Not this snake. He wasn’t satisfied with grass. He wanted something more. So he came in. To my bedroom. And ruined a perfectly peaceful afternoon. My ritual of a good night sleep, gone too. And three days later, I’m still typing with my feet up.
I met him once about five years ago. He was playing in the garden under the big leaf glossy greens in my entry way. Now, while I love nature I am not afraid to share with you that I don’t love snakes. So as soon as I saw him, I ran outside for a boy, any boy, to help me rid my magical garden of a not so magical creature. But I didn’t act fast enough. The snake was so small, the garden so lush, that he was gone before Jose even made it in the garden. He will leave, said Jose. Just like he came in, he will go out. I wanted to believe him. And as the years passed with never any sign of mister snake, I did.
Until three days ago.
* * *
Kundalini is a spiritual energy or life force that lives coiled like a snake at the base of our spines. It is said that when each of our seven chakras, or energy centers, are awakened this snake will rise up, threading itself through each of our open chakras, leading us to profound inner and outer experiences. These experiences that can last anywhere from a few moments to a few weeks or even months tend to be incredibly powerful, even life changing. Some say a ‘kundalini opening’ is a merging of individual consciousness with universal consciousness, creating in effect a divine union, a sacred opening. In my own experience, I can’t help but agree.
* * *
Reggie taught kundalini yoga in the States so when he visited my little Mexican town and found few interested in his unique style, he offered his newest fan a few private lessons—Me. We set up under the bougainvillea on the back side of my casita, specks of sunlight twinkling through the pink leaves, a gentle breeze blowing intermittently, puffs of pink falling like snow, landing around us, on top of us, dancing on our hands and faces. As he led me through the poses, the breathing, the chanting, I began to feel moved beyond words, lighter, more joy-filled than I had felt in years. And then, when I felt the most elated of all, I began to see.
I saw Reggie, my dear new acquaintance, as a boy. He was alone and crying on a doorstep. He was overweight. He was struggling. He was different and yet he was somehow the same. What am I seeing, I thought to myself. I barely know this man so where do these images come from? As they started to fade I calmed myself back to my previous state of peace and the images returned. I saw feelings. Felt emotions. Sensed pains. And yet none of the sensations were mine. Or were they? I started to tremble. I opened my eyes to reconnect with what I knew best.
Do you mind if I ask you a personal question? I asked Reggie after he, too, opened his eyes.
Please do, his face soft and kind, his eyes ladders to his soul.
Were you ever abandoned as child? Left alone on a doorstep? I fumbled with my words, my head not knowing what I was asking.
My father left me when I was seven. I lived in foster families most of my childhood. I sat on many doorsteps...alone. His eyes twinkled with wonder.
And did you ever, were you ever, a bit overweight?
I have always been troubled by my weight, a struggle that has been with me since I was a teenager. But how? How do you know these things, he asked.
But I couldn’t say. I just did. I felt them. Saw them. Experienced them as if they were my own life experiences, a taste of another's lifetime squished into a few blissful moments of my own.
He smiled. Yes, did he smile. Kundalini, he said. Lets play again tomorrow.
* * *
The snake that sits coiled at the base of our spines isn’t meant to sit dormant its whole life. Like the snake in my garden, it is not content to just sit in the grass. It wants to explore, to seek and discover, to sense and feel new and uncharted territories. Some, including myself, need to be reminded that such a desire isn’t scary. (Even if it happens to end up in your bedroom!) It is not worthy of a quiet terror, of sleepless nights or anxiety-riddled days. When the message comes, when the invitation arrives, we can cringe in fear or we can see it for the beauty that it really is, for the opening or transformation that it begs to represent. Wide-eyed wonder of life is a choice. Fear is a choice. Snake outside or inside, if I can see the magic, I know you can too.