Links to blog post topics

April 3, 2017 Kundalini crises
April 6, 2017 Kriyas, hypnic jerks, and tics
April 7, 2017 Enlightenment vs. evolution
April 8, 2017 The self-esteem roller coaster for me and other spiritual seekers
April 9, 2017 The similarity between psychotic mania and kundalini crises is frightening
April 11, 2017 Everyone wants to be great
April 11, 2017 LSD, DMT, mushrooms, or meditation
April 12, 2017 Guru Maniacs
April 14, 2017 Who has more spiritual, celestial-type experiences?
April 18, 2017 Mania susceptibility theory
April 20, 2017 Self-esteem fodder for kundalini sufferers
April 21, 2017 Kundalini awakened by trauma
April 26, 2017 The amazing story of Suzanne Segal
May 1, 2017 TM and flipping out
May 12, 2017 Devotion to a guru
May 25, 2017 Ungroundedness
May 26, 2017 Conking out in TM
June 19, 2017 Powerful silence
June 28, 2017  Dye the cloth
July 10, 2017  5 to 8 years to CC
July 31, 2017  TM shenanigans
August 2, 2017  Communications from God
August 14, 2017  Comparing a kundalini crisis to the religious experience of epileptics
August 16, 2017  Borrowing credibility
September 8, 2017  High intelligence, mania, and gurus
September 18, 2017  Thoughts on Gopi Krishna
November 3, 2017  Plethora of enlightened?
November 6, 2017 Enlightenment experiences of Robert Forman
November 19, 2017  22 enlightenment experiences and Point-Counterpoint
December 8, 2017  Thoughts on Ramana Maharshi
December 28, 2017  Extraordinary Mental Shifts
December 31, 2017  Version 2.00 of book now available
February 28, 2018  Mania and hyper-religiosity
April 17, 2018  Jerry Jarvis
June 4, 2018  Controversial theories from Matt
August 19, 2018  Catholic scandal; DMT and NDE
October 31, 2018  Evolution of cognition came with setbacks
December 20, 2018  Suggestions for those in a kundalini crisis 
February 8, 2019 Doubling down for spirituality
April 2, 2019  Clear transcendence
August 20, 2019  Do I want shaktipat?
October 4, 2019  A tribute to Buffy Mooney 1942-2019
February 17, 2020  “Modern Love” and mania
October 5, 2020  My symptoms of mania
September 8, 2021 Kriyas: are they a bug or a feature?
June 15, 2022 Ginni Thomas’ story reminds me of myself

Ginni Thomas’ story reminds me of myself

NBC News has a story about how Ginni Thomas seemed to successfully come out of a LifeSpring cult in 1985 and then worked to help others come out of cults. Yet, she accepted and acted upon statements from QAnon in 2020.

The article is at https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/untold-story-ginni-thomass-anti-cult-activism-was-deprogrammed-rcna22131

The article mentions that what some people see as a cult is what others might see as a legitimate religion or legitimate spiritual expression.

The first thing from this story that reminds me of myself during my 1990 kundalini crisis was that I too believed things with an undeserved certainty. I had 17 years of Transcendental Meditation experiences and indoctrination under my belt. I thought that achieving enlightenment was the highest purpose and a laudable undertaking. I had no doubts at the time that I was enlightened, but I should have had doubts.

The NBC News story states: “One thing most agree on, though, is that people buy into the alternate reality that the anonymous “Q” was selling because they prefer it to the real one and wanted to be part of Q’s epic secret struggle against the forces of evil.”

How could a highly intelligent person like Ginni Thomas believe wild ideas from anonymous sources? Well, history has many examples of people believing outlandish things.

The second thing from this story that reminds me of myself during my kundalini crisis was my tendency to speak with the intensity of a firebrand preacher; I sometimes gave myself a sore throat. My mania and grandiose delusion impelled me to do things way out of character like give a lecture to someone who threw a cigarette butt on the parking lot of the post office. Before my kundalini crisis, I was a Type B personality, but I became Type A intense as I worked to “save the world”.

In 1987 article about her time in a cult, Ginni Thomas was quoted: “My best friend came to visit me and I was preaching at her, using that tough attitude they teach you.”

It is not easy to convince intelligent people that they have a flaw in their thinking. Especially so, if they are in the midst of the mania of a kundalini crisis.

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Kriyas: are they a bug or a feature?

The words “bug” and “feature” are used in a popular computer programming joke. The website Wired.com explains:

A standard joke is that a bug can be turned into a feature simply by documenting it (then theoretically no one can complain about it because it’s in the manual), or even by simply declaring it to be good. “That’s not a bug, that’s a feature!” is a common catchphrase.

In this website and in my book (link), I have developed a theory that people who think they are enlightened have a mental disorder (possibly de-personalization, mania, and/or other) to which they have adapted. “Enlightened gurus” seem to be trying to help others attain their own mental disorder.

I am biased. I have compared kriyas to hypnic jerks and tics (link). Of course, I think kriyas are a “bug” that gurus have incorrectly declared to be a good feature. Gurus have incorrectly stated that kriyas are an indication of being on the path to enlightenment and that kundalini energy is opening up energy channels.

Deep meditation can produce experiences of profound silence (link) and/or immense energy that erupts in a kriya of bodily jerks, contortions, or screaming.

Kriyas are weird. I think kriyas might be related to physical and mental disorders. I submit the following excerpts as evidence that kriyas are “bugs” not “features”.

Excerpt #1 from my book: Besides the hopping, many participants had kriyas, the physical movements that other spiritual movements have interpreted to be manifestations of kundalini energy. Some participants had rather violent head movements, the torsos of some shook like dogs throwing off water from a bath, others had their backs locked in an arch, and others had spontaneous vocalizations of screams, barks, and nonsense syllables. One TM teacher who was a lawyer became known as “The Bee” because he often sat swaying back and forth while making a loud buzzing sound.

Excerpt #2 from my book: During the rest period to adapt, I saw kriyas where participants flopped around on the foam like energetic fish. Proximity to a person who was having kriyas was a significant factor during our laying down period. Perhaps the wildest thing I observed was the sudden wild flopping around of one guy, and then immediately the guys lying close to him also started flopping around like fish. When I write “flopping around like fish”, I mean that they actually looked like energetic fish flopping around.

Kriya craziness at Muktananda’s ashram at South Fallsburg, NY described by John Chambers (link https://www.theosophical.org/publications/quest-magazine/3601-riding-the-waves-of-karma-memories-of-muktananda-s-ashram)

It was like living in a cross between Dante’s Purgatory and a Walt Disney animated feature film. A thousand faces filled the semidarkness. The air resounded with titters, groans, and guffaws. People rocked back and forth, assumed strange postures, thrust their arms up in the air. A steady buzzing like a swarm of bees came from the back of the auditorium. Over to one side a high-pitched cackle broke out. It was followed by a loud gurgling noise, and then the words, “Yum! Yum!”

A sock with a foot inside it brushed against my ear. The young man beside me was coming out of his headstand.

A small, dusky-colored man, about seventy years of age, wearing an orange ski cap, dark glasses, and a saffron robe, was advancing calmly through the cacophony. He moved quickly from person to person, stopping briefly to bop each one with a peacock-feather wand. Sometimes he lingered for a moment to pat someone’s head as if he were testing the strength of the skull. Then he went on.

This man’s name was Paramahansa Muktananda. Everybody called him Baba. He was one of the best-known of the numerous spiritual teachers who spent time in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. This was the summer of 1979. I was in the meditation hall in Muktananda’s ashram in South Fallsburg, high up in the Catskills sixty miles north of New York City. This big, sprawling collection of buildings, lined with fresh gardens and honeycombed with rooms large and small, was the headquarters of Muktananda’s Siddha Yoga Dham (or “Home of Siddha Yoga”) of America Foundation (SYDA).

Interestingly, the Transcendental Meditation movement purchased the South Fallsburg ashram from Muktananda. The TM movement provided more “kriya entertainment” to the “flies on the wall” in South Fallsburg.

Excerpt from a letter to Swami Muktananda from Bubba Free John (also known as Franklin Jones and Adi Da Samra) (link https://beezone.com/adida/muktananda/spiritualinstructions.html):

On the third day, in the morning, as soon as I sat down before you for the morning recitation, I began to work inside at surrender, and all day that day my head and back moved violently. All during the day you encouraged these movements in me and called me “Kriyananda”all that day because of them. Twice you placed your hand on me. The first time I responded by closing my eyes, twisting about, and raising my hands into mudras. The second time, in the meditation, I fell backwards away from you. At the end of that day, I was exhausted from so much kriya.

Both Muktananda and Bubba Free John had scandals and controversies during their lives. I don’t think they add any credibility to the notion that kriyas lead to an admirable state of enlightenment.

Kriyas are a bug, not a feature. I believed in the beneficial nature of kriyas for about 15 years, but not any more.

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Updated internet links

I updated internet links in my book and on this blog today. In the last 4 years, some websites that I used for reference disappeared or moved. The current book is now Version 2.01.

My opinions on enlightenment and meditation have not changed. I don’t bother thinking about spiritual growth. I like it that way.

Feeling good is all I shoot for. My life is not going after “pie in the sky”.

My symptoms of mania

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.

Psychotic mania

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.

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“Modern Love” and mania

Season 1 Episode 3 of Amazon Prime’s “Modern Love” offers an entertaining portrayal of the mania of Bipolar Disorder. Anne Hathaway stars in the episode which uses an ample artistic license to give a sense of the exuberance and false sense of reality that is experienced during mania. Other reviewers claim that this 34-minute episode is one of the best of the series.

I appreciated the depiction of the positive aspects of mania. Creativity, stamina, and boldness are some benefits of mania. Manic thoughts have a very powerful force impelling them to fruition, and therefore it is not surprising that some well-known artists, comedians, and politicians were thought to be manic.

The mania of my kundalini crisis had grandiose delusions, but Hathaway’s role did not. Hathaway depicted severe depression which I have never experienced. Despite the different causes of mania and the different nuances of mania, mania is never healthy.

I suspect that the people who think they are enlightened actually have mania, and over time they can learn to speak and act in a way that hides their innermost thoughts and delusions. I don’t doubt that they think they are enlightened. I doubt that a state of enlightenment exists.

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Tribute to Buffy Mooney 1942-2019

Buffy Mooney long hair photo v2

Both the obituary of Buffy Mooney (a.k.a. Frank James Mooney III) and the guestbook condolences speak to the gentle greatness of Buffy Mooney.

His obituary states: Buffy had a strong love of teaching. He was an artist in many fields. His love of color, nature, and people show throughout his artwork and collages. His poetry showed his spiritual side. He was a free spirit in many ways. He loved music, especially the blues. He often played his saxophone and flute with some of the local bands. In 1993 Buffy wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, striving the need for a soup kitchen in Eau Claire. As a result of that letter, we now have The Community Table in Eau Claire.
I never met Buffy Mooney, but as a new Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher in Illinois in the early 1970’s, I heard of him. Buffy was a well-respected TM teacher in Wisconsin. He was given the honor of being a “TM regional lecturer”, and he initiated many hundreds of people into TM. It could be said that he was the cream of the crop of TM teachers. He was very likable, intelligent, and organized.

Buffy attended the TM teacher training course held at Estes Park, Colorado in 1970. He was known as a funny guy and one who tended to get up to the microphone a lot to ask questions.

Below is an advertisement for one of his TM lectures that appeared in the Eau Claire newspaper in 1974.Buffy Mooney TM newspaper ad 1974

Unfortunately, Buffy was one of the TM teachers who flipped out while doing long meditations on a course for TM teachers in Switzerland in the winter of 1974-1975. He thought he had become enlightened, and he did things that could be described as crazy. Maharishi referred to him as “Puffy Mooney” at that point because of Buffy’s much-inflated ego.

Returning to Wisconsin, Buffy’s actions created some trouble for the TM organization. My shocked reaction to the news that Buffy had flipped out was the same as others I knew: How could this happen to an outstanding TM teacher like Buffy?!

His “flipping out” out is mentioned in the following excerpt from one of the obituary condolence messages: I met Buffy in about summer of 1970. Along with some buddies from Chicago. We met him in Eau Claire where he lived in a quaint old house on Otter Creek with a crystal clear swimming hole. He was bright and had knowledge unknown to us. People were drawn to his presence. Maybe ten years later something happened. He came back from a meditation course not the same. He drifted and he talked of things that were not of what is normal.

When I was a young TM teacher hanging around other TM teachers, there was hearsay that touched on the rough times newly enlightened people might have and also that some people confined to mental hospitals might be close to being enlightened. Now in present time, I suppose that hearsay referred to kundalini crises and mania.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the TM organization did not offer much help to Buffy and other TM meditators who flipped out. Instead the TM organization tried to keep “flipped out” meditators away from the TM movement so that the movement’s reputation would not be hurt.

As Gopi Krishna wrote, so-called spiritual masters aren’t much help to one who is in the throes of a kundalini crisis. From Buffy’s story, the long Joe Kellett story, and other stories, Maharishi didn’t seem to be of any help. (The TM organization has a rebuttal to Kellett’s story.)

I was fortunate during my own kundalini crisis in 1990 to have the guidance over the phone with Gabriel Cousens, M.D. Dr. Cousens had previous experience in Muktananda’s ashram with helping people who were in the midst of a kundalini crisis. Although I don’t currently agree with the spiritual teachings of Dr. Cousens, I am grateful that with his help, I only made a “small fool of myself” around a few people and no one tried to put me in a mental hospital.

Over many years, I recovered slowly from the delusions of my kundalini crisis. It takes time to adjust one’s self-image from the high point of being enlightened to the low point of being a survivor of manic illness. The intensity of thought during a kundalini crisis has a long-lasting effect that is difficult to overcome.

Buffy recovered without having the fortunate circumstances which I had to recover. His gentle greatness powered through a very difficult situation.

I have a soft spot for all former and current TM teachers for their enthusiasm, idealism, and vitality. I also have a super soft spot for Buffy who had an enlightenment delusion similar to mine.

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Do I want shaktipat?

I say, “I definitely do not want shaktipat from any Eastern or Western gurus.” Not because it an undeserved boost to spiritual growth as some think, but because I think receiving shaktipat is unhealthy.

I think it is probable that people who consider themselves to be enlightened have a type of mania to which they have adapted and therefore, they can hide their mental illness from others.

Guru maniacs are people who have some charisma, eloquence, and high motivation that is fueled by thinking that they are more special than everyone else. (One possible symptom of mania is a feeling that one has a special relationship with God or that one is God.)

I think it is possible to pass different kinds of energy from one person to another person.

  • If you are around someone who is crying or deeply depressed, your energetic make-up could be affected.
  • You may feel uncomfortable being in the same room with someone who is in an angry rage.
  • You could be affected by being close to people in a hospital psyche ward.

You may feel something when in the presence of a guru maniac. You may have a so-called spiritual experience from receiving shaktipat from a guru maniac, but feeling something is not necessarily a good sign. When you feel something around a guru maniac, you are probably ungrounded and more susceptible to a kundalini crisis.

Feeling something from receiving shaktipat and feeling something during group meditation may not be good. The spiritual theories of pure consciousness, enlightenment, and shaktipat could be wrong. Seeking enlightenment may be worse than a wild goose chase; it could lead to the mental illness of a kundalini crisis.

Look at the list of my blog post titles for more information on why going for enlightenment is unhealthy and for more evidence that so-called enlightened people are not healthy.

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Clear transcendence

The following is an excerpt from my book, “Chapter 5 TM Teacher Training”:

I never had any heavy unstressing in meditation or outside meditation. My experiences in meditation continued to be pretty much the same on my Teacher Training Course (TTC) as they were at the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) course.

I would take deep dives in meditation, perhaps reaching or getting close to Pure Consciousness and then my mental activity and breathing activity would increase.

There was a great contrast between the stillness at the door of Pure Consciousness and the mental activity of becoming aware of breathing, but in actuality I was in a very deep meditative state for the entire time.

I and other TM meditators were unsure if we ever really reached Pure Awareness because of the extreme vagueness in deep meditation and because the mind is necessarily not trying to keep track of experiences while practicing TM.

Sometimes I would sense a great power in the silence in deep meditation, but as I became aware of that great silence, I would be kicked out. Being kicked out of that deep silence was seemingly due to becoming aware that I was just about to totally transcend and also probably due to the natural urge to increase breathing.

Wanting to be aware of clear transcendence is seemingly a Catch 22 situation because wanting to watch what is going on is mental activity and transcendence requires a complete letting go.

*1973*: In my first year of TM, I don’t recall being concerned with whether or not I was experiencing Pure Consciousness which is also called transcendence, Pure Awareness, or samadhi. My concern would increase at TTC and in subsequent years after dwelling on the significance of transcendence.

*2017*: Concern for transcendence is not only an impediment to transcendence, but would also lead to being displeased with meditation in general. An analogous example: if you were taught that lots of burping was a sign of excellent health, you would be disappointed if you didn’t burp.

Thus, although the TM technique could be a healthy thing to do, the intellectual knowledge of transcendence could be counter-productive. For this and for other reasons, I now think that discussion of transcendence is intellectual blather in which very smart people fool themselves.

I think TM would be even more relaxing and beneficial if meditators didn’t have any intellectual understanding or expectation of Pure Awareness.  Aside#13

There were 6 people in my small group. We memorized together and practiced lecturing together. We also developed a close relationship by discussing our experiences in meditation.

Some common worries of TTC participants were that they didn’t know for sure if they reached Pure Awareness in meditation, and if they did have very deep experiences, they didn’t know whether to describe their experience as being clear transcendence or cloudy transcendence. Our small group bonded over commiserating for each other’s lack of clear transcendence and for each other’s human frailties.

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Doubling down for spirituality

“Doubling down” has meaning in gambling. In Blackjack, “doubling down” doubles the original bid in exchange for only one more card. In everyday usage, “doubling down” refers to becoming more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking that may be risky.

It is my opinion that doubling down for spirituality is potentially harmful to health and well-being. And even if it doesn’t lead to a kundalini crisis, doubling down results in impractical decisions in life.

When someone finds that their religion, meditation, and prayer aren’t resulting in the type of life that they want, there is a tendency to double down by becoming more pious in a last-chance effort. Many people double down because they assume that failure is their own fault and is unrelated to the limitations or falsity of the spiritual teaching. Consequently, spiritual people often continue to double down week after week, month after month, year after year.

In the 1980’s I was not satisfied with not being enlightened, so I doubled down in my meditation, spiritual study, diet, and other so-called health-promoting activities. I accepted the yogic advice that fanning the flames of spiritual desire would lead to enlightenment; in retrospect, I think it led to the mania of my kundalini crisis.

When faced with disappointment at one’s progress to enlightenment, here are 3 options:

  • Double down in enlightenment attempts (that many consider to be dodgy)
  • Continue on the spiritual path in a non-extreme way while living a balanced life
  • Stop seeking; start questioning basic premises of spiritual knowledge and experience

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