‘You are what your deep driving desire is. As your desire, so is your will. As your will, so is your deed. As your deed, so is your destiny.; – Upanishad 4.5
Do you ever feel that weird emptiness? A longing for something… but what? Not really sure.
I’ve come to believe there are different levels of existence. We can live in the physical, tangible and transitory realm, where we are concerned mostly with the external – I’ve defiantly done that. Or we can live in the perennial experience of existence – the deep connection with our driving desires, ultimately our nature. I’m now learning to do this.
Of course, we are in and of this world and I’m personally not looking to transcend it (for now anyway), so this isn’t a comment on how to find joy by overcoming the daily lives we lead. Instead, I’m interested in exploring what this deep driving desire that motivates us, or doesn’t, truly is.
What I’ve come to discover, is that unless we are actively doing the work, we could end up living our whole lives not even acknowledging this deep almost hidden desire. If we do recognise it, we spend time feeling slightly confused as to and why, whatever we do, we can’t quite seem to satiate it… ‘what even is it?!’ We ask.
When we operate from what I call the first realm of existence, being connected mostly with the external – the desires that we feel are self-perpetuating. We satisfy one for the new dress, then we need the new bike, then the amazing holiday – but before we know it we are again outwardly searching for the next ‘thing’ that will momentarily ease us of this longing. We accumulate until we need to start clearing our clutter to accumulate more. Why?
Is it that we haven’t even acknowledged to ourselves that this deeper (second realm) desire is present within us? Has been forever and will continue to be until we start to pay attention? If this deep longing is yet to be acknowledged it seems to me that we keep chasing, hoping to capture the promise of a better life, but never seem satisfied no matter what we end up with.
It is from this place of lack of awareness, or perhaps even denial, as to acknowledge this emptiness would require us to actually change, that we lose our balance and our path. We desperately search for this inner peace and happiness through becoming addicted to our jobs, to shopping, relationships, food, alcohol, drugs. Have you stopped for a moment just before satisfying an impulse and asked yourself what you’re really looking for? It is a most fascinating insight.
My belief is that somewhere underneath the shopping, working, binging, exercising and drinking – we are all desperately seeking a way home to ourselves. We are after-all creatures of this planet – but we are humans and love to believe we are above it. We are not. ‘Just like migrating birds, who instinctively navigate thousands of miles each year to nest in the same branch of the same tree, something within us is always seeking this place of homecoming.’ (Donna Fahri)
I know the feeling, and it’s what took me to yoga. An inner longing. I didn’t know what the feeling of emptiness was. I loved my life – my friends, family, I had a masters degree, and on paper there was really nothing ‘wrong.’ So why then, as such a lucky girl with material goods available to me, was I craving something more? Anything material was not worthy to fill this craving or longing. I used to describe it as a little hole deep inside me. An emptiness where I was sure there should be fullness. With that comes a guilt that you even feel this way – how dare you when you have so much. But this inner-longing to come home to ourselves, our nature, has nothing to do with all the stuff we have. And it has everything to do with our internal ‘second level’ life of our deepest desire to be at peace with ourselves and our true nature.
I have lots of friends and know plenty of people that dismiss the practice of yoga (I also used to be one of them), that scoff at being on a ‘spiritual path’, as if that’s just not something they’re interested in. Well my experience and my observations lead me to believe that every single soul on this planet is on a spiritual path – is searching for happiness, for peace in their minds, for freedom and comfort in their bodies. How else can you achieve internal richness that manifests itself as health and happiness, without acknowledging there is a deeper understanding/spirituality to it?
I do not mean spirituality in terms of workshopping any gods – that is not spirituality to me. I mean knowing that we are unexplainable and unfathomable miracles. Our planet is a miracle, our sun, our moon, our galaxy. The universe. Science explains some, but certainly not all – and whatever our belief systems may be, we can unite in the truth that we are a part of whatever this is. For me, seeing that and opening up to it – is spirituality.
Wherever we find ourselves searching for fun, happiness, joy, relaxation – it is in fact already a spiritual searching. We are looking to lose ourselves in whatever it may be in order to experience a lightness of being and a transcendence which allows us to live in joy. The problem is – when we find it in work, alcohol, food, drugs… it’s sadly not a real and lasting joy, relaxation or happiness.
What we truly seek, I believe, is an intimate relationship with the potent (and paradoxically unknowable) animating force that stands behind our own creation. Why do we so often crave to be ‘out in nature’? Why do we feel peacefulness when we reside in nothing but the natural existence of this planet? This animating force, energy – that causes my fingers to move and type, our eyes to see and our brains to process these little figures into a language (oh my god what, it blows my mind), this animating force causes our hearts to beat – the trees, flowers and plants to grow, the birds to sing and the snow to fall, and we are it. It is us and we are it. Surely then, it is obvious – to lose this true connection to what we actually are, is going to leave us spiritualty starved.
So for all this rambling, I hope it becomes a little clearer… as I see it, our motivation in every single choice we make is ultimately towards meeting our deepest driving desire. We may not know it, we may not be able to decipher it amongst our behaviours, but ultimately, we are drawn towards this need to be fulfilled by, quite simply, our own true selves.