Shaktipat initiation (S’micha m’shefa/Haniha), is the awakening of the Divine force that is resting in potential within us. This is known as the descent of Grace. It usually occurs through a living enlightened spiritual leader, but may occur spontaneously. Once the spiritual energy is activated, it begins to spontaneously move through our body, spiritualizing every cell, every aspect of the DNA, every chakra, every nadi (which are the channels of the subtle nervous system), every organ and every tissue, so that all consciousness becomes activated into the next evolutionary stage.
The safest and most consistent way that a kundalini awakening happens is through the tradition of Shaktipat Kundalini Initiation (S'micha m’shefa/Haniha). This occurs when an awakened spiritual teacher with a great amount of the spiritual kundalini flowing shares the Grace of this energy with the aspirant. When the combination of this energy with the kundalini energy of the aspirant is enough to reach the critical ignition point, the shakti kundalini awakens. The sharing of this spiritual kundalini energy through the spiritual teacher may be by look, mantra, thought, or direct touch. The awakening may often be a combination of all these ways of increasing the descending power of the spiritual kundalini: individual preparation and build-up of the aspirant's mundane and spiritual kundalini, group spiritual energy, and shaktipat.
Because shaktipat can happen through sight, kundalini awakening is possible through looking at the picture and video on this page.
The awakening may be the intense classical variety, or it may be moderate or mild. It occurs according to the kundalini energy build-up in each person and what their internal spiritual circuitry can handle. It is important to acknowledge the mild and moderate awakening, as well as the classically described awakening, as the criteria for an awakened kundalini.
For the vast majority of people, the awakening is very safe. In Gabriel’s experience at the Kundalini Crisis Clinic, with Swami Muktananda, through which tens of thousands of people were awakened, and with thousands of people over time in Gabriel’s meditation groups, workshops, and at the Tree of Life, it is rare for anyone to have serious trouble with the awakening of the kundalini. It helps to remember it is our own Divine energy that is awakened, not some foreign drug. It is of course comforting and helpful to have the awakening in the context of right fellowship with someone who is experienced with the workings of kundalini.
We can think about shaktipat as the divine strategy of Grace. This one’s experience in being a vehicle for shaktipat is that shaktipat initiation opens the individual to emptiness, which allows a quiet mind, silence, and peace. This state allows the person to go the Divine Presence as their original identity, as I AM THAT.
You can learn more about shaktipat and kundalini energy in Dr. Cousens' book Spiritual Nutrition.