There are many obvious advantages to belonging to the human species. One seemingly not so desirable trait is our insatiable longing. We hunger and ache for those things that seem out of our reach. They distract us from whatever else is going on, and undermine our efforts to best achieve our goals. This longing is primarily the work of our ego: our mind-made entity that we mistakenly believe is the essence of our true self.
It is part of the human conditioning that masks our being. We wish for those things we don’t have, and then because “wanting” is all our minds are trained to do, when we get those things it’s not long before we are wishing for something new. It’s just a cycle, and one that can be overcome through a practice of awareness. And in breaking free of that conditioning, extraneous longing in service to ego falls away, leaving us with a clear understanding of where we need to focus our energy on.
Certainly our purpose as humans isn’t to have every worldly thing we want. In letting go of longing, we open to the possibility of discovering our authentic purpose in life. When we are graced with this truth, honoring and serving that truth becomes our primary desire. We have a much clearer understanding of those individual wants or needs that do not serve our higher purpose, and we are able to more easily let go of those distractions to keep our energy available for more purposeful activities.
And yet even in this higher state of awareness, there can still be some element of desire that distracts us from time to time. Longing can be beautiful if it is experienced from this higher state of awareness because we are no longer lost in identification with it. When something we want is seen as a conflict with our higher purpose, we are free to indulge in this bittersweet longing from time to time. No longer at the mercy of it, we are able to see that even longing has a purpose in service to our higher self: it is the vehicle through which we are able to genuinely treasure all we have.
So it would seem that part of belonging to the human species is to be-longing. When we can open to the beauty of it, it becomes a gift instead of a burden. It drives us now to fulfillment instead of unhappiness. As long as we are feeling there is some fulfillment in the world that we haven’t yet experienced, we are rendered helpless to experience the fulfillment we already possess within ourselves. Until we can tap into that experience of fulfillment, our lives will be lived in service to unhappiness.
Rather than expend all our efforts trying to get what it is that you want, use that sense of longing as a way of tapping into the fulfillment that is available Now. It is not necessary to suspend wanting indefinitely, just long enough until you experience the truth of your purpose beyond any of those persistent worldly desires. You will know you are there when, for a time, you do not want or need anything to be different than it is in that moment.
Because wanting is a conditioned human behavior, you can rest assured that it won’t take long for those wants to surface again. Through awareness, you get better at watching them in order to make sure they are not steering you off your true path. Then, even when there is longing, there is also a deep experience of peace. After all, that is really what it is that we, as humans, genuinely hunger and ache for most.