Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambho…heh, it’s a nice mantra, sounds good. Check out the version by Namaste on Spotify. I’m not really into mythology but sometimes it’s interesting to look at it. The ancients were trying to understand life and find a way out of everydayness and created this guy Shiva. He was powerful, untouchable in the sense that you couldn’t make him look bad (pure for the strictly literal of you out there), and a champion. His trident defeated all negative energy, and he represented what yoga was all about – leaving the past behind. He looked like the original hippie, and most of us came from those beginnings when we found our way to yoga. So it was a natural fit – he was for us! All of this inner work is about letting go and giving yourself an opportunity to grow in awareness. Meditation is about evaluating the old and seeing the new, and Shiva is right there with you looking over your shoulder and pointing the way forward.
Shiva the God – part of a family inextricably linked to Brahma, the Creator, and Vishnu, the Sustainer. Are they just part of the same story? Shiva, the Destroyer of “Old Ways,” only exists when there is something else to create, something else to sustain. People will tell you that Shiva is Yoga, so Yoga must be the force that destroys and is, at the same time, the force that transforms. Yoga only makes sense in that larger scope of things when it takes you to that new place to visit – change!
I was remembering a very important moment in my life when I sort of decided that I didn’t want to teach what others were saying but rather more of what I was feeling or looking for inside of me. I say “sort of” because I’m not sure I had finished my thought on the subject; that is, I knew that I didn’t want to continue just repeating something I was having trouble believing in, but did I know that I wanted to share what was deep inside of me? I would guess that I hadn’t fully developed my own ideas about what I was feeling. But isn’t that the process of jumping into the void and following your heart? We never have all of the pieces put together in the beginning, especially at the beginning of a major change in your life. Gradually, all the pieces of what it all means start falling in place and making sense.
Human development happens on many levels, we become who we were meant to be, and this adds to our sense of well-being. We become a thinking individual capable of deciding for ourselves and more committed than ever. In that process, change is looked at whether I am adding something new to my life or subtracting something I have decided is alien to me now. Then Shiva, who is the masculine paradigm of the universe, and represents strength of conviction and strength of action; teaches us to become that revolutionary being that actually creates change in the society and makes the world a better place to live in.
Shakti is the feminine principle in yoga, the representation of energy in its purest form. Energy that creates, energy that moves through blockages and destroys them, and energy that creates new feelings. It is life giving life. It is woman but isn’t at the same time, man?
In the woman; it is nurturing, the giver of life just as a mother gives birth to a child. In the man; it is conquering, the power to overcome obstacles just as Hanuman in Hindu mythology is the monkey God who finds a way through all obstacles. Hanuman and Shiva are the same thing, part of the same incarnation.
Shakti and Shiva are wedded together, they decided to live together. Shiva complements Shakti and Shakti complements Shiva. Just like a real couple, they show us what you and I can be. Shakti will open your heart with her love and belief in the virtue of all things. Shiva is the vision that sees the need for change in you. He doesn’t wait for you to decide but rather throws things at you, at those unbelievable and inconceivable situations in which you find yourself. Now you have to find a way out of them. The thing is that he probably wouldn’t have to do it if you had taken a more proactive stance in looking at your life. It is well known that you will learn from a teacher or you will definitely learn from “father time.” Maybe that is the teacher inside of you, but it is about learning the lessons of your life consciously and with the desire to do just that.
One of the things we all have to work on is to go beyond this idea that we have learned it all. It is what Erich Fromm talks about when he says that the end result of all your investigation into the personality, which is the same as saying the practice of meditation, is to free yourself from greed (corruption) and self-deception. It is the self-deception aspect that is really problematic. If my ego, my idea of myself, is too full of itself, how will I be able to take in something new – like a new idea of who I am? The old axiom is true: if you want to receive something new you have to give something in return. Shiva asks you to give your ego in return for what he wants to give you.
Shiva asks you to go beyond Maya and see the subtlety of life. It is always about deeper meanings that lie at the beginning of creation. For example, why should we take care of one another? Can’t you see how your actions are affecting someone else? What about working together instead of at cross purposes? When you think about it; the thoughts we have, the words we choose to say what we mean, and the effort behind our everyday actions; define us and create our reality. That is fine as long as you are happy with the result. Shiva only comes into play when you decide that maybe things could be better.
So you find yourself going to a yoga class and then Shiva starts turning your life upside down. You might look at all the things you’ll start to see about yourself immediately or sometime after beginning your practice. The truth is, though, they aren’t terrible revelations but just the opposite. There is something about feeling yourself growing in consciousness and being able to look differently at life. These changes are positive and you’ll undoubtedly feel better about yourself. So, if Shiva is the destroyer, then welcome him into your life for he is only the bearer of good news.
You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that God’s creative principle works in you.
Yoga is creativity. If you want to find the unlimited source of your creativity – practice yoga. Let Brahma, Vishnu and especially Shiva come into your life. They already form part of you and are just waiting for you to acknowledge what they have to offer. Your new perspective on life will allow you to go way beyond your fears and worries, you will think differently and everything in your life will change. Change will be what happens when you immerse yourself in this vast pool of creative energy. All of the cells in your body will vibrate at a higher frequency, the music that comes out will surprise you. Life begins to attract to itself situations that are much more in harmony with your idea of how the world can be. Shiva is just the force, the “pièce de résistance” perhaps, but the most important force in your growth as a human being.