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Love Divine

Valentine’s Day: A Spiritual Perspective
By Camille Conte

“I need love, love divine. Please forgive me now I see that I’ve been blind. Give me love; love is what I need to help me know my name.” Seal

Clearly, love is in the air. So is an abnormal amount of red balloons in nearly every retail outlet. Ah, it must be Valentine’s Day. There are few “holidays” dreaded as much as Valentine’s Day. Even those around me who are “in love” have said how much they “hate” the insane commercialism of “romantic love.” Since reconciling my own relationship to the day years ago, I often wonder what it would be like to celebrate “divine love.” If we truly understood what it is and what it meant, we might celebrate it every day, with or without the flowers, chocolate, jewelry and greeting cards. It certainly doesn’t need all of that to validate its truth and presence in our lives. What it really needs is us.

The best part about divine love is that everyone has a Valentine; in fact, we all have the same Valentine. No matter who you are, where you live, your political persuasion or even your religious beliefs, every single one of us is born out of love. In fact, every single thing that exists, be it a speck of sand or a newly found planet, comes up out of this love, is made from this love and is this love! I know lots of people have been taught and consequently believe in a punishing God, a judgmental God; they also believe in two powers: good versus evil. However, an equal and growing number of us believe in a loving God whose very essence is love and that this love is the only life there is. We may see a myriad of forms but back behind the many is the One.

There’s more than enough evidence around us that proves this thing we call God, Spirit, Higher Power, whatever the name, is in fact a vibration of love. For example, this morning heading out to the airport, Denali was showered in a pink mist, her other neighboring peaks standing tall and clear. That’s love. A moose and its baby the other night crossed the intersection at Arctic and International as if they were pedestrians. The traffic willingly stopped at the green light as they made their way to the curb, the cold night air expelling puffs from their noses just like it was doing through mine. That’s love. All you need to do is look at a new born baby and you know that’s love! And most certainly, when you look into the eyes of another human being you feel this love.

Back in the early nineties a friend of mine had asked me to attend her “church.” She did so for an entire year. Each and every time I said, “No, I don’t do church.” That didn’t stop her though from asking me over and over again until finally I said, “Ok. I’ll go. Just stop asking me.” That visit to church was the first time I had ever come across a female priest. She was actually a minister with the United Centers for Spiritual Living. Her name was Rev. Nance. Though there are many things about my fifteen years with her that are memorable and life changing, one of the greatest moments came during a Sunday talk in which she said, “God is your primary lover.” I was aghast! How could she say that? What on earth did she mean? It was, to my still engaged Catholic mind, blasphemous. I was simultaneously outraged and curious.

It took years for me to truly understand what she meant by that powerful statement but it was a solo trip to Mexico where it became embodied in my heart and mind.

I was thirty-nine and had come to the uncomfortable realization that I may be single for the rest of my life. If that were the case, what would I do? I’d live, of course, and booked a trip to the small town of San Jose del Cabo where I would vacation by myself for the first time so as to truly come to know this invisible lover. When you call something like that out to meet you, it goes without saying that you invite all that is unlike it to rear its ugly head and that’s exactly what happened. There I was hysterical on the beach feeling the fullness of my aloneness when a woman came up to console me. I sobbed my story to her and she helped me to my feet and insisted she buy me a beer. Come to find out this woman was God in drag, as we all are. Her story was similar to my own and she painted a picture of a fulfilling single life that soothed my worried mind. For the rest of that trip, I acted as if there was someone special with me. I talked to “him” across the table during dinner and turned to say good-night before going to sleep. Ridiculous as it sounds, I had to be that outrageous in order to truly get this idea of “God is my primary lover.” I had to bring it to life in my world. It worked. I married myself on my birthday on the beach the day before I left, ring ceremony and all and returned home with a sense of wholeness that I had not known before.

This is the divine love that is in, through and around you waiting to be recognized by you and activated by your mindfulness of It. When you do so through spiritual practices like meditation, contemplation, prayer or whatever it is that raises your vibration, you become a tuning fork for that love. In this way, when you leave the house in the morning you don’t go out looking to get love because you already have it and as such, give from the overflow. What a relief and what a joy!

When this divine love is activated between two people, this man-made romantic love is replaced by something much more powerful. Some call it Agape love. It is the love that the great Sufi poet Rumi speaks of and to throughout his work. It changes everything including sex, which often is transformed into a sacred act of communion between two who know each other as “the beloved.” This is what’s calling us; this is our moment of maturing our childhood fantasies, which have been fueled and kept alive by our pop culture and consumerism, into something more authentic, fulfilling and real. I look at the increased publicly shared moments of infidelity that have peppered our awareness and believe that in part, this fall from grace is part of our collective evolution in the arena of love and sex.

Romantic love is a beautiful thing; don’t get me wrong. Exchanging expressions of our love be it a candlelit dinner or a bouquet of flowers followed by love-making is necessary, meaningful and fun. It’s when it’s expected or obligatory that it withers on the vine. It’s when the love that threads the moments is false, fake or worse forced that it crashes and shatters all around us. But when it is grounded in divine love, when we uplift each other by seeing the beloved in our gaze, then and only then does the chocolate taste the best.