Longing for the thing we don’t have, the more we long for it the more we suffer. And the minute we step back into the consciousness of love and wholeness, the better we feel. It’s an old magic and it works and it’s foolproof and it’s easy. We wouldn’t feel the longing if it wasn’t for the fact that we know of love. All we need to do is sense the love beneath the longing, it is that love that drives the longing, and to really own our own loving, to honour our own loving, we will then be immediately free.
So we suffer all sort of heartaches because we cannot control it and make it do what we want it to. We mistakenly say, “I love you!” What we really mean is that love bubbles up in me when I see you.
Very often we fail to see the love that is given or offered to us, and pass on still longing for love or sex. I remember when I was young and blind walking though a wood longing to meet someone to love me. Suddenly a large Labrador dog rushed up to me full of enthusiasm and love. I patted it and passed on still seeking love. We do not open to it for it comes to us from all living creatures and if we let ourselves feel it as it is offered instead of demanding it from a certain person, or from certain sources, we might feel wonderful satisfaction. But also longing for it suggests we can only receive it from other people and need someone or something else to get it from. That means you will never really find it, because you have repressed it bubbling up within you.
If you cannot feel that, it may be because you have strict rules or beliefs about what love is. Love in nature does not have rules, but is like sunlight, lighting everyone.
But longing can be about many other things than love, but it still involves a sense of not being whole in oneself. Many people are deeply depressed when what they do is not recognised or praised. A lack of praise in a relationship beween parents and a child can be as severe as any beating. Many people long to be famous, probably because of all it brings. Women I have met have such a deep need to be sexually adored that without it they do not feel complete. Many men also cannot last long without having sex with a woman – any woman.
Example: But the greatest impact came as I went deeper into the dream. I realised with absolute certainty that there was no way out of my desperate longing to be free of my pain. It was quite terrible to realise I was forever trapped. But at the same time I realised that love was like breathing. I couldn’t, didn’t want to, stop loving either my children or my wife. As long as I could, I would suffer the pain the conflict produced.
The realisation that there was no escape had a profound effect on me. My whole inner being collapsed. I had completely given up. There was no more point in making any effort. Then everything went quiet. Even my breathing slowed down, until, breakthrough. Then everything fell away and I entered a new relationship with myself that lasted for three days. I recognised it as what the Buddhists call moksha or liberation. During those three days I experience total freedom from pain, total freedom in regard to every choice I could make, and I existed all the time in NOW.
Of course it disappeared after the three days. But I had seen clearly what was creating the pain, and what liberation consisted of. I, like most of us, had created a world, inside and out, made up of habitual responses to events, relationship and situations. These responses were like buttons that were pressed again and again by events and circumstances. When pressed they would play the same feelings over and over again, as many times as the button was pressed. And the buttons I habitually kept pressing led to pain.
Some of my buttons were to do with the culture in which I had been raised, a culture full of ideas about guilt, right and wrong, success and failure. In leaving my children to go with my new wife I had been guilty of all of those. I was guilty of being a bad father. I was a failure in my first marriage. I was wrong to do what I had done. I was being torn apart by all those feelings of guilt and wrongness. But realising it with so much certainty led me to begin new habits. See Avoid Being Victims
Example: When R asked me if I wanted to write something on longing, I said, “I could do it, but it’s not my specialty.” He looked at me. Of course. Longing is my middle name. I long for love, for community, for connectedness, for a partner, for someone to share my bed or my neighbourhood or my mind, for anything that will heal the elemental feelings of loneliness and separation, anything that will bring me into myself, into my wholeness, into my being a part of something larger. Out of that longing has arisen not only lifelong pain, but also my spiritual life, and indeed so much of my creativity. What was S. H. but an impulse to create the world of intimacy, authenticity, beauty and warmth that I so longed for? Yet paradoxically, when you create community for others, you are the only one who doesn’t really get that. You are alone, behind the scenes, making sure everyone else is okay.
Example: I have accepted that principle again and again and again and again and again. Every time I go through the longing and the feelings of loss and self-attack and vulnerability and pain that go with it, I come back to this truth. As people say about smoking “I’m good at giving it up. I’ve done it so many times.” Here and now, I acknowledge publicly that the love and wholeness and connectedness that I long for must already be there for me to imagine and know it. And I can create it in an instant.
Useful Questions and Hints:
What is it I long for – fame, recognition, escape or love?
How have I managed to avoid or not grasp it for so long?
Can I imagine myself having it and really feel it inside?
Is there any way I can allow it to be given to others – recognition, praise, love support?