Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 201 - The Drama of a Premature Crown Opening (Audio)
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"
I'd had a slight fascination with this 'New Age' stuff since an early age but didn't delve into it much until a life crisis in the early '90's. For health reasons I decided to meditate to reduce my stress and unintentionally ended up in a small meditation group that went into Tarot readings, personal growth and 'chakras' which I had never heard of before.
My first contact and first meditation with this neighbourhood group totally scared the heck out of me...coloured hues on the walls, coloured lights, bouncing balls of lights off the ceiling, seeing auras, clairaudience, special messages for me etc etc.
Looking back now it was all positive, pink love beams, religious figures, loving all encompassing compassion.... but I didn't know at that time.
I couldn't help but follow it through...mainly out of fear and trying to get it all to stop... Luckily (destiny?) I had intelligent and wise people to help me along. When the student is ready the teacher *does* appear. :)
I jumped ahead so fast, psychometry, channelling, lucid dreaming, astral travel, guides, angels, God, all paths, all religions/beliefs, clairaudience, clairvoyant, darkness and hauntings, past lives etc etc it happened only once for each experience and I was told repeatedly I didn't need to learn it in this lifetime, I had already achieved it before. This was just a 'remembrance' for me to experience in my life where I was now.
Following common teachings at the time....in the Western world of 'Spirituality'...I constantly meditated on the chakras raising the energy and my vibrational levels from the root to the crown chakra. This was all I knew....I didn't know of kundalini and eastern methods...
My growth and experiences were so rapid that it caused some problems because I soon advanced past whoever was teaching me .....and sadly sometimes there was jealousy and disbelief, causing me to leave and most of the time feeling isolated and alone......unaccepted. I reached levels within a couple of months that they had taken years to achieve and they just couldn't accept that it was so 'easy' for me. It was a very hard time for me and also very confusing as I needed support to help me through what I didn't understand. I didn't ask for what was happening to me, I felt unfairly judged at times....and also adrift and lost with what was happening.
Then the spontaneous awaking of kundalini about 1995/6 which threw me into further turmoil. Then I looked at eastern teachings and understood more about the chakras.
Unfortunately meditating so many years on raising the energy to the crown and not the third eye is what caused my problems.
Without being egotistical....and I'm sure you're one of the few people who can understand this....I obviously have been born close to this stage specifically in this lifetime because of what I've achieved in lifetimes before. This has been made clear to me for many years now, its just hard to find someone who can accept this and not look at me weirdly or believe I have a extreme narcissistic personality...
You really are a breath of fresh air for me...
As I mentioned in my previous email I've finally found some relief in focusing on breathing up and down the spine from the root to the third eye. It's difficult to 're-train' the energy this way but it is happening.
I don't go anywhere near the crown chakra but can feel certain areas of it tingling, or pressures there sometimes....I'm also uncomfortable about getting my hair cut and feel like a ponytail affect at the back, which I don't physically have.
I just let it all go without worrying too much about it...if anything I'm more worried about being too active with it and spend a lot of time just balancing and calming down the energy within.
I'll also admit after having such strong energy and emotional reactions for so many years that I've developed a fear of even looking anywhere near the crown....I hope this isn't detrimental in any way to the natural flow of awakening.
The last couple of weeks has had a lot of activation in the heart chakra...I don't know why. I've read somewhere that the heart is one of the last to open because it can be very emotional and physically draining. Do you know of this?
A lot of my breathing has been happening at the throat and nose which I believe is balancing as I usually breath in and out through the mouth...something I did from the beginning as this is what I was told to do for chakra work. I allow it all to happen naturally now with some direction mentally and soon found the nose and back of tongue energy directing itself after a while.
It's all a new experiment for me.
I also understand why many of the Yoga/Kundalini teachings were kept secret from the general population.... unless there is an experienced teacher on hand to help, many problems do arise. The western world looks upon Yoga and the chakras as a form of exercise or general meditation without realising the power and potential it has to impact the human energy field so much.....
Thank you so much again for all that you're doing and the help you have given me...
A: Thank you for your generous sharing.
All confirmations (and disagreements) are welcome. Your experiences fit right in with what we are talking about in the lessons, especially now that we are discussing the crown. Let me add a few more perspectives on it, which will tie in with the wise adjustments you are currently making in your daily practice.
Premature opening of the crown creates so much release throughout the nervous system that we can easily get caught up in the drama of it, and you are doing a great job of looking beyond the fray. All the visions and feelings that come up are difficult to resist. The same thing goes for any siddhis (powers) we might experience. With the nervous system still needing a lot of purification, much of what we experience is colored by the "smoke" of innumerable karmas being burned up, often in a random fashion. So the experiences can be a mixture of the real with the unreal. It is no wonder that a severe premature crown opening can lead one to a psychiatric ward, or worse.
Here is the kicker. Visions and revelations, while often part of the journey, are not primary indicators of progress toward enlightenment. In fact, enlightenment can occur with very few, if any, visions at all. To the extent we have visions and revelations, we can be distracted from the practices that assure our continued steady and stable progress. We have talked about distracting visions a lot in the lessons, but so far not much from the perspective of the extremes of a full blown premature crown opening. It is not an easy thing, because it can become a world unto itself -- the ultimate distraction.
None of this is to say that visions or revelations are bad. Indeed, we should enjoy the scenery as we travel along the road to enlightenment. But if the scenery becomes the path, with our sense of self wrapped up in it, then we will be heading off course. With extreme premature crown awakenings the risk of this is greater than average. Extreme awakenings are sometimes ecstatic, often hellish, and always seductive. Right practices can gradually put an end to the flights of fancy we might be drawn into, and bring us into the peace and joy of the divine reality within us. Then we will see our visions from a different perspective. They might even go away -- replaced by an abiding sense of peace and happiness that does not constantly fling us from pillar to post.
So what is happening with a premature crown opening? Are we getting anywhere? Are we getting enlightened? Well, yes and no. Yes, obstructions are being released willy-nilly. And no, the chaos of it and our identification with the chaos can create karma also -- a weird kind of karma that can lead us into a cycle of premature spontaneous crown openings, life after life. If we continue working at the crown in this situation, we perpetuate the whole thing, and spiritual progress can be elusive, even as our visions continue. It is only by our conscious intervention in the form of stabilizing practices that we can get off this wheel.
There are only two sure signs of rising enlightenment. In fact, there is really only one sure sign, because the second one does not go very far without the first. The first, and most important sign of rising enlightenment, is the emergence of inner silence -- an unshakable blissful inner awareness -- eternal peace taking up residence in our nervous system. The second sign is the rise of ecstatic conductivity in the nervous system. Not necessarily ecstatic visions or revelations. Just simple neuro-biological ecstatic pleasure coursing up through our body. Together, inner silence and ecstatic conductivity in the nervous system make up the foundation of enlightenment. As they merge into one we see the journey coming to its fruition in endless ecstatic bliss and an outpouring of divine love. It is very simple, really. If we view our progress through these two parameters, which are readily cultivated with specific yoga practices, and easily observable, then we will be on the right track. At the same time, we will be quelling the storms of any premature crown awaking we might have gotten ourselves into in the recent or distant past.
The great nineteenth century kriya yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya, said that enlightenment is the "merging of emptiness with euphoria." This is the merging of inner silence with ecstatic conductivity. That's it. It is very simple. Nothing else is necessary. So, if we are inundated with visions and revelations, we will be wise to easily go back to our practices, the ones that cultivate these two modes of functioning in our nervous system that lead to our liberation.
In the lessons we concentrate on cultivating the two components of enlightenment with a variety of practices. The two main practices are deep meditation (for inner silence) and spinal breathing (for balanced ecstatic conductivity). Many other practices are added to build on the ongoing progress cultivated by the two core practices. Taken all together, it is an integrated system of practices.
At the heart of smooth and progressive purification and opening of the nervous system is the spinal nerve (sushumna) between the third eye (ajna) and the root (muladhara). With all practices naturally working on purifying and opening the third eye to root spinal nerve, we are able to avoid the drama of a premature crown opening, even as we are nudging the crown open indirectly all the while. Then, in time, we can go to the crown directly. When that time arrives, further crown opening does not lead to chaos. It does not lead to a lot of visions or revelations either. Why not? Because there is much less karmic smoke floating around in our purified nervous system. The visions we do have are not extreme, not overwhelming, yet profound, and not needing to be mentioned. In short, a crown opening when the time is right creates no upheaval at all -- only a channel of ecstatic bliss and divine love flowing into the world.
This condition of a mature opened crown and nervous system is its own source, and its own justification. And it too is a very simple thing.
So, that is a round-about way of saying, yes, I think you are doing the right thing taking up spinal breathing. Besides being a world-class stabilizer of wayward kundalini energies, it is a core practice for cultivating ecstatic conductivity in the third eye to root spinal nerve. Awakening the third eye (ajna) like that is the way forward. I encourage you to take up deep meditation also. Pranayama, with all of its benefits, does not cultivate the deepest level of inner silence in the nervous system. For this the mind must be systematically brought to stillness every day -- that is deep meditation.
As for breathing through the mouth or nose, using the nose is generally better if it is not a strain, because important aspects of our spiritual neurology are located in the nasal passages and sinuses. Nasal breathing during spinal breathing stimulates these, as do other "targeted" practices we cover in the lessons, i.e., sambhavi, yoni mudra kumbhaka, kechari and the bastrika pranayamas.
Once you have developed some comfort and stability in third eye to root oriented practices, I think your fear of the crown will subside. It will just be a place you can touch occasionally to see what is happening there. It will not be "practice" at the crown until there is stability in whatever you do there, as discussed two lessons ago. And there is no need to rush it, because the crown is being opened safely every time we meditate, do spinal breathing, and the rest of our integrated advanced yoga practices.
Yes, I have heard also that "the heart is last to open." But I think it is more involved than that. In the lessons, we begin with the heart because desire is the engine that drives all yoga. Desire that is intensified and directed toward spiritual unfoldment is bhakti, and this is all heart work. Practices feed back into the heart, increasing bhakti every step along the way. So the heart is opening all the time, along with the rest of the nervous system. Then ecstatic conductivity begins to rise and we are melting in love inside in the face of so much ecstasy and rising inner sensuality - more heart opening. Finally, when shiva (silence) and shakti (ecstasy) are merging and we finally go directly to the crown, then it all pours down and the heart goes all the way into overflowing pure divine love. Maybe that last step is what is meant by "the heart is last to open." But the truth is, yoga begins with the heart, the heart is opening every step of the way, and it ends with the heart, as we finally become an expression of divine love on earth. And all of these steps of the heart will not be traumatic, as long as we do the yoga practices that cultivate smooth purification and opening of the nervous system. This is what the heart calls us to, and this is what opens the heart.
If there is discomfort in the heart (non-medical), it is a symptom of energy imbalance and we should look to our practices and good self-pacing to resolve it. This is a path of joy, not one of discomfort and fear. So we always are using practices in a way that cultivates smooth progress and pleasurable experiences. That way we are always motivated to continue, and our arrival at our destination is certain.
Keeping yogic teachings secret may have been appropriate in the past, but I don't think it is appropriate now. There are so many people running around these days with intense desire for God and practices, spontaneous spiritual experiences, etc. Burgeoning worldwide spiritual need does not favor such important knowledge being locked up (in fragments, I might add) in a few overly protective esoteric traditions. We are in the midst of a massive shift in world consciousness. Now is the time for everyone to have access to the complete means for safely and effectively purifying and opening their nervous system. That is what these lessons are about.
I wish you all success as you continue along your chosen spiritual path. It's good to have you here, and I hope the lessons will be a continuing help to you.
The guru is in you.
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