Life must be consumed whole, with all its pain, joy, and sorrow.
Students sometimes ask if our practice involves spiritual bypassing. They are unclear about how the energetic processing of experience fits in with what might be called the “human” aspect of their lives. My response is that, through our sadhana, we learn that nothing is to be rejected, and that emotions are both a level of consciousness within us and energies that we can learn to process.
The intention and eventual fruit of Kuṇḍalinī Sādhana is the liberation of kuṇḍalinī — the freeing of our individuated awareness from its perceived separation from its source, Consciousness. We seek to know ourselves as that eternal pure Consciousness. This is inherently possible because there is no distinction between us and God, except in our experience, in the propensity for viewing life from a limited understanding and not seeing a higher one.
My teacher Rudi explained that most people fail to engage the fullness of awareness within them. They are akin to shoppers who go to Macy’s, and instead of taking the elevator to the top floor where they have the finest goods, they head for the bargain sub-basement! Our perspective is like that of someone stuck down there, not realizing that anything better is available.
What is Spiritual Bypassing?
Spiritual bypassing can be described as the rejection of what’s right in front of us, declaring that the experiences of our minds and emotions are not real. Nondual practices such as ours do not reject anything, because nonduality means exactly that there is only one thing, and all experiences, perceptions, and interpretations of our lives are held within that one unified Consciousness.
From this view of nonduality, whatever level of consciousness we function from, and whatever experiences we have, are never rejected as unreal, nor are they to be bypassed. When Rudi said, “Life must be consumed whole, with all its pain, joy, and sorrow,” he was specifically referring to the practices of Kuṇḍalinī Sādhana in which we internalize the energy of our emotions, which are themselves powered and expressed by the inner dimensions of our own consciousness. We take that energy, whether from a difficult or blissful experience, and repeatedly turn it back into the central channel (suṣumṇa), to feed the deepest core of ourselves.
Internalizing the energy of our emotions may not always be easy. But in the middle of any situation, we can turn within and find the source of emotions, which is Consciousness. We have all felt the extraordinary grip of our mind and emotions. They are usually in response to the dynamics in our lives, and they often hurt. How could one deny it? Yet, all experience happens within the central channel; nothing happens outside of us.
Kuṇḍalinī Sādhana Seeks to Free Us
Our sādhana has a singular intention — the liberation of kuṇḍalinī, which is that pure power of Consciousness expressing Itself as us. We use the same energy, the same pathway, to recognize that we are not separate from the supreme power that is our Source. Kuṇḍalinī Sādhana is the practice of discovering unity, of freeing our limited, individuated consciousness so we can know ourselves as universal Consciousness. There is never any spiritual bypassing, which attempts to ignore or reject, but there is the recognition that emotions are like waves on an ocean. If we get caught up in the waves, we don’t see the fullness that is pulsating, creating that surface activity.
Emotions are the self-reflective capacity of consciousness trying to make contact with itself, yet constrained from doing so by the self-focused nature of mind and ego. Don’t function from need and lack, the contracted consciousness that is expressed through limited emotion. Live from a place of stillness and fullness so that conditioned, emotional happiness becomes unconditional joy. We look for intimacy in emotional relationships and find them ultimately unfulfilling, because they are based on our need for something outside us, which we believe will complete us. Why not reach for the ultimate intimacy — the intimacy with reality? Follow your emotions back to their source, to the unconditional joy and ever-shining radiance of God's love. Engage your life and your relationships from that place.
Freeing ourselves from the effects of binding emotions actually frees them to become the avenue for appreciation and sharing that they should be. Emotions fully charged with the inherent Supreme Consciousness express themselves in and as the freedom to enjoy and be filled from within themselves.
It is grace, God’s love, that frees everything. And inherent in that grace is the gift of choice — that no matter what is happening, we can turn inside, take a breath, open our heart, and discover a deeper consciousness in ourselves. When you are gripped by difficulty, understand that it’s a gift and not a curse. The sense that there’s “life out there” and it’s happening to us is part of the dualistic consciousness of our limited awareness. Use the challenges you face to find a different perspective. Think of the extraordinary grace available to you in this lifetime, which enables you to embark on that discovery!