Before January 2014, I had never heard of the term “kundalini” other than vague references to kundalini yoga, which I associated with people wearing white turbans and breathing hard. But on my daughter’s 8th birthday, I experienced something that my medical knowledge never prepared me to understand. I was with my new friend Dennis, an agnostic scientist who was drawn to me after we met at a holiday party at the Institute of Noetic Sciences because of our shared curiosity in energy healing. We weren’t doing anything particularly interesting at the time. We weren’t meditating or doing yoga or having sex or doing breathwork or using any mind-altering substances or otherwise seeking out any sort of mystical experience. We were just sitting upstairs on the floor of my bedroom with my roommate April, when something very curious happened.
We had already experienced some weird moments that day. April, who is quite psychic, came upstairs to the living room and said, “Something’s coming.” The sky suddenly turned green and the wind started howling, and two seconds later, Dennis, who was driving in his car on the way back from Big Sur, texted me, “Something just started.” I showed the text to April, who said, quite nonchalantly, “See, I told you.”
Fast forward a few hours, after my daughter’s birthday dinner and bedtime stories, and Dennis asked if he could hug me. I said yes, and when he hugged me, we went into some kind of time warp because according to clock time, almost four hours passed in what felt like 15 minutes. During that time, Dennis and I shared experiences that were foreign to us both—like telepathy, unusual somatic experiences, sudden memories of past lives we had shared together, and a deep heart awakening. Then something started happening to Dennis’s body. During our time warp, April had left, but Dennis suddenly felt the need to have her present. I went down to check on her, but she was sleeping. Fifteen minutes later, Dennis said, “Go get April. She’s awake now.” I walked into her guest house, and she was sitting bolt upright in bed, looking dazed in her penguin pajamas. I told her a gay man was requesting our presence in my bedroom, and as if in a trance, she followed me in silence without questioning the bizarre request.
When we got back upstairs, parts of Dennis’s body, mostly his extremities, became rigid, as if all the muscles were tensing up at once, and the smaller muscle groups were firing individually, almost as if he were having a seizure, each little muscle contracting and relaxing rhythmically so that I could feel ripples when I put my hands on his arms. He was scared and physically uncomfortable, and he was pleading for us to help him. He kept saying that some sort of energy was running through his body. “My body is responding to you girls!”
I didn’t understand at all what was happening, but something in me guided him to lie down on the bed and April and I helped him move this mysterious energy through the stuck parts with breath and intention. He felt the energy move out of his rigidly erect thighs, moving into his pelvis and then his belly, and then his heart before shooting up the back of his spine, as if flying out the top of his head. The physical discomfort instantly disappeared and he experienced a state of bliss, which he described as a full body orgasm, even though we were all still fully dressed and no genital contact had been made. He stayed in that bliss state, experiencing a feeling of Oneness with the Universe and Divine ecstasy, until he fell asleep. The next morning, he woke up with a psychic awareness he had never experienced before and contact with spirits that did not have bodies, spirits that wanted to “channel” through him. We tried to turn on the lights in the house, but we discovered we had no power. Apparently, we weren’t alone. The power had blown out all over Marin County. We joked that Dennis had short-circuited the whole network, but who knows? Maybe it wasn’t a joke.
The next morning, I took Dennis to meet my mentor Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, who listened patiently to our wild story and simply said, “Let me give your minds something to calm them down. Go look up the words “kundalini” and “siddhi” on Wikipedia.” So we did. What we read about kundalini and the siddhis (spiritual superpowers) from the yogic tradition sounded consistent with what we had experienced spontaneously, and we were almost embarrassed to discover that something that felt so unique and mysterious was written up as this ordinary phenomenon on Wikipedia.
Over the next nine days, things grew increasingly bizarre, and Dennis was losing touch with reality in a way that looked very much like the kind of psychosis you might see in someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. He wasn’t eating or sleeping. He had moved out of his house and was shacking up in a hotel room near me because he wanted to be close to me all the time. He was delusional and seeing visions and hearing voices that told him things that sounded crazy. He couldn’t seem to control his psychic awareness and was leaving strangers in the coffee shop in tears by telling them things he couldn’t possibly have known about their childhood sexual abuse. I told him he had “psychic Tourette’s” and jokingly called him Dennis the Menace, but he responded with hostility. “I am speaking directly from God and you have no right to silence me!” He was becoming more and more grandiose, feeling like he was Jesus and had access to infinite Universal Knowledge, and the things he was telling me about how I was sent here from the Pleiades to save the world were getting more and more inflated. Things were spiraling out of control, and we clearly needed help.