What Would Shiva Do?

By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 1 July, 2015

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am in a dilemma. I want to be loving to my husband, but I don’t like his son. I am also on a spiritual path and consider myself Hindu. So I am asking myself and you: What would Shiva do? Rose P., Littleton, CO

Meditating Shiva Statue

Dear Rose: “What would Shiva do?” is a question similar to, “What would Jesus do? which has been making the rounds for the last few years. In each case, we are asked to inquire from a place deep within us as to what would each specific deity do? I have asked those questions at different times, sometimes of Christ and sometimes of Shiva. Truthfully, when I ask Christ, I find myself looking towards my heart chakra. Lately, however, because I am trying to address an emotional part of me which threatens to color any decisions I make, I lean towards asking, “What would Shiva do?” When I ask, “What would Shiva do?,” I am trying to access a part within myself that bypasses what I consider the emotional and sentimental heart. And I might add I would also attempt to gaze upon the statue that is currently in residence with me: Meditating Shiva Statue.

What is the Heart Center?

When people ask me what the sentimental heart is, I believe it resides in the fourth chakra. I say this because my guru once told me that if I had a burning issue to resolve, that the fourth chakra which was on its way up the chakra ladder, still had an attached quality to it. She recommended that I access the seventh chakra since it really combined the heart center with a more detached place. That place has been called the Chidakash, or as my guru referred to it, the heart space in the head.

Thinking of your question about your husband’s son, and of what would Jesus do,I am drawn into my heart center. This could be either beneficial or not. Since the heart center has a bit of ego attached to it, I might likely feel that you are entitled to your husband paying attention to you first and not his son. Or you might think, “I am not being kind; As a spiritual person, I should open my heart to his son, even though it feels it is against my best interests.” However, even though you want to do the “right thing,” you might end up feeling resentful because you simply cannot extend your heart as much.

What would Shiva Do?

Since both situations lead me to a not peaceful state, I am now asking,”What would Shiva do?” Whether true or not, one thinks of Shiva as the epitome of detachment. Because I have set up this construct of Shiva and Christ, my “go to” impulse now would be to invoke Shiva by saying his mantra Om Namah Shivaya at least 108 times, meditate and wait for the grace of an answer wafting up from my inner self. I trust that the answer to “What Would Shiva do?” would be an answer that evoked wisdom and would accommodate all interests, not just yours, and not just your son’s.

Remembering compassion for ourselves

Many of us put ourselves in black and white situations. For instance, we think that we should in the name of compassion put others before us. We forget to be compassionate to ourselves also, to acknowledge where we are on this path. For some, as they are prepared to do remarkable austerities, it might involve giving up attachment to everything. For the rest of us, it means also extending to ourselves the same compassion we give to others by acknowledging our specific needs in the moment. In that regard, we might not be called upon to make ultimate sacrifices in the name of peace, especially if the sacrifice would lead to resentment. And that leads to a spiritual conundrum: whether to make a leap into sacrifice of self or stay in the moment with compassion for where you are. And that is the dilemma many of us on a spiritual path continue to encounter.

Good luck to you as you ask, “What would Shiva do?”

If you have a question about “What would Shiva do?,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.

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