Pure Longing Part 2


I went to see the movie the Big Short yesterday. It is a very powerful reminder of the fear and instability the great recession of 2008 and 09 gave us.  This movie comes at a good time; We can see the aftermath of this emotional earthquake we went through in the fear of many people now distrusting the government, those in real power, to prevent similar traumas to our way of life in the near future. There is a powerful saying from Mark Twain on the screen at the very beginning of the movie:

“It ain’t what you don’t know that ends up getting you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.”

I wrote in my last post about pure longing that is free of all thoughts we have about it. We simply don’t know what this longing actually is. This is a paradox for us because we have this deep conditioning inside us that makes us convinced that longing is longing for some thing. Nisargadatta says “The happiness you can think of or long for is not the true happiness.” True happiness as he means it, just doesn’t come and go, and isn’t moved, isn’t pushed around by whatever experiences are going on within or outside of us. It welcomes and absorbs the pure aliveness that is in every experience. It’s what is always here, has always been here in every experience of our lives.

Because it’s always here, we don’t need to try and grasp it. We actually can’t grasp it, it is always already totally saturating us. It isn’t going anywhere, it has never gone anywhere. The paradox of longing for that which we can’t grasp, that which is always here and now, is a double bind for our egos.

A double bind is a psychological predicament in which a person receives from a single source conflicting messages that allow no appropriate response to be made. In this context of spiritual longing and surrender, whatever we try to do, whatever we long for, or try to move away from, is an inappropriate response. Our egos simply don’t have an appropriate response. But if we’re open to our emotional life, we know we are deeply moved to act while being guided by our thoughts and feelings.

So our longing that includes the deep surrender of attachment to our desires and fears, is a participatory surrender. We become willing to surrender to the life force moving us, our ego by itself has no appropriate response. When we deeply realize this, we see there is no need for us to give expression to our longing. When we are not self consciously doing anything, just allowing ourselves to be still, our life force is still at work.  It’s expressing everything we experience, including longing.  But we no longer need to know it is our life force, our longing. This pure longing, undiluted by attachment to conscious thought or action, will speedily take us to our goal of self realization, as we learn to open to and receive the love and compassion finding us from within. Then we are more and more free to join the spirit of our true self expressing itself in the world of our daily life.

8 Responses to Pure Longing Part 2

  1. Piro January 27, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    Those who have not surrender always will search for longing and always will have different name or experience to explain it, those who have surrender do not have a longing anymore they are free.

  2. Roger Hawkins January 28, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    The idea of total surrender and no more longing brings up interesting questions for me anyway. Ram Dass uses the term ‘perfected beings’ in his book Be Love Now. Those he mentions definitely didn’t get stuck in grief or yearning. Great saints like Yogananda did experience deep longing. When dear friends passed away, he would sometimes spend a whole day in seclusion processing his grief, and you remember the scenes of his grief in the movie Awake after his teacher died?

    Could it be that for many people the absence of yearning is an illusion, that it is an idea based on fear of the pain of grief? That’s not to say saints like Yogananda necessarily experience mourning or longing the same way as so called less realized people. But in very advanced souls, the willingness to grieve deeply is definitely there.

  3. Shokai January 28, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    What pure joy it is to read your posts. It was a pleasure spending time with you on our Prison Ministry adventure and at the zendo for dokusan and hearing your dharma talk. I am blessed to have you as a teacher and friend. Blessings to you and the boys. Shokai (Kathy)

    • Roger Hawkins January 28, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

      Thanks so much for your love and support Kathy.
      Blessings to you also, and I am realizing more and more how we are each teachers
      for each other.

    • Roger Hawkins February 1, 2016 at 9:51 am #

      Wow Debra, that’s a great series of questions. I don’t think there is a way to deal with it, or a way it should be experienced or felt. When we attach to a way to do something, or a way something should be experienced, and what the result should be, it’s almost always a red flag that we’re trying to self consciously control the situation and our own reaction to it. Of course being human, many times we are going to do just that. We need to be compassionately mindful of our struggles with this.

      What I do when confronted with intense suffering in someone is to notice my resistance, my wanting to move away and find safety in being separate from the situation and the person suffering. It’s much easier now than it used to be to just remind myself that I can’t find the actual separation, even in the midst of feeling the strong desire to create separation.

      The earnestness in being willing to receive the situation as a gift that I can’t control, and to be open to deeply experience whatever thoughts and feelings arise, is the Bodhisattva spirit in action. Then we learn to trust that when effort is necessary, it will be there from our deeper self, and when effortlessness is appropriate, it will also assert itself. The earnestness in just being willing to trust and use the situation to deepen the realization of our true self and that of others, is all we need. The Bodhisattva spirit always takes it from there.

      • Myo-an February 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

        Wow, Rog. This reply felt like immediate relief, immediate recognition. Thank you! “…Can’t find the actual separation, even in the midst of feeling the desire to create separation.” That’s the crux of the matter for me, the surrender to the Bodhisattva way. I see my attachment to any solid “way” is like insisting on a tether when it’s time to fly. I’ll keep practicing. Big Love

        • Roger Hawkins February 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

          Great Debra,

          Resisting our own and others’ pain is natural and is the source of being the rescuer, but staying attached to our resistance doesn’t help others see through their own attachments.

  4. Myoan January 31, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    So how do we practice this undiluted pure longing such that it takes us to deeper realization? Does the longing have to hurt? Yesterday I was sitting outside at a Starbucks in Miami, talking with some teacher friends about the suffering of many people who are turning to mindfulness for relief. A man on a bicycle came up to us and asked for help, showed us his hospital armband. He said he had just been released. He showed us the stitches in his head, said a truck hit him and drove away. He didn’t know his name and his nameband said “Unknown Male.” He didn’t have a helmet. We gave him money and food, stood up and met him face to face, asked if he had a place to sleep (yes, the shelter). accepted his gratitude. It didn’t feel like enough. I am still carrying his dark swollen lost face with me, longing for relief for him or my ability to recognize it is nothing more than my own and stop it swiftly. It’s a harsh painful feeling to still confront such suffering in all it’s rawness. How does a bodhisattva meet such events and leave them, recover without dwelling or longing or adding on suffering to pain?

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