Lisa Erickson, 2

Interview with Lisa Erickson

MP:

It sounds as if the energy in your head and neck wanted to move up and out. What a wonderful story of time and space collapsing. I can relate to that. I too have had many classic kundalini rising experiences. I would like to focus on the kundalini for a moment, before we move on. Can you track over time when the fire reached particular chakras, clearing them?

Lisa:

My own experience has not been that linear overall. In formal sitting meditation I can feel the energy rising up through the chakras, and I have had specific experiences where I felt deeply immersed in one chakra or another, or periods when one or another was opening. And I can look back and see that different phases of my life tended to orient around 'themes' associated with each chakra– say personal power (3rd chakra) for one period, or learning to love (heart chakra) in another.

But I haven't experienced the process overall as this linear progression, and honestly it doesn't seem to be that way for many of my students either. And because of that I have come to think of the classical 'story' of the kundalini rising through one chakra at a time until it reaches the crown as an archetype or myth of the spiritual journey in general, as opposed to an absolute map of the process.

I feel that for most people, the actual process is much more circular– we are moving back and forth between the themes and energies of the various chakras all the time, and there are multiple levels to each. So it's not really a matter of one being opened and staying open– we can experience our heart opening, but then later in life, we can experience that again, on a deeper level. And I think this is true for all the chakras.

I also think there is a difference between balancing and opening the chakras from a healing perspective and experiencing them as opening as part of our spiritual journey– this is also a matter of working with them at different levels. The levels are connected, but never-ending. And of course many seekers are not drawn to explicit kundalini/chakra work, and experience the awakening process very differently.

Many of my favorite contemporary teachers– Gangaji, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, don't reference kundalini work at all in their teachings, and I can relate to that also. So I love the chakras as archetypes of different psychological and energy themes, but I don't really relate to that classic model of the kundalini rising one chakra at a time. I am more into a model of integration at this point, of living every aspect of our life as part of our path, and the different themes of the chakras are useful for that I think.

That's not to say that some people don't experience the awakening process as a linear progression through one chakra at a time– I am sure some people do! I don't want to sound like I am dismissing the experiences of anyone, or the classic writings. But in this day and age, we have access to so many different models and paths. I think it's clear it's an entirely unique experience for each person. That's part of the beauty of it really I think!

MP:

I really got a great deal out of that response. Thank you. That was very rich and full of insights. There are so many places to go from here. One of the reasons I actually wanted to touch on kundalini is because it shows up so rarely in modern teachings– perhaps because it could become a very fascinating and potentially distracting subject. You mention that "in this day and age, we have access to so many different models and paths".

Several decades ago when some very strange things were happening to my body, I was hard-pressed to find any real material on what it might be. A few books in the back section of the used book store is where I finally got some answers– all to do with kundalini. The internet was just starting to emerge, and now there is so much out there.

The work of Carolyn Myss was helpful when Anatomy of the Spirit came out. Where is the best place to go for those who are more interested in this subject and wanting to understand kundalini. I use this word, but what I am referring to is the universal primal developmental force and energy that is corrective and healing in nature.

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