The Tantra Immersion: Path of Radical Affirmation at Kripalu Center a couple weekends ago, was a huge success! I co-taught with three world-renowned scholars of religion, Douglas Brooks, Bill Mahony, and Constantina Rhodes. It was such an honor and life-transforming experience for me. I am grateful to all those who attended and served to make this a great event!
During the Immersion, much light was shed on the dance of Shiva Nataraja. I learned about a series of myths that portrays Shiva’s dark side. At first, I was very sad and disappointed to learn that Shiva had a shadow. I said to myself, “Who, Shiva, the great light of consciousness? He is perfect. How could he mess up?” But as Douglas Brooks taught, Shiva goes to the forest which represents the place of shadow and light and all things twisted. The forest is the place of deep reflection and integration of the nature of life in that you cannot control it. Though you can make plans and have a vision for your life, you cannot control how those plans will play out. I remember a joke from years ago, “If you want to make God laugh, just show him your plans.” This particular myth had everyone on the edge of their zafus wanting to know what comes next. The myth was better than any season TV drama you could stream on Netflix!
One of my insights is that the forest represents life’s authenticity – the place that houses our truest experience of not only the victory of the light, but also the deepest darkest places of the heart. Remember one of Shiva’s arms crosses his heart which represents that the heart (and life) is partially concealed. […]