Life and death are only two states of energy. Life means energy functioning, and death means energy nonfunctioning. Life means energy awake; death means energy gone again into sleep. So according to Kundalini Yoga, you are ordinarily only partially alive. The part of your energy that has become actualized is your life. The remaining part is so asleep that it is as if it were not. But it can be awakened. There are so many methods through which Kundalini yoga tries to make the potential actual.
For example, pranayama, breath control, is one of the methods to hammer the sleeping energy. Through breath, the hammering is possible because breathing is the bridge between your vital energy – your prana, your original source of vitality – and your actual existence. It is the bridge between the potential and the actual.
The moment you change your breathing system, your total energy system changes. When you are asleep your breathing changes. When you are awake your breathing changes. When you are angry your breathing is different; when you are in love your breathing is different; when you are in sexual passion your breathing is different. In every state of mind a particular quality of life force is there, so your breathing changes.
When you are angry you require more energy on the periphery. If you are in danger – if you have to attack or you have to defend yourself – more energy is needed on the periphery. The energy will rush from the center.
Because a great quantity of energy is thrown off from your body during the sex act, you feel exhausted afterward. And after anger, too, you will feel exhausted. But after a loving moment you will not feel exhausted; you will feel fresh. After prayer, you will feel fresh. Why has the contrary happened? When you are in a loving moment, energy is not needed on the periphery because there is no danger. You are at ease, relaxed, so the energy flow is inward. When energy flows inward, you feel fresh. After deep breathing you will feel fresh, because energy is flowing inward. When energy flows inward you feel vitalized, fulfilled; you feel a well-being.
Another thing to notice: when energy is going inward, your breath will begin to have a different quality. It will be relaxed, rhythmic, harmonious. There will be moments when you will not feel it at all, when you will feel as if it has stopped. It becomes so subtle! Because energy is not needed, the breath stops. In samadhi, in ecstasy, one feels that the breath has stopped completely. No outward flow of energy is needed, so the breath is unnecessary.
Through pranayama this potential energy within you is systematically awakened. It can also be tapped through asanas, yogic postures, because your body is connected at every point to the source of energy. So every posture has a corresponding effect on the energy source.
The posture that Buddha used is called padmasan, the lotus posture. It is one of the postures in which the least amount of energy is needed. If you sit up straight, sitting is so balanced that you become one with the earth. There is no gravitational pull. If your hands and feet are in such a position that a closed circuit is created, the life electricity will flow in a circuit. Buddha’s posture is a round posture. Energy becomes circular; it is not thrown out.
Energy always moves out through the fingers, hands or feet. But through a round shape, energy cannot flow out. That is why women are more resistant to illness than men, and why they live longer. The rounder the body is, the less energy flows outward. Women are not so exhausted after the sex act because the shape of their sexual organ is round and absorbing. Men will be more exhausted. Because of the shape of their sexual organ, more energy is thrown out. Not only biological energy, but psychic energy also.
All the energy outlets are joined together in padmasan, so no energy can move outward. Both feet are crossed, the hands touch the feet and the feet touch the sex center. The posture is so erect that there is no gravitational pull. In this posture, one can forget the body completely because life energy is not flowing outward. The eyes are also to be closed or half closed and the eyeballs still, because eyes are also a great outlet for energy.
Even in dreams you throw out much energy through eye movements. In fact, one way to know whether a person is dreaming or not is to put your fingers on his eyes. If they are moving, then he is dreaming. Awaken him, and you will find he was dreaming. If the eyeballs are not moving, then he is in deep, dreamless sleep, sushupti. All energy is going inward and nothing is going outward.
Asanas, pranayama – there are so many methods through which energies can be made to flow inward. When they flow inward they become one, because at the center there cannot be more than one. So the more energy goes inward, the more harmony there is. Conflicts drop. In the center there is no conflict. There is an organic unity of the whole. That is why bliss is felt.
Another thing: asanas and pranayama are bodily helps. They are important, but they are only physical helps. If your mind is in conflict then they will not be of much help, because body and mind are not two things really. They are two parts of one thing. You are not body and mind; you are body/mind. You are psycho/somatic or somato/psychic. We talk about the body as one thing and the mind as something different, but body and mind are two poles of one energy. The body is gross and the mind is subtle, but the energy is the same.
One has to work from both polarities. For the body there is Hatha Yoga: asanas, pranayama, etcetera; and for the mind there is Raga Yoga and other Yogas that are basically concerned with your mental attitudes.
Body and mind are one energy. For example, if you can control your breath when you are angry, the anger will die. If you can go on breathing rhythmically, anger cannot overpower you. In the same way, if you go on breathing rhythmically, sexual passion cannot overpower you. It will be there but it will not become manifest. No one will know it is there. Not even you will be able to know it. So sex can be suppressed; anger can be suppressed. Through rhythmic breathing you can suppress them so much that you yourself will not even be aware of it. But the anger or sex will still be there. The body has suppressed it, but it remains inside, untouched.
One has to work with both the body and the mind. The body should be trained through yogic methodology, and the mind through awareness. You will require more awareness if you practice Yoga because things will become more subtle. If you are angry, you can ordinarily become aware of it because it is so gross. But if you practice pranayama, you will need more awareness, more acute sensitivity to be aware of anger, because now the anger will become more subtle. The body is not cooperating with it so there will be no physical expression of it at all.
If people practice awareness techniques and simultaneously practice yogic methods, they will know deeper realms of awareness. Otherwise they will be aware only of the gross. If you change the gross but do not change the subtle, you will be in a dilemma. Now conflict will assert itself in a new way.
Yoga is helpful, but it is only one part. The other part is what Buddha calls mindfulness. Practice Yoga so that the body becomes rhythmic and cooperative with your inner movements, and simultaneously practice mindfulness.
Be mindful of breathing. In Yoga you have to change the breathing process. In mindfulness you have to be aware of the breathing as it is. Just be aware of it. If you can become aware of your breathing, then you can become aware of your thought process; otherwise not.
Those who try to become aware of their thought process directly will not be able to do it. It will be very arduous, tedious. Breathing is the door to the mind. If you stop your breathing for a single moment, your thoughts will also stop. When breathing stops, the thought process stops. If your thinking is chaotic, your breathing will be chaotic. Breathing will simultaneously reflect your thought process.
Buddha talks about anapanasati: the Yoga of awareness of the incoming and outgoing breath. He says, “Begin from here.” And that is the correct beginning. One should begin from breathing and never from the thought process itself. When you can feel the subtle movements of breath, only then will you be able to feel the subtle movements of thought.
Awareness of the thought process will change the quality of the mind; asanas and pranayama will change the quality of the body. Then the moment comes when your body and mind are one, without any conflict at all. When they are synchronized, you are neither body nor mind. For the first time, you know yourself as the self. You transcend.
You can transcend only when there is no conflict. In this harmonious moment when body and mind are one, with no conflict, you transcend both. You are neither. Now you are nothing in a sense: no-thing. You are simple consciousness. Not conscious of something, but just awareness itself.
This awareness without being aware of anything, this consciousness without being conscious of anything, is the moment of explosion. Your potential becomes actual. You explode into a new realm: the ultimate. This ultimate is the concern of all religions.
There are so many ways to reach this ultimate. One may talk about kundalini or not; it is immaterial. Kundalini is only a word. You can use another word. But what is signified by the word Kundalini is bound to be there in some way or other as an inward flow of energy.
This inward flow is the only revolution, the only freedom. Otherwise you will go on creating more hells, because the more you go outward the further off you are from yourself. And the further off you are from yourself, the more ill and diseased you are.
Kundalini is the original source of all life, but you are cut off from it in so many ways. Then you become an outsider to yourself and you do not know how to come back home. This coming back is the science of yoga. As far as human transformation is concerned, Kundalini Yoga is the subtlest science.