We are called to focus on The Beloved in people and then drop our expectations of them.
I love people. I love each person's unique perspective on life, their radiant glow, the way they smile in a way no one else does. But I also have realized - as part of a lifelong lesson reaching all the way back to childhood - that people are not the ultimate goal of life. Aside from perhaps a dozen family members and friends, people come and go in our lives. They (ourselves included) all have their own agendas, which means that they are present in our lives when we have what they need, but then leave when they eventually find greener pastures elsewhere. This realization appears to be the specialty of those of us sometimes called "The Tragic Romantic" on the Enneagram Personality Typology (Type Four): "Tragic" because we idealize people, unconsciously let them deeply inside ourselves, and then discover that doing so is actually treacherous to our emotional and spiritual health. This occurs, of course, not because people are "bad," but because they simply are not intended by the Creator to be the ultimate goal of life.
If you think of it, NONE of us currently living on the Earth will be here in another hundred years. At least not in our present form. Yet relationships with people are an absolute necessity in our lives. After all, we are innately social creatures. The answer to this dilemma is the realization that it is the DIVINE - both God and Goddess - who ever comes to us in the guise of other people. It is this Presence, we find, who is the Ultimate Beloved. Sometimes this Beloved appears in others as a supportive friend, helping reveal to us the fact that our personality and gifts are uniquely special and divine. At other times, the Beloved appears through others in the guise of a trickster, opposing or ignoring us and thus forcing us to develop our own inner fierceness and independence.
We all need other people to help us make a living through purchasing and benefiting from our goods or services, but rarely do they last for long in our lives. Again, this is OK, for it is ever the Beloved who appears in our lives through their temporary financial or emotional support. For a time, the Beloved helps support us through one set of people. Then those people eventually move on, and another set appears. Faith is required on our part when there is a gap in time between the two groups of supporters. But this gap is intended by the Beloved to teach us to develop a steely yet elastic faith. Indeed, there is no other way for this sacred quality to manifest itself and grow. May each of us find the grace to discover and live within that faith.
Photo: Wild Rose leaves, Aspen tree and rocks, Gem Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, October 31, 2015
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I am available for one-on-one sessions giving instruction in Wilderness Insight Meditation, or for spiritual direction / mentoring via phone or Skype. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. The rate is $65 per hour-long session. You might also want to check out my Spiritual Direction with Stephen Hatch Facebook page.
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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.