Shakti Gawain (1948– 2018) was an American spiritualist, author, public speaker, and media personality who lived in California. Her books have sold over 10 million copies,¹ the most popular being Creative Visualization and Living in the Light, although she has authored many others such as The Path of Transformation, and The Four Levels of Healing.²
Gawain writes about how she spent time working as a cleaning lady before becoming a popular spiritual teacher. She believes that a positive attitude and expectation create a positive reality. She also advocates an eclectic approach to living in relation to the Divine, an approach that includes prayer, chant, meditation, and the “creative visualization” of desired outcomes.
Just how effective creative visualization really is remains a matter of debate. From my experience, many visualizers’ visualizations seem to fall flat—that is, they just don’t happen. Some common explanations for failed visualizations are “the time wasn’t right” or “I didn’t focus well enough” and so on.³ But for Gawain, it seems her visualizations for prosperity and meaning did come about.
Sympathetic to Carl Jung’s idea of synchronicity, Gawain rejects the Eastern belief in reincarnation on the grounds that it’s a limiting human theory, a point I happen to agree with. Like the channeler Jane Roberts, Gawain stresses the importance of living in the present while recognizing past influences. To me, this guards against using reincarnation theory to try to rationalize current injustices, as some believers do.
The last version of this entry was written in 2012, six years prior to Gawain’s passing in 2018. At that time, her website emphasized the importance of balancing work and play, along with responsibilities to self and others.
I am finding a balance in my life of work and play, of my responsibilities to others and to myself.4
So it seems that Gawain’s beliefs worked for her. Myself, I tend to focus on trying to do God’s will instead of trying to get what I (selfish me) want. If we believe God knows us better than we know ourselves this approach should make us happier than mere self-seeking. In the long run, anyhow.
However, I’ll admit that I first encountered and got something out of Gawain’s books while a young, impressionable neophyte to the spiritual world. I was trying to get published at places like “New Age Journal” which as a Canadian would be no small feat. I soon came to believe that the New Age scene is largely about making money and being in the loop with a select few New Age celebrities. So luckily I moved on. But I still respect Gawain. To me, she seems like one of the more sincere seekers to emerge from a sometimes not-so-groovy crowd situated at the most basic levels of spiritual understanding.
I mean, who knows. Maybe some actual cleaning ladies and low-paid workers shamefully exploited in the labor force are way more developed than some high-roller New Age gurus. I wouldn’t be surprised!
Related » Active Imagination, Channeling, Shakti
² See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakti_Gawain
³ Another explanation is that a personal desire was not in line with God’s will. But we don’t hear that too much from some creative visualizers who dogmatically claim that we create our own reality.
4 http://www.shaktigawain.com (2012 version)