Awakening in Relationship

I think we are moving perhaps in the direction of a space where it is possible to address questions of awakening and what-happens-after without so much judgment and confusion and drama. Perhaps we are getting clear on the simplicity. Perhaps we are focusing on the helpful work and the relationships which make that work light.

The other is a way of seeing, especially when we love them a great deal. Love is a way of seeing our own self in a lightened way. I mean this literally. The other is a lens and what we see through that lens is what we are, and when we are in love with this other, then we see ourselves as both beloved and loving, and if we are truly blessed then we see that there is only love, and both self and other dissolve utterly. There is only relationship; there was always only relationship.

Naturally this happens in bodies – in our apparent structure as human beings – which I experience always as deeply confusing. I want to make love and bake bread and walk hand-in-hand in the forest and wake early and boil water for tea. Naturally that is all lovely and important but it is only a shallow expression of love. I don’t mean “shallow” here in a negative sense. I just mean that it is local and temporal, and love is so much more than that. It is bigger than that – cosmically bigger, infinitely bigger.

The work, in part, is to see this: to see that the love brought forth in the structure for the structure is not created by the structure. If that is clear, it becomes possible to see beyond the structure, or sense beyond it, and thus be liberated from it in the sense of having to identify with it in toto.

The other that we love is the way that this cosmic vastness is shown to us. We see the other and then slowly – for me it took many years and many spilled words of strangled dialogue, many steps forward and back – we see the love itself. Imagine that you are reading by candle and then somebody turns on an overhead light. The dim glow of the candle is negligible. Where before you had to squint to read each word now the whole page is legible and bright. When we see love itself, the other becomes like the window through which the light streams. You are grateful for the window but my God the light. The lovelily life-giving light . . .

All things that God created timeless
are His gifts to me. The passing and the frail
are not part of my inheritance.
Such are His promises.

(Helen Schucman The Gifts of God)

Love is timeless and unchanging. Its guidance is sure. Its radiance is beyond trust and contingency as we understand those concepts.

With whom and with what are we in relationship? Can any other question matter? Unless our whole being is devoted to being in relationship with God – that is, with life and with love – than we are not in relationship at all. Everything else is a pale imitation, useful only for reminding us of the timeless love that is our real identity and the real foundation of our being.

When we give attention this way to the other, the other ceases to exist as an object. They are not apart from us, nor we from them. They are here: they are us. The body might be far away – in Alaska or Nepal. It might be buried somewhere in the earth. It doesn’t matter. The other is not a body! No more are we. The love that appears in bodies is a hint, a faint gesture at the love that brings the body forth.

Our salvation, so to speak, is to realize this about our love: that is not about the body, nor about personal relationship even, but about love that is unchanging and everpresent, forever flowing and infusing and inspiring. Nothing else calls to us; the other is simply the wind that blows the door open: a world appears, a universe, and all of it held in the luminous love that for a little while longer we might agree to call God.


  1. Hi, Sean. I’ve been wanting to drop in and say that I really appreciate your work. I sense in your reflections a keen but gentle rigor, a poetic sensibility, and compassion. And sometimes you are laugh-out-loud funny! For me, all of this has a palpable centering effect. I got your books in the mail today and look forward to reading them. Thanks, and best wishes, Margaret

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