Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be[k] joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:24 & 25
There is wisdom in the above statement from the Hebrew Scriptures! There is also much earthly ( egoic ) wisdom in the resulting Christian dogma that says a married woman or man should have no other ( person ), especially while they're married. Of course, divorce should not be an option, for as Malachi 2:16a says; 'the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce'. Although there IS much wisdom here, for divorce is rarely a good thing, especially where children are involved, these words of wisdom should be digested in their covenantal, historical & cultural context. Again, the concepts of marriage & divorce are purely egoic ( from the Ego ). This said, however, is NOT to say that one should never marry: in this day & age, much as in that day & age ( that culture, even ) there is much wisdom in a man & woman being joined ( literally, 'clinging' ) together in the 'bonds' of holy matrimony! Or at least, so it would seem.........................
The 1960s were most famously ( or is that 'infamously'? ) known as 'the era of free-love'. This was, maybe first & foremost, a rebellion ( revolution? ) against the straight-laced 50s, particularly due to the puritanical dogmas of Christianity. On a side-note; I am a 70s child, physically speaking; having been brought up in a fairly strict Christian ( puritanical ) home, I was sheltered from much of what resulted from the 'free-love' movement, though I caught a glimpse every now & again of the turmoil it left in its wake. The problem with the free-love movement was at least two-fold; one, it was based in large part, if not in whole, in a rebellion against what was the status quo ( Christian/egoic - itself egoic ) & two, it was largely animalistic in nature ( therefore egoic ) & so based on a somewhat skewed perception of 'love'. 'Love', from my perception of what I know of that era, was a feeling based on physical desire ( lust ) & even, yes 'wantonness'!
One might well ask themselves ( egoically ), 'Is it possible to love multiple people ( men or women ) at the same time?' 'If so, how?' Well, first, we should ask ourselves, 'what IS love'? Even, 'what does it mean to be 'in love?' Love, as we've noted previously, is more than a feeling! Although it is most definitely felt, it is primarily an action, a choice that one makes in regards to another. In this regard then, it should be noted that this concept of 'love' is egoically based. Before we get too far into this subject ( love ), we should note that the Ego is not a bad thing! In the same vein, neither is it a good thing; it just IS! Being Love itself, as we've also discussed previously in this 'blog', we may choose, as the Person, to manifest this Love or not. So now we're back to the question above, 'Is it possible to love multiple people ( men or women ) at the same time?' With the understanding outlined above, the answer should be a resounding 'YES!' It IS possible, in this scenario, to love multiple persons at the same time. Is it easy, or as simple as it sounds? Yes & no. Back to the Ego, for the Ego DOES play a BIG role when dealing with the Person; if we rule over our Ego rather than letting it rule us ( IE, if we understand that WE are NOT our Ego & don't allow It to determine our actions ), we manifest the Love that we ARE, simply by Being that Love. Living through the Person, then, as we must needs do to operate in this thing we call Life, once we've moved on past the notion that we are the Ego & the differences that we have been taught to focus on, our focus will then return to the fact that, in Essence, we ARE all One, from the same Source & here to simply manifest Love!
So, what does it look like to manifest Love, to be Love? 'What IS Love?!' Well Love, personally speaking anyway, is an action, a choice we make as individual souls, in regards to our treatment of other individual souls. Looking out for another's best is what Love comes down to. If we seek the bset for a person, particularly through our actions, we can truly be said to love that person. Biblically speaking, for this is one of the many Universal Truths of the Greek & Hebrew Scriptures, when we treat our brother or sister in this manner, we are manifesting Love. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, again, personally speaking, we are simply proving that we ARE Love. For a good definition of Love, one might simply read this short passage from our English translation of the Greek Scriptures ( the Bible-I Corinthians 13:4-7 ); 'love suffers long [ and ] is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things'. All these things, the reader should note, are wrapped up in the individual Ego, which, again, is neither good nor bad, in & of itself, though we need to exercise great care that It does not determine our actions, or rather, reactions,but rather, as the passage above shows so well, that we allow our Higher Self, our Inmost Being ( Love ) to rule the day! A popular phrase in this regard is 'Love Wins'!
Jesus the Christ, according to John 13:34, said to His Disciples, 'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another'. Clearly, this stands as a Universal Truth, for Jesus loved His brethren through the Spirit of Love that was in Him. In the same sense that He Himself was Love, so are we in Essence Love! Through the Christ Within, for we all have that same Spirit, if only we don't allow our Ego to rule ( over ) us, we all bear the capacity to manifest the Love that we are, though no one follow. On a bit of a side note; my personal experience shows that the majority of people, when faced with that Love, will return it in kind, although there are those who will simply treat It & thus you as a doormat. The individual Ego, again, comes into play here, not only your own, but theirs as well. Egoically, or personally speaking, though, if we treat others how we would like to be treated, with Love, most often you will find that they will treat you in the same manner. Again, though, this is sadly not always the case; sometimes the Ego seems to win, but then there is always Karma.............................
Speaking of Karma, as we must; understand that Karma, like the Ego, is neither a good thing or a bad thing, necessarily; it depends wholly on the circumstance that engenders it. If, for instance, one does treat others as he or she wants to be treated themselves, with Love, then that one will reap what they've sown: this is what is called Good, or Positive Karma. If however, one treats others purely from the Ego, allowing It to rule their actions, they will most likely be treated in kind, experiencing Bad, or Negative Karma.
The Cost of Love then, when one understands that they are Love Itself, is negligible, even non-existent! Personally speaking though, who we choose to share that Love with & how, can be VERY costly! This, in essence, was at the heart of the issue in the 1960s. People were living largely from the Ego, allowing their Lower Selves ( animalistic lust ) to rule their actions, thus, the term 'free-love'. In the greatest sense, this 'love' was not free, for it proved VERY costly, later if not sooner. Because it was largely a reactionary movement, brought on by the puritanical & even extra-biblical dogmas of the previous generations, this 'free-love' movement only served to lend credence to the notion of quick marriage & easy divorce. Dealing with ones own Ego is hard enough, but it is not only our own we must deal with; to make our way in this world, we must needs deal with other individual Egos as well. How we deal with those other ( individual ) Egos determines how we experience Karma!
Marriage can be defined, not as a legal proposition, though it is often defined thusly, but as a union ( or is that 're-union' ) of two individual souls. It is, as the Bible declares in yet another of its Universal Truths, where two become one! With the startling realization that we are ALL One, though, the whole concept of marriage ( as a legal institution ) is rendered null & void! The notion that one must be legally married before one is allowed to express his or her love in a certain manner is what the 'free-love' movement rebelled against, in the estimation of this blogger. The problems that surfaced in the aftermath of this movement ( which we deal with yet today ) is that the individual Egos, because most people allowed them to rule the day, clashed & were allowed to break apart what began as a beautiful thing!
Love IS a beautiful! The act of sexual intercourse is by no means the fullest expression of Love, but it is still one of the most beautiful manifestations thereof. In the proper context of course, sexual intercourse can be one of the most satisfying aspects of any marriage, physically speaking. By 'the proper context', I'm not saying that one must follow the biblical pattern, though this is not a bad idea: no, I'm simply saying that without a good spiritual foundation ( spiritual intercourse? ) the sex act is not a good idea, for when the Ego gets involved in such a situation, it's usually not pretty!
The quotation at the beginning of this post, from Genesis 2, while it portrays a Universal Truth, also shows, in context, that it has a cultural aspect to it! The fact that 'they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed' should give the reader pause to consider the deeper meaning behind such a statement. Covenant Creation aside, the glaring fact that the author saw fit to mention that 'they were both naked' is accepted by some scholars as speaking ( metaphorically ) of their immaturity. While the scenario in this passage might rightly be noted as the first marriage, the divorce referred to in the passage from Malachi 2 is not between just any man & woman, but between YHWH & His Wife, Israel.
In conclusion, there is a sort of wisdom in the relatively modern institution of marriage. Not to say anything of the legal benefits of such a contract, especially in this day & age, for a man or woman to have one spouse & one spouse only, because of the afore-mentioned clash of Egos, is not a totally merit-less concept. However, if one can keep their Ego in check, realizing they are not under Its sway; that they are More than just an Ego-driven human being, then the Love they manifest will be pure & holy!
Charles Haddon Shank