We seek God for two reasons: to escape or transcend our limited selves, and to receive within ourselves that which we would reach out and touch. We want to know God/ the Sacred/Peace. We also yearn for a God Who would know us. We want to be seen, known, and loved. The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament, to Christians) claim this clearly in the Psalms:
“It was You who created my inmost self, and put me together in my mother’s womb…You know me through and through, from having watched my bones take shape when I was being formed in secret, knitted together in the limbo of the womb.” (from Psalm 139)
A baby forms its initial self-image by looking into the smile of its mother’s face. A loved child sees a parents’ love mirrored back. When the child smiles back, she inspires her parents’ delight: she learns she is delightful.
Imagine making God laugh in delight.
As the baby grows, she begins to build a self, to co-create Selfhood. With this young selfhood, we approach spirituality and religion with a sense of being seen, known and loved. Because we feel loved by our parents, we feel loved by God. We feel safety in being seen by God and, as we become ourselves, we feel safe in being known. We have permission to be authentically ourselves.
In adulthood, we yearn for this authenticity as we seek to reveal ourselves in our lover’s gaze. We marry seeking to be known so deeply and wordlessly that simply sitting together fills us with peace. That’s how we describe a soulmate.
Imagine how a mystic feels, basking in God’s embrace.