140. Stuart Perrin

Stuart PerrinStuart Perrin, an American spiritual master of Kundalini Yoga who has been quietly teaching small groups of students around the world for the last thirty-nine years, and is a direct disciple of Swami Rudrananda, more commonly known as Rudi. Stuart studied six years with Rudi. In 1973, Rudi died in an airplane crash and Stuart was one of three survivors.

Stuart Perrin was born August 10, 1942 in the Bronx, New York. The first child and only son of Sylvia and Michael Perrin, he began his spiritual quest at the age of sixteen. Sitting at his father’s deathbed, he was shocked and awakened to a simple reality. “Why,” he asked himself, “is it the first time I’ve seen my father in such a profound state of inner peace? Why did he have to wait till the last moments of his life to be filled with so much love and serenity?”

Stuart realized he’d have to find someone to train him in deep meditation practice. His search for a spiritual teacher took him to Europe, Africa, Mexico and all over the United States. Stuart spent nine years looking for a master only to find him in his hometown, where he met Rudi, who trained Stuart in the fine art of deep inner work and Kundalini Yoga. “What did you see when we first met?” Stuart once asked Rudi. Rudi answered, “I saw my spiritual son lost in the universe. I pulled you in the door of my shop.”

Stuart’s training with Rudi was filled with profound and ancient teachings, “streetwise yoga”, humor, and more than a few swordstrokes to the ego. “See that weed in the sidewalk crack. It’s got more life in it than you,” Rudi once said to him while they were walking on a Manhattan street when Stuart complained to Rudi about his living situation. After four years of intense training Stuart became a teacher in Rudi’s lineage. Besides the formal technique of deep inner work, a technique that uses the mind and breath to strengthen the chakra system and build a link between the spiritual practitioner and Higher Creative Energy in the Universe, Rudi taught Stuart the necessity of using spiritual work in everyday life. “We must live here and there at the same time,” Rudi told him. “If we don’t master day to day living, we never work out our karma. We are never free.”

Stuart taught meditation at Rudi’s New York City center for two years. Then Rudi asked him to teach at a newly-formed meditation center in Denton, Texas. While in Texas, Stuart started meditation programs for hungry and homeless people, for people in prison and ex-offenders, addicts and ex-addicts, the elderly, high school students, and other people in all walks of life. He also initiated devoted disciples into the mysteries of inner work, and he, in turn, created new teachers of meditation.

In February 1973, Stuart and Rudi were in a plane crash in the Catskill Mountains, a plane crash that took Rudi’s life. “I never feel he is gone,” Stuart wrote of his guru. “When I wish to be with him, to learn from him, I just open my heart. He is there, sitting, smiling, sharing his teachings. The moment he died, I felt his soul pass into me.”

Stuart moved back to New York City in 1980 and continued his work as a spiritual teacher. He continues to train many more people, and has meditation centers in the U. S., Israel, and Brazil.

A well-known and respected author, Stuart has published The Mystical Ferryboat (1983), Leah (1988), A Deeper Surrender: Notes on a Spiritual Life (2001), Moving On: Finding Happiness in a Changed World (2004), an essay for Kundalini Rising (2009), and most recently Rudi: The Final Moments (2011)

Interview recorded 9/29/2012

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

28 thoughts on “140. Stuart Perrin

  1. Wow – ‘unchain the heart’ indeed – the source of it all – beautifully said Snow..

    and Vama – we all welcome your expertise on the energetic transformation..

  2. Thanks Snow and Gill for painting a very rich picture of the ultimate. Snow – was your spiritual progress halted during the time you were taking medication? I have migraines which feel related to Kundalini. I take medication for them but am reluctant to take anything heavy duty to prevent them altogether in case it interferes with my spiritual progress. What do you think?

  3. Greetings to all. Thank you Jill & Snow.

    Before sharing some further insights into the whole business of transformation, I’d like to bring few quotes as valid points of departure.

    ”…I’ve read that Kundalini Masters no longer experience kriyas, mudras, strong pulsating energy, big visions, because they have passed through the fire and the merging of shiva/shakti energies and rest fully in Stillness…” – Mike

    ”…I wonder about the other wisdom traditions, where sages don’t seem to talk about Kundalini, or any version of it. There are of course others who have, but more it seems who don’t. Does it mean they were not enlightened/Realised/Awake? Or they did go through it but didn’t realise it? Maybe it’s not necessary after all?” – Mike

    ”The Shakti is involved in ALL realizations… How could it not be – We are that energy.. If the body is not included in this – the realization is purely mental fantasy…but it is true that some bodies do not experience it as fully as others…either not as sensitive or perhaps only a sliver of the energy passes through the gate…enough to give a glimpse of Reality, but not the full bodied version …” – Jill

    ”The Primordial Power and the Supreme Brahman are identical. You can never think of the one without the other. They are like the gem and its brilliance…” – Sri Aurobindo via Uli

    There are two main reasons why Kundalini is not spoken of by some traditions or teachers openly. First and foremost is because of the very essence of ‘what it is’ which when not harnessed properly is like a nuclear power – at once limitless & deadly.

    Second reason is rooted in the provenance of that term and how it come into the collective subconscious at least when speaking of the cultures that flourished on the Indian Subcontinent.

    The stand Swami Lakshman Joo (perhaps the greatest tantric guru of the 20 century) took in relation to his response to Lilian Silburn’s (world’s authority on Tantric studies and Nondual Kashmir Shaivism in particular) wish to publish ‘Kundalini – Energy of the Depth’ is point in the making.

    Despite the fact that Lilian Silburn have spend 25 years on Kashmir plato with the Swami, in Lakshman Joo’s eyes the scholar was not fit to share such book whence he never gave the blessings, saying that such knowledge cannot and should not be passed in the form of intellectual transmission.

    The main reason was that Lilian S. did not undergo the actual process whence her understanding, no matter how profound, was limited to the intellectual grasp born of dichotomized nature of all thought processes, not on the unifying nature of cognition which only an awakened Shakti can bring about.

    Well before the term Kundalini has entered the spiritual discourses of India it was known as Vak, or Para Vak when referred to as Supreme Shakti beyond manifested form. The closest etymology of the term Vak is Logos in western spirituality.

    There is no entry (merging) into Spirit unless Logos ‘speaks’ to you.

    Vak was mentioned in Rig Veda along with Brahman as the cause of all that exist or beyond existence. It was a closely guarded secret of the priests in all ancient cultures, from Egypt, throughout Asia to China.

    The time of major social changes (in India) has coincided with Spiritual Renaissance when the hierarchical structure was shuttered and the priestly cast was no longer privileged to the autonomy on spiritual knowledge. That’s when Tantra gained its independent status, along with many other Nath schools of Yoga (too many to name it here).

    During and since that time Tantra became increasingly associated with many (prior to that era) unacceptable in the polite society practices. The association of Tantra with the ‘lower path’ (mainly referred to the yogic methodology of forcibly awakening and ‘riding’ Kundalini) and the term Kundalini, is so strong that most hindu teachers avoided to use that term in their addresses. Yogananda, Sri Aurobindo, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and many other teachers preferred to word it differently as to dissociate from that way too colorful, naked and ash-covered crowd.

    At the same time, and since the sacred knowledge by than was in danger of being miss-used by simple folk, the tantric masters have excelled in an elaborate expositions aimed at conveying and covering what deemed for few initiates. (The same approach could be found in Shamanic, Tao, Zen & Sufi lineages)

    This kind of trajectory could be seen in most spiritual traditions where the need to transmit the knowledge from heart to heart was often accompanied by rites and rituals to substituted the real deal.

    What most tantric teachers in the west unaware of, is that Tantra originated in the Atharva Veda. (Just an additional note) The whole spectrum of Indian spirituality could be traced back to the light of four major Vedas: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Rig Ved is largely accepted to be the oldest text based on the oral transmission composed anywhere. At the same time, there is an evidence that Atharva Veda is the oldest as its hymns were composed by the first and the oldest rishis, Atharvan & Angiras.

    Atharva Veda also gave birth to Vedic Medicine (Ayurveda), art of combat and above all else mantric science. It was/is that most strictly guided of all the vedas where Tantra ‘escaped’ and gained its own independence in the lore of that respective tradition and beyond.

    Tantra emphasizes the need for energetic transformation, because the all-pervading nature of Awareness could only be actualized via the power of its potentiality.

    Shakti is that limitless potentiality in a given form as a particular vibration of any given expression of that potentiality.

    Tantra, ‘tan’ – to stretch, span or expand. A string can only vibrate and make a tone by being ‘stretched’, ‘extended’ or ‘spanned’ to a point of tension. Whence tantra is a kind of tuning of a spiritual instrument of the body to allow the synchronicity of sound into celestial symphony.

    Unless that power is unlocked to itself there is no possibility of cognition as the creative tension between Awareness and the Energy emanating is One and the same.

    More specifically to Mike’s questions. Not everything subsides even when one (the Shakti) has completed its human charted orbit within. The process just becomes so increasingly subtle that we could say there are no obvious kriyas or visions. Yet even the sages quiver occasionally with the waves of magnitude the human body barely able to withstand.

    Interestingly enough mudras have accompanied beings like Ramakrishna and Ramana. My own experience is that the very subtle facial mudra such as ‘buddha’s smile’ come on naturally as soon as the body retired from physical activity. (Not to be mistaken for much more intense grimacing of the facial kriya which years ago kept me indoors from entertaining my neighborhood.)

    Equally true is that even among those of us in whom Kundalini traversed the full spectrum of manifested (elementary) layers of creation, out into the realm of Sat-Chid-Ananda and back into the Heart… will still experience variety of the phenomena all depending on the individual capacity of the nervous system to absorb that creative tension – as play between Pure Awareness and its Luminosity (as Shakti).

  4. Snow – thank you for sharing in such trust and openness.

    Medication and K is a big theme in its own right. I just want to remind what have been shared at the start of my 2-nd talk with Rick:

    Shakti is Consciousness in its dynamic expression. Shakti expresses itself as Prana and Kundalini -Simultaneously. Dormant, stirred or awakened Prana Kundalini conducts all affairs in the house. Again, when rising it’s no longer Kundalini but Prana Shakti – it’s no longer coiled (we use the term freely, still good to know the difference).

    Furthermore, all functions in the body/mind are being checked by the respective prana(s). Vashishtha Yoga says: ” all dis-ease is born of the improper movement of prana in the body”.

    If Kundalini and Prana are the same, on awakening Prana should do its best to restore the harmony at home. Paradoxically that’s not the case, well not until everything has been turned and churned in the body. And awakened prana is that churning that transforms the entire physiology.

    Medication often drives K into deeper tissues, into the much more subtler channels where the prana would have to burst open sooner or later to carry on its process of gradual withdrawal.

    Your experience with sexuality as pacifying factor is very telling. Kundalini we should also add expresses itself as sexual energy – always. The only difference at a later stages is that the sublimation takes places not necessarily on the level of the respective organs, but in the much subtler region, perhaps where the senses themselves gain their power. Until it sublimates at the heart level.

  5. Mike ~ good points. Is Kundalini as energy culturally imprinted into our subconscious and our experiences therefore are conditioned by our genetic provenance? Many have pointed to that as an evidence of being so based on clinical observations. My own experience is perplexing, perhaps because of the genealogical lineage being too varied. Yet certain experiences were so ‘hindu like’ that made me wonder if there is an archetype somewhere that transcends the immediate layer.

    Yes, some traditions don’t have such exact term for it as the Tantric lore, yet if we accept the intimate relationship of Shakti being one with Prana, than perhaps some cultures only used Qi, Chi or whatever stood for the functions of the Vital Force.

    You’ve mentioned Tibetan Tantra, on each of the Indian Tantric deity (various shaktis with specific field of influence) there is its equivalent in the Tibetan one. Kali stands for Ma as the goddess directs the vital breath and guards the access of K unto the Sushumna channel.
    Similar story must be with Tibetan tradition, yet I suspect it (the essence) was much more strictly guided even if with the help of geographical location.

    My own experience of working with people, who have shared there very unique awakening stories and how it was triggered, shows what a flax we live in today. Women are in the lead, I must say, on every man I’ve met and encountered there are five or six women awakened in most amazing of circumstances. Female body has greater capacity to carry prana not to mention adaptability to hormonal changes.

    Like in your case many who have been awakened in the past, 10 or more years ago live in a slight suspense especially when medication was/is involved. If yours was an intense awakening, at such an early age it’s a scary experience. I was born with the symptoms and learned to adapt early, my mum used to seat on my legs to stop from contorting the body from kriyas, so that I’ll fall asleep.

    The re-awakekning, further awakening, or else known as reactivation of prana is not uncommon. Interestingly enough, the second time around its mostly grants the very mature experiences as the psyche had the chance to adopt and if the nervous system is oiled enough, body has adopted as well on the cellular level, it’s the most desirable and enjoyable time. The Shakti often expands in one massive succession, but without the jerks and the flashes of electricity. It’s much smoother and much deeper kind of expansion, the second time around.

  6. ”…If there are certain shifts/experiences/visions that are considered part of the Kundalini unfolding (ie. Blue Pearl perhaps) , if others don’t pass these same signposts or markers (if you will), are they missing something? Off course? Not fully awake yet? It’s a fun aspect of the journey to investigate…”

    Mike, the answer to that is in the way certain traditions emphasized or chose to emphasize certain experiences above others as marking points. Again, this kind of exchanges were very much an area of a very private dialogues between the teacher and the student. I don’t think the teacher used to announced out loud, ‘hey are you seeing this and that’? More like close up encounters, with eye to eye, heartbeat to heartbeat contact – experiences where shared and interpreted mouth to ear if need be.

    I did have most of the so called classical stuff going on, but learned it post-factum, simply because I knew there’ll come a time when these would have to be related and not just on the level of ”eh, ah”, I wanted to be versed and familiar with the jargon.

    So ‘Blue Pearl’ is indeed a very precious experience especially when it grows before it gobbles down all existence.. one could say that was the fusion of the left and the right, where all the cortexes are waved by Gamma. Yet many are confused about the ‘seeing’ of Nilshwari. It’s not the specks of indigo blue scattered around like stars, nor the patches of deep blue color. It’s distinctive as it gives an immediate sense of deepest peace and eternity, spot of shimmering electric-blue not larger than a dot… It comes out of the pitch black sky of meditation which many buddhist mistake for Shunia.

    Is it a must to go through? I don’t know. Kabir wrote of it, so are many other saints of that part of the world. Having been at Siddha Yoga you know how much Muktananda spoke and wrote about it. Personally, its very soothing experience, to just shut the eyes and be in the presence of that light. But when it explodes it’s another matter all together. Universe explodes in your head and you’re lost in that indescribable bliss… until something else takes place for you to find the ground to stand on.

    That said, I’ve never logged for any of these experiences, and perhaps it helps to not to expect but allow anything to take place on its own. Whence some traditions simply avoided the grounds for speculation. Tantra on the other hand is aimed at rapid progress and perhaps in that there was this need for more explicit, physical and meta-physical experiences to allow introspective perspective on the process accompanying the transformation.

    Does it mean not being fully awake if not having these kind of experiences? Not necessarily, one could be well awakened yet the velocity of the process is subjected to the soul’s trajectory whence the work is being done at some other planes before the more ripe experiences will manifest on the path. On the other hand there are some more or less definitive ways of knowing if awakening is not fully took place, by closer examination where certain markings are quite telling.

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