by Eileen Campbell
Life is like a dance, and for the dance we need to be fluid, fearless, and aware. Everything in life is in a state of constant change, ebbing and flowing, waxing and waning, but we need to trust in the process of constant regeneration.
In Hinduism Shiva, in the form of Nataraj, is the transforming god. In his cosmic dance, Shiva balances on one leg within a circle of flames, representing the continuous creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe. His right foot is poised over a demon representing ignorance, but Shiva’s head is serene. As the archetypal dancer, Shiva represents the ever-changing life-force with the myriads of worlds, galaxies, and beings taking shape and passing away. As the archetypal sage, he represents the Absolute where all distinctions dissolve. This endless round of existence means beginnings and endings, with life renewing itself constantly.
Things may fall apart, but out of chaos something new is always being born. We cannot hold on to anything in life forever – we have to let go. Relationships dissolve, we lose parents, friends and colleagues, possessions and homes can be destroyed, youth and beauty fade, fame and success are eclipsed, and our bodies wither and cease functioning. If we can learn to view life as a dance however and trust the Life-force within us to show us the way, wisdom and serenity can triumph over ignorance.
The martial arts like tai chi, aikido judo, karate, and kendo help in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, where the purpose of training is to enable the practitioner to respond in an appropriate manner when under attack. Thomas Crum, uses the graceful martial art of aikido, often translated as ‘the way of harmonious spirit’, or ‘the way of unifying life energy’ in his well-known conflict resolution and stress management workshops. He advises us on not being afraid of the ups and downs of life – ‘Instead of seeing the rug pulled from under us, we can learn to dance on the shifting carpet.’
Eileen Campbell is a writer of inspirational books, including a successful series of anthologies described by the media as “treasures of timeless wisdom,” which sold collectively around 250,000 copies. She has studied with a variety of teachers from different traditions and brings a wealth of knowledge and life experience to her books. She is known for her pioneering and visionary career as a self-help and spirituality publishers, and has also written and presented for BBC Radio 2 and 4. She currently devotes her energies to yoga, writing, and gardening. She lives in England. Visit her at http://www.eileencampbellbooks.com.