What does it mean to have a relationship with the divine? Much less an intimate one? Intimate as in a close, trusting, continuous, committed, loving relationship. Like a long marriage filled with stability, vitality, growth, and a measure of magic.
Until recently I held this possibility at arm’s length. I wrote plays and novels about it. I didn’t live it. I tried to meditate, but always got lost in my monkey mind, and nodded off to sleep. In retrospect I was peering in through a glass darkly, when what was needed was to open the window and walk through into another dimension of reality.
I began to get closer to this leap with our most recent theatrical production,
An Intimate Anatomy of Light.
Here is the link to the recording.: 09-27-20 Intimate Anatomy Zoom.mp4
Set in the year 1970, our Zoom play is work of my creative imagination, brought into reality by my cast and crew. It tells the story of Carl Jung, physicist Wolfgang Pauli, Jungian analysts Marie Louise von Franz, Barbara Hannah, and a fictional modern character, Jewel Carver. Jung, Pauli, and von Franz had a passionate desire to integrate the world of matter and the world of the psyche, aka the divine. I was inspired to write this because the intellectual left-brained side of me needed “proof”, in terms of microphysics, that the world of matter and the one I saw in my dreams are not separate realities, that there is no division between science and soul. They are one.
Far from resolving this for me, in the aftermath of the production, I felt restless. Unfinished. But something was building in me, very gradually, signified by small things. I bought Christmas stamps in 2020 of a Renaissance painting of Madonna and child. No reindeer. No Frosty. I wanted the image of the birth of the divine. In truth something was wanting to be birthed in me, but like many things in our busy lives, where it is so easy to push aside things that are frightening or “woo woo,” it took a while to emerge.
After the holidays, I chanced on an interview with Stephen Colbert and Father James Marin. I knew nothing about Father Martin, but he was so engaging, so warm, so humble yet with a clear sense of his own authority. I bought his new book, Learning to Pray.
Only a few pages in, with his invitation to build a relationship with the divine, I put down the book, closed the door, and began to talk to “Her,” a figure of a woman in earth-colored cloak, who has appeared in my dreams over the years. Taking Father Martin’s cue, I spoke out loud to Her. It is hard to put words to what happened, and frankly, it was so emotional, so unexpected and shocking, I want to protect it. Christ spoke of this in Matthew 6:5, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the street, that they may be seen of men….But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” (New Testament, King James version)
What I will divulge is that simply speaking out loud to Her, and letting my imagination flow, has opened before me a brave, new, very real world. I berated myself at first, fearing I was just “making it up.” Father Martin addresses this, writing about a form of prayer pioneered by Saint Loyola Ignatius in the 1500’s. Ignatius Contemplation is precisely what I was doing: letting my imagination flow not from anything pre-scripted, but allowing a dialogue to proceed, back and forth, enhancing my connection to Her. And Hers with me.
I have done this practice daily for over 3 months now. I know I am still in my infancy with building a deep relationship to the divine. I am aided by the writings of Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr, Father James Martin, and the earth-shaking (for me) Resurrecting Jesus by Adyashanti.
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, I wish you depth, commitment, imagination, and courage. It takes all of these, but a fearless world awaits you. For me it began with the words, “I’m so sorry. I have put writing about you ahead of being with you. I am so late in understanding this. Can you forgive me?”