The Spark Of Life
Shiva & Shakti; The Union Of Opposites
“The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is one of the early teachings on yoga meditation. The name, loosely translated, means “The terror and joy of realising oneness with the soul””*
It is written as a love dialogue between Shakti and Shiva who represent the creative power of the universe, and the permeating consciousness that imbibes it. The earth and the sky. The moon and the sun. Each verse is a manual that teaches us the “ways of attending to the rhythms, pulsations, and sensuousness of the divine energy that flows through us.” Uniting outer and inner worlds. extending the senses, and awakening our fullest sense of ‘aliveness’. Rooted completely in human experience and in many cases the breath and bodily sensations.
The Creation Story
Shakti through Shristi Karma descends from the crown chakra sequentially to the root where she sustains life as she inhabits the Muladhara chakra, waiting for the time she rises up through the chakras to rejoin in blissful union with Shiva at his abode in Sahasrara. However, as Shakti sinks deeper into the lower experience of humanity, she also looses her own subtlety and power. When her energy remains in the root she feeds Maya (illusion) and ensnarement in the material. When kundalini Shakti begins to journey upwards she begins to shed the “veils of Maya. Mental limitations are gradually removed so consciousness can shine in its pristine glory. Mental fluctuations settle down and the mind becomes serene. Awareness flows smoothly and the mind becomes a vehicle for bliss and happiness.”
Much like Shakti, our first and ultimate driving source begins outside of the body. For the first sixteen days following conception we have no nervous system, and no heart. Rather a pulse from bio-electrically charged cells guides the process of mitosis and myosis (cell division). This charge of cells which will become our heart begins life outside of us yet as we begin to develop our tissues fold bringing the heart to rest right in our centre where it guides our continuing growth.
"The heart descends according to the (reverse) order of the chakras in yoga, from the seventh to the fourth chakra. The third descends from the fourth and as the spine grows down towards the tail, the second and first arise later in the sequence, during the forming process. From this point of view our subtle body is formed originally in our physical form, from the crown towards the tail."
This layer (the ectoderm) ultimately diversifies to form many parts of us including our nervous system, which means - as we will discuss later - when we come into contact with someone's skin we are truly and directly, on the deepest level, interacting with their nervous system and their hearts. Indeed, it is even possible to interact on this level with no contact at all*. But through this mechanism we can literally say that the heart emanates through every part of us.
“As large as the universe outside, even so large is the universe within the lotus of the heart.
Within it are heaven and earth, the sun, the moon, the lightning, and all the stars.
What is in the macrocosm is in this microcosm”
Chandogya Upanishad 8:1:3
Greek philosophers first used the terms ‘mikros and makros kosmos’ to describe human beings and their place in the universe. Kosmos here meant specifically ‘order’ and constructed the intelligent, harmonious, and 'beautiful' arrangement of organic systems*. Plato originally detailed the relationship between the orbits of the planets around the sun and by comparison the orbits of our emotions around our head. Of course now we know on a very literal level the extent to which this early philosophy is mirrored in the cells and atoms, the magnetic and bioelectric fields and even the pervasive fractal structures that echo through all of nature. And even though our thoughts do not orbit our head in the Platonion sense, work within bioelectric and magnetic fields suggest that perhaps our memories and emotions do truly exist and are passed through the orbit of our electro-magnetic fields*. The later term ‘Holarchy’ was coined in the late 60s by Koestler and we especially note here that as a ‘holon’ (element of a holarchic structure) you are recognised as both a part of the whole and the whole itself.