The Biology of Consciousness by JJ Semple
Case Studies in Kundalini explores the question of whether our consciousness continues after death. Thanks to Near Death Experience and other paranormal experiences, there’s enough evidence to say we do. This book takes the subject into new territory with case studies of paranormal states, the origin of mindfulness, and research on the cosmology of consciousness.
Kirkus Reviews had this to say: “The author fleshes out the book with a dramatic section devoted to case studies of different types of Kundalini encounters, showing the different ways that practitioners “awaken” energies inside themselves, as well as how Kundalini helps people tackle personal challenges. These studies give the work an instantly relatable, human dimension that’s often missing from books of this kind and underscores Semple’s approachable, ordinary-guy tone throughout. New readers approaching this complicated subject will feel immediately at ease, and longtime Kundalini practitioners will no doubt find details that remind them of their own experiences.”
A Renegade Among
“For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
~ First Corinthians 13:12, attributed to St. Paul
This book explores the notion that consciousness exists outside the mind, separate from the functions of the human brain. Kundalini and the near death experience both support this hypothesis. In a near death experience, the subject is deemed clinically dead, yet is able to remember the particulars of the “death” experience after the pulse of life is restored. Biological materialists and nouveau atheists challenge this hypothesis, claiming there is no consciousness after death. This claim is also a hypothesis; it is not evidence-based. Therefore, we have a standoff, each side trying to destroy the other’s propositions, which, in the case of Kundalini, leads to considerable confusion, most of it generated by inaccurate definitions and absurd labeling.
Because many people are confused by Kundalini’s real nature, we must do more to define it accurately, starting with what it is not. For example, it isn’t devil worship or a supernatural cult. Neither is it a religion nor a sect. It’s a biological process. You can’t be converted to Kundalini any more than you can be converted to a heart attack or an orgasm; they just happen. That’s the nature of biological processes: They just happen.
Recently, there’s been a tidal shift as more and more people recognize the term Kundalini and practice some form of yoga related to it. As more and more people are living Kundalini awakenings, we’re past the point of saying we don’t know much about Kundalini, that it’s too mystical, too occult. We know a great deal, most of it derived from personal accounts. Scientists may question these accounts and tell us these experiences aren’t conducted according to the scientific method in a laboratory at some university. We tell them this surge in Kundalini experiences is more than proof of concept; it is a working hypothesis. We’ve used our bodies as laboratories to prove it. We know there’s more to it. It’s not only about bliss or magical powers; it’s also about accelerating evolution.
As more and more people explore Kundalini, we are able to examine the process in scientific terms. I like to break the process into two steps: triggers and effects. The aim of the trigger step is to activate a biological process that entails distilling sexual energy and guiding it to the brain. The trigger I used was meditation and yoga. Other triggers include drugs, rituals, sex, energy transference, and it can even occur while minding your own business. The most reliable trigger I know of is meditation. And although most meditation systems have religious roots, we now have nondenominational methods, based on stress and relaxation research, that consist of breathing and concentration exercises akin to aerobics. In the coming years, I predict we will also see physiological methods for activating Kundalini that are completely divorced from any religious influences.
To awaken Kundalini without adverse effects or disorientation, however, the energy must be drawn up the spine as opposed to being forced up through concentrating intention or mental effort. The backward-flowing method (discussed in the next chapter) assures that the energy will be drawn or pulled up the spine into the brain effortlessly without the practitioner having to intervene once he kicks off the process. Each trigger produces different effects. In fact, awakenings induced using the same trigger do not always produce the same effects. As we acquire more knowledge, this may change (see The Scope of Kundalini chapter for more on this subject).
As for the effects step, it begins when Kundalini is activated, the moment the sublimated energy rises to the brain. A common metaphor might be a dazzling array of fireworks in the brain, but it’s so much more, so much more immediate and awe-inspiring. Because of the wanton nature of a Kundalini eruption, its intensity and variety — from feelings of rapture to sensations of bliss, from the opening of the doors of perception to the dissolution of the body — the initiate has trouble reconciling the effects with everyday life. He tries to structure that which has no structure, a state in which neither logic, opinions, words, nor beliefs exist.
Beyond good and evil, it is a place where the body melts away and there is only pure energy, and you are a wee part of it, observer and participant, at the same time. There is no separate you in that place, and it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. Neither faith, hopes, nor opinions. You are those things, not as ideas or talking points or church sermons, but as union with an all-pervasive consciousness.
The nine case studies that follow illustrate the various types of triggers that induce Kundalini, how the triggers work, what the experiences have in common, and how the effects differ. Similar yet different from mine, these awakening stories confirm that Kundalini is not only an absolute rearrangement of consciousness, but also a multidimensional biological metamorphosis — an acceleration of evolution, a makeover.
Kundalini’s effects are beyond the science of our day. No one language can encapsulate the experience. It’s not because there aren’t excellent accounts of Kundalini awakenings; there are. Rather it’s because the triggers and the effects in each account vary so widely. No two experiences are alike. The distance between how one initiate interprets the experience and the actual experience itself varies from initiate to initiate. Assigning the words on a one-to-one basis, matching the word-label to the experience-actuality involves a vast amount of linguistic artifice, mixing a polyglot lexicon of everyday vocabulary, spiritual terms from various traditions, scientific jargon, and personal attempts at finding better ways of expressing the ineffability of higher consciousness. Even if each account is described accurately, the variations between accounts make classification difficult.
Talking about my Kundalini awakening has always been difficult. Forty years of constant changes to my body and my psyche, coupled with public misunderstanding about the topic, have made it so. The way it’s affected me has varied almost daily during the 40 years I’ve lived with it. A high-on-the-Richter-scale earthquake followed by an even greater aftershock, it knocked the wind out of me, and to this day leaves me wondering what really happened. Ever since, my life has not been about what I presumed it would be about; it’s been about coming to terms physically, mentally, psychically, and spiritually with an inexhaustible supply of energy.
Landing in a super-conscious energy field — immersed in It — a tiny vibrating speck of It, I understood that It is all there is, and It is alive through all eternity. It is not about science. It does not negate or condone science. It is not about religion. It does not refute religion. Nor is It about art or politics, stupidity or intelligence. It has nothing to do with the dualism that pervades our world. It is above it, the cause of it, the essence of All.
Looking back 40 years ago, it’s difficult for me to believe my meditation would turn out to be more than a relaxing pastime. That was before a hidden biological subsystem came to life inside me and I watched powerful energies awaken and circulate through my body. Valves opened, elixir flowed through neural conduits into my brain, releasing life force energy throughout my body. That was in 1972-73.
The only difference between you and me is the amount of time Kundalini has been working on me, rebuilding my body, refashioning my consciousness, integrating the various parts of my being. Just because I’ve been at it a long time doesn’t make me special, doesn’t mean I outrank you. Don’t let anyone try to out-kundalini you. Your experience is as valid as the next person’s. It’s what you do with it that counts. Humanity will evolve because of what you do. Your choices about the ways you manage the process at work inside you could very well determine the future of our race.
Does this surge in Kundalini experiences mean that the evolutionary process can be accelerated in one generation? For the moment, we can’t prove it can be, but it’s a great working hypothesis because these experiences are not opinions, hallucinations, or abstractions; they’ve occurred in the bodies of men and women all over the world. These accounts shed light not only on the triggers and the effects of the Kundalini experience, but they also give us a perspective into cosmology, how our beings are connected to the conscious evolutionary energy of the universe. Not only do we get a glimpse of an alternate reality, the Kundalini experience shows us mankind’s place within a greater cosmology.
Does a greater understanding of this cosmology mean you have to accept each tenet of every occult tradition? Reincarnation, for instance? Absolutely not. You must verify everything you see, hear, and feel. Before I became involved in the process that Kundalini triggered, I was exposed to many religious and spiritual concepts. Did I decide what was true based on reasoning or experience or did I just go along with the beliefs others had instilled in me? Usually, I took the word of others, since, at the time, I had no firsthand knowledge to support my beliefs. Undoubtedly, like you, I was conditioned by various family and social values, and I accepted them, right or wrong.
Basically I formed opinions about topics I knew nothing about. Whether it’s global warming, pre-school education, self-actualization, reincarnation, resurrection, miracles, or any other subject, how can we form an opinion without firsthand knowledge or experience of the subject? Whether the topic is science, nature, or metaphysics, the insights conferred through Kundalini higher consciousness widen the initiate’s perspective, infusing him/her with a new curiosity about the whole of life — seen or unseen.
Nevertheless, just because you’ve had an awakening experience doesn’t mean that you suddenly know everything. Quite the opposite. You realize you know nothing. Many great scientists start with a similar realization. So too do great teachers, great writers, even great coaches. It’s quite an achievement, realizing you know nothing. Socrates said, “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” Every time I utter that phrase, I feel relief. It helps me realize my ego is not in charge. It took me a long time to realize that most everything that passes through my mind and out of my mouth is based on assumption. When I use Socrates’ paradox as a mantra, I am refreshed.
Am I better off since Kundalini, realizing that I know nothing, wondering, “Hey, what happened to all the stuff I thought I knew?”
Recognizing the conditioning I had been operating under didn’t happen overnight. The slate was wiped clean, but acclimating myself to a new reality took time. A Kundalini makeover is not instantaneous. It takes a lifetime to recognize and expunge deep-seated beliefs and prejudices. Over time, Kundalini helped me identify and remove them. Illuminated by the immutable truths Kundalini confers on those who begin the makeover process, my psyche is being rebuilt from scratch.
So without ever witnessing a reincarnation, my super-conscious mind grokked it. I call these insights first realizations: the immediate workings of the mind after the experience, the first words after wordless immersion — like ideograms harvested in another dimension, processed by the rational mind, to be expressed in words at a later date. The immutable truths: life and death as transitory states in a repeating series of states, vibrating energies of a multi-layered universe, consciousness that exists independently of the brain, the inexorability of evolution, rebirth, and yes, reincarnation. Flashes of truth. Images of transcendence. Perhaps you’ve had this type of insight.
If the preceding is a bit too hyperbolic, please excuse me, but as I’ve already stated, the Kundalini experience is difficult to describe, perhaps because it has always been accompanied, at least for me, by a certain sense of wonder and euphoria.
But we’ve moved beyond a purely religious definition of transcendence. Transcendence can be as simple as surpassing one’s early circumstances to become an artist or a ball player, or as elaborate as dying on the cross. We now know — or at least we should know — that there is something beyond biological materialism, and we don’t need prayer to touch it. We can reach out and grab it. That is, we can take an active role in the process to heal and perfect our bodies and overcome our conditioning, at the same time leaping to the top rung of Maslow’s pyramid — self-actualization. Perhaps we may even accelerate human evolution. It’s a valid hypothesis, one many of us have been working under, one that will be discussed at length in the next chapter.
Meanwhile, there’s a shift happening. Kundalini is expanding beyond its religious roots into science. You don’t need a guru to activate Kundalini. You don’t need to be enlightened. You don’t need to belong to a group. I don’t have a guru, don’t belong to a group. I’m not enlightened: I’m realized, which means I realize I know nothing. Each day I start over again at the beginning, asking the same questions, never satisfied with pat answers. An empirical scientist, a skeptic, yet a confident believer in the accuracy of the phenomena I have observed and recorded taking place in the laboratory of my body.
If my treating Kundalini as an evidence-based science makes me a renegade among the realized, so be it. That’s my story. It began as a child — the first time I wondered if there was life after death. It continues even now as we explore the riddle of our time: Does consciousness persist after the brain ceases to function?
 See The Backward-Flowing Method: The Secret of Life and Death, JJ Semple, Life Force Books, 2008, pp. 54.
 Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs
JJ Semple is the author of three books of paranormal non-fiction that deal with kundalini, meditation, consciousness, alchemy, and mindfulness, and their effect on human evolution. His first book, Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time, is an auto-biographical memoir of his Kundalini awakening. His second book, The Backward-Flowing Method: The Secret of Life and Death, takes an expanded look at an optimal method for activating Kundalini in a safe, permanent, and repeatable fashion over the course of a single lifetime. The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini examines the paranormal aspects of consciousness and its relation to human biology and to the transmission of paranormal abilities to future generations through DNA.
JJ Semple’s formal education includes studying English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, and a master’s degree in marketing from Hauts Etudes de Commerce in Paris. His personal education involves yogic and paranormal practices and exploration inspired by a wide variety of teachers, writers and philosophers, including Gopi Krishna, Milarepa, Carl Gustav Jung, Leo Tolstoy, and Lao Tse.
He is the founder of Life Force Books, a publishing company featuring books on the neuroplasticity aspects of Kundalini and helpful guidelines for living with Kundalini.
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