God, Mystery, as Lover
There is a natural progression to the spiritual journey. For instance, it is natural to experience the divine/god as father, at least in western religious culture. Why? Because as children, the first place we experienced love and connection to something bigger than ourselves (if our parents did a good enough job) was with our parents. The divine as parental love is a natural starting place. We just weren’t meant to stop there. Our entire experience of the divine cannot exist inside a parent/child dynamic….that is much to small. It also keeps us in the role of a child…forever, keeping us small, subservient, unable to fully trust ourselves (someone bigger always knows best) and keeps us looking outside ourselves for acceptance, love, direction and meaning. Always hoping the big parent in the sky will pat us on the head and say, good job, little one. That’s great as far as it goes, it just doesn’t go very far. If your parents remained the only source you had for love, affection, direction, self worth etc, it would be a really unhealthy relationship, codependent, actually. In my church experience, I remember how ‘advanced’ I felt when I could go from calling god, Father, as in Father God, to god as Abba, which means daddy. Might seem weird to the non-religious, but to us, it was a place to arrive to, a place more intimate than the previous god place, the divine coming closest as ‘daddy’. Depending on your relationship with your own dad, this could be seen as a great and healing thing. I did not realize, however, that it still kept me in the role of child, young, dependent, small, untrustworthy, sinful, in need of discipline and correction, looking outside myself for love and belonging and in need of rescuing from my child self. My next stage of growth was to see god as mother. Whoa! This was something I was never encouraged or allowed to do. In my church upbringing, we said that god had no gender, but HE definitely did. HE might have had feminine qualities, sometimes, but HE was in fact, a HE. So, a healthy, natural progression on the spiritual journey is to find god as SHE. (But lets not stay here either). Oh, that reminds me of a growth principle. Transcend AND include. That’s what we do. We go beyond where we were but we include what has gone before. So, so far we have the divine as god, father, daddy and now mother. (Funny that I never did call the divine mommy….doesn’t seem right so that makes me question daddy….but I digress). I explored god as mother, the divine feminine and then even as goddess. I know! Gutsy! Church upbringing never allowed god as goddess! So make sure in your journey you explore that too. It’s important. I loved finding this fierce, feminine side of my spirituality. I also loved discovering what the church had done to tame her or cover her up altogether. It was a missing piece of the puzzle. Make no mistake, the divine feminine, she be fierce. I loved seeing myself in the divine too…the feminine, like me. I learned the history, or HERstory, as it were, all the sacred sights that were built to honour her that the church covered up with dedications to male disciples, to sacred wells, honouring the divine feminine. I highly recommend this exploration. At the very least, we need to expand our story from parenthood of the divine to the divine masculine AND the divine feminine. Keep going. Where do I think it all leads? To an encounter with the divine as lover. I know, THAT was never talked about in Sunday school. God as lover. We survive our childhood because we had parents that gave us life. Hopefully, if they did a good enough job, and we have healed the places in us that needed to heal, we move into the phase of our lives, the adult phase where we don’t just survive, we THRIVE, and we thrive as LOVER. We become a lover and are met by one. This is adult love. This is not parent/child love. This is intimate giving and taking. This kind of loving takes us deeply inside ourselves and deeply into another. This is god as mirror. This is god as in-to-me-see. This is a place of knowing myself intimately, of knowing another intimately, of trusting myself and trusting another. This is as deep as we can get with another. If our love relationships are good, we will reflect our lover back to them and they to us. We will see our own beauty, depth, capabilities reflected in their eyes, and so will they. We will become the best version of ourselves. We will enliven each other. This is partnership, equal footing, reciprocity. This is not a top down, parent/child dynamic. This is more. Soul to soul, lovers, revelatory, exposed, wide open, expansive, evolving, sharpening, eye opening love. Do you see the difference? If god is my parent, I will always be a child, and most likely, I will be stuck trying to be a good child, or repenting for being a rebellious one. I will be trying to get my child needs met, but I will still be a dependent child, never fully trusting myself. But with god/goddess, the divine, mystery as LOVER, well, now my lover is in me, around me, a part of me. Now I engage with the world, not as an eternal child, afraid of being in trouble, but as an awakened lover, seeing my lover everywhere, calling to me, seeking me, loving me. I rise to my most embodied, connected, erotic self. I move beyond the limits of childhood, to the unending possibilities of adulthood. I trust the divine lover in and around me. I live in mutual giving and taking, mutual trust, mutual expansion. My lover becomes more aware of themselves through our love just as I become more aware of myself. Mutual discovery and awakening. Yes, we start as children in relationship to parents but we were never meant to stay there. God, the goddess, the divine, mystery….it is my lover and I, its lover. We are equal partners, co-creating this beautiful life. If you have only ever experienced god as parent, I encourage you to keep going. There is more. Ask the divine to reveal itself as lover…and then do what someone seeking their lover would do. Become the lover, make yourself available, call to your lover. Get ready, it’s the ride of your life.