Awakening is a universal process.  It is not a religion, it is not a philosophy.  It is both a spiritual and very physical process that takes place within you that will change your life.  For as much as we as humans like to institutionalize things, awakening will cohere to institutionalization only because it is what you are, not a thing like a book or carpet or technique.  It is what you are.  A plant will grow in a church, in a greenhouse, in a synagogue, or in your yard.  This is awakening.  This is just how it is.  If you need to make the plant grow in a monastery, it will, but ask yourself if this plant would do better just being given all that it needs to flourish or if sitting in that monastery will do it justice.

The only problem with what I have just told you is that we have thousands of years’ worth of doing what I just asked you not to do.  We have the tradition of kundalini yoga, kundalini meditation, and pranayam breath work as part of a meditation regimen.  Now, I will say to you that on the one side of this that all of this discipline that has emerged over time has benefits, most certainly, but it also carries with it some pitfalls.  The pitfall is in the need to put ones belief in something.  If you are doing that, you are effectively sealing up the letter of your life in an envelope so that at least for the time being, you wont be tempted to open it again.  Belief means that you put your faith in something, and the power of the group think will tend to keep you there.  Pressures will build to believe a certain way, to not ask questions, to not think in an authentic way.  Those who are able to not take their belief so seriously will tend to do much better.  Be careful of the gods you choose for you will each reinforce each other.

Let me give you an example.  There is this belief that breath is prana, that breath is life.  When doing pranayam (breath control), the emphasis is on how one breathes in and controls breath.  It is well known that you can stop the flow of energy in your body by how you breathe.  Yes!  This is indeed so!  However, this does not mean that breath is itself prana or life force.  If you take what someone tells you about this one example and you do not examine it to make sure that it passes muster, what else are you willing to believe?  You might just believe that the most advanced being in the universe created hell for all those who made mistakes to go to after they are done here.  You not only will believe that, but you will fall for just about anything for the simple fact that you have given up your ability or responsibility for your own thought process.  I know; doing this may put you at great odds with some folk, but let me ask you; what is the advantage to you of staying in their good graces when you have to take on such vast blinders as this?

Pranayama is effective, yes, but it is not because your physical breath IS prana.  No.  The ACT of your physical body breathing stimulates your etheric or light body to relax and take in more energy naturally.  When you stop breathing, you slow the flow of life force in your body.  Consider this to be a coincident effect, but do not consider that air particles ARE prana.  Prana is itself a vibration of energy.  And yes, prana DOES make up everything (this is what I have observed through my OWN experience, not through teachings), but prana has changed its vibration so that it becomes a different phenomenon.  Your own physical senses and physical body are keyed to a range of vibration which is physical.

When prana transforms into physical particles, it is not experienced As prana.  It is now being read as, say, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.  Your body uses these gasses in the process of breathing and it nourishes the very physical tissues for what this density of experience needs for its sustenance.  You can say all day that air is prana, and in a sense you would be right, but try breathing prana energy into your body only and see how long this works for your very hungry physical tissues.  Yes, there have been yogis in the past who were buried for long periods with no air and lived.  Theirs is the stuff of legend.  Perhaps they had a way to transform prana into air.  Or perhaps they learned to slow their metabolic state down. Whatever they were doing, I don’t know that the average person would be able to do this.  So regardless, back to air and prana…..when I am able to move prana through my body without breathing, I know there is something wrong with this notion that breath IS prana.  Clearly, it is not.  Understanding the underlying principle for WHY you move prana through physical breath is the important factor.  If you do not make the connection, then for you you only see to the level where breath SEEMS to be the same as prana.  As a result of this one small and seemingly inconsequential thing, you will likely missidentify a whole raft of other issues that some people do in fact make about the nature of prana or etheric energy.

So the result in all of this is that if you free yourself from this notion of prana only moving with breath, you are also free to reach deep down into your being and discover the very source of this prana in you.  You will also, perhaps as I did, discover how my FEELINGS had the final say so on how prana moves.  Once I discovered this, I realized that it was my energy body that was shutting down to life itself.  How many times a day have I done this contraction to life?  How can I remain open and flowing to prana?  How can I keep my very essence in a state of “Yes!” instead of pulling back out of fear or some other thing?  If we create our reality, fear is a huge issue to get over.  We know, for example, that going into the fetal position is a natural posture for protecting the body.  We also know, for example too, that when we are in ecstasy, our bodies do just the opposite; our arms go by our sides, or spread out away from the body, we arc our torso upward, as the heart center, the core of our divine center, is offered up in a posture that is the epitome of surrender and vulnerability.  Oddly enough, it is only when we reach this same inner posture within that we open up to the great mystery of ourselves.  So it is the same with prana.  If you can learn to control prana without breath, you will not be dependent on that method to work for you.  Yes, physical breath is coincident with prana in the etheric body, yes, and use it if it helps you, but there are other more fundamental ways of moving energy and these ways will show you to the very essence of what you are and how you are made.

I know that this all sounds terribly pedantic, but it is in truth my seeking to cut a clear swath through a tangled forest of misconception.  Someone needs to do this I think if we are to get down to the very simple issue of what we are and how we are made.  If we do not, we will mythologize so much of our experience and make the wrong associations with phenomenon.  It is like saying that fire trucks are responsible for fires because they are always where fires are happening.  We all know how silly that notion is, and yet, unless we understand the underlying issues happening, we as humans will tend to create these myths simply because they make sense and appeal to our sense of the dramatic or even magical.

Okay.  I might be a little off topic to you, but here I am, bringing the cattle drive around full circle:  if you let someone else to do the thinking for you, you will not be reflecting and using your own powers of discernment.   As such, you will give your power over to someone or to something that may or may not serve you in your highest.  The legacy we have as people is that we have given too much power to others over the centuries.  No one took it from us, we ceded it willingly.  And yet, for as convenient as it is to have a priest or priestess standing before us to give us a sermon for our consideration, why don’t we do this for ourselves?  We then wind up looking to this person and we wonder why we live the lives we do.  Thing is, your priestess might like to tell stories about going to the beach or riding in a boat, but what you really need to hear about is the power fire has in purifying the soul.  Where are you ever going to get to hear something like that from someone who likes water stories?

Your own soul knows what you need.  It is infinite.  And you have been holding it back like the Dutch Boy with his finger in the dyke, never realizing that if you let go, it would all just flow around you, sweep away all your carefully made things and take you to a place entirely different.  But better.  There is an intelligence that has perhaps escaped you that lives quietly in your very cells and it has the capacity to work wonders for you, and it will happen so effortlessly you might think it was an accident the first few times it works for you.  After a while, though, you might begin to realize as I have that this intelligence works wonders.  It is what I call the genie in the bottle.  It has been corked up inside of you in such a way that you didn’t even realize it existed.  Time to let it out.  Time to make that step into the next.  Beyond the earthly regimentation of what people call light.  The pure light is only discovered in a one-to-one experience within, so listening to yourself is just that important.

We are kind of afraid to step out on our own.

We have to step out on our own if we are ever going to trust ourselves, our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own ideas.  Trust them.  But realize, too, that some of them may be like weeds growing in the garden of your soul that will need to be plucked out.  Again, if you trust your own discernment, something deep inside of you will give you a simple dowsing rod-like ability for knowing what is useful and what is not.  And if you do not get that type of deep intuitive sense, then all you have to do is look at the places where you have the most trouble in your life.  Why is that?  Are you at odds with yourself or others?  If someone is projecting something on to you, even then there is something about you that makes them more susceptible to doing this than with another person.

The guru is within you.  It takes some leaps of cognition in order to realize that this is so and to tap this deep resource.  it is not tapped through ego or normal intellect.  Within the very strands of energy moving through you right now, its voice lies latent but alive.  Somewhere along the line we shut that channel off.  We have become so numb to ourselves that we cannot hear this quiet voice within.  It IS there.  It is in the garden of the soul.  Most of us are used to the closet of our subconscious, which is full of skeletons.  To get to the garden, you go through this closet, clear it out, and realize it never was a closet but the portal to this other part of who you are.  No longer is the subconscious sub anything.  You are effectively knitting together two realms of being and awareness into your day to day.  The effects?

Your intuition will grow stronger.  You will feel more connected.  You will also feel more connected to your authentic wants and see old desires as part of some older way of being that always had a way of getting you hung up.  I once knew someone who had a father who was abusive to her emotionally as a child.  She grew up always attracted to a certain kind of man who always had the uncanny tendency to treat her in a callous fashion.  It was her father all over gain, just in a different person.  She wondered why she had radar for these people.  it was because she had not resolved her feelings about what had happened in the past.  Until she resolved it, she was destined to repeat it even when she said consciously that she was done with it.  See, you can be done with bad behavior in others and tell yourself you do not want to be around that kind of thing, but if there is some hidden part of you that is somehow NOT done with it, it will persist.  To get down at this is what Philip in his gospel had to say about plucking out these weeds in our selves (this gospel is in the Nag Hammadi cache of scrolls discovered in 1945 so many people still don’t know much about it).  Until we do that, the issue continues and we are just trimming our weeds instead of plucking them out of our being.  This is not for the faint of heart, but is itself a transformative process that takes an initial level of courage, but leads to a much better life.  As you do this, your life will change into the thing that you had perhaps always wanted all along.

So listening to yourself has its benefits.  Someone who is caught up in the same karmic struggles as you who is not ready for change will not encourage you to do something different no matter how they might say so up front.  I know.  I had a partner who knew how my problems hung me up in life and said often that I needed to get a handle on my stuff.  When it came time to do that, however, it was as though some inner world was suddenly coming apart for my partner because i was letting go of the karmic threads which we held in common.  Instead of nice taut strands holding the rigging of a mast and sail on some boat, these ropes were now slack and lying all about the deck.  I was no longer concerned about keeping these ropes or threads in their near-constant state of suspension, and this resulted in a period of time when there was a lot of very chaotic behavior on the part of my partner.  In fact, I was able to observe that every single time I released some energetic strand, she responded with an outburst of anger or frustration within 12-24 hours.  I counted up to nine times where this happened over a three month period and stopped counting after that.  It was simply too coincidental to not have been connected.

But wait.  Strands?  What strands?  What on earth am I talking about?  Welcome to the world of energy.  It is all around you, and if you awaken, you will begin to feel it much more clearly as you release your old focus in the world and take on a more inclusive one.  Part of this will be becoming much more aware of energy both in yourself and in others.  It is well known that awakening brings on abilities, what the Hindus call siddhis.  It is a natural byproduct of becoming more sensitive upon awakening.  I mentioned in my first  post how I began to feel the world from the inside out.  Well I did.  I do.  I no longer related to the world of mere appearances but also based on the things inside.  Someone can be telling me one thing and I will sometimes feel another.  I will know, then, that there is a mismatch between what the person says and what they feel deeper down.  We are all like this.  We tell ourselves that we like peace and prosperity even as we lead chaotic and emotionally raw lives.  This is what I mean.  When we can begin to align with what we really are and get really honest with ourselves, there will always be this mismatch, you see.  So these strands are merely energy.  This energy has a vibration based on how this strand is maintained and focused upon.

We actually co-create moment by moment with the prana or life force flowing through us with all of the issues that lie latent within us.  Prana is in a way like clay or water.  It will take whatever form you give it through your belief, feelings and intention.  That means that prana can flow AS it is or as YOU are.  If you are flowing only as you are, you probably wont learn the great lesson that this highly evolved consciousness can offer you.  Yes.  I just said “highly evolved consciousness” and I mean it.  Never considered this to be so?  Read on, because there are even more surprises as we go down this cosmic rabbit hole!  So this energy comes into you and YOU choose what to do with it.  This is why, if you JUST let it flow in you, it can SHOW you HOW to be.

Yes, it will mean changing how you react and respond to the things that you have become habituated to.  It will have effects on your personality, on your sexuality, on your body, and on your belief set.  Much of the material that prana will dredge up  has been shoved down so deep that its now subconscious, and this seems to me through my own observation, to be the key action of awakening, kundalini, or high levels of prana present in your being.  It is so deep in fact that we may only deal with it in dreaming only while feeling unable to get our arms around what problems it presents to us in our day to day lives.  Philip goes on to say that until we do this, it masters us.  We are prisoners and it is our master.  Wise words.  Whatever is unresolved in us gets shaped the same way over and over, and the prana can only be shaped as we believe it must be shaped in us and thus experienced.  But there is more, way way more.

So these strands of karmic material are very real and present a kind of tension that is not flowing but tight.  When you let go of a karmic thread, you will literally feel a sense of relief.  It is like holding on to something heavy for so long that you forgot you were even holding on to it.  But when it goes, it is like you have this epiphany moment.  Sweet release!  Now imagine an engine of change inside of you whose job seems to help you release these threads on a weekly, sometimes daily basis!  After a while, you get used to this act of release.  These energetic releases also change your own inner landscape so that the energy you put out is different.  Now what you are, I have said, will serve as an attractant to people and events in your life.  When you change these threads, you will also change the events and people in your life.  It is just how things work.  But since this force of awakening is bringing you to what you are deeper down, you never let go of things that are not in your highest.  Life does change, and yes this can be hard when you are up close to it, but once you experience this effect enough times, you tend to realize that none of this change is bad for you.  This is the power that your own karmic threads has.  I know for some it will sound like magical thinking, but again, allow yourself to observe the effects for yourself.  the smaller the thread, the smaller the shift.  The bigger the thread, the bigger the shift.  And events will change on a dime the moment you release these threads.  It is how energy and reality work.

To do all of this requires that you look within for the answers.  Sometimes the answers will come through “innocent agents” as I think of them.  You might be thinking about the nature of grace and how this might help you in the next step in your development only to find that people are offering you books on grace, or someone mentions something they saw the day before, all without having heard peep from you about this grace business.  Life is conspiring to help you.  And you are creating this.  Accept the gifts as they come, consider how they might help you without making them into the end-all be-all.  Yes, these events will seem entirely miraculous, but you are creating this attractant in your life.  If you make it into God speaking, it might be that this God is terribly inflexible and also too absolute a form to allow you to consider the broader implications of just such a message from the universe.  If you identify too much with it, you lose sight of the benefit that it can offer you.  Yes, it feels miraculous.  Let it BE miraculous, but let it just be that and nothing more.  Let it lift you, but don’t let it chain you to one way of being only.  You are infinite, so keep things flowing within because the moment you create such stiff conceptual borders, you pen this universal energy in and keep it from going where it needs to go.

This is why thinking for yourself is so important.  How many people lived unrewarding lives simply because the church said that getting divorced was a sin?  or how many people stayed in the closet because someone said their orientation sexually was a sin?  Or what about having a liberal viewpoint was somehow bad, or a conservative one?  The divine has its own directive and when you throw off the shackles of this world you will be able to begin glimpsing it. This doesn’t mean that you become immoral or hard or uncaring or unaware of the plight of others.  On the contrary, you begin more and more to live the life embodies in the term Namaste, which is that the light that is in me sees and salutes the light within you. As you begin to hear this lilting music of the soul, it means you listen more intently in the moment for its presence all around you.  It has been muffled for years as you went about in the clamor and noise of your life.  Now, perhaps for the first time in a long time, you are hungry to know what this presence has to say.

It is interesting because the “voice” of this music is the same voice that is coming from within you.  So given this, why would you put all your chips on any one horse save for the one ready to bolt free within you?

In this long winded way, I have come to explain to you where I am coming from.  It may not be what you expect in learning about awakening, but then, there are plenty of people who like being an authority and will seek that mantle.  YOU are the authority.  When you come at it from this perspective, you can then begin to glimpse more clearly what the divine is.  The Oracle of Delphi was once asked how we could know the gods.  The Oracle replied “Man, know thyself!”  The world is itself a projection of consciousness, at least this is what the ancients have said, and I certainly have to agree based on my own experience (the quantum mechanical view has also suggested this in recent times as well).  If this is so, and if YOU have consciousness, then the pathway to understanding what this consciousness is, is resting within you.  The clearer you become, the clearer the lens through which you are viewing this consciousness is.