Typically, we look upon marriage as a social institution in which two people are committed to supporting one another long term. Yet, in reality, our first marriage is internal. Our first marriage, and most profoundly spiritual relationship, is a between our every-day, social self and our, perhaps more elusive, higher Self or highest Light. Ideally, we would devote as much–if not more–time, energy and tender care to this internal marriage as we do to our existing external marriage and/or our most intimate, long-term friendships.
Tending to an internal, first marriage requires us to listen to the voice of the heart, because the heart is where the Self resides. The Self views the world in terms of care, respect, integrity, the web of life and thoughtful dignity; whereas, the social self is concerned with issues of status, race, age, gender and possibly creed. When the higher Self is grounded in the heart, we ask questions like, “How may I best honor my Light today? Or, how may I best honor the Light in someone else?”
Listening for and discerning the heart’s Truth takes patience and practice, as well as the sometimes needed assistance of our most trustworthy friends.
In Quaker tradition (The Religious Society of Friends), a member of meeting may call a Clearness Committee, from among the membership, to assist him/her with a quandry and the discernment of the true leadings of the heart. The Committee meets, without judgment, to listen to the question or questions at hand. Then, each member of the Committee brings forth further, pointed questions meant to lead the convening individual toward his/her own heart-centered Truth. The Clearness Committee neither advises, nor do members offer opinions, though sometimes members of the Committee may repeat the quandry-holder’s own words back to him/her.
Sometimes the only way for us to hear ourselves is through the repetition of our own will words coming from someone else’s mouth.
When conducted with respect, diplomacy and confidentiality, a Clearness Committee is capable of removing the debris of confusion from even the most confused of hearts. Consider this means of approaching your own serious questions. I offer this practice as one method for opening the door on your own clarity, highest Light and the sacred, first marriage, which is awaiting your attentive care.