Wisdom we know is the knowledge of good and evil, not the strength to choose between the two.
The Churning of the Ocean
The story of Siva and the churning of the ocean of milk is a very well known Indian mythical tale. Long ago there was a large and vast, milky-white ocean encompassing much of the world. At the bottom of its’ waters lived a giant sea turtle, carrying on its’ back, Mount Mandara. Wrapped around the mountain, like a ribbon, was a snake. Tugging on either side of the snake were the Gods and the Demons. As if churning butter, the Gods and Demons went back an forth stirring the milky ocean in an attempt to extract the nectar of immortality. In the process however, the first thing to surface was not nectar but a poison, called halahala.
Along the banks surrounding the ocean, the halahala washed up on shore. The villagers fearful for the tainted ocean, summoned Siva to extract the poison. Siva came down, and left with few options, drank up the halahala. However, he did not swallow it, nor did he spit it out. By neither accepting nor rejecting the poison Siva was able to transmute it. In the process his neck turned blue, hence the name Neelakantha.
The churning of the ocean represents the movement into the central channel of the body through the practice of yoga. As we dive deep in search of the sweet nectar, often the first thing to come up is toxicity; old thought patterns, habits, and ways of being deeply seated in the core of our self. It is in this moment that we have to take the choice to neither accept nor reject the forthcoming fallacies that hook us into the past. We allow them to surface in a non judgemental way and exist without attaching to their story. The blue-throated one is a reminder of this lesson.