Pulse, Polarity and The Lord of the Dance
Consciousness is energy. Energy is polarity. Polarity is pulse. At the “macro” level, this pulse or polarity is manifested in the twin acts of speaking and listening. (Speaking and listening are of a quite different quality than mere talking and hearing, which we call “the formal” — or causal — and “the informal” — or casual). The pulse of energy is represented in grammar, therefore.
At the “micro” level, the twin acts of speaking and listening correspond to the polarity and pulse of consciousness in its two aspects as intentional and as attentional. In energetic terms, the former is masculine-animus, the latter is feminine-anima. This is the cosmic “dance” of movement and repose. These correspond to the energies that don Juan referred to as “nagual” and as “tonal“. The former corresponds to consciousness as (intentionality), the latter to consciousness of (attentiveness).
They aren’t distinct “realms” per se. They are pulse. Only, the pulse happens so fast and quickly that it seems to you that consciousness is a continuum and reality a constant. But an analogy can be taken from film — a number of stills, speeded up, give the impression of continuous motion, even though slowed down you see the “flick” — the pulse. The pulse of intention and attention is also reflected in the polarity of times as being “past” and “future”, and in the polarity of spaces as being “inner” and “outer”. These are the arms of Shiva, which you will note are four, corresponding to the four rays of the “cross of reality” and of the Sacred Hoop. Shiva’s arms correspond to the “four beasts” surrounding the throne of God, to the “Guardians of the Four Directions”, to the Four Evangelists of the Christian cross, and to Blake’s “four Zoas” of the Universal Adam named “Albion”.
The “intentional” we call “Self” and designate that “unconscious”. The “attentional” we call “Ego” and designate that “conscious”. But it’s really just the pulse. They aren’t “places”, but tempo and rhythm, and is the “heartbeat of the cosmos”, as it were. The reciprocity and alternation of the two is what is called “learning”, and is comparable to cybernetic process of feedback and control, input and output. This is not just reflected in the apparent “sexuality” of nature, but, as mentioned, in the acts of speaking and listening, which are also alternation and reciprocity.
Hence it is said that “in the beginning was the Word”. “Seme” in semantics, which is “seed” (“semen” being related to “word”), forms a host of words like semen, seminar, seminal, seminary, semblance, perhaps even “semi-” as being “part” or “half”. The “Void” into which the word is spoken is the womb. The Void or Great Nothingness or “Big Empty” doesn’t exist in the sense of “oblivion”. It is the state of pure attentiveness. Cosmos and Chaos correspond to speaking and listening phases, or Word and Void, the intentional and the attentional. For large parts of your day, you aren’t really “in” physical reality at all. But you don’t notice it because the pulse of awareness is so rapid that it appears as a continuum.
When your cup becomes empty, only then can it become filled. That’s the purpose of meditation — to become pure attention, waiting at the dawn of time. This is what Rumi means when he says “emptiness is what your soul wants”.
Life and death are the pulse of awareness, in its modes of intentionality and attentionality. The former we call “eros” or the erotic, and the latter we call “thanatos” or the thanatic, and in that sense, the dance of Being and Non-Being. Pascal’s fear of the “Silence of the Infinite Void” is quite a common fear because it seems like Non-Being, and the ego fears this, which is why it is such a chatterbox — the “Monkey Mind”, as the Buddhists call it. Stopping the Monkey Mind is simply becoming an empty cup — pure attention without intention. But we wouldn’t know the “Silence” or the “Void” or “Chaos” at all as “Great Nothingness” if it weren’t for awareness of them as such.
“Why is there something rather than nothing?” is the wrong question, for it asks whether the intentional or attentional is more real. It is not an either/or thing. It is both.
The arms of Shiva express the polarity and pulsation of space, time, and consciousness itself, including what we call “creation” and “destruction” or “Genesis” and the”Nihil”, or expansion and contraction. This is the paradoxical “double-movement”, and its represented as “the Dance”. Jesus is also sometimes called “Lord of the Dance” in his aspect as Shiva, and hence his tongue is represented as being a “two-edged sword”.
Shiva’s dance in the circle of flame (energy), corresponds to Blake’s depiction of the resurrected and re-integrated Albion as “dancing the dance of Eternal Death” in his painting “Glad Day”. That “glad day” is the Dance of Shiva.