A gripping memoir about the fated love affair between a Hindu monk and a Western woman in the Indian Himalayas.
Meeting Shiva is a spiritual memoir. Tiziana, a single woman in her mid-thirties, is at the end of an adventurous overland trip through the Himalayas, which she embarked on to search for her tantric soul mate. When the soul mate hasn’t materialized after eight months of wandering through Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan and India, she decides to go home. Before her departure, she sets out on a final mountain trip. It is here that she meets Rudra, the man she has been waiting for all her life. But there is a catch: Rudra is a sannyasi, a celibate Hindu monk who lives in an austere ashram in the remote Himalayas. The two get drawn into an intense, romantic relationship that soon spirals out of control as Tiziana is drawn into a past long forgotten that ultimately leads her through pain and misery to healing and transformation.
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Meeting Shiva could most succinctly be described as a spiritual autobiography, but it is many things. I’m usually totally turned off by anything that suggests ‘how I found enlightenment’ or ‘my personal tale of growth and redemption’ but this is a beautiful and inspiring book, and not at all what you might expect from spiritual autobiography as a genre. It helps that nothing about it suggests that this is one of those tales of magical transformation with a subtext that you too could have a perfect life if only you managed to be as good as the author. Rather than dangling impossible carrots out the reader’s reach, what Tiziana Stupia offers is a profoundly feet-of-clay story about real emotions, real turmoil and the on-going quest for healing. There are no magical solutions, no all-knowing mystic gurus, nothing smug. Instead there is a courageous degree of honesty, and a story through which many people may be able to reflect productively on their own experiences. I had the pleasure of meeting Tiziana a few times during the period when we both lived in the Midlands. An elfin, self-possessed seeming creature, she certainly had a power to fascinate, and when she set off to travel the world, I followed her blog with interest. Tiziana is an engaging writer with a travel author’s knack for evoking places the reader probably hasn’t seen. This is very much a part of Meeting Shiva, as it covers the end part of her journey, the bit that, for technical reasons (lack of internet) we blog followers did not get to see. It is a strange thing, to meet someone a few times, and then share, through a book, this kind of emotional intimacy. It is a very profound sharing, and I deeply respect what she’s done here. Meeting Shiva explores the dynamic between our spiritual lives and our love lives, by telling the tale of what happened during the author’s brief, intense and clearly doomed affair with a monk. This was a relationship that stripped her soul bare, and sharing that process is powerful. I found myself reflecting on my own experiences and reactions, and seeing aspects of my own life in a different light as a consequence. It is only by telling true tales of our love experiences that we can start to overcome the poisonous and misleading tales our culture holds about what love is and how it works. Those fairy story beliefs so often set us up to fail. If, like me, you followed the Travelling Priestess blog then you have to read this to find out how the story ends. If you are interested in India, and an in-depth encounter with Hindu practice, this book has a great deal to offer you. If you are tired of self-help books about how to fix your love life and heal your soul, try this one because it doesn’t offer all the answers, but it will show you some very good questions to be asking. A powerful, provocative read, I can very much recommend taking it on, and challenging yourself to find the same levels of emotional honesty. ~ Nimue Brown, Goodreads.com
I am in the middle of reading your book, and couldn't wait to tell you how good it is! Not only is really well written and you just want keep reading, but it is like I am reading my own story! There are so many parallels. And more than that, I think it tells the story of many, many women, and it is good to know, that we are not alone, but that we have many sisters on this planet. Thank you for sharing your experiences. ~ Shivapriya, letter to author
Thought-provoking, with plenty of personal resonance reflecting the stage of enfoldment that is part of many people's spiritual awakening. Insights into the social and cultural differences that create and destroy relationships of this type. An enjoyable read. ~ Sue Lilly, Goodreads.com
Tiziana invites us to join her on her outer and inner journeys of discovery. The sounds, smells, sights and characters of India rise vibrantly out of the pages. More significantly she shows us the healing power and potential of relationship when the erotic and spiritual come together. I was captivated and curious from the first paragraph. ~ Sophie Slade, Imago Relationship Therapist, Workshop Presenter and Clinical Instructor
This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary woman. 'Meeting Shiva' is about the author's search across the Himalayas, an adventurous search for love and herself. The search took her into the arms and bed of a sworn ascetic monk and beyond, into the dark spaces of her soul. What she discovered is incredibly revealing for anyone on a similar quest. She ripped the covers off of romantic love, and looked at the can of worms underneath it. Highly recommended. ~ Tony Crisp, author of 'Dream Dictionary', 'Liberating the Body' and 'Relax with Yoga'
If you’ve experienced a traumatic heartbreak, seeking spiritual wisdom or simply looking for a laugh-out-loud, cry-even-harder personal journey, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Meeting Shiva. Be prepared to have a life-changing experience. ~ Vishnu's Virtues Blog, http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/meeting-shiva/
Immediately engaging, fast-paced, exquisitely written: Tiziana takes us into the essence of love which surprises the ego with much more than it knows. The result is a story that can only come from life—and grace...makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like Madame Tussaud's by comparison... ~ Jay Ramsay, author of Crucible of Love—the alchemy of passionate relationships
Meeting Shiva’ is like an outer journey that leads you to your inner self, your inner power and your true source. From the very first moments of reading, Tiziana’s words have touched my heart and soul deeply - I felt the truth and love flowing through them. Her story is meaningful for all of us, regardless of which path we are on. Through her journey through India, it is easy to understand that we are being led and can trust that we are at the right place at the right time and that all will turn out for our highest good. Written with humor and vivid style, I truly felt that I was travelling with her. Most of all, Tiziana encourages the reader to go into her or his own journey – regardless of in which country the opening of the heart and the reconnection to our true source are to take place. This book is able to touch the heart of the reader. Simply wonder-full! ~ Katja Sundermeier, author of ‘Simply Love’ and ‘Relationship License’
Meeting Shiva is the true story of a romantic collision between a Himalayan monk under a vow of celibacy and a Western woman seeking her own spiritual truth. Elegant in its simplicity, deceptive in its depth, the book is an expedition into the realms of romantic entanglement, exploring the differences between love and lovers, sensuality and sex, reason and illusion, desire and glory. Set against a backdrop of gods and ashrams, deities and icons, temples and altars - the wild religiosities that shape India - Meeting Shiva is an encounter with raw honesty and rare openness, an insider's story of self reflection, identity and longing told by a Western voice interlaced with the wonder of the initiate. A journey of embarkation, return, release and, finally, resolution, author Tiziana Stupia's exploration of the truth of her existence is a seductive invitation to other women to uncover the truth of their own. ~ Stephanie Dale, author of My Pilgrim's Heart
What happens when a 21st-century woman goes out into the world looking for her soul mate? Seeking and finding a spiritual man to seduce and fall in love with, only to find he has mighty feet of clay, as does she, and that she has inadvertently plunged herself into the web of her own shadow projections. This is Tiziana's true story. Its a great read and eventually after much emotional delving, leads to the healing of childhood and karmic wounds. ~ Kathy Jones, author of 'Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess' and 'The Ancient British Goddess'