SHIVA AND THE DANCE OF LIFE
Odete Martins Bigote
“What does not kill me
makes me stronger.” Friedrich Nietzche
My friend Mary, the name has been changed because of privacy, is having a hard time trying to reconcile the good, the bad and the ugly; the dance of life.
Mary has everything most women want in life: a summer home, a townhouse, cars, children, grandchildren, lots of good food and, of course, a husband.
But Mary’s husband has had several strokes, her children bother her, and she is suffering from serious depression. Recently, she had to take care of her grandchildren because her daughter, who is also married and has everything most women want in life, decided she needed a rest. Mary’s husband had another stroke while taking care of their grandchildren.
I called her daughter, and suggested to her not to send her children again to her parents due to their health condition. She agreed, and promised never to do that again. After talking to me, she went downstairs, fell down and broke her foot. The children were sent back to the grandparents but, this time, they also took their pets with them.
“Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear.”
Marcus Aurelius AD121-80: Meditations
Throughout history we have tried to discover who we really are. Now, we are just beginning to understand the dance of life: all events in our lives are programmed to lead us to correct our erroneous thoughts. Everyone we meet, every path we follow, give us a chance to look within, if we choose to do so.
In the midst of our encounters, most of us forget to appreciate the chance we’ve to learn and grow. We focus mostly on the negative, which is what I did when I telephoned my friend’s daughter.
“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
By focusing only on the negative, I felt pity and sorrow for Mary and her husband. Such feelings of compassion did not allow me to go beyond the negative. This way of thinking may seem cruel. I’m not saying that we should not help each other. What I’m saying is that there is always a limit as to how much we can do for others; there is a Higher Self in charge of helping everyone follow their path.
“Tragedy might really to be a great kick at misery.”
LIFE IS FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS;
WAR AND PEACE, LOVE AND HATE.
LIFE IS A CONSTANT DANCE BETWEEN
LIGHT AND DARKNESS.
“They that sow in tears: shall reap in joy.”
Bible: Psalm 126
A great figure in the dance of life is the Hindu god Shiva. Although his name literarily means the kind and the friendly one, he has 3 faces and combines in himself contradictory qualities of both destroyer and restorer.
What does Shiva destroy? Ignorance. This is considered a great blessing in Hindu culture. Indeed, what better accomplishment could there be during our short visit on earth, than to learn to destroy the erroneous concept we’ve of ourselves?
How can we destroy such ignorance, in other words, how can we work towards our salvation? The Hindu culture teaches the use of Yoga and meditation, other cultures teach prayers, more primitive cultures teach sacrifice. Whichever path we chose, we must always “act and react,” even the Bible says that. We cannot and must not isolated ourselves completely, and even if we try, our thoughts will always be in charge of our lives, and we’ve to learn to handle them. So, there is a constant physical and mental movement going on; a dance. How ugly or beautiful we make that dance is up to us.
If we are successful, we begin to understand and appreciate the dance of life. We’ll move along in a soft way. The negative can destroy us, or it can help restore our sanity; that is, if we learn to dance around it, even flirt with it, so that we attract the negativity close enough to allow the light to illuminate our minds, and wipe out our ignorance about our True Self.
Article written by
Odete M. Bigote
Copyright May 2003