The teaching of Kali in my dear relationships–how She has changed who I am and how I show up for those I love and who love me–has been to show me the path of a strong heart. A strong heart is one that has weathered many storms yet remains flexible and open to new potentials and realities. It is a heart of yoga (union) that breathes in moments of challenge seeking inner clarity in order to inform action. She teaches that strength is found in vulnerability and in a sincere willingness to completely surrender oneself…to completely offer oneself and one’s ego…to the divine, often as expressed through others, in the crucible of relationship. She teaches that getting past one’s ego attachments–really hard work because we’re often so committed to our woundings, as I was–offers the real reward, which is freedom in love.
My intimate relationships have been both battle grounds and cremation grounds, to use two of Her most powerful metaphors. They have also, in the end, been fields of delight where the challenges offer immense opportunities. For the first, the metaphor of relationship as battle ground, there have been learnings for me around the importance of my weapons ( i.e., what they are and how to use them appropriately in times of need) and the importance of knowing when to surrender them in service to something higher than what I think is right, fair, appropriate or in line with justice.
All of this for me, i.e., my commitment to what is right or fair or just, has been of service in many ways in the world, but in many instances in relationship it has overshadowed love. In short, this has been the case in the past because I have had such a strong ego-attachment given early life experiences in a violent home, which of course wasn’t right, fair or just. Her teaching has been though to realize that ego attachment fully and move beyond it to a place of love carried and emitted from a strong heart. Love is higher and deeper than all these things, and action from a place of love rather than anger is indeed Her revelation.
Here is where the psycho-spiritual process Kali Maa provides gets intense, deeply powerful and ultimately brings healing. Which leads to the second metaphor. I have learned on Her cremation grounds to burn away the attachment to my need to make things fair, right and just above all else. Today, She has shown me the pain I have caused by not being fully present in such situations. She has shown me too that I am ‘bigger’ than the hurts and fully capable of living from a place more deeply connected to the wellspring of Her embrace. This is Her path.
Were I to sum it up, I would say that Kali embraces the fullest spectrum of what it means to be human. She helps us utilize our weapons to survive, helping us craft them skillfully so that they may serve; but she then transforms us when we’re ready, if we walk with Her, to see that using them is not all life is about. She moves us to Her ‘other’ side, where attachment is not found, where She and Siva sport, love, play and adventure in the freedom of a love that knows no projection. She moves us past our individual ahamkaras (egos) and their wants, needs and desires, if we pay attention and do the hard work, into a place of absolute yearning for the truth of the Divine, which is limitless bliss. I’m not trying to speak poetically here. My own experience through the tremendous difficulties of love relationships has shown me what Her lessons can be, some of which I have briefly described. She has utterly transformed me and will continue to do so as I integrate Her teachings.
I do not think Her path is easy or for the timid, but I do think it is as direct as one can get if seeking real, intimate and lasting partnership. Her lessons are big and they require deep work, especially a willingness to dive deep into the underworld (our shadow material) and resurface. Sometimes, that resurfacing is humbling, and again, in the vulnerability we find a stronger heart, a better, healthier place from which to love and be loved. I know it has taken me time to get through the largest blockages I have had; yet, it hasn’t taken me a lifetime, and at 40 I am exuberant in life. So, while I am scared that I may not have done enough soon enough to be able to fulfill my dream of having a child, for example, I do trust in Her and in the other potentialities lain open by a stronger heart that this path has provided. I trust and I believe because I have seen the results born of my commitment to Her.
I offer that so much more seems possible to me now…so much burned away in the process of relationship, the crucible of the heart…so much more is open now, things to which I was previously closed; so many more choices when the gaze is more clear. So much more of life and love to touch and be touched by. In this, my heart rejoices and I forgive myself for all the stubbornness and whatever else kept me from Her glory.
What has She taught you?