An Interview with Dr. Lyn Halper
by Brent Raynes
Lyn Halper, Ph.D., formerly professor of Religious Studies at Rockland Community College of the State University of New York, holds a degree of Master of Science in Education, an Advanced Certificate in Marriage and Family Counseling, and a Doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology. For a number of years, Dr. Halper has maintained a private practice as a transpersonal psychologist, as well as acted as professor of psychology at Mercy College. She is the author of Adventures of a Suburban Mystic (Trafford, 2001), which recounts her personal Kundalini experiences (which are touched upon in this interview) and she also is the author of Mystic Souls: Nineteen Remarkable People Tell Their Stories (Universe, 2003), a compilation of stories from shamans, mystics, and clergy who relate their struggles and triumphs with the mystical life.
Editor: Can you please share with us some details of how all of this came about?
Dr. Halper: My story began when I became incapacitated by a bizarre allergic condition that resisted intervention by conventional medicine. As a psychotherapist, wife and mother with two young children, I was desperate to be well, and having run out of resources, agreed to have a session with a professional psychic a friend recommended. The psychic told me that the illness was a “consciousness-expanding vehicle” and I was about to embark on a huge spiritual journey. I went for readings with other psychics and they all said the same thing – get ready for a tremendous opening. A few weeks later while visiting an aunt in Clearwater, Florida I met with the great dental healers, Margaret and Willard Fuller. They told me they could “see” the oil of anointment running down my forehead and I would soon meet a “teacher of spiritual persuasion.” When I asked how to find him, they smiled and said, “You’ll be led to him.” When I got back home I looked through college catalogues hoping to see a name that would strike me! It was funny. I knew nothing! But, as I began to immerse myself in meditation and esoteric studies, the allergic condition eased and eventually disappeared. Years later I would learn that the allergic condition was the Shamanic illness – you are made sick until you get the idea and take up the spiritual mantle. A few months after my meeting with the Fullers, I met a psychic psychotherapist – an American who had spent years in Asia and learned the secret of initiation – in Sanskrit, Shaktipat, transmission of energy from guru to disciple. At our first meeting, he recognized me and said he had been waiting for me to arrive. Two months later he raised the Kundalini energy in my spine and started what would become a turbulent six-year process of spiritual development – a process that nearly cost me my life.
Editor: Can you share with us what Kundalini is understood to be and what triggers it?
Dr. Halper: Kundalini energy is the psycho-spiritual energy that is latent in all of us, and to clairvoyants, looks like a coiled up serpent at the base of the spine. It is recognized by all spiritual traditions though called by different names – in Christianity it is the Holy Spirit and to the !Kung people of the Kalahari it is n/um. Most people go their whole lives without being aware of it, but it can be triggered by meditation, yoga, prayer, childbirth, anesthesia, traumas like near-death experiences. When the Kundalini begins its ascent through the body it comes in contact with spiritual centers called chakras. When a chakra is first activated by the kundalini energy it can cause some startling symptoms. For example, if Anahat, the heart chakra, is activated, the person may have chest pains, but when that chakra is cleared, be overwhelmed by outpourings of supra-human love. When the Swadhishthana Chakra in the genital region is activated, and this is typical when Kundalini is first revving up, there will be megavolts of sexual energy released. If it’s the Vishuddha Chakra located at the throat, there may be spontaneous laughing, screaming, or singing. Later, the individual finds he has become an effective speaker.
Editor: I have heard that while Kundalini can be very beneficial, it can also be quite overwhelming and detrimental for people who are unprepared for such an experience.
Dr. Halper: Yes, Kundalini can be detrimental unless prepared, but how many Westerners are prepared? “Prepared” implies that we sit meditating for a decade or two and so clear the pathways the Kundalini energy will travel. Even great Eastern sages like Krishnamurti had difficulty with the energy. For most who have a sustained awakening, it will cause severe disturbances.
You see, the Kundalini is a titanic force that, when unleashed, rages through the body. It’s essentially a purifying agent and where it meets with blockages such as physical toxins and emotional debris, it works away at them till they’re dissolved. It’s a hot energy, the !Kung call it “boiling,” a “death thing,” and a “fight.” So, when it starts to rise – look out! The most common symptoms are tingling and vibrations, the energy can be icy cold, but mostly it is hot and one feels intense burning – and there are some who have burn marks on their skin. The process starts out explosively, there can be pains, muscle spasms, flashes of light, roaring sounds, bizarre emotional states and weird psychic experiences. Imagine a hot vibrating current moving through your body twenty-four hours a day, kicking up anger, sadness, anxiety, and your old back injury is a hundred times worse! But, in the final stage, nishpatti, the energy has burned a clear pathway through the organism, and those vibrations can feel like a glorious and soothing healing balm. Old physical and emotional ills disappear and there is often the emergence of psychic and spiritual gifts.
And, this was true for me, but, like most, I struggled with the process. The first arousal following the initiation lasted 18 months and was frightening, but my teacher was there to offer reassurance. The next arousal occurred spontaneously a year later as a result of meditation and provoked a crisis. My teacher had left the scene and I couldn’t deal with the turbulence on my own. As the energy roared through the nervous system it caused strange mental states and I was terrified that I was losing my sanity. I saw and heard spirit guides with whom I interacted – entities that possessed utter power. I was dehydrated, drank gallons of water, and perspired so profusely my clothes were always drenched. After a while, I became physically and emotionally exhausted. I was so weak I knew that if the process continued for even another week my body would give out and I would die. I reached the nadir and felt myself to be dead and wandering an abyss. I didn’t know that this psychic state is the experience of the dying of the old for the emergence of the New. With the dénoument of this cycle came psychic and spiritual gifts – notably, the spontaneous appearance of a catalytic-healing energy when working with clients in psychotherapy sessions. Still, it took months to recover from the ravages of the process. My older son, then 18 years old, went through a cleansing process around the same time that was not as difficult as mine. My younger son emerged, without a noticeable process, with strong clairvoyant abilities. Speaking of children, it’s a strange thing, but two years after the final Kundalini cycle, I had visions and dreams of a child in South America, and led by synchronicities, went out and found her. That child, our daughter, is quite psychic too.
Editor: You began to locate others who had experienced Kundalini, so that you could understand it better. How common does this experience seem, and what lessons has your research and investigative work revealed?
Dr. Halper: My body knew the transformative process, but I needed to know it with my intellect. So, I grabbed my tape recorder and hung out with psychics, mystics, Hindu sages, Native Americans, Chinese healers – as diverse a group as I could find. I spent time with these people – people like David Bluewolf, the Lakota storyteller, and my daughter, then 8 years, and myself were drawn, psychically, into his world. I looked for the common threads in the narratives and found such people had a high prevalence of danger and near-catastrophic experiences, there was the frequency of Kundalini awakenings, contacts with inter-dimensional beings, a high degree of predetermination in their lives, and they had attained the spontaneous shift to the supra-conscious state.
As for the commonality of Kundalini, SEN, the Spiritual Emergence Network, a hot-line for those with Kundalini-related problems, say they receive about 150 calls a month. People who have a fully transformative Kundalini process is one out of a hundred. Today with the popularity of Eastern practices, there are many who find themselves with Kundalini raging out of control. Some people wind up being misdiagnosed with physical or mental illnesses, but even if there were more awareness in the medical profession, little can be done. The Kundalini is a self-directing, self-limiting force that will not be coaxed or forced into submission. There are people who have become casualties of the process and are left with impairments. Still, people flock to Kundalini workshops or for Shaktipat by a guru and that concerns me because there are risks, and besides, unless your body is genetically and astrologically coded for transformation, nothing much will happen. Conversely, if you are inherently “programmed,” there is no place to run and hide, when the time comes – you must go through the process. A guru once said, people want spiritual experiences – until they get them.
Lessons? Well, certainly I have a healthy respect for the power of unseen forces – even the so-called experts are impotent in the face of the mysteries. It surprised me to discover that the world has a spiritual base – but then, who are the powers that be? Those “spirit guides,” I believe, are the same phenomenon as yetis, or UFO’s, and the power behind them is enormous. Incomprehensible. I am changed in that the psycho-spiritual component of myself is in operation – so I can be intuitive, have more synchronicities, get assistance from a transpersonal level of mind. My formula for living is simple: mild meditation, be aware of what you do and say so as not to hurt anyone, if help is needed, give it. Become a physician or scientist – find a cure for cancer – improve the quality of life on this earth here and now.
Editor: In what ways do you correlate or compare those spirit guides you interacted with to other phenomena out there like yeti's and UFOs?
Dr. Halper: I began to have a glimmer of the interconnectedness of the phenomena after several years of observing the odd actions/communications of my "Guides." So I began to dig into metaphysical literature, occult literature, and finally UFO literature. Gradually a picture began to emerge. There were striking parallels between my guides and other paranormal entities! It was shocking to me and it took a while to process the idea.
This is a huge subject area, but a couple of examples: The most common trait of UFOs is their vanishing act. Yeti's leave tracks that end abruptly as though they've disappeared into thin air. My friend and interviewee, Heshheru, A Jamaican shaman, tells me that Jamaica vibrates with paranormal phenomena. He describes a rolling calf with glowing red eyes seen for decades by islanders that is always accompanied by a noxious odor like burning chemicals or electrical wiring. This same phenomenon, the chemical-burn odor, is commonly reported around UFO close encounters.
There are parallels between the behaviors and communication patterns of UFO entities and spiritual entities, including the rather unsettling propensity for game playing and humor. Some contactees have noted that the space saucer and the entities were made of the same "stuff." There seem to be cyclic correlations between increases in UFO sightings and an increase in poltergeist cases. Phantoms, UFOs, Loch Ness monsters, spirit guides all have qualities that suggest they are a paraphysical phenomenon, and this theory cannot be proven or even tested. Ghosts, Nessies, Men in Black, the blood and tissue extract of Philippine healers, all dissolve before hitting the laboratory. Well, none of this is new, but the parallels are there for anyone willing to wade through the literature and/or risk personal investigation.
Editor: There have been a number of cases of people following UFO close encounters or contacts who reported having Kundalini type experiences afterwards.
Dr. Halper: Uri Geller tells how, as a young child playing alone in his backyard, he saw a metallic object descend and was knocked unconscious by a beam of light. His strange psychic abilities arose following that experience. Joey Nuzum, my interviewee, probably the greatest occultist and maste of PK phenomena today, asserts that hs spirit guides are interdimensional beings and that they have influenced his astounding psychic abilities. Whenever my "Guides" were around they seemed to emit a high voltage etheric energy that acted to jumpstart my own Kundalini/energy. Whethe you call it "illumination" or "space-blast," high volumes of that energy can trigger psychic faculties in those with sensitive systems.
Editor: I recall reading an account written awhile back by an abductee describing how he periodically and bodily experienced involuntary yoga type movements.
Dr. Halper: You are correct! Those involuntary yogic postures are called kryas, and are a symptom of an active Kundalini, and yes, that is the way yoga became a structured discipline. So UFO energy must have started that fellow on a Kundalini trip.
Editor's Note: This issue's Encounters with the Unknown contains an intriguing UFO contact account that also involves classic Kundalini symptoms.