The ultimate love affair, in Hindu cosmology, the union of Shakti and Shiva, takes place within the human body. Shakti, in her energetic form, as Kundalini, rests in the coccyx, at the base of the human spine. Kundalini is the divine manifesting substance and force of all creation. Shiva, the God of pure consciousness, resides at the crown of the human head.
These divine consorts, situated at the opposite poles of the spinal column, are also oppositely charged. Shakti is negative and Shiva is positive. The resulting magnetic force of attraction of these opposites draws this divine couple irresistibly toward the goal of union.
The union of Shakti and Shiva is the union of Spirit, which is consciousness, and Matter, which is the creative energy of all material manifestation. The progeny of their union is the world we live in. This dynamic union and creation is expressed in Judeo-Christian cosmology in John’s Gospel, “in the beginning was the word (Spirit consciousness) and the word was made flesh (Matter).”
Upon awakening early one morning, I was contemplating Shakti and Shiva’s relationship when Jan abruptly woke from a dream. She told me she had just been in India, where a very tall ladder that had pointed vertically into the heavens was brought down and positioned horizontally, both balanced and secure, across several buildings.
Jan reflected that the roof is the highest spiritual point of a building that is grounded in the earth. The message of the dream: the spiritual journey that is needed now is not a vertical rise, out-of-body into the heavens, but instead a horizontal in-body journey, as one traverses the challenges of their human life, with all its relationships upon the Earth.
These challenges are neatly laid out in Hindu science, as the path that Kundalini traverses through the chakras, or subtle energy power stations along the spine, en route to Shiva. Actually, each chakra entails its own horizontal journey, which requires mastery as we move toward greater fulfillment in life.
The base of the spine center asks us to find grounding, safety and security. The genital region introduces us to sexual and creative energy, which entail their own developmental processes. The solar plexus introduces us to I, as ego, and the mastery of personal power. The heart introduces us to our connection to our Spirit and deepest truth. The throat is about finding our voice. The third eye brings forth intuition. As Kundalini reaches Shiva, at the crown, consciousness unites and becomes one with all creation. In a human life, the fulfillment of this state is experienced as we relax increasingly deeper into ever-widening equanimous love.
The duality of Shakti and Shiva is also expressed in the two minds of the human psyche: the subconscious mind and the ego.
The subconscious, Shakti, is feminine in its receptivity to suggestions. The subconscious has access to all knowledge and creative possibility, as well as the substance to birth new life, but, without union with the novel suggestions of consciousness, is governed by instinctual programs and habits.
The ego, Shiva, is identified with life in the physical body and is the seat of consciousness. Regardless of gender, ego is masculine in its active thinking capabilities. It is the seat of free will and decision making.
The human ego has many developmental challenges it must master, similar to those identified with the chakras. Ego must establish safety and grounding; be introduced to and master sexuality and its animal self, as well as exercise its own capacity to intend creation; become autonomous and have the power of self-assertion; develop humility and acquiescence to truth and its High Spirit Self; use its voice; see beyond its narcissistic shell; and, ultimately, become one with everything.
The subconscious faces no developmental challenges because the subconscious is completely fluid, it can be anything. In contrast to the ego, the subconscious is attached to no identity; it simply responds to the suggestion it entertains at the current moment.
The challenge in human development is for ego to be in the correct relationship with the subconscious mind. Essentially, the ego is the creator, issuing forth the word or image of intent, whose suggestion fertilizes the subconscious, which then galvanizes its substance to manifest new life. The subconscious, in all of us, is the true mother of creation.
If ego does not master safety, it suggests danger to the subconscious, which then manifests an anxious, vigilant personality. If ego suggests inadequacy, the subconscious may manifest a tightened voice. If ego suggests superiority, the subconscious may manifest a pompous, condescending posture and attitude. If ego suggests entitlement to the subconscious, it may manifest a tendency to violate boundaries.
If, on the other hand, the ego aligns with and suggests the truth, the subconscious will open the eye to greater truth and perception. If the ego suggests true love to the subconscious, it activates an energy that draws to us resonant energy. If ego suggests it stay in alignment with its Spirit’s purpose, the subconscious will synchronistically manifest that yellow brick road.
The guidance here is to remain quite protective of the suggestions one both exposes oneself to, as well as personally presents to, the subconscious mind. We live in a time where highly suggestive messages are bombarding both our thinking and subconscious minds at an unprecedented rate, largely due to our attachment to devices, the self-importance of dings, and well-coordinated efforts to infiltrate and influence our subconscious minds.
At the most evolved level, the relationship between ego and subconscious is equivalent to the love affair between Shakti and Shiva. Ego, acting from the insinuation of its Spirt, joining with the magic of the subconscious, is truly the greatest love affair of all. May we all participate in birthing that dream.
With consciousness and infinite possibility,