Saying For Today: In true affection the ungarbed heart of one meets the ungarbed heart of the other, finding that really there was always only one heart seeking to commune with itself in primal innocence and timeless grace.
Brian Wilcox. 'Androscoggin River Series no. 2'
the Totally Other draws close through another becoming in this Embrace no longer other
infinite distances meet in the intimacy of Here
Today, this 'story' may appear to be only my story, that is not true. For there is only a single longing and only one love to meet that longing in heart-with-heart. And we are each broken, wounded, in our different ways, while healing arises in the one mutual Embrace. Where? Where Love loves Love.
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A Scripture from the Jewish Bible, or TaNaK, comes to mind over the last days, recalled from when I was a ministry student many years prior. Though it might sound archaic to postmodern ears, I could sense a timeless wisdom clothed in the means of that time. Words attributed to a prophet named Jeremiah ~ "My people have erred in two ways. They have forsaken me, the spring of living waters. And they have dug wells, cracked wells unable to hold water." I could see how many in my culture were trying to find romantic love based on the ideas of romantic love popularized by a people who had lost touch with the Sacred. A major communicator of this love was through music. Yet, this popularized idea could not see or express what the heart longed for and, I knew, to have less than what the heart longs for, that is like having a well that cannot hold water. To long for true affection and settle for the acculturated idea of love, in whatever shape that love would take ~ familial, friendship, romantic, ... ~ would not work, leading to more heartache and more seeking, while the water would keep running out of our wells. The living water of true affection would arise only in heart-with-heart; and in Spirit, so spirit-with-spirit, that is the only compatibility that is priority and means to true affection, rather than false affections. In true affection the ungarbed heart of one meets the ungarbed heart of the other, finding that really there was always only one heart seeking to commune with itself in primal innocence and timeless grace.
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She replies to the poem I had sent earlier in the morning, saying she will call me the following day, our first time to hear each other's voice. She inquires as to it being okay for us to meet, for a first time, the day after. Of course, succinctly summarizes my reply. She says she does not recall telling me she is 5-years-old at heart; I reply that I could see that from her photos. I write that I had no recall of telling her how shy I can be initially.
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I had had no intent ever to approach the dating scene again, even to think again of being in relationship lover-with-lover. I had been single about a decade, had not dated anyone in seven years, and had been quite content about it. I saw myself as a solitary, and I was in love with Life.
Then, oddly, after those years, a sense of a lover arose, that that was in the destiny. This split the veil open to the possibility that I was not to remain in my contented solitude as a single solitary. I opened up to the possibility intimated in the Silence and acted from that inner inspiration, reluctantly.
Hence, sharing online about meeting, on a rainy-soaked Saturday morning at the river. Here, oddly, but it feeling so right, making plans with her. This felt good and still surprising. Yet, too, was the surprise with the comfort with it all.
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The same day, later, I returned to words from Doris Grumbach, now 101 years old, while the words were written from a time alone in her Maine home, when she was age 75. I had read these words weeks before, and immediately the truth of them spoke to me, especially since I had lived for years in relative solitude, alone. Grumbach took 50 days, chronicled in her 50 Days in Solitude, to experiment with solitude, while I had lived it for many years, interrupted only briefly a couple of seasons.
Thinking of Simone Weil, the saintly Jewish philosopher who hesitated on the threshold of Christianity, I took down my copy of Gravity and Grace which she wrote almost fifty years ago. With the kind of luck which had marked most of my reading during the fifty days, I opened to this: "Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned by any affection. Keep your isolation. The day, if it ever comes when you are given true affection, there will be no opposition between interior solitude and friendship, quiet the reverse."
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Earlier in life I had lived 17 years with a dear woman, and we shared true affection. The relationship ended peacefully, I feel blessed to have known the genuine love. One reason we parted was the wish for more, as our relationship had been somewhat like friends trying to be lovers. She and I longed for a lover. Neither of us were to blame, and neither of us ever expressed other than love for each other. Our true affection was true.
The following three relationships since, these lacked the true affection Weil speaks of and that my heart longed for. Oddly, these relationships were passionate sexually, but that true affection was not present. I, in a sense, lost myself in them, I lost the spirit of solitude. I lost my way. I decided to retire from seeking the passionate-with-true-affection, settling into my monk-like life as the spiritual contemplative, living vows taken some 20 years prior, ardently in the unwalled monastery of the world.
As a solitary I could channel passion into the true affection of my life-long connection with Grace. From a small child, I had felt in-Love with the Mystery, the Great Unknown. Yet, invisible Grace being intangible, one cannot physically touch Grace, cannot hold Grace in mutual embrace, cannot laugh together with Grace. This Mystery is always, though so near, always just outside the finger tips search for a clearer knowing and more intimate touch. I wanted someone totally within reach, while embodying the same solitude, so to join heart-with-heart, aloneness-with-aloneness. In this meeting of solitude, the mystery within each shares and, so, is enhanced in and through the body. I wanted to hold someone and be held by someone, and I now knew one does not have to sacrifice his or her solitude in the sharing of it with another. I knew in such mutual-embrace of heart, through body-with-body, solitude can be enhanced, rather than diminished. I knew what Weil knew and so well articulated from her experience. Possibly, now I was first clearly seeing this. Indeed, for some time I had grown suspicious of the exaltation of solitude as being apart from others, seeing that the claim that one is thereby more holy, or spiritual, or closer to his or her God, or ... is not necessarily at all true. Rather, one can be in solitude among others, and share that with others in the common interactions of the day and night.
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So, on this rainy day, seven years since the last relationship ended, possibly it was a time in which I was finally prepared and ready to be blessed with a lover to share true affection with. It seemed so, and I could only trust that the inner inspiration was true and would come true now or in time. I realized that I could not decide that if or when or where or with whom, but if it were true affection, it would arise to meet me, and I meet it in reciprocity of heart.
What was most important, and what possibly took decades to ready me for, and the fruit of the years of being alone, was being a lover with a lover sharing love in which solitude meets solitude. I knew my heart longed to meet the depth of another, not merely a casual friendship or passionate lover, and our share that depth of and in Spirit. I knew I was not willing to welcome other than true affection, nor was I seeking to disturb the solitude of anyone, but to meet it in respect, even reverence, and share it lovingly, so that the togetherness would be worship and the body a conduit of Grace. Yes, even sex, in shared solitude, is the sharing of Temple with Temple, a rite as sacred as any ever in a gathering of worship in mosque, temple, church, or elsewhere.
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I, also, had grown over the years to realize how sacred is the meeting of body-with-body. This meeting can occur in a simple, friendly handshake or an intermingling in sexual embrace. That the body is the meeting point of spirit-with-spirit, or heart-with-heart. Then, from this timeless union in time, even if for one moment, true affection can arise in all its silent glory. This does not arise immediately from the will to love another, certainly not the wish for friendship or the most ardent coitus, but from the love arising from within the connection that happens between two by Grace alone. For the true affection comes as a gift, and the response is gratitude and praise. And not merely praise of some God, but praise of the other who is no longer merely another, for Beauty has met Beauty in the intimacy of the single Heart. For, in this, in the traditional image of much religion: God loves God within God. Such is this intimacy we each long for!
Brian Wilcox. 'Kennebec River~Winter Series no. 2'
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*The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.