Answering the Call of the Beloved
The Beloved is Calling to us every day...
...and we must pay attention in order to respond.
How many invitations am I missing every day?
"When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness, according to a landmark study ... The demise of marriages begins with a growing absence of responsive intimate interactions. The conflict comes later."
-- Dr. Sue Johnson in Hold Me Tight
At every instant and from every side resounds the call of Love. Let the caller and the called disappear. Be lost in the Call. -- Rumi
Magical Practice: Noticing the Call and responding
This practice is more difficult than a solitary meditation, because putting magic into service in our relationships is always where the rubber hits the road. The key to noticing the Call of Love is to recognize that we beings are all looking for one thing -- to love and be loved -- to connect with each other. Of course, we have different ways of calling, and when we don't feel a response sometimes our calls get obnoxious and don't look like love anymore. But the truth is we are all calling all the other beings all the time, longing to be reminded we are all One, and in particular we call for connection to those whom we love most dearly. Here's an example. My cat keeps jumping on the table while I'm writing. He knows he's not allowed on the table, but every time I toss him off he just jumps right back up there and flops his furry self on the clean tablecloth, or walks across the keyboard! It's hopelessly aggravating. On the other hand, as soon as I pick him up and rub his chin, he purrs enthusiastically, snuggles for a bit, and then wanders off, satisfied, to take a bath on top of a cardboard box. No more jumping on the table, no more struggling about the "boundaries" and the "rules." I said "yes," instead of "no," to what he was really asking for, and, secure in his connection to the Goddess in his life, he now feels free to leave me alone to accomplish my chosen task in peace. As I'm working on the next phase of MAGIC -- G for generosity and gratitude -- I'm learning about what is really needed to increase the flows of loving energy between lovers and, well, between me and the world in general. One of my inspirations recently has been Dr. Sue Johnson's work. In her therapy sessions with distressed couples she sees long time lovers suffering from missing each other's cues for bonding. Not responding to the call of the beloved causes pain, loneliness, and, ultimately conflict. Answering the call, on the other hand, creates a flood of biochemical bonding that helps us feel contentedly secure in the relationship, on a physical level, and allows couples to consciously create a happy marriage, even after having endured years of feelings of rejection and alienation. Clearly it is an important magical skill of creating relationships to recognize and respond to these energetic calls for connection. My cat (bless him) is quite persistent and keeps coming back to say it again, louder, when I am clueless that he is wanting my affectionate touch. What do my partner's calls look, feel, or sound like? My kids? My parents? My colleagues? My students? The person taking my order at the coffee shop? Am I paying attention and responding, giving them the love they're asking for from me? What opportunities for connection am I passing by, because I'm not really present with my loved ones, and simply don't notice their bids for reassurance of our bond? What seeds of insecurity and suffering do I sow with my unconscious daily rejections of their requests for my love? What calls am I misinterpreting, compounding the suffering? What about my own emotions and inner personas? They get louder and I distract myself more, but what do they ask of me but my attention, my validation? Notice they exist, give them a little kiss and a pat on the head. "Yes, you're right, I see what message you're bringing me. Thank you." And they'll wander off again and take a nap on a cardboard box. What about the gods? The gods thrive on our love and attention -- in fact, the nectar of "ambrosia" that the gods rely upon for their sustenance is nothing other than love. Giving the gods our attention and devotion feeds them, and contributes to their good work in the world directly. My daily devotional practice is not just about me. It is a loving service, a gift of connection I give my pantheon of Allies. Broadening the scope of this practice another step, the focus meditation in self-Mastery introduces us to the Beings behind all the ordinary objects in our lives. They also appreciate being noticed and honored. What invitations have I passed up to appreciate the beauty around me today? Or the familiar usefulness of my tools? Are there any "objects" out there that don't need our loving attention? According to quantum physics, if no one is looking at the moon, it can't really assume existence, and is only there in potential. I owe it to all the beings around me -- my Beloved in all her forms -- to grant them existence through saying yes to the call to give my attention. It only takes a moment... the present moment... Treating our surroundings as if the world were composed of things rather than constantly being co-created by living Beings creates suffering and disconnection. As soon as I step out of that distracted state and give my attention, everything and everyone becomes real and every moment absolutely precious. Even if what is happening is painful, I can claim my power to affect it because I am in the moment, participating in its creation. What happens when I ask for love myself, and get turned down, by someone who isn't present, and doesn't hear my call? I pull back, triggered, and curl up energetically around the pain, sometimes with prickles out, like a porcupine. It's so hard to stay vulnerable in the face of insensitivity and rejection. I may need to go within and give my soft inner lover belly a little compassion before I can communicate what I need again, perhaps more clearly this time, and apologize for the damage my spines may have caused. Maybe I ask for connection instead from someone else who is able to be open at the present moment. But the answer isn't to disengage, numb out the pain with distractions, and walk around defended and unconscious. That only deepens my own distress and makes me more likely to inadvertently cause pain to those I love the most, by missing their cues. What if I practiced giving my full attention to everyone's bids for connection around me? Greetings and goodbyes, dinner table conversations, a daily check-in, a kiss good morning and good night. Noticing the looks on my students' faces as we recite a verse to begin the lesson. Noticing the wilting of the plants in the sun outside my window. Noticing my kids' or my friends' reaching out to share an upsetting incident in their lives. Relieving the suffering of loneliness just by saying 'Yes, I see you. I care," in whatever way is asked for. A look. A smile. A hug. A lover's kiss. A tip. A drink of water. A listening ear. I am reminded of someone who was precious to me in my teenage years. When I shared with her what was going on with me, she would look me right in the eye, smile until her face lit up, and say "Yes!" with such fervor that I could feel in that moment I was the only person in her world. How rare, and how sweet, especially in this era of multi-tasking, to be completely present for each other and to say "yes" to the call of the Beloved. Ironically, in being deeply seen and responded to, we no longer feel ourselves to be individuals, but dissolve into the bliss of Oneness. As Rumi says, in those moments of deep connection the caller and the called disappear -- we forget our egos, merge together, and are lost in the Call itself -- we rediscover that, in our inmost inner temples, we ourselves are made of the stuff of the Call -- we are all Love. Let's try listening for the Call and saying "Yes!" and see what happens... Love and Magic, WildCat