Who is YOUR Ultimate Beloved?
As Valentine's Day approaches and many people find themselves without a partner, I cannot emphasize enough the fact that for all of us, both single and partnered, our primary Beloved IS - and has always been - something much Larger, Vaster and Deeper than another person.
Theologian Paul Tillich used to point out to his students that all of us in the modern age are children of Nominalism. That is, we tend to believe that universals - or universal Presences - exist in name only and have no true reality. Unfortunately, we tend to act as though only individual things exist. In the context of romantic love, we think that both we and our partner are simply individuals who fall in love, with nothing Greater indwelling each of us or circulating between us.
By contrast, a spiritual perspective always looks to see how individual beings are grounded in something deeper and more Universal. In the case of eros, the sacred feminine (the Goddess) and the sacred masculine (God) underlie all of our relationships, regardless of whether we are gay or straight, bisexual or transgendered . When we approach relationship in this way, we realize that each of us is meant to be a window through to a deeper, vaster Reality, and that each of us therefore is chock-full of divine mystery. When we view one another in this way, our relationships take on a quality of freshness, newness and holiness.
These God and Goddess realities reveal themselves to each person in a fresh and unique way. For some of us, Nature - or Wilderness - is a primary place for discovering and practicing our love affair with these divine energies. I am definitely in this category. Many of us also discover these Presences residing within our own inner being. For example, when I'm in touch with my own longing and desire, I experience these energies as the presence of the Sacred Feminine dwelling within me. Rather than identifying with my desire, I instead enter into a love affair with it - or rather, with Her. And for me this is a very healing experience, for I end up discovering what I am seeking right WITHIN me. For other people, perhaps music, art, different cultures or philosophy may become the primary Beloved. I view philosophy this way, and I relate to insight as a feminine Presence - "Sophia" - who visits me and enlivens my entire being: body, emotions, soul and intellect.
No matter who you are, you are called to find a Larger Beloved and enter into a primary love affair with THAT. And when you do, your intimate human relationships will reveal themselves as even MORE fulfilling than they are now, for you will not demand that they provide you with the love that only The Beloved - whether He, She, or It - can provide :)
Photo: Partridge-foot, hiker and a misty Mount Rainier, Mount Rainier National Park, WA
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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.