Om Namah Shivaya
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Coming Home to Pure Love through Consciousness
I'll never forget the first time I encountered Shiva. A new student in Yoga Teacher Training, recovering from serious trauma and in a deep time of healing; my teacher, introduced us to the more well known of the Hindu Pantheon. She'd casually mentioned that it was common for one of them to captivate our curiosity, or "call" to us more than the others.
Silently praying for a Goddess to come to me, I glanced through the photos of the smiling Deities, blue and golden hued. Benevolent of face, strong in power. And then, as though meeting eyes much more real than of ink on paper, I couldn't turn my gaze from Shiva.
Indeed, I was captivated.
Now, being a feminist who also just so happens to be a lesbian, you can possibly imagine my dismay when I learned that Shiva is the Masculine in masculinity. His symbol is the ever phallic Lingam, and, though His face is femininely beautiful, His body is muscular and warrior-esque. But... hadn't I specifically requested a goddess? What about Kali? Or Durga? Lakshmi seems rather lovely... oh! I know! As an artist, I MUST be drawn to Saraswati...
Yes, I was drawn to all of them... but only captivated, at that point, by one:
Later, it was the grace of Shiva that lead me to rest in the arms of the Goddess... but that's another entry. In honor of Shivratri, today's focus is on MahaDev.
There are so many wonderful stories and tidbits of knowledge to be shared of Shiva, (one of my favorites being that He once turned Himself into a crying baby to get the attention of Kali Ma. Another time, His wife, Parvati, prepared a cannabis cocktail for Him that was so strong it left Him unable to walk; thus solving Her issue of having to track Him down all the time!) and I certainly encourage you to explore them (one great resource is: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu/2014/07/shiva-everything-you-need-to-know-2/)
Here, however, I'd like to share with you my personal journey with Shiva, or Baba ("Papa") as I affectionately refer to Him.
As mentioned, I was in a dark place when I began Teacher Training. Fear lurked around every corner, and I really couldn't stand myself. I felt immobized, weak... helpless. Feeling so connected to Shiva, His mantra became my breath. "Om Namah Shivaya": I bow to Lord Shiva... I surrender to my Truest Self, and whatever it takes to live my transformation... my Truth.
Over the next year, there was a great remodeling of my life that began. I mean, full on "tear the old house down and start over" sort of situation. The thoughts and ideas I had about myself and life began to come out of the dark closets and into the light of Loving Awareness. This new space allowed me to consider a new possiblity: Maybe I am lovable... perhaps I could do something with my life that would make a difference... what if I can heal beyond the trauma that's held me captive for so long...? And so forth.
Once I began to glimpse this idea of worthiness, the walls that I'd so carefully constructed around my heart began to come down. Suddenly, the heart that had felt so disconnected felt vibrantly alive... audaciously so at times! There was a sense of oneness between others and myself. Peeks into eternity, beyond illusion.
Om Namah Shivaya.
If we were tearing down an old house, this is where the foundations would come up. At this point, I was ushered into the arms of Kali Ma... and the story of that happening is for another time. Suffice it to say that I went from the arms of Shiva into the arms of Ma in a dance that has never stopped. Ever. Here, with the loving guidance of my Divine Parents, I saw that I'd based my entire life on childhood trauma. My foundation was a crumbling, cracking, uneven ledge of fear. Not everyday, anxiety fear. Deep, dark terror... "I cannot breathe" sort of fear. The catastrophic, compounded, "complex trauma" that I'd endured began at the age of 2. The foundation that my life was build upon was one where nothing and no one was safe... and there was no escape from utter terror. The cement that painfully kept it in place were my feelings of unworthiness.
Om Namah Shivaya.
Piece by piece, Baba and Ma chipped away at the foundation, holding me so safely as They did. Bit by bit, those old lies were replaced with Truth... establishing a firm, solid foundation of purest gold. Truth being that I am Love (and so are you!). We are worthy because our nature is Love. We are Divine. We are pure, unlimited Possibility.
With this foundation, the home to my Being is wide open, spacious... sunlight pours in and breathes the warmth of Divine Love. The process is ever unfolding... and that's the beauty of life. When this one ends, we go into the arms of the Great Destroyer, Shiva, and into the cosmic womb of the Divine Mother until we're ready to be birthed again.
Shiva gave me access to mySelf, because He is the Self. He is the energy of pure Consciousness. Ready to remodel? He's got you... held safely in the dance of Transformation. Om Namah Shivaya.
“Every repetition of one of these names (mantra) is like a seed. The seeds are caught by the wind and dropped on an old house. Over time those roof tiles break up and when they get soft the seed starts to take root and they grow. All the seeds start to grow and they destroy the house like seeds will do. Rama Krishna says this house is who we THINK we are.” Krishna Das