Report: Diet Shakti

By Aidan Maloney

Anyone browsing at a bookshelf in the personal growth or new age section of a bookshop in the last dozen or more years will have noticed and more than 2 million people have bought Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain. Shakti – cosmic feminine energy, Gawain – knight in search of the Holy Grail, spoke to an audience of about two hundred in the Burke Hall in Trinity College on Thursday 11th May. Not having seen her in person I mis­took two other women who appeared from behind the curtain for Shakti before she made her entrance. She is much taller than I expected, conserva­tive in dress and appearance. She was introduced as if we should all be familiar with her work and probably most of the audience had read at least her first book.

Creative Visualisation is the process of using your imagination to pretend you already have what you want to achieve. It can be used for anything you want and it increases the probability of getting your objective. It is not limited to the visual because one can do the process using auditory and kinesthetic senses. Some would argue the more senses one uses the better. Creative Visualisation reminds us that we are in fact perpetually imagining what will happen but very often we use it in its negative form – we think of what we do not want to happen. If you believe that we tend to create the type of world we imagine then visualising what you don’t want is not useful.

Shakti was introduced to the process by her Mum who had attended a course on Creative Visualisation and recommended it to her. Shakti believed her Mum because she was a “very rational practical person” and that is where Shakti “inherited her own rational practical intelligence”.

“I’m delighted to be in Ireland. Ever since I saw Darby O’Gill and the Little People I have always wanted to visit here …” is not the best intro­duction to an Irish audience.

Anytime we come together with one or more people we intensify our process. This is probably why we have relationships because relationship always intensifies the energy or the process. When we come together on an evening like this even for a few hours we bring our energy with us and together we create a very powerful group. Each one of us is in the process of discovery or clearing out our own channel to bring through our creative energy, our own life force, and when we get together in a group like this we create what I call a group channel – an intensification of the power of that energy. By having a sincere intention to grow we bring forth a powerful energy field here. What’s really wonderful about this is each one of us can dip into the energy field and receive from it, whatever we most need, most want. It’s kinda like we can let that energy give us a boost on the next step of our own evolving journey.”

And all I have to do is go to the Burke Hall? Poolaphouca isn’t in it!

The tone follows a hypnotic lilting pattern restricted to a certain octave on the scale and delivered nasally. Just add some American and you have it. The words run together with no gaps between. Finally the fog of nominalisations become so dense that you surrender to the anesthetist.

“Spiritual oneness decided it wanted to experience manyness or twoness. It wanted to experience relationship. In one big oneness there is no relation­ship. And so the oneness on the different level of existence divided itself and became many souls. Each soul has its own identity. Each soul has its own journey. Each soul has many options and one option is the physical plane. So imagine two souls or two identities on the soul level having a conversation.”

Soul 1: “Soul you heard about the physical plane.”

Soul 2: “Yeah, I think I heard something about that. I hear it’s a really heavy trip.”

Soul 1: “I really feel up to a challenge. What do ya think? Wanna do earth?”

Soul 2: “Ah why not? I haven’t got anything better to do.

Soul 1: So maybe we will meet there. You know they have time down there. So maybe we will meet there in about thirty earth years.”

There is a naivety about Shakti’s presentation that reminds one of a mixture of Californian hippy and Walt Disney (sorry, Shakti, just had to get even about Darby O’Gill).

Listening to her asphyxiates the left brain. She rarely offers any support­ing facts, cases, examples, logical argument. She made no connections to any other philosophy, theory, perspective. Although one suspects that behind the simplistic there is a rich vein that is so watered down like an over-diluted concentrate, it becomes tasteless.

She has identified a stage beyond spiritual transcendence that no one has reached. All the gurus and spiritual leaders have been arrested at the level of transcendence a stage before the “path of transformation”. Any of the spiritual leaders she has been close to have been heavily into denial. What do you do about relationships – avoid them, what do you do about sex – don’t have any. This is Shakti at her most amusing but I wasn’t sure whether or not she meant to be funny.

If you can’t make the next workshop then you can catch her – she gave us a list of workshops. Perhaps you would like to visit her at one of her resid­ences, (not the one in California) the one in Hawaii on the most beautiful island, on the most beautiful part of the island – it offers bed and breakfast. If you haven’t got money to cover the cost of the workshop Shakti suggests that you can visualise getting it. That’s another cultural cowpat you just stepped into, mixing the soul message and the sales pitch.

Shakti is a very powerful name with a tradition going way back in Hindu spiritual history. Maybe it has been misappropriated and transformed into Madison Avenue. The years of touring have taken their toll. When you are up there on the rostrum looking at a sea of faces it’s hard to connect to the individual soul. The cosmic batteries are run down and need to return to the inside source. So close your eyes and go inside … and connect to the universal power … the cosmic generator … and let the original ideas return even if they are complex and difficult.

Aidan Maloney MA; Cert. NLP (Pract.), is a therapist working from the Centre for Creative Change (4538356/7) in Dublin. He has written many articles including Rome on the subject of NLP and training for “Inside Out”.