Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done over 500 of them now, and if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to bathgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu. This project is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to contribute something, there’s a PayPal button on every page of batgap.com. My guest today is Dorothy Walters, PhD. Welcome, Dorothy. Dorothy just had her 91st birthday. Happy birthday.
Dorothy: Thank you.
Rick: And I’ll read a little bio here that she sent me. Dorothy spent most of her early professional life as a professor of English literature in various Midwestern universities. She helped to found one of the first women’s studies programs in this country, and served as the director of this program for many years. After an extended residence in San Francisco, she now lives and writes in Colorado, where she has a close relationship with the mountains as well as various streams and canyons. She underwent major kundalini awaking in 1981, a phenomenon totally unfamiliar to her, as well as to most of her contemporaries at the time. Since then, she has devoted her life to researching and writing about this subject, and to witnessing the unfolding of this process within herself, as well as assisting others on a similar path through writing and other means. As someone who made her extensive journey without the direction of any external leader or guru, church or established order, she’s a strong believer in the guru within, the inner god rather than the external authority figure or institution. She feels that universal kundalini awakening is the means for planetary and personal evolution of consciousness, and that evidence of planetary initiation is becoming more and more prevalent. Her kundalini awakening and subsequent process of unfolding are described in her memoir, “Unmasking the Rose,” I’m holding it up here, “A Record of a Kundalini Initiation.” Her poems, taken from her four previous volumes, are published as “Some Kiss We Want, Poems Selected and New.” Her article on kundalini and the mystic path was included in “Kundalini Rising,” an anthology from Sounds True Publications. Her poems, which have been included in many anthologies and journals, have been set to music and sung at the Royal Opera House in London, as well as Harvard University, used as texts for various sermons, and read aloud in churches, included in doctoral projects, been frequently quoted, and have given inspiration to many. Recently, a pilgrim to Petra read one of her poems aloud while there. So, this might as well pop in a question here, Dorothy. I didn’t understand what was meant by a pilgrim to Petra. What’s Petra?
Dorothy: What is Petra?
Rick: Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it.
Dorothy: Well, Petra is a famous antique historical site. Petra means a stone. It’s made entirely out of stone. It’s very ancient. And that sentence says recently, but I don’t think anybody could go there now. I think it’s become a war territory. But at the time, pilgrims could go there, and they enjoyed it. It’s a famous historical site.
Rick: Okay, where is it, just out of curiosity?
Dorothy: I think it’s in Syria, if I’m not mistaken.
Rick: Ah, yeah, we wouldn’t want to go there now.
Dorothy: No, not now.
Rick: Yeah. I should add, finally, from your bio, that you often give counsel and referral free of charge to those undergoing spontaneous Kundalini awakening and/or spiritual transformation. Do you still do that?
Dorothy: Oh, absolutely. And it isn’t just spontaneous. Many people today are having Kundalini awakening, and they themselves are not quite sure what is going on. The first thing that I’m asked most often is to reassure them that they have not gone crazy, because it feels to some like they’ve gone crazy. Kundalini can really upset your system, and it’s a new self that’s being created. So, people write to me. I had somebody who wrote to me just yesterday, and this dear man has been having Kundalini since he was a child. He’s had no one to talk to, and for some reason, he’s living, I think, in the East somewhere, I don’t know where. He, is, can neither read nor write, and he said he found my site on YouTube. I’ve done several YouTube presentations with Andrew Harvey, but that answered many of his questions. And he was so glad just to find me. They’re just glad to find somebody who has been through this and can help them manage their process. Yes, I do that regularly.
Rick: Good. Yeah, I remember early on when I started doing these interviews, I interviewed a woman who started having Kundalini experiences spontaneously, and she had no idea what they were. And she started doing research here and there on the Internet, and at first she thought it was some kind of disease, like Kundalini disease, you know? She didn’t know what that was. Eventually, she kind of figured it out, but obviously, without the knowledge of what it is, it could be very disconcerting. Something that’s actually kind of beautiful could be frightening.
Dorothy: Oh, very much so, and it can have negative effects as well as positive. That’s that’s true.
Dorothy: Kundalini is a two-edged sword, believe me.
Rick: Do you think the negative effects can be exacerbated if you don’t understand it and you’re kind of fighting it as opposed to
Dorothy: I would Think so.
Rick: going with it?
Dorothy: I would think so. I think what Kundalini wants is a clear path through your system, and it does everything it can to clear your system. And if you’ve got blocks in your system from whatever source, whether they’re physical, mental, emotional, whatever, that’s going to be a big problem. And Kundalini will work on you until you clear those blocks, and then it’ll go to another block, and it’ll work on that block. But some people have a terrible time. Some people are disabled, they can’t work, they’re emotionally unstable, they have a terrible time. I don’t know what the difference is. I know that some people have a very difficult time and others do not.
Rick: Yeah. I suppose perhaps it depends on, well we can speculate as to the variables, but one would be, like you just said, the blocks. I mean, how, how voluminous they are and how solid they are.
Dorothy: How open you are.
Rick: Yeah. Another would be, yeah, how open you are, how rapid the progress of Kundalini is. I mean, if it’s just a trickle, maybe it’s not going to be too disruptive, but if it’s a what would be a deluge or something, then it could be very unsettling.
Dorothy: Or it can be very wonderful.
Dorothy: Mine came as a deluge, but go ahead.
Rick: Okay. I just wanna, I suppose we, just for the sake, I mean, undoubtedly, almost these days, just about everybody who’s listening to this thing has probably heard of Kundalini and could actually give us some sort of an explanation of what it is. But just so that we’re more or less on the same page, give us your explanation and your definition so that when we use the term, we’ll all be understanding how we’re using it.
Dorothy: More or less, because Kundalini is still a great mystery. I don’t know that there is any single definitive definition. It is essentially the life force. It is in everyone. We all have the life force. But generally, that life force stays in the subconscious mind. It’s with us, but we’re not aware of it any more than we’re aware of our digestive processes or how our heart works or anything like that. But when awakening occurs, the subconscious is brought into the conscious mind, and we do become aware of it, for better or for worse. So, you can call it the life force, some people call it the electro-spiritual flow of energy, some people call it the beloved within, because it can act like a beloved, and it can act as though it’s making love to you from your deepest recesses of your being. So, But it’s still, I think, a mystery, and I don’t think we have a full explanation yet. But it’s wonderful when it works right.
Dorothy: It’s like a beautiful antique car when everything is working just fine, it’s great, but things can get out of kilter.
Rick: Yeah. It could also be like a race car in terms of its power.
Rick: This might sound like a dumb question, but I think, you know, couldn’t we say that all forms of life have a life force? Elephants and dogs and all kinds of…
Dorothy: Absolutely, absolutely, and that is certainly a belief that everything has kundalini as the life force. And when we have ours, we just simply become aware of it.
Rick: So, I wonder if humans are uniquely capable of becoming aware of it.
Dorothy: Well, I don’t know what animals are aware of. They probably just accept it and think that’s who I am. That’s what I am and am supposed to be. I don’t know.
Rick: Some people I’ve interviewed contend that kundalini can progress over a sequence of lifetimes, that it can actually have awakened in some previous life, and then you die, and then you’re born again, and then next thing you know in this life, it sort of picks up where it left off and continues to progress.
Dorothy: Well, I’ve thought about that a lot, because I haven’t told you about my experience, which was very swift, very subtle, and very unexpected, and I can’t imagine how that happened if it did not come from a previous lifetime. I thank myself that you bring your subtle body in again, and to the point it has developed in a previous life, because I certainly didn’t do anything, I’ll tell you about my experience later, but I didn’t do anything to bring it on in this life except for to wish for it to happen.
Rick: Yeah. Well, you were doing some little things, we’ll get to those in a minute too, but you just alluded to the subtle body, and perhaps we should explain that, because some people don’t understand that we have one or have any idea of what it is, and therefore the whole notion of reincarnation is puzzling to them because they don’t understand how anything � they don’t conceive of there being something which could sort of transition from one gross body to the next.
Dorothy: And you want me to explain this?
Rick: Yeah, as best you can, you know, maybe we’re both speculating here.
Dorothy: Well, okay, let me put it this way. We all know we have a physical body, but certainly we know now that there’s another body, which I’m calling the subtle body, which is kind of like an energetic body within our physical body. Now, people talk about seeing auras. What are they looking at? They’re looking at, I think, the subtle body. People talk about feeling bliss, ecstasy. What’s feeling bliss and ecstasy? I think it is the subtle body. I don’t think that’s � it impacts, it impacts the physical body, but basically they’re one and the same. If you can learn to see or feel your own aura, you will understand more about the subtle body, and sometimes you can see or feel your own aura stretching as far as you can stretch your arms.
Rick: Yeah, and I know you’ve had a lot of experiences of seeing auras. Maybe we’ll talk about those too. We’re racking up a list of things here that we need to talk about.
Rick: Yeah, I mean, and we’ve all heard these stories of people who are undergoing surgery or something and they’re observing the operation from the ceiling or something like that.
Dorothy: Yeah, that’s out of body. That’s out of body, and certainly that would be your subtle body that goes up to the ceiling or beyond the ceiling or goes up to Roof and sees a red shoe and comes down and tells the surgeon, “I saw a red shoe,” and they go up there and check, “By the way, there’s a red shoe up there.” So, people, and some people practice that almost regularly. They like to go out of body.
Rick: Yeah, some people astral project intentionally.
Rick: But anyway, the principle we’re laying down here is that the gross world, as it’s ordinarily perceived, is not the whole enchilada.
Dorothy: Certainly not.
Rick: Right, that there are subtler realms and subtler realities and so on.
Rick: Yeah, good. It’s good to remind, I don’t know, it’s good to be clear on that understanding, I think, otherwise a lot of things don’t make sense.
Rick: Yeah. Okay, so you mentioned that you really had no concept of kundalini or particular interest in it or anything else, but you were doing, you were sort of a seeker as I gathered. You were doing the Ouija board with your partner and sort of, you were showing early interest in mystical things.
Dorothy: That’s correct.
Rick: And so, I don’t know if that’s a cause or an effect or just a correlation, but there was definitely something cooking there with you.
Dorothy: Oh yeah.
Dorothy: I had, yeah, I was interested in psychic things. I was interested in various phenomena that we think of as psychic. I also had, I had discovered the Great Mother.
Rick: Explain that.
Dorothy: Explain what? The Great Mother?
Rick: Mm-hmm. How did you discover her? What did you discover?
Dorothy: Well, I discovered it when I was visiting Boulder one time when I was living away, and I happened to pull down a book which talked about and had pictures of the Great Mother. And I discovered that, Merlin Stone wrote a wonderful book about that time. She’s called “When God Was a Woman.” And the Mother was worshipped throughout the Mediterranean world before it became under the sway of the patriarchy. And early tribes were very impressed with the female. The female could do two things that no male could do. She could bear children and she could bleed and not die. And they were very, and then fortunately or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, at some point they discovered the role of the male in begetting children. And that kind of put the Mother in her place. But it’s still a very powerful image. And many women today, particularly in groups, love the Great Mother. She is actually simply a visual form, I think, of the basic universal cosmic energy. And I was just reading a book about that recently, that all the goddesses and gods, that as they are depicted, don’t exist in that form. They are just representations of the energy that lies behind them, the ultimate energy, the cosmic energy, the life energy.
Dorothy: So, it’s a wonderful discovery to find that God was once a woman.
Rick: And did you have some kind of esoteric or mystical experience of that, as well as discovering it in a book?
Dorothy: Oh yeah, I felt it very strongly in my body. I went around to classes and gave talks on when God was a woman. That was a whole lot of fun in Kansas. And those women just loved it. Believe me, they were ready to hear that. So, then it led on to other areas of investigation. The divine feminine, the divine masculine, God is both feminine and masculine, all this.
Rick: that’s certainly the way the Hindu or the Vedic culture depicts it.
Rick: They even have some gods that are both masculine and feminine in one body. Like one side of the picture.
Dorothy: Shiva, Shakti.
Rick: Yeah, Shiva, Shakti.
Dorothy: Shiva, a lot of people don’t realize that Shiva is just a representation of the masculine aspect. And the Shakti is just his feminine half. And a lot of depictions show him literally spread in two, with feminine on one side and masculine on the other.
Rick: One thing that I picked up on in your book, I started to pick up on it before you even said it, and then at a certain point you just said it more explicitly, is that you had been through a series of heartbreaks.
Dorothy: That’s correct.
Rick: Yeah, due to broken relationships ending. And as I was reading that I was thinking, “Huh, she’s getting softened up here in preparation for this kundalini awakening.”
Dorothy: I tried.
Rick: And then eventually you acknowledged that. Yeah.
Dorothy: Often there is some kind of crisis or trauma before kundalini awakens. It’s like, to quote that rascal guru once known as Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh, it’s like an opening is prepared. And once that opening is prepared, kundalini can rush in. And I think that’s what happened to me. Because your energies, when you’re in emotional crisis, your energies are all shaken up. They’re not solid, they’re not fixed. They’re all kind of jabberwocky. And things can happen to you that might not happen otherwise.
Rick: Yeah. I mean, I suppose if we zoom out to the big enough picture, and if we regard the universe as having a sort of ultimately benign purpose and as being this sort of evolutionary machine that has our ultimate enlightenment in mind, so to speak, then we can’t regard the difficulties that befall people as being capricious or cruel or anything else. They must somehow fit into the whole cosmic purpose that helps us grow over the long term.
Dorothy: Right. But I don’t think any of us has the whole picture.
Dorothy: I think we all get a glimpse or a portion or something, and kundalini is a wonderful window into possibility.
Rick: Yeah. So, let’s get to what you experienced when your kundalini first awoke. Take us into that. I suppose it was a particular moment, even. Take us into that and describe in as much detail as you can.
Dorothy: Okay. The year was 1981. As you said, I was a teacher in a university in Wichita, Kansas. I had basically no knowledge of Eastern thought. I had taken a PhD in literature, and that meant Western literature. I had a wonderful education. I was exposed to the great classics. I’m not talking about Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, the great Greek plays, the great dramas. All of that gave me a fine foundation in Western wisdom, and there is a lot of wisdom in those texts, believe me. But I didn’t know one thing about Eastern philosophy or practice or anything. I’d never meditated. I didn’t know anybody who did. I had never, I had hardly heard of yoga. Yoga in 1981, it was a different world, if you want to think about it. Some people weren’t even, Some of you listeners probably weren’t even born in that year. Others of you were probably very young. But in 1981, you did not find a kundalini yoga studio on every corner, as you tend to do today. You did not find even a yoga studio. There was, in Wichita, Kansas, no place even to get a massage. I’d never had a massage, unless you went to the YWCA. That was about it. So all of it that we are taking for granted today, all this that we’re surrounded with, it’s a deluge. We’re inundated with this new thought, did not exist in 1981. I knew one woman who was reputed to do yoga. I didn’t know her. And there was another woman I knew who was a vegetarian. And that was the extent of my knowledge of the new thought. So I was a beginner in every sense of the word. I happened to be reading a book about that time when I was feeling quite devastated. I thought I had been destroyed with this breakup. I happened to be reading a book, and it wasn’t about kundalini, but it had two pages on kundalini. It was a book about world mythology, actually, but it was written by a Western writer, whose name was William Irwin Thompson. And somehow for me, since I was an academic, coming from an academic background, that made it seem more comfortable, a Western writer rather than an Eastern writer. And on these two pages, he mentioned kundalini. He didn’t tell you how to do it. He didn’t say much about what it was. He just simply said it existed. And he may have quoted the myth. You know, the myth that comes to us from the East, we all probably know it now, is that there is a serpent at the bottom of the spine, and the serpent rises up through the chakras. I couldn’t even pronounce that word. And then it finally would rise up to your head, and after many years of practice and austerities and under the guidance of a guru, you might reach what they called enlightenment. And I thought, gosh, I wonder if I could do that. Well, you’re not supposed to be able to do it like I did. I knew, perhaps I’d read a book or something, and it talked about you could have your ball of energy in your lower parts, in your lower abdomen. So I thought, well, I’m going to see if I can feel a warm ball of energy there, and I did. And then I thought, okay, now what? Now what do I do? I’ve got to get that up somehow. How do I do that? Well, I started breathing. I called it yogic breathing. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. It was just deep breathing is all it was. Deep breathing in, out, deep breathing in, out, and concentration. Get it up, get it up, get it up. First thing I knew, and it didn’t take long, that energy that had been in my lower abdomen shot into my head. The rest of that myth is that the head will open, the crown will open like a thousand lotus petals unfolding, and that is exactly what it felt like. I thought, well, no wonder they use this metaphor. And I realized later, there are pulsations that occur within the head, and those pulsations do indeed feel like a flower that’s opening, opening, opening. So there I was with ecstasy in my head. Didn’t even have a name for it. I knew generally what it was about, because I’d read, I knew that much about Kundalini, and it was wonderful. And then I began to feel, it was as if the beautiful energies of the whole universe were flowing into my head from without. And you think that was a delight. It was fabulous. And then after a while, maybe a few minutes, maybe five minutes, maybe 10, I don’t know, it occurred to me, I don’t know what I’m doing. Is this good? Is this bad? What’s happening? Seemed like when I didn’t think about what was happening, it would continue. When I remembered, here I am sitting in my living room in Wichita, Kansas, with all these elm trees lining the street, and having this ecstatic experience. And when I thought about what was happening, it would all go away. But then I decided, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’d better try to get this down. And so I did. I did everything I could to bring it down, and it went down. But I had been in a state for which I had no name. I did not know, I not only did, the first thing you’re told when you have Kundalini awakening is find a reliable teacher. Good luck in Wichita, Kansas, in 1981.
Rick: Like in the yellow pages under Kundalini, right?
Dorothy: Yeah, exactly. No, it’s not in the yellow pages. And I not only did not know where to find a teacher, there weren’t any teachers. I didn’t know where a guru was. There weren’t any. I don’t think there were any gurus in Kansas at that time. I was on my own. And I thought, oh, what am I going to do? I am on my own, and I can’t have, I can’t find — and there weren’t any books. There was no Internet. Remember that?
Rick: Oh, yeah, I know that.
Dorothy: And in the 1990s, even, when the Internet first started, I asked a friend who was very avant-garde in terms of technology. He said, “Tell me something, and I’ll put it in. We’ll see if we can bring up something on the Internet.” I gave him the word Kundalini. We found four references. If you put that word in now, you won’t know what to do with all — thousands, literally thousands of references. You’ll be overwhelmed. You won’t know where to start. So I didn’t have anybody to guide me. I did keep a journal of what was happening because that ecstasy was not just a one-time thing. It came again the next day and the next day, and it went on. This was May when it happened, perfect time for a teacher because then school’s out, and you have more time to devote to things like this. So from May all through the summer of 1981, I experienced intense ecstasy day after day after day. I didn’t know anything about meditation, but I did decide — I did decide, okay. There had been this — in this book that I mentioned, there had been two illustrations that had really impressed me. And one was Shiva dancing, and one was — I guess it was Shiva Shakti, and one was St. Teresa of Avila, who’s noted for the fact that she had ecstasy in her spiritual awakening for many years. I don’t know if you know the great statue by Bernini, which is in Italy. And it shows her, and she is in deep rapture. She has an angel with a lance right there thrusting into her heart, and she is going into fabulous — well, most of us don’t go into ecstasy unless we’re a saint or something like that. I certainly wasn’t a saint, I didn’t think. If so, I didn’t know about it. So anyway, I went into ecstasy. It lasted, and I did find one friend. I had one friend who had been up with the fellow later known as Osho, because he had an ashram in India, and then later in Oregon, and she had been up there. And so I did talk to her about what was happening. I didn’t have a word, and she said, “You have been into ecstasy.” I said, “Oh, really? Is that what it was?” “Now I have a word for it.” I was very grateful. So that did happen, and the summer was beautiful, and I was meditating on Shiva. Well, now, Shiva is very powerful.
Rick: How would you meditate on Shiva? Just visualize?
Dorothy: Just visualize internally.
Dorothy: Just internally. Just thought of an image of Shiva. And when I did, these ecstatic energies became almost unbearable. I mean, our system is not used to carrying this level of energy. We just aren’t. And this level of energy would ramp up, and it would just be so intense. I thought, “I don’t know if I can take this.” And I thought about it, and I thought, “You know, this is like trying to have sex with God every morning before breakfast.” And I don’t think I’m up for this. So I asked for somebody or something to send me something not quite as intense, because with Shiva, I had just finally laid on the floor, stretched out my arms, and said, “Here I am, God, please take me.” But I asked for something milder, and it did come, and it was in the form of Krishna. Now, Krishna is the most gentler God, and Krishna, the famous Krishna, is very effeminate, actually, in his aspect. And he plays the flute, and the myth is that he makes love to the gopis, to the milkmaids, many at one time. Well, that’s pretty good. But of course, he’s doing it with mentally. I can see why mentally each one would feel that Krishna was making love with him.
Rick: And he was just a boy at that time, too.
Dorothy: [Laughs] Yeah, right.
Dorothy: Right, exactly. Okay, so then what happened? So I felt better now that I had Krishna. But fall came.
Rick: So let me just quickly interject a question here. So you, you know, you were sort of maxed out in terms of intensity meditating on Shiva, and so you decided you need something a little bit smoother and calmer, so you switched to Krishna. Did you notice when you switched to Krishna that there was a distinct shift in your experience, the quality, and the intensity of it?
Dorothy: The intensity, for sure. The intensity, for sure. If I can back up just a little bit, when I had this first awakening, I also had an awareness, a perception, a concept that came to me. And in the throes of that, I realized, in my words, I really didn’t exist, that I was a fiction that I had made up for myself, that what did exist was this infinite, indescribable flow of energy, the vast energy of the cosmos. And I was part of it, but only in the way that a cell is part of your own body. That cell is you, but in another way, you’re a lot more than that one cell. Or let’s say a raindrop falls into the ocean. It’s now part of the ocean, but the ocean is infinitely more vast. So that awareness came to me, and some people connect that with enlightenment. I don’t know if it is or isn’t. I don’t know what enlightenment is for sure. But, and some people get that far, and they get very upset. They don’t want to be told that they don’t exist. They want to say, “I do exist. I know I exist. Here, I’ll pinch myself. I exist.” So, but I got that awareness, and I think that is true, although I also believe what Rick and I were talking about a while ago. There is a subtle body that continues, I think, from life to life, and I don’t know how long it goes on. But otherwise, our persona in this life, I think, is a fiction. But we have to have it. We have to have something to operate in.
Rick: Yeah, in order to function. I interviewed a woman a couple years ago named Tree, and she was telling me that when she underwent her awakening, she got into this state of “I don’t exist,” and it was very deep. And not only did she not exist, but I mean, she didn’t even recognize her husband, and you know, there were a lot of things that she just had to sort of relearn. But then she said eventually she came around, and now, you know, things are much more integrated, and she of course recognizes her husband.
Dorothy: That’s good.
Rick: He appreciates that.
Dorothy: I bet he was happy.
Rick: But the ability to sort of function while yet remaining in that profound state is regained. And sometimes it’s never lost very much, but other times it, you know, you really get blown out. Yeah, Irene says she can relate to that, not recognizing her husband. (Laughter) You know, and it’s like we were saying in the beginning, sometimes this is a gentle, incremental, slow process, and sometimes it’s all stops or pulled out, you know? And so obviously the person’s orientation to practical life can be across a whole spectrum, from dysfunction, entirely dysfunctional, to still being able to hold down a job.
Dorothy: Well, I called it walking in the two worlds.
Dorothy: You have to learn to walk in two worlds. One is the ordinary, familiar world. You have to have a job, you have to have friends, you have to be able to recognize your husband or whoever. That is one world. But there’s another world that can be a very private world. And it can be where you have these mystical, fabulous experiences. But you see, one of the problems I had, not only did I not have a guru or a teacher, I didn’t have anybody really to talk to. I had to be in almost total isolation, going through these extreme awakening, ecstatic experiences. And I didn’t even have a friend. You know, you’d like to tell your friend, “Hey, guess what happened to me?” That’s very important to have a spiritual buddy. That’s one of the things I tell people off the bat. If you can possibly find someone you can share your experiences with, please do. Because that’s important. I didn’t have anybody. So I just wrote a journal. And ultimately, that journal became the basis for this spiritual autobiography. So if you want to know what it’s like to be awakened in that way in Kansas in 1981, and be all by yourself in the journey, that’s a book that will describe it in great detail.
Rick: It’s nice that your experiences were largely ecstatic, though, you know, because they could have been much more unpleasant.
Dorothy: Well, I’ll get to the next segment here.
Rick: Okay. Actually, before we get to the next segment, there was a little thread that I wanted to tie in here. And that was that in your book you mentioned that prior to the awakening, you went through a phase of a lot of dread and anxiety that seemed to be mounting up to the point of that experiential breakthrough. So why do you think that was?
Dorothy: Well, I think that all had to do with the breakup, the personal breakup. Because that was like falling, like the whole, there was a platform underneath you, and it opened up and you fell into a dark pit. It was very, very, very intense.
Rick: So you had a sense of security and normalcy and everything is hunky-dory, and then that was pulled out from under you, and that kind of left you vulnerable and perhaps open to this experiential breakthrough.
Dorothy: I think that’s exactly right.
Dorothy: Okay, but Rick, before I get to the downside of Kundalini for me, I want to mention that during this early awakening section, I literally was obviously in a very altered state of consciousness, so much so that I had sort of inner guidance, and I did some things which I later recognized which were a kind of initiation process.
Rick: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. In fact, it said, I quoted in your book, “A prolonged initiation directed by unseen guides.”
Dorothy: That’s right.
Rick: So, let’s talk about that.
Dorothy: Okay. In Thompson’s book, he mentioned something about Tibetan Buddhist initiation, and he talked about how the aspirant would hold a vajra and a bell. And the vajra, for those who might not know, is simply like, think of a wand with a ball at either end. That’s a vajra.
Rick: Like a little barbell or something.
Dorothy: A little barbell, exactly.
Rick: But it’s tiny.
Dorothy: Yeah. I wanted to do that because he talked about it in his book. Where was I going to get a vajra? I hardly knew what it was. Well, I looked around, and in my house, believe it or not, I found a vajra. But it’s not an authentic Tibetan vajra. It was made of glass, and it did have the bulb at either end. So, I held that, and I said that was my vajra. Then it said you had to have a bell. Of course, they’re talking about those wonderful large Tibetan bells. I certainly didn’t have one of those, but I wanted to hold a bell. Well, my mother had collected bells, and somehow I found one of hers. It was a little bitty bell. It was only about this big. But I thought a bell is a bell. So, I held the bell in one hand, my vajra in the other. I went through this kind of initiation. I did various unusual things. Later, I found out that I had, in my way, as best I could, pretty well followed what is called the first-level Buddhist initiation ceremony. First level. And, What did I do? Well, I held the vajra and the bell. I experienced the opening of the crown. Now, in the authentic ceremony, I read that often the student actually receives a crown, and that crown is actually put on their head during this initiation. Well, I didn’t have a crown to put on the head. But after I had went through this, I did ask whoever I was in her voice talking with, I said, “Did my crown open?” And the answer came in an image, and the image was of a crown. So, I decided, well, it must have been a crown opening. One of the parts sometimes is, I believe, the vase ceremony where water is poured on the student. Well, I didn’t pour any water on my head, but showers became very, very important. Water became very important to me. And so, that was kind of my water opening. And there were other aspects that I experienced. And later, it was much later, when I read about the first level Buddhist initiation, I realized I had pretty well followed all of that, just intuitively. And that’s why I say, “Under the guidance of unseen guides.”
Rick: You mentioned toward the end of your book that you had a cognition of Padmasambhava, you can tell us about who he is, but that was one of the five, I guess, criteria of an initiation, and it was the one that had been missing, but you eventually had that cognition as well. Did I get that right?
Dorothy: I think so.
Dorothy: I think so. I had some other things that weren’t necessarily part of the initiation per se, but during that period, I did look at myself in a full-length mirror, and I did see the light around the body, and I saw my lips move. Now, that was the only instance where I saw something external, saw something external. I did know what a bodhisattva was, and I thought I would love to be a bodhisattva, because I thought of a bodhisattva as someone who simply dedicates their life to the betterment of humanity. So, I saw my lips move, but it didn’t say bodhisattva. It said bodhidharma, full of light. What was a bodhidharma? I had no idea. I had no idea what it was talking about. So, I looked up bodhidharma, and I read what I could about bodhidharma, and I finally translated it and discovered that bodhidharma was a great spiritual master, and he took Buddhism to China, I guess it was. Wasn’t it China?
Rick: Or Tibet, maybe?
Dorothy: No, I think he took it all the way to China. Anyway, he was one of the great masters. Well, I thought, for heaven’s sakes, I know I’m not an incarnation of the bodhidharma. That’s going too far. But I tried to translate those syllables, which I did not understand. And I finally came up with dharma, I translated as truth, and I translated that term as truth speakers, speaker. And I think I did become a truth speaker, because later on I did become a writer, and I said things that most people had not thought of at that time. I had tried to talk about the inner truth rather than accepting the received truth from elsewhere. So, I was a truth speaker. I think I could say that.
Rick: Do you have any idea who or what these unseen guides were?
Dorothy: What these what?
Rick: These unseen guides? Do you feel like there’s a sort of a group of…
Dorothy: I sensed there were guides around. I did not see them. I think we all have guides. Some people name their guides, you know, Tom Dick or Harry or Mary, Mary Jean or whoever they are. I do not name my guides. I sense being in touch with guides from time to time. I think that they set this whole thing up for me, because it was confluence of many parts, many impacts. And it all happened there at the same time, at the right time. And it was almost like, okay, we’ve got her. Let’s take her now before she knows what’s happening. And that’s what happened. They took me quickly, and after that, my life was never the same. Believe me, it was never, ever, ever the same.
Rick: I like what you’re saying. I really have a sense of that myself, and it fascinates me. But it’s sort of like, I get the feeling that, you know, there is this whole level of guidance that oversees the earth, and there are probably many, many, many guides involved, and there’s probably a hierarchy of them. But they kind of keep an eye on who’s ripe and who’s a potential collaborator.
Dorothy: Who’s ready. Who’s ready.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Dorothy: And the moment is ripe. And I was 53 years old. You know, I’m not like a kid who just went to an ashram and had a bliss experience. I wasn’t that way at all. I had a good foundation, I will say that, for my work, reading, and so forth. So, I just think that the guides decided, whoever those guides are, I think they like it that we’re talking. They’re enjoying this.
Rick: Yeah Give it to them, kid.
Rick: Yeah Tell them the truth. But you have to remember, in 1981, when this happened, this was not ordinary experience at all. That was very, and even now, you don’t hear of too many who are having anything quite that spontaneous.
Rick: Yeah, although as we’ll discuss today, there does seem to be some sort of epidemic happening on the planet.
Dorothy: Yeah, now.
Rick: A good one.
Dorothy: Just think how long ago 1981 is.
Rick: Almost 40 years.
Dorothy: Think about that, 40 years. And Jung said then that Kundalini would not be known in the West for another generation. Well, one day it occurred to me, we’ve passed that generation. We’re here. We’re doing it. This is it.
Rick: We’re touching upon it now, we might as well get into it a little bit, and a few questions have come in from listeners, so I want to ask those too. I’ll print it in my own words, but you more or less said in your book, and I think you and Andrew Harvey in your conversations were also saying, that there seems to be some kind of upsurge or upwelling of enlightenment or consciousness or awakening happening in the earth, in the world, which we’re going through some kind of birthing process, and the Kundalini awakening is one aspect of it, one feature of it.
Dorothy: I think it’s the main aspect myself. I really do. I think it’s behind this whole process that we’re all in, and I call it evolution of the humans, human beings, the species, I think is evolving. And I think that it’s happening now, and of course, a lot of people think that now. They call it different things, but it’s happening. And Andrew, see I didn’t meet Andrew until the middle of the 1990s, and he was the very first person who listened to my story and sympathized with it and encouraged me. Rick, I had tried to tell a couple of people who should have known better what was going on with me. I told a guy who was there in Wichita, and he was an energy teacher, he was teaching us how to walk and how to focus on our energy and this, that, and the other, and I told him that I was experiencing all this ecstasy. He looked at me, he said, “If you’re lucky, you’ll get over this.”
Rick: That’s funny.
Dorothy: Who wants to get over ecstasy? And then later, I told a teacher in San Francisco, a very well-known and authentic teacher of Qigong, she was married to a Qigong master. He could, he was from China, he could stand on meat cleavers, he could stand on uncooked eggs and not break the shells. I thought, well, she will know. I told her what was happening to me, and she said, “No,” she said, “Nothing like that.” Said, “Your energies can be hot or cold or lack electricity. There’s nothing in the literature like you describe.”
Rick: People have their own little world of understanding.
Dorothy: Well, that was again a long time ago,
Dorothy: and I think there’s a lot more awareness now and a lot more going on. That’s what I hear from people.
Rick: Oh yeah, I run into it all the time.
Dorothy: That’s your business.
Rick: Yeah, it’s my business. You were in Wichita, I was in Connecticut when I first learned to meditate in 1968, and two years later I started having kundalini experiences.
Dorothy: Was this TM? Was it TM?
Rick: Yeah, uh-huh. And then I became a teacher and I taught for 30 years, and believe me, I’ve met a gazillion people in that context who were having kundalini awakenings and symptoms and the whole deal. So, it’s been out there, but it’s just obviously not public knowledge.
Dorothy: Well, it’s all over now.
Rick: Yeah, it’s all over now.
Dorothy: Epidemic. But that’s good. I think that’s part of our process. I think you, and I would say me, were kind of early models.
Dorothy: We kind of were pilgrims. We were kind of breaking ground for people who were going to come later. And it was harder. It was tougher. For me, it was. But if you had TM, if you had a community, that was helpful to you.
Rick: Yeah, and a bunch of knowledge to go with it and everything. But that’s an interesting idea about the breaking ground thing. I mean, I’ve sometimes brought up the point in these interviews that maybe back in the Buddha’s day, there was a very thick membrane that had to be penetrated to break through to awakening, and that it took kind of a Superman to break through it. Whereas these days, there’s been so many holes punched in that membrane that it’s getting more and more porous, you know?
Dorothy: Well, that’s a good way to put it, and there’s so much more help now.
Dorothy: Whether you read it, whether you meet people, Boulder is a hot spot.
Rick: It is, it’s one of the main ones.
Dorothy: It really is, and you just run into people all over having all kinds of wonderful experiences.
Rick: Yeah. Well, here’s one. Let’s talk about this guy’s experience. He just sent this in. Tom Davis from Bethesda, Maryland asks, “I had a profound kundalini experience decades ago during which I experienced cosmic consciousness, God consciousness, and unity consciousness with great clarity lasting several hours. Decades later, after 40 years of TM and a few other spiritual practices with deeper understanding of life and consciousness, I continue to remain solely confined by the waking state.” So he had those experiences momentarily but seems to have lost them. “What to do? I’m close to the end of this body.”
Dorothy: What’s his question then?
Rick: Well, his question is, 40 years ago he had a kundalini experience and he was experiencing higher states of consciousness, and then he kind of like got locked back into ordinary waking state and he feels like that’s just a memory, now he’s coming close to the end of this life, and he never managed to sort of stabilize it, apparently.
Dorothy: So what does he want to know?
Rick: I guess he’s wondering what to do, you know? He feels like he’s just stuck in the waking state and he had this beautiful experience.
Dorothy: Well, I think he should do what all of us do if we’re wanting to move to a deeper level. We should give time to it. If he doesn’t give any time to it, it’s not going to happen. And by time I mean a practice, whatever his practice is, community is good, reading is good, poetry is good, music is good, all of those. You don’t just be there because you think you want to be there. You have to attend to it, practice it, give it a chance, who knows. If there’s any comfort, I have read that many, many people, when they’re dying, the kundalini releases and then they go into that, what the near-death people call, unconditional love, and that to me is the full kundalini. Many people like this state of, this sense of vastness. myself, I’ve not had that exactly. I’m not even sure what that is. I, myself, do not wish to go in a state of vastness. I wish to go into a state of ecstasy because for me, that’s the closest I’m ever going to get to God in this lifetime.
Rick: Interesting. I would say to Tom that a lot of progress can take place. It’s like when a train is going through a tunnel, you don’t see the progress necessarily, but the train is progressing. And then eventually it comes out the other side of the tunnel and you realize you’re in a different place. So if you’ve been doing spiritual practice for 40 years or more, don’t think that you’re just stuck. And also, don’t think of this whole enlightenment thing as some kind of fireworks kind of display that you should be experiencing. You can actually be in a higher state of consciousness and yet be so accustomed to it that it really doesn’t seem extraordinary in any way. It seems ordinary to you.
Dorothy: Could be. Could well be.
Rick: If you could suddenly snap back to where you were 40 years ago and contrast that to where you are now, it might be dramatic in an unpleasant way. So you’ve just kind of grown incrementally.
Dorothy: You never know. The one thing I’ve learned is everybody is different.
Rick: For sure.
Dorothy: There is no common path. There is no common experience. I’ve known people who went into ashrams and they did everything. They did the practices, they did the meditation, they did the chanting, they did the diets for years and they never felt the bliss. Why? I don’t know. Why do some feel the bliss instantly? Some never do. I don’t know. I don’t have answers for those.
Dorothy: Unless it’s past life, something about the past life.
Rick: One little point to just throw in is we all have different nervous systems.
Rick: Yeah, and which gives us all different experiences, right?
Dorothy: That’s right.
Rick: And regarding bliss and vastness, there are different sort of gunas, they call it in the Indian tradition, which can predominate in the nervous system and according to your constitution you can have this sort of enlightenment experience, but for one person it will be predominantly bliss and for another person predominantly vastness and for another person predominantly emptiness and so on.
Dorothy: That’s true.
Rick: So it just depends on how you’re making up.
Dorothy: I feel very lucky that I got the bliss.
Rick: Yeah, you got the bliss.
Dorothy: I love the bliss.
Rick: The prize.
Dorothy: Yeah, because I think the bliss, to me, it’s like when you do reach a sense of union with the divine. That’s what bliss is. It’s a visitation of the divine which comes into you and your body and you experience a bit, a glimpse, a taste of this. I think bliss which is the vast cosmic field of energy, which I think is love, which is bliss, but you get to taste some of it.
Rick: Have you ever heard the objection that some people raise that these sort of transitory experiences, like sitting there in ecstasy but then next week you’re not in ecstasy, that these transitory experiences are somehow not to be taken too seriously or given too much importance because they’re transitory.
Dorothy: I’ve had sour grapes myself. I think it’s sour grapes. I think ecstasy is marvelous, whether it comes daily, whether it comes once in a while, whether it comes and goes, but when it comes, it affirms that connection, your connection with the divine reality. That’s my feeling about it. I don’t think, what do they know? Have they ever experienced it? Probably not. I think this is somebody who hasn’t had the experience. And it may be that some of these famous gurus who have these great magnetic fields and people pick up on that and get Shaktipat and so forth, they may have a nervous system that will allow that to happen, but I certainly don’t. But I’m very happy with the portion that is given to me. And I will add this, Rick, because I think people should know it. I still have visitations of ecstasy. I had one just the other day. I’d just come in here, wasn’t even thinking about it. I was going to work at my computer. I felt energy running in my hands. I thought, hmm, something’s happening there. I put my hands up around my head and I felt the most exquisite energy come into my head. And for me now, I work with my hands to expand the aura. And I think what I’m doing at times is literally caressing the edges of my own aura. That’s what it feels like. And your arms go out farther and farther and the ecstasy continues. And then I move my hands kind of up and around my body, never touching, never touching, just feeling this energetic edge. I think it’s wonderful. I feel very blessed to have that experience. That’s my answer. And I know people love the vastness, but that is not my path that I know of. That is not my path. My path is an energetic path, a feeling path, a nervous system ecstatic path. And I think that’s right for me. It feels right.
Rick: Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. In fact, there were a few precepts that you wrote down in one section of your book, and I copied them down because I thought they were worth discussing. Precept number one was be satisfied with the level of attainment. We can comment on each one if you want as I go through them. But I think that’s a good one because you can drive yourself crazy comparing yourself to other people and bemoaning your supposed lack of attainment and so on and so forth. And you build upon whatever you’ve got, so you have to at least be satisfied with what you’ve got in order to build.
Dorothy: That’s right. Start where you are.
Rick: Yeah. So, that’s a good one. You want to say any more about that before I read the next one?
Dorothy: No, that’s it.
Rick: Okay. The next one is be open to progress in attainment.
Dorothy: Yeah, I think we have to be open. That’s the main thing. You’re not going to get very far if you close down. If you say, “Oh, that’s too much,” or “I can’t do that,” or “That’s scary,” just be open and let the process naturally � it’s a natural process � let it unfold.
Rick: Yeah, and it will. I mean, you mention in your book that you don’t quite, you don’t so much like the word “enlightenment” because it has this static, superlative connotation, and that as far as you can tell, there’s always going to be some kind of further progress possible.
Dorothy: I think. I think so. I think it never stops. It’s amazing.
Rick: I’m of the same opinion. And having interviewed all these people, I don’t think I’ve met anyone for whom it has stopped.
Dorothy: No. No. And in terms of the energetic quality, what I’m intrigued by is they, whoever they is, keep thinking up different things that you can experience in a different way, and it’s just fascinating. Can I tell one little experience I had?
Rick: Please, yeah.
Dorothy: Well, I met somebody that I knew in the Internet, but I had never met, and there was an instant love, actually, for him. And we were talking and sitting, and he was interviewing me, and he said, “Sometimes when I do this, I get little tingles around my head.” I thought, “Well, that’s nice.” And then pretty soon, I started feeling tingles around my head. I thought, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” It was just tingles. It wasn’t bliss. Well, pretty soon, I began to feel, literally, vibrations, not bliss, vibrations in my body, and pretty soon, I felt like I was sitting in a vibrating chair. And I was just, I wasn’t outwardly vibrating, but inwardly, I felt like I was sitting in this vibrating chair. I have never had such an experience in my life. And once the interview was over, it was gone. And I think I got it from him. I think I picked it up from my friend. But that was new. I’m just saying, for me, that was a new experience. Now, other people may have a lot of experiences like that, but I never had.
Rick: Yeah, well, actually, you mention in your book, sort of in training with others’ experiences, because you’ve been such a sensitive person all these decades as a result of this awakening and kind of tuning into the flavor or the nuance of what other people are experiencing.
Dorothy: Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not so good.
Dorothy: Because I pick up on other people’s energy fields. I always wanted to be an energy healer, but I didn’t think I was meant to do that, because I’m also an empath. And whatever that person feels in their energy field, I tend to just absorb it and reflect it right back. And sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes I don’t want to fill their energy field, particularly with strangers.
Rick: Yeah, really. I mean, it’s definitely something you wouldn’t want to experience.
Dorothy: Strangers in the grocery store, standing in line at the grocery store.
Rick: And here was the third point on your three precepts, which was, remember that the path/way is the goal.
Dorothy: That’s right.
Rick: Yeah, how would you elaborate on that?
Dorothy: Well, we’re all in process, and I don’t think we want to set some goal, and I don’t know about enlightenment, I don’t know anybody that I would call really enlightened. I’m very, very skeptical about that, unless we redefine it. But I think what we’re doing now, what stage is it? We’re all climbing the mountain. We’re all at different points along the way, and that’s the goal, is to keep on climbing, keep on progressing, keep on opening. Let it take you where it will take you.
Rick: Yeah, we were talking about these guides earlier. Some people are of the opinion that once we’ve progressed as much as we’re going to progress in a human body, that we then sort of dwell on some subtler level or higher level or something and serve a function there, and that perhaps
Dorothy: May be we do.
Rick: is who these guides are that we’re guiding you.
Dorothy: Maybe, we don’t know. But I do know that I just think we continue to serve as best we can, whether on this level or from a higher level. I think that after we go to the other levels, after we drop the body, maybe we’ll be allowed to serve from the other side. I don’t know, I hope so. Or maybe we come back, the world is probably going to need us more than ever if the world is still here.
Rick: True. Well, I mean, we’re kind of looping back a little bit to something we discussed earlier, but I think it’s, personally, I think it’s important for people to understand this. Not that everybody should believe what I believe or any such thing, but if you think that all you are is this physical body and that your existence is going to cease once and for all once this body dies, imagine your perspective in life compared to the understanding or the feeling or the experience that there’s a continuum and that this is like one suit of clothes that you happen to be wearing today and tomorrow you’ll probably put on a new suit of clothes. It just gives you a completely different orientation to life.
Dorothy: Beautifully put, beautifully put. That’s what I believe.
Rick: Well, here’s another question that came in, and it refers to your poetry, which we haven’t discussed at all yet and we can talk about a little bit. And this is from someone named Erica in Philadelphia. She asks, “Dorothy, your poetry not only embraces the beautiful and poignant aspects of awakening, but seems to fully embrace your humanity, meaning the experiences that have created pain and suffering in your life. How do you believe challenges and painful moments act as potential catalysts for kundalini awakening?”
Dorothy: Well, I think we’ve already talked about this a bit.
Rick: We have, yeah.
Dorothy: We’ve talked about when we said you go through trauma or you go through challenge or you go through chaos or whatever, that will shake up you and your nervous system certainly will be rather chaotic at that point. So in that sense, it can prepare for kundalini, or as Osho said, when there is a blank space, kundalini can come in. I don’t know about people will say, “What is the purpose of pain? What is the purpose of suffering?” I don’t know the final answer on that certainly, but I think part of the reason we’re here, this is again just my philosophy, is to learn how tough it is to be a human being. And it is very tough because we’re just thrown down here in all this chaotic world and who knows what’s going to happen to us, good things and bad things. So I believe that these things tell us it’s not easy to be human. I think that we’re here, we’re subject to all kinds of conflicting forces, some good, some bad, and I think we learn lessons. And one of the lessons we learn is not to put ourselves in those positions again.
Rick: The positions that are going to make us suffer, you mean?
Rick: That are going to make us suffer.
Dorothy: Yeah, like if you get in a relationship and you forget to preserve yourself and your integrity of the self and you give everything you’ve got to another, give away your power to another person, that’s not good. And finally you will learn the lesson. It sometimes takes several go-rounds, but you will finally learn that you mustn’t do that, you mustn’t give away every aspect of yourself. That would be one example. I don’t know if there’s physical pain and suffering. Some people say, report, that they make great spiritual progress by having gone through pain and difficult illness, pain and suffering, and I’m sure that they do. But I do not necessarily believe that we all have to suffer horribly in order to have these awarenesses come to us.
Rick: Well, it’s like you said in the very beginning, you know, some people might have a lot of blocks and they might be very solid blocks and there’s going to have to be a lot of dynamite used to blast through those blocks. And other people, maybe the path is pretty clear.
Dorothy: That’s true, I think. But these are great mysteries, and I might add that I would say just what you got through saying. I don’t expect anybody to believe anything I say just because even Buddha said, “Don’t believe anything because I say it. Test it as if it were a coin that you wanted to test the authenticity of.” So I often have said, “I wouldn’t believe any of this stuff I’m talking about if it hadn’t happened to me.” I don’t think I’d believe it. And also the ideas, these are ones I’ve come to, but I certainly don’t expect anybody else to believe this just because I have come to these conclusions.
Rick: Yeah, I remember one time Oprah Winfrey was interviewing Eckhart Tolle and she asked him what he believed and he said, “Nothing in particular.”
Dorothy: I think that’s a wonderful answer. That’s a great answer.
Rick: Yeah, because you know, I mean, right, go ahead.
Dorothy: Because we live in mystery. I think we live in the heart of mystery. I have one friend who wrote just recently, she didn’t want to do all this if it didn’t have a goal and if she wasn’t going to learn the explanation for the whole thing. Well, good luck is all I’ve got to say.
Rick: On this point of suffering, I have a dear friend who’s been a friend of mine for many decades and he’s been an ardent spiritual practitioner and lover of God and has had some beautiful cognitions of God actually in the form of Krishna. But he was, about a year or two ago, he was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer and you know, the doctors said, “Oh, you’re in bad shape, buddy,” and they put him through a course of chemotherapy and radiation, which he said was the most difficult six months of his life. He said it was just absolutely horrible. They wanted to do this radical surgery on him and he wouldn’t let them. But finally he said, “That’s it. I’m not doing any more of this stuff. If I die, I die.” It’s like, and so far lately he’s been cancer free and he’s just started a beautiful podcast, which I’ve been listening to, but he said that he had this sort of, we can speculate as to on what level it took place, but this communication with God and God said, “I just put you through that in order to enable you to work off a really big chunk of karma and now you’re sort of much more able to express the knowledge I want you to express.” And so, he’s embarking on this podcast project. Yeah.
Dorothy: Wonderful. However, Rick, I would add, I myself do not accept this theory that people suffer in this life because they’ve done bad things in a previous life. I don’t like that at all.
Rick: Yeah, it’s a big thorny topic. I mean, we could spend the next hour talking about it.
Dorothy: I don’t want to blame the victim. I don’t want to say you did that because you were a bad person in some other, no, I can’t accept that.
Dorothy: I’m not interested in that. But I guess people have different opinions.
Rick: Well, one way I heard it put was, you know, whether or not it’s somebody’s karma to go through some suffering, it’s our karma to try to alleviate their suffering. So just put your emphasis there.
Dorothy: Of course. I certainly agree to that. I certainly do.
Rick: Of course, a question came in from Joyce in Temecula, California. She said, “Following up on something we were just talking about, if bliss and kundalini and spiritual awakening are all one and the same thing, then what does that mean for moments when you’re not feeling bliss? For instance, when you’re feeling a lot of pain in your body or mind, does that mean that in that moment you are no longer spiritually awake?”
Dorothy: I don’t think so. You want me to answer?
Rick: Yes, please.
Dorothy: You know, the fact that you’ve had, even if you’ve had big-time kundalini awakening, you’re not free from human pain and suffering, and you can go through to some really tough times because your body is not perfect. You for a moment or for an experience, you had a certain awareness, but your body is still a human body, and things can happen to you, which are not good things. But on the whole, I think it’s better to live a life where you at least have glimpses of this than no glimpses. and I don’t think it means that you’re no longer a spiritual person. I think it means simply you’re a human person. You’re still in a human body, and as you get older, you’re going to have more aches and pains of age. You’re going to be more susceptible to things that come along. No, I don’t think that means anything about your spirituality. You’re still just as spiritual as you always were. That’s my view.
Rick: Sounds good to me. Do you feel like, you know, it’s been about 40 years since you had this kundalini awakening, and you’re getting older obviously, and obviously have had your fair share.
Dorothy: How can you say that?
Rick: Well, it’s not that obvious.
Dorothy: I’m only 91.
Rick: But like all of us, as we get older, we have our fair share of aches and pains and difficulties. But do you feel that somehow all those aches and pains have been buffered by this sort of inner spiritual awakening that has taken place such that, you know, they’re happening, but on the other hand, you know, you have a kind of a reservoir of something that prevents them from being so all-consuming as they might have been, or as they tend to be to the average person?
Dorothy: Oh, I think so. I think that’s exactly right. I also, I don’t have the answer to this, but I tend to suspect that going through kundalini for years and years and years probably gives you a stronger and healthier body than you would have had otherwise. The problem is you can’t compare the body you’ve got now that you’ve had kundalini with the one you might have had before you had kundalini. You don’t know if you’re better off or not, but it seems to me that you are stronger. You have fewer, perhaps, serious ailments. I don’t know. It’s all part of the mystery.
Rick: Well, you mentioned that you were smoking and eating meat at the time of your awakening. And..
Dorothy: I was doing what?
Rick: Smoking and eating meat. I think you said in your book.
Dorothy: Oh, yeah, I was.
Rick: At the time of your awakening. And you know, I mean, I know in my own experience when I got onto spiritual practice, it really changed my lifestyle and I don’t think I’d be alive now if I hadn’t changed my lifestyle, I would, you know, because it was rather unhealthy, the one I was living. So I mean, do you sort of, I’ll formulate this into a question, do you kind of feel that kundalini guides you in a practical way, you mentioned your body becomes stronger, does it guide you in a practical way to make better decisions with your body?
Dorothy: Well, I think some of these decisions are simply made for you, because I was not addicted to anything, but for example, when I was younger, we did drink alcohol, you know, and have student parties and stuff like that. I just didn’t want to do that, I didn’t want to drink anything. And I did smoke at one point in my life, but that just fell away, I didn’t have to go through any process or struggle with it or this, that and the other, it just fell away. And I no longer wanted to eat meat, and so for the most part, I don’t eat meat except I do eat fish.
Rick: So you mean it fell away after the kundalini awakening?
Rick: Yeah, Yeah.
Dorothy: I just didn’t want to eat meat, and I was a total vegetarian for a while, but then I did start eating fish, I mean shrimp or fish or something like that. But these things just happened naturally, I didn’t have to struggle with anything.
Rick: Yeah. That’s a good point. Well that’s the point I was kind of making, is that, you know, this kind of awakening as it progresses, it’s like you don’t have to drop bad habits, they drop you kind of.
Dorothy: Exactly, that’s well said.
Rick: And that perhaps also pertains to sensitivity. You mentioned that you’re an empath, you’re sensitive. If you see some of the things that people do to their bodies and you think they couldn’t have the least bit of sensitivity, or they wouldn’t be inflicting those influences upon themselves, but if you become more acutely aware and more sensitive, then naturally you’re going to have an aversion to things that you once might have been numb to.
Dorothy: That’s right. I think that’s right.
Rick: So, you went through a TM phase,
Rick: and you had a lot of headaches during that phase, and you also saw auras and stuff like that, you mention that in your book. I had a comment on your TM phase, if I might suggest it. I was a TM teacher for a long time. And that is that you, when you learn TM, you’re already at a very subtle level. And there’s a thing in TM about effortlessness and that includes
Dorothy: About what?
Rick: Not making effort. And that includes not trying to think the mantra clearly, not even trying to persist in repeating it or keep on remembering it. That is just a really faint idea. And one of the standard instructions that TM teachers are given is that if a person doesn’t do that, if they try to think the mantra too clearly, they could get a headache. And so, I don’t know what you were doing, but it could have been that you were kind of trying to make it more concrete than it naturally could have been.
Dorothy: I don’t know. Rick, I don’t know. Now, I have all respect for TM, and I know it’s done wonders for many, many people. But for me, I was on a path of energy, energetic awakening. And the teacher that I had gave me this mantra, and suddenly my focus was switched from Shiva or Krishna and those marvelous energies flowing, flowing, flowing to this word. And as somebody put it, and I think it was correct, it was like putting a lid on a boiling pot.
Rick: Ah, interesting.
Dorothy: For me.
Dorothy: And it was terrible, but I had agreed to do it for six months, and I kept trying to do it and trying. And finally, I was getting not just headaches, I was getting acute migraine headaches. And I’d never had migraine headaches. And my doctor announced that I had a brain tumor, because no one at my age would begin to have headaches if they did not have a history of headaches. And I finally said, “Enough is enough. I don’t think I have a brain tumor.” I went back. I had an MRI, there wasn’t any brain tumor. And I thought, “I’m going to go back and do my former practice.” But you can’t step in the same river twice. And things had changed. And so I had to kind of start all over. And I’m not sure, I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t got off course for me with the TM stuff. Because at first I’d had all this vibrant, natural energy, and I could do this, and I could do that. I wasn’t that way when I started again. I never have gotten to that level of energetic stuff. I don’t have a huge fund of energy. I’m normal. So anyway, that was my path. And for me, it was a disaster, if you want to know the truth. But it wasn’t for me.
Rick: Yeah, yeah. No, I totally agree with that.
Dorothy: Not every path is for everyone.
Dorothy: You have to find your own path. Your own path.
Rick: God is not a one-trick pony, as they say. Speaking of ponies, there’s a Dan Vogelberg song where he says, “Changing horses in the middle of a stream.” You know, he advocates not doing that. So it sounds like you changed horses in the middle of a stream there, switching.
Dorothy: I fell off and almost drowned.
Rick: Yeah, exactly.
Dorothy: For me.
Rick: Yeah. Yeah, that’s an interesting thing. I mean, I see that interviewing so many people from so many different areas and traditions and backgrounds and all. It’s like, different — speaking of songs, the line “The family’s sewn” had a line where they said, “Different strokes for different folks.”
Dorothy: Wonderful. Love it.
Rick: You know, so it’s just like…
Rick: You’ve got to sort of…
Dorothy: Are each unique.
Rick: Yeah, yeah. And I think that it reflects the diversity that we see in nature itself, you know? This is such a huge abundance of creativity and diversity in nature.
Rick: Oh yeah.
Rick: Well, that reminds me of a beautiful thing. Very often in your account of your experience over the years, you talked about how beautiful everything became.
Dorothy: Yes! Yes!
Rick: Yeah, people, trees, everything just took on this beauty.
Dorothy: This luster, this beautiful illumination from within, and also the sense of oneness. Because I literally felt at that time, if I looked at you, and then I went and looked at the mirror, your face is the one I would see. I felt oneness with others. Oneness with everything. So I did have that deep experience of oneness, and what I call the beauty beneath the beauty. The world was beautiful. And I’ve read that that’s the way saints are. Everything is beautiful to them, a pile of trash at the corner could be just as beautiful as a painting of Mona Lisa. And I was kind of near that state for a while, not now.
Rick: Yeah, you see the divine in everything, because the divine is omnipresent, and so you acquire the capacity to appreciate every little thing, you know, in its fullest value. But why do you think it’s not happening now? Because that TM thing screwed you up?
Rick: Well, I was in a very different state of consciousness, and I, as I said, I had to learn to walk in the two worlds. And I think some of those gifts, they are blessings, are given to us. And I think I got switched off into writing poetry. Andrew Harvey was the one. He was the only one who understood what I was telling him. And he encouraged me, he said, “You’ve got to write a book of poetry.” And I did, and I wrote a first book called “Marrow of Flame.” And also I started writing a blog and a Facebook page, and writing other books. And I have now published several books, getting ready to publish a new one next month, and it will be the prose, and it will be called “Kundalini Splendor,” the god/goddess inside your body. Because for me, this unfolding has been as though there was a god/goddess within the body. I call it the beloved within. And so, and I had my own process that I continued to work on and let unfold. And I don’t know, maybe I just wasn’t intended to be at that state forever, I don’t know.
Rick: Yeah, well maybe you derived from that experience everything that you were meant to derive from it, and then it was time to move on to a new phase.
Rick: As you say, writing poetry.
Dorothy: Writing, focused more on life and people and meeting people and loving people. And I love what one, I love people’s stories, as obviously you do. And I love what one friend said once, he said, “We must be teachers to one another.” Because we really still don’t have, I don’t know of teachers who can teach us what we are yearning to know. All of it, I’m not yearning because I’m willing to live in the mystery. But I love the idea, I think the way we learn is by hearing each other’s stories. That’s how we learn. Because I’m very skeptical, and if I find a so-called enlightened being, I read what they write and I read with a skeptical eye. And I think, well maybe, or possibly, or this, that, and the other, but I’m not going to believe it just because they say it. So I’m very skeptical.
Rick: My attitude is, I take them, I give them the benefit of the doubt, but I also take them with a grain of salt. And proportions may vary according to who I’m reading.
Dorothy: That’s fine. Because you’ve dealt with hundreds of people, hundreds and hundreds, you’ve heard hundreds of stories.
Rick: But I’m open to all possibilities. I mean, sometimes people razz me for like taking channelers seriously, for instance. How could this possibly be?
Dorothy: Oh, I can channel. I can channel, Rick.
Rick: There you go. I want to do it now.
Dorothy: You want me to open a channel?
Rick: Sure, go ahead and channel.
Dorothy: I can channel a little bit. Well, the other day I thought, wondered if I could channel. I don’t know. So I asked a question, what’s going to happen to us in future? And this is the answer that I got. Hard times ahead, hard times ahead. Stay together, stay together. You can weather hard times ahead.
Rick: Ah, so it not only came in that emphatic voice, but it used a little bit of rhyme in there.
Dorothy: Yeah, and then I asked another time, I asked, where should we go for safety? Because no place seems safe these days. And the answer was the same voice, and it was, “Go to the island, the island that is Ireland, go to the island, the island that is Ireland.” Well, that’s probably good advice, but I’m not going to pick up and move to Ireland just because she said that. But that’s all my channeling. But I think that we all could learn to channel if we wanted to. I don’t particularly want to. But I might add that Ireland has a special place in my heart, because I was born on St. Patrick’s Day.
Rick: Oh, there you go.
Dorothy: And I’ve been to Ireland several times, and I love it there.
Rick: Well, there were several spots in your book where you did a little Q&A kind of thing, where you would ask certain questions, and then answers would come to you, and you would write them down.
Rick: I guess you could say it’s a kind of a channeling, or a knowledge.
Dorothy: Yeah, it is.
Dorothy: And it’s letting it come through.
Rick: And they were quite wise, I thought, the answers you got.
Dorothy: Yeah, I thought they were good.
Rick: But what more can you say about this hard times ahead thing? And yeah, please talk about that.
Dorothy: Well, I don’t want to talk about our future in hard times, but I would like to talk more about what happened to me, and why my bliss was broken, and why I had to go through some difficult times. Well, after school started, I went back, and I had this, I was in ecstasy all summer long. And then school started, and I had to go back to teaching, and it was hard to focus my mind. And then I started having symptoms, and one of my symptoms was pain in the eyes, and that’s very pressure. That’s a very common Kundalini symptom. But other things happened, such as my mother got what seemed to be quite ill. One day she couldn’t get up from her chair. She couldn’t feed herself. All of a sudden, what was going on with her? She had to go to the hospital. Well they finally found out that she had lost her potassium, and that can happen to people. Potassium is what drives your strength, gives you strength, and she had lost her potassium. But that was worrisome, and I was living about two and a half hours away, and I would drive down and try to do what I could. Then my father was trying to help her. By then, my father was 91 years old, and he was basically in good health, but that was a big strain on a fellow to try to take care of an invalid. So I had these stresses coming into my life, and there was a stress of teaching. There was a stress of my parents being ill, so forth. And then the different symptoms started showing up in my body. I was trying to get through. And so I didn’t feel so hot. I didn’t feel hot at all. And it wasn’t bliss, it was pain. It was psychological. And also what cumulative well do, if you have any unresolved issues of any kind, psychological, emotional, it’ll bring them up and they’ll be right in your face. And I got some that were leftover childhood issues. They weren’t terrible. They weren’t nearly on the level that many people have, but nonetheless, there were some issues. And those issues demanded to be attended to. And what you have to do, or what I had to do, was in effect, relive those early feelings and how I felt and why they caused me pain. And I relived them and I got to the bottom of it. And I figured out why I had had this kind of sad childhood. I was very lonely and very depressed as a child. So I just read books all the time, read, read, read, read, read. That was my escape. So I got to the bottom of my issues and I felt much better after that. But you will have to deal with your issues, whatever they are. They will be right where you cannot ignore them. Because Kundalini makes you totally sensitive, much more sensitive to everything, including what’s going on in your own body.
Rick: So, the collective often recapitulates or mirrors the individual, and you know, if as Kundalini rises in an individual, they are confronted with things that they have to resolve, do you think that that’s happening also on a collective or societal level?
Dorothy: Oh, I do, don’t you? We’re certainly getting to see our shadow. Our shadow is just so prominent, so obvious, and we have to deal with it or go under.
Rick: There’s a lot of things that are being, you know, racial things and sexual things and all kinds of things that we’re-
Dorothy: Yes, our shadow, our shadow, our shadow. And we’ve always thought of nice American, sweet American, give me your poor and so forth. And guess what? We’re being forced to look at all of this and see what really has been going on in our history and how we’ve ignored it. And a favored few, and even the middle class, we’re among the favored few. They were not confronted, or at least we weren’t. I was indoctrinated with all kinds of terrible stuff when I was a kid, because we just took it for granted. That’s the way things were. And you have to deal with that. You have to come to terms with it. You have to wake up to what is really going on. And life in America for certain groups, certain minority groups, certainly wasn’t happy, as happy as, although I wouldn’t say I had a happy childhood, but at least I wasn’t forced to confront some of the issues that some other people did.
Dorothy: At least.
Rick: Well, do you have any sense whatsoever of, I mean, I guess this can only be speculative, but do you have any sort of intuitive or mystical insight as to how things are gonna go over the next whatever, 10, 20 years?
Dorothy: Well, I think it’s a nip and tuck race. I just think it could tip either way. I believe there is worldwide awakening. I believe fully that we are headed into the next stage of human consciousness, human development. But at the same time, all this negative stuff is coming. Who knows which is gonna win out? I can’t predict. I don’t know. It could go either way. I think it could go either way. I don’t think there’s any guarantees. Maybe as you just said, the negative stuff is coming so that we can finally confront it and hopefully eradicate or ameliorate it. But it is nip and tuck because the powers behind it are quite powerful, so.
Dorothy: That’s correct, yeah. Some people get so discouraged they just give up, and they say, “Well, there’s no hope. We’re never gonna make it through all this mess.” But I think that there is hope.
Rick: Well, I think I would feel that way if I weren’t aware of the spiritual dimension that’s getting lively. If you just watch the evening news and read the paper, you have every reason to be discouraged.
Dorothy: That’s right, don’t read the paper. Well, read what you have to. You try to keep up, but not let it just pull you down because then you’re just part of the problem. And I just am not willing to let the news or what’s happening and so forth throw me into a state of total depression. I just think, you know, Rumi has that poem, and it’s very stark the way he puts it, “We must dance in our own blood.” And in a way that’s true. We must not give up. We must not give up hope. We must not give up joy. We must not give up play. We must not give up happiness because that’s what’s gonna… And also my motto is, “Consider your friends as life jackets.” They’re your hope. They’re what will secure you. They will help you get through. They will. I think.
Rick: Well, it’s good you mentioned poetry because a question just came in from Susan in Burlington, Vermont. She asks, “Hi, Dorothy. Why do you think that mystics, when they do speak at all, so often speak in verse, in poetry, rather than in prose?”
Dorothy: I don’t know. I wrote… See, for me, it’s a little different. I have been a word person all my life. I joined my first poetry group when I was in the first grade. They had to send me to the second grade because the first grade didn’t have a poetry circle. Second grade did. I’ve been writing poetry all my life. I have written books of poetry that never got published. Andrew Harvey told me I must write poetry, spiritual poetry. I followed his advice. Now, there’s an interesting phenomenon, which is that sometimes people who are very spiritual do resort to writing in poetry. I have read… I don’t necessarily say this, but I do. A lot of people who think they can write poetry, write poetry, but it’s not very good. It’s not necessarily very good.
Rick: I don’t even try myself.
Dorothy: Don’t you try?
Rick: No, I don’t.
Dorothy: That’s all right. That’s all right, if you want to write some poetry. But poetry is an art like anything, and you have to practice it for years and years and years to get the right hang of it. And as you do more, it gets easier and you write more. And I’ve written many books of poetry. And then as you mentioned, this late book called Some Kiss We Want, and that is a line taken from Rumi. And he says, “There is some kiss we want, the touch of spirit on our bodies.” Well, that’s beautiful. That’s what we all want. We want the touch of spirit on our bodies. And I think poetry can take us very close to that, as music can, as art can. When we are doing what Yeats called making our soul, those are ways we make our soul. And poetry certainly can do that. And in fact, this person that wrote to me just yesterday said, he listened to a YouTube reading by me and Andrew, and we read our sacred poetry. And he said that that gave him answers to questions that he had had all of his life, and he hadn’t had anybody to explain them to him. I was very moved by that, very moved. I thought, this is why we do it, is to try to help others who are trying to see the light move and become light.
Rick: Well, I’ll just embarrass you a little bit here by saying that, you know, Andrew Harvey praises your poetry to the skies. And he’s qualified to comment on it, he really appreciates poetry, he’s taught courses on Rumi and everything, and he regards you as one of the greatest mystical poets of our generation. So, you know, I’ll see if I can make you blush, but it’s a recommendation for those who would like to read some beautiful mystical poetry, check out your books.
Dorothy: Well, what I have found, the test always on my poems is, do you like Rumi? And if the person says, “Oh, I love Rumi,” then I suspect they’re going to like the poetry that I write. If they say, “Now, who is Rumi? I think I’ve heard that name,” they’re not going to like my poetry. But if they’re on the same path, if they’re on the same frequency, it can be very meaningful to them. It’s almost like they need to be at a certain level of development in order to respond. What I’m writing about, I’m not writing for the most part about the personal level. And we have a lot of wonderful levels, a lot of wonderful poets who are writing, but it’s still about the personal level. They might take you to the portal, but I am writing about what was called the transpersonal level, and that’s the spiritual level in the fullest sense of the word. Now I’ll tell you who’s a great poet of our time is Fred LaMotte. Fred LaMotte, he’s I think the greatest poet that we have.
Rick: Lamotte, like L-A-M-O-T-T-E?
Dorothy: Uh-huh, L-A-M-O-T-T-E.
Rick: Okay, LaMotte.
Dorothy: Fred LaMotte, and he has a wonderful Facebook page. You can read his poetry there. I’m a great admirer of Fred LaMotte. He’s got a great gift.
Rick: Right. I want to tie up a loose thread of something we were talking about five minutes ago. You quoted Elie Prigogine in your book, whom I once saw speak at a conference. Maybe you’re paraphrasing him here, but you said that evolution occurs at times of acute stress and crises, great evolution occurs. So the thing you and I were talking about, about the hard times ahead, it doesn’t just mean things are going to get bad, it means there’s great evolutionary progress potentially to be made.
Dorothy: I think we are.
Rick: Yeah, individually and collectively.
Dorothy: And collectively, I really do. That’s my firm conviction. That particular insight was given to me at the moment of my awakening. I was told that I knew — now there were other writers before our generation who worked upon this idea of perfecting the human, turning the human into the divine human. There were the alchemists of the medieval times, there were people, other saints, who talked about this, the Kabbalist, Adam Cadman, they were trying to perfect the human. But I think this is the time, and I think we are moving into a time of great evolutionary progress, but it’s tough, it’s not easy. You don’t just jump from point A, I’m at this level, to point B, I’m over here. You go through all the stages in between. But we’re doing it. It’s not going to happen, it is happening.
Rick: It’s happening, yeah.
Dorothy: And it’s happening in tough times. And evolution is difficult. Birth is difficult. Birth isn’t easy. Birth is hard. We’re being reborn. I really believe that. I really believe it. I’m committed to it.
Rick: One kind of final question is, you know, you’ve been cooking along here for 40 years now or so, since your Kundalini awakening, and there have been all sorts of, you know, blissful times and difficult times and everything else. Do you have a sense that you’ve kind of come to rest or come to some kind of completion? Or are things still rather turbulent at times?
Dorothy: Things are not turbulent, but there’s never a completion. Never a completion.
Rick: Right. But it’s gotten smoother, has it not?
Dorothy: Oh my.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Dorothy: And see, for me, it’s like I don’t have those intense bliss-outs like I had early on. No, not that intense. I don’t want it to be that intense. The image I use, you know, I couldn’t take it. This image I use, at first it was like having a big brass band parade through your living room. Full blown brass, you know. Now it’s like hearing a flute play in the distance. It’s beautiful. It’s soft. Lovely. And oh, I’m so glad that it’s soft now. But my awareness, my nervous system literally has gotten much more sensitive. The subtle body has gotten much more sensitive. And now when I do a practice, I can’t do yoga. I can’t get up and down from the floor, let’s face it. I’d like to, but I still consider myself a yogi, even though I can’t do the floor asanas.
Rick: There are many types of yoga besides the hatha yoga, you know.
Dorothy: Yeah, exactly. But even movement. Okay, this is what I can do sometimes, and I can bring the bliss. Can you see what I’m doing?
Rick: Oh, just with your hands, yes. Slight little twitches of your fingers?
Dorothy: Little tiny flexing, flexing. Or now on a few times, I can’t do this every day. All I’ve been asked to do is move my eyeballs left and send it down the left side, right and send it down the right. Now that’s pretty good, let’s face it. That’s pretty advanced. But the subtle body, as I said, now I can literally feel the edges of my aura. And believe me, they’re exquisite. They’re just exquisite. I mean, everybody’s is, I think. But I can do this, just like this, and feel the edges of the aura. Or I can be sitting at the computer as I was the other day, and just suddenly it will happen. It will come in that day through the head. It can come in anywhere. It can come in through your ears. It can start. See, I don’t do the up the spine kind of yoga that we’re taught you’re supposed to do. I never did learn to do that. I just like to go right to it, just be in the bliss, be in the bliss. But the bliss can start anywhere.
Rick: Well, it sounds like it’s already up the spine for you, and you don’t need to go through that again.
Dorothy: I don’t usually feel it in the spine. I feel it, as I said, here, here, in your elbows, everything. I have this wonderful quote. Can I read it?
Rick: Yeah, please.
Dorothy: Not from me, but this is a book, you know this book, oh, anyway, it’s one of the ancient texts. He’s talking about yoga. He says, “Its practice demands complete mastery of the physical and mental body, rendering the body and mind capable of withstanding prolonged ecstatic states of union with the infinite. Samadhi or the enlightened state is not just a mental experience. It is a psychokinetic or whole-body-mind event involving every fiber, cell, and tissue.” And then later, he says that the final goal of yoga is to turn the physical into light. I think that’s us. I love that quote.
Rick: Yeah, here, here.
Dorothy: And that’s Kundalini. The point is to turn the physical into light.
Rick: I think it’s an important understanding, I mean, because obviously any neurophysiologist will tell us that anything we experience has, you know, even though it’s a subjective experience, it has its physiological correlate.
Dorothy: Oh, yeah.
Rick: Yeah, and if enlightenment is as awesome as it’s cracked up to be, then there should be
Dorothy: I like the way you put it!
Rick: Yeah, I mean if it’s as radically different from ordinary waking state as it’s said to be, then there should be a radically different physiology supporting it.
Dorothy: Oh, absolutely.
Rick: And that should be measurable.
Dorothy: Well, a lot of people are trying.
Rick: Yeah, there’s been a lot of research, and indeed, they see very different structures in the brain, very different brain waves, very different neurochemistry, and so on.
Dorothy: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, it changes everything in your body, as well as your consciousness and your awareness, absolutely.
Rick: And the flip side of that is be careful what you do to your body or put into your body.
Dorothy: Oh, yeah.
Rick: You know, drugs, this and that, be careful. Because that was a big realization I had when I was about 18 and I had not been taking very good care of my body. I thought, you know, my body is like an instrument, and it’s the instrument through which I’m going to live my life, and if I damage this instrument, I’m going to have to go through life with a damaged instrument.
Dorothy: I’m glad that you had that.
Rick: Yeah, so I thought, “Okay, I better start taking care of it.”
Dorothy: I know, and that’s why it’s so sad that many of our young people today are not taking care of their bodies. And I’m sorry, but I’m surprised. I bet you found this too. How many young people are having their kundalini awakening so young?
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Dorothy: Yeah, it’s amazing.
Rick: Yeah, I interviewed a young girl, oh my god, what’s her name? Courtney Amundson a few months ago. She lives up in Minneapolis, and she had a big kundalini awakening at the age of 16 or something like that, and now she’s like 21, and she’s been through a lot of intense stuff actually.
Dorothy: Oh, she’s old. She’s what, would you say?
Rick: Now she’s about 21 or 22.
Rick: And she’s been through a lot of intensity, but now she does a lot of Qigong like you have done, and it’s really helped her smooth out.
Dorothy: I haven’t done it a whole lot, but I’ve done some.
Rick: Yeah, you mention it a lot in your book that it’s been very helpful to you.
Dorothy: Yeah, that’s good. I think that’s good, but you have to be careful not to overdo it. You don’t want to do too much qigong or tai chi or meditation because you can overdo.
Rick: Oh yeah, with anything.
Dorothy: And you can overstimulate. You don’t want to stimulate your nervous system more than it’s prepared to take.
Rick: Right, and don’t try standing on meat cleavers.
Dorothy: No, I wouldn’t recommend it. I didn’t go that far. I didn’t try that.
Rick: Right. Doesn’t sound like fun.
Dorothy: Are you going to let me read it?
Dorothy: Are you going to let me read a poem?
Rick: Oh yes, please. Not only let you, but please ask you to read as many poems as you like.
Dorothy: Well, we’re kind of getting to the end here, but I would like to read a couple if I may.
Dorothy: This poem I wrote in April of this year, and it is a fitting to our conversation. It’s called “The Transition,” and this is what I believe. Even as the world around crumbles, the gates of heaven are opening. Angels, good and bad, are flowing down, mingling among the crowds. Their children are appearing among us with strange talents we do not understand. Something is carrying us into another universe where colors deepen and frequencies rise. The old gods are awakening, the times when the oracles spoke. Some of us are hearing unknown music of the sublime. Others are seeing before them images of holy ones, visions of the real. No one can explain what is happening. We are now captives of rapture, of seeing beyond the veils. We must surrender to vastness, to love. We must become more than we are. Now, that’s the transition. And I found my poem, my other poem. Well, this is interesting, because I wrote this in March of 1981, and I had this experience I’ve described in May of 1981. So this is kind of a predictive poem, and as I said, I was aware of the great goddess, and I was feeling that I was in touch with the goddess, and it was a powerful experience. When I was in Greece later, or earlier I guess it was, even then, I could feel those wonderful energies in the land, in the earth. I can do that sometimes when I’m traveling in Greece. Maybe I got it in Ireland, at this Holy Wells, in the sacred places. I can feel as blessed, the energies coming up from the earth. That’s why I think the earth is blessed, why I think that reality is blessed. And if you want to feel blessed, as far as I’m concerned, go to Tara, the place where the kings of Ireland used to be crowned. But our local guide said, she was a very strong feminist, she said, “But before that, before the patriarchy took over, this was the body of the great mother, and you are now standing on her root chakra.” Well that’s pretty good, and I felt those energies come up, just like that. Okay, this is called “Preparing to Greet the Goddess.” Do not think of her unless you are prepared to be driven to your limits, to rush forth from yourself like a ritual bowl overflowing with sacramental wine. Do not summon her image unless you’re ready to be blinded, to stand in the flash of a center exploding, yourself shattering into the landscape, wavering bits of bark and water. mirrors, your bracelets, your childhood adorations. From now on, you are nothing, a ghost sighing at the window, a voice singing underwater. And that was precursor of my awakening experience, and that is what it felt like. And I don’t know if I need to keep reading poetry, but I do —
Rick: You can if you want. These are great. I say you can if you want, these are great.
Dorothy: Well, I think that’s enough, but I did want to mention again, my new book of poems, the one called “The Kundalini.” Have I got it here? Well, it’s behind me.
Rick: Maybe your friend there could grab it if he’s in the room.
Dorothy: He’s going to grab it for me.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Dorothy: Thank you. Well, anyway, this is the newest book.
Rick: Wow, look at that.
Dorothy: And it’s called “The Kundalini.”
Rick: Hold it up a little higher. There you go.
Dorothy: Can you see that?
Rick: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
Dorothy: “The Kundalini Poems.”
Rick: And this is published now?
Dorothy: Oh, yeah, it was published in January.
Rick: Oh, good. Okay.
Dorothy: And this is kind of the culmination of all the poems I’ve ever written. I think these were more channeled than crafted, but they’re crafted. And this book, this picture here, if you can see it —
Rick: I can.
Dorothy: — expresses the force and power and energetic and the dynamic quality of Kundalini. And I think Kundalini is behind all creative processes. I really do. And so I think it is a great source of our creativity. It’s a great source of the creative force of the universe. So anyway, that’s the one. All my books are on Amazon, as well as the publisher of this wonderful publisher called Emergent Education Press. They are a delight. They are dedicated to publishing books about the future. They were willing to publish this book of poetry, although today, I don’t know if you know this, but most publishing houses will not even look at poetry unless your name is Rumi or Mary Oliver. Then they will consider publishing your book. But if your name is unknown, if you’re an unknown poet, forget it. Here’s one I’ll read to you. Called “Sanskrit Chanted by a Swami”. Sanskrit is a powerful language, as you know. It’s a sacred language. And it can awaken the energies just by listening to it. Sanskrit Chanted by a Swami. They wear their beards and turbans, darkened skins. My face is naked. My head unbound. They speak in strong, deep voices. This language is theirs. I listen intently, understand nothing, yet Shiva Shakti are at play in my body. Pulsations of delight. I am one with whatever this is. That’s one.
Rick: That’s great. Here’s one called Our Beginning. It is never easy, this moving ahead, this coming to the place where you and the other are one. You have come here in the way that you are. You will leave much the same, not wearing wigs and false robes, nor assuming the guise of all your past accomplishments, but rather in the primal innocence of what has always been you, the hallmark of your special being. Even as now the wind speaks its secrets, howling down the mountain passes, the rain making its way into our hearts as we strain to grasp what is being said, to hear the message hidden in the tight bud unfolding, the cloud passing overhead into the violet sun, all fading in silence and somewhere a whisper, “This is your beloved arriving to embrace you in a final recognition. Be silent and attend.”
Rick: That’s great.
Dorothy: Sudden turns. What?
Rick: I’m really enjoying that.
Dorothy: You ready for another one?
Dorothy: Okay. It’s called Sudden Turns. It’s a quote, starts with a quote from Mary Oliver. “I want to live my life all over again, to begin again, to be utterly wild. Do you want to live your life over again, to let that wild thing inside you have its way this time? To not hold back when the invitation came on the silver platter, the one that would have changed your life forever? Do you wish you had stood up and said your truth in a louder voice, even when the others didn’t want to hear what you were saying? Do you wish you had told them how wrong they were, how they didn’t understand? Do you wish you had picked up and moved to the mountains, even if the snow blocked the door in winter and the streams froze over, and gone swimming naked in the pond that summer with the stranger who stopped by, or hitchhiked through Greece with a backpack and a smile? Would you give up all the things you did in exchange for what you refuse? Consider all those treasures in your memory box, the times when you were, in fact, quietly, suddenly wild, took the unexpected turns in the path which brought you here, the place you are now, this life you love, and would not trade.” So, thank you, Rick.
Rick: Thank you, Dorothy.
Dorothy: Everybody said, “Oh, have fun with Rick,” and I did.
Rick: Yeah, me too. It’s such a treat for me to do these interviews every week and get to know a person each time, and it’s really been a treat to get to know you.
Dorothy: Thank you. Same here.
Rick: It’s been delightful.
Dorothy: Thank you. Thank you for having this. It’s a wonderful thing that you’re doing, because otherwise, how would we find each other, all of us here having these weird experiences, and our nervous systems are being changed whether we like it or not. So thank you, thank you, thank you.
Rick: Well, I always have liked to connect people in my life. It’s always been one of my things to sort of —
Dorothy: Well, that’s your gift.
Rick: Yeah, I’m kind of a spiritual yenta these days or something.
Dorothy: Spiritual what?
Rick: Yenta, you know that term from Fiddler on the Roof? Yenta was the one who arranged marriages.
Dorothy: Oh, okay. Okay. Wonderful. Well, I hate to leave now that we’ve got started.
Rick: Yeah. Well, you’ve really gone the distance. You’ve done a full two hours, your voice held up.
Dorothy: Yep, I was worried about that.
Rick: Fantastic, you did great. So I’ll be creating a page for you on batgap.com, and I’m telling the listeners as well as you, and I’ll have links to all of your books and your bio and a link to your website and everything so that people can just go there and then easily jump off to your various —
Dorothy: And how do they get the replay?
Rick: Oh, well it’s going to be up in about a week, it’ll be up on the internet in a permanent way and I’ll send an email out to all the people who are on the subscriber list, so if people are listening and they want to be notified of that, they should join the subscriber list on batgap.com and also —
Dorothy: Do they have to join that in order to hear the replay?
Rick: No, just to be notified. It’ll be up anyway. We do post-production.
Rick: We have to do some post-production work on the video before we can post it. And also I encourage people to subscribe on YouTube, just subscribe to the channel because then YouTube notifies you whenever anything new is posted. I’ll let you know anyway, I’ll send you an email when it goes up so you can tell your friends and put it on your website if you want to.
Dorothy: Okay, and will you include the YouTube presentations that I have done with Andrew Harvey?
Rick: I could, I could do a link —
Dorothy: I wish you could list those, because some people find it there. And this person I’ve referred to, that’s where he found me. And I might add that I’m happy to hear from people and my email is very simple. It’s just DorothyWalters72@gmail.com.
Rick: Okay, and I’ll actually put that on your BatGap page also so they can just click on it. DorothyWalters72@gmail.com. I expect you’re going to get some emails. Okay, and also, as I mentioned, I do Facebook and I often put new poems up there. As I write them, I often put them there. So that’s a good way to kind of keep in touch with me.
Rick: I’ll link to your Facebook page also.
Dorothy: And blog, it’s on the blog.
Rick: Yep, and on the blog. Great. Well, thanks Dorothy, and thanks to those who have been listening or watching, and we’ll see you for the next one.
Dorothy: Okay, thank you.
Rick: You’re welcome.
Dorothy: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Rick. Thank you.