An Angel On One Shoulder and
A Devil On The Other
Offered by Jamie Walker
I have taken several intensives in which Sadguru Kedarji has given the full Shakti Awakening known as Shaktipat. I have also attended two week-long retreats led by Guruji, and will be attending my third week-long retreat this August. So, I have received a great deal of Grace from Kedarji and our lineage.
The first time I read the articles that were emailed about The Secrets of Kriya Revealed and the reality of performing the inner work, I thought, “I really don’t have Kriyas. I wonder if/when they will start.”
The second time I read the articles (about a week ago, after Kedarji’s instruction to do so), I thought, “OK, I have had a few Kriyas here and there….pretty minor stuff.”
Then, I had a Skype session with Kedarji, where I came to a better understanding of Kriyas that I have directly observed in others, but had not recognized them as Kriyas at the time; as well as some techniques to better understand how to help recognize Kriyas and assist others as they are experiencing them.
I contemplated this discussion almost continuously for the next 2 days, then sporadically for several days after that. Then I thought, “Wow. I have had a LOT of Kriyas. A lot. Some pretty intense ones, too.”
Today, before writing this, I re-read both articles, after days of contemplating them. While reading, I laughed at some parts, came close to crying at others, and felt a physical rush of energy and a high at reading other parts of the articles – quite a range!
For purposes of remaining concise, I will discuss two Kriya experiences, and add quotes from the articles that particularly struck me today, in direct connection to my experience of Kriyas. The quotes from Sadguru Kedarji’s articles, directly related to my Kriyas, appear in bold.
Example 1: The Intense Kriya
Several months ago, I was camping with a particular individual (Ben) and my son. To describe Ben, he has been the biggest local supporter of my Sadhana, and has helped for over 2 years to keep me on-track as much as possible. He has chanted and meditated with me, attended Satsang and performed Seva and the Guru Gita at the local meditation center with me on repeated occasions.
He has also performed these activities in my absence and discussed the benefits of doing so, listened to Kedarji’s talks online or during my transcription Seva and discussed them with me, asked questions about The Art of Inner Transformation and meditation, and expressed a desire to learn more.
And he also tends to be on the receiving end when I experience Kriyas.
“Either you insist that the limiting, binding tendencies are not there, or you superimpose the fault of the experience of the tendency on to something or someone outside yourself. In other words, you make it about someone else.”
The evening when we were camping, he brought up a conversation between him and a friend of his where his friend spoke of me in a negative way. All of a sudden, I felt my blood start to boil with anger. My reaction made no logical sense, and I realized I was overreacting, although I had an extremely hard time controlling this reaction.
I made attempts to recall Kedarji’s teachings, to the point where I was arguing with Ben, and interspersed the arguments with, “This is my ego talking. I know it’s my ego. I need to step away and not speak from ego,” and other similar statements out loud.
“At times, the degree of intensity of the energy of reaction appears to outweigh the situation and circumstances in the moment. “
This experience was like having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, both telling me to respond in vastly different manners. Eventually, even as I was repeating statements pertaining to my practice out loud, it became more and more difficult to hold a higher understanding, and I felt myself slipping further and further, until I finally shouted out, “F*ck this holier-than-thou bullshit! I am MAD!” after which point, I discarded everything I had learned from my Sadhana and flew into a RAGE.
Yelling, screaming, swearing, blaming Ben, blaming his friend, making rudely snide comments, disregarding the fact that my child was present and could hear all this, HOPING it would be a release, but realizing I was doing nothing more than continuously fanning the flames of an useless inferno.
For. Two. Days.
“…you will have a meltdown caused by your own resistance to letting go.”
I almost threw Ben out of my life altogether, after blaming all sorts of illogical things on him. When it was over, I ended up breaking down and crying. Showing some vulnerability seemed to be the only way to make this experience stop.
I then recalled my Kedarji into my mind, and imagined Him standing there, witnessing all this. I told Ben I had no idea where that reaction had come from, that I loved him, I did not want to throw him out of my life, and did not know why I just spent 2 days acting this way toward something so unimportant.
“In the early stages of spiritual growth you can’t see these (the tendencies and leanings that are the obstacles to your experiencing the Self). You are not aware of them. You need a good Preceptor to help you root these out.”
My first response after this Kriya had subsided was, “I need to start meditating again.” Even though I had not recognized this as a Kriya at the time, I was completely aware that SOMETHING had occurred as a result of my practice slipping.
I had not meditated for months. Due to the shifting needs of my Guru at the time, there had been a pause in my Seva. The local meditation center had been closed for close to a year, and I had not engaged in any regular practices with the local community as a result.
The emails and messages I had received from The Bhakta School and The Art of Inner Transformation, I was merely skimming through. When I did start meditating again during the camping trip, until about a week or two ago, it was more to cope with tough situations than as a regular practice.
Meanwhile, I was filling my time with completely useless activities, some of which had only drawn me further away from my practice.
I had been “skimming through” my entire Sadhana for MONTHS, hoping it would go unnoticed by Kedarji, while simultaneously knowing this and beating myself up, because I knew that making Sadhana a priority was exactly what I have needed all this time.
“Embarrassment at what one finds in the mirror, along with self-loathing (it’s subtle but it’s there), adds to this isolation that lends itself to wanting to save face. In this moment you should do the exact opposite. Insist on talking to your Teacher or other adepts in your spiritual community about what you are going through.”
The next time I had an opportunity to speak with Guruji, I asked for additional Seva, without telling him why. I held the highest amount of gratitude when he offered me more, and it reawakened my practice over the last few weeks. (The benefits I obtain from Seva, and my contemplations of how valuable Seva is as a part of my practice is another topic entirely that I could speak volumes about.)
At one point about a week ago, I did not follow my Guru’s instruction precisely, and I got “yelled at” via email. For about a second, I was offended, and immediately I internally repeated what Guruji had previously shared from his own Sadhana. “Praise and blame, praise and blame. You need to rise above praise and blame.”
In a different form, this was the same test that I faced when I felt that Ben’s friend had betrayed my trust in speaking of me in a ‘negative’ way.
So, when repeated “Praise and blame, praise and blame. You need to rise above praise and blame,” I started laughing about the email in which I perceived Kedarji “yelling” at me.
I now understood this as my Guru’s Grace, was immensely thankful, and also understood that, somehow or another, He had been able to see that this level of firmness was exactly what I needed….and He was right!
I jumped immediately back into my practice, spending hours over the next few days reading past emails, playing keyboard and chanting until I either lost my voice or my fingers hurt, slipping into deep meditations, and realizing how easily meditation “welcomed me back,” regardless of how I had been ignoring the need — and I stress NEED — for it.
“And when this happens, you will also understand the Master’s role in using tough Love, enthusiasm and intense encouragement, at times, to guide people out of their Maya, their illusion — and you’ll embrace the Grace in that, rather than sabotaging it.”
Even after only a couple days of getting back on-track, Guruji asked during a Skype session how my Sadhana was going, and being full of bliss at the time, I responded it was going well. Really, it was not, until I realized I had to write this experience share, that then I would actually be admitting the truth to be completely honest with Him.
“To a certain degree, you already know that this is entirely possible (that you can engage the varying expressions contained in Humanity without ever losing our experience of the Witness) because, at times, you engage in saving face, telling people certain things in order to manipulate their perception of you, so that you can appear a certain way to one person or group, and a different way to another.”
Experience 2: Last Night
Over the last couple of weeks, I have picked up my practice again, started talking about my practice to others, and even just found out that a relative of mine, years ago, had chosen a being in our lineage, Gurumayi as her Guru and practiced the instruction she received for quite some time. We both enjoyed the fact that we would have each other for support, especially since others in the family did not understand these paths we were on.
Last night, I saw Ben again, and told him that, after contemplating, I recognized the camping experience as a Kriya, and we had a conversation about Kriyas. We chanted, meditated, and listened to two video blogs (on Kriyas, no less) from the nityanandashaktipatyoga.org website.
He understood that I needed today to write this journal entry and to spend the day focusing on Seva, and would not be able to spend time today with him. I was immersed in peace and bliss, and he encouraged me to refocus on my Sadhana.
And then, within hours of all these wonderful Sadhana experiences, there was another portion of our conversation where I started blaming Ben for something inane and could not let go of it. Again, angel on one shoulder, devil on the other. Frankly, it was over something stupid that’s not even worth articulating right now, but my sole intent in that moment was to find things to blame on Ben in order to prove I was right.
I have heard Kedarji say, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be Blessed, because you can’t be both,” referring to the immediate Grace that is experienced in Humility.
This time I recognized the angel/devil pull and irrational thinking patterns I was experiencing, and was able to step back to realize the lack of truth in what I was saying. As a result, I was able to let it go.
This morning, I recognized last night’s experience as another Kriya, and talked to Ben about it. Turns out, I have likely had uncountable Kriyas over the last 4-5 years, and merely not recognized them as such. My not recognizing them as Kriyas to observe the lesson inherent in witnessing them passively has contributed to the times I slipped from my Sadhana.
In this conversation, we came up with a “Kriya plan,” where we agreed that, during future times when I started reacting in these manners, he would not engage in the arguments, and would instead play a CD with a talk by Kedarji-ANY CD — and allow me that time to figure out if it was something I wanted to continue discussing, figure out if it was another Kriya, or put the conversation on-hold until I could contact Kedarji directly.
In other words, I was asking him to help bring me back to my Guru for guidance during Kriyas — something I had not been doing myself. When I experienced Kriyas, I had been hesitating to contact Guruji because I had this image that he would yell at me, chastise me, be angry, make me feel inferior, or say he had no time for me.
And making my hesitation about Kedarji, rather than facing my fear by discarding it as a useless ego expression, I am beginning to realize this as my resistance blocking me, especially since at NO point have I EVER seen Guruji respond so negatively to ANYONE. Every experience I have both had and observed with Kedarji has been the exact opposite. It was all in my head — it was simply what my ego was telling me would happen.
After writing all this, I realize that “concise” had already taken up over 3 pages, so I’ll use this as an opportunity to stop, bow to Kedarji and the lineage, and continue to be filled with gratitude that no matter how I have slipped through my Sadhana, Kedarji and my Sadhana have always — without condition -“welcomed me back.”
Even within the last week, I have developed a much deeper understanding –thanks to following the instruction of my Guru in this contemplation of words I have heard Kedarji utter time and time again:
“It’s like standing before a mirror where your tendencies and leanings are exposed, the worst of which you are shown first.”
With Love and Humility,
Update!! – I have just emailed this article for inclusion in our email blasts. I just re-read my share a few times, and became absolutely HIGH….in a beautiful way! I have been sitting here, laughing, for about the last hour. And then I would read the share again, and laugh and get high again. This has been going on this entire time since I hit “Send.”
I need to go grocery shopping and was making a list, then realized it took me 20 minutes to remember to write down “milk,” and then started laughing again. I am sitting here in my house, feeling like I’m floating on air, and laughing repeatedly. I believe Kedarji called this reaction a “laughing Kriya” at last year’s retreat, but all I know is that I became consumed with Shakti, and it will not go away!!!! LOL!!! (To the point where I’m having trouble even typing right now!)
And I still need to go grocery shopping!
Okay. Now it’s nearly 5 hours later, and I’m just starting to come down from everything today. About a minute after I said I would just pick up a few things from the grocery store, my feet and ankles went numb and I started walking into walls. Then a minute after I decided I would stay at home, I could feel my feet again – the Shakti keeping me home to remain in my experience. And what a profound Kriya!
I went from hot-to-cold, and eventually was freezing cold. It is about 100 degrees in TX today, and my home’s interior was about 80 degrees during this whole experience. There is no logical reason I am currently shivering with goose bumps.
There were times when I could feel a physical separation between my body, my ego, and the Self. I was slumped and curled up on the floor in front of my puja, wrapped in blankets and shawls with my head propped against the wall, and one inner voice said, “Did all this really happen?” And then the another inner voice, from a different form (?) laughed with boundless joy, and then my body would smile like I was drunk, and lightly laugh.
This type of thing happened multiple times while I was sitting there. Even right now, I cannot remember them all. Sometimes, my body was talking out loud and responding, like I was talking to myself, but a different form of myself.
Time stopped several times. I thought I was chanting for 5 minutes, and it had been over 30. The same thing happened when I was slumped in front of the puja switching my gaze between images of Kedar, Bhagawan Nityananda, and Shiva.
“Om Bhagawan Sharanam” was what I played tonight for the first time. I only recall actually chanting it once in the past. When I immersed myself in the chant, it felt almost instantly like I had been playing it for years, and once I started playing it, the intensity of the Kriyas I was experiencing reduced dramatically.
Had I not been Fully Aware and Conscious this entire time, I would have come out of this thinking I had a seizure. But I didn’t. This was a genuine experience of Grace.
This was the single most intense, and immense experience I have had since being introduced to the practice in 2010 in an intensive Kedarji offered. The Shakti was a physical presence in my home, and I was breathing it in the whole time.
Recognition of this Grace at work through the Kriyas, and holding on to this Grace rather than sabotaging – this is everything!