Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
Shiva Lingam: It Is What It Is
Last week, while in Claremont, California, visited Buddhamouse Emporium, a shop that carries imported ritual objects, art, music, and books. I was drawn to an oblong, polished stone.
“That’s a Shiva Lingam,” the saleslady said. “Are you familiar with those?”
I shook my head.
“They are sacred stones collected from a river in India. Here,” she said, “read this.”
She handed me a small sheet of paper, upon which these words were written:
“SHIVA LINGAM – Representing the power of Shiva, Vedic Lord of Creation. These sacred stones are collected from the Narmanda River in Central India during the dry season. Artisans shape and polish the stones to bring out the natural markings in their composite of quartz, basalt, iron oxide, and agate, which were fused together by a meteorite. The lingam is a powerful energy generator, appropriate for meditation and healing.”
I wasn’t sure why, but I associated the word “lingam” with penis. I didn’t really want a “penis stone,” and yet I couldn’t put the thing down. I carried it around the store with me while browsing. The stone was heavy—three or four pounds, I suspected. I’ve always preferred feminine icons and ritual objects. I studied the stone. It also looks like an elongated egg, I thought, making a case for its feminine attributes. And its abstract design resembles a pregnant woman bent forward, protecting her fetus.
“I like how it embodies energy from both sexes,” I said to the saleslady.
She nodded. “It’s supposed to stimulate creation.”
I could feel that in the stone, though I resisted my feelings as well as the saleslady’s words. The skeptic in me wondered, Is this stone more “sacred” than the ones in my yard?
Still, I didn’t want to put the stone down. Not only because of its smooth surface, but because of its energy, which I found comforting. I was all set to buy it when I saw the price: $70.00.
Suddenly, I found fault with the stone: “It’s not as if I could use it during my chakra mediations,” I said to the saleslady. “It would roll off if I put in on my body.”
“It is what it is,” she said, smiling.
I picked up the stone again. I loved its sleek heft. Still, $70.00 seemed steep, so I put it down, thanked the saleslady, and left the store.
While browsing other shops, and later, during dinner at a nearby restaurant, I couldn’t get this stone out of my mind. It called me, so an hour after I’d left Buddhamouse Emporium I returned and bought the stone. This was similar to my sewing box purchase in that I had no idea what I was going to do with it at first.
“It looks like a penis,” my teenage daughter said when she saw it.
“Yeah, I got myself a penis stone.” I said. “Well, actually it’s a Shiva Lingam.” I launched into my elongated egg theory before asking, “Doesn’t that pattern look like a pregnant lady protecting her fetus?”
Wikipedia says the Sanskrit word “lingam” has many meanings, such as mark, sign, and characteristic, to name a few. It also says, “The lingam and the yoni have been interpreted as the male and female sexual organs since the end of the 19th century by some scholars, while to practicing Hindus they stand for the inseparability of the male and female principles and the totality of creation.”
That’s how it felt to me: like the totality of creation. I appreciated the way the stone seemed to celebrate and call forth my creative energy. My rational mind believes this energy is not the stone’s magic; it’s me projecting creative abundance onto the stone—but either way, I feel calm, focused, and creative when I hold it.
The first night I brought it home my daughter had a stomachache. “Want to use my penis stone?” I asked. “You can massage your belly with it.”
It worked great for her, so I tried too. What an excellent massage tool! It’s the perfect shape for a stomach massage with its round, yet pointy tips that get into deep tissue. It also works great when rolled.
To my surprise, the stone stayed in place on my belly while lying in bed, in both horizontal and vertical positions. It turned out I didn’t even want to put that stone down while I slept! I fell asleep with it on my belly that first night, and under my palm the next. I’ll admit, I felt a little silly sleeping with a stone, but I couldn’t deny my rest was more peaceful than usual and I awakened feeling exceptionally grounded, calm, and eager to create.
I’m not saying this was because of the stone. And I’m not saying it wasn’t. What I am saying is the stone reminds me to keep my heart and mind open, to listen, to recognize that communication happens on multiple levels, to stay connected to the natural world, to accept people (and things) the way they are, and to take time to learn their secrets.
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