Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Shakti Shimmy

"Hey, girl! Wanna a burger with that shake?"
Tink and I have been talking about 'kriyas' lately. This is a very bizarre part of a spiritual path, so indulge me a little.
Kriyas (cree-ya) are involuntary movements caused by spiritual energy moving through the body. This website describes them pretty well. The first time you experience a kriya you think you are going out of your mind. It is even hard to tell where the movement is generated. The best way for me to describe how they feel is to say it is similar to when you are just falling asleep and your body jerks. Although those jerky movements are more electrical currents from the brain and kriyas are not.

Kriyas don't scare me. In fact, I enjoy them because when I am having increased kriyas I know that I am near Truth. I have seen amazing displays of kriyas whenever I have been in the physical presence of my Guru, Shri Anandi Ma. The most vigorous, almost violent display was from a woman sitting near me when I was a new disciple. It was so uncontrolled that I thought she had tic douloureux. I have seen a woman uncontrollably writhing with delight at Ma's feet during meditation. Dileepji, Anandi Ma's husband, often will just tell people to control their kriyas when Ma is instructing. It is hard to receive when all of this energy wants to escape the physical body. When he gives this command, the kriyas will just stop. Just like that.

My beloved Shri Anandi Ma

This leads to an interesting quandary.... If kriyas start on their own and are caused by energy, how come you can stop them with your mind? The answer, as I have understood it, is simple: Ask and you shall receive. That's why. As disciples of an enlightened being, we are instructed to pray to Anandi Ma for help to stop these. This works.

Kriyas can be disturbing though. When your body is flinching, shaking, or trembling we automatically think of the central nervous system. This is correct even when analyzing this completely weird part of spirituality because the sushumna lies near the spinal column and the ida and pingala wrap around the sushumna. The Kundalini's shakti winds it's way up towards the crown and sometimes Her shakti is so powerful that is is released through other parts of the body. This is nothing to be scared of or disturbed by.

(I bet if you are not a yogi, you are surprised to recognize this symbol! Yes, this is the sushumna, ida and pingala. Amazing, huh?)

One case of kriyas that I always think of is Swami Kripalu. His sadhana (personal, spiritual practice) created so much prana that it was violent at times. He practiced behind locked doors, only allowing a select few to bear witness. He often came out battered and bruised. This neither scared nor phased him. It only brought him closer to enlightenment. Also consider American religions; Shakers and Quakers. Kriyas are how they got their names. The often shook during prayer.


So you may someday find yourself quaking during class, meditation or prayer. Have no fear. Feel free to shake what the good Lord gave ya'!

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