“What is chaos? What is the significance of a God of Chaos?” This is the second part of my excursion into chaos and its connection to consciousness and the gods. It ventures into the science of chaos and complexity, which has an intrinsic understanding of the workings of the transformative aspect of consciousness (or God) – which we know by names like Loki, Shiva, Rudra or Kali.
Complexity theory, and its early precursor chaos theory, precipitated the recognition and slowly growing understanding of non-linear change – change which applies to dynamic, evolving, complex systems. They operate in a universe of impermanence, in a web of self- organising systems. Contrary to our notion of chaos, these sciences define chaos not as random disorder, but as a deeper, non-linear order.
Most of us believe that we live in an orderly world that follows certain laws, which leads us to live in the illusion that we can control and measure our reality accordingly. You will see in a minute why this truly is an illusion.
In science a system with definable conditions that follow a certain order would be called a linear system. Linear systems are based on the basic law of cause and effect, which implies that input is proportional to output – meaning the results of an action are predictable.
If you drop an apple, it will hit the ground.
Classical science is founded upon the assumption that we live in a world of absolute principles, and that by dividing it and understanding the separate parts, we are able to understand the whole. This is called the Newtonian approach to comprehend the workings of the the universe. A universe that is predictable once you understand its mechanics.
This approach encourages a mind-set that everything remains static unless we apply a certain amount of force, which in turn fosters linear thinking – every action is followed by a reaction, to every force there is a counterforce (and the bigger force always wins). Naturally, we feel weary of anything that is seemingly more powerful than we are. It also leads us to think that it takes a lot of effort to change.
Apart from that, we regard our universe as a place of polarities. We see “good” and “bad” things and we judge accordingly. Since most of us are orientated in a linear way that is coloured with polarity, when it comes to change, we want to go “in a straight line” from one side of the Scala to the other – from misery to happiness, from poor to rich, from overweight to slim …
And while the Newtonian viewpoints have their own value, they also have their flaws, because mechanics only works in simple, controlled, orderly and inorganic systems – in linear systems. Unfortunately, they fail to work in complex, dynamic, self-organising systems with separate yet interconnected parts that are all dependent on one another – and these are called non-linear systems, which are, in fact, represented by living, natural and evolving systems.
So, you see the dilemma here. To understand change in “real” life, and learn to cope with it, we are asked to leave our controlled, linear worldview and look into non-linear change – or what is known in science as Chaos.
Many of us have forgotten that one of the most valuable traits of the human species is our ability to adapt. To evolve. To change.
The belief that our world is linear and the focus on this linearity causes a rather big problem, because forces of nature, and every living system (including our bodies) are non-linear, and therefore chaotic.
From the weather down to the cells of the human body. We live in a “chaotic system”, and no, I am not referring to certain political situations, but to our own bodies, to Mother Nature, to Earth and the Universe.
The science of Chaos and Complexity, defines chaos not as a state of disorder, but as a deeper, non-linear order. And when we look more closely at chaotic systems, we will find that out of seeming randomness emerge intricate patterns of great beauty, which chaos science calls Fractals. Fractals are found everywhere around and inside us. Apart from the fact that each of these patterns is unique, they are also infinite. Fractals are awe-inspiring, as they blatantly show us the infinite diversity as well as the unity and interconnectedness that is present within all of creation. They show us that everything emerges from one Source of infinite possibilities – and this source is Chaos.
So what is a chaotic system?
A chaotic system is non-linear. While in linear systems change is predictable, in non-linear systems this is (you may have guessed) not the case. Chaotic systems are defined to have a “sensitive dependence on small variations in initial conditions” – meaning even a small change could quickly manifest with overwhelming consequences – or not (!). They are not actually chaotic, rather more unpredictable than linear systems, which work within orderly, clearly definable conditions. Therefore, in a non-linear system, input is not proportional to output.
Chaotic systems are complex, dynamic, and progressive.
So, if the conditions are such that the dynamic forces of “chaos” evolve towards a tipping point, change can be sudden and radical. “A negative feedback loop in a complex, chaotic system can quickly escalate into unexpected proportions.”
“Here (in the world of chaos) we are in a non-Newtonian universe of impermanence, where the one certain thing is uncertainty, where things are always already in flux, and dynamic equilibrium is as much stability as we’re going to get – temporarily.
If things are on the move already, it only needs a tiny straw to break the camel’s back, to make the barrel overflow, for the system to go into a chaotic, disorganised state from where it will settle into a new equilibrium.”
The important words here are dynamic equilibrium. The amazing thing about chaotic systems is that they are self-organising, self-stabilising, and always ready to evolve. After a bit of upheaval, they settle into a new order, one that is usually better than before.
And yet, there are no absolute states of equilibrium (just as there is no absolute happiness or misery) – equilibrium states range from simple to complex, a bit like our very unique personalities, and they change as the system evolves. So chaotic systems could also be called transcendent.
Those of you who know Loki, know what I am talking about. When Loki’s presence blesses our life, it can create chaos, but this chaos always brings us radical change and a new way of thinking. The beauty of it is that our consciousness settles into a new equilibrium – something I have experienced myself many times. I am not the same person I was even 2 months ago. The perception of myself and the world around me is constantly shifting. There are times of seeming chaos, but I also learnt that the less I resist, the easier and shorter these periods become. And slowly but steadily, my life is changing towards one based on trust and faith as it flows along, one that is filled with Compassion and Love rather than fear and resentment.
When we look deeply into the complexity of Chaos, we will discover its intrinsic beauty, which is inadvertently charming and incredibly soothing – because it is our natural state.
Chaos is the matrix of creation, it is the ever changing flow of life.
Nature is a chaotic system, which is perpetually moving and evolving. It flows in perfect rhythm with the creative force of the universe. It moves in a dance to the rhythm of Chaos. Shiva’s form of the Cosmic Dancer shows this most beautifully. He is dancing in a circle of flames, holding a drum in one of his hands that represents the pulse of the universe (some see it as the pulse of Time). In this form, Shiva embodies the universal intelligence moving in tune with the (fire of) universal energy – together they dance in repetitive, yet entirely unique movements, and while dancing they create, preserve and dissolve the universe.
And because “as above so below”, this dance pervades all of creation. It can be found everywhere, in the magnificence of the vast universe as well as in the movement of an electron around a nucleus.
The Cosmic Dancer teaches us that every moment born, is a moment born entirely unique. There is no other moment. Even though Time moves in cycles, we never come back to the same point in time, because we are in constant movement. We always move forward, upward, outward, inward. We grow. We flow. We expand. We transcend.
It is the same with us. We are entirely unique while we at the same time we are intricate parts of something much greater.
If we are in tune with nature, with the rhythm of the universe, we stop needing a life that feels safe. We stop yearning for security, because we trust in life. We trust in the universal intelligence that organises everything in unexpected and beautiful ways. Life is not about control. To know what to expect around the corner is not the goal of life. Because Life holds infinite possibilities – infinite, incredulous and awesome opportunities.
If we flow with the pulse of the universe, we realise that change is the only constant in life. Change is our only stability.
“I was reassured that maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is and the only trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation. The Augustinum showed me that we must always be prepared for endless waves of transformation.” Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love
Chaos is a place (or rather a consciousness) that lies beyond good and evil and therefore holds the potential for creation as well as destruction.
Chaos, as the matrix of creation, is a place of infinite creativity. It is a place of connectedness, wholeness and oneness.
And yet most of us desperately cling to our limited ways, because we do not feel comfortable with change, some of us even perceive it as terrifying and frightening.
“Listen to what you’re really saying under what you think you’re saying: Control, control, control. When are you going to realize that nothing can be controlled? We live in chaos; it’s the central issue in everyone’s life. … Everyone in this parking lot is struggling for control. And you know what it is they’re trying to control, each and everyone of them? Fear. They’re trying to control their fear.” Steve Martin in Grand Canyon
The thing with chaos is, it is beyond our control. Beyond the control of a confined, fear based perception and a limited way of thinking. We cannot even imagine the opportunities that lie in the consciousness of primordial chaos, because we were conditioned to live in fear. This is why we struggle to accept ourselves, accept others, because we believe to be separate beings and we never know what to expect from others. We have learnt to be suspicious and many of us settle for an unhappy life of misery and blame, because it feels “safe”.
“We do not see reality as it is, but the way we are.” Talmudic quote
Chaos breaks open the concept of such a limited view of life.
Now, it is interesting to note here that, as opposed to the Newtonian world view, where the “observer” of a system is objective, Quantum Science shows us that it is the observer who influences the outcome of a scientific experiment (the famous observer effect), meaning that it is we who influence reality. It is we who create our reality, with our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, our presence.
Chaos could be compared to a vast expanse of consciousness that represents an ocean of infinite possibilities, and while we think/believe we are separate from this, we are, in reality, a drop in the ocean – which connotes not only that we hold the same potential as the ocean, but that by reconnecting and letting go of our (self-created) limitations, we can become the ocean itself.
Since we are the creators of our reality, it means we always have a choice. We have “free will”.
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which can be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other. (Serenity prayer)
If we do not have the ability to change circumstances, we always have the choice to change our perception. No matter how trapped we feel, or how angry we are at the world around us. It essentially is our choice how we see the world – and what we offer to it. More hatred? More fear? More resentment and bitterness? or more compassion, Love, joy, laughter, humour, sweetness, … ?
Aligning our free will with a higher purpose will be what eventually brings us serenity.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting challenges as a pathway to peace,
Taking this world as it is,
And not as I expect it to be,
Trusting that You will know what’s good for me,
If I surrender to Your Will,
So that I may find happiness and love in this life and thereafter.
(This is a slightly adjusted version of the second part of the Serenity prayer)
All being said, it is not necessarily easy to follow through with this, because we are still very much identified with our limitations (or ego, if you prefer to call it that). Our ego is not a “bad” thing, it is a necessary construct that makes it possible for our infinite Self to exist in a dense physical body. It is a hindrance though, if we believe everything our ego tells us, because the ego is “programmed” to establish limitations.
I was not entirely fond of the fact that, apparently, it was my responsibility to change the world around me. That it was the perception of myself that allowed others to treat me badly – or in a loving way. But Loki is a very persistent teacher and relentless when He wants to get something across. So, every time I feel overwhelmed or out of control, He is there to remind me:
Nobody has any power over you, unless you give it to them. You choose how you live your life. You choose what you think of yourself. You choose how you perceive the world and people around you.
But He also tells me that the underlying, all-pervading consciousness of the universe is Love. And if I find it inside my heart to align myself with a higher consciousness, eg. the state of Love, things flow in a different way. A respectful and compassionate attitude towards myself is most important. I do my best to change my attitude, and, no, it does not always work! I still get angry, I get annoyed, I feel helpless and desperate and victimised. But not like I used to. Not even an iota from what I used to feel like.
Which finally brings us back to chaos theory…
Chaotic systems always have so called “strange attractors” that allow the system to self-organise and stabilise, find a new equilibrium.
Something Loki showed me through the inherent connection of innocence and chaos, is that Sigyn (Loki’s consort) brings Loki balance. If Loki represents a chaotic system, Sigyn represents the “strange attractors” that bring order to chaos. Sigyn’s qualities are all qualities of the heart. Sweetness, innocence, softness, compassion, kindness, strength, joy, beauty, … Sigyn lives from her heart. The heart is the only place inside were we can easily unite polarities, and it is the place in which we connect to our Higher Self, our Source. So, since the underlying energy of everything is a consciousness of Love, I believe that it is one of the strongest attractors that pulls chaos back into order, and that this is the easiest way to balance Chaos.
Love is not about pretending that everything is fine, or that I am feeling great, when I am feeling crappy – it is rather about self-respect, about knowing what is good for me and what is harmful. Love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves, as David Bowie so adequately sings.
“Love takes more than crystals and rainbows, it takes discipline and practice. It’s not just a sweet sentiment … It is a radical commitment to a different way of being, a mental response to life that is completely at odds with the thinking of the world.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
The intelligence operating in everything – is a loving, all-inclusive one. It is the natural order of the universe and we can make a conscious choice to align ourselves with it.
Most of us create from fear, and as long as we do so, we will bring more fear into ourselves and the world.
If we bring fear or anger into the equation things will escalate. We all know what happens when individuals do whatever they want – it has brought us to where we are today. We develop the tendency to hurt and destroy each other, and we do not stop there, we also destroy the place we live in, because we fail to comprehend that everything is interconnected.
The trouble with Chaos – and the trouble with Loki is – that they both give us what we need, rather than what we want, so that we can find a healthier and better equilibrium. Loki is an amazingly peaceful god, but we constantly throw our own imperfections at Him, and then complain when He actually responds and tries to transform them. I have heard people say that when they ask Loki for help, He does help them in what they want, but they are usually thrown into chaos in the wake of it – we fail to see that this is Loki’s “help”. His help to show us where we can adjust, adept and progress in our life. What other god has the humility to give you what you want and what you need without being asked? Odin, definitely. Many are afraid to ask Him, because Loki exposes our own weaknesses to us, not out of maliciousness but in order to transform them. To raise our consciousness up one or two notches and settle it in a new, higher equilibrium. But how many of us really understand this? When chaos hits, most of us let ourselves go down rather than up (I am speaking from experience).
This is why Loki is unpredictable and terrifying to some, because we fail to see His complex nature, and His constant willingness to shape and mould our consciousness.
Love as a creative force, always starts with loving and respecting ourselves.
Most of us want a peaceful world, want to be loved, want to get along, want to work together, because other human beings are nothing less but extensions of ourselves, similar to the arms and legs of our body. And the force that connects us is the consciousness of Love.
When the power of love
Replaces the love of power
Man will have a new name – God.
Looking into chaos and complexity has broadened my own very limited understanding of who Loki is. What He is. He is a force of Chaos. A representative of chaos consciousness and our connection to the latter.
It makes it obvious why He is so active in our time – just like chaos science is shifting our perception of the universe to a more wholesome one, the God of Chaos, is shifting our consciousness to a new level, a more natural level. As a God of Fire, He is a God of Illumination – even though some people may not wish to hear this.
We can clearly see the paradigm shift reflected everywhere, especially in the chaos that surrounds us. We have been living the illusion of a linear world, which is now disintegrating to allow us to accept the truth. The Truth is that we live in a chaotic, complex system that is constantly evolving and progressing. The new consciousness is one closer to nature, and therefore closer to Chaos, so we will have to make a choice. Are we ready and willing for a quantum leap (because this is how change manifests in chaotic systems) or do we resist change and leave?
Loki is not so much an agent of Chaos who attempts to disturb our lives, I see Him more as a Midwife who is here to help humanity give birth to a new consciousness. Which kind of makes Him a lot less frightening, doesn’t it?
To sum it all up, taking Chaos science into account, the God of Chaos is not a god who causes disruption, destruction and disorder, but rather a god who represents the primordial consciousness of Chaos that exists beyond duality, beyond Time and from which everything was born. The supreme intelligence, the creative force that once it touches our life, dissolves all limitations and confinements in order to bring us back to our original state of oneness.
Chaos cannot be defined, it is inherently paradoxical by nature, ever moving, ever evolving, and ever-transcending.
This is Loki – as I know Him.
PS: The next parts of the Chaos series will explore Loki in mythology and His role in healing and psychology.