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on April 23, 2016
This book is a virtual remake of John White’s “Kundalini, Evolution and Enlightenment” (see my three-star review). Like White’s book, it consists of multiple articles on Kundalini by multiple authors. In this case, there are 24 articles by 24 writers, and many of the authors who contributed articles to White’s book also contributed articles to this one. In fact, some of the articles are the same in both books, such as Ken Wilber’s Are the Chakras Real?

Like White’s book, “Kundalini Rising” is a mixed bag, consisting of both decent and crummy articles. But there are no really good articles in this book, because none of the authors has “cracked the cosmic code.” For example, not one of the authors contrasts Prana Kundalini with Cit Kundalini, nor considers Shaktipat (the Descent of Divine Power) and the union of Siva and Shakti in the Heart-center. The emphasis is on Kundalini rising, not crashing down into the Heart-center (Hridayam), where En-Light-enment occurs.

For someone looking to consider multiple perspectives and general information on the ascending Kundalini, this is a worthwhile book, but for spiritual esotericists already familiar with the writings of Ken Wilber, Lawrence Edwards, Gopi Krishna, Yogi Bhajan, Swami Sivananda, John White, et al., and the various medical doctors and PdDs who clinically analyze Kundalini without really grokking it, it’s just more of the same.
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on October 8, 2009
I have read a great many books on kundalini and sadly many are not the easiest read. I was delighted to see this book, which is the clearest and most comprehensive on the topic that I have ever seen.

The term "Kundalini" comes originally from some of the Tantric forms of Yoga, and is believed to be a cosmic energy that lies within everyone, and is typically depicted as a coiled serpent lying at the base of the spine. Kundalini can be activated by specific practices and techniques combining purification, postures, meditation and breathing exercises or it may emerge spontaneously, particularly - but not only - in meditators. One of the reasons for my own research on the topic is that people experiencing spontaneous awakening are sometimes misdiagnosed as being mentally ill.

Although the term comes from India, and we always need to examine both the from and the content of experiences, there are good reasons for believing that the kundalini experience corresponds to many associated with the Holy Spirit.

In her introduction to the book Tami Simon - the publisher of Sounds True - reveals her own experience of kundalini after returning from a series of intensive meditation retreats in South Asia. At the time she had little idea what was going on, and there were few teachers or books to guide her. She also says something that I am certain is true: the kundalini experience is becoming more common. I have seen ever more people going through the experience in recent years, and many were neither meditators, or people from Hindu or Buddhist traditions.

The book consists of twenty-four chapters dealing with different aspects of the kundalini experience from the subjective to the philosophical and even the neurological. Despite the number of authors there is little overlap in the chapters and a remarkable similarity in the style of the chapters, despite one of them being a reprint of a thirty-year-old interview with Gopi Krishna, the famous write on kundalini and mystical experience.

I hope that this book is very widely read, not only by meditators, but also by health care professionals and anyone interested in the fruits of spiritual development and the expansion of consciousness.

Very highly recommended.

Richard G. Petty, MD, author of Healing, Meaning and Purpose: The Magical Power of the Emerging Laws of Life
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on November 28, 2009
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In the yogic traditions, the term kundalini refers to a divine feminine energy, called by some the "serpent power," that rests in latent form at the base of the spine in every human being. Kundalini can be awakened by certain yogic and meditative practices, or sometimes ignites spontaneously. The energy moves up the spine and throughout the body, often causing physical, mental, and psychic phenomena, all of which can be disruptive and frightening. Thus, knowledge and guidance are useful, if not always forthcoming, when one is in the throes of this process.

Kundalini Rising, edited by Tami Simon (of Sounds True ), is a guidebook for those experiencing this spiritual transformation. Ms. Simon went through a kundalini awakening in the `80s, without the guidance she would have liked to have had, and this book is her gift to others on a similar journey.

The book consists of essays by various writers, divided into four parts. Six personal accounts make up the first section. Many of these writers were "ordinary folk" at the time of their experiences, but later went on to become writers or teachers of spiritual transformation. Reading these accounts, one gets a good sense of the wide variety of symptoms and experiences that different people undergo. For some, the process sets them on the edge of physical and/or emotional illness. For others, the passage is relatively benign. All of the authors are believable, seem well-grounded, and appear to have found their footing afterwards. Like those who have had near-death episodes, they have been permanently changed by their experiences, and have made their spiritual journey the focus of their lives.

The second section of the book comprises seven essays by health care professionals, scientists, therapists, and researchers. These writers are not only well-versed in the scientific method, they are also open-mindedly curious about the kundalini phenomenon and seek to find ways to include it as a positive force in mental and physical health care. Charles L. Whitfield, MD, in his essay "Spiritual Energy," presents a map of spiritual awakening during the course of healing an illness or mental disorder. David Lukoff, PhD, an expert in "spiritual emergency," writes about the overlap between kundalini awakening and mental health problems. In "The Yogic Brain," Andrew B. Newberg, MD, writes about the physiology of the brain in regards to spiritual experience.

Their attention to the subject is important, since there has been a tendency for people going through spiritual crisis to be pathologized and medicated by health care professionals working from a traditional psychiatric mindset. Rather than facilitating the process, that approach aborts it, and sometimes delays or even prevents recovery.

The third section presents six essays on kundalini written from a philosophical or cultural context. Ken Wilber has a piece entitled "Are the Chakras Real?", in which he comes to the conclusion that yes, they are, and no, they are not. This does make sense once you read the piece. Kundalini Research Network President Lawrence Edwards' essay explores the mythic journey and the experience of the subtle body. He alludes to the similarity between kundalini and DNA--a link discussed by author Jeremy Narby in the fascinating (and scientifically discredited) book The Cosmic Serpent. Stuart Sovatsky, co-president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology writes on "Kundalini and the Complete Maturation of the Spiritual Body," describing the action of kundalini energy on human physiology throughout the stages of the human life cycle. (Sovatsky also mentions a kundalini/DNA link.) The pieces in this section are a bit demanding to read, but worth the effort, since they cover a broad range of material from several different perspectives.

The final section has four essays by three yogis. The Canadian authoress and teacher Swami Sivananda Radh, discusses the heart center as the inner teacher in her essay "Heart." Two other writers in this final section, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, are both proponents of Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Singh Khalsa writes of the path that led him to kundalini yoga, and discusses 12 myths about the practice. Kaur Khalsa focuses on the feminine energy in yoga practice. I've been exposed to Yogi Bhajan's method of yoga, and it wasn't a good fit for me, so I was not able to read these essays as open mindedly as I would have liked.

The final section could have been stronger if it had presented a greater variety of perspectives, and perhaps more of a balance between Western and Indian teachers. Despite that, the book overall is informative, intelligent, and engaging to read. It has so much helpful information that I will be referring back to it often. Many thanks to editor Tami Simon for making this knowledge more accessible.
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on March 2, 2016
I keep trying to go back and read this book because a few people have recommended it to me, but every time I start reading any of the essays I am overcome with fear and dread. I guess it's a fascinating read from a scientific perspective, but if you're more about love and happiness and service, the only books I've found so far that are uplifting are books by Tara Springett. For whatever reason, I have found Kundalini Rising to be a very depressing and scary book for anyone already going through the process. That being said, I am keeping it as a reference book, thinking that someday maybe I'll come to appreciate it... I think it might be a better book for someone who has already had a full awakening and wants to figure out what on earth has already occurred.
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on December 28, 2015
This book is made up of a number of different authors and their perspectives of phenomenon that can be classified as kundalini. There are so many different interpretentations of this esoteric energy and the different perspectives can be helpful. This is a good first book on the topic because of the exposure to different perspectives, but that being said, some will prefer only the perspective of their cultural, religious, or practice tradition. But if your open to different views of the phenomenon this is an excellent starter book and a book that would be helpful to anyone in the profound beauties and challenges of a kundalini awakening.
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on February 5, 2011
I bought this book as I am an avid meditator and was interested in learning more about the creative force of the universe known as kundalini. As I started reading this book I was able to quickly understand what kundalini is and what a kundalini awakening entails. However, the more I read of this collection of essays, the more repetitive it became. Some of the authors, I believe, had genuine kundalini experiences while most clearly did not. Some of the authors would contradict what they were saying even within their own essay. For example, how can one experience "oneness" with kundalini, yet at the same time speak of how they pray for this or that? If you are a part of this oneness, if you are everything, then who would hear the prayers?

Some authors, i.e Ken Wilber, were so painful to read that I had to skip over most of their essays entirely. Read Ken Wilber's contribution, it stinks of someone trying too hard to sound intelligent.

Kundalini is the creative sexual energy that rests "coiled up" at the base of the spine. With spiritual practices, yoga/meditation/tantra, one can "awaken" this energy to rise up the spine which will lead to total enlightenment. Thats pretty much the repeated explanation in every essay. Because the chakras are associated with different aspects of being human, I dont believe that they are real. Most of eastern philosophy, where many of these teachings come from, are loaded with myths and fairy tails. In other words, as you progress in your spiritual practice and gain awareness, you become aware of different aspects of yourself that make up what being human is and these aspects mature. These aspects include power, love, sexuality, intuition, etc., until one reaches total enlightenment.

All of these authors that talk about their kundalini awakening, fail to talk about what enlightenment is. Its the ultimate shift in perspective. So why some of them would say that the awakening they had was "temporary" is unknown to me. Once your awakened in this way how could one possibly lose it? Even though I have spilled the beans on what its all about, having these practices is still worth it because if one doesn't go through it and experientially gets it, then you will have to take what enlightenment is solely on faith.

Overall, I was expecting at least one author in this collection to provide a more realistic and practical understanding on Kundalini and practices. I did not find that in this book.
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on April 2, 2012
This was the second book I ever read on Kundalini, several years ago, and despite agreeing with some of the other reviewers about its flaws, it is still one of my favorites.

I appreciate that this book is divided into four sections, which contain articles written about Kundalini from the following viewpoints: personal experience, scientific research, historical and cultural views, and yogic contemplation. Each section features an array of authors, each of whom offer up their own experiences with Kundalini, so naturally readers will identify with (or be offended by) certain accounts.

I've not had a full Kundalini awakening, and can't imagine what it would be like to experience a difficult one and read Kundalini tales that unsettled my soul on account of my experience. I can only hope that these people find the help they need somewhere, whether it's a book or a knowledgeable person. For those who are unawakened, or are experiencing a gentle awakening and would like to read different perspectives on the phenomenon, I do recommend this book.
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on October 23, 2015
This is must reading for anyone interested in the subject.

I was primarily interested in personal experiences of Kundalini rising written by people who've become learned in this area, so the first third of the book was the most fascinating for me.

The rest of the book had more academic stuff and some of the essays sounded like abstracts written with a gun to their head -- forced, hurried, and uninspired -- but if you can don't mind that, what they are saying is really fascinating, too.
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on July 27, 2015
One of the best books I have read on Kundalini and awakenings...I would view it as a very valuable resource for those new to the idea/experience.
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on July 11, 2015
I've enjoyed reading a few of the how-to type books on Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. I wanted something that touches on the science of Kundalini and this book is exactly what I was looking for. The final chapter that dispels the 12 myths was my favorite. I highly recommend Kundalini Rising to anyone who practices Kundalini Yoga and Meditation or is considering it. Sat Nam
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