The illusion of our reality is often an interesting one, filled with the coexistence of pain and pleasure, joy and sadness. In Shivate Tantra, it is believed that Shiva and Shakti embodied human form for the Lila (divine play) of the maya (illusion). In other words, they embodied as humans for the playful experience of limitations.

As humans, they were able to experience being in a finite body that will breakdown. Through the kleshas (limitations) and kanchukas (excuses), they were able to experience limitations within themselves and in experiences with others. These were the daily challenges that create our shadowy emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, frustration, grief. These feelings contract us.

Yet, they were also able to experience the senses and elements. These provide a richer, more beautiful experience, allowing expansion. In order to transform, they had to remember their true nature, expanding from the contraction of the limitations.

Tony Robbins said, “There are really only two states  you live in— beautiful states and suffering states.” If you’re in contraction from your reality (maya) of limitations, you’re suffering. Pretty simple.

Here’s a paradox shift. What if we chose the limitations in our life, and thus our suffering, as our own lila? Rather than being controlled by the limitations, we can begin to use them for our own personal expansion.


Think of something simple in your life that isn’t working that way you’d like. Perhaps there is someone you deal with regularly who irritates you. What are all the stories you tell about that person?

  • They’re annoying.
  • They’re an energy vampire.
  • It’s all about them.

How do you feel as a result?

  • Angry
  • Frustrate
  • Drained

Now flip those. What if the person wasn’t annoying? What would be different? What if their behavior was a way to meet their needs (even if not effective or efficient)?

And if they magically weren’t annoying, how would you feel?

Once you have the two ends of the spectrum, what within you is reflected in the challenging situation? How do you meet your needs and express your feelings? How do you expect others to meet your needs? What happens when your needs aren’t met?

What would it take to clear or heal that within yourself? The feeling you identified as opposite from what you feel now, how can you grow that?

The final question is a big one–  are you ready to do make that shift and do that work?

Start with a simple challenge and work your way up to more difficult situations in your life. It takes a little time, a lot of compassionate yet brutal honesty, and a willingness to make a change. If you’re willing, a more joyful state awaits.

I’d love to hear how you do with this process. Leave a comment below. If you’d like some help, reach out! Use the form below. If you’d like to go deeper, check out my free Living Yoga Off The Mat series here.