In 1932, Carl Jung delivered a series of lectures that has since been published as, ‘Kundalini: The Psychology of Yoga’ by Princeton Press. Those who wonder how Jung developed the collective unconsciousness model, a brilliant exposition of how we all are a part of a whole, can now understand that it was from Jung’s in depth understanding of the Hindu concept of collective consciousness, which is reflected within us as our inner potential energy. To Jung, the unconscious did not have the same negative connotations as it did to his mentor Freud. Jung looked at the unconscious as the all knowing, which could give us the best options to work on. Later day practices such as Gestalt and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) built on this premise.
The Hindu concept of collective consciousness, called Brahman, and its equivalent individual consciousness, called Atman, is over 5,000 years old. Buddha explained this in a slightly different manner 2,500 years ago. The theme is common. Each individual human being is a holographic part of the cosmos. Each of us is an inherent part of the cosmic energy. Cosmic energy resides in each of us, dormant. We have the potential to release it and liberate ourselves from the mind body bondage into the energy space. This is the ultimate goal of all Eastern spiritual practice.
As Jung explains the Hindu concept so well, this macrocosmic energy of collective consciousness or unconsciousness resides in each of us at the bottom of our spine as the root energy centre. There is a virtual energy pathway in the human mind body spreading through 72,000 pathways, of which 3 are central. There are 108 energy centers, of which 7 are major. Each of these three energy pathways and 7 energy centers are intimately linked to the breath, which is the carrier of energy within us. Interestingly, a similar concept of energy, meridians and energy points exists in traditional Chinese medicine.
These 7 energy centers control emotions and our physiology through hormonal gland linkage. The first 3 centers are internally focused and the last 4 externally focused. The energies move from gross to subtle, bottom up, subtle being more powerful.
The root centre at the bottom of the spine controls the basic emotion of desire. The second, at lower abdomen, governs fear. The third at the navel governs anxiety and stress, fourth at the heart love and need for attention, fifth at the throat communication and comparison, sixth between the eyes ego, and finally the seventh on the crown of the head gratitude that dissolves discontent. In the journey of the internal cosmic energy, kundalini, from the bottom of the spine to the top of the head through the central virtual energy pathway within the spinal nerve, we move from fear, greed and stress through subtler emotions of love, envy and ego finally to gratitude, considered the noblest of emotions, equivalent to surrender.
Many complex meditation techniques lead to the release of kundalini energy, often at great risk. I have personal experience of some. A saner and more practical approach is to use this energy and emotion hierarchy to create self-awareness ultimately leading to mindlessness, through safe meditation techniques. Mindlessness, or more correctly ‘mind-body-lessness’, is the pure energy space, where we disengage from ego, memory, sensory perceptions, and intellect. What remains is pure consciousness. This is an experiential state, not explainable rationally, but achievable in real time and space. I teach this process.
Applying this concept to leadership is limiting, unless one looks at it as Daniel Goleman does in terms of Self Mastery. The Mindless Coach, a concept I practice and teach, focuses on self-awareness and disengagement from mind body. What results is freedom from emotional bondages and ability to act in a non-judgmental objective energy space. This is the way nature operates, and intends us to operate.