THE UMBRA NIHILI
In a vast universe which often seems sinister and unaware of us, we need the presence and shelter of love to transfigure our loneliness. This cosmic loneliness is the root of all inner loneliness. All of our life, everything we do, think and feel is surrounded by nothingness. Hence, we become afraid so easily. The fourteenth-century mystic Meister Eckhart say that all of human life stands under the shadow of nothingness, the umbra nihili. Nevertheless, love is the sister of the soul. Love is the deepest language and presence of soul. In and through the warmth and creativity of love, the soul shelters us from the bleakness of that nothingness. We cannot fill up our emptiness with objects, possessions or people. We have to go deeper into that emptiness, then we fill find beneath nothingness the flame of love waiting to warm us.
No-one can hurt you as deeply as the one you love. When you allow the Other inside your life, you leave yourself open. Even after years together, your affection and trust can be disappointed. Life is dangerously unpredictable. People change, often quite dramatically and suddenly. Bitterness and resentment quickly replace belonging and affection. Every friendship travels at some time through the dark valley of despair. This tests every aspect of your affection. You lose the attraction and the magic. Your sense of each other darkens and your presence is sore. If you can come through this time, it can purify your love; falsity and need will fall away. It will bring you onto new ground where affection can grow again.
Sometimes a friendship turns, and the partners fix on each other at their points of mutual negativity. When you meet only at the point of poverty between you, it is as if you give birth to a ghost who would devour every shred of your affection. Your essence is rifled. You become so helpless and repetitive with each other. Here you need deep prayer, great vigilance and care in order to redirect your souls. Love can hurt us deeply. We need to take great care. The blade of nothingness cuts deeply. Others want to love, to give themselves, but they have no energy. They carry around in their hearts the corpses of past relationships, addicted to hurt as confirmation of identity. Where a friendship recognizes itself as a gift, it will remain open to its own ground of blessing.
When you love, you open your life to an Other. All your barriers are down. Your protective distances collapse. This person is given absolute permission to come into the deepest temple of your spirit. Your presence and life can become their ground. Since the body is in the soul, when you let someone so near, you let them become part of you. In the sacred kinship of real love two souls are twinned. The outer shell and contour of identity becomes porous. You suffuse each other.