Musings on Kundalini/ki
This is not meant to be exhaustive. It is written essentially off the top of my head. For more information, try Wikipedia or Google specific terms.
Part 1 – The Basics
Both Indian and Chinese thought accepts the concept of energy flowing through the body via “channels,” though they are viewed somewhat differently.1 In India, this energy is called prana, in China, ki (chi). It is my belief that both cultures are dealing with the same thing under different names.
I will use generic terms for specific chakras for clarity, though I will give the Sanskrit names once.
For some things there are no English equivalents.
According to Indian thought, prana is an energy which flows throughout the body by way of "channels (nadis),"2 which run throughout the body. There are three major nadis, the ida, pingala, and shushumna, and it is said, 72,000 lesser nadis. I have no intention of counting them, myself. The shushumna is the central channel running inside or with the spinal cord. It runs from the base chakra (muladhara) to the crown chakra (sahasrara). It is described as threadlike and can be pictured as a straight thread from base chakra to the top of the head. The Ida, on the left, begins at the base chakra and twines upward, passing through each chakra to the brow chakra (ajna). The pingala, on the right, also twines through each chakra and ends in the brow chakra. The ida and pingala also pass close to the nostrils, and can be stimulated by an exercise called pranayama.3
It is generally held that there are seven major chakras. They are, from lowest upward, the base chakra, located between the perineum and the sexual organs (about 2-3 inches in front of the anus), and associated with “I am-ness”, or the drive to be or live; the sacral chakra (Svadhishthana), located in the sacrum, and associated with reproduction and creativity; the Solar plexus chakra (Manipura), located about two inches above the navel, the will, personal power; heart chakra (Anahata), associated with compassion and love; throat chakra (Vishudda), communiation and expression; brow or third eye (ajna) chakra, intuition and understanding. Each of the chakras has a different color represented by the spectrum of visible light, the base chakra being red and the brow chakra being violet or purple. The crown chakra is white, the sum of all colors.
1 Indian philosophy, especially yoga, is concerned with achieving enlightenment, and control of prana is part of achieving this, while the Chinese look at ki as energy that controls health. Nontheless, the Chinese certainly had a knowledge of other esoteric effects, as well as the astral body, as shown by a painting of an emperor or ranking official sitting in elaborate robes and his astral body floating over him, represented by a smaller version of him.
2 A word on channels: Skeptics have pointed out that anatomists have not identified any physical structures which could serve as these channels. It has been hypothesized that there are intracellular materials that, while not forming visible structures, allow energy to flow through them and form subtle routes for this energy. My opinion is that early practitioners noted that these energies travelled by definite paths and used the word channel to describe this path thinking that this energy must be contained as it travelled through the body.
3 Pranayama consists of alternately closing each nostril while breathing through the other.
Over thirty-five years ago, I had taken up the path of Eastern meditation. In addition to meditating, I was reading multiple books on meditation and related subjects, and it was natural that I was curious about some of the experiences I was having. That led to chasing kundalini, this curious energy that seemed to promise so much.
I’ll stop here to say that I did not achieve great results in a few weeks. It took months of hard, comnsistent work, perhaps as much as a year or more, I really don’t know. I went to work, came home and sat in my chair and meditated and exercised my chakras. Calendars were not part of my life at this time.
How do you exercise your chakras? Here’s my favorite method. Sit quietly. I used a meditation pose because it was comfortable for me. A straight back is good. Relax. Breathe slowly. Put yourself in a light trance. Pay attention to a chakra. Does it get warm? Good. Put your attention on another. Satisfy yourself that you know what your chakras feel like. Now concentrate on the base chakra for a while. Feel it. If you get a feeling of warmth or energy rising, let it. Don’t try to control it, just feel it. You may feel it inside, on your front, or on your back. Keep your mind quiet. If you don’t feel energy rising, just go to the next chakra and concentrate on it for a minute or so, then the next. You may feel energy running; you may feel nothing. Don’t worry about it. Eventually you’ll be able to open your chakras more than they were before
An ancient exercise is to feel the energy in the base chakra and direct it up the spine, over the head, and down over the chakras, brow, throat, heart, navel, sacral, and back to the base and so on. This will often have the effect of encouraging chakras to open.
Note: it’s not at all unusual to have your muscles jerk or your body to rock slightly. Let it happen. You’re body is releasing tensions. Go with it.
I recall that while working on my sacral chakra, I was running energy from my base chakra to the sacral chakra. It was not passing through, and felt as if it were collecting energy, sort of like a balloon being blown up. I sat like that, concentrating on the sacral chakra for a while, and suddenly I felt as if my sacral chakra were a small, filled balloon that started to release its contents in spurts, pulsing out energy up my spine.
In the old treatises, students are warned that there are three blocks (granthis). These are in the spine, the first at the base of the spine, another at he level of the heart, and the third one in the head at the level of the brow chakra. My take on the third one is that when it dissolves, the crown chakra opens. These really are blockages and you want to dissolve them, not push through them. I speak from experience. I believe the first one is passed when the kundalini starts to flow upward, or it allows the kundalini to flow upward. Eventually you may feel your energy running up your spine and stopping at the second one. Let it rest there; hold it there. Don’t force it or you will experience excruciating pain. Truly. When I first got past it, I forced it and it hurt like hell. I heard an interior sound that reminded me of forcing a fluid through a very small apperture. Let it happen at its own speed.
You will experience emotional reactions as you pursue this. Your experience and beliefs and their associated emotions have to be dealt with. It may take a while to get past one thing. As you reconcile yourself with an issue, the energy will flow upward. Sometimes you will need a break of several days or more to get to the point where you’re ready to try again. Often you will raise the kundalini and it will descend when your practice is over. If you keep at it, eventually it will rise and stay there.
So what’s the point?
When the kundalini has risen, your energy level will be elevated. You will understand things from a different perspective. It’s difficult for me to explain, but in many ways you will be a different person, with abilities you may not have thought of before. A piddling example: On one occasion, in an effort to explain the concept of personal energy to a co-worker, I had him stand facing away from me. I rubbed my hands vigorously to stimulate them, then started to run energy through them. Raising my hands toward his back I moved my hands in an effort to “hook” onto his enegy field. After a few passes I thought I had him and began pulling back. After several attempts he appeared to lose his balance and fell back, catching himself. His eyes were pretty big as he looked at me. He would never let me try that again.
In addition to books on the subject, there are web pages galore. Every one seems to be coming from a different viewpoint or “school.” Some are downright weird. My advice is to concentrate on the basics and ignore the trappings. And remember, practice and patience.
How does this relate to Seth’s teachings? It all comes down to beliefs and internal conflicts. I believe you could do this all by dealing with beliefs. Have you ever been working on beliefs and had a revelation? One of those moments where you realize how wrong you’ve been? Reached a new understanding? It’s things like that that open the chakras and the blockages.