This is the first installment of a story about cosmic LOVE and human love. Like many mystical or mythical stories, its truth is found not so much in the precision of factual matters – though many facts support this story – but more in how it touches our hearts and guides our lives.
A LOVE Story: The Prologue
Once upon a time, in the very beginning before there was time, there was NO-THING, a sacred silence, a profound-intelligent-creative emptiness, a fertile void. Physicists refer to a singularity. Religions speak of GOD or the TAO.
From this fertile emptiness, there flared forth a great blossoming. NO-THING exploded into LOVE, a hot dance of birth and death and re-birth. LOVE, gradually cooling at precisely the right rate, unfolded and expanded into all that is this universe - everything we see and everything we don’t see.
In this story, LOVE is the energy of everything and the essence of everything. Each galaxy, star, and planet, each rock, each tree, each animal, and each human is an expression of LOVE.
LOVE and all its manifestations are imbued with three essential principles or qualities of being: UNIQUENESS, ONENESS, and RELATIONSHIP. Each everything is totally unique, absolutely one and inescapably in relationship.
One day, these cosmic qualities decided to reveal their nature.
UNIQUENESS said, “I am ONENESS in RELATIONSHIP with itself.”
ONENESS said, “I am the deepest expression of UNIQUENESS in RELATIONSHIP.”
RELATIONSHIP said, “I am the eternal dance of UNIQUENESS and ONENESS.”
They defined themselves in terms of each other, as if they were intertwined, as if none existed separately from the others.
In graduate school, I was taught to mistrust circular definitions. While my mind gets lost in the circle and struggles to comprehend, at another level it all makes sense to me, since everything in the universe is one big circle anyway.
As a psychologist, marital therapist and lifelong student of interpersonal living, I am most interested in the cosmic principle or quality of being called RELATIONSHIP. RELATIONSHIP is quite the mystery – this never-ending dance of UNIQUENESS and ONENESS.
ONENESS says: “You and he/she are one.” UNIQUENESS says: “You and he/she are two.” And both of them are telling the truth.
Since RELATIONSHIP at the cosmic level of being is so mysterious and paradoxical, it’s no surprise that we humans find the doing of relationship so baffling and so challenging.
Human relationships mirror cosmic RELATIONSHIP. It’s our attempt to translate being into doing. We are trying to remember, realize and actualize who we are. We are RELATIONSHIP, and so we try to the best of our ability to do relationship. We are LOVE, and so we seek to express love, to do love, to make love.
Inevitably, we bumble and stumble in our attempts to love well. As we form our deepest relationships, we are dancing, not only with the cosmic mysteries of UNIQUENESS and ONENESS, but also with the polarities and contradictions of the human heart. We hunger for the magical experience of ecstatic union, where boundaries and barriers are transcended. At the same time, we yearn for the freedom and autonomy to develop and celebrate the unique, one-of-a-kind self each of us is.
Predictably, in this dance, we get out of balance. In our hunger for oneness, we may forget about uniqueness and push for a merging of identities, confusing sameness for oneness. Or we can focus in an exaggerated way on uniqueness and individuality, becoming so single-minded in building, protecting and enhancing personal identity that we create isolation and separation. Of course, we struggle.
The desire for close connection is built into the fabric of who we are. Life beckons us to the dance floor of relationship. We yearn to master the dance steps – to find skillful and balanced ways to move with life’s music. We search…
Stay tuned for the next installment: A Love Story: The Dance.