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Longing (Deep Longing . . . )

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Longing (Deep Longing . . . ) ?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Longing (Deep Longing . . . )

Depends on the Realization of Her Essential Potential

The soul can develop before enlightenment, by actualizing many of her potentials, as we see in the actualization of creative and intellectual potentials. Spiritual realization is not the only development, and does not imply or guarantee other kinds of development. Realized individuals, as a result, can be developed in various ways and on many levels in relation to the various human potentials. However, the soul’s freedom and the fulfillment of her deepest longings depend on the realization of her essential potential. Only with the actualization of essence can the soul be free, completely authentic and totally serene. Essence is her true nature, without which she is estranged, lost, inauthentic, empty, and twisted. Regardless how much of her potential she actualizes, regardless how much a genius she becomes, artistically or scientifically, if she does not realize her essential nature her experience continues to be characterized by emptiness and strife, on the same level as most human beings. This is why the wisdom traditions think of their work as the most significant for humanity, as transcending any artistic, scientific, cultural, or intellectual kind of education and development. The essence of the soul stands apart from the rest of all of her potential, for it is the only possibility she has for finding true liberation and fulfillment. This is independent of history, culture, civilization, progress, and so on. Humanity can advance technologically, intellectually, artistically, and in many other ways. Such advancement can contribute a great deal to improve the lot of humanity in general, but the need for and value of the spiritual journey will perennially remain.

For Annihilation

We also experience consciousness as presence and being, as the realm of the day. To move to the realm of the night, the absolute dimension of our true nature, consciousness needs to dissolve, needs to thin out till there is no existence at all. For consciousness to consume itself means that consciousness realizes that its existence isn’t really ultimate. For consciousness to consume itself means that consciousness realizes its own nonexistence. A deep longing for annihilation tends to arise in this process. We may experience this longing as passionate love. Essential passionate love is absolutely annihilating. The deeper the longing, the more intensely the passion burns. The sense of being consumed with passion feels like the night encroaching upon you and annihilating your being and consciousness. This passionate love is nothing but the Guest touching the consciousness. We can experience it either as the Guest passionately loving the consciousness or as the consciousness passionately loving the Absolute. In reality it is neither: We are simply realizing the inseparability of the consciousness and the ground. The consciousness is completely annihilated in this impassioned embrace. The mystical images of sexual union with God likely come from such experiences. Unlike other kinds of love, real passionate love is self-consuming. Passionate love feels annihilating rather than giving and sweet. The more you are passionate, the more you disappear. You burn up from within, as if with black fire. You feel as if all your atoms are passionately in love. You don’t know at the beginning what it is that you love. You just feel consumed with passion and longing. You feel you just want to not be, until you finally disappear. And you want to disappear, out of passionate love. When passion completely dissolves the consciousness, then the Guest arrives. The intensity of the contact with the nearness of the Guest, like a hydrogen bomb, incinerates your every atom with passion. The consciousness burns like a raging fire until nothing is left.

For Living a Genuine Life

If you want to be real and to live a life that has value of its own, that has significance independent of society or external pressures, then the work is for you. Neither this path nor any other spiritual work aims to provide students with a nice life. There’s nothing wrong with having a nice life, but it’s not the purpose of the work. If you want the truth, if you want to be real, if you want to live a real life, then the work can speak to you. Being real and having a real life might not feel comfortable and ideal a lot of the time. But then you need to make your choice. What do you want, truth or comfort? Although the truth is not intrinsically contrary to feeling good or being comfortable, sometimes, because of our personal history, the truth comes with pain and difficulty. The work is for someone who wants to live a life that’s not vacuous, that’s not part of the common tide. We don’t do the work to be special or better than other people, but because we want to be genuine, because we want to be real, because we feel a deep longing for living a genuine life. If we are truly pulled toward living a real life, then even if we suffer and feel miserable for a long time, we wouldn’t want to exchange our life for an easier one, because what we value most is the truth. To live a genuine life, we have to dedicate ourselves to the truth.

For Something Real

Some teachings about being free from ego might lead you to think that you should get rid of being a person, you should be universal and objective. But, at the deepest level, you want to be a person and be free. Where did you get that idea, that it is possible to be a person and be free at the same time? That longing must originate from somewhere. We know from our method of investigation that if there is a longing then something has been lost. If we have a deep longing, it must be for something real. We might approach the problem wrongly, we might not be clear about what is missing, but the aspiration toward it is real. How can you be a free person, be yourself, and not be controlled by ego and personality? Is it possible to be oneself without being one’s personality? That is the question: if this question is answered then our mystery is solved. Our work here is to learn how to be free from one’s personality by being oneself. The personality as a whole exists because it is taking the place of something real which has been lost. We can feel the potential for this reality in the fact of the existence of its imitator, personality. The deepest longing in us is to be oneself and to be free at the same time—not to lose oneself completely to be free. We would experience that as a loss. In fact it is not that difficult to lose ourselves, but it is not the most complete fulfillment of human experience. I want to be myself and I want to be free; the freedom is for being myself. As Ramakrishna said, “I don’t want to be sugar, I want to taste sugar.”

For this Nurturing Presence

This Nourishment, or Milk Essence, is a state of Being, and is always available to the human being. But because it becomes associated with the mother’s physical milk it becomes almost impossible to experience. Every individual has a deep longing for this nurturing presence, but it is not allowed into consciousness, because one is now an adult, One student writes when he feels the deep longing: “When I experienced the emptiness of not having my mother’s nurturing, I seemed to be faced with staying a child or being an adult,” meaning that as an adult he cannot take the need for Milk seriously, because one can have it only as a baby. So the longing for this aspect is usually deeply repressed because the adult individual feels it is too late to have mother’s milk. But this aspect is part of oneself; it can be realized, and it is needed for complete autonomy, which is the Personal Essence.

For Union

We cannot put into words the union we seek; our minds can't even conceptualize what this union is. But the heart knows, and manifests a deep longing for it. Since the mind doesn't know what union is, it looks at all the situations in the world that seem to approximate it and moves toward those: “Oh, that’s where it is! I saw those two people in love in the movie I watched last night. Yes, that looks like it." Watching them touched your heart in a certain way, and you started to feel a longing: “Oh, wouldn't it be nice to find a situation like that?” Haven’t you noticed that when people go to romantic movies, they get teary, vulnerable, sad, melancholic. Everybody's heart gets activated. The movie is activating the desire for union through images that represent to our mind ways of fulfilling our yearning.  We are always missing some kind of bond or experience of oneness. So we want to look at the specific images we hold that send us seeking to fulfill our desire for union. If we can recognize what these are, in all their various forms, we will get closer to recognizing the underlying longing, the unspeakable yearning, that is in every human heart.  

Love Unveiled, pg. 147

To Disappear, To Vanish

Realizing our nature as essence and the nature of existence as cosmic oneness gives rise to an even more subtle understanding of reality. A more final stage will appear first as a deep longing and subtle suffering. A longing to disappear, to vanish, will arise. The concepts that are questioned are not a matter of whether you are an individual or oneness, whether you are human or God. The question is whether you exist or not. The fact of existence is questioned. We become uncomfortably aware of a sense of existence, even though our sense of this existence has no limitations. The final limitation is the attachment to existence. You don’t want existence to end. The suffering here is usually not a big deal. It’s not as difficult as the suffering in going from the personal to the cosmic. At this stage, we suffer not because we are afraid of death but because we love existence. We love God. We love everything. The attachment to existence appears as a contraction, and this contraction is suffering. If there is love for anything, you are bound to be attached to it. The attachment will have to go if suffering is to be completely gone. 

To Unify with the Ultimate Beloved

People naturally want to spend their life doing what they feel most passionate about. That is the desire of the heart. But whatever they want to do is an external reflection of the deep longing of the heart to unify with its ultimate Beloved. The passionate love that we have been talking about is what propels the soul on its search for the Beloved.  As we have seen, passionate desire is not a gentle wanting. No, when we are passionate, our soul is on fire, and the longing of our heart is like a flame. We find that the more passionate our love is, the more we are willing to surrender, to give ourselves up to the truth, to the Beloved. And the more passionate we are, the less we will meander along the way; the less we will be constrained by the barriers we encounter; the less we will get stuck in or distracted by our various positions and identifications and issues. That’s because we’re so passionately in love with the Beloved that we don’t sit around trying to resolve this issue or that problem: “Oh, my husband never remembers our anniversary” . . . “My therapist wasn’t very empathic today” . . . “The other guys at work are so shallow”—all the little things that can grab our attention. Forget all that. That's not it. It's just part of what you see on the road, and you need to keep going and drive as fast as possible. 

Love Unveiled, pg. 211

To Unite or Merge with Something or Someone

Because that sense of separation in itself is suffering, a deep longing to dissolve the separation, a deep longing to unite or merge with something or someone, develops. The boundaries themselves become a frustration, become pure suffering. The strong desire to bridge that gap, to melt the boundaries manifests most often in wanting to be close to or to connect to someone else so that you won’t feel the separation. You try to dissolve the isolation by engaging in the activity of desire. You want love; you want acceptance. You want someone to love you, or you want to love someone. But wanting to love or to be loved, that in itself implies the belief that you are a separate individual. So believing you are a separate individual, you try not to be separate. But how can you merge, how can you dissolve your boundaries when your actions are based on a belief in separation? Can a longing for union bring about union? Can attempts to merge bring about merging? Your actions create the dilemma. You want to be united with someone or something because you believe you are separate, and you act accordingly. But acting accordingly strengthens your separateness, so you continue to be a separate individual, an island.  

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