In human evolution to date, Kundalini is powering the three lower chakras, which are supplying functions in line with the so-called triune brain theory. MacMillan’s triune brain theory divides the brain into three primary structures, the reptilian brainstem (according to yogic thought powered by the base chakra), the mammalian limbic brain (powered by the sacral chakra), and the primate neocortex (powered by the navel chakra). Since these structures are well understood I will outline the functions of the three lower chakras here only briefly, before turning to the higher chakras. The base chakra, which represents reptilian brain circuitry, is responsible for survival and thus directs the fight, flight and freeze reflex. In the evolutionary chakra model, the second level is the mammalian chakra, which determines our family life, interaction with our spouse, children, parents, and our emotional life, such as secure attachment. It is also responsible for our sense of belonging to small groups, such as clans, tribal bands and the need for territory. This chakra powers the limbic brain and its non-verbal communication and the ability to be seen, accepted, supported, and feel loved. The navel or power chakra is the evolutionary blueprint that helped to create the primate brain, the neocortex. It regulates our status and position in complex societies, including economic and civic affairs and membership in religious communities. For somebody whose highest operational level is the navel chakra, this chakra empowers their ability to lead, coerce, manipulate and dominate others.

Kundalini, in our current stage of evolution, is powering these three functions. When using the phrase Kundalini raising, we refer to raising it beyond the third chakra, to the heart chakra or beyond. On a psychological level, the heart chakra, when activated, reveals to us the unconditional love that the Divine experiences for us, and that the Divine, due to Her lack of an ego, cannot withhold grace from us and only ever sees us in the divine perfection in which She has created us. This recognition of the Divine in oneself also extends to all other beings and therefore heralds the end of conflict.

The 5th evolutionary chakra level, the throat chakra, enables us to see the whole cosmos as lawful and as the crystallized body of a higher intelligence. Animism, shamanism, science and art are all expressions of this chakra. This chakra, when activated, shows us that our purpose in life is to extend service to the community of life around us (including non-human life). Through such service, our life becomes meaningful, and we maintain the incredible beauty and balance of the natural world around us. On a skills level, the activating of the throat chakra then lets us download skills directly from the intellect of the Divine. Such skills can be assessed and validated through external observers and will give us the esteem and recognition from the community around us, and resulting from that, self-esteem.

The 6th chakra, the third eye chakra, opens us to a realization of cosmic intelligence. For the yogic mystic, this does not simply end in passively adoring this immanent aspect of the Divine. Rather than that, the yogic mystic learns from the Divine via vision practice. She learns information pertaining to how the Divine wants to embody Itself through the natural world and us. This is based on the realization that the Divine must individuate through us to become active on an embodied level. It cannot do so by Itself because lacking an ego (the term meaning limiter in space and time). The Divine can only be the cosmic, the universal, and not the individual.

The 7th chakra, the crown chakra, powers revelation of the transcendental aspect of the Divine, the infinite consciousness. Ultimately this leads to ego-transcendence, finding an expanded sense of self beyond one’s limiting ego, and absorption in the God transcendent via the mystical state at the completion of one’s incarnations (Mahaparinirvana).

If we do not develop chakra awareness through chakra– Kundalini meditation, the activated Kundalini might jump ahead and activate higher chakras, while ignoring the upcoming ones. This will often lead to suffering and pathology. Activating for example, the throat-, third eye-, or crown chakra through psychedelic drugs, without prior attending to the navel-, and heart chakras, will with great regularity lead to psychotic and schizophrenic tendencies. A similar constellation, with additional blocking of the sacral chakra (i.e. blockage of empathy), could lead to becoming a psychopath. If only the heart chakra is blocked, but all other chakras are activated, we would be met with the case of a cult-leader personality, who uses insights from the higher chakras to place them into the service of the power chakra, i.e. to manipulate followers for the gain of the cult leader.

Raising Kundalini leads to spiritual experiences falling into one of the four above listed categories, i.e. seeing others as emanations of the Divine (heart chakra), seeing the entire material cosmos as a crystallization of divine law (throat chakra), directly realizing cosmic intelligence (third eye chakra), or infinite consciousness (crown chakra). A Kundalini expert or somebody who has become proficient in chakra-Kundalini meditation can consciously travel from one experience to another, without being married to either of them and without reducing the manifoldness of these experiences to a single layer.

These are the important and significant results of Kundalini raising. There is a public perception that Kundalini activity is present if we experience weird body sensations, or a feeling of burning or tickling going up and down the spine. Such sensations may present themselves initially, but they are neither proof nor guarantee we are presented with a case of Kundalini rising. The only proof is if somebody can bring about reliably, predictably and repeatedly experiences of revelation, spiritual realization and expansive ecstasy, and particularly if these experiences change one’s personality towards being more genuine, loving, supportive and kind to other beings, including non-human life forms.

This is an excerpt from Gregor’s book Mudras Seals of Yoga.