2010 Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev
We yearn – in our deepest hearts – not to take but to give, and in that giving to deeply receive. Sexuality is the model for this, because there one single act contains within it both giving and receiving. The same is true, however, in all of our relationships. Every interpersonal relation is an iridescent web of exchange. We each have a piece of each other’s story. A lover’s exchange is when I invest myself in our relationship sufficiently – that over time I share with you the piece of your story which I carry with me, and I receive from you the piece of my story that you carry with you. It may be an idea, an experience, a perspective, a song, a moment of intimacy or a thousand other possibilities. The nature of the world is that every significant meeting we have is choreographed in order to return to us a precious missing piece.
It is said that a true master is only able to give to his disciple if he is first able to fully receive him. This is accomplished by finding the spark of the disciple in his soul.
One Sunday morning the Mittler Master was seen to be exceedingly troubled. When queried by his students, he replied – Whenever someone comes to me with a sin – I help him to heal by first finding that sin in myself. This morning however someone came to me but I cannot help, for I cannot find it in myself.
In the written tradition the story ends here. In the inner circle it is told that a man whose wife had died, had come to the master. The man had refused to bury his wife immediately; instead he had sexual intercourse with her lifeless body several times before he took her for burial. The master simply did not know how to receive this story in himself and was thus unable to give healing. That is until the following morning when he is reported to have come to prayer services full of good spirit. Apparently he had found a way to locate this sin in himself. How? He answered, “In my prayer, I kept dancing in ecstasy for a few seconds after the ecstasy had gone!”
Israel, Master of the name, said to each student, “I am dependent on you; without you a part of my teaching can never be heard in the world.” And so it is with us. For we are all teachers and all students. And so it is with God. Every human being is a prism which can uniquely refract a particular color in the spectrum of divine light. We are all God’s faces.
The Erotic and the Holy