Longing

“Longing is the transfiguration of aloneness, the defenseless interior secret core of a person receiving its overdue invitation from the moon, the stars, the night horizon and the great tidal flows of life and love.

Longing is divine discontent, the unendurable present finding a physical doorway to awe and discovery that frightens and emboldens, humiliates and beckons, makes us into pilgrim souls and sets us on some road that starts in the center of the body, and then leads out, like an uncaring invitation, like a comet’s passing tail, glimpsed only for a moment, making us willing to give up our perfect house, our paid for home and our accumulated belongings.

Longing is felt through the lens and even the ache of the body, magnifying and bringing the horizon close, as if the horizon were both a lifetime’s journey away and alive already, deep inside at some unknown core – as if we were coming home into a beautifully familiar, condensed strangeness. In the longing and possession of romantic love it is as if the body has been loaned to someone else and has taken over the senses – we no longer know ourselves. Longing calls for a beautiful, grounded humiliation; the abasement of what we thought we were and strangely, the giving up of central control while being granted a watchful, scintillating, peripheral discrimination. The static willful central identity is pierced and wounded, violated and orphaned into its own future as if set adrift on a tide: like Moses in his floating cradle, bumping along the reeds of the Nile, like a child lost in a panicked moving crowd and at times, like a creature hit, gripped and lifted by a passing hawk.

Longing has its own secret future destination, and its own seasonal emergence from within, a ripening from the core, a seed growing in our own bodies; it is as if we are put into relationship with an enormous distance inside us leading back to some unknown origin with its own secret timing indifferent to our wills, and gifted at the same time with an intimate sense of proximity, to a lover, to a future, to a transformation, to a life we want for ourselves, and to the beauty of the sky and the ground that surrounds us.

Longing is nothing without its dangerous edge, that cuts and wounds us while setting us free and beckons us exactly because of the human need to invite the right kind of peril. The foundational instinct that we are here essentially to risk ourselves in the world, that we are a form of invitation to others and to otherness, that we are meant to hazard ourselves for the right thing, for the right woman or the right man, for a son or a daughter, for the right work or for a gift given against all the odds. In longing we move and are moving from a known but abstracted elsewhere, to a beautiful, about to be reached, someone, something or somewhere we want to call our own.”

~ David Whyte

longing

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