Ishnaan…

When I got home from work last Friday (moved from the office/bedroom to the dining room – I do love my commute these days), I saw an excited wife, surrounded by neoprene goodies.

Not wanting to do things in half measures, she had bought a wet-suit, wet-shoes, wet-gloves and soon-to-be wet-robe.

Either she was leaving me for a life on Bondi Beach with a surfer, or she was contemplating something closer to home.

I was perplexed, given the fact that December was just around the corner and her sensitivity to cold is extreme when compared to most.

Intrigued, I asked her what was all the gear for, to which she explained that she had just joined a club. The local club, which has 1,500 members is called The Chilly Dippers, so first thing on Sunday we took the short five minute drive to the beach at high tide to see what it was.

We were totally shocked at the amount of people there, there are usually plenty of car spaces when we take our pooch for a walk at similar times (albeit when the tide is out). There were lots of people in the water already, kayakers, paddle-boarders, swimmers and “dippers”.

It was the dippers that caught my eye (in a non-pervy way), some just wearing swimming costumes and coming out of the sea red raw. So these were The Chilly Dippers. My wife is a good swimmer and I wrongly assumed that her new club was a sea-swimming club. Not so. The premise is to go into the sea for no longer than ten minutes, until the body reacts to the cold water and your internal temperature starts to rise, all for health (mind and body) benefits.

Still scratching my head as to why one would do this, I coincidentally saw my yoga tutor on the beach and asked her what she thought.

It turns out that the practice is an ancient one called ishnaan, which the Sikh use as hydrotherapy.

It is used like a kriya in kundalini yoga and “L” does it every day, not in the sea of course, but by showering at home.

The practice and benefits are as follows:

PRACTICE

1, Start the freezing cold shower with the extremities, feet first then rising up to the leg, rubbing, massaging using opposite foot and legs, avoiding the thighs.

2. Avoid the reproductive organs as they don’t need to be exposed directly to the cold water stream, they will get it indirectly from the torso.

3. Next it’s hands, arms and shoulders, again rubbing and massaging.

4. From there, move the cold water stream to the navel, abdomen, chest and back.

5. Lastly, up to the face, with eyes, nose, mouth, ears, cheeks, but not the forehead or your hair, as this could send one back into the sleep zone.

6. Cycle is repeated until it has the desired effect or your body has chilled enough for you to stay in the stream constantly, to a maximum of ten minutes as the body would eventually go into shock / hypothermic state.

7. Dry yourself with a warm towel and place several coins in the swear jar!

BENEFITTS

1. Keeps the skin radiant.

2. Opens the capillaries.

3. Detoxifies organs.

4. Keeps blood composition healthy.

5. Activates the glandular system.

6. Strengthens the entire nervous system.

7. Reduces CO2e by not using a gas-powered heating system.

So this morning I took my first ishnaan (which I intend to do each day now as part of my routine) and truly felt a difference. Of course the water was freezing cold and the noises coming out of the bathroom sounded like Norman Bates was giving it large with mommy’s kitchen knife, but overall it was an invigorating experience.

My body was red (not too dissimilar from the brave costume-wearing Chilly Dippers), and I did have a mild mystical experience. Towards the end of the shower, I felt light headed and my mind appeared in a slightly different time and space from the rest of my body; a reiki type warmth coursing around my neural pathways.

I guess the science behind it is lower blood pressure to the brain giving me that light-headed feeling, as most of the available blood was rushing to the assistance of the top four layers of skins which were being blasted awake by cold water.

From neoprene suits to ancient Sikh daily rituals in a short space of time, life is full of surprises…

The Ten Bodies…

Kundalini yoga is very different to other more traditional forms of yoga, it concentrates on actions not postures, with breath and energy flow more important than ones elasticity.

I think it is for this reason that it aligns more to the metaphysical rather than the material form, and as a result it is more of a workout for the mind than the body.

One of the ways we can understand our existence better through the practice of kundalini yoga is by what is known as the ten bodies.

We are made up of one physical body, three mental bodies and six energy bodies. The ten body system makes us aware that we are so much more than only our physical shell, so much more than the sum of our parts.

“If you understand that you are Ten Bodies, and you are aware of those Ten Bodies, and you keep them in balance, the whole universe will be in balance with you.”

Last nights kriya on the ten bodies was one of the best sessions of kundalini yoga I’ve had so far. Buoyed off the back of the best year end performance review I’ve ever had from my new and wonderfully supportive line manager, I welcomed “L” with open arms (no social distancing/conditioning here) and took to my usual position at the back of the class and went through this kriya with a “permasmile” (albeit with a little pain from my recently diagnosed laboral muscle tear on my right hip. I nearly fell off my chair when I thought I’d heard the consultant tell me I had torn my labia, my operation isn’t scheduled until next year!).

So what are the ten bodies:

1. Soul Body

Our first body is the soul body, which is quite literal our soul or essence. It represents our connection to the infinite and the divine. It is our deepest core, our truest self, giving us the ability to live truthfully and from our heart. In an imbalanced state, we act from our head instead from our heart, prioritizing our intellect over our intuition. Within kundalini, the soul body responds to postures, breathing exercises and mantras that resonate with our heart chakra. To balance the first body, we have to open our hearts to the divine.

2. Negative Mind

This is our second body. Whereas many people do not want to accept that they have this body, it is within all of us and also part of human nature. It has its place, as it is constantly working to assess our environment and situations for danger or negative potential. In this way, the negative mind keeps us safe and alive. Moreover, if there wouldn’t be a negative mind, how could we then possibly know what a positive mind is? Everything in the universe works in dualities. It is however important to balance our negative mind by becoming aware of it and with the practice of discipline and purification.

3. Positive Mind

Just as we have a negative mind, we also obviously possess a positive mind. The positive mind gives us our strength, willpower, playfulness and a positive outlook on circumstances. It helps us identify opportunity and resources with its characteristics of enthusiasm, hopefulness and trust. In relation to our physical body, everything we do in order to strengthen our core and the area around our navel (our solar plexus chakra) resonates with this body and is beneficial for it. Strengthening the positive mind through kundalini will enhance self-esteem and self-worth.

4. Neutral Mind

Not only do we have a positive and negative mind, we also have a neutral mind, which makes up our fourth body. The neutral mind absorbs and evaluates the thoughts of the negative and positive mind. Contrary to the second and third bodies, the fourth body makes decisions out of non-emotional intuition and looks behind the assessments of the positive and negative mind. It therefore delivers guidance and stimulates decision-making based on clarity, calmness, balance and wisdom. Meditation is a wonderful tool to strengthening your neutral mind.

5. Physical Body

This is our tangible body, the one we can perceive with our eyes and other human senses. It is the temple in which houses all the other bodies in some form. Through the physical body, we have the ability to balance ourselves and our lives. An imbalance in the physical body can manifest in the form of anger, jealousy, greed, fatigue and a lack of gratitude, but also in an obsession with physical appearance and a clinging to the material world. To balance our physical body we must develop a practice that keep our bodies strong, flexible and resilient, like yoga or a form of martial arts.

6. Arcline

The arcline can be visualized as our halo, expanding from one ear to the other, encompassing the hairline and the brow. It is our avenue of intuition and regulates the nervous system. It is also associated with our pituitary gland, our third eye. Women have a second arcline across the chest, reaching from one breast to the other. 

The arcline serves as a balance and gateway between the physical and the cosmic realm and between word and deed. If out of balance, our values might not be in line with our actions and we will have difficulty focusing. In order to balance the sixth body, awaken the pituitary gland (our sixth chakra) through meditation, pranayama and drishti (gazing) to our third eye. 

7. Aura

The aura is our electromagnetic energy field surrounding our physical body. It cannot be perceived by the naked human eye, but it can still be felt. Even though that might sound very spiritual, it is scientifically measurable that this energetic resonance exists between three to nine feet away from our bodies! The aura contains and protects our life force – our prana – and interacts with it. If mastered, it projects positivity and repels negativity from our body, working as a shield. An imbalanced aura will be felt in paranoia and a lack of self-trust. Negativity can enter your body and psyche much easier. To balance the aura body, meditation, pranayama, martial arts as well as wearing natural fibers and following a wholesome, organic diet are beneficial.

8. Pranic Body

The pranic body is our eighth body in the kundalini tradition. ‚Prana‘ means life-force in Sanskrit. Through our breath, we are continuously working with our pranic body for life force to enter our body. If mastered, we will experience fearlessness, purity, energy as well as the balance of polarities. Hence, the male and female energies present within us are fully integrated within ourselves. In am imbalanced state, we might experience anxiety, fatigue and defensiveness. To balance our pranic body – yes you guessed it right – every pranayama will have a positive impact.

9. Subtle Body

This body is characterized by our ability to sense and perceive the infinite and universal reality with the material and physical realm. The subtle body is deeply woven within our soul body. When our physical bodies die, the subtle body carries our soul. The qualities of the subtle body are calmness, insight, intuition and mastery. A weak subtle body manifest in naivety, restlessness, frustration and the feeling of being misunderstood. In order to master the ninth body, keep up any meditation or kundalini kriya for 1,000 consecutive days

10. Radiant Body

This body gives – of course – radiance, as well as courage, creativity and nobility. Magnetic and charismatic people are a great example of a balanced radiant body. A weak radiant body will express itself in shyness, problems to overcome fear and the avoidance of conflict. The best thing we can do for our radiant bodies is to have commitment, no matter what obstacle or challenge we might face.

The evening ended with relaxation and I could feel the positive energy from my fellow classmates all around, warmly embracing me and sending me into a different realm of consciousness, albeit (too) briefly.

Throughout the session I noticed the amount of times “L” mentioned the word infinity, as if a nod to this blog and to my inner thoughts and scribed outputs here.

It’s times like these that one tries to seek out calmer waters in the maelstrom we all currently find ourselves in, Captain “L” helps her passengers expertly to avoid them reaching for the sick bag, steering her ship away from the rough oceans and onto the sea of tranquility…

Foraging: First steps…

I guess there are a few reasons why have decided to take up a more agrarian lifestyle (or at least the start of one).

Weary of the bloatedness that accompanies eating meat in significant volumes has led to a pescatarian diet over the last six weeks has already reaped rewards in a two kilo weight loss, and its a more sustainable way to live. Spending time during the same period rambling across the green and pleasant lands of England, and getting back to nature has given a fresh appetite to put materialism to one side (after the basics hunter-gatherer equipment has been bought and delivered from Amazon – naturally), wanting a life of less that gives me more as a result, and its a more sustainable way to live. Detoxifying the body by reducing alcohol and sugar intake, flushing out unfriendly bacteria and negative Covid knots via the esoteric practice of kundalini yoga and with it a new vigour for life outside the norms of society.

Sadly, I am a hypocrite (and my nineteen year old learned and wise-beyond-his-years offspring concurs this on a daily basis without the need for prompt) and I acknowledge that. Working in an industry which is doing precious little to address global warming and investing in renewable energy sources burns deep within my eco-citizen higher self. With over twenty years invested and with retirement just around the corner (albeit a long, long corner), I have too much invested to just walk away.

My mission is simple, do what I can to be more sustainable now as an individual and as a family (even though on the grand scale of things that is insignificant). Try to improve sustainability and promote green issues in the workplace (knowing that a cultural shift from within will help change the mindset of others on a larger scale than the self or the family). Once I do eventually retire, look towards an off-grid lifestyle, becoming self-sufficient by living off the land and via renewable resources, and if possible go a step further set up a new family (an eco community), starting off small and growing over time, with mind, body and soul at the core.

I’ve admired Jacque Fresco for so long and his Venus Project vision, but it stagnates in this rule-bound material world and having a fully operable and autonomous collective which sits outside the taxation system in the US is in my opinion a tall order to achieve.

I may face the same obstacles in the future here in the UK, but there is hope. One Planet Development in Wales is starting to allow applicants to set up sustainable small holdings to help reduce the countries carbon footprint, something Westminster hasn’t done yet across Offa’s Dyke and may not do, ever.

My recent micro-expeditions over the last six weeks has pushed my retirement thinking further forward, to the extent where it is all I’ve been thinking about for the last seven days since returning from Roman Northumbria. It’s clear to me that not only will I need to detach myself from most of the day to day operations I do now, but I will need to acquire brand new skills and an improved physical prowess should I succeed in what will be the final chapter of my Book of Life.

So like Alice, peering down the rabbit hole into an unknown world, I have started to do some research on what skills I will need. Although the list will be long, it will need to be exhaustive and complete by the time I exhaustingly hit fifty five.

Thumbing through the pages on the internet last week, I decided it was time to get back to basics, real basics, and with that I tried to get an understanding of prehistoric history of Britain, and more specifically the Wirral where I currently live.

Whilst I intend to craft a full post which addresses those historical knowledge gaps from the Palaeolithic age, through the Mesolithic and on to the Romans era, what I have uncovered thus far is that the first Homo sapiens remains in the UK were found (rather remarkably – coincidentally?) at Kents Cavern in Devon where I took the family a few weeks back. These remains carbon-dated to around the year forty thousand BCE and exhibits found revealed our true hunter-gatherers forefathers (and mothers); animal bones, archaic tools and means of illuminating the deepest and darkest caverns by using flints, dry mosses and shells (ancient Yankee Candles).

The trip to the caves fascinated me as did the lifestyle, free from the problems we have today, although they had entirely different problems and dangers to face of course.

Survive they did and we are all evidence of that, but how did the sustain themselves and their tribes, what methods did they use to succeed?

Leaving the hunting aside for another post, my focus turned to gatherering, and what we call foraging today.

Buoyed by my mid-morning blackberry breakfast in Northumbria last Sunday, I did a bit of research and was delighted to find that there was a foraging course in Ruthin (small market town in North Wales) which just happened to coincide with my sisters birthday in a couple of weeks from now. So with debit card already in hand, I dutifully booked us on the course (including my eco-wife to-be), and acquireds a few beginners guides and tools, ready for our first foray into foraging.

Annoyingly, I was off ill from work this week, the kundalini yoga on Tuesday seemed to release many built-up toxins and with it a serious migraine ensued which lasted all of Thursday and Friday, and with it an unwelcome return of my tinnitus, turned up to eleven. Already sprouting cold sores on the lips, I put myself into a dark room and nestled under a duvet for two and a bit days, unable and unwilling to focus and concentrate on the deployment of intelligent IT monitoring systems at work (A.I. won’t get ill, one of the benefits of my work for my employers further down the line after my presence becomes redundant, a victim of my own success).

During my bed-bound sabbatical, I did manage to watch some YouTube videos on foraging, sometimes drifting back off to the land of nod.

There were a few videos that stood out for all would-be pickers:

1. Ray Mears Wild Food

2. Ray Mears Bushcraft

3. Ray Mears Wild Britain

4. Wild Food UK Back To Basics

I guess when it comes to cult of personality and living off the land and it’s resources, Bear Grylls instantly springs to mind. I have liked watching his shows over the years, but find them somewhat contrived and of course a little extreme, sensational not educational.

My quick bimble through some of the online guidance revealed some important principles before taking the first step outdoors:

1. Acquire advice from professionals first

2. Acquire reference books to validate what you forage and if it is safe to eat and don’t taste test

3. Acquire some basic foraging kit (waterproof clothes, gloves, bushcraft knife, foraging bag)

4. Acquire a diary to catalogue where and when you forage

5. Only acquire what you need for yourself/family. Only take a third of the fruits available

6. Don’t take on the edge of agricultural land, especially if the foolishness is brown, likely due to pesticide spraying

7. Don’t trust identifying apps like Google Lens

8. Don’t uproot plants on common land or agricultural land unless permission is granted

9. Sample small amounts during initial forays to make sure one isn’t allergic to the plant

10. Give plants a good wash before consuming to remove dirt and bugs, especially at ground level

Feeling a little better this morning (although looking a whole lot worse due to the “scabification” process on my bottom lip), I headed out towards the old beach line on the coast.

As I passed houses and front gardens with a more watchful eye than usual, I found quite a few interesting trees and bushes, all of which were bearing fruits. On one road alone (all with one hundred yards) I found what I believe to be hawthorn bushes, rowan bushes, a cherry tree, a pear tree and an apple tree.

The road itself has a lot of history. Wellington Road has a set of sea-facing villas, built one hundred and fifty years ago by James Atherton, a local luminary and merchant at the time. The villas still stand strong today with majestic views across the Irish Sea, each unique and picturesque. They are all built on an old tunnel system which dates back hundreds of years when bootleggers would use them as stores for forbidden fayre, the sandstone caves providing good hiding hold for non-taxable contraband.

Taking a fruit from each bush/tree for validation when I got back home (except for the apple and pear trees which were pretty obvious), I headed off to the old cliff line, known locally as the Red Noses (due to them being sandstone proboscis that stretch out to sea). These are now set back from the beach down to the creation of the UK’s longest promenade, built over one hundred years ago, leaving the cliffs a few hundred metres back from the shoreline and with it a thick growth of vegetation.

My old faithful and now off-lead comrade loves it there, as all of the long grasses, bushes and shrubs provide him with plenty opportunities to sniff around and roam for critters.

The main source of foraging here appears to be nettles and blackberries, the small stretch of greenery also lies next to a train track and the bushes grow wild up to the protective railings and are mostly impenetrable (except perhaps with a set of fishing waders which may look a little odd).

Whilst this brief outing was more a “recky” rather than a gathering for breakfast or replacing the “Friday Big Shop”, I did take a few blackberries on the way for sustenance, some sweet and some sour, but sweet anyway in the knowledge that I know they are there and my empty jam jar at home sits waiting for the first foray into preserve making.

Returning home through the back streets, yet more nettles and blackberries grew at the side of the local nine hole golf course, giving me even more evidence to suggest that even in urban areas, opportunities are out there, one just needs to look…

Serpents Rising…

There is no doubt that energy is shifting daily like the sands on a windy beach.

Getting back to nature last week and living life temporarily outside the chaos has brought new light on dark times. Ignoring the pandemic, turning off the news and revisiting the positivity of the past has of late rekindled introspection and what gives me inner peace.

Experiencing the sensory and physical aspects of reality – the flora, the fauna, the cloud formations, the rush of the sea at high tides, the setting sun, the rising moon, as well experiencing the mystical and metaphysical aspects of reality too on just what it feels like to part of something so incredible, I find myself at times in awe of such beauty and the associated feelings experienced are rekindling forgotten spiritual connections I have with some people that I have lost touch with over the years, giving me such a huge internal boost in these troublesome times.

It is seven years ago to the very month that I took my reiki training, opening the neural pathways to something quite alien, quite astounding, tapping into hidden energies that had been hitherto out of reach for the materialist I once was (and have been again over the last couple of years).

Once again it was my wife that reminded me of just who I was back in 2013 and how of late bits of my old self had returned. My “being” back then was born out of abject negativity and selfishness, with me operating as it were as a mid-week bachelor and weekend dad (replicating the abhorrent behaviour of my own alcoholic father).

Such was the shame at this realisation that I was becoming him if not already, that drastic action was required else my strong-willed wife and children would be gone, something my mother sadly never had the strength to do.

So an awakening took place, and with it a connection to a hidden and healing energy, a cosmic current taped into for the first time, opening my eyes to the fact that there was more to this reality than the five senses could serve up.

Buddhists and New Age folks say that things go around in seven year cycles, and here we are exactly seven years later and I find myself knocking on the door of my old reiki master “L” who has “upgraded” to kundalini yoga, and has her own practice based out of a majestic place in the heart of the Wirral countryside.

Although I had not seen her for many years, it was clear that time doesn’t exist (does it anyway?) when it comes to a rekindling of spirits. A quick non-non-distancing hug and catch-up revealed that we would pick up exactly where we left off and both agreed that paths we have taken across the years seem to be forever intertwined.

The same for my wife too. She has been struggling too over the last six months as a furloughed complimentary therapist with too much time on her hands, consuming the chaos, facts, lies and conspiracies for most of her waking hours, minutes and seconds each day. She too needed to refocus by joining me on this journey.

I decided after our trip to Devon to remove meat from my diet. The previous seven days had seen us consume half a farm, chickens, pigs and cows were all present on our daily calorie count and a return to the homestead made me feeling bloated and like a badly cooked steak, over-done.

I was a vegetarian for around eighteen months when I took my reiki training and with the new outlook, new friends, new energy and new lifestyle, it was only natural a diet forms part of the new me.

We have all consumed too much during the lockdown, grazing from cookie jars and overdosing on Netflix for too long over the last six months and our portly figures provide the evidence of that, so a dietary change was a must. I’ve also been out every morning running, cycling, kayaking and land-boarding before everyone else opens the curtains, and boy what a difference a week makes.

Tuesday saw our first kundalini yoga session with “L”. I like to understand what I’m getting myself into so spent sometime on Tuesday morning researching what kundalini yoga was all about. I had heard and read some negative and sensational reviews of the kundalini experiencing, ranging from mental instability to whole body orgasms and a lot of other stuff in between. Classifying it as fake news (but having an awareness of it in case I experience such – yes to the orgasms!) we joined the class and took part in what was such a different experience to the Hatha / posture-based yoga I have always undertaken.

Relatively easy positions were counter-posed by vigorous breathing techniques (breath of fire) leaving us both exhausted yet conversed completely invigorated and energised by the end. Everyone in the group was lovely, warm and welcoming, leaving us with the opinion that in some way, we had found our way home.

We spoke fondly of our experience on the drive home through the shadowy country lanes and with energy still racing when we got back home, I went for a run with the old and faithful pooch, giving new life to old legs.

Land-boarding on the promenade and looping the local marina in the morning sun as the open-water swimmers raised the mouths for breaths the next morning reminded me what if felt to be alive, a positive feelings I’d not felt in a long, long time.

If the early part of the week blew us away with positive energy, then what we experienced on Thursday made that look like a mere ripple on the sea compared to the the tsunami which was about to take place. When we have good weather and as we live close to the sea, when the conditions and tides are right, then “L” conducts her kundalini yoga class on the beach, which is accompanied by evening swims and paddling (sea kayaks and stand up paddle boarding).

As we approached, the beach car park (usually only partly occupied) we were surprised by how was rammed it was with vehicles. As we decanted our kayak and paddling gear, we looked up to see over 100 yoga mats laid out facing the sun, a welcoming inward tide and our spiritual instructor for the day in the lotus position waiting to begin. Incredible.

The session was the same as the “kriya” as Tuesday so we both knew what as to come, this time it was easier as we had had the practice, the session was more magical than the previous one, given the setting, the sheer volume of people and the communal and positive energy by all, resonating a common frequency of happiness.

Feeling again totally energised, we spent the next hour kayaking on the open and warm waters of the Mersey Estuary, totally at one with the universe and the like-minded souls we were spending time with.

Without sounding like a stuck record in reference (reverence) to Westworld, the words “Some choose to see the ugliness in the world, the disarray, I choose to see the beauty” never rang so true. If you are in the position to commune with nature and seek out opportunities for serenity, there is no better time than now. I’m mindful that we are not all in that position presently, with my friends and colleagues in India under almost full lockdown so I have to tone down my own personal journey at the moment, so not to fan their flames of despair, but they are in my thoughts and non-religious prayers.

I’m not one for taking good photos, but every now and again I hit jackpot. As my wife was paddling in, I stood waist-deep in the sea as the sun was setting and pressed click, the result of which reminded me of the ethereal Pink Floyd album The Endless River (Sea in this case), which sure seemed to be that way with nothing visible on the horizon, almost suggesting that infinity beckons…

Music of the Spheres…

Plato wrote that the Cosmos is constructed according to musical intervals and proportions. Pythagoras called this sound the “Music of the Spheres” and believed that the sound of the Cosmos fills our inner ears and we are constantly in contact with it from the moment of birth. Native Americans called it the “Song of the Creator”, whilst ancient Hindus called it “Akash Bani” translated as “Voice from the Heavens”.

2

One thing is clear, one thing is common. Great philosophers, mathematicians, sages, religions and cultures across time have all identified that the Cosmos emits a sound, a frequency, an energy. Scientists today would no doubt attribute this sound to the dawn of the Universe creation, an intergalactic hum born from the Big Bang, any other description of Cosmic sound being fantasy or folly.

There are others that believe that the Cosmic sound is energetic evidence of the one consciousness, and that everybody has the ability to tune into this sound. This sound is not externally generated (as the drone of the Cosmic Background Radiation is) and one cannot simply listen more attentively or hold ones head to the stars to hear this noise, this frequency is internally generated and can only be heard via esoteric means.

All too quickly do we take the word of science as Gospel; there are materialistic explanations for everything in this World and we are educated and trained to believe everything that the intelligentsia tell us to. Where there is materialism, there is also non-materialism, which lends itself to suggest that there is always at least two explanations for everything and Occam’s Razor is in fact a creation of materialism because it suits scientific theory.

Since the age of nineteen, I have suffered from tinnitus, which was born via esoteric means. My teenage years were not proliferated with abuse as such, more eras and episodes of sadness and misdirection. I attempted several times to educate myself through college but dropped out year-on-year to the point where I gave up completely and became a statistic and sought solace in early afternoon rises, video games and Class B substance abuse.

Anyone who has had a psychedelic experience under the influence can confirm that what ones sees, hears, smells, touches and tastes are distorted. I recall one fateful night that visually, distances and depths were altered and the dimensions of the room changed and warped to contradict our intra-day visions and the laws of physics. The sound too was broken, instead of a being a constant stream it came in waves.

The dream I had that night will stick with me forever. I was sat alone on a beach, with nothing else or no one else around. There I sat for what seemed like an eternity as wave after powerful wave hit me full on in the face without dislodging me from my seated position on the sands.

beach

Without knowing it I was unconsciously tripping in the world of dreams, wave after wave of energy hitting me. When I woke the next day something had changed, I could hear a strange noise in my ears which I thought was odd and slightly disturbing, and I tried to ignore it without success. I retired early that night and woke the next day fully expecting business as usual to return but sadly it not and I freaked. What was this internally generated noise and where was it coming from? I tried to mask the sound by turning up my music (to eleven) and taking headache tablets, but to no avail so I booked myself in at the local surgery.

The only advice my doctor gave me the next day was to get used to it, it was called tinnitus, there was nothing he could do for me and could I invite the next patient in on my way out. As I left the room, my heart sank and as I walked home, half way back to the house I had what I called my first “fell over inside my own head” moment. At random, the tinnitus sound wave crescendoed and hit me like a bolt of lightning with my visual perception also being distorted for a few seconds, falling outside of time and space albeit briefly, shaking me to the core.

One thing was for sure, I had to change my lifestyle with immediate effect, as the substance abuse was having a direct influence on my physical and perhaps metaphysical self. At that time, I didn’t really believe in much; Life, the Universe or Everything. There was no God, no central consciousness, religion sucked, science made complete and utter sense and everything was WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).

So I did just that. I changed. I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror one morning shortly after acquiring my new debilitating affliction, and whilst having yet another “fell over inside my own head” moment (albeit within a familiar and safe environment) something quite profound happened (although I didn’t realise it until many years later). As I gazed into the mirror a wave of energy and sound came over me and once again the door of perception was open. For a time (seemed longer than it probably was), I could not work out whether I was me or I was the mirror, reality warping once again but this time without being under the influence. Looking back, that was the first conscious connection with my other self if indeed such a thing existed, it was first-hand and direct experience, albeit a very subjective one.

After I came to the realisation that my tinnitus was here to stay, it was time to crack on with this thing they called life, and get my act together I did. I quickly found myself a temporary job as Chief Envelope Filler for a local pensions firm, which was even more quickly followed up by permanent job in the Civil Service (which lasted thirteen years), which was, even more quickly than the first quickly, followed up by a job in the oil and gas industry (which has lasted ten years so far). In between I managed to find time to get married twice (to the same person) and have three amazing children which make me very proud each and every day.

Hard to believe that all of the above was just preamble for this blog, I guess sometimes context for revelation is required.

It was almost three years ago when the doors of perception where once again flung open. I had been going to yoga for around six months with “P”, a seventy-six year old Western guru in every sense of the word. After the dark times the wife and I went through in twenty-twelve, I needed someone and something to focus on to keep me on track and that was “P” and yoga. I had to put in place, a routine which kept me on track as I was doing a rather crap job at that. “P” helped me and yoga helped me, they helped me from a mind, body and soul perspective. For the first time in my life I knew that all three actually existed and keeping these three things in balance was the key to life.

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“P” was inspiring and put me on a path of health, well-being as well as a personal quest for answers. She sorted out the first two and my good friend ”M” helped me on my search for the third one, tipping me off with books from noetic authors which may be of interest. It was whilst on the path for information that I received a random request to take part in a free reiki workshop, run by a friend of my wife. The old me would have laughed it off and ignored the call, but here I was on a personal crusade to find answers and this opportunity presented itself timeously.

As this “blogalogue” has well documented over the years, that workshop had a profound influence at the time and continues to resonate with me today. What I experienced that day cannot be effectively described in words, subjective experiences rarely can I guess. What was very clear though was that there was an invisible energy field that can be tapped into, and when it is, the attuned can experience things which the layman cannot, and experience it I did to balance the mind, the body and the soul.

Deep in meditation, “L” and I were ethereally connected via hidden energies, the waves entered my head and radiated downwards until my whole body was amok with a frequency I had not felt before. It was powerful, very powerful, parts of my body were contorting and my eyes streamed with water (not tears). Here we had a situation where invisible forces were affecting the physical and metaphysical self, for me proof that there was more to what our five senses could perceive and experience.

I left the workshop with my head was spinning, I felt awake but not enlightened, fully aware that this shit just got real.

A year later, I asked “L” for a one-to-one reiki session, and we both agreed that I was ready to make the next step up to level two. I asked her if we could do it on the beach near to where we lived, and as avid Stand Up Paddleboarders it was impossible to resist. The attunement took place as the sun started to descend towards the horizon and once again the Universal energy took hold and mixed with the warmth and the light of the Sun making it a truly magical experience. The significance of the beach and the energy waves hitting not lost on me.

Over the years I have continued with yoga, meditation, reiki and consciousness studies (off and on it has to be said – work and family commitments taking priority, the latter without question, the former less so).

The last few months have been quite stressful at work (both the project and I being “out of kilter”), so I contacted “L” for a reiki session to refocus. I had not seen her for quite some time as we have both been very busy doing our own thing so I was keen to hear that she had created a yoga studio at her house and her attention had turned to kundalini (which coincidentally I had started reading about after a good tip off from author Ellis Nelson).

After chatting for too long, I hopped up on the bed and she gave me kundalini reiki for the first time. After reading half of JJ Semple’s “The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini” at break-neck speed before the session, I at least had some rudimental understanding of kundalini and how via various processes (Shaktipat, Psychedelics, Meditation and Intercourse) can activate hidden internal energies connected to esoteric forces. Kundalini reiki is the process of connecting the yin and the yang, the male and the female, the root and the head via energy transfer.

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I have always been quite kinaesthetic when it comes to meditation and reiki, feeling the energy flow quite easily between the “attuner” and ”attunee” (sometimes subtle, more often intense) and today was no exception. Maybe it was because I had a willingness and an eagerness to activate the kundalini that it wasn’t too long before I seemingly left the physical realm temporarily and joined up with the other side.

As mentioned, describing such an experience is difficult to put into words, but in an attempt to try, the reiki energy began to rise in my head and instead of the usual subtle energy transfer down the meridian points, the wave headed straight down my core and headed for the root where the two points connected. I could no longer feel the bed under me, I could no longer feel any presence in the room and everything turned a brilliant white light yet it did not hurt to look at it (as I was not using my eyes to see) or be a part of it.

It sounds very far-fetched and perhaps clichéd but for a brief moment in time (or outside of it) I was the light, I was pure energy. Quite exactly what “I” was and where “I” was during those moments remains a mystery. Was I alive and dreaming or dead and remembering? Was I connected to the Source, was I connected to God? Was this all a figment of an imagination which was getting carried away with wanting open questions answered? Was I realising that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves (and where was Tom with the weather?).

After a while I was woken from this altered state by “L” and we chatted a while to discuss what I had just experienced. My intention for the session when I had booked it weeks earlier was to re-focus my priorities to the family, to health and to wellbeing, picking up yoga, meditation and reiki where I left it in an effort to combat the stresses of working for “The Man”. One thing was certain, the kundalini appeared to have been activated (I felt the male and female connections within me embracing – as well as the tantric chemistry of the two), and that was something that I was not expecting.

One thing was for certain, there was something out there (or more appropriately in there) which the current laws of physics, chemistry and biology could not explain. I had experienced this Universal energy first hand on several occasions was convinced that the never-after truly existed.

However, my story does not end there. After the initial revelations of my kundalini experience had been realised and allowed to subside (I’m not afraid to say I was a little shaken by the whole thing) a week later the kundalini came back, and then some.

I have of late been drinking a fair bit, due to an increase in the social calendar (both at work and at home), coupled with the fact that prior to the reiki session I had chosen to find company in Jack, Jim and Paddy (Daniels, Bean and McGuinness) to de-stress from the toils of work (another reason I had scheduled the session).

Two weeks ago my neighbour was 50 and we had a party in his house, drinking to excess until the sun had started to rise. Needless to say the next day was a right off but as the kids were all out, I spent the day on the sofa rehydrating, recovering and reading. As I retired for the evening, I began to drift off but tonight was different, instead of a gradual process of giving in to the melatonin, my waking state was ripped from me violently and I was plunged into what can only be described as a raw energy stream, a brilliant white light again but the sensation was too much, the sound and energy was so intense I kicked and screamed my way out of it. I was riding the lightning, literally.

After a time I shot up in bed and the wife had to calm the hypnogogic me down, quite delirious about what had just occurred. Was this a dream or was it something else? Was this an extreme bout of tinnitus mixed with a rotten hangover? Was it the Universe (God?) telling me to back off, giving me a message to take things easy as I was not yet ready to find out potential truths? It sure felt that way.

When I woke up the next day, my tinnitus was roaring and I was not happy about it. I continued to focus on work and concentrate on the mundane activities of the day, hoping that I was just on “Day Two” of the hangover. As Rhett Butler famously once said, tomorrow was just another day, except that it turned out it wasn’t, the heightened ringing inside my head had not subsided but instead grew louder as each day passed, and I was plunged back to where I was at nineteen, this time really annoyed with myself for getting back in this position.

That afternoon my neighbour called with a bag of goodies leftover from the beer fridge from the weekend before. I opened the bag and found a collection of soft drinks and 0.0% beer, all useless space wasters in the inebriates drinking den across the road, all which I of course welcomed with open arms as the Cosmos was once again giving me a sign to change my ways, which I have already, wagons roll.

Tinnitus is a odd thing, it ranges from hardly noticeable and quite a grounding noise through rather annoying to absolute debilitation and despair and today I’m at the wrong end of the line. I am having to take each day as it comes just now hoping that the “fall over inside my own head” moments don’t reoccur (too much). I have faith that these bouts return every twelve to eighteen months for a variety of reasons and fade over time, I guess (and hope) this current bout will too.

Tinnitus may be my enemy today, but who knows what path I would be on right now if it didn’t set me right all those years ago…