So it has been quite a while since I have written about kundalini, and I get asked a fair amount of questions about it, so I thought I would write a (somewhat) basic blog about symptoms to answer the “how do I know?” sorts of questions that I receive.
I will say that I am “classical” in terms of my understandings. What this basically means is that new-age pop spirituality has taken the term “kundalini” and turned it into a basic meaning of anyone having any sort of spiritual experience has a kundalini awakening…. with of course the added on commercialism/competitive spirituality type stuff of If you could only have a kundalini awakening, you will have perfect health, be wealthy, immortal, and be more spiritual than your friends!
Anyone who has done more than surface-level study of kundalini will know that there are many types of spiritual awakenings. You can read about the different types in my book: The Spiritual Awakening Guide: Kundalini, Psychic Abilities, and the Conditioned Layers of Reality
Basically, there are many paths up the mountain. A kundalini awakening is one of them.
To add a bit more complexity to that, at some point anyone who is spiritually awakening will have a kundalini awakening if they get to a certain point on that mountain. There is, of course, a question of how many actually get to that point on the mountain… but I digress.
It is interesting, before I begin I will note that some people choose to look at my description of kundalini awakenings, or shamanic/spiritual awakenings and so forth as either I am describing them to state that those who experience them are “superior” because in our society if something is rare, or considered “advanced”, or intense spiritually we automatically with our monkey brains want to have it for our own.
This is completely contrary thinking to anyone who has ever had a severe awakening experience, such as a kundalini awakening.
I have now been working with my kundalini awakening for 13 years (since full manifestations started, I recognize it as a force in my life prior to that now), and I still have days where I wish that it was something I didn’t have to deal with. On some days it is like a ravaging wildfire decimating everything in its path… and I think of the people who really, really want a kundalini awakening or think that they are having one and start to think about the reality of intense spiritual experiences vs. the sort of new-age gloss that makes everyone think that they want intense spiritual experiences.. and the sort of illusory nature of people stating that “kundalini”, which you can evidently acquire, will create some sort of perfected bliss state.
On my more difficult days with this energy I think about how leprosy is rare, but that doesn’t mean that anybody really wants it, and it doesn’t mean that anyone with any sort of wound says they have leprosy. Perhaps an obnoxious example, but full-blown kundalini awakenings vs. what many people describe as their “kundalini awakening” based on ignorance and some really bad writing out there by people who have clearly never experienced it are in two completely different ballparks.
I still don’t understand people wanting rare spiritual experiences, as I know from doing spiritual work for a long time that the people who have them struggle with accepting them for a long time, and struggle with having spiritual experiences that displace them from the norm… as we covet these sort of experiences, we rarely realize the reality that we are looking for them to make us feel special and significant… and the effect is almost the exact opposite. Kundalini is a destructive and purifying force. It releases the patterns and traumas and illusions we have been carrying.
Basically, any form of spiritual awakening will teach you how insignificant you really are. It is one of those “stops” on that mountain, an initiation of sorts, and it is one of those initiations that a lot of people fail… and that you can really tell how far “up” the mountain people actually are by their realization of their own insignificance… and their releasing of the illusion that they are the center of the universe.
Any full-blown kundalini awakening is intense. There is no such thing as a “mild” kundalini awakening.
Even people who have “purified” themselves through counseling, are physically in shape, mentally sound, spiritually aware through meditation… we always, always, always, have illusions that are coloring our world, that are pulling our world together, that pull together our concept of who we are.
And unless we are completely “perfected”, kundalini will be difficult for us mentally/psychologically, spiritually/energetically, and/or physically. There are phases in kundalini awakenings, and typical the physical is dominant at first (physical releases), which teach the experiencer that they are not in control in order to help them to release fear… but my point here is that if someone states that they have had a kundalini awakening, and it wasn’t that bad, or it was easy, 99.99 percent of the time it was not a kundalini awakening, or it was a stirring of the energy.
Kundalini awakenings are extremely rare.
And by that I mean full-blown kundalini awakenings.
Most people who experience kundalini have experienced either a stirring (a feeling of heat going up their tailbone and spine like in yoga class). Stirrings happen once or twice, and that is it. This temporary experience can forward you on your spiritual path, but a lot of people state that they have had a kundalini awakening and they are referring to this.
When having a stirring you can act normally, you can be around people. You feel some energy go up your spine, basically.
Kundalini experiences are temporary experiences of the energy. They can happen in the presence of a guru giving shakti, or at meditation retreats, or via drugs. They can happen over the course of ten minutes or of a few months.
In a kundalini experience someone will have intense shaking, go into yoga postures spontaneously, and the energy flowing through you will be strong/intense enough that people around you will know what is going on. There is no hiding this– it is an incredible rising of energy through you.
A lot of people have transcendental experiences that are not kundalini experiences. They may channel energy or have an influx of energy. Kundalini always rises (caveat: at first).
Our bodies hold on to trauma. They have a lot of held energy. In order to release kundalini our bodies move into spontaneous postures, mudras (hand positions and body positions). They can do this sort of statically (into one position) or you can flop around on the floor for half an hour or so going into all sorts of different positions.
The purpose of this is to get energy flowing through your body, to unlock kundalini. Energy has difficulty flowing through the joints of our bodies. We tend to hold energy in the crevices of our form. Spontaneous movement allows for this energy to flow through.
So we get to signs and symptoms of full kundalini awakenings.
A full kundalini awakening is permanent.
There is this idea that kundalini just rises up the spine and goes up the top of the head and somehow is complete. This is simply untrue. This comes from people typically who either have had a kundalini experience… or even more typically… who have read a bit about kundalini and learned that this is how it is supposed to go, and then create an illusion/myth about their lives that they have had this experience.
I have had letters from people who have gone to teachers/gurus promising a “kundalini awakening”, and they typically have this thought. Because when you purchase, or believe you can purchase kundalini, your teacher is going to tell you that your process is complete.
But on to the symptoms.
A lot of people I have run across believe that the intensity or “heat” aspects of kundalini are a metaphor, or as if that they were somehow above those experiences, or that their mild experiences equal a kundalini awakening.
Kundalini is hot. It is fire. It is the constant presence of fire. This fire goes through “purification” cycles where it releases specific aspects of the body. We need this fire to burn through our illusions, patterns, traumas, and so forth. This fire is often hot enough to not only be palpably experienced by others around you, but can do things like melt holes in pants.
I have never met anyone who is authentically having a kundalini awakening who does not have a huge layer of volcanic heat in their energy field.
Kundalini is permanent. It is always felt. It may be more subtle at times, it may go into a sort of remission of sorts (but it can still be felt), it will go through cycles and phases, but it is always there. It is always working.
Kundalini creates spontaneous movements, twitching, vibrations. There is some confusion about this one, so I will say that some vibration or twitching happens to a lot of people. We release trauma and energy (qi/prana, not kundalini) through our bodies, and our bodies will twitch or vibrate. Spontaneous movements, body positions, vocalizations are different than some twitching.
I will say that once you have gotten out of the first “stage” of kundalini (generally past the first few chakras), and learn to work more in concert with the energy, that the spontaneous movements stop, or cut down… or at the very least you can work with them.
This is because the energy rises, and most people get stuck in the first few chakras. Our first few chakras are where we hold things like fear, and control, and many people just can’t, or aren’t ready, to surrender to the realization that they are not in control.
People experiencing kundalini rarely realize that what their “ego” is creating is fear, and that their need for superiority, or more aptly put, the reason that they are creating an illusion that they do not need to progress further, or something more terrible would happen if they did, comes from fear. Which comes from kundalini emerging in the first chakra, and will lessen if the person is willing and able to move beyond that fear.
Immense electrical force circulating the body. When kundalini used to really surge for me, it would interfere with the lights in the house, as well as with automatic doors in shopping centers. It really feels like lightning coursing through your body. This is again palpable by those around you. Mild electrical force, known as qi (or body energy) can be cultivated and used in a variety of ways. This is much stronger, and the force is intense enough that people worry that they may spontaneously combust or split open.
Digestive issues. It is not unusual for people experiencing kundalini to need to completely change their diet. This happens in other forms of spiritual awakening, so I will say that in kundalini awakenings people may need to eat only rice for periods of months (their body will not take anything else in) when kundalini is working through the digestive organs… or they may need to drink things like soup (if it is in their throat chakra). The digestive fire of the body is rerouted with kundalini, and complete changes in diet are often necessary.
Again, this is not a “choice” thing… like people deciding not to eat gluten or go Paleo or similar…this is the body having a violent uprising of heat and intense symptoms if the wrong things are eaten for someone experiencing kundalini.
Emotional Lability. Intense processing (releasing of emotions and traumas) as well as the overwhelm that come from kundalini create intense waves of emotions. These can be as huge as a crashing wave, and it can be difficult to tell the source/where they came from when especially intense.
Hyperactivity and Fatigue cycles. In the beginning, burnout and extreme fatigue (sometimes to the point of not getting out of bed) are really normal. Later, period of hyperactivity and feelings of heightened creativity, as well as the ability to get a lot of things done in a short period of time (I once wrote a book in four days, for example) occur. In later periods (after the first phase) less sleep is needed, and more restful sleep is necessary.
So I would say that what I have written above is what I look for in a full kundalini awakening. These happen in everyone I know who has authentically experienced a kundalini awakening. Some of these symptoms will begin to lessen, or change, with time. Basically one of the questions I always get from people who are authentically going through a full kundalini awakening is when they symptoms will stop and/or change, and the answer to that is always that I do not have a specific timeline, because it has to do with how much you are willing to surrender. To give up the idea(s) of who you are, to let go of the idea that you are in control, to let go of any sort of ego-type awakenings (this is often a trick, or more kindly, a spiritual initiation, for the experiencer to see if they are ready to let go and truly move on to the next phase/heart and upper chakras).
Kundalini awakenings are always intense, no matter how you prepare for them. Kundalini experiences are also always intense, no matter how much you prepare for them. Kundalini stirrings are often not terribly intense, are are actually fairly common for people on the spiritual path.
I am so specific about my definitions because while people can call their experiences whatever they like (I have given up the sort of control/fight, and if people want to call themselves kundalini awakened, or a Shaman, or the Pope, they are welcome to), there are people out there that are authentically and fully experiencing kundalini, and it does a disservice to them for there to be so much inauthentic or overly-intellectualized information out there (without any experience to back it up).
So the symptoms I have written about above I would look for in any case of a full kundalini awakening. And to be clear, I would look for all of them. Kundalini can in some cases be cold, but if you are not feeling a force strong enough that you occasionally have thoughts about spontaneous combustion, you are likely experiencing a different spiritual phenomena.
Other things that can be experienced by those going through a kundalini awakening include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Changes in sexual desire (lack of it, typically at first, then quite a bit of desire)
- Headaches and migraines
- Left foot and leg pain, or feelings of that leg being sort of static
- Back and neck pain
- spontaneous eruptions of noise or emotions (laughing, weeping, singing, speaking)
- inner sounds, such as bells, choirs, and vibration/flow type sounds (hard to explain)
- Mental fog
- Physical feeling of where kundalini is “working” (for example, pressure in specific areas)
- Feelings of immense joy, bliss
- Sudden shifts where you are not the same after (your beliefs about yourself change in an instant, or fairly quickly)
- Drug addiction– being in overwhelm/lacking resources causes many having severe awakening purposes to utilize drugs and alcohol to stop or numb the experiences
- Spiritual knowing, increasing psychic abilities
- Dreaming of snakes, visions of snakes
So in the next blog, I will talk about the symptoms and experiences of what happens when you go beyond these experiences. All of what I have written above is basically the first “phase” that everyone goes through when kundalini awakening. This is what most people get stuck in, and what is written about by a lot of people who have studied kundalini experiences or work with kundalini-bitten individuals, but as surrender and reconciliation with the energy occurs, the symptoms I have listed give way to very different experiences.