kundalini crises will have similar symptoms.
The most scientific description of kundalini crises that I have found is in the 1992 book, The Kundalini Experience by Lee Sannella, M.D. Sannella interviewed people who had come through kundalini crises. The book is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0941255298.
He came up with 4 categories of experience: motor, sensory, non-physiological, and interpretive. As motor phenomena, Sannella listed kriyas and unusual breathing patterns. Under sensory phenomena, he listed tickling sensations, heat and cold sensations, inner light, inner sounds, and pain in the eyes, head, spine, or elsewhere. Under non-physiological phenomena, Sannella listed out-of-body experiences and psychic perceptions.
As interpretive phenomena, Sannella listed both positive and negative feelings that could be experienced with much greater intensity than usual such as ecstasy, love, cosmic harmony, fear and confusion. He stated that the thinking process could be speeded up or inhibited. The mental experience could be detachment, hysteria, a state akin to schizophrenia, or the delusion of having been divinely chosen.
Here are my symptoms which match Sannella’s descriptions:
● When my kundalini crisis began, I had tingling all over my body. It felt like a continuous, small electric shock sensation which was pleasant and exciting.
● I had extreme feelings of joy and thankfulness that seemed to be related to my thoughts that I was enlightened. When I had delusions about achieving even higher states of consciousness, I would subsequently be so ecstatic and so thankful that I would start to cry.
● All of my feelings were experienced with greater intensity than usual. When I spoke, I spoke like a fire-brand preacher. My voice almost became raspy as if I had been yelling at a sporting event.
● I thought I had earned a special relationship with God and nature.