Spiritual Emergence leading to Crisis: Shakti Pad
Shakti Pad: The stage of the Practitioner
Along the path of wisdom, of spiritual development, we meet at Shakti Pad. This is the stage of the practitioner and is “the most crucial, transitional, and challenging of all the stages.” This stage determines whether we progress toward mastery. In my textbook “The Aquarian Teacher” Level 1 manual, what is required at this stage is the “ability to choose a goal, fix on a motivation, and consciously commit to a set of values.”
This stage of spiritual development is also “the test of power.” Where decisions are done out of habit or unconscious patterning, doubt prevails, commitment is lost. The practitioner does not excel past this stage until he gives up what he thinks he knows is best, the desirable, and begins to embrace trusting what he doesn’t know. This is why Yogi Bhajan describes this stage to the next as determined by a leap of faith rather than a rope which connects the practitioner directly to the master.
“The experience of this type of decision-making is often unpleasant and frightful. It is beset with uncertainty and often fills the practitioner with doubt. It is a perilous and existential moment. It is an agonizing decision- a question of identity and commitment. The decision is made through deliberate effort to reach the correct perspective of the whole, and to discern the true significance of the decision.”
If the practitioner looks at the whole situation and consciously acts from the whole or part of the whole, this period in training will be won with trust, healing, and a greater connection to God or ONE Self. Thus, it is at this period where the test of one’s belief in God is most challenged. It may be a dark period and for some cultures or religions, this stage of spiritual development is where we go through the “mystic death,” the death of the “false” self or the ego. At this stage, the practitioner struggles with his belief in God and higher intelligence. He may resort to blaming God or other people for his problem and fall back on old ways of doing and being that do not serve him or his higher Self. Maybe he forgets what it is he truly wants and because he is fraught with so many difficulties within himself, he becomes depressed. The practitioner in crisis who finds himself aware of the alternate reality struggles with this reality because he is still afraid and his trust has not yet outgrown his fears. Thus, he clings to what he knows as much as he can. Possibly, the practitioner feels that he is losing his mind and indeed he may. However, the possibility of “no” mind could be a gift, as the practitioner becomes more aware of himself, he finds himself less reactionary and more in trust of the “unknown.” His glass is empty and because of this, he can be a great teacher, guide, and lover to all. If he falls predator and prey to fear, however, he could suffer a great deal; his heart will not be interwoven with his decisions. If this is the case, he must always return to balance through actions having to do with heart, that is through self-love and service to others.
At this stage of development, we find that the ego wants to hang on while the ONE self desires to let go. This is perhaps what OSHO describes as schizophrenia. This stage in spiritual development is beset with uncertainty and perhaps can be described by some as “the dark night of the soul.”
Some practitioners at this stage do not experience ego-death and may wonder why they should have to. Their ego gets stronger and they become more imbedded in the web of illusion, also known as maya, which is beset with karmic influences and universal laws. The practitioner may blame God or other people because his ego believes they are more deserving and they resent having to have to go through anything at all. They retreat back to old ways of being without seeing the hint of what there is to learn or heal from. The ego does not want to see oneness; however the practitioner in spiritual crisis is being jolted to practice what he himself resists and yet must see. The ego strives for control, certainty and specialness and becomes ignorant, depressed, isolated, and/or split thus leading to even more dissociative thoughts that make him seem crazy to “others,” who are also unaware of the spiritual nature of the “problem.” The practitioner succumbs to fear and and can not see light; however the light is always there.
I share this information because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of talk of “Shakti Pad,” or spiritual emergencies. I feel called to share this information, because I know that for some, a spiritual emergency can happen on a unconscious level, meaning without intent of a spiritual emergence or awakening. For those who are on a spiritual quest, perhaps this writing will be a sign to stay on track or an offering of some kind. It is my understanding that some spiritual emergencies are actually “kundalini awakenings” that can lead to greater connection to oneself and God. However, without the awareness or preparation, this experience can lead to crisis. This is why the path of healing is so important and especially at this time. If we aren’t on a path of healing from the ego-ic mind, the separated self, we can be unaware of the true nature of dis-ease and dissociative disorders which lead to fatigue and more depression. We must all be on a path of healing to prepare ourselves for the spiritual emergence that is occurring at this time.
I gather this information partly from books as well as from intuition, personal experience and observation.