“You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with just one glance of your eyes, with just one jewel of your necklace . . . Turn your eyes away from me; for they overwhelm me!”
Song of Songs 3:9 and 6:5
Some of the Cistercian monks of the 12th century - most notably Bernard of Clairvaux, Gilbert of Hoyland and John of Ford - had a very deep experience of the fact that God - the Ultimate Mystery - is utterly enamored with and overcome by the beauty of the human soul. It is for this reason that whenever they read these two verses from the Song of Songs, they understood that when the Beloved seems absent from our experience - having seemingly turned away from us - it is not out of disinterest or disdain, but because our inner being is so POWERFULLY ATTRACTIVE.
As we might imagine, "Turn away" is actually a playful way of saying: "Show me MORE!" And this, I would argue, is precisely what the Divine Lover is doing when he and she seems absent. Are we ready, I wonder, to view our own soul and personality as THAT intensely beautiful and powerful in the eyes of our Source? I suggest we try looking at our relationship in precisely this manner. For in doing so, we will discover a fresh and vibrant self-confidence, grounded in The Beloved, that we never knew we had!
Photo: Magenta Paintbrush and a misty Mount Rainier, Mount Rainier National Park, WA, Summer, 2013
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.