Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coping With Kundalini - 1

One of the things I do is teach art to college students.  I am also a glass artist with his own studio, and in the midst of my own awakening I discovered just how useful creativity was in helping to remove blockages, knots, and all manner of problems that can crop up in the midst of these experiences.
I found that when I let myself go and become more fluid in my conception of new work, I felt better.  Looking back on it, I was helping to balance the yin and yang energy within me, and helping to build a more cooperative sense of self.  As I began to work in this way, I found that I ceased trying to figure it all out and simply felt as though I was being guided.  Sometimes when I just let the accidents happen, amazing things emerged.  Its easy for me to say an accident is just that, but I now know that this is one way for the universe to come rushing in.  We can set up all kinds of cognitive barriers around us without even realizing it.  Since my medium is so fast and fluid, this was perfect for having very sudden changes take place in the moment that might otherwise have to be planned out.  When I stopped trying to control things, something interesting began to emerge.

I began this by working with the concept of embodying the masculine and feminine in my work, to find a way to let those essences flow into being.  I began with focusing on the goddess.  I didn’t make figures out of glass, but I took what I already knew and began doing things I had always wanted to try but never told myself I had time for.  My vessels turned into the body of woman.  Lips, layers, deeper recesses where the great mystery lay.  I graduated the sizes and nested these one into the other.  They had an eroticism, a reference to the female body that expressed, I felt, the sensual flowing nature of that essential part of our experience.  I made them rich in color, mostly all were warm gold-based colors.  When I say gold, I actually mean the metal gold.  All colors in the glass palette are made from metals such as copper, cobalt, manganese, silver, iron, and gold.  Gold in this case creates what we call “rubies” which vary from reddish pinks to purples.  These are rich and warm, wine-like and powerful.  They are not bland colors but can reach incredible depth and sensuality.  These were perfect to begin working in this new way.  Expensive, yes, now that gold is rising in price, but very inviting and fabulous.  I was able to get my vessels to stretch into diamond shapes, no longer mere bowls, they became sculpture.  I didn’t plan too much, but made very simple choices of color and let chance take the lead.  Most was intuitive, and my own skill had to be present in order to make sure each piece was moved into the ballpark of where it needed to be.

About a month after I began working with this idea and seeking to embody it in the moment through feeling, I was approached out of the blue by a local artist to help collaborate on a piece she was making that was a bench….that was actually a sculpture.  In it, she had designed three pillars of wood that was like an upside down funnel, spreading outward from the top, a very masculine form.  Atop this would rest three glass elements that would reach into the sky to bring down cosmic energy, the grace of the All.  These, it was clear, were the feminine portions of the piece.  Womb-like, leaf-like, these served to bring down the universal force so that it might be anchored her on earth.  As I looked at the model for the piece and as we discussed all of this I was amazed at how aligned this artist was with the very same principles I had just a month before begun to work on.  More than this, I probably could not have been able to advertise for this job and have hoped for such an on the mark collaboration.
This, and work like it has hinted at the vast potential surrounding us when we begin to align with our larger purpose.  the Law of Attraction begins to work its magic to bring the most perfect things in with perfect timing.

As I observe the movement of kundalini within me, I know that what facilitates its movement is being more fluid, what I know to be a dynamic balance between masculine and feminine.  We are built, designed, to recognize the counterpart of us, to reach for completion and connectivity.  This is the essence of the experience.  As we can begin to merge these aspects within our own bodies, the light of awakening burns brighter.  We feel more unified, and we are happier.  We are taking the potential that these two energies have and bring them into a creative unity.  This is, I suspect, what some call “sublimation” which is essentially learning how to draw the energy of the bliss upwards through ones awareness ever higher.  I have some real problems with how this “sublimation” is described (partly that its seminal fluid that is pushed up the spine—-sorry—-but no, it just doesn’t work that way!), but I do think that by utilizing the vast potential, we can bring this limitless energy into the moment and create with it.  By keeping the energy moving and strong, the effect is that it works through the knots and hard places within us.  The more we let it flow, the more things will drop away.  Yes, its a kind of therapy I suppose you could say. But instead of meditation or prayers or postures, you are returning to a very fundamental state that is devoid of rules, regulations and even taboos.  The great thing about art is that there ARE no rules.  Perfect!  Since the energy can be so restless, this is perfect for bringing into a creative act.

I used to study what happens when we are creative.  Most people described it as a point where the left and right hemispheres both light up and begin talking to one another.  I think this is perfect because even our own brains seem to mirror the yin/yang of the universe.  One side is rational, another more feeling.  One is more solid and concrete while the other is holistic.  When we can bring both together, there is a flash of inspiration.  Isn’t this the same as the merging of the masculine and feminine energetically?  I think so.  And when I observe this in my students I find some interesting correlations.  When my students seek inspiration, they like to be alone.  This act is a very intimate one, one where they can’t be watched or bothered.  They have to have the freedom to play, to dream, to let that subtle dance within take place.  They don’t know HOW they do it, only that its IN them to do this.  And when they are inspired, it brings with it a bliss and a sense of connectedness.  This is one aspect of union, and it begins with the self.  The act of creativity is an act of union.  It happens when we make great art, or come up with new ideas in science, and it also happens physically when we make babies.
By being willing to carve out some time for yourself to be creative, I think that you will be able to find a way to cope with kundalini.  Being able to stretch yourself outward more, to flow, or perhaps to feel the masculine move more within you if you are very feminine, is a very good way to learn to deal intuitively with this process.  It is an act that is ultimately unifying, an act that helps heal separation of the self and help you to feel more at One.

Music can help change your brain chemistry and electrical output.  For the work I do I have discovered that I like very rhythmic music because it mirrors the rhythm of the turning of the pipe.  It somehow seems to help me get in the groove, lose myself, and find something else flowing into the moment.  It helps me to FEEL more clearly sometimes, more powerfully.  Most, though, it helps me to let go and Be. There is plenty of research that shows that certain rhythms are more conducive to alternate states of consciousness.  You will note that many shamanic traditions use certain cycles of sound that actually help in people moving into dissociated states, or trance states.  These states aren’t where you are no longer present, but where you can be powerfully present but not as engaged in ego and mind as you were before.  Some walls come down as you let yourself become seduced by how wonderful everything feels and the universe can’t help but peek through the edges as you give yourself permission to melt into it.  Knowing what works best for you will be a choice based on simple experience. I find that repetitive music can help, but the music has to change or else it feels….”blaaah” to me.  There has to be some variety in the piece.  It might be that something by Brian Eno, with his solid and nearly unchanging tones can go well with work that takes a long time to produce but also helps to frame a certain state of mind and keep you rooted in the place and state that you desire.  I think it has a lot to do with being able to mirror the music with the piece and what it embodies.  I knew a grad student whose studio was above mine who would listen to the same song literally over and over for hours….months.  He did his entire MFA show to the sounds of Prince’s one song….”I Would Die For You.”  I got why he used the song.  For him, it had all the right energy for helping him to reach the place he needed for his work.  I tended to try to keep a different schedule than him since I had heard enough of that one song.  Luckily he also would use headphones.

I have found that I no longer like to work alone.  I like what can happen in the midst of collaboration.  Each person inspiring the other, each coming up with things that might never have been tried, or considered. One person’s own strengths being augmented by and influenced by the strengths of another.  Its interesting how in the past I could not have done this since I had such a singular way of working.  Now, I find myself so untethered in some ways that I am ready to work in a more collaborative way with the right folks1  In one case, the universe brought me someone who said “create it….I have given you my thoughts, but take it and run with it!”  and so I did.  What marvelous freedom.  Having the right chemistry makes all the difference, which is why letting the universe bring you those people purely by “chance” and serendipity can be so perfect.

It doesn’t need to be art, though.  It can be ANYTHING that you find creative.  People who are system engineers find great creative fulfillment in finding ways to make a plant operate more efficiently, for example.  A mechanic might build a dune buggy, or an electric bicycle, for instance.  It could be that cooking becomes a whole new passion as you discover new flavors and ways of cooking you have never tried before.  Being able to make food that feels good to your evolving palette can be incredibly rewarding.  Might be that you become more sensitive to food additives, or allergic to foods you never were allergic to (both has happened to me since K began to move), and being able to choose the right things that make you feel better when you eat might be perfect all the way around.  Just being able to feed your friends could be the same as making a beautiful painting.  It might be that its more enjoyable when you can cook with others, working towards a common goal. you obviously need to be able to work in a kitchen with the right person who can anticipate what you might need or know when to stat chopping and let you get at the stove!

Whatever path you choose, learning how to bring the creative into your day to day will help to crunch some of those more crusty parts, and begin to allow a more rewarding flow into your day to day.
Its interesting that like how the creative moves in the studio and in me, so does the act of removing those hard parts of myself.  I don’t always know what I am letting go of, but the act of letting go feels about the same when I create as when I let go of some ancient karmic thread or other.  Its not NEEDING to know I think that seems to do it.  Sometimes I AM curious to know the source of a given issues that is falling away, and in those cases, I have been shown.  By that time, it was already being released and was gone, never to return.

I once was highly skeptical about art being a therapeutic device.  Now I am sure of it!
One final note, and an important one….  I think that its important that you work so that you do not feel funny or self conscious if you can’t draw perfectly, if visual art is what you decide to do. Its real good if you can adopt an attitude where you are less invested in an outcome and more invested in enjoying the activity.  If you can do that, it can be very helpful. Building a sense of expectation into the moment can sometimes make us feel limited, or freeze up some.  This is supposed to be fun!  Learning advanced techniques takes a long time to master, so be easy on yourself.   This is all difficult, and can take years to master.  It might be that you do work that doesn’t rely on your lack of skill with a given type of art.  What about making rich colorful fields of color, designs, or other ways of expressing? If you watch children making art, you realize that the guts of the operation is in how much fun you can have just MAKING the stuff!  Its only when kids start worrying about how they are able to draw hands or faces or people that they draw into their shell.  If you can create with wild abandon, you have a much better chance at creating something that you will feel good about and be more likely to return to.  Be loose, but be intense!

No comments: