In the Hindu mythology the universe is created by the combination of the deities Shiva and Shakti. The male principle Shiva is bliss and represents the “I” in “I am” which means God . Shakti on the other hand is power and represents the “am” in “I am.” At this level, Shiva/Shakti are one merged in an indissoluble embrace. Blissfully reflecting on itself this primal presence is unimaginably free, immeasurably aware, and perfectly blissful. It is empty yet pregnant with potency.
From this empty fullness Shakti has an impulse to manifest...to create something. In an act of ‘play’ of dance she imagines and creates the world. Her cosmic imagination flows through many subtle layers gradually condensing and making form. The first forms are extremely subtle, light and awareness populated by beings with bodies far too subtle to be seen with the human eye. Next is stars, planets, black holes and galaxies. next is the atoms and molecules and eventually creatures and humans.
In this process of manifestation Shakti has to hide her full unity. She limits her experience of being all the others in order to create one. In other words in order to create animals she has to limit her experience of being a tree, the oceans, or the mountains. We can appreciate this in our life through the recognitions that in order to be the best we can at our work or our relationship we have to limit ourselves from other possibilities. We cannot be an amazing doctor and be an amazing lawyer at the same time. We cannot be an amazing lover to multiple people at once... although many try. The end result of Shakti’s experience is that material existence (i.e. people) now experiences itself as separate, unique, cut off from the whole.
Science is proving that this 'story' of Shakti's manifestation is our story. That our bodies are made up of split off particles of stars and planets. The breath we breath contains the inert element argon which means that the argon we breathe is the same argon that has been breathed by all beings since the beginning of time. Philosophy takes this one step further. That our awareness is not only connected to the power of awareness in other creatures, but is is also a miniature version of the great awareness of the source of all that is. The vastness that exist in the cosmic universe is also available to us inside the grace and stamina that comes when we enter the inner world of our heart.
In Shakti’s dance she shrinks Shiva so that the great awareness encompassing everything is now a single separate ego. This is why we often see ourselves as separate. Yet since the beginning of time we have intuited the existence of the subtle world’s powerful, invisible forces operating through the physical worlds. The explanations of this have evolved with our own evolution. Cavemen understood divine powers through the weather “the Gods are angry”, hundreds of years ago we explained these forces through demons, and ghosts, and angels, and magic. In modern day many don't believe in anything. Children have stopped believing in magic. Yet that doesn't mean that these forces have left. Instead it explains a huge disconnection from our intuition and a greater disconnect to the understanding that we are all connected. In a modern time where few believe in anything we see higher rates of depression and anxiety than ever before. We are meant to belong rather than be alone.
Deities change as human consciousness changes- and so do the maps through which we understand the world. At the same time, certain recognitions are timeless.
Shiva and Shakti are lovers who want to unite again:
Shakti, as she pushes from the earth, is described as the divine aspiration of the human soul. While Shiva descending form above is the irresistible attraction of divine grace. They are opposite yet exist in an eternal embrace, neither able to exist without the other. Their eternal relationship creates both the phenomenal and spiritual worlds.