The Love Dance of Shiva & Shakti
The basic premise of Kashmiri Shaivism states that Reality is ultimately one though appearing as two. In the same way that a single coin has two sides yet is one thing, ‘all that is‘ seemingly appears as two components. These are the manifest and the un-manifest, or otherwise stated; energy and consciousness.
In Tantra, consciousness is known as Shiva and energy is Shakti. Shiva is therefore pure, un-manifested latency without form or shape. A void which is paradoxically pregnant with undivulged life.
This still and silent potentiality can be encountered within the human experience as a state where no thought is present, no sensation is present and no sense of individual self is present; an intuition of pure being where all that remains is a deep, intimate sense of universality with no centre.
Analogously, we could say that consciousness / Shiva is like an unmoving, unchanging observer, a silent witness to his own boundlessness. Shiva is the ultimate ground of all reality whereby all forms of vibration are his expressions. Just as the sun is not separate from its rays, ultimate reality is not separate from its manifestation. Reality is therefore both luminous and self aware.
For this reason Shiva and Shakti are depicted as lovers in eternal sexual union. A beautiful, distinctive emblem that depicts the central Tantrik concept of Prakasha / Vimarsha.
Prakasha relates to Shiva and means the Light of Consciousness and Vimarsha relates to Shakti and is the Power of Self-Awareness. Vimarsha implies that we are reflections or representations of pure consciousness.
It is worth noting that without humans and the myriad other expressions of creation, Shiva is as though lame, inert; without limbs through which he can experience the joy of Being.
According to the Tantrik philosophy, thought, matter and everything we can perceive through the five senses, including the electrical currents that we feel moving through our bodies, is a love-dance of Shiva and Shakti.
Clearly then Tantra is a life embracing, celebratory philosophy that includes all of creation and the Tantrik practices likewise embrace all of life.