Shiva’s Pandemic Dance

zoom shiva CERN.webp

This statue of Shiva as “Lord of the Dance” sits outside the world’s largest nuclear collider known as CERN in Switzerland. Turns out, HInduism and physics have, in some ways, a similar worldview: that everything is constantly changing–matter to energy, energy to matter.  Sometimes known as the “God of Destruction,” at my training in Kripalu, they  used a kinder gentler “transformation.”

Shiva’s cosmic dance may start with destruction, but it is an ongoing process that also includes evolution, the revealing of “illusion” and eventually something Christians can recognize as “grace.”

Many of us are learning that the material things that formed the scaffolding for our lives–jobs, healthcare, schools, etc. weren’t the “sure things’ we once thought they were.  Our illusion of stability was shattered pretty quickly, by some microscopic beast we can’t even see!

So here we are, forced to confront who we are without all of that infrastructure. Our plans are on hold. Our futures are uncertain. Who are we without all of these anchors?

I suppose that’s the question most religions try to answer. Many people start to contemplate that sort of thing the older they get.  The surprising thing is seeing so many young people being forced to move such a big question up their list of priorities to ponder. I am truly excited to see what they come up with. I feel like a whole new generation of “millennial elders” is germinating.

Every single person is going through some sense of loss in these days of corona and quarantine. If we’re fortunate enough to escape grieving the loss of a loved one, we still have other losses– a wedding, a semester abroad, a prom, a hug–and those losses are a big deal.

When you see Lord of the Dance in art, Shiva is always surrounded by fire, symbolizing the circular nature of the universe. What you might miss is the scary looking gremlin creature on which he is balancing (while simultaneously creating and destroying the universe no less). That little demon is said by some to symbolize human cruelty and a visual reminder to be kind to one another, lest you get crushed!

Namaste from 6+ feet away.

Shaila Cunningham

Shaila Cunningham

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