A PATH WITH HEART: Did I Love Well?

In the next several blog posts I am adding an audio note. My intention is to take you through a book I consider to be fundamental to spiritual development. Each blog post will cover one chapter in the journey. I encourage you to read or re-read my blog post called Reading with Soul in Mind before getting started with this series of blog lessons.

The first book in this series of In Depth with DR BREN: Lessons from her Soul Journey is Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life. I chose this book because it teaches the fundamentals of getting to know oneself, both ego and soul.

This first audio blog post is on Chapter One: Did I Love Well?

The Future of Love

Psyche discover Eros

A book I recommend regularly to my clients is Daphne Rose Kingma’s latest called The Future of Love. It is not a book about how to fix broken relationships; it is about love. Often love is so tightly woven around our lover that we forget that

Love is a divine energy that steps into human circumstances, a timeless essence that enters time (p. 4).

Our lover is not love; love is something else. In ancient times, Eros (The god of love) was considered one of the four original gods along with Chaos, Gaea, and Hades.

Kingma believes Eros is wreaking havoc in most marriages because they have kept Eros out. Instead of allowing true love in, they cling to ideals of what a marriage should be. Each party in this kind of marriage is in relationship to their ideal, not to their partner. Kingma believes western relationships are at a relational precipice for the purposes of allowing soul back into our lives. She writes,

We are being invited to move from falling in love to loving, from romance to true love, from relationships that are an undertaking of the personality to unions that are illumined by the soul. We are being asked to mature into our true wholeness, as human beings who are in fact divine eternal souls, and we are being invited to do this in relationship (p. 25).

Long ago Jung wrote about two stages of relationships: one focused on procreation, and the other focused on co-creation. Kingma makes a similar distinction by identifying the relationship of the personality (or what I call ego), and the relationship of the soul. Most marriages come together to procreate, but once those evolutionary duties are fulfilled soul demands a hearing in relationship.

The truth is that marriage – as a relationship – has been appropriated by society, and as it serves society, it often suffocates the individual vivid soul (p. 31).

As such, marriage becomes dogmatic rather than vibrant and full of life.

Kingma lists four aspects of the marriage creed:

  1. Daily – seven days a week,
  2. Domestic – lived under a shared roof in a house with a yard and a white picket fence,
  3. Exclusive – the person we love will be our one and only, and
  4. Forever – last until the end of time (p. 33).

If marriage must comply with these dogmatic beliefs, then no wonder Eros is wreaking havoc. If we try to put Eros in a box, the next time we open the box it will not be love that jumps out but Hades, the god of the underworld. Marriage cannot protect us from death, yet that is often how it is used. We stay in bad marriage because we are afraid to be alone, or worse, to die alone. Ironically, our soul is already dead in these marriages.

For Kingma and for Jung the relationship for the second half of life, the one after procreation, is about spiritual development. It is about willingly transferring the center of power within our psyche from ego to soul. Eros and soul work together to bring us back to the most intimate of relationships, the relationship to the ever-present essence of being. True love thrives only in the present. It cannot and does not participate in time. If you are not conscious and present, then most likely you are not in love. This false love is a hollow projection of childhood. If we grew up with parents who were not conscious or present, then we have learned and propagated this false love. To be in love – to be with Eros – is a holy blessing.

While, the culturally imposed ideal of what a relationship should be has almost strangled love to death, Kingma scoops up the fallen and trampled Eros, and with her poetic prose, she mends its broken wings allowing it to soar once again in the skies above. She concludes by saying,

Soul love is the greatest love there is. When we build a relationship with full awareness of our souls, we have a profound sense of connectedness which transcends the limits of all our human, romantic relationships and gives us a glimpse of our true spiritual magnificence (p. 213).