Stretching oneself from Center: Maha Shivaratri!

We’re in the midst of the highest holy day of the non-dual Śaiva/Śakta tradition, and I’m deep in the vibes of it, so I wanted to share.

Don’t get intimidated if you’ve never been exposed to this tradition. I know a lot of folks on my list have heard me share more commonly about the Buddhist traditions and practices. There is actually a ton of cross-pollination between the non-dual Śaiva tradition and non-dual Buddhist Tantra… More on that another day. But for today, let me just say that celebrating Śiva and the union with Śakti means different things to different people, and the rituals vary across regions, but the essence of the tradition is to recognize that everything is an arising of consciousness.

EVERYTHING.

The liberation of that realization is big!

In this tradition, conscious is satatoditam: constantly arising, constantly expanding infinitely, beyond even beyond-ness. This is called turyātīta, the highest state.

Consciousness births itself into the world, which is itself. Awareness, through her own free will, paints reality onto the canvas that is herself! Consciousness emanates reality from itself, and the world emerges — not outside of herself, but into its own center, where it continually emerges again in a fractal endlessness.

Thus, the arising of the world is not separate from the full divine consciousness from which it arises. And you are no different from that consciousness. Thus, the world you are seeing is not different from you. All that arises arises inside awareness.

Thus, the arising of the world is not separate from the full divine consciousness from which it arises. And you are no different from that consciousness. Thus, the world you are seeing is not different from you. All that arises arises inside awareness.

What does that mean, at the level of our day-to-day relationship with ourselves, with others, with the world?

Maybe it means we need to do nothing except to realize the fully sacred consciousness that we are… which we can do by simply resting attention at the still point between breaths. Drawing breath in, and pausing when full… Letting breath out, and pausing when empty… and simply resting in the spaces between. The spaces between breaths and the spaces between thoughts are considered sacred pilgrimage sites for the attentional field. In some scriptures, it’s said that we “meet the Goddess at dawn and dusk,” referring to the sacredness of those poles of the incoming and outgoing breath.

Maybe it means that we get to turn towards all that is hidden within and draw it forth; maybe that is the deepest celebration of this holy night of Śiva. Maybe it means we brush off those areas of ourselves that we relegated to exile status. Imagine that freedom, when all those hidden parts show up and get fully illuminated. This tradition certainly teaches that the light we are at our center is capable of illuminating all. So, if we take that to heart, we can expand our lives fully, from this illuminated center.

You could also settle into some ritual time if that appeals. Śaivites worldwide light candles, chant mantras, and engage in deep meditation. All this is in remembrance of the essence of consciousness: Svātantrya, infinite creative freedom.

This creative freedom is our truest nature. In this spirit of freedom, it is taught, consciousness dances into form and out again, so that it may perceive itself. Shiva in the form of the Nataraj, pictured at center, below, is the ultimate symbol of this dance.

UPCOMING EVENTS


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