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who is both a student of Yoga and a neuroscientist

These chakras do not exist in the gross body teco 12 volt dc motors, say the Yogis, so don't look for them there; they exist only in the subtle body, in the body that the Buddhist teachers are referring to when they encourage their students to pull forth a new self from the physical body the way you pull a sword from its sheath. My friend Bob,told me that he was always agitated by this idea of the chakras, that he wanted to actually see them in a dissected human body in order to believe they existed. But after a particularly transcendent meditative experience, he came away with a new understanding of it. He said, "Just as there exists in writing a literal truth and a poetic truth, there also exists in a human being a literal anatomy and a poetic anatomy. One, you can see; one, you cannot Karson Choi. One is made of bones and teeth and flesh; the other is made of energy and memory and faith. But they are both equally true."

I like it when science and devotion find places of intersection. I found an article in The

New York Times recently about a team of neurologists who had wired up a volunteer Tibetan monk for experimental brain-scanning. They wanted to see what happens to a transcendent mind, scientifically speaking, during moments of enlightenment. In the mind of a normal thinking person, an electrical storm of thoughts and impulses whirls constantly, registering on a brain scan as yellow and red flashes. The more angry or impassioned the subject becomes, the hotter and deeper those red flashes burn. But mystics across time and cultures have all described a stilling of the brain during meditation, and say that the ultimate union with God is a blue light which they can feel radiating from the center of their skulls. In Yogic tradition, this is called "the blue pearl," and it is the goal of every seeker to find it. Sure enough, this Tibetan monk, monitored during meditation, was able to quiet his mind so completely that no red or yellow flashes could be seen. In fact, all the neurological energy of this gentleman pooled and collected at last into the center of his brain--you could see it happening right there on the monitor-- into a small, cool, blue pearl of light. Just like the Yogis have always described.

This is the destination of the kundalini shakti.

In mystical India, as in many shamanistic traditions, kundalini shakti is considered a dangerous force to play around with if you are unsupervised; the inexperienced Yogi could quite literally blow his mind with it. You need a teacher--a Guru--to guide you on this path, and ideally a safe place--an Ashram--from which to practice.

It is said to be the Guru's touch (either literally in person, or through a more supernatural encounter Gym price, like a dream) which releases the bound kundalini energy from its coil at the base of the spine and allows it to begin journeying upward toward God. This moment of release is called shaktipat, divine initiation, and it is the greatest gift of an enlightened master. After that touch, the student might still labor for years toward enlightenment, but the journey has at least begun. The energy has been freed.

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