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Excerpted from Embracing the Beloved by Stephen and Ondrea Levine. Copyright © 1995 by Stephen and Ondrea Levine. Excerpted by permission of Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"The distance from your pain, your grief, your unattended wounds, is the distance from your partner."

Stephen and Ondrea Levine, Embracing the Beloved,
Part 2

Indeed, when Rilke says that the most that can be expected is that "two solitudes protect and border and greet each other," he is speaking of the best of the ordinary way. They do not burn for the Beloved. They do not love the truth even more than each other. They refuse to give it all away. To be blessed surveying new frontiers.

The distance from your pain, your grief, your unattended wounds, is the distance from your partner. And the distance from your partner is your distance from the living truth, your own great nature. Whatever maintains that distance, that, separation from ourselves and our beloveds, must be investigated with mercy and awareness. This distance is not overcome by one "giving up their space" to another, but by both partners entering together the unknown between them. The mind creates the abyss but the heart crosses it.

A conscious relationship teaches us to treat ourselves and others as our only child. And to do it mindfully. It does not break the heart. A conscious relationship is as healing and life-affirming as an unconscious, old-style relationship is at times harmful and life-denying. The harmful effect of an unconscious relationship is that it keeps us so small, dependent on external circumstances for our happiness. More needs than gifts are brought to such an entanglement. But a conscious relationship, offers the possibility of relating across the gulf of I and other all the way into the heart of our beloved. A conscious relationship shows us to remain conscious while in relationship. It's a whole new ball game.

A few years ago Ondrea and I were scheduled to give a talk about healing on what turned out to be Valentine’s Day. Coming from the stillness of our mountain retreat to the commotion of the "big city," we were deeply touched by the care and kindness exhibited as the meeting hall filled. So many couples aiding each other. Those alone helped to their seats by the loved ones of the recently departed. The weary, nearly translucent faces of patients, friends and colleagues. So many others drawn with illness or gray with grief. So many returned for healing with their families. Their lovers. Men and women of every description---teen-agers and octogenarians, janitors and physicians, car salesmen and poets: black, brown, yellow, and white; gay and straight; sick and well--the loved, the loving, committed to a mutual process. So much buzz and affection. Five hundred gathered for an evening in this beautiful old stone church in an investigation of healing.

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