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Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. This show is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people. To check out the archive of this date nearly 290 previous interviews, go to batgap.com. And if you wish you may also support our efforts there’s a Donate button there. So my guest today is Bonnie Greenwell. Bonnie is a non dual therapist in the lineage of Adi Shanti. And a transpersonal therapist who has specialized in working with spiritual emergence issues for 30 years. She has published several books and articles related to Kundalini and spiritual awakening, most recently the Kundalini guide and the awakening guide. I’ll be linking to the both of those from her page on batgap.com. These are based on assessments and consultations with over 2000 people over the years and also reflect her own experiences of awakening. She holds a PhD from the Institute of transpersonal psychology, and founded a counseling and education center in Ashland, Oregon called Shanti River Center, where she offers thoughts on study groups, workshops, meditation programs and spiritual guidance. She was the founder and organizer of the Kundalini Research Network, and is trained therapists and offered seminars in Europe, Australia and the US. And currently does assessments by phone and Skype with people in awakening processes from all over the world. With a broad background in eastern and western mystical teachings, energy work and psycho spiritual counseling, she describes her role as being a mentor or a midwife for people going through the spiritual awakening process. And I’ve read both of Bonnie’s books in the last week, the Kundalini guide, and I’m about three quarters of the way through this one, the awakening guide. And I really, you know, every week I have a new guest, and I generally have to read a book and I don’t often get through much, or you know, all of the books, but I really hustled this week, because I was enjoying these books so much, and I really want to make sure I read them all before the next one looms. And um, to a certain extent, I’m going to use these the tables of contents in these books as a kind of an outline for what we’ll talk about during this interview. So welcome, Bonnie, that was a bit of an overly long introduction, but I’m really happy to have you on the show.
Bonnie Greenwell: Thank you, Rick. I’m glad to be here. Yeah.
Rick Archer: One of the reasons I really enjoyed your books is that I really learned a lot. I felt like a lot of things that I’ve been experiencing over the years and I started having Kundalini experiences in 1970 were elucidated by what I read. And I also but for me, they were never unpleasant or traumatic, I always kind of basically understood that something good was happening and kind of enjoyed the thing. But they also it also kind of one thing I found I found interesting about reading your books, especially the Kundalini one, is that I think it explains the an understanding of Kundalini and how it enlivens the different energy centers in the body as it progresses, can really help you understand a lot, what various people are going through. And I imagine this is what you do as a, as a counselor, you know, a lot of times, all sorts of things. I mean, you know, people who feel they’re totally awakened people who feel they’ll never awaken people who are, you know, having this, that or the other sensation or experience and sometimes causing fear. And if you just have some more on better understanding, you can kind of, you know, put these things in a proper context and not let them be stumbling blocks as much as they might be. Would you agree?
Bonnie Greenwell: Yes, in fact, I feel one of the most useful things I do is, is help people to not feel afraid that it’s the fear, the fear actually makes the process more difficult. If you if you have a context, you’re putting it in an orientation for yourself that says, this is a good thing. It’s going to help me in the long run. It’s going to help me get to if you’re spiritually oriented, it’s going to help me get to the awakening that I’ve been seeking. And you can have the right relationship with it. It’s much easier to live with. It settles down quite a bit usually. And it the whole process just becomes more comfortable.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, because if you’re fighting if I mean, there are people, obviously and you mentioned some in your book, who began to have Kundalini experiences without having any clue what they were, and probably ran to die Doctors, there are probably people in mental hospitals who have Kundalini awakenings and thought there was something wrong with them and doctors agreed and put them on drugs and stuck them into an institution. So what, you know, pretty sad outcome compared to what might have been.
Bonnie Greenwell: I’ve run into a number of people over the years who were hospitalized, at least briefly, what I found is many times, so they have enough awareness that they’re able to figure out themselves ways to get out of the hospital. There, they especially I’ve found several that there was really a drug reaction involved where they were using some kind of drugs when they went into this process. And once that wore off, and they kind of came back to their own center, they might still have a lot of the phenomena, but they had enough awareness, to have enough presence in themselves to know how to handle the doctors and or bring in the right people to help them get out of the hospital. But it leaves a mark. And because if your initial spiritual awakening, you were treated that way, and you have that trauma of being hospitalized and put in a ward with a lot of people who are truly, very far out of it, it makes you really afraid to let go anymore into your spiritual life, it can take many years to recover from the that initial reaction to the experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And we’d probably be getting ahead of ourselves to get into this now. But it can also be that, you know, you can actually become kind of unglued as a result of the spiritual awakening or Kundalini awakening and, and actually need some kind of medical intervention, I should think because, you know, especially if there isn’t much of a foundation or preparedness for it,
Bonnie Greenwell: yes, you can. It’s usually it’s temporary. It’s not like a permanent unglue, though it’s, it’s more like it the most a few weeks, but often just a few hours or a few days of feeling disoriented. Because if you’ve, if you’ve plunged into a sense of you’re of what you are, and it hasn’t much to do with what you thought you were, you can feel extremely disoriented if you’re not in any kind of a contextual place a spiritual community or somewhere that has that paradigm, the paradigm that that that might be part of awakening.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it’d be more than disorienting. I mean, I’ve been on long meditation courses, where a significant percentage of the people on the course were just, you know, thrashing about and, you know, kind of like, really making strange animal noises and going through all kinds of crazy, crazy stuff. And, you know, the hotel owner would look in the window, everybody doing this and think, Oh, my God, what have I got going here? So,
Bonnie Greenwell: yeah, that’s very true. That’s very common in the literature, there’s, there can be stages like that. But they don’t last indefinitely, you know, you don’t, you don’t walk out of the hotel room. And for the next five days, you sound like an animal, it’s more like in that intensity of this energy rushing through your body, almost anything can happen. But then when you come back down, you may be shocked and surprised at what you’ve just experienced. But you’re not usually going to keep going that way, you’ll you might always keep for many months or years even have a lot of energy flows. But and you just have to learn to live with that you have to learn to, to get into a right relationship with it. You know, in India, they think of Kundalini as a goddess is the God as a goddess Kundalini, and it’s really a nother version of Shakti. And, if you can, if you can think of it that way, as somehow your energy field is simply awakening and, and wanting to move through you in order to merge with consciousness, or in order to transform consciousness. Then when you have these unusual energies happening, you don’t have to feel like you need to contract or hold them back or worry about them so much, you know, he can just lay down on your bed, let your body shake for 15 minutes or, or whatever it wants to do. Yeah. And if you if you cooperate with it that way, I’ve even met people who can talk to it and say, you know, don’t bother me while I’m driving, please. I’m when I’m home, you know, you kind of have to get in right relationship. It’s your own life force. Yeah, you’re just getting into a new relationship with it.
Rick Archer: When I first started having this stuff, like 1970, when I was driving an ice cream truck and and whenever I got settled, my head would start to go like this, you know, and there had been other things going on at that time. But, you know, if I pull up to a stop sign with the ice cream truck, so I had to kind of keep moving. And, you know, obviously that phase passed, but As you know, all this stuff can can again, if, if you didn’t know what was going on you, you think there was something seriously wrong. That’s true.
Bonnie Greenwell: And and sometimes people do go through the medical route and the doctors can’t quite figure out any reason for it. So you know, then if you’ve done that, and you know that, that nobody can find a medical reason that it’s really time to turn around and explore what is spiritual teachings have to say about this?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And your thing you said a minute ago was a nice segue into what probably should have been my first question. You know, Kundalini is a goddess. So the first obvious question and the title of the first chapter of your book is what is Kundalini? So let’s let’s get into that for a while before we unravel it any more.
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, the way that I look at Kundalini now at this point is that it’s it’s the life force. And the way the the yogi’s have described it in the science of yoga is that when the the infant is conceived there, this lifeforce happens and causes the movement of the fetus to be growing into a child. And when the energy field is, is complete, the residual energy coils at the base of the spine, they say three and a half times and holds the energy field in stasis until we die. And then when we die, the energy unravels and it leaves the body. I think that’s one reason. And it’s good model I, you know, I can’t say who can say for sure that these things are absolute truth. But it’s how it is. It’s a model that seems to work well to look at it that way. And so when it yoga practices had been designed and breathing practices, and I believe also in the Chinese system, and Qigong, they’ve been designed to activate and awaken this, this sleeping energy that unravels and then moves through the body and creates many, many changes, it starts to transform the personal identifications and the patterns in the body. And the yogi’s say that there’s a variety of brain centers that we never use, we we know, we use very small part of the brain, and that sometimes the energy awakens different parts of the brain. And that is the reason for some of the cities and some of the phenomena that people experience, it’s just this energy is, is moving through, it’s, it’s deconstructing the old person, and creating new possibilities, opening one up to a more natural and identified relationship with life. But it can feel like you’re going from 110 to 220 wiring, and it’s it’s can be real scary. And if the mind gets really locked in or the body tends to contract and try to hold against it, it will become more difficult to deal with. Also, if there is a lot of trauma in the history, I’ve found that that makes it much more difficult because what’s trying to get released is the old trauma, repressed memories, old physical contractions, old illnesses and blocked spaces. So you’re going to have a lot more if there’s been a lot of alcohol use or drug use, there can be a lot more intense phenomenon can be much more uncomfortable, as it’s trying to clear out all of those things.
Rick Archer: So it could be argued that all forms of life have a life force cats and dogs, whatnot. So do cats and dogs have a Kundalini alto that’s coiled at the base of their spine?
Bonnie Greenwell: I would say that anything that’s alive has that this is just a word for, for the core life force. Yeah, everything. Everything is but you know, it doesn’t, doesn’t awaken evidently, as far as we know, anyway, in animals, there’s no way to know that but they’re not appearing to act as if it’s awakened. It’s, it’s also it’s the energetic aspect of consciousness. We are we are vibrational beings, everything that’s alive is a set of molecular structures. So it’s just the reorganizing of those structures, that when Kundalini awakens and the rest when we’re not looking at it, as the awakening we can say that regular ordinary quality of this lifeforce we call prana or chi, some Western scientists are calling it bio energy. It’s just the energy field.
Rick Archer: A little bit of a impractical question, but some people even on the show, I’ve had sort of debates with people about whether or not animals can get enlightened and you know, some say they can some say they can’t. I tend to feel like the human nervous system is sophisticated and complex enough to provide that possibility whereas animal nervous systems are not but I know The people say, and supposedly Ramana Maharshi is Kyle was enlightened. And in the Vedic literature, there are stories of bears and caught and monkeys and crows and whatnot that were supposedly enlightened in those bodies. I don’t know if you have any comment on that whatsoever. But the question about whether, you know, every Kundalini is kind of like basic, basic force in all nervous systems, and but probably, in the vast majority of cases only awakens in a human nervous system, I guess that’d be the question.
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, of course, there’s no way to know that. But I would not. I would not, I would think that many animals, they live much more in the present moment than we human animals do. And so we could, we could experience that quality of presence in an animal, because they’re not thinking they don’t have all this intellectual, conceptual stuff going on, as far as we know, that we do. If they did, they’d look a lot more chaotic.
Rick Archer: They don’t have frontal cortexes and most of it, and so that actually could be used as an argument in favor of Enlightenment being rather unique to human beings in their brain and nervous system is sophisticated enough to support awareness of universal consciousness. Because Because Enlightenment is more than just living in the now is it not? I mean, my dog lives in the now but she also attacks the lawn more thinking it’s some kind of enemy or something.
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, that’s, that is the difference. I mean, we’re humans, oops, sorry, we humans are capable of knowing, in a way, knowing what we know. And putting it into some sort of framework. That’s what the mind does. But, you know, to me, I hesitate even to call humans enlightened, at least as individuals, I’m not sure that we can say that a personality doesn’t get enlightened, me doesn’t get enlightened. What happens is that when everything falls away, and there’s only the awareness of being the whole or being part of the whole part of everything connected to everything, in that moment, there is Enlightenment there is. But as soon as thought comes back into the picture, and as soon as we start communicating, we have to use these forms, we have to use our our humaneness. So I think that’s why when the Buddha was asked if, you know, if he was enlightened, he simply said, I’m awake, I think awakeness humans can function as awakeness. But Enlightenment is that total loss of the separateness, the separateness, and I don’t think when we go around, and we’d like I’m talking to you, you and I are, is have to be separate in order to communicate, we may know in some part of us that we aren’t that the source that has enlivened both of us and everybody else, and everything else on the planet is all one. But when we’re communicating, we’re living through these apparent separate forms. And we see each other as separate. Apparent beings not not looking just alike, not dissolving. enlightened people don’t go around, not seeing anything.
Rick Archer: Right? Yeah, Vedanta has this phrase, lesh avidya, which means faint remains of ignorance, and it’s said to be necessary in order to live life. I mean, without some recognition or acknowledgement of duality, you couldn’t eat or walk through the door or do anything, it would just be, you know, homogenous consciousness, with no differentiation or experience. But, you know, if we, if we want to use words to meaningfully, then you know, the word Enlightenment is generally assigned to people who have sort of risen to or awaken to a unified state in a permanent manner, whether or not they’re speaking, you know, Ramana Maharshi. He didn’t like, sit there and light and then all sudden the answers a question and he loses it, he has integrated the capacity to interact and perceive and read the newspaper and listen to radio, which are things you’d like to do. Well yet, you know, residing in, in pure awareness, wouldn’t you say?
Bonnie Greenwell: I’m not sure. I would. I would say that there are many different ways that people define Enlightenment and look at it. And it’s really important if somebody says, What Is Enlightenment, or what? It’s valuable to say, how would you define it? Yeah, you claim. Well,
Rick Archer: it’s kind of what we’re trying to do here. You know,
Bonnie Greenwell: I think that Rama The Enlightenment is there and you can see and in Him, for example, when he is responding to a question or this is true for many teachers, when it’s it comes from a spontaneous place, it’s not analytic, it’s not thinking through the mind and, and foraging through all the things you’ve learned, it’s more of a, an intuitive gift in a way, that, that that is enlightened communication. I’m not sure when you’re reading the newspaper, you are enlightened, you’re just enjoying being human. I think we have these human forms. And and after an after Realization, the next opportunity is to come back into life and say, you know, I don’t know how long I’m going to have this body. But let’s enjoy it. Let’s, let’s see what it has to experience, but has yet to experience I don’t see awakening as being need a need to be permanently, feeling not not in the world? Because the world is part of
Rick Archer: it. Yeah, no, I wouldn’t suggest that. I wasn’t implying that. But I’m suggesting just for the sake of clarification of our terms, that Enlightenment is a valid word to use it well. And we need to define it, obviously, if we’re going to use it, but that, you know, Joe Schmo reading the newspaper and Ramana Maharshi, reading the newspaper are two different I agree situations, and that, you know, something has awakened or developed, or however you wanted to describe it in someone like him Ramana that the average person doesn’t experience in, regardless of what he’s doing, reading the newspaper, or going to the bathroom or whatever, there’s a kind of a continuum of presence of awareness of vastness of unboundedness, or whatever, that is not disrupted by or incompatible with these relative experiences.
Bonnie Greenwell: I think what changes profoundly is the perception is that for someone like that, reading the newspaper, or watching the news, or whatever, the way of perceiving it, and putting it into just the way of grokking, it, we could say, is different. Because you’re not, it’s not filtering through the old conditioned mental patterns, and you’re not putting it into a right wrong, this, lets judge, the judging quality is usually dissolved and the there’s more compassion, there’s more sense of seeing the whole picture, rather than the normal reactive patterns that one might have, who hasn’t seen a bigger perspective of humanity?
Rick Archer: Yeah. And we have to ask ourselves, why and your last tray is kind of nailed it a bigger perspective, but not merely through sort of getting around and you know, becoming exposed to different cultures or something, but rather by kind of awakening to that which engulfs and incorporates the whole universe, you know, that which contains, you know, Brahman is said to be the eater of everything it contains is the totality which contains everything and then the knower of Brahman becomes Brahman. So someone like Ramana, you know, having words, which are tricky, but having attained the status of totality, then within that totality, anything can be done. And he obviously was a rather reclusive type, but a more worldly type could be running a business or something, and yet within, you know, still within that greater wholeness, that’s not disrupted by whatever parts may be churning around within one’s experience.
Bonnie Greenwell: Now, it’s a it’s a, it’s a different way of moving in the world, isn’t it? And it’s like, it’s like, there’s a natural, the natural state moves in the world with compassion and openness and relatedness that’s not separating. That’s more this is Oh, and this too, is mine. Yes to this, too, is it’s what I am or what is this to is another form of this mysterious source that is manifesting everywhere.
Rick Archer: Okay, back to Kundalini. So, you refer to Kundalini as a goddess in Indian thinking anyway, and I kind of it’s an interesting reference because, you know, if you just think of it as energy, I mean, you can get energy from drinking a Red Bull or a cup of coffee or something. But what we’re suggesting here, and what so many of the points in your book illustrate is that this is not just some kind of raw, random energy, but it has an intelligence to it. And that is kind of beyond our human comprehension. But that knows better than we do, what needs to take place and what needs to be worked out and so on. So perhaps you could speak a bit to the intelligent nature of Kundalini?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, I’ve always seen Kundalini as the energy of consciousness, it’s the way that that you can think of it as everything in the subtle body Kundalini as part of the subtle body, in and the subtle body has everything in you, that’s, that doesn’t have that invisible. So it’s the movement of all the senses, the thoughts, the emotions, everything is in the subtle field. And the subtle field is a movement that infuses us as energy and as consciousness. And obviously, when the body dies, it leaves that’s what’s missing is the energy and consciousness has gone from it. And it goes, just goes back to basic elements. So so this energy of consciousness, if you think of it as something that actually formed you into, from a fetus into a child, from whatever it began, that little speck that began into a full foreign body, you have to say you didn’t do that yourself. Something else created that dynamic and fused that potential, and made you into what you came out to be. And so that consciousness and that energy, they they’re the, they’re the suchness of life, they’re the they’re the core of human form, the core of what makes the appearance of form, what makes this energy body and this awareness that comes from us, and be able to infuse their what infuses these apparent physical forms, so that it can, can live as form so that the vastness can bring itself down into the possibility of living as form? That’s kind of how I’ve come to see
Rick Archer: it. So why do you think in the average person Kundalini is kind of dormant coiled three and a half times as you say, presumably, by the definition you just gave, the energy that animates us that animates all 8 billion of us, is some kind of little bit of that Kundalini energy, just you know, doing its thing. But why do you think in the vast majority of people, the majority of the Kundalini energy the is is is dormant and doesn’t awaken?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, from a spiritual perspective, I can’t answer that I mean, that that’s like part of the mystery of life. From a practical perspective, I can say that, that we humans have a beginning and the beginning of time had very strong physical needs, and then emotional needs and psychological needs. And then we developed perspectives in which we became very person centered on our personal life. And that’s just a huge distraction from knowing the truth of what we are. So it’s just done the way of life, we are evidently meant to be human. And at least, that’s what appears to be as these 8 billion humans are being humans. why the universe is creating that we could only make wild speculations and concepts about which we have done in many, many ways. But the essence of simply the being of our presence of our potential to be in touch with the deeper truths is there in everybody, but we’re just terribly preoccupied with other things and the mind has become stronger and stronger. And then the culture comes up with belief structures about how things are and it’s very hard to break out of that. That’s our conditioning. It’s our DNA. It’s our conditioning. It isn’t easy to let go of that even When people are really seeking spiritually, they still run into huge barriers about letting go of all of those beliefs and structures and concepts. It’s, it’s feels like a betrayal of some part of themselves, for many people. And it’s very scary, like I won’t exist, I won’t fit in. You know, it’s just, I call it at one point, I think I said this in one of my books, it’s an argument between the self with a big S and the small self, and the small self has been taught to be dominant, and everybody else is dominant from that place. So you just, it’s very hard to consider letting go of it.
Rick Archer: What another way of phrasing it be that, you know, there, if we think of spiritual development as a sort of progressive thing along a scale, from very rudimentary levels, to very advanced levels, that the majority of humanity is just at a relatively rudimentary level compared to what’s possible and that it would not be appropriate or desirable or for for Kundalini to be significantly awakened in such people. And I don’t mean to sort of put anybody down here and just kind of try to describe what may be the reality. And that, you know, theoretically, there could be a spiritually advanced society in which fully awakened Kundalini was the norm, but ours does not happen to be one. And, you know, so and maybe the well, and, you know, related to that question, you know, are you seeing a sort of an epidemic of awakening taking place with all the people with whom you interact? Do you think that you know, if we had had the means of communication 75 years ago, that we have today would we have seen as many people as we now do, having Kundalini awakenings and spiritual awakenings and all that, are we kind of shifting as a as a, as a species into a more mature mode of functioning spiritually?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, I won’t deny there’s people that have that perspective, certainly. But I don’t think we can really know. Also, I think we shouldn’t emphasize that everybody needs to awaken Kundalini. I think the more importantly, is where real change happens is in a shifting of consciousness. And that can happen with very little Kundalini activity. Some people are just very, very awake, very aware, and they have had energetic phenomena. But But I think too often people get really focused on Let’s wake up this Kundalini energy, and they’re expecting kind of a new kind of power, or capacity or, or some amazing thing, great cities. And that can happen, it happens in some people. But it’s, it’s more what’s more important, I think, for the world is a shifting of consciousness of a recognition of the unity of quality, that we’ve all come from this one source, and we’re all obligated to, to, not obligated, but there’s a potential for us to see that in one another. And that, that this source loves diversity. It’s obvious it must love diversity, because look at it, there’s billions of different kinds of bugs. And every single life is different, and how it’s lived and expressed and what the particular qualities it brings forth. So there’s a, what’s needed is more of a respect for this potentiality of wholeness in its diversity, for this vastness and his diversity. And then in that process of seeking oneness, or understanding or truth, or some people would call it God, and then often the Kundalini energy will awaken because the body needs to go through some changes, for that, to be seen, and for it to be embodied. And so very often that happens. It’s hard to say whether there haven’t been certainly an ancient India, they feel like in the ancient rishis were awakened beings who came up with a lot of the teachings that are in the scriptures that are so beautiful. So we can’t say that this is a new phenomena. You know, possibly Moses was the way Ken that’s what led him to bring about such change in his culture at the time. So, you know, I don’t know what’s hard to say because the media makes everything so much more available today. And also, we’re more open as a society where we’re allowed to talk about these things where 1000s of people were burned as witches in just a few 100 years ago. or if they even talked about healing, let alone having a perspective of the Divine that wasn’t in line with what the church wanted them to say. Yeah. Yeah, someone
Rick Archer: named per i think it’s a Dutch name sending the question along the lines of what we just discussing. He said, what’s the typical relationship between the Kundalini process and awakening process, it seems that there can be a Kundalini process without much of an awakening, and awakening without much of Kundalini process. And sometimes it’s Indigo together as well. You know, you’re talking a minute ago about people who might have done a lot of drugs or alcohol or something having a rougher ride with Kundalini, then the then people who haven’t done such things. And in your book, you talk about how various spiritual traditions often have a lot of preparatory phases that one goes through so that the whole process of awakening will be relatively smooth, and so that one wants to sort of be awakened in one respect, but way underdeveloped, and others. And I’m just wondering, you know, you kind of imply just now that awakening doesn’t necessarily involve a Kundalini process. But could it be that, you know, awakening, Kundalini is part and parcel of awakening or Enlightenment as we’re describing it, but in some cases, it happens so smoothly, that it’s hardly noticed as such, and you know, that, whereas in other people all hell breaks loose as they go through all kinds of difficult transformations.
Bonnie Greenwell: You’re right, there’s a tremendous range of how it’s experienced. And this is recognized in the literature too, it can be very gentle and, like the gentle unraveling and opening, it can be as intense as a geyser they say, in the literature, and, and it can be anywhere in between. And there’s a few people that are probably born with it awakened, or, or in the trauma of bringing birth, it’s activated. And so it’s always been there. So they don’t notice much difference through their life. And these tend to be people that are actually appear to be very conscious and very present to they’re not, they don’t go through as much radical change as, as the rest of us do that have it happened mid life or whatever.
Rick Archer: Okay, so looking down your book here, you have a lot of very interesting little anecdotes from from people in your book, you know, who describe the experiences they went through. And let me just skim over the, let me just read you the sub titles of the first chapter and see if you have any comments on them. And then we’ll, we’ll go into the second chapter in which we start to get into particular experiences. But um, I’ll just read these and see if you want to comment on any of them, or read them all. And then he could comment, the symbolism of Kundalini, Kundalini has consciousness, initial awakenings, triggers for awakening, and the role of Kundalini in mystical experience. I want to talk about any of that before we go on. It’s a lot I know. But
Bonnie Greenwell: well, I’ll say a little bit just just for your listeners about the things that might trigger an awakening. Certainly, spiritual practices can vary, especially if there’s a great devotion or a great intensity about wanting the truth. The most useful thing is to want truth more than you want anything else. But for some people, it’s a seeking of God. Is there a god? It’s questioning, longing to know. For others, it’s following things like like Romanus teachings, what what am I really, what is this human experience really, for some, it happens in an accident, they might have been in an automobile accident, or they might have been traumatized in a head, people who were being beaten, who had an activation of it. It seems like sometimes hitting the spine really hard. I’ve had people who fell off a horse and one woman who hit her spine really hard and she had no spiritual orientation at all before that. And all of a sudden was having an amazing range of alternate experiences. I’ve had people who just have it happened spontaneously I’m one of the people in my first book was a woman who as a young nurse was just laying in bed one night and she felt like her bed had been electrified. And, and after that, it those feelings would run over her. She was walking across campus, she’d have to lay down on the ground. So she had no real reason. So there’s just many different ways that this can happen. The Yogi’s would say that deep devotion can activate it. I’ve had People that were nuns or priests who have talked to me about it. Sometimes being in contact, particularly sexually with somebody who has very active energy will, will trigger it in you. None of these things necessarily will, it seems like there has to be a ripeness, and you may or may not be aware of that ripeness. But there has to be an availability somewhere in the energy field. For that to happen. Energy practices like breathwork, those and Qigong or tai chi, I don’t know about tai chi, but to them. Various kinds of martial arts, sometimes trigger and awakening. Sometimes these don’t go anywhere spiritually, because the person’s context has associated it with power, or with health, health, just being more radiantly healthy and, and so that kind of the ego takes it over and, and uses it in a constructive way, perhaps, or even a deacons destructive way, if they happen to be into black magic and that kind of thing. But so it doesn’t necessarily lead to the shifting of consciousness and the opening of the heart and all the other things that are needed for spiritual awakening to happen and to be lived.
Rick Archer: Near Death Experience would be another one, wouldn’t it?
Bonnie Greenwell: Absolutely. And you know, that’s why I kind of liked that Kundalini model of the yogi’s when they say how it’s coiled at the base of the spine and holds the system in stasis, because then it makes a lot of sense why some people who are in a near death experience it would start to awaken and unravel. And then thin afterwards, they are there. In addition to whatever injuries they’ve sustained, they’ve got to deal with all the phenomena that arises. And that can be very confusing, because they have no idea why it’s there. And, and or they don’t have a spiritual orientation so often, so it takes a lot of catch up to kind of figure out whether it’s part of an illness, or it’s part of a transformation.
Rick Archer: Yeah. One thing that came to mind, I’m sure your book talks about this later on, I’ll run through it. But I know I’ve been aware of people who made awakening the Kundalini kind of a project, you know, a priority, and awakened it, perhaps prematurely, you know, forced it in some way, maybe like through a lot of intense breathing practices or something and got themselves into trouble. So maybe we could, would we agree that the purpose of this interview is not to inspire people to, you know, wait, awaken their Kundalini come hell or high water, but we’re trying to describe a phenomenon that very often accompanies spiritual awakening. But you know, there has to be a more holistic package of of development in the context of which Kundalini awakening is going to be part. But if you, if you kind of drive just on that you might be putting the cart before the horse to throw in several metaphors in one sentence.
Bonnie Greenwell: I agree, though, I’ve found that a lot of people who have really difficult great difficulties with it are not only are they working very intensely, but they might be doing multiple things. So they might be doing shaman, shamanic practices one weekend and it energy work of some other sort during the week and five hours of meditation a day and fasting, and they’re just, they’re just throwing everything at this, as if the wakening of the energy was the focus and the function and what they wanted. Yeah, often, yeah, there’s everything’s available today. I mean, I run into a lot of people who have had really traumatic energetic processes, following things on the internet. And so everything’s available. It used to be all this stuff was secret, you didn’t have availability unless you were prepared. But nowadays, and in addition to doing all those things, they may be out getting drunk once a week, or doing something else that’s not good for the body. That’s that the toxins are building up at the same time, they’re doing a practice that’s supposed to release toxins. And so they, they can have very chaotic, difficult painful openings, if that’s what’s going on. And I always I don’t really teach people how to awaken Kundalini. I work more with the repair work, you know, with people are having difficulties. But I if people asked me I say just do a very sincere and deep meditation practice. Just If the more you long for truth and you go within your deeper self for that, the closer you’re going to come to awakening. And then if Kundalini is supposed to activate your will. And the other thing people can do is a is a gentle yoga practice or Qigong practice just one thing. At a moderate way, the Buddha liked to talk about moderation, he discovered that after many years, moderation might be a good idea. So it’s kind of like, I think that some kind of bodywork is useful for people who tend to be very contracted, who have a lot of resistance in their body who are a little bit rigid, that can be very helpful in helping them open it, it was extremely helpful from my own process was doing some breath work and opening up that way, but somebody that’s a little already quite open, or who’s had a lot of abuse in their history, that can be very traumatic, you know, you don’t really, it’s so important to kind of understand yourself and what your genuine needs are, and, and to listen to your body. And not to push through the way the way we were taught in our culture to push through everything. It’s, it’s, it’s so important to really listen to what what’s the authentic movement for me right now? And, and what would it mean to really discover truth, you know, and that’s going to come, it’s not going to, it’s gonna come below the neck, it’s not going to come from an intellectual pursuit, you might use the intellect, until you get so frustrated, you know, you can’t find the answer and something breaks open. But it’s going to come from resting in the heart and in the presence and in the Beingness. And then when if Kundalini activates as you awaken to this pure consciousness process, you you can have a really positive relationship with it. One thing that’s been interesting to me is I studied Kundalini for a long time from the yogic model. And I really love I love the yogic model, I love the energy, the meditation practices in yoga. But when I started sitting with Adi Shanti, who comes from a Zen Buddhist background, I started to see people who were having awakenings without the energy, and then going into an energetic process afterwards. And that’s really unknown. It’s an identified in the yogic model, because they focus so much on the need to get the body ready and and to do it through the body. It yoga came out of a belief that people were so materialistic, at that time, that they couldn’t possibly wake up any other way. They had to do it through the body. And so they developed all these physical tools and the breathing practices and all of that, in order to help people become available to these shifts in consciousness. But the Buddhist model is really quite different. It really kind of downplays the energy don’t make a big deal out of it if it happens, and focuses more on how, what are ways to shift consciousness. So somebody sees the truth. And in our data to some degree, that’s what evaded us to it. It relies more on that than the earlier yogic traditions. Well, it’s it’s an ancient tradition, but it kind of got revived by Ramana, is shift of consciousness. So it’s, it’s really, in a way. So what I’ve learned is that if somebody can just wake up, maybe they’re in a difficult Kundalini process, if the consciousness, if you can find a way to shift consciousness, so they recognize the truth of their true nature, the whole Kundalini process settles down. It becomes it’s still there, it’ll have phenomena, but it just becomes, you know, kind of a background. It’s not so stressful.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, a couple of thoughts are triggered by what you said. One is, safety first might be a good motto to live by. Not that one wants to be so conservative that you don’t have any kind of intensity to your practice. But, you know, not to be such a fanatic that you end up blowing your fuses. That’s one thing. The thing is that your comment about yoga? I think that perhaps the, you know, fundamental understanding of practices like that is that the body is like an instrument through which which we use as a tool of exploration and through which we awaken. You can awaken without a body and need one. And as you said earlier, if you’re filling it filling it full of toxins, it’s not going to be a very effective tool. So, you know, ways of purifying the body so that it can more effectively register subtle experiences. And that which goes beyond the subtle would be beneficial. And then a question just came in, but I want you to be able to comment on what I just said, before I asked that.
Bonnie Greenwell: I’m not sure what your question is,
Rick Archer: oh, well, I haven’t asked the question. And I’m just commenting on what you said. And I wondered if you had any feedback on what I just said about, firstly, the safety issue of being safe. And you as a therapist probably have had many situations where you’ve had to help people put a lid on it, you know, and, and then the issue about the physiology as an instrument for for awakening, it’s like, you know, if you have a radio and you pull a few tubes out or something, it’s not gonna work very well, you want the radio to be nicely tuned up, and then it gets a clear signal.
Bonnie Greenwell: You know, I really agree that if this can be not only more safe, but more fulfilling, you know, can move more into bliss, when there’s a positive relationship with the body. And so many people that are spiritual seekers have a difficult relationship with life with the body that in a way they’re trying to escape life. And also, a lot of them take on practices that are extreme, thinking that that’s going to be their way out. But the more you respect this as a temple as a, this is the vehicle through which awakening can happen, then you want to make it as balanced as you can. And you might want to really question practices that look extreme. So that’s how you would make it more safe and more fluid. Also, I often recommend when people have trauma in their history, particularly sexual trauma, or physical abuse, it’s so much helpful if they have had therapy before they go through this process, because everything that’s repressed is going to arise. And if you haven’t learned through therapy, to witness those difficult parts, wounded parts of yourself and, and do some healing. It’s much harder to do when you’re in the throes of a Kundalini process. So if that’s in somebody’s history, and they tell me, they never really worked with it, and now it’s coming up, I often tell them, to find a therapist that’s really skilled in working with those kinds of issues. And that therapist doesn’t really need to understand Kundalini, they just need to help you. In a way learn to find the witnessing to that, and to release what’s there and to find a witnessing and a supportive part of yourself to hold yourself through it. So it’s not just the making it safe through how you treat the body physically, but also psychologically. If there’s, if there’s self hatred and self judgment, that needs to be resolved, you can’t you’re not going to wake up. If you’re if you’re carrying those kinds of beliefs about yourself, you have to really begin to question a lot of your assumptions about yourself. And it helps to do that in in it helped people who’ve done therapy in their earlier years. It’s very helpful.
Rick Archer: Good, good advice. Let me read a question that came in from one of the live viewers. While doing a TM practice and being barely aware of my body, I suddenly had an explosion of energy at the bottom of my spine. The energy rose about halfway up my spine and was very intense. It was kind of accompanied by bits of my life flashing through my mind and somehow reconfiguring. Once the energy reached about halfway up my spine, it stopped and subsided. Over the next few days, perhaps a couple of weeks, I had back pain that gradually went, This happened about eight or nine months ago, I did have other other experiences of very strong energies previous to this while asleep. But this was the only time it happened while awake, and it was the only time that fitted the traditional description happening from the bottom of the spine. I’m kind of disappointed that these experiences are not happening now. And the energy did not rise right up to the top of my body. So it seems like the Kundalini did not awaken correctly in me. Do you have any advice on this?
Bonnie Greenwell: Yes. It’s very common that Kundalini activates but doesn’t go all the way through the body. And in fact, what If it happens all the way through the body, it can be really well I remember Om Shanti talking about that it went, it went all the way through his body, he really thought it was going to kill him. So it can be very, very traumatic. He decided to let go. And if it was going to kill him, that was fine. And in then it transformed. But so it’s most common for the energy to activate, it might move into the Sexual Chakra is that’s a real problem, because then one is extremely charged sexually, might move into the belly, into the middle of the body, where it starts working, there’s a transition between the chakras, right at the center of the body, the lower chakras and the higher chakras. So it sounds like he had an awakening. But But as is common, it didn’t, it’s not complete, it’s incomplete. And he just needs to say in spiritual practices in, I would probably recommend that he focus more on the heart in his spiritual practice, because that’s what, that’s probably the next movement. Very often, Kundalini just goes up one chakra at a time. So it’s moves that open up one and move to the next and move to the next. That’s not wrong, it’s not the wrong channel. It’s just that it’s, it’s doing it in a more gradual way. It’s taking it easy on you. So I would say put focus on on a heart opening kind of spiritual practice.
Rick Archer: There is a an advanced technique in the TM world that does involve focusing on the heart actually. And this, this leads to a question, which is that it seems to me both from my intellectual understanding and my own experience that Kundalini doesn’t awaken 100% In this chakra than 100%, in the next chakra than 100%, it can be going on and all seven of them simultaneously, or however many there may be. And the the sort of the, the attention can shift up and down according to what’s going on at any given time. So it’s not entirely sequential, it’s kind of simultaneous, is that right?
Bonnie Greenwell: Yes. And sometimes people will have a huge heart opening without the rest of it happening yet. Or they will feel a downward flow of energy in Aurobindo is practices, they focus on encouraging a downward flow, which, so there’s a lot of different ways that that different traditions, focus. And most people will have, as you say, it’s not like everything gets one thing gets completely open. And then the next one, it can happen in many, many different ways. And I think this is because we’re many different people. You know, we all have huge differences in our conditioning, in our practices, in our personality styles in our DNA. There’s there’s differences in how we hold thoughts in how we believe what we believe in. So in in AR, some people are very, if you look at IR VEDA, there’s a big difference in the way the whole body is constructed it chemically. So everybody has a different kind of experience. But I can recognize Kulina usually, because it’s like looking at a face. No two faces are alike. But we always recognize that that’s a face. And that’s how Kundalini is you get where you can see from the the picture that people give you of their interior experiences, that that’s more than likely Kundalini awakening. But it might look very different in one person than it does in another. And there’s many different stages, it isn’t something that completes, it’s very rare that it completes in a short period of time, that would be almost unheard of.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it seems that there would have to be a near completion already, before it even awoke. In order in order for it to just zip through all the different, you know, levels and be done with them. Seems like there’s going to be a process, perhaps lasting decades in which greater and greater purification or Enlightenment occurs, different levels.
Bonnie Greenwell: You know, that’s, it’s very true to that you can have a profound realization of truth and awakening of energy. And you might feel completely free for days or weeks or months, and then it’ll suddenly shut down it appears like it’s shutting down. Because deeper qualities of unfinished business arise deeper patterns. And one of the things that Arjuna has said that I really like is that after a while, all the parts of you that are not yet awake, want to come to the surface so they can wake up to and that’s how it looks. And so one of the things I’d like to point out for your listeners is that just because that bliss and openness if you’ve experienced it have gone away doesn’t mean You did anything wrong, that it’s a natural part of the process for the humaneness to return in some form or another the some of the old patterns and beliefs, and that there’s an opportunity there to wake up something else within you are for something else and you to sort of percolate until it resolves itself to Yeah, so it’s a very long coming and going process for most people.
Rick Archer: And I think you make points in both of your books that, you know, caution people against becoming discouraged, if they are having some blissful thing, and then and then it goes away. And, you know, I’ve seen people who, you know, I can think of one person who, who years ago on these early courses in the seven days was having marvelous experiences getting up in the microphone talking about her experiences. Few years ago, I saw her, you know, having gotten arrested for marijuana. And I was like, she’s probably my age, but you know, person can kind of if such experiences are lost, so yeah, here’s a good point we can talk about, and that is that, you know, is Enlightenment or awakening, a flashy, blissful experience? Or is it something more enduring than that, which isn’t necessarily flashy at all? And therefore, you know, would you? Let’s talk about the phenomenon of yearning for or clean to flash experiences?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, you’ve probably heard many people say Enlightenment is not an experience, or awakening is not an experience. And my, my sense of it is that awakening is the knowing in your, in your cellular being, that, that you are not the character you thought you were, that you are this pure consciousness that has created everything, something like that, oh, no, can’t put it into words. Okay, so if that should happen to somebody, that that’s known, really known and in your cells, not in your head, doesn’t help much to just have it in your head, then that doesn’t go away. You know, it’s kind of like knowing I’m a man or a woman. Yeah, once you figure that out, you don’t have to keep reminding yourself, it’s just sort of there. If you sit back and you wonder, that’s the form you happen to have at this time. It might not be either one, but
Rick Archer: but it’s not an intellectual knowing because intellectual knowings you know, if I took my, you know, high school essay, t test, now, I do a lot worse on on the math section than I did, you know, back in 1968, or whatever. So you’re talking about something much more visceral or cellular, as you say that you’re not going to forget, as you might forget how to do algebra.
Bonnie Greenwell: That’s right. And the other aspect of it is that when, when you’re feeling it, and and it becomes more accessible to you to kind of fall back that into that. There’s tremendous peace and tremendous acceptance of what is in the world, there’s no more resistance. One of the things you could say is there’s no more division. And, and yet, then, at times, you know, your personality is going to come to the forefront and be upset at something going on in the news, or the fact that somebody you love has gotten ill, those things will happen. But there’s always the knowing underneath that some part of you irrational as it sounds, is saying, it’ll all be okay. So, so it just becomes a new way of again of perceiving or being in the world. A lot of times, people who have mystical experiences and very dramatic, beautiful experiences. In a way they’re in that they’re in that space of awakening for a few moments, they’ve kind of let go of themselves, and that’s what made them available to this experience. And then they go into this high experience. And because the experience is so dramatic, they miss the fact that that there was awakening, it’s like it’s I think of it sometimes like a breezeway, it’s like the awakeness is this part of us that’s capable of falling into our humaneness or falling into this ecstatic or vast or wildly informative wisdom or whatever we get from our mystical experiences. But the awakening is this breezeway in between in which everything is still especially everything in you everything. Everything you believe you are, is totally irrelevant. It’s not it’s not important. There’s just presence. And once in a while you might fall into an ecstatic, mystical experience, some people are more inclined to that than others, some people are awakened, they don’t have mystical experiences. It frustrates them a little bit, maybe. But other people aren’t much more there. It’s like those brain centers are open, and they’re much more available. Yeah, off and on, but but any experience is going to pass. And one of the biggest problems of spiritual seekers is they’ll have these wonderful experiences. And they think that Enlightenment has to do with being in that state all the time. And that’s just not true. So they keep searching for more experiences. And that keeps the spiritual ego going. So it prevents them from coming into this resting place. That’s more peaceful and more accepting, and not always so blissful, but not non not difficulty. There. It has, there’s no more in that place, there’s no more longing for bliss, it doesn’t matter. It’s nice if it shows up, but you’re not attached to it anymore.
Rick Archer: Just to play devil’s advocate a little bit and also to, you know, not making Enlightenment or awakening sound like no big deal. You know, I would suggest that it is generally accompanied by a profound sense of contentment, well, being kind of a mother is at home kind of feeling, you might say, just a really nice way to go through your day and through your life, you know, a very smooth, harmonious way of functioning. I mean, obviously, there can be disruptions and exceptions and whatnot. But this does tend to characterize the experience of people who are solidly awakened.
Bonnie Greenwell: I agree completely. It’s because there’s no, what Freud would have called the super ego, there’s no part of you that’s telling you, you should be doing things differently. There’s something wrong with you, there’s something wrong with someone else, bla bla bla, that part of the mind is, it’s gone. You can’t, if it shows up, you’re just kind of saying how silly that is. You don’t you don’t have you’re not driven anymore by the conditioning that’s been in your head, telling you how you ought to be and should be. And it could be it’s just there present being. And there’s great joy in that. If you allow yourself, it’s great. Wonder, mystery, Joy. Yeah, I
Rick Archer: mean, there’s also something intrinsically desirable about pure consciousness, you keep using the word peace and you thrown in joy a few times. And there’s a verse in the Vedas contact with Brahman is infinite joy. And we’ve heard the phrase sought Chetananda. So you know, joy, happiness, bliss, peace Shanti. All these are said to be qualities or characteristics, either have pure consciousness or have the experience of living established in it. So again, I’m just kind of emphasizing these points, because we don’t want to make it sound like no big deal, because it is a big deal. And it’s a very profound way in which a person can live and and very fulfilling.
Bonnie Greenwell: Absolutely, yeah. There was tremendous what I found in people who have touched that place. It’s it’s just tremendous gratitude. Incredible. It’s wonder and gratitude. That, that that’s available to you that that’s, that’s what you really are. It’s awesome. You know, it’s like, you can’t even put it into language.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Good. So, coming back to your book, The chapter entitled Kundalini phenomena. And, and you, you list seven categories of phenomena. Let me know how much you’d like to go through these. But it might be interesting to touch upon them each briefly. One is pranic activity, or Korea’s.
Bonnie Greenwell: So that’s simply the energetic releases. When your body starts shaking or jerking or some people, they might start doing mudras, which are hand movements, or they might wake up at night, and they’re doing yoga postures, and they never even learned yoga. So these are all kriya means activity. They’re just activities that are coming through the subtle fields that are that are part of the process of releasing and, and making changes in the energetic structure.
Rick Archer: Would you say fast breathing or, you know, there’s kind of a Prashanti Alma that’s like, yeah, like that kind of thing can start happening spontaneously.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yes, that’s common. That happens a lot in meditation too, even when Kundalini is not awakened. And yeah, it’s just that’s the prana. It has to do with The breath mints your breath. So they are closely linked into these with these Koreans and very often there are. Some people even say they stopped breathing for a while I’ve heard people say they really were in a panic because their breath stopped for a long time. But it’s really just part of that whole restructuring that’s going on in the energetic field.
Rick Archer: Yep. Other involuntary energy phenomena or does what does what we said cover it?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, one of the things people often talk about is huge heat, the rushes of heat, or sometimes the the heat and then cold afterwards, if you’ve been running a whole lot of energy, sometimes the body gets really cold later. There also can be just strange movements of the hands or the feet, or, like you were describing with your neck when you were driving your ice cream truck. That’s a that’s an involuntary movement. So those are those are some of the kind.
Rick Archer: I used to have this funny thing. It hasn’t happened much in recent years. But it used to happen like very occasionally, but almost like maybe once a year or something where I’d be just doing whatever, riding in the car, and all sudden, I’d feel like someone stuck a pin in one side of my back. And it was like, ah, but it was like, nice. At the same time, there was something that kind of woke up in me. Yeah, and that would go away and happen a year later again,
Bonnie Greenwell: yeah, interesting.
Rick Archer: wasn’t any kind of injury or anything, it was just this weird little energy thing.
Bonnie Greenwell: A lot of people have difficult energies in their head, they might feel like bugs are crawling on them, or they’re itching, or there’s a vibration or an inner sound. And so those are other kinds of phenomena that might arise that shocked people because they don’t know what to do with it. They don’t know what it belongs to, they don’t recognize it as part of a spiritual process.
Rick Archer: That can be pleasant stuff that I had too, is like bliss, kind of coming pouring down to like honey over the scalp and things.
Bonnie Greenwell: That’s true.
Rick Archer: physiological problems, another subtitle here.
Bonnie Greenwell: What it seems to me, it’s really interesting, because I’ve seen two opposite responses. And some people have written to me and claimed they were cured of something, one person said they were cured of diabeetus. Another one, I don’t remember. But there’s just different once in a while somebody will say, oh, all this problem, Oh, my back problem went away, I have this terrible back problem, it’s gone. And other people, they develop more physical difficulties. My sense is that if there’s an area of your body that’s vulnerable, either that’s a part of you that’s always had some difficulties, maybe digestion or the throat, or there’s a part of you that has had a serious injury, you’re more likely to feel activity intensifying around that area. And because it’s already vulnerable, it may be more painful. So I think that sometimes when there’s a lot of pain, it’s it’s the intention or the potential of the energy to fix it. But it can be really difficult going through it. While it’s working in that area. There was something else I wanted to say,
Rick Archer: can’t remember, let me just jog your memory. Another physical difficulty, I find, I have observed to be quite common as insomnia. You know, sometimes people get really bad insomnia, when they have a lot of Kundalini stuff going on.
Bonnie Greenwell: Let me back up because I just remembered what I wanted to say was, a lot of times, if you’re running a huge amount of energy, there can be hormonal imbalances. So people might develop thyroid problems or other kinds of hormonal difficulties. So it’s really useful to see a doctor if that’s if that’s happening, because you still need to balance those hormones. You can’t just ignore the problem and expect Kundalini to fix it.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And on that note, before you get to insomnia is, is it I mean, there’s Kundalini burn up a lot of nutrients in the body or something so that it might be good to eat certain foods that are rich in certain qualities or take certain herbs or anything like that?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, sometimes I recommend people get an Ayurvedic consultation because I are Vedas one of the few systems in which they that very often they recognize what Kundalini is, and I Vedas, about balancing for your body type your energies. So if they know that you’re out of balance, they can recognize you’re out of balance in some way they can recommend a diet and certain foods that will help you come back into balance. So that’s a good thing to do if you’re having a lot of difficulties in this process. It’s also useful to really listen, like I said to yourself, I’ve had people get an intuitive hit on something they really need. That really helps them a lot when they follow it. It’s most people do give up alcohol, or at least part of the time On. And most people, a lot of people feel like they can’t eat meat anymore, especially red meat. And sometimes they need protein because they’re not getting enough. So sometimes I suggest if you’re doing that if you’re if you’re on a low protein diet to drink protein drink in the morning to use protein powder, and that can make you feel stronger and and more healthy, in general not feel so exhausted.
Rick Archer: I’ve had other people tell me though, that they kind of after having been a vegetarian, they started eating meat because they felt like they needed the grounding quality of it, but who knows that maybe there’s some non meat alternatives they could have done? I don’t know.
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, you know that I don’t see that, that it’s a problem to eat meat, I don’t see that you shouldn’t, should not, there’s no should. And it’s, again, it’s following your own interior intuition. But I know I remember one band I worked with who actually came out of TM, who was having a lot of difficulties and he would, every once in awhile, just go and have a hamburger and that would ground him. But you know, he didn’t eat meat regularly. So we have to find our way through this. And the more you can tune it into yourself about what you really need, the more you’re really learning that autonomy and the and the inner authority that will serve you throughout the whole process.
Rick Archer: Well marshy himself who was a vegetarian and generally advocated vegetarianism would sometimes recommend that somebody eat meat or even smoke a cigar or something if they really needed grounding, you know.
Bonnie Greenwell: That’s true. And and I’ll come back to insomnia. But in terms of grounding, I may as well mentioned there are several other things that are very helpful hugging trees. Go walking barefoot and sand are rivers. baking bread, where you’re needing the bread you’re using your hands you’re coming into relationship with, with material things in that way. Listening to intense music and dancing like a lion like an African dance or something, things that get you really connected to Earth energies, yeah, can help you ground in this process.
Rick Archer: Well, you know, and I have it you mentioned that Aveda, there’s these three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. And people can become, as it’s called very vata de range, which very air quality just kind of spacey and ungrounded unbalanced and so more Kapha things which are more earthy, as we’ve been discussing, or sometimes advocated, and, as you say, at Ayurvedic consultant or doctor could prescribe something specific.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, always often recommend connecting with somebody that has worked with Dr. Ladd because he really understands Kundalini, when we used to do the Kundalini conferences, he would come and speak. So people that have trained in his system are likely to have some understanding of the Kundalini process.
Rick Archer: Right. My brother in law is actually an Ayurvedic consultant to is quite knowledgeable. Oh, great. Paul Morehead is his name. Anyway. So insomnia, let’s talk about insomnia.
Bonnie Greenwell: I can’t, you know, I don’t have an easy answer for that. It seems like the energy becomes more active when we become more relaxed. So like, if you’re trying to go to sleep, or you’re getting a massage, or you’re meditating, when you’re in those kind of quiet places, is very often when the energy gets more active. I tell people that if they’re not sleeping at night, they need to find a way to get caught up on their sleep. Because the thing that gets people in the most trouble is, if they don’t sleep for two or three nights, they start to become very fragmented, mentally, and it can really look like mental illness, and they can end up somebody putting them in a hospital because they’re not being rational and how they communicate or anything else. And so even if you have to use I use sleeping sometimes melatonin mix, that’s called tranquil sleep, it’s got something else with it. That and people often don’t know you have to take melatonin two hours before bedtime. And so that it may be that some of these energies also deplete melatonin I don’t know are they make? The other possibility is if you’re meditating a lot, you may not need as much sleep because that’s a very especially if you’re going very deep. It’s it’s certainly I can’t go to meditation retreats and sleep at all. I ended up sitting in my car all night because I don’t want to lay awake in a room with a group of people. Suffer I meditating a lot and I get very wired. I won’t I won’t sleep. So you might try exploring what time of day A you need to meditate. And also staying away from all electronics for two or three hours before bedtime. They say having a really dark room. And know if your body wants to get up and meditate or do something else rather than sleep, try it and see what happens follow that. There’s a lot of tricks to try to overcome insomnia. It’s a challenge in this process.
Rick Archer: I interviewed a guy a few months ago called named SOT Shri, who’s I, in my opinion, very highly awakened. He said, He doesn’t sleep at all anymore. He doesn’t even have a bed in his room, he hits you says a chair. And he’ll just kind of sit in the chair and maybe go into Samadhi at night for a few hours or something. But he’s completely overcome the need for sleep.
Bonnie Greenwell: I’ve heard that in a few people, not people I’ve worked with because most of us Westerners are not going to be able to be in Samadhi for six hours. But but I’ve heard of other people like that.
Rick Archer: Okay, let’s see here. So, we’ve talked about physiological problems. We’ve touched upon psychological and emotional upheavals, is there anything more you want to say about that?
Bonnie Greenwell: Sometimes there can be huge movements of emotion, that you don’t even know why they’re there. They’re not personally connected, it might be a sense of why remember, once I went through a period where I had this quality of neediness, just just which wasn’t familiar to me at all, I had no idea what it was. But it went on for two or three days. And so I finally I, I lay down on a couch. And and I just surrendered to I said, Okay, God, if you need me to experience this, I completely accept it. I’ll just feel it. And I felt like somebody like there was a heavy blanket over me a quilt, and that somebody took it and just rolled it off me. And the energy went away and never came back. So sometimes people go through grief, anger, Irina Tweedie, in her book, she speaks at one point of becoming enraged, because there’s a mouse in her room and losing all control with her anger. So sometimes these things just move through you. And sort of like, you have to learn how to stand there and just let those waves of energy moves by without trying to psychoanalyze them, they may not belong to you, they may belong to the something in the universal collective, they may belong to something in your another life, who knows. But it’s sort of like letting it or they may be lying to somebody you were hanging out with, but you picked it up. That brings me to another point, a lot of people become really sensitive to other people’s energy, their space, their energy field becomes so open. And you really need to pay attention to that if when you go into a box store, big box store, you start to feel overwhelmed, don’t go into the stores anymore. Or a certain people maybe that you used to go out and drink with a third party with and you just feel rotten in that environment. Now, it’s like, it’s very hard, because these may be people you really care about. But you have to listen to yourself, What do I need, and your body’s going to react? It’s going to tell you where you don’t belong, and what isn’t working for you and who’s toxic for you. And a lot of people think, Well, I’m, I’m so spiritual, I should love everybody, I should be okay everywhere. And that isn’t really the truth of what happens, at least through the process. You may reach that point someday, I don’t know. But you have to listen to your own energy. And what it’s trying to say is right for you,
Rick Archer: that most spiritual literature makes actually quite a big fuss about keeping the right company, you know, hanging hanging out with people who are like minded and on on a spiritual path. Not that you don’t go home for Thanksgiving or anything like that. But just that, um, you know, if you’ve been hanging out in bars, and you’ve decided to, you know, embark on spiritual quest, then maybe you need a new set of friends. Here’s a question that just came in from one of the live listeners. What do you suggest for people who develop hypersensitivity to sound light or smell? It can be quite difficult when living in a city.
Bonnie Greenwell: Oh, yes, probably you’re going to have to move. The senses can become very acute, that might not be a permanent situation. It’s usually a passage, but your senses can be highly attuned. So I would look for a place that feels really nurturing for you, you know, and maybe a place in the park or in a museum or in a church or create a place in your home or your yard that just feels energetically balanced in her ammonius put something you love to look at in every room of your house.
Rick Archer: One category of stuff we haven’t talked about too much that can result from Kundalini awakenings or that can occur on the spiritual path is what we might call para psychological experiences or extrasensory perception, ESP times experiences, you want to touch upon that.
Bonnie Greenwell: I find it a certain number of people do experience that it’s not particularly common. It’s not, it’s, I would say maybe 20% of people. You know, again, back to the idea that the brain has all these channels are open or aspects that haven’t been opened, the yogi’s would say there’s certain aspects of the brain sent certain brain centers that are responsible for paranormal or para psychological experiences. And so sometimes those get activated in the Kundalini process, and one may experience it for a while, and then it goes away, or it could be more permanent. But usually there’s a some of these experiences might be while having a vision that might happen occasionally, or seeing a loved one that’s deceased. Or sometimes people feel like there’s entities and they see when you had someone on your program not too long ago that sees angels and sees the energetics in the body. So that would suggest to me that she has that particular brain center open. You some people are born with that open so you don’t have to activate Kundalini to be to have those capacities. But when you do activate Kundalini, you might possibly go through a stage where you do have that happening. A lot of times there’s an intuitive thing that will pop up, one woman was driving her car and, and going to work and she had a something in her head that kept saying you have to go to your father’s house, and she kept arguing with it. And finally, she turned around and went to her father’s house. And he had just had a stroke. So she was able to get him to the hospital. So
Rick Archer: the same story on the news just the other night similar to that there was a woman she was driving along. And she she suddenly had this you know, voice almost as urge she had to go and do her at home and see her see what was happening with her husband. And she she you know that she ignored it for a little while. Finally, it was just so persistent. She went and her husband had been working on his truck, and it had slipped off the jack and broken seven of his ribs and had him pinned under and he would have died. You know, she just felt this calling to go there.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, I that happens, it can happen. In some people, it just happens. In fact, in most of us, it probably happens occasionally. So but you just see it a little more consistently in a certain percentage of people that have awakened Kundalini. I’ve heard many other stories like some people can’t deal with electronics. One man told me if he walked under a streetlight, it went out. So in the end, there’s been work done with nd ease that suggests that sometimes your it’s like your electrical wiring is different. And some people that have had nd ease have this experience to have these unusual experiences to they can’t wear watches they die on if they’re wearing a watch, it dies, their computers won’t work, things like that. And I don’t think that’s very common. But But I have seen it in a small percentage of people.
Rick Archer: I actually went through a phase where I would come into a room and things would break. But unfortunately, I was kind of good at fixing them too. So like I was I’ve been online courses where like, real strange phenomenon like glass doors would shatter. Like you said people’s watches would break and, and all kinds of strange things because there’s just so much energy, and it was having these weird effects. But I guess maybe should we conclude here that, you know, don’t necessarily don’t assume that this stuff is necessarily a central criterion of spiritual awakening. And so don’t again, don’t strive for it. Don’t make a big deal of it. You know, it may or may not happen,
Bonnie Greenwell: right? Yeah. And it may not last either. So it may just be you know, something’s being tweaked for a while energetically and then it passes and it shouldn’t get it all the scriptures suggest don’t get attached to any of these kinds of things. Because it’ll derail you. It’s another place where the mind can get fascinated and and then the opportunity for a full realization of truth doesn’t happen.
Rick Archer: This brings up an interesting question which you may or may not have an opinion on. Someone had sent in a question related to your interview earlier on about physical teachers versus non physical teachers. I’ve interviewed a number of people who haven’t had a physical teacher but have had sort of two Teachers on subtle levels Kristin Kirk was one and there have been others who are commune with beings that reside on several subtle levels. The Yoga Sutras actually warns against this, but there could be exceptions to that warning. So and you know that people, some people have been burned by physical teachers as well, you know, sexual abuse and stuff. So do you, in your experience in your understanding, and perhaps relating all this to Kundalini? How necessary? Is it to have an actual human teacher versus relying upon subtler sources of wisdom that may reside in the universe and open themselves to our cognition?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, that’s a big question. I’ve, I’ve met people who have had encounters with spiritual teachers on another plane, and who have been guided and helped a great deal in a crisis with that type of teacher, one friend of mine had an experience when she was young, with a teacher who came to her and helped her through a really serious crisis. And she was walking down the street a few weeks later and saw his picture and a window, because she didn’t know who he was. And he was living, he was in India, and so she went to India and became his student. Other people, I always felt a great connection with Yogananda, but not necessarily with his organization. And I’ve met other people that say that too. Many people feel that connection with Ramona. I think that a teacher, a teacher on this plane is very helpful, because they’re more likely to kind of call you on your stuff, or, or give you what for me, I will say meeting meeting Om Shanti was extremely important, because he was so ordinary, because he was the first teacher I had met, who really showed me that I could be an ordinary person and awake at the same time, because I had sat with another dozen gurus and you know, a chi and a Nanda Mon, not an on demand. But what’s her name other Mira mother, Mira. And I had met Muktananda, and other teachers here and there, and I didn’t want to be like any of them. It was like, I mean, I have a very ordinary if you wanted to. Yeah, I mean, this is not me. And I married and I have kids, I have grandchildren, I’m not going to be, I’m not going to dress up that way and be spiritual every minute. That’s just not going to be who I am. And he showed me that. Life is can be full, and ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. So I think a teacher, the right teacher, for you can be a real gift. And but so many teachers have been problematic for people, and probably caused them a lot of damage, because they have used them in ways that were inappropriate. Yeah. So let’s just because just because of being as disembodied doesn’t mean, it’s wiser than you. And that’s something to keep in mind, too.
Rick Archer: Yeah, a friend of mine once said, Just because you’re dead, doesn’t mean you’re smart. Right? One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Ida, and I haven’t had a close relationship with Him, but I’ve interviewed him a couple of times now and listen to a lot of his stuff is that he is so down to earth and on assuming, you know, I mean, what you see is what you get. And, you know, he doesn’t like try to put on any kind of errors or anything. And he’s, you know, talks about his problems if he’s had some health problems, or, you know, various things he’s gone through. So it does make awakening more accessible, as you say. And I do know many people who have associated with one or another of the teachers you mentioned and other such teachers, which I’m not discouraging people from doing I think it can be wonderful to go visit those those types of teachers, and even have a close association with them if that’s your inclination, but one shouldn’t assume that Enlightenment is going to look like them. You know? Yes. It couldn’t look like you. That’s right. Yeah.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah. It’s, as RJ likes to say, God can do it any way it wants. Right. And so there’s room for everybody.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. Another thing that comes up a lot, and we haven’t talked about it too much is fear various, well, that we can kind of go summarize a lot of your points here in one general category, there’s the Dark Knight thing where we go into something really uncomfortable and unpleasant. And then there’s psychological reactions to change and the body feeling through And then there’s also fear. And a lot of people seem to have to cross a kind of a sound barrier of fear in order to get to the other side, and some recoil from that sound barrier, you know, back off like, Whoa, I can’t do this. So what would you say with regard to that point?
Bonnie Greenwell: You know, I always loved a quote of the mother, who was worked closely with Aurobindo. And then she said, the heartfelt release of fear is the most significant thing on the spiritual to do on the spiritual path, something like that. And I think that fear is a barrier. And fear belongs to the mind, and it belongs to the separate self. And it’s natural. It’s, it’s feels a sense of its own diminishing, or judgment, or even Abolishment. It feels like I won’t be I won’t matter anymore. I don’t belong anymore. And I also think it needs to be respected. I think that a person is going to go through periods like that before there’s a ripeness and a readiness to let it go. And so when you’re, when you feel fear, it’s sort of like meeting it, just meeting it. And, and giving yourself support. Like, it’s okay that there’s fear here. It’s just an energy really helps. I also like to tell people, to the extent you can transfer the energetics of fear into curiosity, you’ll it’ll work a lot better, everything will work a lot better. So if your body’s doing weird things, and you start to feel afraid, just get curious, what is this? This is really strange. Of course it is, you know, it’s like, yeah, it is, it’s really strange. I wonder where it’s going, I wonder why it’s doing this. But without that contraction, of fear. So that’s one thing people can do. But But there’ll be a point of before letting go in a way that that everything in you is going to try to come up with reasons why you shouldn’t, because you’ve been functioning a certain way, your whole life, you everybody else seems to function that way. And you’re, you’re going into the unknown, and you’re going to have to live in the unknown. And what mind wants to do that? We spend our whole life trying to figure things out, so we don’t have to be unprepared for anything. And so that’s what’s happening. A
Rick Archer: couple of quotes come to mind. One is from FDR Second Inaugural, you know, the famous line, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And others from Star Star Wars. Luke Skywalker, kind of in a cocky way, says, I’m not afraid, and Yoda says you will be. Here’s a question that just came in. Someone said, I had the complementary experience to the earlier question or it started in the middle of my spine, and went to the base of my skull, this person picked up where they left off. I thought it was going to appear something there, but it did not it subsided, I also get downward energy, downward energy sprinkles. I like that phrase, I’ve experienced that when I’m in a religious setting, such as a temple. My question is, is the second phenomenon the sprinkles, Kundalini? And why did it not arise from the base of my spine? Or how can I get it to do that?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, I think that when Kundalini has been active, or when someone’s very open spiritually, they can be very receptive to the energy and sacred places. So are even to be even around someone else whose energy is activated, your own body will respond in some way. So I would expect that what he’s experiencing or che in the temple is, is like an, it’s like the, the product in your own body is, is happy to be experienced, it’s feeling it’s responding to something in the energetic field that you’re in. I think there’s also
Rick Archer: like, there can be an experience of bliss, I think when energy begins to flow through channels, through which it did not previously flow apps, you know, the noddy’s that we have in our system, if you use that system of thinking that, you know, it’s like, you know, when your foot is asleep, or your leg is asleep, and then you start to wake up, you get all these tingles. So in a similar way, it’s like if you have these energetic channels in your body, and they’re said to be 92,000 of them, that I’ve been sort of deadened and clogged. Then when they begin to clear and wake up, there can be this sort of thrill of bliss as as they begin to get enlivened.
Bonnie Greenwell: I completely agree you’ll you can even feel I remember once one of my arms went into bliss, it was it was totally irrational, you know, but that it’s Yeah, I agree with you, the Nazis. The Nazis come out from the chakras. in all different areas of the body, and I’ve heard 72,000 Oh, maybe you’re right, I can promise if you think about it, that’s your we’re an energy grid, right. And as different parts that were blocked open up, we the energy response, and it really feels very blissful. Usually.
Rick Archer: And then you’ve become accustomed to it after a while. So it’s not going to always be tingling and throbbing. But, you know, the initial rush of energy into those blockchain into those previously blocked channels, as they opened can be quite ecstatic.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, absolutely. Even when you’re getting other kinds of energy flows, if you can totally release into them, they can turn into bliss, if you can just completely relax into being that energy flow, and then the jerking and the shaking can become very blissful. And afterwards, particularly, it seems, I’m not sure what to say about opening it from lower chakra, after you already feel have felt some opening at the center of the body, I would just stay with whatever meditation practice the person is using, and just invite the energy to do what it needs to do to support your awakening, you know, you don’t have to force anything, you can tune into it, often energy will follow attention. I often tell people, if they’ve had an opening, and there’s some part of their body that’s uncomfortable, most often it’s in the head. A lot of times people particularly who do Third Eye meditations, get tremendous amount of difficult energy in their heads. But if they will, yeah. And if you’ll bring your attention, just focus on it and bring it down through the neck, into the heart, or into the belly, somewhere else in the body, usually, the energy will follow attention. So that’s another possibility. But frankly, I wouldn’t really try particularly to open the lower chakras. In that in a situation like this, where you’ve already felt sort of a heart opening and a chest opening, I would just trust that if it needs to have more activity, there it will. And by focusing there is more likely to bring energy into more problematic experiences, it’s much better to bring it up into the heart, that’s an important transition from the center of the body into the heart and, and the upper chakras.
Rick Archer: I would make a comment, and we’ll see what you think of this. And that is that, as you were saying earlier, that Kundalini has its own intelligence, and, you know, we can direct our attention here and there to a certain extent, but at the same time, it’s going to run its course as it sees fit, and we don’t want to be too manipulative and, you know, pushing it this way. And that I mean, it’s, we should just kind of be innocent, and let it do its thing, would you say?
Bonnie Greenwell: Yes, I mean, I think there’s things you can do to balance it if there’s discomfort. But the more you get into kind of a intuitive relationship with it, and ask it, what it what it wants to do, what it is doing, where it’s going and just kind of follow it, the more relaxed you can be about the whole process. It’s not about using the will to force it into certain patterns, right? At least not if you’re about spiritual awakening, you’re about if you’re bound martial arts or power or something like that. That’s where you see the more willful forms of manipulating energy.
Rick Archer: I think another thing it’s important, since we’re talking about all these experiences, and you know, that people have had is not to compare yourself to others too much, you know, because it’s going to be different for everybody.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I mean, you know, like the second question or said, Well, hey, this thing happened to the first question, or why didn’t happen that way for me, you know, I mean, you know, different strokes for different folks.
Bonnie Greenwell: Absolutely. Yeah, there could be a myriad of reasons. When I, when I work with somebody, when somebody contacts me for a consultation, I send them a questionnaire, and I try to get a lot of background information, because it really helps me to have more clarity about what they’re doing, and why they might be having the particular phenomena they are and who they are and what their their lifestyle is and their background, because I can see a lot of why there might be a certain reactive experience based on a certain prior experience. Because everybody does come through this process, so different from each other.
Rick Archer: In fact, as you said earlier, some people may go all the way to awakening without having had much of anything that they could identify as Kundalini, the whole thing is so subtle, it just doesn’t make a big, no big deal about it. Okay, I’m just reading some things in your book care. There’s a nice chapter about grace here, you want to talk about grace a little bit?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, I’m going to steal another phrase from Om Shanti, when she talks about becoming Grace prone, wait, we can’t force grace. Grace is those moments when something happens, that we are appreciative of that we didn’t expect that we didn’t know it could even happen. It just sort of descends upon us. And that can be true in many areas of life, that you feel graced. But I think the most, the way that we come most vulnerable to it is is by the authenticity and the sincerity of our longing to know what’s true. And our willingness to be open to however it appears, it may not appear in any way, shape, or form, the way somebody else has told us it ought to. And it’s sort of like letting go of all your beliefs, all your ideas about it, about what it would mean, and just saying, I’m willing to experience whatever the universe wants to hand me that I’m ready for at this moment. And that doesn’t mean you’ll ever get an exact response. It, it just isn’t sort of an attitude that makes you more available as you move through your practices and your life. And not to have any expectation about what it would look like.
Rick Archer: And I think underlying that attitude is the understanding or the attitude or the feeling that there’s a kind of a larger intelligence at play then than we’re capable of appreciating, and we just kind of need to, and it has our best interests in mind. And we just need to kind of cooperate with it.
Bonnie Greenwell: I agree. Yeah.
Rick Archer: There’s another question that came in. I think we’ve kind of covered this, but perhaps we haven’t covered it adequately, or this question wouldn’t have come in. And that is that, is it possible to have a full awakening without having a Kundalini awakening? What’s the difference between a Kundalini awakening and a regular awakening? If there’s no difference whatsoever?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, again, I think that I think that I would define awakening of consciousness as being a complete shift out of your normal way of seeing things, and falling into this aware, conscious wakes up, you don’t really wake up, your consciousness wakes itself up. It’s like it recognizes or remembers, oh, wait a minute, I’m not this little separate person in here, I’m, I’m some miraculous way part of everything. And that can happen in different ways. But that, that and it leaves your change, it changes you, it has a huge impact on you. More than likely, if you have happened to be walking down that like a friend of mine was just walking down the street one day, and it was like the world just dissolved. And she just saw that. So she had no reason for that. It just happened to her. I think that that can happen. But usually, almost always, there will be some energetic phenomena that will start turning up a little bit later. Because that’s not the end of spiritual awakening, it’s kind of the initiating of it. And everything that isn’t yet awake is going to come up for you to see through it or, or let it go, or transform or whatever you want to call it. So very often energies will start arising, as soon as that’s happened, that you’ll start noticing energies arising. A Kundalini awakening, as we talked about earlier, you can activate it and you can have it churning around in your stomach for the rest of your life and it never goes into a realization process. You’re just dealing with energies, or it can go into the throat and you become very expressive and, and are in the heart you become very loving, but you don’t get the the wisdom aspect. There’s both a love aspect or and a wisdom aspect to it. It has to awaken the you have to awaken the heart and the mind. And in Buddhism, they say the gut for everything to be finished in a way I don’t think it ever really finishes. But yeah, for the courtship feel complete, so that you’re no longer there’s no interest anymore in searching for anything. And, and so, a lot of times people have partial awakenings they because they’re very, very loving. They’re very in tune with with everybody and they’re really beautiful people, but maybe they haven’t had a full Kundalini rising.
Rick Archer: That’s an interesting point. I mean, would you say for instance, that great orators or opera singers or something might have a way They can throat chakra or, you know, great scientists might have an awakened intellect chakra, whichever one that is, or you know great humanitarians that might have an awakened Heart Chakra. And they don’t even think of it in those terms or know that, but they just happen to be enlivened in those particular chakras. And I think what you’re just saying is that, let’s not leave it at any one chakra, let’s, let’s waken, awaken them all.
Bonnie Greenwell: I would agree, I That sounds like a great way of looking at it. I think a lot of people do get, I don’t know, I don’t quite want to call it intellectual awakening, but it’s more of a, it’s the realization of truth. It’s like, it’s, I think, quite quite common that that’s how it appears in a Zen practitioner, for example, and that, they see the truth, they really see it. But it can lead to kind of distancing from life, like I, I don’t really need to be involved in any of this, because I can, I can see, it’s all irrelevant, and I’m not engaged anymore. And, and it can, that can feel good, it can feel satisfying for a while. But I do think that what has to happen, ultimately, is that awakeness comes down into the heart chakra. So that one can then lean into life, and be willing to be human too. And, and I think that many traditions have not talked about that much. Because the effort is so much on, you need the realization, you know, you’ve got to let go of you before you’re going to have the realization. So if you start talking about, you know, being a good person opening the heart and all that it gets reinterpreted by the mind in a different way than when, actually the heart actually opens. And then that hasn’t much to do with your decision to be loving. It’s just happens when it needs to happen. It’s just there.
Rick Archer: Did you see the recording of the talk that Adi Shanti and Francis Bennett gave in Berkeley, about a month ago, a few weeks ago?
Bonnie Greenwell: I didn’t see that. But I saw the discussion that you did, didn’t you do something I
Rick Archer: did one Tober we’re gonna do another one this October. But they gave one they did one in Berkeley a few weeks ago that was kind of on this point. And it was even saying that, you know, some years ago, if he started talking about, you know, embodiment, and becoming a better person and integrating into your humanity and all that stuff. People didn’t want to hear it. They said, We just want the realization don’t give us all that stuff. Yeah, but But these days, there’s kind of a shift in the whole spiritual community. Ida was saying that, and Francis both that seems to be moving in direction of people realizing the necessity for the integration and the full embodiment, that you that you were just referring to the, you know, you’re not just impersonal, abstract, absolute, being you are also, you know, Barney, or Rick, or you’re a person, you have a life, you know, and somehow you have to integrate the two.
Bonnie Greenwell: You know, one of the things, one way that Audra has put it is that when awakening moves through the heart, it becomes love. And so there is awakening as as wisdom, and seeing, seeing the truth. But it, it moves has to move through the heart. And when it’s when that same sensation is moving through the heart, that’s what you feel as love. And I think that’s, that’s a good way of looking at it. Because we really, truly, that’s what the world needs. I mean, it needs people to be not so free, so empty, that they don’t engage, right. And then I think the West particularly, we are not it’s not about escape. In fact, if you’re only awake when you’re out of everything else, you’re only half awake. If you can’t be happy being human to, you’re really only half awake, you’re not free, you’re only half free, because you can’t prefer one to the other and be free.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you remember the ox herding pictures is one in which is just pure awareness. But there’s the final one is the guy riding into town on his donkey or whatever, happy, happy and you know, spreading the joy. So anyway, so your books are the kind of books that you know, I sort of felt as I read them, I felt like wow, I wish we could just kind of do an interview where we just read this whole book and then keeps keep stopping and discussing various points. But obviously, that wouldn’t be practical. So you know, I would recommend these these books and I’ll link to them from from your page on my site. And I think most people will enjoy them. But before we conclude, is there any anything that we haven’t covered that you want to make sure to get into this discussion? Before we conclude?
Bonnie Greenwell: I just I want to reiterate I guess that The most important thing is really not finding a way to activate Kundalini, no matter what the most important thing is, if what you want is freedom from yourself basically is what you get is freedom from yourself is a very sincere and open hearted spiritual practice meditation or being in the world from the heart, and that your energies may arise. And, and you can embrace that, too. It’s kind of an embracing of everything that is. And anybody that’s, that’s gone through that far enough, feels only in incredible gratitude for it. So if there’s fear, you need to find a way to bless the part of you that’s fearful. But invite the part of you that is the longing, I love that Ramana points this out, that which is longing from the heart is that which is already awake, it’s like follow your longing to the source in the heart. Actually, he says to the right side of the heart to the chakra, a small chakra that’s on that side of the heart, that’s the source of the I thought, that’s the source of the longing, the longing for truth. So there’s a part of you that already knows it already wants it. And that’s what you, you’re just trying to get in touch with that and then let the energy do what it will. It’ll do what it needs to do. And my books or my books are for people in this process. There are self help books for people to carry them through the process. I hope I hope they work that way for people.
Rick Archer: And then you do the consultations over Skype. And everything may ask how much do you charge for those consultations?
Bonnie Greenwell: Well, generally, I charge $100 For a gift case me two or three hours because I do the questionnaire and then I talk with them. But I never pursue anybody for money. So if they if they if they can afford it, that’s good. If not, that’s fine, too. And
Rick Archer: reasonable. If it’s just takes you two or three hours and you charge $100, it’s a bargain.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, well, I’m not going to make a lot of money in this process. And I don’t need to. Also once in a while I do programs. In fact, I’m trying to kind of try to set up something on the web that I can do on a more consistent way. But I also do have workshops here in Ashland, Oregon, once in a while, at least once a year for people in this process. And so I’m generally available try to be available.
Rick Archer: Great. Well, I’ll be linking to your website. And I imagine you have some kind of email signup thing there. So people can be notified when you have an event, right? That kind of thing.
Bonnie Greenwell: Yeah, I have calendars on both of my websites, and people can contact me through through the websites. And that’s Kundalini guide.com and awakening guide.com.
Rick Archer: And I’ll link to those into your books. Great. So thanks, Bonnie, this has really been enjoyable.
Bonnie Greenwell: I’ve loved it’s great to meet you. I appreciate the work you do to expose people to so many different perspectives of spirituality. I think it’s very valuable today.
Rick Archer: I love doing it. I’ve always loved connecting people, even when I was in high school, I like giving people rides home, you know, because it was fun to sort of connect people with what they needed. But let me just let me make some concluding remarks. I’ve been speaking with Bonnie Greenwell, as you know, and this is an ongoing series of interviews, as you probably also know, to see, you know, the whole archive of all the older ones go back, go to batgap.com. And look under the past interviews, menu item where you’ll see them categorized in four or five different ways. And there’s also a future interviews menu. And if you’ve been watching this and wondering how it is that people are sending in questions, the way to do that is going to the future interviews menu and you’ll see a link to the live feed of each interview that’s being done over Skype. And if you tune in while we’re doing it, and the times are given there, then there’s a form at the bottom of that future interviews page where you can put in a question and it will come to me. There’s a Donate button as I mentioned at the beginning, which we depend and rely upon people clicking if they feel so motivated in order to enable to us to put as much time into this as we do. There’s an email newsletter signup thing, so you can be notified each time a new interview is posted. You can also subscribe to the news to the YouTube channel. I think YouTube will notify you when a new one is posted. And this also exists as an audio podcast. So there’s a page on batgap.com where you can sign up for that through iTunes or various other podcasting services that work on different devices. So thanks for listening or watching the next couple of weeks are going to people have sometimes said well, you know, you started out just interviews with ordinary people. And then it seems like You’re interviewing all these teachers who are selling books and all this stuff. So we thought we’d just take a couple of weeks and interview a couple of ordinary people who just we happen to, you know, get in touch with, or got in touch with us, one of whom had no interest in spirituality whatsoever, kind of like the kind of people Bonnie was talking about earlier. And things started happening. So we thought it might be interesting to talk to him and maybe some people can relate to that. So that’s what we’re doing. So thanks for listening or watching. Thank you again, Bonnie. And we’ll see you next week. Bye bye. Bye bye.