The purpose of Golden Flower Meditation (GFM) is to activate Kundalini in a safe, permanent, repeatable fashion — repeatable in the sense that anyone who apples the method correctly can obtain the same results I did. How do you know if you’re capable of activating Kundalini? You don’t, and that’s why you should read up on it before charging ahead recklessly. It’s not something to be toyed with.
The method is divided into three phases, illustrated in the animation on this page and on the Deep Breathing page. GFM is a series of interlocking dependencies that need to be practiced in order. You can't skip around; you must master the breathing techniques first. The three phases are meant to help you understand the process conceptually as a whole.
The method's actual workflow is divided into six steps, detailed and explained below.
Step 1. Find Your Center
To find your center, drop a plumb-line. This process is described in The Secret of the Golden Flower thusly. "Looking at the tip of the nose serves only as the beginning of concentration, so that the eyes are brought into the right direction for looking, and then are held to the guide-line: after that one can let it be. That is the way a mason hangs up a plumb-line. As soon as he has hung it up, he guides his work by it without continually bothering himself to look at the plumb-line."
The idea behind centering is to use the "tip of the nose" as a guideline. When I was learning this, it helped to relax my eyelids, which had the effect of shutting out light and other visual distractions. The more you lower your eyelids without completely closing them, the more you move your attention in toward the center. Eventually, you may even close your eyes. At the beginning, however, you'll want to find the tip of your nose with your eyes. When you do, take stock of how your eyes are positioned. Half-open, half-closed? Remember the sensation the next time you sit. Take continual inventory and write your perceptions down.
Many practitioners ask if they have to sit in the Lotus position. I tell them that if the Lotus position isn’t comfortable, try the half-lotus. And if they don’t like that, I tell them they can try reclining. The important thing is to be comfortable; there’s no point in forcing yourself to be uncomfortable. If sitting in the Lotus position is only going to incite you to give up, then find a comfortable position.
The Lotus position is the optimal position for correct breathing. That’s why it’s prescribed by so many methods. But the real goal of this method, or any other serious method, is not to learn to sit in a Lotus position, or even the half-lotus, it’s to learn to breathe correctly. At the beginning, you want to establish a comfortable posture that allows you to concentrate on breathing.
When practicing GFM, don't think too much about the center, rather try to feel it. Once you feel it, you will realize you are making progress because you won't be worrying about half-open, half-closed, or fully open. Mastering the centering process is not that difficult, sometimes a practitioner "gets it" in five minutes. But no amount of explanation can replace trial and error.
The problem stems from NOT REALIZING you have a center. Once you realize it — and this awareness may only manifest itself gradually — you have a starting place each time you sit. Gathering your awareness into the center is real, a sensation, something you feel. But it doesn't end there. As you move forward, meditation becomes a whole series of real experiences and sensations that you can observe in the laboratory of your own body. In fact, many people are able to slip into the feeling of centeredness autonomically, almost as if the nervous system had devised a new function. As one practitioner stated: "If I intend to meditate at say 5 p.m, often at 4:45, I 'hear' the process beginning and by the time I sit, with little or no effort I am 'in.'"
Establishing a center is the key to experiencing a sense of your own symmetry. Over the course of your practice, as you begin to master diaphragmatic deep breathing, you will feel your being expand outward from the center point you have established.
Step 2. Block out the 10,000 things (mind chatter)
It is very difficult to control the mind directly; almost impossible to tell the mind to just “shut up” or try what Dr. Herbert Benson calls "passive disregarding.” Once again, we need a kind of subterfuge or “handle” to stop the mind from running away. Each teacher has his own approach. I recommend two approaches to managing the 10,000 things. Both are attempts to “sidestep” the mind by giving it something banal to do. The first is counting the breath in a series of four beats: inhale-four, hold-four, exhale-four, hold-four. Start over. Keep counting. It will occupy your mind.
The second approach entails walking, that is, timing the breath cycle over a given number of strides, always breathing through the nose, of course. Inhale-four steps, hold-four steps, exhale-four steps, hold-four steps. Start over. In this case, the activity of walking and counting occupies the mind, especially if you practice in a nature setting, thereby becoming less distracted by the psychic burdens of life and more mindful of nature.
By counting your breath in a regular 4/4 cadence instead of trying to form a Lotus Petal in perfect detail or contemplate Compassion, you trick the mind and shift your focus away from the 10,000 things. Counting occupies the mind just enough to forestall the 10,000 things. At the same time, it doesn’t require you to do something out of reach — like mystical contemplation. As you progress, the counting will fall away of its own accord and your mind will be still.
During this step, you’ll master Diaphragmatic Deep Beathing (DDB) and Control of Heart Rate. DDB is explaind here and in greater detail on its own page. Control of Heart Rate is another example of exerting control over an autonomic bodily function. You cannot command the heart to beat at a certain rate, so you need a handle, which, in this case, is DDB. And since the technique is tied to DDB, it is explained on the same page.
Step 3. Practice regularly each morning, preferably before eating
As with any endeavor, regularity is the key to success. If you practice every day, you’ll begin to notice the little signals your body sends out. Then, not only will you watch for signals, you’ll find you are able to interpret them.
"One thing has to be remembered about meditation; it is a long journey and there is no shortcut. Anyone who says there is a shortcut is befooling you. It is a long journey because the change is very deep and is achieved after many lives — many lives of routine habits, thinking, desiring. And the mind structure; that you have to drop through meditation. In fact it is almost impossible — but it happens. A man becoming a meditator is the greatest responsibility in the world. It is not easy. It cannot be instant. So from the beginning never start expecting too much and then you will never be frustrated. You will always be happy because things will grow very slowly. Meditation is not a seasonal flower which within six weeks is there. It is a very, very big tree. It needs time to spread its roots." ~ OSHO
Step 4. When you detect movement in the lower belly as you breathe (100 days in is a reference cited in The Secret of the Golden Flower), you are ready to engage the backward-flowing method.
What is it that moves? It is more a sensation than a substance that moves in the lower belly, a sensation that may be perceived as breath or energy or breath energy. Whatever its composition, it has the properties of movement and direction. You will perceive it as a sensation, something you can feel, but not actually touch, hear, or see. This sensation may be perceived differently by individual practitioners. That's the reason it's difficult to express with everyday language. I perceived it as a current of air in the lower belly, but now I'm convinced after many years of reflection and years of listening to various accounts, that it is not air or breath, but an etherized or distilled form of sexual energy. Where does this energy come from? Michael Bradford calls it “psychic fuel,” a term I really like. Is it breath? Is it energy? Is it breath energy? Call it what you want, it's the result of the DDB, the beginning of the sublimation process, the fact that you are starting to harness your innate energies instead of wasting them.
It's the effect that correct breathing practices have on the body's sexual energies; correct breathing arouses the sublimation process, which is a distillation process. Sexual fluids are transformed into pure pranic energy (psychic fuel, if you like) by diaphragmatic deep breathing practices. In other words, semen or cervical fluids are distilled into pure pranic energy. This movement in the lower belly is a sensation you have probably never felt before. You will either feel it or you won't. If you don't, I encourage you to continue practicing until you feel the breath energy circulating. If you do feel it, read on. I will explain the purpose of the backward-flowing method, which is to divert this breath energy (the distilled seminal fluid or, in the case of a woman, the distilled cervical fluid) to the brain. If you thought it had any other purpose, you were mistaken. This is the Secret of Life — plain and simple.
Although the backward-flowing method is the key to making it all work, it’s a big step to consider, because there’s no turning back. Using Golden Flower Kundalini Meditation to activate the Life Force is a restorative process — physically, mentally, spiritually—for me and for the ancients who studied and practiced this method in the past, as well as for modern practitioners. Yet, it is a life-changing step. It will affect your being from body to mind, from eating habits to sexual nature. The pranic breath energy (distilled seminal fluid) will be diverted to the brain and used to create a new being with a rejuvenated body and an aptitude for greater metaphysical exploration and understanding. Once the process is underway — the distilled seminal fluid is diverted to the brain — sexual activity and even procreation have a debilitating effort, at least during the first phase. The brain needs a constant supply of this pranic breath energy, so you must conserve it.
Diaphragmatic deep breathing is the key to stabilizing the heart rate, but the key to causing the energy to flow upward to the brain is the backward-flowing method. It, too, works like pump-priming. Reversing the direction of the breath energy begins the process of drawing distilled seminal fluid up the spinal column.
Some respondents ask me what’s so special about restorative Golden Flower Meditation. They say any number of serious meditation methods include some sort of sublimation process. And they’re right; some do. The difference is that the backward-flowing method works by drawing the distilled seminal fluid (breath-energy )up the spinal column, not by thinking or visualizing it. What do I mean by drawing? I’ve been asked that question many times. This is a very subtle technique whose implementation begins only at the moment when a practitioner perceives that this distilled breath energy has the property of direction. This occurs in the lower belly.
You may remember that in Step 3 I spoke about regularity and receiving signals from the body. Detecting the properties of movement and direction is a perfect example of this type of signal. If you practice regularly, master diaphragmatic deep breathing, learn to slow your breath down until you can’t hear it, you will be able to control your metabolic responses — heart rate, etc. Your being will reach a state of total stillness during meditation, a state of permanent attentiveness, a state of inner visualization, the point where breath takes over being. You will be able to observe sensations inside your body. These phenomena are real occurrences. In The Future of the Body, Murphy points to them as examples of the metanormalities of everyday life.
When you become aware of this activity — that the breath energy in your belly has the properties of movement and direction — it will put you on notice that the time has come to decide whether you want to continue. Should you decide to go forward, all you have to do is command this pranic energy to change directions. It will obey. It will appear to you that you have changed the direction of the flow of air in your breathing. Instead of moving down the back and up the front, you will command it to move down the front and up the back — the backward-flowing method!
How does “commanding the breath to change directions” work? Recently, a young woman started a dialogue about it over the Internet. She came up with the phrase “directed intention.” It’s a phrase I think works well to describe the process.
Many people have asked me when they can expect this sensation/activity to occur. Many ask why it hasn’t already happened for them. They even say they think it might be happening, but they aren’t sure that they are able to recognize it. They ask me to help them.
I tell people that it usually happens about 100 days into the meditation practice, but before it happens, they must master each step, each technique in turn. In other words, there are a certain number of dependencies. How can an individual expect to be able to detect the property of direction in the flow of air in the lower belly if he hasn’t slowed down his breath to the point of absolute stillness? If you do not hear your breath, you become that much more able to “feel” it, to become one with it. Once you become one with it, you can direct it.
Here is a variation proposed by reader, Rajiv Prajapati:
The meditation requires the practitioner to sit straight and "not move a muscle." The head should be facing straight forward, too. I remember ChosonNinja telling us to imagine the head being held by a thread to help in the positioning. After this, the practitioner does diaphragmatic breathing, imagining a fire in one's hara growing bigger and burning brighter with each inhalation. One should also breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
In my experience, if it went right, contrary to my visualization of a stationary ball of fire, I felt something moving round and round in my belly. I'd then let go of the fire visualization and simply imagine the area of sensation growing larger and denser with each inhalation.
Some might also experience the hair rising in certain parts of their body. These days I have strange experiences and my channels are extremely blocked by a very dense energy. I cannot even feel the energy flow through my entire body as I do a normal inhalation. This particular chi meditation is not so easy for me now as it was then, and I experience the hair-raising sensation in my abdomen a lot when I try it. I suppose that means the hair-raising sensation indicates an error, namely the energy not being gathered in the hare."
But you must master deep breathing completely to the point where inhalation and exhalation become totally still. How long will it take to master deep breathing to the point where you observe the aforementioned “property of movement”? Whether it takes 100 days or 365 days, if you want to succeed, you’ll have to continue until you can breathe without hearing your breath. Silent on inhalation; silent on exhalation.
As for me telling you if the activity has begun or telling you when it might begin, I can’t do that. It’s up to you to learn to communicate with your body. What I can say is that if you progress through the breathing exercises and learn to listen to your breathing cycle, you will eventually detect the property of movement, as if the air in your belly is moving. In fact, you will become aware of the slightest occurrences within your body.
Why is drawing the distilled seminal fluid (sexual energy) up the spinal column superior to thinking or visualizing, or forcing it up the spinal column? Those methods can cause the distilled seminal fluid to go up the wrong channel, a condition that may induce severe pain or cause other problems. In Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man, Gopi Krishna explores this issue in depth.
The backward-flowing method never lets this happen. Why? Because, once again, it’s like pump-priming. Changing the direction of the breath energy kicks off the sublimation process, opening the reservoir of seminal fluid and sending its distilled essence on its way up the proper channel. It’s a seamless, imperceptible, hand-shaking process — the breath slowly drawing the seminal fluid out of its reservoir, distilling it, and sending it up the spinal column.
The question most people ask after What is the backward-flowing method? is How does it work? The backward-flowing method is a process with a beginning, a middle, and an end. And like any process, it has to proceed step-by-step in proper order, like a scientific experiment. The first step is to reverse the breath. Reversing the breath triggers step two: drawing the distilled seminal fluid up the correct channel in the spine. It ensures that the process will unfold correctly, without harming or frightening the practitioner.
The whole process is a series of dependencies. Step one “allows” the next step to proceed without adversely affecting the process or the results, which are 1) Kundalini activation; and 2) Life Force arousal. However, one cannot reverse the breath energy without first detecting the property of movement in the flow of air in the lower belly (another dependency).
Step 5. In
a few days, you'll be on autopilot. That is, you won't be able to change the
direction of your breath back again. The Kundalini process will continue until the breath energy reaches the brain — the third eye, in fact. You will be able to observe this activity. This is the moment. You have entered the It does you! phase. The natural Life Force (the Primal Spirit) has reassumed control. I can’t tell you exactly what will happen; every case is different, but I can predict that you will begin to observe preliminary effects, such as the magic elixir, the healing breath, and involuntary movements. There are others. The Life Force will explore your body, seeking out areas that need attention. Your auto-diagnosis and self-healing has begun.
Remember to hold to a raw foods diet. This is the most frequent source of problems in this stage, so be sure to stay as raw as possible. If not completely raw, try to include a 75% alkaline diet of raw fruits and vegetables in your diet, for they produce the vital, easily digestible energy you need to fuel your activated Life Force. Even small amounts of alkaline raw fruits and vegetables provide a lot of energy, including hormones, oxygen, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Cooked food provides only the last two elements. Kundalini cannot flourish in a toxic host, so detoxify!
Step 6. Wait for further orders. The Life Force (Kundalini) has taken over. The conscious mind is no longer in charge. The Life Force created you; it won't let you get in trouble if you listen to it. Not that the Mind won't try to “seduce” you into doing things the “old, familiar way.” It will. Just remember who's in charge, sit back, and wait for further orders. They will come! Not out of “the burning bush,” but from your body. It's the body you should be listening to. Your consciousness will begin to expand. You will be able to overcome your addictions, and you will make better life decisions.
NEW! Read a report by a person who adapted and practiced GFM for 100 days. His report covers breathing techniques, posture, leg and back muscles, states of mind attained, equipment, avoiding distractions, place and time, and, lastly, dedication.
No journal of Kundalini~Life Force Science exists. It is the purpose of this site to act as a station for peer review. If anyone has an alternate explanation, description, or clearer way of expressing the ideas and topics presented on these pages (including the GFM method), it is hoped he/she will suggest it. The easiest way to do this is to consult The Golden Flower Forum, where individuals of various persuasions often ask questions and comment on the method and on their Kundalini and/or meditation experiences. Once you're on the Forum, you can start a thread or post a follow up comment.
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