Our longings, as distinct from desire, reflect the presence of soul wanting to do life with more intensity, intimacy, and immensity. Personality-based desire stems from a misperception of insufficiency. Believing that there is never enough for us, we endlessly pursue that which does not satisfy. This kind of desire means that we can never get enough of that which does not ultimately satisfy. It is the basis of all addictive behaviour. We have enough stuff, but we are driven to collect even more. We have enough sex, but we seek out more pornography. We have enough food, but we eat until we are obese. Longing, on the other hand, is a response to a felt sense of eternal abundance. We don’t long in order to get stuff. We long because G_d is longing through us. We are experiencing the longing of the divine for what is in the process of being fulfilled – which is the abundance of the divine heart.
Desire is on a continuum with longing, in that both are motivators of behaviour. But longing knows that it will never be totally satisfied, and in a sense, it is not seeking satisfaction. To experience longing is to tap into an evolutionary current that is drawing all creation toward fulfillment. We long for a better world, for increased intimacy with the natural world, and with our partners. We long for to be more present to the miracle of life, to know more joy, to be more creative. Because creativity, intimacy, beauty are eternal values, there is no end to them, no final or ultimate experience that will indicate that we’ve arrived. In a sense we don’t have longing, longing has us. Longing is a way to know, firsthand, the divine heart.
It is the seductive call of Spirit to realize (make real) more love, beauty, and truth in the world. It is allurement away from personality-based desires, or more accurately, it is an invitation to see these desires as superficial manifestations of deep soul-longings. For example, we may dream of winning the lottery, but when we make an inquiry into what that means for us, we realize we want more freedom. Freedom from what and for what? We may realize that we’re stuck in a job that bores us, but we’re just in it for the money at this point. We may also inquire into the relationship between freedom and money. Whereas Wall Street would have us believe that money is the key to freedom, we may again ask ourselves if that is true. What is keeping us from being free right now, right here, in our current circumstances? And with this inquiry longing is replacing desire as a core motivator of our behaviour.
In the context of a universe that is in the process of evolving toward more intense expressions of freedom, love, creativity, beauty, and truth, longing reflects the presence of Spirit in us. To be in our longing, is to know Spirit. In this sense, we are all mystics having a direct experience of G_d—if we have the courage to let thing longing interrupt our lives.
The evolutionary process, as it shows up in humans, can be understood as the patient and non-coercive presence of Spirit fulfill itself in, through, and as us. We discover, paradoxically, that we are most essentially ourselves, when we are in the longing of Spirit in the holy longing we feel for “the better world that our hearts know is possible”. (Charles Eisenstein). When we get to a place in life when nothing else matters more than this, we are ready to undergo a death of personality-based desires and be transformed by the soul’s longing.