Under a bodhi tree
in a time that has passed
but feels like present
the awakened one woke me
overcome with love
and deep unworthiness
my imperfect vision
saw dharma clearly
and my heart expanded.
Poems are less literal but somehow more true. The above poem is based on something that happened to me in May of 2018 while meditating on psilocybin. I wasn’t under a bodhi tree, but rather in the mountains of Colorado. The actual Buddha Siddhartha did not appear, but I was suddenly and powerfully awakened. Really what I think I experienced was a Kundalini Awakening.
Near the top of this majestic mountain, I sat in lotus, spine stretching towards the sun. My focus was on my heart as I slowly moved air in and out of my lungs. A deep love of self overwhelmed my heart. But this love of self was a far greater emotion than mere conceit. I dwelled in a rare state that I would imagine is close to nirvana. Suddenly I felt something move up my spine. It was a delightful sensation almost like the release of popping a joint, but more subtle. The energy spiraled up my vertebrae.
Although the feeling in my spine was subtle, my mind surged with power. It is said that the spiral of Kundalini is primal energy. Primal does seem like an accurate word to me; it was powerful and ancient. I literally roared like a lion when it happened.
Over the next four to eight months, my experience was a divine sense of purpose, clarity, confidence, and creativity. The present moment expanded for me. Communication became much easier. Suddenly I was able to speak and get my point across much more clearly. Words danced together into beautiful sentences as I spoke. In fact, all of life became a dance for me; effortless and rhythmic. The world appeared before me in more color and beauty. I started writing poetry and philosophy as an attempt to describe the beauty I saw. However, after four months this higher state of consciousness started to slowly fade.
The purpose of this writing is not to describe those first four months. Besides words not being adequate, some of the stuff that happened to me was utterly unbelievable. Synchronicities and strange phenomena. Perhaps another time I will try to put words to it. I will just say this for now; it was a divine state that I long to return to.
But I will also admit that the sudden surge in power convinced my ego that it was all about me. I got into huge arguments with my wife and my family. Luckily, I quickly yielded in both disputes and saved my most important relationships. On the most fundamental level, I am who I am because of them, and their tough love probably saved me from going off the deep end.
In another argument, this time with my two best friends, and business partners, I did not yield. But they were trying to take advantage of me, so it was right to stand my ground. The problem is that I did not just stand my ground – I used my new power to make them feel very small. So, not only did I lose two business partners – I lost two friends. Regardless if they deserved it, my mind was not peaceful because of it for several months.
The power threw me out of balance. I overestimated my own importance and hubris was born. I did not go completely out of control, but I did make mistakes in judgment and actions that were out of character.
It would have been easy for me to round off the corners and only recount the magic that happened to me. But writing about my failures is critical to the story. Because you see, the energy of Kundalini is considered divine; to be treated with reverence. I awakened this primal energy during a meditation where I was in a state of a deep love of self. Imagine the disappointment of this divine energy and the chakras that opened for it, upon seeing me act so small.
Bit by bit, I was shown how inadequate and insignificant I was by the world as primal energy faded. By 8 months after that magical day in the mountains, I was immersed deep into the underworld.
Sitting in lotus
In the basement of the underworld
Trying to remember truth.
Dukkha loosely translates into suffering. This is what I experienced as the balancing forces of the universe responded to my arrogance. I didn’t fall to the calm emotional and mental level I maintained before my awakening. My descent into chaos was much deeper. Suddenly I felt strong emotions of unworthiness and depression. I experienced powerful memories that flooded my mind/body with emotions. A lot of it was stuff I thought I had already worked through. I really felt like the world was throwing the kitchen sink at me.
Through the chaos, I remained calm. I did not have an immediate answer, so I meditated, knowing that the solution was probably that anyway.
Another thing I did was to continue to write poetry and philosophy. The creativity part of the awakening had stayed with me and I was definitely becoming a better writer. At times, I did feel like a phony giving advice to people, given how I had recently acted and having been so deep in the underworld myself. But mostly I knew that my writings were of truth, even if I was currently having trouble finding mine. I also tried to be honest about my situations in poems.
Immersed in misery
My spirit is a lotus flower
Pass this messiness
Try to stop me if you like
But the world
See me blossom.
After a few months of dwelling deep in the underworld I began to emerge again. I started to ascend by taking responsibility and learning to let go of useless emotions. My ego was defeated, but my spirit unbroken as I marched slowly and cautiously through the ponds of dukkha.
To be continued.