By Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain
In her February Teachings: Slow or Fast, Hard or Easy, Gurudevi Nirmalananda asks, “Since life is going to change you anyway (over the course of time), which path do you want to take?” I wouldn’t have been drawn to a teacher like Gurudevi were I not a little inclined to go “pedal to the medal.” Yet I know how to apply the brakes as well.
I am also learning to ease into an inner support that is vast and deep. I feel more anchored in the midst of life. Guru’s Grace bestows this gift. The truth is, I was never satisfied to simply let life wear me down, repeating the same mistakes endlessly. I guess that is what makes me a spiritual seeker. I’ve never truly been satisfied with the “slow track.” Gurudevi helps me see why:
The good news is that there’s a fast track. Instead of the gradual wearing away of the rock-like density blocking access to your inner light, you can opt for the cosmic breakthrough of Shaktipat.
From my first class, I knew that Gurudevi’s teaching is profoundly different. I was ready for a “cosmic breakthrough.” Nothing I’d tried gave me lasting relief from my tight spine and crazy mind. I knew how to keep doing and doing, but I wasn’t comfortable with being. No one had ever directed me inside, to my own spine, and deeper — to my own Divine Essence. Yet, hidden within the recesses of my heart, I knew I wanted more. When I met Gurudevi, that was it. I wanted to know what she knew, experience what she was experiencing, and bring my authenticity into the world. Though hadn’t found the words yet, I wanted to live in the Self. And like so many Svaroopa® yogis, I’ve never looked back. As a way for us to identify our own progress, Gurudevi shares her own cosmic breakthrough:
Muktananda’s gift of Shaktipat changed everything for me. When Kundalini climbed my spine the first time, I had a powerful sense that this was what I had been looking for, even over lifetimes.
My own first kundalini experience happened while resting my legs up the wall in Viparita Karani. Slowly a snake-like movement began to spontaneously undulate through my spine. As I surrendered into Her flow, lifetimes of tension and fear melted away. Tears of joy and relief filled my eyes. Instead of drips of water slowly wearing away my rock-like density, I was in the middle of a cascading waterfall! I wanted to shout from the rooftops, free at last! It wasn’t long before I realized this release was just the tip of the iceberg.
My life’s improvements, of years ago, however blissful, weren’t enough. This realization was a natural outgrowth of my continuing relationship with a Great Being. The Guru specializes in pointing out our blind spots. Then she helps us get past them. So as soon as Gurudevi was appointed a Shaktipat Guru, I chose an even faster track. It was inevitable. Maha Shaktipat Diksha is the initiation that awakens your Kundalini for the highest purpose of human life: the knowing of your own Self. What used to be mundane “ah ha” moments are now infused with deeper, more profound perceptions. Gurudevi calls this understanding “The mystical revelation of your inherent Divinity.” Everything becomes an opportunity to move you toward enlightenment. Slow or fast, hard or easy? It is a personal choice as to how fast or slow one wants to track spiritual progress. We each have free will. Maybe you’re ready to dive in, or need to sit back and rest a while on the riverbank of Grace. It’s all good, because Grace never stops flowing. Where is there to go that the Self is not? Yet I know I must put forth effort. So I continue the practices that attune me to Consciousness. Meditation and mantra work with my mind. Asana sustains my body, and seva opens my heart. Always, Guru’s Grace lights the way. It all begins with Shaktipat, and never, ever ends.