It's 5:15 in the afternoon. I'm on the top of the world, 10,000 feet in Hawaii, on top of the Haleakala, the volcano.
The clouds have filled in all around it. I'm just above the cloud line, somewhere near the House of the Sun. Strange and unusual rocks are all around me - lava rocks, filled with power and energy. The shadows are forming. The sun is dropping quickly over the horizon. As far as I can see are seas and oceans of cloud shapes and forms. Most of the island is obscured today, the lower island, by the clouds.
It's the first day of August in 1985, and I'm somewhere here in the middle of eternity. I'd like to talk to you today about kundalini yoga, the yoga of power and energy. The volcano is the symbol of power. This particular volcano is dormant at the moment - it's still. But within its depths the lava sits waiting, the power of the earth. And in a moment, lava will shoot forward, rise up through the lava tubes to the top of the volcano and erupt - the power within us that's dormant and the power of the universe that sits there waiting. Something happens - something triggers it - it goes off. And it rises - it rises up the shushumna, the spinal astral tube. It gradually moves up through the chakras, and it reaches the thousand-petaled lotus of light at the top - enlightenment, satori, states of attention, perfection.
We are beautiful. We are beauty itself. We are visions of light, snapshots of eternity. Yet so few people in any given lifetime climb to the highest heights and experience the totality. The path of kundalini yoga is the path of eruption, sudden spurts of energy - as you can hear in the background, the wind is blowing up here at 10,000 feet. And there's a wind that flows in and through your life, changing you.
There are seven chakras, gateways to the kundalini.
The wind of time ages us. The wind of life changes its direction constantly. But there is one constant in life, and that is the energy within your being. How do you tap into it? How do you reach it? What will it do to you? How will it change you? Is it dangerous? Can it be controlled? Or like these great volcanoes, is it something beyond our control and we can only watch with awe when the earth displays itself?
It's funny how human beings tend to think that they're the masters of the earth because they've put in a lot of shopping malls and painted little white lines on blacktop, never realizing that the earth for a time simply tolerates its tenants and then, when the mood strikes, that it changes. It shifts its continents around. Mountains rise and fall. We take so much for granted.
Kundalini yoga is the yoga of transmutation. The principles are simple. At the base of the spine there's an access point that leads into another world, another plane of attention, another dimension. It's possible to access the energy through that secret doorway, that lowest chakra, and bring that energy and power up through yourself into your being. And as you bring it into your being, it will spread and radiate throughout your entire body.
There is a particular path that the kundalini follows - the shushumna. The shushumna, as I mentioned before, is an astral nerve tube. It's the central nerve tube. There are two others, the ida and the pingala, on either side of it. In most persons, the shushumna is closed. It's a highway that's been shut down. The continuous energy flow that gives us life, that sustains the subtle physical body, takes place in the ida and the pingala.
Just as the blood is constantly flowing through your veins through capillaries - bringing oxygen to the cells, moving nutrients and wastes around - so the kundalini energy is constantly flowing through our subtle physical body, our etheric body. It sustains it, heals it. Without that energy, the subtle body grows ill, gets injured or it dies. And when it dies, the physical body dies. We are completely dependent upon the subtle physical body in this world.
The more energy that we have in the subtle physical body, the higher our psychic receptivity is. So kundalini yoga is, in many ways, the study of energy - its management, its flow, its highs and its lows. But specifically, kundalini is a flow of power. And when we diagram it, we say that it runs from the base of the spine up to the top of the head.