Carl Jung’s Exploration of Chakras and Kundalini

It perhaps comes as little surprise that psychologist Carl Jung – the forefather of analytical psychology and creator of Jungian psychotherapy – was the first westerner to explore Kundalini, a part of yogic philosophy which denotes a form of “corporeal energy”.
In 1932, Jung presented a series of lectures on Kundalini to the Psychological Club in Zurich. These lectures would go on to form the basis for Jung’s book, “The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga”, in which he combined the concepts of Kundalini with his own ideas (Jungian psychology).

Jung viewed his scientific role as being that of a “phenomenologist”, an individual who remains at all times open to the ambivalent and the multifaceted, ambiguous intrusions of the unconscious mind into the conscious ego. Jung saw this ego as being attached, like the tip of the proverbial iceberg, to the vast impersonal realm of the Self—a realm which Jung would later come to see as being the only objective and fundamental reality human beings can connect with. Jung therefore believed that the Western fixation on mastering externals has produced a sort of widespread psychic dysfunction, as the values of internal reality have been neglected.

Jung listened to Indian thinkers and noted that they spoke not of Personal/Impersonal, Subjective/Objective, but instead focused on the ideas of personal consciousness and Kundalini, neither of which were deified. Jung ascribed to their belief that it was necessary to live through, and establish, a presence of stable consciousness within the world before one could develop the detachment needed to permit the other objective reality to meet in true connection with one’s conscious mind.

Jung’s various journeys to Africa and India aided him in developing and validating his own experiences of the unconscious. This is evident in his description of how, in the myths of the Pueblo, the conscious first emerges from a dark and obscure beginning, then moves through a series of caves, ascending from one to the next, until reaching a state of full awakening on the surface of the earth, enlightened by the light of the sun and moon. The system of chakras described in Kundalini Yoga mirrors this same process in basic essence during the development of the impersonal life.

Continue reading