A sense of belonging is such a profound part of the human experience. And a lack of a sense of belonging is so difficult for people to deal with.
This is how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word belong:
Definition of belong
1a: to be suitable, appropriate, or advantageous
// a dictionary belongs in every home
b: to be in a proper situation
// a man of his ability belongs in teaching
2a: to be the property of a person or thing—used with to
// the book belongs to me
b: to be attached or bound by birth, allegiance, or dependency—usually used with to
// they belong to their homeland
c: to be a member of a club, organization, or set—usually used with to
// she belongs to a country club
3: to be an attribute, part, adjunct, or function of a person or thing
// nuts and bolts belong to a car
4: to be properly classified
Are you properly classified?
It’s clear that the word belong is used in many contexts, from the emotional to the social to the legal.
This is from the founder of Sunrise Ranch and Emissaries of Divine Light, who wrote and taught using the name Uranda:
We are beings belonging to a realm that is invisible as far as this world is concerned.
His use of the word invisible got me thinking. There are invisible essences of reality that only become visible when we make them so. They are imperceptible in the world until we open to them and give them expression. Then they are no longer invisible.
And that brought me to remember the writings of a mystic poet, Kahlil Gibran. I was a sophomore in high school when I first read his best-known book, The Prophet. This is from his chapter On Work:
And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God….
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.
Work is love made visible. Love is invisible until somebody manifests it.
Here, again, are Uranda’s words:
We belong to something that is invisible as far as this world is concerned.
We belong to Love, something that is invisible until we make it visible. And when we know we belong to Love, we belong to something that is now visible to us in our world.
…when you work with Love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
You bind yourself to yourself. You belong to yourself. We belong to each other—we bind ourselves to each other. And we belong to God.
In a strictly legal sense, the word belong means to possess. And we all know that getting possessive can go to bad places in the human experience. When people try to possess each other in an egoic state, it leads to attachment, manipulation, and control.
That kind of possession by us does not set another person free. And when we try to belong to another person and allow them to possess us in an egoic state, it binds us in a confining way. It does not set us free. It keeps us earthbound, tied to the egoic state.
And yet, when we belong to Love, the very source of our own Being, we begin to belong to ourselves in a different way—not in the egoic state, not trying to possess our own life. When we allow ourselves to be possessed from above, something different happens. And when we are possessed from above, we can possess our world and possess other people with an unconditional kind of Love that does not seek to manipulate or bind in an unkind way. We Love in a way that sets people free. When Love possesses us, we cannot help but possess our world with Love.
I think of one of those most ancient of psalms, Psalm 24. And it begins with these profound words:
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)
That speaks of belonging, does it not? Possession and belonging. We allow ourselves to be possessed from above, and we find that we belong in this most beautiful of ways. We belong to the Eternal. We belong to the Infinite. We allow ourselves to be taken. We are part of a cosmic family. And when we know ourselves as that, we find that we deliberately choose to be here. We deliberately chose to be born from our parents. We chose our blood family. And then we choose to be with the people we are with today, and we claim them as our chosen family. They belong to us, and we belong to them.
I can say on this day that you are my chosen family, and you belong to me, and I belong to you. And we belong to infinite Love. We are possessed, not by evil spirits but by infinite Love. That is the only thing that can possess us and set us free. All the other forms of possession chain us to limitation.
Here is another piece of most beautiful sacred scripture, which, like Kahlil Gibran’s writing, is a book of poetry: the Song of Solomon. It says simply this, in one verse:
My beloved is mine, and I am his. (Song of Solomon 2:16)
The Song of Solomon is a beautiful love story, easily read as between a man and a woman. It is full of a wonderful mystical eroticism—right in the Bible, believe it or not! Many religious traditions avoid it for that reason.
Though you can read it as a story between a man and a woman, you can also read the Song of Solomon as a story that depicts the love affair between the human dimension of ourselves and the spiritual dimension. Read that way, this verse is so beautiful:
My beloved is mine, and I am his.
So often, when attempting to have some kind of a relationship with the Divine, it can feel so in vain. A person tries to believe, attempts to have faith, attempts to know that God is real. They pray to God to have some creative influence in their life: Please, please, pretty please! They try to feel God’s Love. So many people never envision a relationship with the Divine that is reciprocal—that it was meant to go back and forth. And until it goes back and forth, it seems unreal. It seems like we are trying to have some kind of one-way conversation where we implore, and there is some kind of almighty force that guides events, where we get affected and we cannot affect back. It is one-way, in most people’s minds and hearts. So we ask and get no answer. And yet, we seek and hope to believe.
All the while, right here in this simple verse is the answer to it all. Reciprocity.
My beloved is mine, and I am his.
We can think about this principle of reciprocity in terms of the world in which we live. Think about it in terms of your country—for me, America. I belong to America. I am one of America’s sons. I belong here. I am a citizen, proudly, of this country. I belong. But, at the same time, America belongs to me. She is mine. She is my country. And yes, I am only one of her many citizens; and still, I hold America in my heart. I hold her close to me. She is mine. I possess America with Love.
Sometimes we are so lucky as to have a leader with whom we feel a kinship. A leader of such a quality of character that we can say we are proud to be a citizen of the nation he or she leads, or an employee in the department they manage. We belong as a part of the field they lead—the country, organization, family, or community.
For me, I am fortunate enough to have such a leader today in my country, in America. I do not have to claim perfection or deny whatever conspiracy theory is floating around about my leader. But I am committed to him, to do my part as a citizen, and to belong to the country that he leads. And he is my leader that I proudly and gladly embrace.
We are fortunate enough in this country today to have a leader who loves his country and his country’s citizens. It is so easy to feel his love, and so right to reciprocate that love—to love back, to love him. I love my country above the President. But I am fortunate to have a President who loves his country as I do.
And so might it be with a king or a queen. I know many in the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth, feel that kinship with their queen. Yes, they are her people. And that is her attitude—that these are her people. She has, unquestionably, committed her life to her people. And there are many who claim her as their queen.
So, think of the Divine. Think of the One Who Dwells within you and within all people. That is the Beloved, that perfect source of your Being who loves you so much that they give you life every moment of the day and night. You are loved that much.
Do you believe you have a chance to love back? To say thank you and to reciprocate that love? Yes, I belong to the Beloved. As it was said in that wonderful movie some time ago now, Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” I can feel the Beloved’s pleasure as I live and serve and love in my life. And that is a way of giving back by paying forward, to give Him pleasure because I run, because I serve. And as I am embraced by the Beloved, I embrace back. I give back. My Beloved is mine. It is a reciprocal relationship, as Solomon dared to say:
My beloved is mine, and I am his.
We could think of that universally, not only of the One who dwells within us but the One who dwells within all humanity—that reality of Being, that focus of Love, that very essence of Love, that Being of Love. We have the opportunity to know that we are His and that He belongs to us, to claim Him as ours.
Here is a little more from the Song of Solomon. So beautiful!
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
(Song of Solomon 4:16)
Give the pleasure, the enjoyment, of being more than only the invisible Beloved, invisible Love. And Love is hidden until somebody expresses it, someone welcomes it in and allows it into this world. And yet, as Kahlil Gibran was saying, we have a chance to make love manifest, to welcome it into this garden in which we live.
Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
This is the response when we reciprocate, when we have the audacity to believe that spirituality is real. It is not just invisible. And this is the message we get back:
I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. (Song of Solomon 5:1)
There is ample nourishment spiritually that is present when there is this reciprocal relationship with the Beloved. And the relationship changes.
Are you ready to drastically change your relationship with the Beloved today, to make it real in a way that it has never been before? To reciprocate? To accept that the Love that you feel from within you—that gives you life every day—is real?
It becomes visible and known by us as we answer back. We do not feel foolish doing it, as if we are speaking into an invisible nothingness. No, it is real. And when we love back, we embrace back and acknowledge that not only do we belong to the Beloved, but the Beloved belongs to us.
Then something else happens. Heaven and earth become one. We are not just talking about an invisible God. We are talking about Love made manifest in the human experience, known by you and me. And then everything changes.
The experience of loving one another changes. Ooh, it is so hard, is it not, loving other people? They act so crazy sometimes, so goofy, so just out of left field, chaotic, whatever. But we are going to try to love them, turn the other cheek, and all that—love your neighbor. This experience changes when we are reciprocating with the Beloved, and Love is made manifest. We are just in that Love. We know that that Love possesses the world and everybody in it, whether they realize it or not. It is what we know. They can stay ignorant of it as long as they want. Or not. That is everyone’s choice.
But today, we are changing our relationship with all that. I say this without really knowing what it is for you. But perhaps we just all declare this day that Love is not invisible. God is not hidden. God is present, known, seen in all things, known in all things. Love is possessing all things. Love is everywhere except in the ignorance of the human heart and mind that does not know it yet.
This Love is the very essence of a human being. And it is the very heart of humankind. As humankind, in some way we have lost our soul, you might say. Not totally—we are still here. But the core essence of who we are is somehow missing. We have lost our heart as humankind. And here we are, knowing the truth of our own soul and restoring the heart and soul of humankind. We are living and embodying that heart, the core essence of the human soul of all of humankind.
That is the great spiritual act that we are engaged in right now.
If you will, share in this prayerful meditation with me.
You are my chosen family. This body of humankind is my chosen family. And whether or not it knows it, whether or not any individual human being knows it, they belong to me, and I to them. Love is no longer invisible. The Divine is no longer hidden. It is present, now here, in me, known by me, radiating through me, as me. Love has become real. The Light of the Divine, true seeing and knowledge, has become real, known, present through me, as me.
The substance of Love clothes me now. And as the substance of Love clothes me, it clothes you.
The light of Being clothes me now, wraps around me, and shines from me. And as it does, the light of Being radiates through you now, as you. It clothes you now and shines now.
The glory of life activates me now and radiates from me. The glory of life activates you now, as you. The Cloud of Glory is wrapped around us all, bringing the radiance of Being from our very heart and soul into the world. To all people we know, all people with whom we have a heart connection.
Feel this life. See this light. Be warmed by this fire. I am present within this burning flame. My Beloved is mine, and I am His. This family is my Beloved’s. This world is my Beloved’s, and they that dwell therein. So it is. So may it be. And so may it be known by all people. Aum-en.