4 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 2 Personal Experience Background My experience happened without any religious background, and yet afterwards I was able to compare elements of my experience with already known spiritual processes and their outcomes and present a new way of perceiving our human consciousness. At the time my experience took place I did not consider myself a spiritual seeker, but a painter who after 17 years of visual investigation suddenly, while painting, came across exhilarating discovery of abstract dimension. Three years later, because of lack of financial success with my artwork and for other personal reasons, I became depressed and finally also suicidal. I had no understanding what spiritual enlightenment could be, did not know the word Kundalinī and did not believe in chakras. The day of the experience I was trying to stop myself from ending my life by intuitively practicing a method I had used subconsciously in the past, in times of strong emotional pain. I was able to keep a discipline to paint at least 4-5 times a week – sometimes more, sometimes less often. Especially when feeling depressed I would make myself sit in front of the painting. I would stare at the painting still feeling depressed, but after a while I would always pick up the brush and start painting. Sometimes I could feel a sensation of my emotion flowing through the brush into the painting. That exercise used to allow me to “move away” from the painful emotion and focus on painting. About 15 minutes before the beginning of my spontaneous experience, although not having a painting to turn to, I could “step out” of the overwhelming emotion. I needed to do it gradually and follow a specific procedure that came to me in the same intuitive manner as the idea of “moving away” from the emotion. When I did that, I found myself in a very particular place I called emptiness. There was no emotion, it felt like a vacuum and looked like a desolate landscape without a focal point. Because the violent emotion kept on coming back, I knew I needed to repeat all the steps that led me to emptiness and try to dwell in that state as long as I could. After several tries, I remained in the unique state of emptiness for about a minute, when I realized I was not breathing. I began breathing slowly and focused on my breath. This time, the ingenuous practice turned out to be the first step into transcendence and most magnificent, sublime experience that lasted about 25 minutes. When the phenomenon was taking place, I did not even call it spiritual. I had never expected anything like it, and I had no words for it right after, but I still, without words, I knew very well what happened. It was only later that the words began to appear. 3 Personal Kundalinī Rising Experience After my experience I spend a few months contemplating the event and making notes of the process I underwent. The experience happened in the state of utmost clarity, and I had no problem writing everything down precisely as I witnessed it. The final result of the experience left me with a sense of complete understanding and feeling happy, and “at home” in every situation, every day. At the same time, I knew that although what I went through was very intimate and personal, the great value of the experience and the process that took place is something that has been observed and celebrated in the spiritual and artistic traditions for thousands of years. Almost a year later I reached for the book that – in the whirlwind of serendipitous events that took place – simply jumped out at me, of the bookshelf only ten days after the experience. I did not want to read it sooner not to alloy the authenticity of my own state and understanding of it – it was all very new and fresh, transformation was still happening, even a year after the experience. The book was a transcript of talks with Ramana Maharshi in the years 1935–1939 (Venkataraman 1989). Getting acquainted with Ramana Maharshi’s vocabulary and phraseology was a great help for me in my initial attempts at explaining what happened and the state I was in. Another serendipity occurred when I took a trip to Maui, Hawaii, and stayed there, in the spiritually oriented community, for over two years. At the time (1992–1994) information about Kundalinī energy was not well known, but there were a few books about Kundalinī and chakras that gave me orientation on