Have you ever had a time in your life of great change or transition? Maybe you lost your job, experienced a death of some kind, changed where you live, or separated from your partner. Believe it or not, in these often very painful moments, Tantra points us to the possibility of uplifting new creation.
In Tantra, creating is essential. Tantra states that to create is to create the world, and as individuals when we create, we are essentially creating our entire universe. The tantric tradition of Kashmir Shaivism calls creation srishti, one of the five functions of Shiva, the Consciousness that creates the multiverse. And according to Kashmir Shaivism, you and I are part and parcel of that creative process.
So, you as a divine being can create something new, even out of a situation that seems helpless or terrible: You can literally will something new into existence, you can create it out of your intention, your being. You, as you, a unique manifestation of Shiva, Universal Consciousness, can express the universal energy’s desire to create something new.
Here are some great questions to ask when creating something new: What do you want to create, and why? What are you doing it for? Is it an act of service? If you are living an inward facing life, these are points that are always good to look at. What are we doing when we are creating in this world? What is the intention? Are we going to create something completely “spiritual?” Above it all, away from it all, completely holy? Is that even possible? Or, are we going to actively create in this so-called mundane sphere? And what is the difference? Is there even one?
Creating will inevitably require interaction with the world around us; that is an integral part of the creative process. So, when we create, what is the intent? Are we going to do it in a way that is in service to the limited ego—the “getting” approach? Or could we maybe do it a different way? Could we perhaps create in a way that is essentially sacred in itself? A way that brings about good for ourselves and others? Something beneficial, bringing goodness, happiness, joy, fulfillment? Truly speaking, creating in this way is itself an act of joy, an act of love. The spontaneous outflow of the love of creation.
Rather than creating from the limited space of being separate: “Me, Me, Me,” “This is what I want,” “This is what I will have.” “This is what I will get from others, just for me,” what if we said, “What can I offer?” “What can I give?” ‘What can I do for you?” “What can I do for others?” “How can I serve humanity?” “How can I serve humankind?” “How can I offer my creation in this world?” “How can I make this world a better place?”
This is a fundamental shift. A major shift. We are now creating for the love of it, we're creating for the joy of it, we are creating for the beauty of it. And it's not just creating just for me: “I will have all this because I want it.” If we create for selfish reasons, we may have temporary pleasure, we may have all these material things, but why? If it's just for “me” it is empty. For there to be any lasting fulfillment in it, there needs to be a deeper purpose: the pure joy of creation itself, an act of service to the vibrant and flowing universe that sustains us all. The pure, joyful, beauty of creation that Kashmir Shaivism calls Shakti, Shiva’s dynamic, creative power.
If we create in this way, we can actually experience the feeling that we are truly free in our creation. It’s paradoxical. The more we enter the flow of the Shakti, the creative process, and let it flow through us in service, the easier it is to actively create. We are not attached to how things are going to unfold, to how things are going work out. We don’t need to micromanage everything. We don’t need to hold it with a very tight fist. The ego always holds things with a tight fist. Try this: hold your hand downwards with a clenched fist like you have something in it that you don’t want to lose. Really squeeze that fist hard—make sure the imaginary precious thing you are grasping tightly onto doesn’t get away! This is how the ego grasps.
It doesn’t have to be that difficult. You know, we could hold things in a different way, with our hand facing up, palm open, so we can balance on our palm what we have created easily, effortlessly. Try it. Palm up. Hand open. Letting what you have created rest on your palm. There is no grasping, straining, tension.
So, palm down with tightly grasped fist, or palm up and open, skillfully balancing your creation—either way, you still have it! Which way is going to be the most comfortable in the long run? The grasping way of ego? Or the effortless balancing of enlightened creation? Two distinctly different ways of approaching creation: creating from the space of grasping, of fear, of always wanting to hold it and have it, or simply just having it—if it gets taken away it gets taken away, no grabbing, no grasping, it just leaves an open space for something new; it leaves an open space for something new to be created.
Which brings us right back to the beginning of our discussion—great change or transition. What would happen if we let go of the fear of change, the grasping onto what we think we need to keep, and entered the flow of the creative energy of the Shakti? What if we created something new out of love and fearlessness for the benefit of everyone and everything? That would be creation the Tantric way.