The purpose of this webpage is to collect anecdotes from my blog posts that back up my conjecture that kundalini and enlightenment experiences are neither desirable nor healthy.
This webpage was created in August 2019 and replaces a previous webpage made in April 2017. The kundalini webpage of April 2017 (which is still viewable at this link) used internet excerpts and links to persuade that kundalini crises are fairly common and that they are dangerous.
In 1982 while getting onto a bus in Paris, Suzanne Segal had a major shift in awareness and lost her sense of self. Since she understood the witnessing experience of Cosmic Consciousness as described by Maharishi, she sometimes described her experience as witnessing. However, at first, she was having a hellish, fearful experience so she couldn’t reconcile her experience with Cosmic Consciousness. The amazing story of Suzanne Segal
Gopi Krishna was not sure if he had hallucinated or if he had succeeded in experiencing what both ancient and modern sages and ascetics had described. That night he was depressed and fearful. And he when he went to bed at night, he slept fitfully. The next morning, he again experienced an inner awakening during meditation, yet he felt uneasy and depressed during the day. Thoughts on Gopi Krishna
Robert Forman had significant depression and anxiety issues in the years prior to his awakening experience. He also had depression and anxiety issues for years after his awakening even though the unbounded silence/nothingness had become his identity. Through psychotherapy, he came to terms with panic attacks and not being the person he wanted to be while around his wife and colleagues. Besides being provocative, his book title of “Enlightenment ain’t what it’s cracked up to be” was his opinion based on his experience. Enlightenment experiences of Robert Forman
In the first year of being a sannyasin, Ramana Maharshi was so deep in Samadhi that he was oblivious to the bites of vermin and pests. Saints and friends started to protect him and take care of him. He was so unaware of his body, that food had to be placed in his mouth or he would have died from starvation. Thoughts on Ramana Maharshi
Most of the accounts mentioned below were gleaned from interviews on Rick Archer’s website, Buddha at the Gas Pump. I don’t want to make waves for anyone who is claiming to have had awakening shifts so I am referring to experiences without using names.
Enlightened #1 was depressed often from early youth to 29 years of age and also had trouble with anxiety and fear. As a child he had suicidal ideation. In college, he studied philosophy, psychology, and literature; he had a scholarship to do post-graduate research at Cambridge University but dropped out soon after starting. When 29 years old, on one day he started to identify with consciousness instead of “the voice in the head”. 22 enlightenment experiences
On one day when Enlightened #2 was 25 years old, he was intensely trying to have a spiritual breakthrough, and he was meditating with all of his will, but instead of a breakthrough, he felt defeated and he felt that he should give up his spiritual search; however, immediately (at the moment of surrendering to defeat) he had a kundalini awakening and his heart began racing; then he thought his heart would explode and he was going to die; as he peacefully accepted this outcome, he went to an “infinity of black” and he felt that he was that “infinity of black”; then he had many insights coming so rapidly that he couldn’t differentiate between them or articulate what they were. After a while, the energy calmed down and he came out of meditation; then he started laughing hysterically about his chasing of enlightenment. For the next 5 years, he said that the ups and downs were so intense (as he worked out emotional, ego, and spiritual issues) that he wouldn’t wish those experiences on his worst enemy. 22 enlightenment experiences
For 6 years after having an awakening shift of consciousness, the life of Enlightened #3 was difficult as he avoided normal life pressures and lived penniless in the home of his sister. Later while he was visiting his guru, he was told: “If you desire to be one with truth, ‘you’ must completely disappear”, at first he felt anger and resistance to this statement from his guru, but later that day the anger lifted and he felt great peace, emptiness, and love towards the guru; he felt he was not the same identity as before; he was an immensity and there was a silence about everything. It was like he was in a vast universe, but he was also the universe. 22 enlightenment experiences
When about 5 years old, Enlightened #6 started seeing a “bubble of light” that surrounded his body. At about 8 or 9 years of age, he sometimes experienced intense energy and over-whelming happiness, and he discovered that walking/running for hours helped him to manage it. When in high school, he felt awake inside when going to bed at night, and he didn’t feel that he slept. He said, “I went through a lot of challenges for about two years – mental challenges, not physical. It’s very difficult for me to talk about that other than to say, I had a very challenging time for two years, and then, when I started meditating, doing TM, it disappeared overnight, all of that stuff.” 22 enlightenment experiences
Enlightened #7 is healer, yoga teacher, and counselor. She said she started seeking at a very early age. As an adult, she had a 9-year bout with a chronic, debilitating illness. She was involved with yoga, meditation, Tibetan medicine, massage, and philosophical inquiry. On the night before attending a Satsang, she was emotionally unsettled after having an intense discussion with her significant other. At the Satsang she shifted to “identifying with unbounded awareness”. Subsequent to the Satsang, she had a couple other shifts to greater unity, peace, and knowledge of God. 22 enlightenment experiences
While on a 9-month TM teacher training course, Enlightened #8 started to witness sleep, dreaming, and waking. He described his reaction to witnessing as being “over-observant” to indicate that his relative self may have been somewhat involved in witnessing his sleep, dreaming, and waking. He started to have advanced spiritual experiences such as Hiranyagarhba and visions of Krishna and subtle entities. 22 enlightenment experiences
Enlightened #10 describes his childhood as hell due to having an alcoholic father and a mother who was in mental hospitals several times. As a child, he had some experiences of overpowering love. Once when he was deep in TM meditation, he was mildly concerned when he observed that he didn’t seem to be breathing; it occurred to him that it would be okay if he died at that moment because he had lived a good life; then he decided to “push it” by continuing his meditation even though he thought he may be dying; then he heard a loud noise, felt a vibration in every cell of body, and saw a bright explosion of light; then there was silence, nothingness, and infinite awareness; he said that prior to this meditation, he identified with the person that was born on his birthday, but after that meditation he realized that “ the I” was Being who had been mis-identified with his small self; he said, “Before I was in the world, but after this meditation the entire universe was in Me.” He said it took about 4-5 years to re-engage in the world and that it was challenging when he did not feel attachment to his wife, children, and all things. His awakening was difficult for his wife who left him. He said that his awakening led him to lose his fear of public speaking. He admits that he has brief experiences of depression. 22 enlightenment experiences
Enlightened #12 is a musician. He was fascinated with psychedelic drugs for about 5 years from 15 years of age to 20. While being a part of the TM movement, he was a strict adherent to doing his long, twice-a-day meditation program in a group that was assembled in the Golden Domes of Fairfield, Iowa. One day he walked into his house, and suddenly everything that he knew about himself was thrown up in the air, and he considered whether all of his previous knowing of himself was not true; it was as if the rug was pulled out from under him and challenged him to really think about who he was. As time went on, he adjusted to knowing that he was pure consciousness. 22 enlightenment experiences
When Enlightened #15 took the TM-Sidhi course, he said, “That was the end of me,” which alludes to an awakening in which “I ceased to exist as I had previously known myself”; while on the TM-Sidhi course even before learning the TM-Sidhi on levitation, kriyas had his body jerking all around; he was feeling the deconstruction of personality with every day that passed on the TM-Sidhi course and by the time the levitation sutra was given to him, he felt that he no longer knew who he was, and he was confused when discovering that Emptiness was at the core of his life. When first given the levitation sutra, he felt nauseous, he felt as if he was dying, he felt that he couldn’t take it anymore, then he visualized a 3-dimensional image of Maharishi which led him to stop worrying, and then he sensed a big ball of white light above his head, then it seemed like his body jumped into the ball of white light, then there was only being one with the white light with no “me” left; when this experienced waned, “I was apparently jumping all over the place and the TM-Sidhi administrator was preventing me from hopping into a metal radiator”. 22 enlightenment experiences
The education and career of Enlightened #16 is in art. He had light and bliss as an infant. At about 14, he started to meditate and experienced bliss and energy moving up. At 17, he learned TM, and TM teachers did not know how to respond to his experiences of the “sizzling” of his crown chakra. At 19, he was meditating and had a longing for God who he assumed was Krishna; he saw a blue pearl in the center of a blue eye in his inner vision which was extremely blissful; he entered into the blue pearl which was an infinite space of blissful, blue consciousness; he knew that the blueness was pure Being which was his Self; he still had a longing for God and then saw Krishna (or some other blue being) in the Namaste hand gesture; he completely surrendered to Krishna and then he went unconscious. Afterwards when he opened his eyes, he had wild kriyas of heat, electrical shocks, and jerking for a couple of hours. 22 enlightenment experiences
Enlightened #17 said that enlightenment is not a way to escape from feelings, but he did notice that feelings did not hook him the way they used to and that feelings don’t last as long as they used to. He said the backdrop of his life is bliss and out away from that backdrop is the activity of life that has many ups and downs. His witnessing of sleep was crystal clear for a few weeks, but after a while he said he didn’t care if he was witnessing sleep, and he no longer bothered to notice if the Silence was there in sleep. He said that I have been blessed with many spiritual experiences, but it is always a battle with pride to deal with the thought that “I am so spiritual” or when conveying spiritual experiences to others to think “I am so cool”. 22 enlightenment experiences
Enlightened #18 is involved with dance and alternative healing. She had her own dance company while in high school, but she said that she was extremely emotionally disturbed which led to a nervous breakdown. Her spiritual awakening occurred after about 10 or 11 years of TM, but she is unsure if she had some mild awakenings prior to that. She had devoted 2 years to doing long meditation programs, and during this time she had some volatile emotions such as being angry, upset, sad, fearful, anxious, and prone to crying. She met someone who helped her work on things that were going on emotionally for her. She said that with spiritual development you seem to grow to a point, and then you have to surrender and let go of something; if you are ready, this leads to something really cool happening. Her spiritual awakening occurred after she had cut back on the length of her meditation; she had a shift in attitude during one meditation in that she didn’t care anymore and in that things didn’t have to be a certain way; and this attitude shift led to waves of bliss; then she had a visualization of Maharishi and Guru Dev, then she saw a celestial gold light and celestial pink light and lotuses; and then she felt like a huge weight was lifted off her physiology so she felt lighter, healthier, and more energetic; she felt unbounded, and she worried that it may go away, but it never did. 22 enlightenment experiences
In 1976, Enlightened #20 was unhappy, smoking, and drinking during his first year of graduate school. Then he started TM, but he said he was still caught up in the world. A few years later he started the TM-Sidhi program but still had some old habits. In the 1990’s, he thought he needed to develop some qualities of the heart so he visited some other spiritual teachers and techniques; he felt good when attending retreats, but the benefits faded when he left the retreats. After 30 years of seeking, silence seemed to stick around all the time, and a Satsang group helped him to recognize the silence that was there. Paradoxically, it appeared that life was still the same as it was before but also completely different at the same time. He noticed that he still had all of his foibles such as a poor reaction to criticism and being upset by things, but he noticed he could be attached to the silence which was always there. Then when he found some spiritual practices that helped him to address his foibles, he noticed that his relationship to the silence changed in that his awareness found it enjoyable to rest in the silence and become identified with the silence. In the 1990’s he became involved with at least 3 well-known gurus. He said the gift of silence helps him get along better with people because he has a settled mind that is ready to listen. He feels that God is taking care of him and that life is positioning things for his benefit. 22 enlightenment experiences