May 9, 2018
After the first date with my wife I went home and told my parents that I had met my bride. I was smitten. I knew I had found romantic love, but little did I know I was a very long way from spiritual love. In fact, I was clueless. It took years of trying to understand ourselves and each other before we could truly even understand what spiritual love meant.
B’shert is a Yiddish word that translates to: “a person’s soulmate.” It extends far beyond romantic love. With the exception of arranged marriages, we often hear young brides and grooms proclaim they have found their soulmate, regardless of their religious affiliation. It’s a nice thought, and maybe their love will become spiritual at some point, but, though they may have found their romantic soulmate, they, too, would be clueless about having a spiritual soulmate. Spiritual love takes years to develop and many obstacles to overcome.
I’m reminded of my freshman year in college. I enrolled in a class taught by a professor who was internationally renown in his field. He asked to see me after the first class. He told me he did not allow freshmen in his class. Being a brash 18-year old, I asked why. He said that freshmen did not possess the maturity to get everything he thought students should get out of his class. I made him a deal. I would go through the whole semester, do all the assignments, and take all the tests. If I did not meet his standards, he should fail me, and I would not question his decision. He told me I had “moxie,” an old-fashioned word that means guts, chutzpah, nerve. I got an “A” in his class, but it was only years later that I really understood why he wanted me to wait. He was right. I missed out on much of the “spiritual” part of the information.
Spiritual love work is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Like layers of an onion, the depth of love can only be experienced a layer at a time. Spiritual love is what two people have when all the other layers have been peeled back, revealing their true inner selves, when the two almost become a part of each other. There are those who will say that becoming one with another is not healthy, that it’s enmeshment. Spiritual love does not mean you are no longer you. It means the two of you are intertwined with each other like a strand of DNA. Sociologist tell us it takes three decades of hard work and self-sacrifice to get to that point. Trust me, it will be well worth it. There will be no greater experience than spiritual love. It’s when mind, body, and soul meld into one. It’s when we become a conduit for true, unconditional love. Don’t be in a rush to figure it out. Embrace the journey. My wish for all of you is to get to that special place of spiritual love.
Until next time, this is Dr. Andrewtelling you to “Be kind to yourself.”