Malchut. Another name for Shechinah, the maternal Divine Presence we can feel in everyday life. Malchut she’b’chesed. Presence in Love.
When I was a newlywed, I thought a lot about presence in love-making. How to be fully present to your own experience. And also be fully present as part of a team of two. How to be open to your own joy. And also to a shared joy. To an experience in your body. And also to an experience that transcends your body.
A few things I learned in yoga helped. Breathing together. Looking with a soft gaze and a smile. Imagining you’re sending love from one heart to another.
Now, years later, I know these are great tools of empathy. I use them when I’m teaching or offering spiritual direction. But I wish I used them more often. I wish I remembered them more often. Yes, I wish I was present with full awareness more often.
Sometimes I imagine this presence is a bit like the Force, in Star Wars. You can use it to change the way people feel. But it’s a force that should only be used for good, to uplift people.
Being present in these ways always uplifts me. It changes my consciousness. Somehow, it’s easier to access wonder. I’m not sure why; I haven’t quite articulated it to myself. Maybe it turns my attention outwards? So there’s less mental chatter, blocking things. Or so I don’t just see my own projections everywhere I look?
I’m not sure of something else, too. Why do I so easily forget to be present? It’s not hard work. And it feels great. But maybe sometimes I just get tired? I feel forlorn, and wish that the ideal mother would hold me. That Shechinah would hold me in her presence, hold me in her love.
Today is day 7 of the Omer, one week.
The opening chapter to my first book, Family Pictures (1998), is about romantic love. With a touch of Plato.
New to counting the Omer? Here’s a primer.