Kundalini Yoga: Path of the Householder
When people get on a spiritual path often they think that they have to renounce everything. It’s a concept that keeps many from deeply exploring their own soul. It’s a function of duality. Many people, because religion has misled them, have a belief that you can’t be spiritual and still live a material life. It’s just a big, fat lie that in order to be spiritual you must be poor. I like the way Wayne Dyer puts it: I’m going to paraphrase here– but basically in The Power of Intention lectures he says, no amount of my being poor is going to improve the world. In other words if you’re upset that kids are starving halfway across the world, starving yourself in sympathy isn’t going to feed them. The converse is also true… if you make yourself whole, complete and radiant with the success that is You living a prosperous life, you add to the world simply living positively and happily. Your presence will uplift those that see you living well. It will inspire them to do the same. You can also apply some of that wealth charitably, healing some of the poverty and lack in the world.
Certainly you have to give some stuff up so that you can get perspective on your life and change your habits. In order to change you need to leverage your mind. You have to make time for a practice that allows you to connect with the greater part of your Self, the soul. You can’t change yourself if you’re doing everything the same as you always have because you have to step outside your normal life to gain perspective. You have to step outside your normal thinking and habits before you can see yourself in a different light.
We must become the change we wish to see in the world. –Mohandas Ghandi
That’s why many spirtual paths seem so austere, because you have to step out of the world and give up a bit of what you’ve attached importance to in order to see what’s beyond it. The devout seeker gives up everything to find God, but as mentioned earlier, that isn’t the only way. You can still be spiritual and have a job!
The path of the householder is someone who has a job and a family or in other words is engaged in an earthly life, but also has a spiritual practice. The history books are ripe with examples of great beings who follow the way of The Bodhisattava, “grounded in eternity, but moving in the field of time.1”
The practice of Kundalini Yoga at its origins in India was given mostly to the royal caste as a householder’s yoga. It was practiced in secret and passed on from Master to student only through ardent initiation period to ensure comittment. It is now available to everyone, equally across the world since Yogi Bhajan came to the west in 1969 and began to teach it openly. Kundalini yoga is a practice that allows you a deep connection with the spiritual aspect of your being in very quick order. Movement (Kriya,) breath (pranayama,) and mantra (naad or sound current) combine to awaken the kundalini energy which is at the base of the spine. I tell my students it’s your superhero powers. Only you don’t have to have a nuclear accident or get bitten by a contaminated spider to activate them! There’s a super-human potential inside each human being. You simply have to do the yoga and it will happen gradually.
The Kundalini is the creative potential of the human being. It’s at the base of the spine at the level of the 4th lumbar vertebrae (L4). All types of yoga will inspire this kundalini energy if you practice with devotion. Kundalini just works much faster than some of the types of yoga that focus solely on the physical body. And in my personal philosophy, who needs to waste time in today’s world? Kundalini is the infinite energy that is inside all of us, that we have the universal right to awaken and use freely. It’s what gives you God-like power. The rest of it can be described all day long but until you have the actual experience of doing it you’ll never know.
Kundalini Yoga is both practical and esoteric. Because it’s been practiced by great mystics it can seem an ungrounded, out-there kind of practice, but it’s effects on the human apparatus can be measured very practically in time and space. Many studies have recently been done on its effects but are simply not widely known yet. There’s been a lot of medical research into the beneficial, some might argue miraculous effects of kundalini yoga and meditation to impact positive health.
The main idea here is that we’re all spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s easy, when caught in the web of duality to think you either have to be practical or spiritual and pick a side, but it’s not true. All we need is some way to access the spirit in the present moment. The rest will just come through you and you won’t want to stop because knowing your own soul is so sweet an experience.
I taught this yoga because it helps the householder who must live in and build a better life. You can find the heavens here within your life; you do not need to wait for a later heaven. During this lifetime, you must penetrate to the core and build yourself to go home.
When you grow and become the nucleus or hub of energy within your life, then everything comes to you. You have a hypnotic, electromagnetic psyche which can attract everything. Your very presence can work and have an impact…
Kundalini yoga is a householders yoga. It is the yoga which allows an ordinary person to live in this world, experience of the ecstasy of consciousness, then use this consciousness to serve humanity. –Yogi Bhajan
You can be in the world but not of it. I’ve always loved what Joseph Campbell said about Carl Jung– he’s a perfect example of someone who is “grounded in eternity, but moving in the field of time. 2” I’ve always sought that, ever since I read those words. Kundalini yoga gives you that power… to be constantly grounded in eternity and flowing effortlessly through time and space.
1. Reflections on the Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion ~ Diane K. Osbon, editor; p. 120
2. ibid., p. 121