The Safety of Heart Rhythm Meditation
Many people who have meditated with insufficient instructions or who have deliberately performed upward meditation techniques such as Kundalini Yoga or samadhi, have suffered a variety of neurological problems. Kundalini is the natural flow of energy up the spine. Some meditation schools deliberately intensify kundalini through special breathing practices to create a transcendent, impersonal state of detachment or out-of-body condition. Consciousness tends to rise on the rising energy. But the physical body needs consciousness held within it to stay healthy, and detachment and indifference create aloofness, not relationships.
While some people are unaffected by Kundalini, for some others a single meditation has caused debilitating symptoms that linger for years. These Kundalini problems are not diagnosed correctly by medical doctors, who vainly try to correct them by drugs.
The best antidote for Kundalini, even after damage has been done, is the Water Breath, which is taught in the IAM course 102 and described in detail in the book, Living from the Heart. The Water Breath completes the fire of Kundalini and consequently, the most dangerous problems associated with meditation can be reversed by Heart Rhythm Meditation.
There are two general directions in meditation: upward and downward.
Upward meditation draws energy upwards and ultimately draws consciousness out of the body to produces Samadhi. Even simple techniques that are drawn from the Hindu or Buddhist traditions can lead to samadhi, for example “Transcendental Meditation” (TM) or Vipassana. In samadhi, the body enters a near-death state: the heartbeat stops and the heart begins to flutter, breathing slows dramatically, oxygen levels in the blood plunge, brainwaves go into low frequencies. Psychological disassociation follows.
Downward meditation brings energy down into the body, usually with the heart or third-eye as the focus. Heart Rhythm Meditation is a downward meditation focused on the heart. This does not lead to out-of-body experiences, but rather to a strong sense of responsibility for the biosphere and all the beings it includes.
Some practices combine both, for example in bringing energy up the spine, over the top of the head to the third eye and down the front of the body. Spiritual processes based on Alchemy also attempt to complete the upward movement of energy by bringing a transformed energy back down.
However, there is a great danger in raising Kundalini in the first place: it may not turn off or the state it produces may become addictive. Having taught upward meditation for decades, I have seen many cases of aborted careers, broken marriages, disassociated psyches and neurological illnesses that I believe were caused by kundalini.
We at IAM are committed to the safe and practical application of meditation to everyday life. Consequently, we do not raise the kundalini energy. It is not only dangerous to do so, but it is entirely unnecessary in creating personal growth and spiritual transformation. The alternative, which IAM promotes, is to expand consciousness outward horizontally, encompassing more and more space and beings in one’s magnetic field. This is always done with a strong center on the heart, never with a dissolution of self.
To counter the fire of Kundalini, you should learn and practice the Water Breath. This simple meditation is described in the book, Living from the Heart. and taught in IAM’s second course, “102: The Four Elements of the Heart.”
— Puran Bair
Since breath has such great importance, the greatest possible importance, it is clear that the way to bring order and harmony to our body, to bring order and harmony to our mind, to harmonize mind with body, and to harmonize body and mind with soul, is by the breath. It is the development of breath, knowledge of breath, practice of breath which help us to get ourselves straightened out, to put ourselves in tune, to bring order into our being.
There are many who without proper guidance and knowledge practice breath. Year after year they go on and very little result is achieved. Many go out of their minds, and very often the little veins of the brain and chest are ruptured by wrong breathing. There are many who have experienced this by not knowing how to breathe. One has to be extremely careful; one must do breathing practices rightly or not do them at all.
— Hazrat Inayat Khan