Life is first the step you take, and then the ground you tread upon.
We shall now go into what many consider to be a taboo topic. Those who know me well know I always go there.
The teachings of tantra are considered rather radical to many points of view, but they focus on a process that leads ultimately to integration, though perhaps it does work best with the assistance of a guide. In it, they engage in activity and ritual that stimulates the lower chakras. I can describe the actual experience of this process and its progression.
Most are familiar with the ritual sex practices of course. These serve to stimulate the root chakra and at the same time fire up those parts of the mind that are most primal and instinctive. The visceral level of awareness. The visualizations and contemplation that go with their sexual practices are often even rather scary, often including a controlled beating before the sexual ritual itself. They advance beyond this though. They eventually begin to compromise their sense of propriety, eating things that are considered unwholesome in their culture, and being drawn into heated verbal exchanges with their guide. This is to stimulate the sacral chakra, to shift their emotional balance and allow energy to flow unobstructed past that.
So anything to draw intense emotion? Ultimately, yes. It moves on to intense physical challenges after that. Extreme tasks like trips along difficult mountain paths, things of that nature. The Buddhists will be able to attest to the stories of extreme behaviour even among Buddhist teachers.
What does adrenalin have to do with this process to alter the state? Adrenaline makes the entire nervous system more sensitive, and makes regions of the brain, that normally wouldn’t connect, begin to. This is why in extreme deprivation situations, as well as extreme stress and strain, people begin to “hallucinate”. It‘s part of the mechanism.
Sun dance. Yes, or the whirling dervish ceremonies. The methods are many and widely varied, but all aimed ultimately at awakening the crown chakra.
I guess that is why BDSM is so popular. It gets that adrenaline going. In part, though their practices are often rather misguided.
Adrenalin is constantly shifting our states of consciousness? Adrenaline and dopamine. Dopamine is released in the brain during intense stimulation and exertion, and triggers the same region of the brain as cocaine, but doesn’t have the unnatural chemical scarring side effect. In fact, the more frequently one engages in sexual intercourse, the stronger the hormonal reaction to it gets and the more all consuming. In extreme cases, it can even be mildly detrimental, compromising the neuroimmune system.
Could extreme sports do this too? Extreme sports can and do. This is why the Greeks had their taste for it, and why they dedicated their stadiums to the Gods. They believed they came into contact with them there.
What all these serve to do is stimulate the dominance of the theta wave signal. Get you into and keep you in the “unthinking” state for long periods of time. A full immersion training method. The reason you hear that stimulating the serpent force of kundalini is so dangerous, is that it isn’t orderly and is progressive, and uncontrolled can seem to have a degenerative impact on your awareness.
And you can get stuck at points? Lost? Yes, because the signal keeps going no matter how you are interpreting it, so it’s easy to get quite obsessed.
Gopi Krishna wrote about this in “Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man“. A yogi who overused kundalini and experienced a type of insanity. He likely had traits quite similar to autism, repetitive behaviours, intolerance for outside inputs, obsessive focus on one object of interest of a narrow set of objects of interest, fetishist behaviour. I’m not saying it literally mirrored it, but perhaps not…
Now the ultimate goal of this process is to train the mind into full integration from the bottom up. Even science now is talking about there being two processes of consciousness going on at the same time. The top down being what we are most familiar with, involving our thinking about ourselves and our experiences and how that shapes our behaviour. But there is also what they call a bottom up process and the content of this awareness often doesn’t agree with the top down thinking. In the bottom up process, you have a combination of sensory conditioning, like pain tolerance say, and the automatic emotional responses that arose from this sensory input or lack there of. The history of getting huggies from our parents gets plugged into the bottom up facet of our mind, as well as the history of being lactose intolerant, or prone to sinus infection, things like that.
So visceral experiences? Yes, but they aren’t confined to what we consider the literal experience. They include our natural and immediate emotional reaction to the experience as well, and this, more than our conscious thinking, shapes our dream imagery.
I think as an artist, my main goal was to always evoke a visceral response. Visceral response is inherently meaningful response, where as intellectual inputs are quite routinely ignored.
The imagination is where the two processes meet, sort of like how the involuntary and voluntary nervous system both link to breathing. The imagination is “hyper-reality”. A multidimensional matrix of experience that can integrate our conscious being entirely if we come to understand if fully, rather than bend it and distort it to the point of our own insanity.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.