Sublimation is  both concept and practice whereby the  fluids related to sexual operation, namely seminal and cervical fluid, are said to rise up through the spinal column into the brain where they  nourish the brain and higher energy centers, namely the crown chakra.  This method, it is claimed, is a form of alchemy, a transmutation of bodily fluids into prana.  The only problem with how it is thus described is that this process is itself a biological impossibility.  Anyone who has a grasp on biology can tell you that the fluid from our sexual organs do not cross into the spinal column to go upward into the brain.  This is due to what is famously called the blood-brain barrier, and it serves some important functions (namely keeping things like seminal fluid and other fluids that ARE part of the blood system and processed by various organs such as the kidneys and the liver) out of the brain and nervous system.  This notion has arisen as a result of how the sensation feels when one is actively sublimating.  It is a vivid feeling of pressure which rises upwards along the spinal column.  Yet, there are those who express an interest in pursuing an understanding of kundalini from a scientific perspective who continue to cleave to this notion that somehow these fluids co-mingle in the way that they are felt to do.  The creation of this model for understanding predates modern medicine and scientific models from the last hundred years, so it was very probably an effort to describe the phenomenon based on feeling alone instead of anything empirical.

In his book,  The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius, Gopi Krishna states the prevailing wisdom of his time concerning sublimation in this way:

“It is sufficient to mention here that during the whole course of this (kundalini) transformation, in addition to the blood and other fuels present in the body, every particle of powerful reproductive fluid in the system is sucked up through the spinal canal to irrigate and feed the various nerve junctions and the brain. This entirely biological operation is carried out in such an unmistakeable way that even a novice in physiology cannot fail to notice it. The semen in men is now produced in such abundance that a tiny stream rises day and night through the spine into the cranium to provide the richest and the purest food for the now heavily overworked brain cells. In women, the sexual energy and secretions involved in erotics are used as the fuel. This is a perfect example of the forethought and ingenuity of nature to keep the body equipped with all the necessities to make the completion of the evolutionary process, normally needing eons to accomplish, possible in the short span of one life.”

My perspective is that as long as we use models that do not reflect reality, we will tend to misunderstand in a more precise way what is happening to us.  Ironically, the Indians and the Chinese were excellent observers of energetic phenomenon who were able to map out with great detail the channels that run through the nonphyiscal energetic matrix called the subtle body, the naddis and meridians, to a great level of specificity.  All of this was a masterstroke of accumulating a knowledge base for something that could not be touched, or seen, with our physical eyes, or monitored by physical devices.  And yet, we have this rather odd idea still circulating about how cervical fluid and seminal fluid are transmuted into prana through a physical channel which is simply not possible.  It is curious and it continues to be repeated.  Perhaps this is because of how the etheric body interfaces with the nervous system, that we get the sensation of something rising upwards in this way.  This is an example of how, lacking sufficient understanding, we as humans can sometimes come up with explanations that are less about what actually happens physiologically as it does nonphysically.  This is a distinction that is important if we are to learn how to determine the real forces at work when it comes to the action of sublimation.  After all, sublimation is itself a very important strategy or method for working through the issues that confront the individual when awakening becomes a presence in your life.  To better understand what is actually happening, I am going to offer to you some careful observations that I have made in my own life and offer them up to you for consideration, all in the hopes of forwarding understanding of this most important of phenomena.

The Brain Interprets

What I do know from my own observation over many years is that if the brain ever receives input from a source outside of the five senses, its tendency is to place that sensory input into a place that makes sense. This has been the result also of speaking with physiological psychologists who have all explained that this sort of things happens all the time.  There is referred pain as well as phantom sensations and what can only be considered an interpretation of information.  Let me explain by way of another example.

An excellent example for how the brain interprets  phenomenon that does not directly exist, is by observing what happens when a sensitive sees a human aura.  This energy, which they eyes cannot see, is still picked up by the person reading the aura.  The simple fact is that the eyes simply cannot detect the particular wavelength of energy which constitutes the human aura.  And yet, there are many individuals who claim to see them.  Being someone who reads auras himself, I have noted that what I in truth do when I see an aura is to feel it first.  When I observe very closely to what happens when I “tune in” is that I am feeling the aura with my body, with my own energy field which interacts or reads the energy directly.  This information is then translated by the brain as something akin to a phantom image which can be deciphered by me in a way that makes sense.

When I first came across this idea that we do not actually see the aura, I rebelled against it initially, but as my own mind came to accept the logic behind it, I ceased for an entire year, seeing auras.  In that time I came to peace with the idea that my brain may have been merely translating the information in the only way that it could.  After that, I began seeing them again.  I never stopped feeling them throughout this period of time, however.  There is a basis for our sensing these weak electromagnetic fields in living creatures, and we find them in the animal kingdom, most notably among those animals living in our oceans.  Similar kinds of sensory abilities are observed in other animals who have been observed as being sensitive to the weak electrical signals and electromagnetic fields around living creatures, most notably  some fish and sharks.  Some sharks have been observed, such as the Great White, to hone in on prey using a sense that is sensitive to electrical currents.  Before a shark goes in for the kill they have an opaque inner lid that comes over the eye to protect it, rendering the shark temporarily blind for the last few feet of its attack on prey.  It is this sense, marine biologists have discovered, that allows them to continue to track and locate their prey.(1)  Bolstering this observation is the fact that sharks will often chew wildly on metallic objects near boats when food is put out to attract them for study. They will often miss the food and go for metallic objects in stead, chewing wildly on them. This was a behavior that biologists observed over many years and were for a long time puzzled by it, with many surmising that it was due to a shark simply being hungry and being blind as they went in for the kill.  What biologists noted, however, was that this was a fairly consistent behavior, and sharks were often seen going for metal objects that were a good bit further away from the food being left for them to eat.   Metals emit a strong electrical current in sea water, an electrical current that would be strongest than living or recently living flesh.  Monotremes, most notably the platypus, are also known to have similar abilities.(2)  This is a sense that is called electroreception, and to learn more about it you can read this article to find out more.

There are other examples of nonphysical senses that have a physical compliment, such as healers using Reiki, a form of energy healing, to sense changes in energy as hot and cold.(3)   Healers who are sending energy to clients have reported that their hands felt as though they get hot.  While some reiki effects do seem to impact the physical body through increased blood flow in the hands, there are many effects noted that do not appear to be directly related to actual physical heat.  Some feel pressure, or lack of pressure while others will feel cold.  Again, as I have sensed in my own experience, there is something I am picking up on as it relates to this subtle energy (which kundalini is said to be) which is often expressed as a kind of sensation that begins first within as a feeling that is nonphysical and “rises” to the level of a full blown physical reaction.  It may be that the brain simply does not have a good way to deal with the idea of energy being sense directly, and so instead seeks to interpret in a way that makes sense to it.  Again, the brain is known to interpret what it may be receiving through the “ether channels” of the light body or pranamayakosha.

It is extremely common in early awakening experiences for individuals to feel very real physical pain that is the result of kundalini becoming active.  Read any account or go through the list of awakening symptoms and this phenomenon is regularly cited as being connected with kundalini.  This is, though, a nonphysical energy streaming into our awareness, if our current understanding of the phenomenon is to be understood correctly.  As doctors will most often point out to their pained clients, there is no observable reason for the pain.  There are many stories of people who have awakened going to their doctors to find the cause of their painful dilemma, only to be sent home.  As awakening continues to unfold, the force of kundalini most often tends to assist in releasing blocks within the energy body that also has the result of reducing this pain.  In my experience, this pain was itself a form of extreme tension that was held so strongly by the body or reacted to by the body so that it felt like pain. Upon careful observation, in every case, the pain emerged from a state of emotional or psychological discomfort.  The release of the pain always came from an ability to surrender, to let go, to engage in what can be considered a non-rational method for dealing with a problem involving buried or latent trauma, pain, or old hurt.

Very recently I was reminded of how difficult this process was as I went through something poorly described as “ego death” by a reader of Waking The Infinite. It is interesting how often people in this situation describe it as feeling as though their bodies are being squeezed in a vice.  I experienced this same kind of pain in varying levels and in various places in my body as a sensation that was akin to having the bed of my fingernail being pressed very hard until it hurt.  This pain would persist for months until I was able by hook or crook, to release the old pent up block of material, after which the pain would transform into a radiant sense of joy and bliss.  I observed this same condition play out  many dozens of times over the course of a few years where the most difficult sensations of pain were released.  There are many other people who also describe these blocks in the same way, which is an exaggerated form of tension which begins to take on the sensation of pain.

My sense is that many people simply have a block when it comes to considering that something nonphysical could feel so physical.  It is my suspicion that when faced with such vividly charged emotional energy that we do the same thing that is done when there is no direct physical sense available to express a deeper truth that is taking place within the individual.  This is a place that is perhaps difficult for some people to entertain because it moves away from the physical senses, and we are anything if not overly tuned to the traditional five senses as the arbiters of our experience here on earth.  But just as kundalini will often reveal, there is much more than just the five physical senses.  But how we become aware of these nonphysical senses may create something of a challenge for some people when faced with them since they stream into awareness along untested or unknown pathways.  It may also help to explain why we wind up with ideas that seem to straddle the anything-goes world of energy with the more orderly realm of the physical.  As energy moves upwards along the charged and electrically capable spinal column, there is an accompanying sense of SOMETHING happening as the pitch or vibration of the energy is changed.  This becomes a near-universal sense of pressure, a pressure that feels like a fluid is moving.  It is my consideration that we begin thinking anew about these phenomenon and take a page from the book of the physiological psychologists who know that when faced with something outside the physical senses, we will most often have a brain that will do its level best and interpret this very real phenomenon for us.  It is just as likely that the pressure that is felt is the effect of the energy actually in the process of changing pitch or vibration as it then is passed on to a chakra cventer in the body that is able to sense it more clearly.  What was once a raw root energy and perhaps highly sexual is changed, and this change results in a feeling of upward pressure as the vibration shifts from a low to higher vibration.  We all seem to sense or know that the vibration of the root chakra is very different from the heart chakra and what the heart can feel is different from what the root can feel.  What happens when you transmute an energy in the root?  We all know that energy does not go away, it simply changes form.  In this case, we are the energetic vehicles responsible for the change, for the transmutation taking place.

When my third eye first activated in what was one of the more dramatic effects of an early stage of kundalini rising, I experienced a sensation that at the time I could not discern as being anything except physical, although I now know there was no possible way that it was.  In this particular experience, as I lay in bed, I felt what I knew to be someone grasping the temples of my forehead and squeezing my head for all their might. This was a very real sensation of physical pressure on my skin and muscle groups along the side of my forehead (these are the muscles that you can feel tensing when you chew, but are located well above the jaw into the side of the forehead)  At the time I imagined that some invisible guide in spirit was by my bedside doing this in order to achieve some effect.  This sensation was so vivid that I did not consider at the time that it may have had a different origin, which was as simple as a chakra opening in a dramatic way.  This happened not just once but a number of times until my entire forehead was engulfed in a series of bands of pressure that radiated out from the third eye center all the way to the back of my head. It was only after I placed my entire focus on my third eye in my inner vision that my inner sensory field exploded into a vision of a fiery eye rising up into my field of inner vision as the eye flashed from a brilliant blue to green.  You can see, though, how I could have easily thought that it MUST have been a nonphysical presence somehow acting on the physical in some unknown impossible way.  After all, how could it be otherwise?  There was no one else but me there!  What is so interesting is that one of the foremost awakening symptoms prior to full rising of kundalini is a third eye activation that results in a near-universal sensation of pressure along the third eye chakra that can often spread, in bands, all the way around the forehead to the back of the head.  And yet, for as vivid as this pressure is felt by those who go through awakening, there is simply no actual physical means by which this sensation could have been produced.  Again,  ideas like sublimation emerge due to how the phenomenon feels to us rather than stepping back and observing more closely in order to get at the underlying issue.  And for that matter, it may be difficult for some to do this.  It may be impossible for some, and so we wind up with something that sounds more like an urban myth than anything that seems logical in its explanation.  Call me pedantic, but if we are to understand kundalini in a “scientific” way as some seek to suggest they are involved in, then finding some models that fit known biological activity will need to be found.  I am just as interested in observing this phenomenon scientifically as the next person since I too have had direct experience with kundalini and would like to see some solid models developed that can help forward our current understanding.

I think that what is most likely is that the brain is an amazing device for handling an immense amount of data, but at the end of the day, it is known to interpret.  Does this interpretation fit what is possible physically?  We are surely experiencing something, yes, and it seems that our very crafty brains are doing their best to put together something that will help to communicate that something is moving upward somehow.  It may be just as likely that all of this is a sensory analog, an attempt to define something that simply cannot be sensed through our physical senses.  If so, it helps to illuminate who and what we are and also helps to guide us in understanding how we can perceive a host of phenomenon that simply isn’t there in the usual understanding.  Either way, it helps to expand our knowledge of ourselves as well as what we think constitutes reality.  This idea is itself not foreign at all in the area of those who awaken as so much of the old literature about awakening is centered on undoing the “illusion” that is physical reality.  If physical reality is itself something that we can agree is illusory, then why not something as simple as how the brain deals with sensory stimuli that is coming in through less than physical channels?

How far fetched is it that the nervous system itself has the capability of reading the bleed-throughs of this electrical phenomenon called kundalini through its sheath of insulative myaline in the same way that an electrical wire running from a speaker to an amplifier can sometimes pick up signals from the environment outside it?  And indeed, could it be that all phenomenon like mind reading, reading auras and all the rest, comes from a hitherto unknown capacity for the nervous system to pick up on these “stray” outer signals which are not part of the physiology as modern medicine has suggested exists?   For if that is possible, then it is just as possible that something like changing vibrational energy in the light body can be felt and picked up and interpreted by the brain as a feeling of delicious energy rising upwards as a fluid pressure.

To understand how spinal and cerebral fluid is produced these articles may be of some help in explaining how this has been observed in a scientific context:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_is_the_cerebrospinal_fluid_produced 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1890044/   A bit technical,  the article explains in exacting detail how the fluid is produced.

http://www.anaesthesiamcq.com/FluidBook/fl3_6.php  This brief article also explains that this fluid is protected from the blood-brain barrier.

Sources Cited:

1. Scientific American, R. Douglas Fields, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-sharks-electric-sense

2.  http://web.archive.org/web/19981206164009/http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/bionb420.07/anelson/platypus.html

3.  http://www.iarp.org/reiki-sensations.html

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