By Judy (Jagruti) Goodkin
Interviewed by Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain, Yogaratna
Hearing Gurudevi Nirmalananda’s teachings on Swami Sundays is like getting a booster shot of the Self. Recently, Gurudevi said she’d received Shaktipat from her Baba over 200 times. And if he were still in his body, she’d still be getting Shaktipat from him. Hearing this filled me with an ongoing inspiration. If Gurudevi would still get Shaktipat, why wouldn’t I?
It had been a year since my last Shaktipat Retreat in 2021. My sadhana (personal practice) was neither moving forward nor moving me deeper within. Yet I knew Shaktipat could get me through whatever was keeping me blocked. Also, I felt a strong need to be in Gurudevi’s presence. So I signed up right away for the On-Site program last May.
Being surrounded by many deep yogis and swamis was so supportive. After I received Shaktipat, the swamis’ talks helped me understand the experiences I was having. For instance, in meditation, my thoughts can feel heavy. They are just words. But when I attach a story to them, they get me in the mud! But they are just words.
I also have a new appreciation for how Kundalini (meditative energy) works on my emotions. While in meditation, if an emotion comes up, I can sit with it and feel it. It has a purpose: Kundalini is burning through it. Since Shaktipat, I don’t have to pursue my emotions or thoughts in meditation. They no longer draw me out. Now experiencing them can draw me in deeper.
Receiving Shaktipat has had a profound effect on my everyday life. I used to think enlightenment happened with a “boom” all at once! Now I see it is a process. I’m becoming more aware of a gradually deepening inner knowing. Gurudevi explains:
After Shaktipat, even when your mind returns to its familiar pattern, the deeper knowing is awakened and is always there.
Recently, I attended a street fair with my family. For some reason, I was getting more and more frustrated, annoyed and judgmental. I sat down on the curb and acknowledged my feelings. I began repeating mantra to myself. I could see what was happening as separate from my usual kneejerk reactions. I was able to stop my small-s self emotions. They couldn’t pull me where I didn’t want to go. Mantra shifted my state immediately. When I’m in capital-S Self, I can soften. I notice my relationships softening as well.
At the end of my Shaktipat Retreat, our assignment was to increase our meditation time. This felt challenging, as asana is always easier for me. Yet I am gradually working up to an hour. Now I really like meditation. I look forward to it every day. But it is my journaling that has changed the most. After meditation, Gurudevi always says, “Now is a good time to journal.” I used to stare at the blank page not knowing what to say after meditations. Now, the words just flow out of me! As Gurudevi promises, and through her Grace, I am still experiencing profound changes. They are ongoing, getting deeper and deeper, and better and better!