Max Freedom Long recounts his early and somewhat clumsy attempts at the practice of celibacy and kundalini at age 25. The wild symptoms he reports can serve as a caution: the energy released by the practice found expression in his imagination and dreams, even producing visions of other-dimensional beings. One has to keep in mind that he may not be telling the full story, minimizing certain negative experiences and risks. The science of celibacy undertaken for spiritual development is best practiced within traditional guidelines as detailed on this site in Sivananda's Practice of Brahmacharya and with the personal guidance of an experienced teacher.
Since the advent of the Flying Roll, I have held my breath hoping that it could and would actually turn out to be a vehicle in which advanced and accredited students of the Psycho-Religious field might dare to discuss problems taboo for painfully many years. My hope seems on the way to being realized. If we can share such knowledge and experiences and speculations as are ours, we may make some valuable discoveries - or, at worst, clear up some festering misconceptions in various dark corners of the field.
I need not remind you that in Theosophy there has been propounded a slightly doctored version of the Hindu beliefs concerning the "serpent fire." Slightly similar beliefs may be found stemming from other sources. We greatly need to know whether there is some basic truth hidden under the accumulated religious dogmas overlaying the "kundalini."
Without further discussion, let me lay before you my own experience in trying to get to the bottom of the subject. This will start the ball rolling and be the bait to bring up pearls of great price from the secret annals of other investigators.
In 1915, as a man of 25, and single, I joined the T.S. and applied to Mr A.P. Warrington for guidance in putting to the test the several claims of Theosophy. I offered to "live the life" to the letter, if he would plot it for me and run a check on the results. With some reluctance he agreed.
The program advocated for me included daily meditation and concentration, based on the Gita and similar books, vegetarianism, utterly moral living and thinking, and complete sexual abstinence. The last included a complete retention of the semina.
Circumspectly, I consulted a physician and asked if such a program met with his approval. He approved all, but said he had not yet met a man who had maintained such retention over long periods, and that he would like to check on me for effects, if any were observed which seemed unusual.
After an emissio nocturna eighteen days from the start, I built a small electric contact ring to wear at night. In the event of an ulepe (ulepe erectio) it caused a small buzzer to awaken me.
Thanks to the instrument, my experiments went forward with entire success for a period of nearly four months. The results were quickly evident. Sex soon took on a "Springtime" glow. The girl students with whom I associated daily, became laughably glamorous. I noted with chuckles how they ascended their thrones and became white, mysterious and almost holy before my sex-stimulated senses.
In my meditations I found that when I succeeded in clearing my mind completely of extraneous thoughts, it simply remained empty and I tended to fall asleep. I took to meditating on a "seed" text or thought. Little came of that, or of efforts to concentrate on similar "seeds." The vegetarian and scanted diet was satisfactory, as was careful daily exercise, and hard study periods.
Having been warned not to do so, I made no effort to try to raise the serpent fires of the kundalini. But I watched and waited hopefully, half expecting to experience a sudden fiery uprush along my spine and a gush of open consciousness leading slightly toward "masterhood" whatever that might be.
Apart from Theosophy, I had been reading Hiram Butler's famous book on sex, Practical Methods to Insure Success.* He advocated complete continence, promising men that they would re-absorb seminal fluids after they had turned to clear globular structures in the prostate gland. Such absorption was to give marvelous psychic development and nearly magical worldly success. For the women he promised an eventual end to menstrual flows, and the same results in psychic and worldly advancement. So, I expected results, of some sort or other.
* Erroneously stated in the original as Practical Ways to Attain Success
For a month and a half nothing much happened. The doctor checked me as "still all right." Mr Warrington urged patience and predicted good results to come. (He told me that he lived the life successfully months on end.)
Then came a period of stress in which, beginning shortly after midnight, my buzzer would sound off and awaken me. When I got back to sleep it would awaken me again. This became continuous. I met the difficulty by going to bed at six each evening, sleeping as long as the buzzer would allow, then rising and doing my studying. Toward dawn I usually managed another hour or sleep. My dreams became filled with such seductive women that I hardly dared sleep lest I forgot in my dreams my experimental purposes. The struggle became gradually intense. Then came an important development. I began to carry my waking consciousness of my experimental purposes and waking conditions with my into the dream consciousness.
Soon I could fall asleep and still know that my dreams were only dreams. And, because I had to reject sex-temptation dreams, I learned to use my will to control the nature of my dreams. I would will one dream to go, and make a mental picture of a scene, stage play or whatever I desired. Once the mental picture was made, the sleeping consciousness would take it and carry on. A stage play would go from scene to scene. I got fine music. I enjoyed high and brilliant entertainment. True, the sleep consciousness was illogical, and had to be controlled lest it wander off on some tangent idea and jumble the show. It had a delightful way of packing hours of show into minutes of actual time, so that I could dream a day of events in a few minutes of sleep.
I tried to imagine Theosophical masters, so that I could talk to them and try to learn things. I imagined them and placed them correctly in my dreams, but they turned out to be as illogical as my dream consciousness. They could tell me nothing new or helpful, and, if allowed to do as they pleased, they changed and illogically became ordinary characters in the drama of the moment.
While this was going on, a peculiar sort of physical results developed. Hiram Butler was found to be right about the globules to be found in the prostate. Care had to be exerted lest they be passed if straining at a stool. I exerted all possible care.
Another result was observed in a strange thing, that would happen to me if I chanced to stand face to face with a woman at close range, say three foot. There would seem to be a sudden electrical discharge which shocked me in the solar plexus region and was as painful as if I had been shot there with an air rifle pullet. I would wince violently, and had to invent excuses for doing so. I found, by carrying on painfully, that not all women caused me to get such a reaction when near them, but about one in seven to ten did. The women seemed to feel nothing.
Then there was a gradually developing something that the women students did not seem to feel. I was working my way through school and attended a lunch and refreshment stand for an hour each noon period. Girls began coming to buy food and then hanging around silently as if attracted by some mysterious something. They came daily, and their number gradually grew to over a dozen. They sat around on the brick arcade seats, or stood around, seldom noticing each other, but often glancing absently or wonderingly in my direction. I judged that some inner sense told the feminine in them that here was a male before whom they should present themselves. Naturally, I did not allow myself any reaction. The group changed its membership for the most part, only about four girls coming regularly, and never did the group exceed twenty in number. At that, the crowded space on the arcade prevented most from coming nearer me than ten foot, except when buying food, at which time I took care to keep well clear and not chance being "shot in the stomach by the electrical effect." (Nothing more ever came of this angle).
I had expected my mental powers to increase and my studies to become easier. After a first seeming improvement, nothing definite was noted. Nor did any worldly success present itself. I continued to count my pennies most carefully.
The anticipated awakening of the serpent fires also failed me. I endeavored to learn from my Theosophical friends more details of the serpent lore, and found that none of them seemed to know definitely what might be expected. All warned me not to try to arouse kundalini lest I perish as a result. I did try, however, in such ways as I could invent, by meditation and concentration on the various spinal centers. There were never any specific results which I could lay to my efforts.
As weeks passed, my psychic adventures with dreams and the dream world continued. I practiced walking through the walls of my dream houses, finding it difficult at first and simple when I got the hang of it. Always and always I retained the waking and the dream consciousness. I rested fairly well in that condition, but needed more time in bed.
Eventually I discovered that people in my dreams were not always a part or it, but were evidently individuals with wills of their own.
They looked like dream people, but could be told from them because I could will the former to act as I desired, but not the latter. Sometimes these intruders into my self-dictated dreams elected to take parts very nicely in the dramas I started and sat back to watch proceed. At other times they tried to run away with my show. Sometimes they appeared dangerously antagonistic, even frighteningly devilish and prone to attack me - at which times I neatly escaped them by rousing to full consciousness and, I suppose broke off the dream which made them able to appear.
As a side-product of my nightly experiments, I learned to carry the same dual consciousness for short periods while awake. At such times I could see dreams which my dream self seemed always to be inventing behind the scenes. These dreams were just like the night dreams, except that I seldom tried to dictate their content. They had the same illogical turns and twists, and expanded or contracted the time element unpredictably. I decided that I dreamed constantly, day and night, but that only when asleep at night could I normally see the dreams.
One day I had rather a startling experience. I was seated alone in the school library turret room, when I took to catching a dream as it unwound. It was a dream of school life with little or nothing to brand it as a dream. Suddenly I seemed to be caught in the dream and my sense of direction, so to speak, was lost. I was unable for the life of me to determine whether the dream was my real condition or not. I studied both dream and the sense of being seated alone in a book-room. In my anxiety I took fright, and with a great effort of will, managed to order my impressions and draw out of the grasp of the too-real dream. There and then I decided that a very simple stop into insanity would be to get caught thus in the dream world and to remain unaware of the real surroundings.
In such insanity there would be a lack of obsessional entities, a lack of physical causes for insanity, and a very definite breaking down of the faculty of memory. I still wonder how many there are in our asylums who have slipped into the dream world by some accident, and have boon unable to return - have lost all memory of the real world surrounding them. I also wonder if there is not some way to reach them in their dream world and bringthem safely back. How can we awaken them, with an awakening similar to that experienced each morning by most of us?
From there on, I was more cautious in handling my dreams by day, but felt few misgivings concerning them at night. Gradually my dreams became the playgrounds of more and more of the strange and willful intruders. Most of them seemed to be unaware of my presence as boss of the dream unless I tried to will them out of it, in which case they sometimes won't and sometimes turned up their noses at me and stayed. Now and then a devil type appeared and went for me if willed away. I never elected to lock horns with one, not being at all sure that I would not get the worst of the encounter. It was easier, simpler and safer to rise to the waking consciousness level completely. It is of interest to recall that never once did one of the grotesque devil-like things seem to hurt the other intruders. The devils were simply avoided, and that seemed to do the trick. I evaded and avoided them, in my own way, also.
Toward the and of the school year, and after new developments had about ceased to come, I began to weary of the experiment. More and more I indulged in snatches of sleep not supervised by dual consciousness. At such times I depended upon my buzzer, and all seemed well enough.
Mr. Warrington could offer me no fresh guidance. He decided that I must have been insufficiently spiritual in my approach, and that I had, therefore, been caught in what he termed "the tinseled world of sense." He was not very explicit about this world or about the spiritual values which were lacking. In fact, he seemed hardly at all acquainted with the ground I had been covering cautiously and incautiously.
My doctor found me physically in the pink, but worried about my night adventures, and fretted because I had gone into matters quite foreign to his experience. He could only beg me to be very careful lest I "slip a cog."
One night I fell asleep without carrying over the waking consciousness. In my dream I encountered one of the intruders - a most heavenly wench indeed. And she came directly to me in a most friendly way. Forgetting all thought of danger - in fact never recalling the fact that I was experimenting - I took her hands, or perhaps I was about to embrace her, I shall never know, for I was suddenly and desperately awake. My buzzer had failed me because of an emissio sine ulepe. I was much upset by this mischance.
And that is my report, including all important points. Where do we go from there? Who will add their findings, experiences and speculations to the common pool of information upon which we can begin to build? If you cannot speak openly, write to me. I will act as a collection center for data, handle it with the greatest care, even act as father confessor; and try in due time to present impersonally the combined findings in equally impersonal form. Doctors can do this, why not explorers of psychic realms? This knowledge is so greatly important, if we can only win through to it! Of this I am convinced. No greater mystery than that of the sexes confronts us. At present we know so painfully little about what concerns us so deeply.