Shiva and Shakti – The Divine Cosmic Dance
As spiritual seekers, we often hear the phrase ‘as above, so below’ but what can this mystical equation do for us?
Tantra teaches such phenomenon is the key to harmonious interpersonal relationships. This provides purpose to our existence.
It is by no coincidence that we mention ‘mother earth’ when it comes to environmental awareness, or that we describe ‘the spirit of man’ when delving beyond the human mind. The Tantric tradition suggests such gender roles represent the polarities of the universe and everything in it. The masculine represents Shiva, the essence of transformation, from which everything is born. His feminine counterpart, Shakti represents substance. When the two unite, the spark of life is ignited. This delicate balance of positive and negative polarities is like a dance occurring in everything we witness. The Chinese call such phenomena yin and yang and, if you need hard evidence, scientists labelled them Protons and Electrons.
The Cellular Dance of Polarities
The nucleus of every living cell in your body is bound with a positive charge surrounded by negative counterparts. The nucleus remains centred whilst the parts revolve around it – much like the interaction between the Sun and Moon. When polarities are harmonised there is a symbiotic flow, but when the formula is broken balance gets disturbed. This can be best observed when attempting to join the positive ends of two magnets, here an energetic resistance can be felt which cannot be avoided. As humans we carry similar polarities in the cells of our bodies and, much like the magnetic field described, they too can meet resistance. Cellular resistance comes from disharmony of the elements which make up the form of our bodies. On an emotional level, a lack of accepting our thoughts and actions or those of another is often the cause of such disharmony.
Societies Demand for Equality
Seeking continual harmony becomes what is known in yoga terms as ‘the game of life’ to which we piece together the physical (Maya) and consciousness (Leela) counterparts of our self in relation to others. Such a game is very rewarding for those that dare to play it, but it comes not without challenge.
Because of the so called progressive shift in modern relationships, particularly men have become disorientated by societies demand for equality. The Buddha’s spoke of the ‘The Four Immeasurable Qualities’ (loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity) but in today’s society equanimity is often misunderstood. Equanimity is not a subject of gender but a mental approach towards others. The gender polarity of masculine and feminine will always remain, but seeing ourselves as equal, outside of our social and cultural conditioning is often not the case.
However, without natural equanimity thoughts of insecurity often occur. Thoughts of being not ‘good enough’ or worse still ‘better than’ is the travesty of modern life. Underneath the mask of romantic pretence there is confusion brewing. More than ever men are taking feminine roles, in on order harmonise their relationships and yet as a result women are becoming increasingly frustrated by men ‘not being man enough’. What to do?
By harmonising the positive and negative aspects of the chakras (article coming soon) students of yoga learn how to develop more harmony within their individual being (Jivatman). This in turn brings a greater connection with others and on a universal level, with the source of all creation (Brahma Atman).
On a practical day to day level, the male role, Shiva must take the reins and ride into the winds of change, because matter (Shakti) cannot be reformed without essence (Shiva). Such a hero is known as Vira, a spiritual warrior, one who is more than merely animal (Apashu), moving towards becoming a realised one (Divia).
Vira Yields All
The Vira’s role is to remain steadfast and gallant as he yields the challenges thrown his way. He must become strong like a rock, yet remain supple like water in the way he deals with others. Here, his counterpart Shakti will feel both protected and nourished by his efforts; yet feel she need neither control nor sway his path. In return, with great integrity, the Vira will honour her in both love making and in life. As the two harmonise, the seat of the heart chakra (Anahata) opens and the divine qualities, Purusha and Prakriti unite. It is here Tantric yoga spontaneously arises.
Time For Change
Esoteric texts suggest that we are in the age of kali Yuga. This age predicts men will seek quantity and not equality. It is an age where wisdom is seen as madness and is superseded by the attainment of material wealth. ‘During this time men will eat the food of the Shudras (lower casts) and sickness will be the result of this’. It is also said; he will be at odds with his neighbours and struggle to find harmony with loved ones. Perhaps today’s medical and marriage statistics bring evidence to what is often regarded as such mystical hearsay.
So, the Tantric yogi’s task is to manoeuvre through modern times with both feet connected to the earth (Shakti) and yet remain ever optimistic that Prakasha (the un-manifested light of Shiva) will bring solace to such efforts. The masculine must remain ever present, cultivating strength and agility, whilst allowing the divine feminine the freedom to manifest her desires. Such ideas may be frowned upon as new aged nonsense, but our inner strength must outweigh all outside distractions, if we are to find eternal peace.
What is clear is the more advanced society gets, the less connected to our environment and those within it we become. As a result, man’s greatest challenge is to sustain the role of playful awareness – Neti neti (not this and not that), to remain in the void of momentary connectedness.
Bruce Lee put it like this:
‘The void is that which stands in the middle of this and that. There is nothing which excludes or opposes it. It is a living void because all forms come out of it. Whoever realises this is filled with life, power and the love of all things.’
This is the Tao (way) of Jeet Kun Do.