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Heat Management and Spiritual Realization

by Chris Tong, Ph.D.

Adapted from:

Secrets of Human Transformation
Dr. Chris Tong

In fact, there are (and have been throughout history), very few highly spiritual people who practice the habits we will enumerate in Habits of Highly Spiritual People. In this section and the next, we’ll begin to see why.

At the crux of the issue is the matter of heat. When we make a change in ourselves, even one that is rightly aligned to the Greater Reality, in the manner described in the last section, there is a friction between the old tendencies and the new habit. This friction is experienced subjectively as heat. And it is anything but comfortable. It literally is the energy that was about to reach the surface of the body-mind as the expression of a psychic impulse (a desire, an emotion, etc.), but which is consciously frustrated before it reaches the point of expression. The now freed-up energy registers as heat in the body. The more impulses that are frustrated, the greater the heat in the body. So if you are making an entirely new character out of the being, there’s gonna be a whole lotta heat!

The basic fact is, if you can’t stand the heat, you will get out of the kitchen. So effective schools of transformation have to explicitly address this matter of heat. It can’t just be ignored; any school of change that is founded merely on good intentions, positive thinking, or talking alone, will drop the ball of change the instant things start to heat up.

Setting Right Expectations: The Ordeal of Transformation

So the first principle for heat management and endurance in any school of transformation is to set expectations right. It is going to be an ordeal, just like any creative activity (and attaining absolute freedom and happiness is the greatest of all creative activities). No pain, no gain. But it is worth the heat.

Part and parcel of this process of adjusting expectations is restoring the requirements of adulthood. Only in recent years has “adulthood” or “maturity” been a matter of simply living past a certain age (e.g., 18). Traditionally, age was only one factor. Demonstration of maturity was far more significant. Applicants for adulthood would have to endure a “rite of passage”, whether it took the form of “running the gamut”, “hunting the tiger”, a "vision quest", or whatever. We need to be re-educated out of consumer society values, and enlightenment weekends; come to fully appreciate what the ordeal of growth is going to involve; and make a commitment that will last through and beyond whatever arises during the rite of passage. That is what it means to be humanly mature.

Al Lowen
Alexander Lowen

I recall a personal experience that impressed me with this point about taking up the ordeal in a manly fashion. In 1987, I was engaged in bioenergetic therapy with Leslie Lowen, wife of Alexander Lowen, the founder of bioenergetics, at their home in Connecticut. In their living room, they have a “bioenergetic stool”, which is a cushioned rack over which one stretches one’s back, thus countering the forward hunch that otherwise tends to take over the bodily posture with time and age, ultimately leading to death and rigor mortis. The bioenergetic view treats the physical body and the psyche as functionally equivalent; one’s character is reflected by one’s musculature. Chronically suppressed emotions are reflected (and implemented) by chronically tensed muscles which disallow the energy flow that would otherwise result in the expression of those emotions.

Hence, arching one's back over the stool is a means for helping to break the rigidity of the body’s musculature, and allowing energy (and emotion) to flow again. I was doing just this when Al Lowen walked in the room, looked over at me, and, with a big smile, exclaimed “Best thing for you!” and walked on.

The reason this little exchange had an impact on me was because there I was, in almost unbearable pain (trying to relax into the pain) as my spine was forced to unwind, and here was this fellow saying “Best thing for you!” At that moment, I happened to glance at a quote he had posted right next to the stool, which seemed to underscore his comment:


Three kinds of souls, three prayers:

I am a bow in your hands, Lord. Draw me lest I rot.

Do not overdraw me, Lord, I shall break.

Overdraw me, Lord, and who cares if I break.

Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

Obviously, Lowen admired that last disposition the most! Indeed, the breaking of the "bow" that is the identification with the false, limited, egoic self so as to reveal and restore identification with the True Self, the Divine Being, is the very point of Spiritual Realization.

The Revelation That Allows the Commitment

The basis for such a commitment or vow is necessarily a revelation of some kind about the greater alternative to which one is committing. Especially for the ordeal of the spiritual process, one couldn’t possibly endure the heat of the passage without Divine Revelation (received not just once, but even regularly). When it comes to heat, this Revelation even takes a particular form:

Somehow in the midst of this round of existence you realize that you can feel a lot better than you now feel, that you can feel absolutely blissful, that you can love absolutely, that you can be absolutely free. But feeling blissful stands in contrast to your common state. You are addicted to reactive emotion, low levels of energy, gross fixations of attention, psycho-physical obstruction. You are addicted to countless programs that are less than love. In every moment your attention is moving to one or another object, and your feeling in every moment is an expression of the program of mind into which you are locked in that moment.

Now, what have you learned your whole life? Have you learned to feel perfectly? To feel absolutely? Did you ever go through a period of study in which you learned to feel to Infinity, to feel Absolute Divinity? No, you learned all the reactive patterns of life, all the desires for ordinary things. . . . You cannot feel any better than you can feel, and you are addicted to feeling less than love, to being less than ecstasy.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Fire Must Have Its Way

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Avatar Adi Da Samraj

In contrast with the “low levels of energy” that we are adapted to, what must happen instead is that we melt in an Ocean of Spiritual Energy and Light — something only a true Spiritual Transmission Master can provide on a steady basis:

Melt down
In My Deep Light,
Tasting Delicious Quiet
That Oozes down the Spire
of you-Centered-In-Me,
With every thing
and part
and place
and Become
an Alchemical Fuse,
Transmutating into Love-Bliss
as you

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Hridaya Rosary

The recurring experience of melting in Love-Bliss, in an infinite Sea of Energy
— Gracefully granted by the devotional relationship with the Spiritual Transmission Master — helps re-orient the being to what lies beyond the ordeal (and is the point of the ordeal). It is only because we are adapted to profoundly low energy states that we make such a fuss about the heat, and distinguishing between slightly more pleasurable and slightly more painful experiences. But these are “slight” differences of state on the Scale of Infinity. And these slight differences are completely melted by Energy, completely outshined by Light, when the body re-adapts to conducting the Force of God, instead of remaining in its pattern of low energy states.

And so Grace-given Revelations of being melted in the Divine and All-Pervading Sea of Energy are profoundly inspirational. We become aware that the very same thing we are suffering as heat — namely, free energy — when it encompasses the entire body is not different from the Sea of Energy.


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