Shaktipat! Or “Espresso”

When encouraging Kundalini to rise through the body, the sages often recommend that we discourage the downward movement of Apana, one of the five vital airs cajoled through the process known as pranayama. This is mentioned in the context of applying pressure to muladhara.

However, Apana has the function of encouraging the body’s excretions. Too much prevention of this downward flow can result in imbalances like constipation, or worse. Particular asanas will apply pressure to the root. Be careful not to overdo it, keeping in mind the energetic implications of the physical exercises.

We don’t want to over-stimulate apana when calling on Kundalini to rise. Activities like reducing food and water intake will naturally reduce excretions. Herein lies the primary motivating principle behind brahmachari, or celibacy, too. Sex demands a strong downward pull of Apana.

The lineage of the Gyani is pretty serious stuff. We lust for the attainment of cosmic consciousness the same way most people lust for sex. Where most people are driven mad with desire and can’t wait to take off the coverings of their partner, the yogin are mad for the experience of God-consciousness and can’t wait to take off the coverings of their own body. In our tradition, we will stop taking food and water to the point where we forget about our bodies completely.

Food and water is big stuff. They are the carriers of life force, feeding the annamaya kosha – the outermost sheath of our being. Through these carriers our body receives nutrients and lubrication. Food and water carry energy. My wife likes to whisper her good intentions into her cooking before serving meals to the family. How lucky we are to receive this daily shaktipat diksha from her. Because that is precisely what shaktipat is – energized intention.

In India, when you take darshan (audience) with the Guru, you will usually receive a handful of puffed rice or other simple sweet. This is imbibed with the Guru’s energy, his/her blessing. His Shakti, or energized intention. Sometimes you may receive a thimbleful of water. It’s the same in church, isn’t it? A bit of water on your forehead. Food and water are magnificent conduits of magical intention.

Shaktipat is the magical intention of the master; but there are masters and then there are masters. Actually anybody can deliver shaktipat – but the efficacy and effect will differ depending on the deliverer, similar to the effect of introducing substances into the body. Shaktipat is not a cure-all! It is not a magical means to enlightenment. It’s almost like a handshake. And its effects are about as lasting as a strong cup of coffee. One may feel a temporary jolt, but it will pass as you go about your day and your life. A good thing to consider is who you really want to shake hands with, or hug or more. Shaking Jesus’s hand must’ve been a real thrill! But even He did not enlighten everyone He came into contact with, right?

Energy transference. Energy artistry! Energy mastery. Awareness of your own magical vision and the skill to apply your own magical intention to conscious purpose in the creation of your path and your life. Real Yoga.