Shiva (Awareness) is all that exists. Shiva is all in all.
There is nothing prior to Awareness.
There is nothing outside of Awareness.
Nothing can be removed from or added to Awareness.
The innate qualities of Awareness are existence, consciousness, and bliss.
All that can be perceived is a manifestation of Awareness brought about by the power inherent within It. This emergent power of Awareness is referred to as Shakti.
Shiva and Shakti are one.
The divine coupling of Shiva-Shakti is the sacred pulsation (Spanda) of Life.
This natural, creative impulse arises out of the bliss of unrestricted Awareness. It is the joyful expression of the absolute freedom of existence.
Through this creative pulsation, the self-shining light of Awareness (Prakasha/Shiva) comes to know Itself through Its inherent reflective capacities (Vimarsha/Shakti).
The process of creative expression is possible through the Shaktis (divine powers) of will (iccha), knowledge (jnana), and action (kriya).
Through these powers, Awareness contracts within Itself, veiling Itself from Itself by applying apparent limitations upon Itself. In this way, It produces individualized units of Awareness (purushas/jivas/souls) and all the forms of nature.
Due to the veiling of Awareness, each soul comes to identify with their apparent limitations rather than their unrestricted Awareness essence. Each jiva is none other than Shiva, but in their contracted state they no longer recognize this truth.
In this way, the entire drama of existence unfolds.
As the jiva develops attachments and aversions, and begins to identify with their body/mind/personality, they become bound to the world.
Forgetting their true nature as Awareness, they suffer.
When the jiva’s will to become reestablished in Truth grows stronger than their attachments and aversions, they begin their journey back to wholeness.
Shakti is the way back to Shiva. This self-reflective quality of Shakti is called Vimarsha. It is an inherent power within every soul and will guide them back to a recognition of Awareness.
Any experience the jiva has, any movement of Shakti, is a potential portal into the Heart (Awareness Itself). In other words, any experience, if traced back to its source, can lead to the direct perception of Awareness.
The actions the jiva takes on the path toward this recognition and the integration of that recognition into their life is called kriya yoga. This yoga purifies the subtle body of the samskaras (psychic impressions) which create the jiva’s attachments and aversions. This process leads to the dissolution of the jiva’s apparent limitations.
When the jiva’s ignorance is dispelled they recognize their ever-existent true nature as Awareness. And they see that this Truth extends through every level of their being, including the physical.
In this way, the soul becomes liberated while embodied, a jivanmukta.