by Marc Gafni
The Shechina is the feminine Divine. Her name means Indwelling Presence, ‘the one who dwells in you.’ She is presence, poetry, passion. She is the sustaining God force which runs through and wombs the world. A living mythic presence not wholly dissimilar to ‘the Force’, of Star Wars fame. She is the underlying erotic, sensual and loving force that knows our name and nurtures all being.
Shechina captures an experience, a way of being in the world, for which we do not yet have an English word. For this is a way of being which we in the West are hard pressed to articulate. It is the experience of waking up in the morning full of utter joy for the arrival of the day. It is weeping over the splendor of the sunset or the scent of the ocean or the fragility of a newborn. It is a way of living in love.
Indeed, it is one of the great failures of love that we do not possess such a word for this fully charged way of living. The main reason we lack a word for the type of love we will be exploring in this book, is that such an expanded notion of love is still so foreign to the fabric of our lives. Our vocabulary reflects our reality. Just as the Eskimo has an ample supply of words to describe different types of snow, a society infused with love would likewise have a menagerie of terms for different types of love. We should wonder over the paucity in the English language for our ‘terms of endearment.’