Birthing Divine Love by Rev. Teresa Stuefloten 12/15/19 (text)
Birthing Divine Love, by Rev. Teresa Stuefloten 12/15/19
This is a wonderful time to the year. It is a time of anticipation, like Mary, waiting in joyful anticipation for Divine Love to be born. We naturally look for ways to express our love for others. We buy gifts for others as a physical expression of our love for them, honoring the Christ in them. We give to charitable causes to spread our love to all beings in our family of humanity.
Spiritually we look for the Christ, the Higher Consciousness, to be born in us. In our meditation we look for what is to be revealed to us each day. What is the message of Divine Love?
Birthing Divine Love. What is it to give birth? In the biological sense, birthing means bringing forth a new human being from the mother’s body, the child emerging, “the act or process of bringing forth young from the womb” according to Webster. As a verb, birthing can mean “to give rise to.” For example, when someone has a new idea we might say they gave birth to the idea.
Physically giving birth is a process of opening. A bodily opening that is normally very small must open wide enough for an entire fully developed infant to emerge. That’s why birthing takes time. That’s a huge amount of opening!
It’s the same with spiritually giving birth to Divine Love. The lower consciousness, preoccupied with its’ wants and emotions, narrowly focused on itself, must open to the Higher Consciousness, opening to Universal Love, caring for the needs of others and awareness of the whole of humanity.
Think of Mary, a young, unwed teenager who was engaged to be married to Joseph, an established, respected man in the royal lineage of David. An angel comes to her to tell her she will become pregnant out of wedlock. In those days Joseph could have had Mary stoned to death for being pregnant outside of her commitment to him. He knew he had not yet had sexual relations with her. Mary rightly could have reacted to the angel’s message with tremendous fear.
But Mary had a receptivity a willingness and surrender to the Divine plan for her life. She was surrendered to Divine Love. When the Angel Gabriel told her that she would become pregnant through the Holy Spirit & would bear a baby boy, a holy child she would call Jesus, Ishua, Yeshua, Mary’s response was “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be unto me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
13th Century theologian and mystic, Meister Eckhart said “We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.” Divine Love is birthed into our world through our willingness to be open and receptive to the promptings of the Soul. Divine Love is birthed through our willingness to be vulnerable and to experience the joys and sorrows of this world with our heart open wide. Divine Love is birthed through our kindness, caring and willingness to love unconditionally.
Lana Dalberg, a progressive Lutheran musician and writer, has written a book entitled “Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine” She interviewed a variety of women about their experiences of the Divine and the experiences of some of the women are dramatic, such as a woman who felt warm divine hands holding her as she experienced extreme torture.
She says “Women experiencing divine love actually love themselves; women experiencing the Divine also connect (in nature and with loved ones); and women experiencing the Divine embrace change — whether that be illness, the death of a loved one, fresh creativity, or a new life direction.”
“Women, I realize, empty themselves all the time, making room for the spouse, or the child and his or her attendant needs. I think of Mary—an unwed woman, a girl. What is her response to a divine being who tells her that she is pregnant when circumstances dictated that she could be stoned for that condition?”
“ ‘Let it be with me according to your word’ Mary is said to have responded, opening her life to the risk and the potential of divine inspiration. Receptivity, desire for connection, making room for another: these attributes express women’s most fundamental ways of being in the world.”
“Conception, when women’s bodies take in foreign DNA in order to gestate new life, is but one example. Arisika Razak, one of the women I interviewed, is a nurse-midwife as well as a spiritual teacher. She shares a conception story and later characterizes birthing as “a totally sacred moment … the moving of essence, from that side of the veil to this, from there to here.” She goes on to describe the incredible Divine Love and Love of Self risk and resistance a woman meets in childbirth and how a birthing mother must marshal all her resources in order to bring new life into the world.”
I love that image, that idea, of the Soul moving from one side of the veil to the other in childbirth. We more commonly talk about the Soul moving to the other side of the veil in death. But in birthing, the Soul has moved into a new incarnation. The Soul has begun a new journey!
When we give birth, we love that new baby like we have never loved before. As a mother we have held that infant inside our body for 9 months, feeling it move, experiencing it’s growth as our belly becomes larger and heavier. Fathers, too, experience the infant by touching the mother’s belly, feeling the kicks, and these days seeing the infant on the ultrasound & even knowing the baby’s sex before it is born! It’s like knowing what’s in your Christmas present before you open it! In the old days we had to wait to be surprised when the baby was born. When our younger daughter was born, there was a moment of confusion as the doctor said “It’s a boy, no, it’s a girl!” When we gaze into the eyes of our newborn child, and that precious infant gazes into our eyes, we feel such a deep love that we have never felt before. We want to know who this child is. We want this child to feel our love. We want to give this child everything it needs to be happy. That is an experience of Divine Love.
One of the most sacred experiences I have ever had in my life was with my granddaughter, Laytyn, when she was a baby. I was walking along the beach in Santa Cruz holding her close with her head on my shoulder. She was kind of humming as we walked along and I joined her, humming, matching her tone, blending our voices together. I closed my eyes and experienced a timeless moment with her. It was as if time stopped and our bodies merged. It was the most sacred moment of Divine Love. I can still feel it as if it happened yesterday & that baby turned 22 in October!
God loves us with a love like that, but even deeper. In meditation we gaze into the eyes of the Divine, and the Divine gazes back at us. God desires to give us all we need to be happy. But we have to respond to the Divine promptings. When you have a regular meditation practice at the same time each day, you will hear the sound of Om at the time you regularly meditate. God is inviting you to commune together. God is murmuring songs of Divine Love.
“The unfathomable mystery of God is that God is a Lover who wants to be loved.” Henri Nouwen (Dutch Priest)
“To find the Divine One, the only indispensable is love.” The great Saint Mirabai
How are we making an opening for Divine Love to be born in us this holiday season? It is easy to get caught up in buying gifts, holiday food, parties, and all of the decorations and lights. We can easily lose our spiritual focus. It’s important to maintain our daily meditation practice. Even 10 or 15 minutes of meditation when we awaken in the morning keeps our heart open to the Divine and the experience of Divine Love.
Paramahansa Yogananda said “When you feel a bursting thrill of joy expanding in your heart and your whole body, and it continues to increase even after meditation, you have received the one sure proof that God has answered through the devotion-tuned radio of your heart.”
My wish for you is that Divine Love will be born in you this Christmas.