Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Transformation, Siva and Shakti

"Transformation is the process of evolution of the consciousness through its three main levels of development... predominantly masculine in character... It is a woman's journey as much as man's." --Transformation by Robert Johnson

"Man evolves from acting instinctively to putting his psychic energy under the control of his ego. Then he must evolve further, to place his psychic energy under the control of the Self," writes Robert Johnson in his book, Transformation. Nineteenth century writer and poet, Henry Thoreau wrote extensively of transformations in his writings, Walden Pond.
To many of his time, Thoreau was a genius, a wonder, inspiring people who were now living urban lives to recollect the simplicity they had before, and what was now a challenge before themselves. His writing is a chronicling of a complex man's desire to restore 'simplicity to life through Mother Earth and natural living.'

Johnson writes about his first visit to India as a young man; he was told to expect horrors, deprivations and extreme poverty, corpses lying about on the public streets. He found all this darkness to be true, and he discovered something quite wonderful: there was great joyfulness all around despite this ever present darkness. People were, to his eye, unmistakably happy.
He latter learned that the roots of the word 'happy' are from the verb infinitive, to happen. Happiness he writes, is 'simply what happens.' Simple man lives in this state of happiness; for them it is the rejoinder to both their interior lives and the reality of the exterior, happening world around them.

Falling back upon the Judeo-Christian motif of the Garden, Johnson traces the development of men from the time that they are driven forth from their free, simplified, garden world, robbed of their child-like existence. He asserts that in agrarian societies everywhere, in measured degrees, most people are to be left permanently in simple consciousness. Yet today's complexity and formal education have become so highly valued, many are zealous champions of its development.
In contrast, the India he encountered, the Indian society he experienced was one of Caste, with Brahmins at the top and the Untouchables at the bottom. This system, he noted, keeps the majority of people in Simple consciousness. And while it has its flaws from the Western point of view, Johnson finds advantage in the reduced stress and anxiety in their daily lives, that it "overall avoids mass neurosis prevalent in Western societies."

Using stories familiar to Western readers, Johnson writes of Faust, Mephistopheles, Hamlet and the idea of the personal 'shadow,' the un-lived, concealed parts of the personality. Some have called the shadow a representative of the road less traveled; the ins and outs one may have chosen at different points in their life, but didn't or have not chosen to pursue.
He argues that contrary to assumptions, the shadow is not all grim, all darkness; rather it is the source of much gold, much good in the creative endeavors. The shadow engages one in the art of retrieving those facets of life that are full, meaningful, and maybe what is missing from the daily grind. While some perhaps deduce this all to mean that the shadow is subversive, dark or evil existing life, Johnson disagrees.
He sees the Shadow as an important element to finding ones' wholeness, to completing oneself. By this process, and it is a process, one may redeem oneself; the shadow provides energy and paradox, important components for redemption, the "do over chance" in life.
For some it creates so much energy
that there is the sense of brilliance, it burns fire, a blinding light. "This is not unlike the manifestations of Siva, Indian God of Destruction, who appears as paradox for the Western mind." 
 The end is what creates the beginning, the empty becomes full again, are two such examples of paradox. "It is only when Brahma, God of Creation and Shiva are together present" that wholeness becomes loving, Shakti.

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