Classically sushumna nadi is considered to be the empty channel at the center of the subtle nervous system through which kundalini flows heralding the dawn of self-realization. Kundalini rising is largely recognized to happen in a state of deep meditation where one is in a complete state of transcendence and loses all awareness of the physical plane. It is hinted at, but not emphasized, what ones experience might be to live in a state where sushumna is flowing freely and supporting our everyday life and perceptions.
When sushumna has opened it is the beginning of our ability to perceive how the radiance of consciousness is penetrating all layers of life. This gives a fully embodied texture to what we can experience when sushumna nadi has opened. Its radiance is felt not only in the spine itself, but also through the structural core from the perineal body to the mid brain and the crown. This is what we have referred to in Embodyoga® as the embodiment of sushumna. It correlates with the experience of the notochord. The notochord is not sushumna itself, but is one of its first tangible expressions into form. It is a sensory experience. It is not an experience of the same qualities of senses that we direct outward into the world to bring information back into us. It is an inner direction of subtle senses; subtle senses that are more refined and delicate. They are drawn inward by Awareness rather than drawn outward by objects. They feel, taste, touch, hear, and smell the beauty of life manifesting into form. This is a sensual and sensory witnessing of the nature of reality manifesting that is not reserved for deep meditation, but is available at the grocery store too.
One could argue that any embodied sensation, however subtle, cannot be sushumna because sushumna has no physical structure whatsoever. Purists may say that the radiance of awareness that emanates from sushumna cannot be experienced as a sensory event of any kind. I understand that argument. But it doesn’t correlate with my own experience.
It is well known that the sensation of kundalini shakti rising through sushumna can be felt. Why not then, when the channel is open, would we not continue to feel an evolution – or a growth – of that experience/awareness that penetrates through everything?
This way of perceiving the channel of sushumna includes two different layers of experiencing. We perceive the radiance of sushumna in our spine and in our central body core. It is not the channel so much as it is what the channel holds – Radiant Awareness – that we are actually describing.
I think it is important as embodied beings that we inquire into the possibility of feeling the radiance of Awareness in our lives, and not simply in a rare state of transcendence.
I find that relating this subtle experience of Unity in action to sushumna is useful for living. There is core radiance through our center that is related to the remnant of the notochord and contains more awareness than it does form. If we perceive sushumna as a channel that is non-perceptible it will definitely remain that way. By exploring the idea that the radiance of pure awareness is genuinely present and available to experience we open to a deeper level of reality. We stop limiting our perceptions. The notochord radiance is there and it feels like light and awareness. Let’s call it sushumna… or not. It doesn’t really matter what it is called. The trick is to notice it.
This is a very direct method for feeling the radiance of awareness as support – not just for mind – but also for body as an ongoing and direct experience. This is support for life and living. It is support for effective action and establishing ones personal dharma. It feels like a necessary process for living life in fullness. Again these are not techniques for being happy, but for being content in the knowledge that your life is what it should be. This is an important doorway for achieving satisfaction in life, in an embodied existence, in a relational world where each of us is only a small part, no more or less important than any other, and subject to the joys and sorrows of our fellow beings. This is not a path toward becoming special or great. This is a path toward contented and useful ordinariness.