Our karma-- cultural, personal and ancestral-- is held within our nervous system and other bodily tissues and imprinted into our bodies’ energetic channels (called nadis in sanskrit). When unexamined and unhealed, the nadis bind up and create karmic knots (known as granthis in sanskrit). The knots bind us into re-experiencing and replaying the stories, myths and patterns held within. They are like a computer program etched into our organs and nervous system, dictating the way we interact with ourselves and the world.
In life, we play out the karma that’s held in these knots through our interactions with others. Our knots are constantly sending out cords of information that connect to other people’s cords in the dance of our interwoven karma. The cords are like magnets, and they attract the people and situations that reveal the story or pattern held within. Many people see how they are still playing out the stories and patterns from childhood in their adult relationships. Our attraction to people arises from the interconnection of our karmic cords.
For most people, this is a painful process. As long as we externalize the process and fail to understand our own part in creating these relationship bonds, we will be in an antagonistic relationship with others and ultimately ourselves. It’s easy to see how our problems and our suffering arise from others. And to a certain extent its true, but only at the outermost level. Hidden within every negative interaction we experience at the hands of someone else is our own wounded self drawing our attention inside. But most of us are not taught how to process these things internally. Our culture teaches us to externalize our suffering and wall off our emotions and trauma. Because we do not process our wounding, we learn how to dissociate or disconnect from it. In the short term, the dissociation allows us to temporarily move through life without having to experience the suffering hidden inside. But in the long term, this walling off process starts forming the karmic knots that bind us down and create our map for interacting with the world.
Our wounds are actually living beings and fragmented parts of our psyche. Our painful emotions are the messages sent by our fragmented psyche asking us to go inside— to heal ourselves and integrate our fragmented parts. When we dissociate or disconnect from trauma, painful emotions or “negative” parts of ourselves, our psyche sends out cords to “negative” people in order to reflect back the part of us that wants to heal. This process can feel like an act of divine punishment, as we recreate the same wounded patterns with different people. Paradoxically, whatever we’ve tried to wall off will come back to get us. The “triggering” process happens when our unhealed trauma manifests an external force to awaken us to its presence. When this happens, we either try to suppress our uncomfortable feelings through dissociation or numbing out, or we try to fight whatever external force appears to be responsible for our pain.
How does the kundalini fit into all this? The kundalini sages of long ago described the process of spiritual awakening as a time when a human decided that they were done playing the game of forgetting our internal truth. When this happens, the seed of remembering awakens. We start to remember that everything outside is really just a manifestation of an internal process— this is the kundalini starting to awaken, and one of the most powerful lessons it teaches is that everything is internal. But this is not an instantaneous process! We can’t decide to awaken and clear all our karma and then become enlightened. A kundalini awakening is the first stage of a very long process. Its a long process because the seductions and entanglements in the external world are very tricky and very powerful.
The fundamental premise of Kundalini Mediumship is that being triggered is Spirit’s way of calling attention to our wounds. When we get triggered we can take the emotions and energy of our trigger and bring it inside to heal and wake up the kundalini. This process involves changing our relationship to our demons. Instead of fighting them, we work with them to access our wounds, because hidden inside our wounds is our divine spirit. This process is at the heart of kundalini mediumship-- the recognition that our own internal self has a role in every external process. But it is not easy. It takes a lot of discipline, courage and compassion to make that internal commitment when so many internal processes and external systems are set up to sabotage this process.
There are two main practices of kundalini mediumship, depending on what type of knots and cords we are working on. The internal knots and cords are accessed through breath and bandha work.
Working with the external cords requires tracking. While I call them external, they are really just outward extensions of our internal cords.
Breath and Bandhas
Breath control (known as pranayama in sanskrit) along with bandha work is the key to accessing the kundalini. Bandhas are yogic techniques that open up the abdomen.
Mula bandha – contraction of the muscle group between the genitals and anus (the perineum). This is a "pulling up" movement.
Uddiyana bandha – contraction in the abdominal cavity. This is a "pulling in" movement.
Jalandhara bandha – a “pulling in” of the spot just above the sternum
When the kundalini begins to awaken, she starts moving up the sushumna (spinal canal) and out to the peripheral nervous system. During healing sessions, Kundalini Mediumship practitioners frequently press on the abdomen to mimic uddiyana bandha contractions.
Deep within the abdomen, the kundalini is bound up in our karmic knots (granthi). Using uddiyana bandha along with mula bandha allows us to access the granthi and the kundalini energy lying inside. The granthi are the physical manifestations of our emotional/spiritual/karmic wounding. When you start to open up the kundalini and access the granthi, you may experience a dark pit deep in your stomach. As you continue working with the kundalini, you may also experience the knotted, twisted cords extending out from the granthi to the rest of your body. These roots travel along our nadis (energy channels) and bind them up, blocking our energetic flow.
The knots and cords are actually made up of three distinct structures. The outermost level is the wall— the zone of dissociation and numbing out or checking out. We get sent to the wall when the wound is triggered and unprocessed. If we can access the wound and process what is held there, we may be able to touch into the deepest level. At the deepest level is the intense energy of the kundalini herself, along with gods, goddesses and ancestors.
When the kundalini begins to awaken, she will sometimes move you into spontaneous yogic positions (called kriyas) that are unique expressions of the unwinding of your karmic knots. The kundalini herself uses the kriyas to pull out the roots and vines of our karmic baggage. In its place you may see vibrant colors or feel a rush of energy where there used to be a dark stagnation. This is not an overnight process, and each person’s process is based on their samskaras (karmically inherited patterns of thought and behavior).
Even though each person’s process is unique, there are some fundamental structural tools that can be used by everyone. The technique we use in Kundalini Mediumship to work with our external cords is tracking.
When we’re tracking, we get triggered and then use the emotions of the triggering to access our internal landscape. This is a very tricky process, and to do it successfully we’ll need to go understand the terrain.
When we get triggered, our wound is activated. The wound is the part of ourselves that contains an emotion, memory or trauma so painful, so uncomfortable, so deep that it feels like it will destroy us. Unfortunately, most people are unable to feel what is really happening inside when they get triggered. The moment when we are able to connect to the wound usually passes incredibly quickly because immediately after the wound is triggered, the wall springs into place. The true obstacle to tracking is our wall.
The wall is the structure we create to dissociate from our wound. When we have trouble accessing our feelings, when we resort to substances or other processes to numb out or check out, we are in the realm of the wall. It is a structure we have created in order to not feel the thing inside of us that feels too painful, too big or too intense. Everyone’s wall is a unique, multi-layered structure that is really an example of our own ingenious power of creation. But it is built and maintained on the illusion of separateness. We try to wall off our painful karma or trauma but we can never truly escape those things. When we get triggered, we usually end up creating more and more walls and then spend much of our energy on wall maintenance. It takes a lot of mental, emotional and spiritual energy trying to fix and repair a system who’s goal is to prevent us from being triggered.
Each person’s wall is unique, but they all share similar characteristics. The sole purpose of the wall is to prevent us from accessing the wound. There are usually many layers. Some common ones are:
Externalization-- identifying the source of my problem or suffering as someone or something else. On one level, this is true. Other people can cause us pain. Other people can hurt us and treat us poorly. But we can use that pain to take us inside and work with our internal wound. If not, we’ll just be caught in the cycle of blaming others for our internal state and then attracting people who hurt us.
Lashing out-- when getting close to the wound, a righteous anger can be triggered. This looks and feels like the wound, and it can have a very deceptive mask. But under this anger is generally a frightened child, the source of the real wound. The angry mask does not like us to see the little boy of girl hidden inside.
Retreating-- some people learn to retreat when the wound is triggered. This is a place of cold numbness, self pity and victimhood.
If we can work through layers of the wall, we may be able to encounter the outer layers of the wound. The outer layer contains some very deep emotions, but it still contains some of the energy of the wall. It will try to keep us from going any further. This place may tell us we are worthless or that we are not allowed to experience love.
When we get to a deeper level of the wound, it feels raw and vulnerable. There may be images or memories that arise. When we are truly here, we will be able to renegotiate the contract.
Contracts are agreements we’ve made with other people or spiritual forces. Like any physical contract, we get something from them but we also give something. In the case of our wall, our contract with it gives us a temporary escape from feeling our wound. In return the wall demands that we renounce our inner awareness along with a piece of our emotional and spiritual connection. The wall doesn’t just wall off our trauma, it walls off the deeper levels of our emotional and spiritual being with it. That’s the trade off.
But our “wall contracts” involve much more than this-- our wall becomes enmeshed with our psychological drives and daily motivations. Wall maintenance becomes a daily habit that requires a lot of energy. The wall never truly separates us from our wounds, it just provides the illusion of that separation. And that illusion comes crashing down every time we are triggered. When we are triggered, we feel into our wound for just a moment. And in that moment we have to rebuild the part of the wall that let the triggering happen. Recognizing that the contract with the wall has lost its allure frequently propels people on the path of emotional and spiritual healing.
In reality, our walls and our wounds are a multi-faceted structure containing infinite pieces of information. The process of uncovering these issues is not linear-- it’s not about revealing each part. It’s about revealing the pattern that the issues show. When we understand how a wall works within us, we can use that information to understand how other walls we’ve created fit that pattern. When we come to understand the patterns of our wounding and the patterns of our walls, the patterns of our divine connection will also reveal themselves. Those divine connections are at the heart of Kundalini Mediumship. We all have a spiritual self, we all have gods and goddesses that are waiting to connect with us. But to connect with them, we have to work through the layers of baggage we’ve built around them.