Our current spiritual thinking have been influenced by the great schools of the East. India, China, Tibet are have all been great sources of deep spiritual wisdom. Their advent in the West have help accelerate the understanding of new realities to a wider audience.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 9:09am
As my term as president of the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy(ASP)
winds down, my message to the membership in our summer newsletter highlights
an issue that is critical for the integration of spirituality, psychology and healing:
The spiritual bypass. With more and more of the public embracing spirituality it’s
an issue of growing importance. Those who are drawn to the spiritual bypass believe
that psychological issues of everyday living can be bypassed or transcended by
achieving spiritual consciousness—call it enlightenment or any other term for
higher consciousness. The spiritual bypass is often the main motivation for people
suffering from psychological stress and conflicts to join a spiritual path.
“If I can leap to higher consciousness, I don’t have to deal with all my
messy psychological sludge” is the compelling thought.
Spiritual teachers frequently explicitly or implicitly reinforce this view.
I’ve attended many satsangs (spiritual gatherings) where the guru or teacher
gave short shrift to queries about personal problems by directing seekers to the
“real self.” “If you know who you really are the illusory personal issues will
Now that’s a seductive and irresistible invitation. Who wouldn’t prefer to
vaporize the nagging and often painful pushes and pulls of living in the world
with a one size fits all bypass to the bliss of higher consciousness?
Not so fast. In principle the spiritual bypass should work. If there is a
higher consciousness that is the ground of consciousness, and the ego, or
our personalities, are conceptual manifestations of the all inclusive awareness
consciousness, then achieving “enlightenment” should defuse the manifest self.
But as therapists, counselors, or just sensitive observers we know that in
practice it doesn’t. Personal issues persist even as seekers make progress
toward achieving higher states of consciousness through meditation and other
Spiritual enlightenment, or what the Buddha called waking up, is not a one
step leap for most of us. Therefore, the exclusive pursuit of the spiritual bypass
is likely to intensify personal issues. Denial and avoidance eventually lead
That was highlighted last year in the New York Times story about the
Buddhist Master who, came down from the monastery after 35 years to enter
psychoanalysis. His pesky personal problems refused to yield to his deep
states of meditation, or what he thought was his highly evolved consciousness.
The facile response of psychologists and spiritual healers that I spoke to was:
“He really wasn’t enlightened”-–implying that if he were he would still be
cloistered in a state of happiness and bliss-–and his personal problems nowhere
to be found. While that may or may not be true, from the practical point of view,
since relatively few make it to the spiritual mountaintop, we are stuck struggling
with our personal demons while at the same time reaching for higher ground.
Perhaps the real issue is the either/or fallacy: Either I’m stuck in my limited ego
shell or I graduate to the total freedom of transcendence. The fact is, though, that
we are stuck with both. But stuck only applies to either/or. If you reject the
personal ego self for the spiritual self you will face the dilemma of the Buddist “Master”
whose inner turmoil came back to haunt him. If you seek truth, happiness and
peace strictly at the ego level you will journey on a lifelong quest that will repeatedly
bring you back to square one. If you embrace both as part of the one reality
while making higher consciousness ( what I call omni consciousness) your default
setting, you will experience the full range of human experiences—good and bad
—but they will not control, define, or torture you. You will not be stuck!
The spiritual bypass is clearly a complex issue that is central to the practice of
spiritual psychotherapy and counseling. It also raises fundamental questions
about the nature of “enlightenment” and the relationship between pure awareness
consciousness and the personal self.
Let’s give the spiritual bypass the attention and critical examination it deserves.
— — —
Bernard Starr, Ph.D., formerly professor of developmental and educational
psychology at the City University of New York, now teaches “Psychology and
Spirituality in Film” at Marymount Manhattan College and is producer and host
for Phoenix Rising Television Productions. In addition to his work in radio
(“The Longevity Report”), he is a longtime contributor of commentary and
opinion articles to numerous major newspapers and other publications. He is also
the President of the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy and is the
main United Nations representative for the Institute of Global Education
that founded the Mucherla Global School in Mucherla, India.
— — —
Bernard Starr on YouTube:
Interview with Constitutional Litigation Attorney Frank Askin on the
legality of the war in Iraq
George Stoney: A Life In Film
Produced and directed by Bernard Starr and Rita Satz
Edith O’Hara: A Passion For The Theater
Produced and Directed by Bernard Starr and Rita Satz
Many of you are reporting that you are experiencing unusual behaviour.
This could be: A Good Thing - a new level of awakening is happening.
And it is - for many.
In the East the stages of awakening have been documented.
The most detailed is said to have been written by Patanjali.
It is said he has documented every possible level and symptom of awakening.
Trouble is, even apart from being written in Sanskrit, in order to
understand what he has written - you have to be awakened!
Then you don't need to read his writings - you can write your own!
Although there are variations, many of The Symptoms are similar.
They are called: 'Confirmatory Signs' - meaning they are an indication of
the level you have attained / remembered.
As most of you will know, the Eastern map of the body is sectioned into
several centres in the body - usually called: Chakras.
Different approaches declare varying numbers of these centres ranging from
three - to lots. The most popular is seven and that is what we will use as
Often the first level is depicted as a coiled snake - at the Base Chakra -
at the base of the spine.
As the snake uncoils the energy is said to move up through the body -
opening up the chakras, and thus the levels of consciousness.
In my experience the centres do not always open evenly, or sequentially -
so don't jump to any conclusions too early. And, it is true that, if the
centres do not open sequentially then there can be extra discomfort.
Discomfort (Dark Night of the Soul) is experienced in proportion to the
level of acceptance / resistance.
Over the next few paragraphs I will be describing just some of most usual
experiences. Then you can check your 'progress!'
After the first signs of awakening the energy of the 'sleeping serpent'
moves into the second level: The life-giving Sexual Centre.
Of course this level is always activated, but when the awakening energy
moves into it the sexual energy is felt differently - and very strongly.
(Then, in pops guilt.)
The awakening energy is very different from what people normally feel.
When most people feel sexual it is the reproduction instinct that is
restricted and pressured by the suppressed/negated/denied/conditioned/fear-
oriented religious programming. Lust. Very sinful.
(If people feel free to have sex when they feel like it - in theory at
least, we will not get much done. And then, people will not be controllable.
So the basic instinct is denied - so people feel guilty - and have to come
for forgiveness - otherwise they can't go to heaven.
Heaven must be full of very boring people.)
When the awakening sexual energy starts to move it can feel (wonderfully)
overwhelming. It takes over the mind and body - which, if accepted, and not
resisted, in a delightful way.
The actual sexual act is then very different from what has previously been
experienced. It is softer. Instead of a contraction in order to have an
orgasm, it is a gentle expanded feeling that slips into a flowing - and
often ongoing delightful experience. There is a strong feeling of love - for
the partner, oneself, and the universe in general. The feeling can last for
days. Or forever - if you will let it.
Your whole view of life changes. You are in love. Not the usual kind of
self/only-one-other love, but an expanded feeling that includes - everything
and everybody. There is dance and song in everything you do. You glow.
Then the sexual energy drops into balance.
It is not longer an issue - one way or the other, and you will become aware
that that energy we call sex is included in absolutely everything.
Then the energy moves on up to the next level - the Hara / survival / anger.
More of that in the next instalment.
In the meantime, do enjoy the sexual level.
(It is very, very rare to meet an uninhibited person)
Without the guilt it is truly delightful - and, although it may not
completely disappear, it will diminish in importance to you.
So don't miss this delightful stage! (And don't get too addicted either)
Happy sexual exploration...
Western Tantra is not Eastern Tantra.
There are many schools/disciplines' of Tantra, and one of them includes
intimate sexual contact with a partner. Although sex is included, the
emphasis is not on the sex (no orgasms please) but intimate union with God.
Eastern Tantra is conducted by a Tantric Master.
The first stage is meditation. After a certain level is reached the Master
pairs off couples. Each person is to see their partner as God - therefore
even to look at the partner is too presumptive. After a while, looking, then
speaking, then touching, then sexual intercourse - with God.
For you? No need to take it so seriously.
Having fun as well is more balanced.
I was mildly surprised the other day to read that someone had not realised
just how corrupted and insidious is religion. I consider it, together with
marriage, one of the most destructive institutional energies on the planet -
as I do anything that attempts to take away our self responsibility.
(That we are stupid enough to follow is another subject.)
So I wondered how many of you are also under an illusion about Buddhism?
Unlike Christianity, there seems to be many written eyewitness reports about
Everything I have read about Buddha is that he was a highly intelligent
being with very simple ways. Simple way of living. Simple clothes.
No ceremony. Just simple day to day living.
Now look at 'Buddhism"! At least equally ridiculous as the Vatican.
Did you know?
When Buddha died, instantly there were thirty-two different sects created?
Buddha is quoted as saying: "If you meet me on the way, kill me."
And, 'do not worship images.' There must be as many statues of Buddha as
there is of Jesus hanging on the cross - who is also quoted as saying 'do
not worship graven images.'
At least the statues of Buddha portray him as happy and peaceful.
What a stupid species we are.
One thing Buddha has bequeathed us - is to remind us to meditate.
The most simple form is: just sitting. Very difficult for most minds - even
the more simple Eastern ones.
Of course there are many 'methods.'
One you can do, almost anywhere, is to follow your breath - in and out.
At the peak of the input and output there is a 'still point.'
(Many years ago I wrote a book: 'The Art of Sitting.'
One day I will look it up and send a chapter.)
Take the smoking and drinking habit he picked up about six months ago after giving it up for some time. So many disciples are against this behavior, worry that he’s turned into a drunk, that he’s starving himself, and want him to stop. Firstly, he is an Aghori and is above intoxication. Aghoris can take intoxicants without getting any affect that mere mortals do. He drinks beer and alcohol all day and night without consuming any food, and I’ve never seen him drunk. In fact, alcohol has more of an uplifting energetic effect since I took Aghori diksha, initiation, rather than a slothing, numbing effect of the past. Secondly, he made a karmic exchange to remove one disciple’s smoking habit a while back and has kept the ten percent for himself. Thirdly, because of the prayoga, black magic, it makes him vomit out food even before it goes into the stomach. I’ve seen this illness, achalasia, in my biological brother, who had it for more than ten years of his life. Also, I know that yogis have the ability to survive on the energy of the sun itself without any food, just on pranic energy.
As a mere mortal and yogini myself, I’ve fasted and engaged in intoxicating practices before and throughout my path and have come out fine. My Aghori impressions didn’t leave me either, so I can understand Maitreya’s way of living. But these people who worry about him and try to tell him how to live his life don’t really understand what is going on. They see only through the illusion of how normal people would and nag accordingly.
To read Bhairavi ongoing blog go to:http://www.newrealities.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=9&id=170&Itemid=1181
In addition to the personal, there is family, group, and country.
You may of heard of a person who was too late to board a plane, or was
'bumped off' because of overbooking - and the plane crashes and kills all
aboard. Or when the plane or car crashes, or the boat sinks, one person is
saved. One plane broke up at 30,000 feet - and one person survived the fall!
There are accounts of many people who had unusual circumstances that
prevented them to get to work on time on 9/11.
Could be coincidence of course, or it may indeed be Karma.
If it is true that countries have Karma, then we are in for an interesting
time aren't we. Saying, 'Sorry we invaded your country, murdered as many of
you as we could, treated you worse than dogs, and took away and violated
your mixed race children' does not count - unless the feeling is genuine,
and the survivors are being treated appropriately.
It is said that the German people who are alive now are not the ones who
participated in the WWII atrocities. True. Or the people who invaded
America, Australia - and almost every country in the world. But check it out
- is that energy still there? Are those governments now truly unsupportive
of such actions? Don't think so.
The way I have seen it is, if the person is truly repentant, and resolves
that, under any circumstance whatsoever they would never do that act again,
then the energy is balanced. Still may be consequences, but the energy is
Karma is said to be any action, word, or thought about which we are not
fully and unconditionally conscious. Owch.
Reminder - not to take it too seriously...
next step toward a luminous physical and spiritual expression.
The Kundalini is in everyone. It is an untapped resource of
divinity within us all that is waiting to be awakened and experienced.
Never has the time been so right and crucial for a change of this
magnitude to be explored and initiated. And so, let me introduce
you to the power within you, right now at this very moment.
Kundalini is a very powerful and transformative energy
located at the base of the spine within the last three vertebrae
of the tailbone or coccyx, extending to the perineum. Kundalini
is a natural birthright to all people but must be sought and
nurtured with a physical and spiritual practice.
The choices we make can have an effect upon the way our
Kundalini flow will express. If we make choices that are
not in our best interests, as judged by the Kundalini, the
experience can be harsh or with varying degrees of difficulty.
If we make choices that are supported by the Kundalini the
experience can be gentle.
Sometimes we must learn from having pain. This is a character
trait of people and it comes from an over emphasized need to
maintain a familiar comfort level rather than having change
come into the personal equation.
If you make choices to have certain phenomena not knowing
the full ramifications of the phenomena it may be a teaching
for you to learn more information before committing to that
choice. Having can be very different from wanting.
In the west we do not have as much ethical and validated
experiential information of the Kundalini. We have those
who practice Kundalini Yoga which isn't the same as having
an awakened Kundalini. We have people practicing Kundalini
Reiki which also isn't the same. We have authors writing about
the Kundalini without ever having experienced it. It can be difficult
to discern the truth of the subject in this environment. Yet it can
be done. It is a process of discernment and a process of not allowing
personal ego wishes and desires of attention, power, or position to
hold sway over the decision making and expressive process.
The ramifications of certain choices can be very long lasting.
Explorations of certain belief systems carry interactive phenomena
that can snare or trap a person into the specific equations of that system.
Rituals, entities, incantations, exaltation and subjugation can have
results that are not pleasant and indeed are geared towards the expression
of pain that can be endured for many years. These can be systems that
are not moral as we in the west understand morality to be.
These systems can actively work to try and subvert the individual
who is searching for phenomena or exaltation or many of the ego
forms of desire based conditions associated with the Kundalini.
Some of these systems are for the subversion of the Kundalini
awakened individual. Typically these do nothing for the Kundalini
they merely trap the person into a continuing loop of ego expression
with pain. Forcing more and more karma to be collected for balancing
in future existences and slowing down the evolutionary process.
Sometimes this is a needed process. There is no rush and it isn't a race.
By slowing down we can learn from the elements of our choices and
make determinations of where we can improve from a soul perspective
our continuing journey.
Morality is a definite substantive expression within the Kundalini
experience. It can act as a compass for the individual with regards
to personal positions of interaction among other people and within
themselves. Morality can steer a person clear of systems that are
generative of ego supported expressions of control typically over
others. Many questions about the individual and the Kundalini can be
answered through the fulcrum or the moral imperatives.
We can learn about how we seek and use power. Power over
ourselves as discipline, or power over others, power over the
environment, power of the environment over us, or the power to
not attach to the idea of power. We can ask our self where we are
with regards to the choice of power inside of our Kundalini and we
can listen and feel the Kundalini respond. We can take that response
and bring it into conscious expression.
There is a constant influx of moral choices to be made on a daily
if not hourly time frame. All of them will hold a guidance to be
received or not. We can choose this. We can choose to hear the
moral guidance or to ignore it even if we hear it, or to not hear it at all.
These choices can be very difficult. But for those who can manage
the intense personal honesty that can be required by the Kundalini
the pattern of choices can become a guiding feature in the expression
of the new divine body being awakened within them. This is what I
When we embrace a morality that is guided by the Kundalini and
not by our ego will or by the society we live in we can begin to base
all of our responses towards others on a paradigm of moral interaction
that has more in common with the divine expressions emergence within
us than that of the old familiar points of moral response we have come
to know in our past interactive experiences. A new paradigm of moral
Forgiveness is one aspect of this new moral paradigm. Forgiveness
can allow a person to detach from the idea of revenge or vindictiveness
or from the holding of a grudge from an unsolicited attack by another person.
The feelings of revenge and its many aspects are a form of bondage
that can trap us into expressions of anger that can gravitate into hatred.
We can learn not to succumb to these feelings of anger and to
neutralize them at the start by evoking forgiveness as quickly as
possible and for as many repeated expressions of forgiveness as is
needed. Forgiveness is the key to learning that we need not attach to
anger or sorrow or rage or revenge. Freedom is the result of the
forgiveness process. Freedom from attachment and from the
karma that can come with attachment.
Tolerance is another moral choice of allowing a person to be as they
are without judgment or inflicted negativity based upon that way of being.
Even when those persons activities are hurtful and harmful to themselves.
If they are hurtful or harmful to us and others and are actively reaching out
towards us in these ways we can protect our self and we can choose to keep
a distance and this isn't incorrect as we will not always be in harmony with
everyone and some distance can be a good thing. We can choose not to go
to the level of the attacker.
Truth will often defray an attacker of forward momentum if they
are coming from a deceitful expression. Stating truth can be difficult
and it can seem harsh if it is a difficult truth to be given but it can be
very helpful to all involved even if it may seem that the person isn't
receiving it, on some level they are receiving and it may be the seed
that is planted for a later harvest. This is an aspect of love.
Compassion for another even when they are being duplicitous or
deceitful can be given. Sometimes a harsher discourse of service is
needed to help another gain a level of personal understanding and
we can choose to not fear this type of communication. Sometimes
this type of communication can be fairly common in the west.
Compassion for others is another moral choice. We can have
compassion for another whom we can correctly interpret as
being in pain. We can help or come to their aid if it is asked
for and sometimes even if it isn't asked for as emergencies of
life and limb will preempt any kind of permission unless they
are consciously asking you not to help. Sometimes the pain of
injury can be so intense that a person will not be able, through
the pain, to give conscious permissions.
Kundalini will most often gravitate towards the loving
interactions. Most often this frequency and the many related
frequencies of the loving interaction will carry and attract the
Kundalini response. When discussing love it is not the romantic
qualities that are being specifically discussed. Love comes in
many formats and the romance is only one aspect of many
regarding this quality of expression.
Tough love or love that is being given through the actions of
a discipline sometimes harsh can be far more effective and
helpful than the application of love as expressed inside of
romance. Love offers us many moral choices and it is to us to
discern how best to proceed sometimes in the space of a heartbeat.
We have many options to choose from in our expression of
daily life. For the Kundalini awakening it is helpful to choose
to examine every single response and reaction we have in our
interactions with others and our self in order to learn how to
sculpt the new divine body into the living expression of enlightenment.
This will take some work and it will take the ability to surrender.
Surrender the will of the ego to the Kundalini instruction.
With practice it becomes as easy as breathing. - blessings – chrism
© chrism 2009
Chrism is a native of California residing in the city of Santa Rosa.
He travels the country awakening the Kundalini in groups of people
safely and with continued support throughout the many years of the
Kundalini awakening experience. Kundalini as it expresses through
Chrism is the teacher.
For further information visit: