Kundalini and Consciousness

The Biology of Consciousness- Case Studies in Kundalini- JJ Semple


This book has been on my reading list for a while. Although I’ve read books in the Eastern tradition on energy and Kundalini, I’ve never picked up a practical guide, so to speak. My background on the subject frames the rise of Kundalini energy in esoteric or spiritual terms. JJ Semple wants to get away from the notion of the spiritual and talk in terms of biology and evolution.


For him, a Kundalini awakening is essentially a biological process where consciousness expresses as an evolutionary force whose purpose is to refine and upgrade itself in a single lifetime. But it’s more than that because Semple believes the raising of consciousness can cause significant evolutionary leaps that can be passed on to subsequent generations.


Some esoteric traditions teach there is only one way to raise the serpent coiled at the base of the spine. Others outline a favored approach. This is where Semple’s book can be helpful. He outlines some of the many ways Kundalini can be triggered either intentionally or accidentally (that’s right- you can be minding your own business one minute and then yikes – what the ??). In fact, many people have had just that experience! They didn’t go looking for it, they don’t have an interest in anything spiritual, and yet it happens. Remember, Semple’s theory doesn’t require spirituality. He is talking about fundamental biology. If you are human, the life force waits ready for its opportunity.


Some of the case studies presented involve the raising of Kundalini as a result of meditation, Shaktipat (where energy is transferred from one individual to another), emotional crisis, sexual encounter, or eye gazing. Semple himself has experienced his own biological awakening and has chosen cases illustrating some of the differences and some of the similarities of what people go through. There are no advanced spiritual masters here; these are everyday people going through a life changing process. The book is immediately easy to relate to. Along the way, the reader gets a sense of how the rise of the Kundalini can be lived with and accommodated.    

The book spends some time on the God versus no God arguments within society. Although Semple is an atheist, he thinks the argument gets us nowhere. He would like us to view Kundalini in terms of an energy continuum. Religion gets in the way of having this biological process seriously studied by scientists. Real work needs to be done. Real people are awakening all the time and there is a need to be able to guide them through the process.

Semple’s book is an easy read even if you know nothing about Kundalini. I hope it begins to open a dialogue among a wider audience. Highly recommended!  

A cautionary note: Many spiritual traditions regard the raising of Kundalini as a dangerous endeavor. It is not viewed as being for everyone. Many have levels of initiation and recognize master teachers.

For those experiencing Kundalini rise: www.spiritualcrisisnetwork.org.uk

JJ Semple’s site: http://www.goldenflowermeditation.com/discovering_gfm.html


Filed under Books, Uncategorized

39 responses to “Kundalini and Consciousness

  1. Thanks for the info on this! I’m excited to give the site a looksee!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ellis, you’ve written an excellent analysis of the experiences/ideas/concepts, and yes, even the hypotheses that I explored in “The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini.” It’s taken me 40 years to “begin” to understand kundalini: how to activate it reliably, how it functions biologically, Its effect on metabolism and soma, and lastly, how to live with it.

    Kundalini has always been there. In ancient times, the experience was most easily explained in religious terms, as science was not as fully developed as it is now.

    All I ask is for people to step back a bit when kundalini rises, ask themselves if the experience had anything to do with religion, or a belief in some God. It took me 40 years to gain a degree of objectivity. In 1977, I discussed the subject with Gopi Krishna. In spite of his own religious context, it was a topic – kundalini’s being biological in nature – he had explored. After all, he wrote at length on that very theme in “The Biological Basis of Religion and Genius.”

    This is not a chicken or the egg argument; first of all there was the kundalini life force, then came the attempts put forth by various religions at explaining this phenomenon.

    As for my being an atheist, I believe I stated in the book that I was an atheist before kundalini. Once activated, I realized my experience had metaphysical overtones. That doesn’t mean that on account of my awakening 40 years ago, I converted to some theistic religion; I didn’t. Atheism implies a lack of belief in God, as in the following: “Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Older dictionaries define atheism as ‘a belief that there is no God.'” That doesn’t mean there’s no other possibilities besides the God or No God position.

    Just because I didn’t believe in God doesn’t mean that I haven’t realized that there is something else beyond the physical world our senses delineate. I have. That’s what kundalini revealed to me – an energy continuum that has many names: consciousness, collective unconscious, etc. If you want to call this religion, fine, but it is not a belief; it’s an actuality, something that I experience daily.

    In fact, kundalini is a physical, biological process which, when permanently activated, reveals a hidden reality: the physical becomes the metaphysical. And so what if an individual who activates kundalini by one of a various methods mentioned in my book is a believer or a non-believer. Kundalini has very little to do with belief, and very much to do with experience! You can’t be converted to kundalini any more than you can be converted to an orgasm or a heart attack.

    I hope this comes through in my writing, both in print (Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time) and on the web (The Kundalini Consortium). If not, I may have to work another 40 years, trying to clarify the effects of my experience and how it might, or might not, relate to someone else’s.


    • Thanks for commenting. I hope your books will be a resource for those currently going through or wishing to go through Kundalini awakening. It’s something I have an interest in but think health concerns weigh against me doing much about (this lifetime, anyway). Fascinating work. I’m also interested in how Kundalini awakenings are probably treated in our society as schizophrenia because we have no cultural paradigm to offer support/knowledge instead of drugs.


      • Gopi Krishna did a lot of research on how kundalini experiences were often diagnosed as mental illness. Very few psychiatrists believe/understand patients who come to them with kundalini-related symptoms, even though they’re mentioned in the DSM/4.


      • I’ve read that Jungians are better equipped to help people in these situations and others can be downright dangerous.


  3. Gopi Krishna also discusses at length how knowledge of Kundalini will transform virtually all aspects of human society, such as science, religion, education, and politics. He emphasizes that knowledge of Kundalini is absolutely essential for the human race to evolve in peace and harmony in the future.


  4. Thanks for this. I bought the book on Kindle.

    I have read two other books by JJ Semple and also a bit of Gopi Krishna and frankly still not quite sure what to make of Kundalini.

    Semple’s method involves deep breathing and deep relaxation followed by some technique to distract the mind from the restless flow of thoughts. The counting of breathing is one technique for distracting the mind but there are others – concentration on an object or an image, chanting, etc. This is really a basic meditation technique.

    For some people who apply the techniques with sufficient intensity in the practice (and apparently for some who do nothing but are in some way otherwise gifted) the result in a dramatic change in consciousness and in the operation of the neurosystem.

    I tried to address some of this a few years in a post a few years ago.



  5. Thanks, Ellis. Once again, you have let us know about a valuable ‘bridging’ book. But all the cautions about the dangers of bringing ancient spiritual traditions into the West with its tendency to commodify, trivialise and commercialise those ancient wisdoms need to be taken very seriously, as the preceding discussion has highlighted. I have practised astrology for a long time, and I know how much damage that powerful ancient discipline can bring with it unless it is practised with integrity and humility…


  6. kundalini, has never really held my interest until reading this post and the replies. In the past, people around me have spoken about it with little enthusiasm and so I never sought to understand it. I will now be reading more about it, so that in the future i’m not blind to it. Thank you.


  7. oviate

    Probably my favorite subject. Lately I’ve been really into the Roger Penrose model which is initially about us being unable to simulate consciousness in AI.
    I also like The Secret of the Golden Flower, something I read last year.


  8. reanolanmartin

    Excellent review. Thanks, Ellis! I’m with everyone on the warnings. The biological process may be a factor in the ignition, but it’s not the source. People have to be somewhat connected, or at least have access to someone who is when the process starts. I’ll be interested to read this.


    • Thing is- I think someone can be connected without being aware. That’s where the problems lie. And of course, there are the ‘casual dabblers’ who go looking and find something way beyond their ability. That’s why Esalen had a spiritual crisis hotline- but that no longer exists. The Theosophy in America Center reports getting phone calls all the time from people in trouble with no resources. So it comes down to walking the fine line of supporting people going through it along with appropriate cautioning. But- there are people out there basically selling Shaktiput, gateway drug experiences, etc. We are going to see more and more interest without society offering resources.


  9. Sounds like a book I need to read! Thanks


  10. Interesting post Ellis. The cautionary note is also important. There is a reason why authentic spiritual traditions exist….


  11. Great review, Ellis. As usual, I hail the initiative of such books in the western world – I remember I’ve done lots of painful research myself to gather a satisfactory-enough ‘corpus of knowledge” – a sufficient grasp on the subject. However, as I expressed it in another comment, and without having read the book, I dare say that, if it’s just for intellectual enrichment, it’s good enough – if, on the contrary, someone decides the subject would be enticing enough to take it to the experimental level, sufficient warning needs to be there. One cannot play with high-voltage electricity, not-knowing the limit-parameters in wires and fuses, and where transformers and the electronic equipment can fail or collapse…
    But most importantly, one should absolutely, fundamentally know that this is by no means a “material” experience, in known territory – the “action” is happening in a totally different and uncharted realm, where you cannot step safely just being an “atheist”.


  12. Thanks for the share, I’ve been looking for a book that links up consciousness works (from like likes of Ervin Laszlo and Rupert Sheldrake) and the kundalini / reiki experience and it looks like this fits the bill. Thanks!


  13. I enjoy what you share Ellis. One of the few blogs I actually subscribe to at all. I don’t usually argue on the internet…lol…but wanted to say at least one thing or two here in relation to the author and the book, both of which I have known about for a time. For the last 8 years I specifically worked with those undergoing exactly the kinds of awakenings that JJ Semple refers to as a healer and guide. I experienced one that nearly killed me physically in 2008 myself. The one thing I’d want readers to know is this counterpoint…

    You say “Semple is an atheist”. This appears to be very true. The counterpoint is that if you have experienced a true awakening-you have no way to experience being an atheist any longer. Atheism and awakening do not coexist. The love is too great to ignore any longer.


    • Semple describes himself as such in the book. I do get your point (like asking if the number six is married). I actually have a lot of problems with the word myself because it means different things to different people.


  14. Advanced Research Technology

    Interesting perspective. I find that many times the different ways of looking at things boil down to semantics and not being able to perceive common likenesses because one can’t accept another religious language like they do their own.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Kundalini and Consciousness | An Alchemist's Journey....

  16. Pingback: Kundalini and Consciousness – curiouser contemplations

  17. Interesting theories on consciousness as a biological factor…great post! Sharing, and eager to give the text a read. @MmePhilosopher

    Liked by 1 person

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