February 3, 2014

Kundalini Awakening: A Personal Journey. ~ Lani Walling


The awakening of the Kundalini is a largely unknown or controversial idea for most Americans, but having experienced it myself, I know it to be very real.

Kundalini can be described as a serpent resting coiled in the root chakra that when awakened, uncoils upward and opens each consecutive chakra until it reaches the crown chakra, bringing great awareness. It is thought to be a spiritual energy, or life force energy, which I believe to be the same as Reiki energy. (I am a Third Degree Reiki master/teacher and this awakening changed my healing techniques from playing it by ear to my hands just knowing what to do.)

I don’t believe Kundalini is anything supernatural. It felt perfectly natural, although  the process  was at times both physically and emotionally painful.

Here is my Kundalini story from the beginning.

The Journey

I was raised in the Deep South where religion runs rampant. I wasn’t brought up to be religious, although I did occasionally go to vacation Bible school and spent about a year as a member of a Methodist church in my teens. I also went to a very uplifting and emotionally touching Christian revival where I was told I needed to believe what they told me or risk hell. I was pulled to the front of the church by my emotions and that day I was “saved!” I was only 17 at the time. I hurried home and told my parents that they needed to get saved too or they would go to hell—it was terrifying to think that my Mom, the greatest woman who ever lived, could burn in hell for all eternity!

Fast forward a couple of years.

After learning more about Christianity and trying to embrace Jesus as my savior, I realized at about age 20 that it wasn’t for me. At this point I still was not sure if there was a God but I was pretty certain that if there was, it was not the God described in churches. I kept my love for Jesus, although I thought he wasn’t some supernatural being who died for my so-called “sins,” but a great spiritual leader and healer  who taught love, compassion and acceptance.

So on with my journey…

Through the next 10 years or so I remained on a spiritual path, looking for truth and understanding. I studied a little about different religions but they always seemed to lead to a place where the supernatural took over and reality, as I knew it, ceased to exist. It was hard for me, a lover of science, to accept things that seemed to go against my common sense. I still hadn’t made up my mind whether I believed in God or not but the next book I read stirred something inside me that is indescribable. I will do my best to recall as much as I can.

I picked up a book about Buddhism at the local book store. I had heard of Buddhism, but I knew absolutely nothing about it. I began reading and learning about meditation, which I had never tried. Even though the religion itself didn’t provide  all the answers I was looking for, I learned some practices about Buddhism that stayed with me, such as being mindful and giving myself permission to change my mind as I learned and evolved. Then I decided to give meditation a try.

The Awakening

This is where my life changed forever. My husband and kids were all outside in the pool and I decided to take time for myself to try meditation. I had read about some of the techniques used to begin, and I chose to focus on my breath. I went in my bedroom, shut the door, and sat Indian-style on the floor with my hands in my lap and my back straight. I breathed in slowly… And out, slowly…In…and out…in…and out…

After only a few minutes of this something crazy began to happen. I felt like I was leaving my body. I was being pulled into a tunnel of incredibly fast moving purple and white light. I could still feel my body and I was trying desperately not to leave it because I was terrified I would never go back if I left. I forced myself to snap out of it, but it was very difficult because the force was very strong and because even though I was scared, I wanted to know what was going to happen if I let go. But I stopped and was overwhelmed to say the least.

I was afraid to meditate again for a few days, but I was too curious not to try. About a week later I got brave and decided to try again.

This time I was determined to let the wild energy take over because, after a few days’ thought, I believed this energy to be good energy. I liked it. I was going to trust it. So once again, I sat Indian-style on my bedroom floor; I closed my eyes; I focused on my breath. This time there was no tunnel of light, but there was something else. I had no idea what was happening, but I let it happen.

I trusted.

As I sat in silence on the floor, I felt my body begin to move. This movement wasn’t in my mind. I wasn’t moving my body the way one normally moves her own body. Some energy from inside was moving it. My arms began to rise and my hands came together as if in prayer and then my arms slowly moved themselves into new positions. My hands put themselves in positions similar to those you see on Buddha statues, but these were not just basic positions—they were precise. Each muscle in each finger was moved into exact positions. I’m not sure how else to describe it but I would soon learn that these hand positions are called kriyas. Kriyā (in Sanskrit, “action, deed, effort”) most commonly refers to a “completed action,” technique or practice within a yoga discipline meant to achieve a specific result. Another meaning of kriya is an outward physical manifestation of awakened Kundalini, such as a spontaneous body movement related to Kundalini energy flow. O Kriya Shakti is “a power of thought” said to be greatly studied by yogis.

Soon after the hand motions stopped, the real “fun” began. My memory of the details and in what order they happened are a little sketchy due to the time that has passed, but I will try to explain as much as I can.

From the moment I went into that second meditation, it took two weeks to come out of it. I was living in a trance state the entire two weeks, morning, noon and night. I spent the vast majority of that time in my bedroom. My entire body was moving itself into strange and painful positions (very similar to yoga, but at the time I knew nothing about yoga). I held these positions as if trying to squeeze something out. And again, these body positions were extremely precise, using muscles in my body I didn’t even know existed. For hours and hours I was stretched and twisted, day and night. It was completely exhausting, but it was even more depleting trying to fight it to give myself a break.

The process began in my pelvic area and over the course of two weeks, worked its way up through almost every major chakra of my body. With each chakra came new movements, new pain and new emotions. At one point I was giving birth. I felt it all. The pain of contractions, the pushing, the moment of birth, the relief, the joy… At another time I felt I was being raped and I was terrified, in agony. Then another time I felt I was killing someone, stabbing them furiously. I was filled with blind rage. I went through everything humanly imaginable in those two weeks with all of the emotions that go with them. I felt anger, passion, happiness, guilt, loneliness, bitterness, hatred, loathing, love, tenderness, joy. I laughed, I cried, I was exhausted, totally spent… but it continued.

I would leave my bedroom only to eat and go to the bathroom, but even as I ate I would do weird things like stand up and bow for no apparent reason. I also became a vegan for about a year because during this awakening I kept seeing visions of animals fighting for their lives, begging not to be killed. I saw a fish out of water gasping and flopping to get back to its home; it felt like I was drowning. I felt intense compassion for these animals and I couldn’t eat them. It was like eating my own children.

One night during these two weeks I came out of my room to spend time with my husband. I was still in a trance, but aware. We turned on some music and I began to dance some kind of tribal-like dance. Anyone who knows me knows I have no rhythm, but on this night I did. I was in this tribe. I was dancing around a fire with intense energy and passion right in my living room. Later that night, in bed with my husband, I became a tiger. I was a tiger. I felt like a tiger, I growled at him like a tiger, and he liked it although he thought it was completely weird. And it was!

The next day, back in my room, alone, once the energy had moved through my root, sacral, solar plexus and heart chakras, it now moved to my throat. I remember sitting in bed looking into a mirror, watching my face change and contort, stretch and twist into some pretty hideous looks. As I watched I began to see different faces, one after another, each fading into the next before I really had the chance to get a good look at the one before. Some were women, some were men, some were old and some were young. There were beautiful ones and ugly ones and then there was the final one. As I sat staring I saw an old, Asian man smiling back at me. He stayed for several minutes, just smiling. And then he was gone.

For the time being, it was over. I felt like I had cleared a path inside myself, but it stopped at my throat chakra. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and was thankful for it to be over, but it left me wondering: what the fuck just happened?

Finding Answers

I got on my computer and began scouring the internet for answers. I had heard of Kundalini, albeit vaguely, through Reiki learning a few years prior. I had never really understood it so I was starting from scratch. It took me a while, but I finally found some people who knew more about this thing that was happening to me. I was so relieved that I wasn’t the only one.

I noticed a lot of people were purposely trying to awaken Kundalini and I read that it can be very dangerous when unguided. My awakening was not on purpose in the sense that I didn’t set out to make it happen. But in the sense that I was on a journey toward truth, I guess this was meant to happen and I was ready for it.

I didn’t feel like I was finished, however.


Two years later I still meditated, although not as often as I could have, and each time I would go through the kriyas, or automatic yoga. I still didn’t understand its purpose but it was there and I accepted it and was unable to avoid it in a meditative state. Then one day, out of the blue, it started again. The intense stretching, the constant trance-like state—the energy was moving from my throat to my third eye. I can’t remember much about this except that it lasted about a week and was much less strenuous than the awakening of two years prior.

I felt the energy moving in my forehead, and it gave me a headache. Eventually the energy seemed to break through to the other side and there was my moment of “Wow!” Suddenly I was completely aware of everything. I knew the answers to the questions I had been asking. It wasn’t a knowing in words. There is no way to describe it or explain it in language. I just knew. I was truly awake. I walked outside, looked up at the sky and the trees, I breathed the air and felt the ground on my feet, and I got it.

Now What?

Those few moments of perfect awareness didn’t last long. I remember the time but because it was all beyond my normal capacity as a human, I couldn’t hold the experience—though I did learn from it.

I believe my awakening was completely natural, and the same energy I experienced resides inside all of us. The energy itself is all knowing. It knows exactly where to go and what to do.

Now when I meditate, I still experience automatic yoga but I know how to use it. I can basically tell the energy what part of my body or mind I would like to work on and it does what it has to do to work out the kinks as long as I am trusting and quiet. Sometimes I just give it free reign to heal what needs to be healed. I have also used this Kundalini yoga meditation to heal myself from anxiety and depression and as a powerful tool to replace chemical antidepressants, of which I am now free. (Note: Do not stop taking antidepressants without weaning off the medication while under a doctor’s care. It can really mess you up if done too quickly.)

So, here I am at age 43, with these experiences and with all of the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained over the years. Do I believe in God now? Yes, I guess I do, but not in a conventional religious sense. I feel that God is that beautiful, living, loving, healing energy inside us all. God is nature in every form, even if it’s beyond our human understanding.


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Assistant Editor: Kathryn Rutz / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant archives

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