Following the phase of emergence and recognition, the third possible outcome is that the Inner Beloved is experienced as a profound and continuing presence, however union does not actually occur. As reflected in the romantically unobtainable Lady or Knight of medieval ballad, the encounters with the Beloved stop short of consummation. The Inner Beloved becomes that object of both joyful exaltation and painful longing whom so many artists throughout history have tried to deal with, a wonderfully inspiring muse who also seems cruel and cold hearted. The artist suffers the pain and alienation of ego death without the transformational ecstasy of the sexual union which is the symbol of complete integration with the Inner Beloved.
As an integral, revered and cherished psychic component who one takes seriously, one calls the Inner Beloved by name and loves him or her as a discrete inner person. The Beloved may already have a name or one may have the honour of naming him or her. The name may either be a symbolic one as it seemed to be in my case, or the Inner Beloved may be named after an actual person.
One may suffer in longing for the Beloved for many years, but not without benefit. The passion for and interaction with the Inner Beloved will continue to promote the soul's growth. In Divine Madness,1 undoubtedly the best book I have found on the subject of the both the Inner and Outer Beloveds, John Haule discusses how romantic love can bring one to experience the greater reality which is accessed by the psyche below the persona, ego, shadow and mythic levels, and above the instinctual, at level of the Self.
Crucial in the progress of transformative love lies the balance between intimacy and loneliness, fusion and separation, or in Haule's metaphors "the love potion" and "the naked sword". In all romantic relationships, whether inner or outer, an unparalleled opportunity for the growth of the soul comes from learning to live through the central ordeal of love - the tension between the longing to unite and the forces, internal and external, that divide.
Yet, however much intentional soul work and appropriate counseling may accelerate the process, the final choice of union remains in the hands of the Beloved. Woe to he or she who would try to take the Beloved by force: if it were possible then the result would be an extreme psychic disintegration. In time, after witnessing seemingly unending quests of courage and sacrifice, and demonstrations of enduring patience, gentleness and respect, the Inner Beloved may at last grant that sacred grace of the ultimate surrender, leading one by a long and difficult path to the fourth and most desirable outcome which is a balanced and complete integration.