When was the last time you really craved something? And what was it?
Ice cream? At 12am?
For most of us our cravings live and die in the realm of food.
But what about a spiritual yearning? A craving for intense expansion and vibrancy in life? Does it come as intensely, as frequently, or even as naturally as when we crave a particular food?
And if not, why not?
Are you hungry?
When was the last time you felt really, truly hungry?
Not just a mild “I could eat something” sensation, but a overwhelming feeling of “every cell in my being is telling me it is time to eat.”
Hunger and the yearning for food is an intense experience. If you experience it, you won’t forget it easily.
Most of the time, we don’t allow ourselves to truly feel hungry. When it starts to simmer within us, we are quick to mute it.
Because it’s unpleasant.
So we tend snack throughout the day, until we reach an official meal time, and then we just continue in this same pattern.
We have a tendency to mute and numb these intense yearnings, even something as fundamental as hunger, so that we can stay comfortable.
And in doing this, we teach ourselves to ignore and avoid our bodies cues.
If we ignore the requests of our body, then we certainly don’t tune into the callings of our soul.
Craving for something
Cravings and yearnings by their very nature feel both intense and uncomfortable – because it creates an internal energy within us – an inner thrust forward – pushing us to be where our “self” wants us to be.
It tells us – you can’t stay here for ever – there is somewhere else for you to be.
And because we can’t bear that feeling, that inner restlessness, that longing for something more, the craving for expansion, we are quick to mute them.
We put out our fire.
We’re afraid of our fire.
And it goes beyond physical satisfaction too.
We cant stand to let ourselves to be bored. Or alone. Or with nothing to do. We can’t stand to be stuck in a line up without our cellphone. Or to be on a 2 hour bus ride without something to read or listen to. Sometimes we can’t even watch a movie without being on at least one other device.
A spiritual yearning
All human beings, we have an inner yearning for expansion. You might not have ever experienced it yet, but it is there within you.
But our problem is that when we feel the slightest bubbling of it within ourselves, we try to satisfy these longings with mediocre things.
We go shopping and buy new things. We go and watch a movie. We pick a fight with our loved one. We spend a couple of hours glued to our devices. We do anything and everything we can think of to distract ourselves. We think cravings of the heart are synonymous with boredom. and we think entertainment is the antidote for it.
But we are wrong.
If we are constantly bombarding ourselves with little “snacks” – whether they are edible snacks to curb our hunger, mental snacks to curb our boredom, or emotional snacks to curb our pain and yearning – we will never be able to know exactly what we need.
We become like robots living life on autopilot, never letting ourselves to truly feel anything.
To feel what it is to be alive.
If we stop consistently numbing ourselves, we will finally feel what it is to have life pulsing through our very being.
It’s the most simple thing. It’s what we are born with. And yet, somewhere along this journey, we lost it.
Why do we need an intense longing?
When you are truly hungry, for example, in a state of starvation or fasting, you will notice that you will naturally adjust yourself to be most efficient with yourself. You won’t expend too much energy. You will become quieter. You will do only what is necessary.
In the same way, when you allow yourself to truly experience a yearning of your soul, you will do exactly what is necessary. You will transform yourself and become exactly as you need to be.
You don’t need to look for a guru.
You don’t need to follow a certain discipline.
If you let your yearning be intense enough, then everything will be as it needs to be.
But the question is – how do we start listening, and once we’ve heard it, how do we make it louder? How do we take it to that level?
How to build intensity
For me, a spiritual yearning is present in me every day. It wasn’t always like this, when I was younger, for example, I could go for weeks, months, maybe even years, without experiencing the yearning. Until something devastating happened to me in my life that forced me to pay attention to myself. Finally.
But now, spiritual yearning is a sensation that is with me every day. On certain days it is stronger than others. Sometimes it feels like it is the only thing that matters to me.
And the most remarkable thing is that didn’t get it to this level of intensity by reading books.
Not by writing blog posts.
Not by talking spirituality with friends.
And not even by meditating every day.
What worked for me was to finally just let myself feel.
To take some time and disconnect with the incessant external stimulation I crowd my life with. It happens when I stop reading, stop writing, stop talking. It happens when I just spend some time being with myself, and learning what it means to be just alive.
No bells and whistles.
It is enough.
It is more than enough.
In fact, it is such an intense experience that it is almost overwhelming.
If this is something you would like to experience, try to spend some time with nothing and doing nothing. Be alert and awake, don’t sleep it away. Just sit and be.
Initially you might uncomfortable, it might even feel unbearable at moments. But over time, everything will become crystal clear. You will understand exactly what you long for.
If you can spend a few days, or a day, OR even just an evening, with nothing but yourself. The yearnings will come. Then you will know what is important to you.
When we can stay away from something, that is when we the true value of it. When we are starving, we understand the value of food. We understand the magic of an apple in it’s all its simplicity when it is sitting in front of us, and we have not eaten in a day.
So when you come back to food after a period of fasting, instead of gobbling it all down, take the time to look at it, to appreciate it, to see what food really means to you. This is a truly transforming experience.
And we can do the same with everything in our life. When we have been away from something for some time, come back to life in a conscious way. Life will feel completely different.
Let’s let ourselves be a little bit hungry. Let ourselves feel something again, so that we can finally know what is important to us.
Mahashivarathri: An opportunity
Mahashivarathri which is happening February 24th 2017 this year, is a powerful night that gives us the opportunity to feel these yearnings again, maybe even for the first time.
For me, last year was the first time I allowed myself to experience this mystic night of possibilities, and it was truly life enhancing. I hope you join me for a night of meditation and wakefulness this year, where we remain awake all night till at least 4am.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We had a long weekend here in Ontario and it was just so lovely to have more time with my husband and friends. Oh and the air smelled like spring. *heart eyes*
I will write you again soon.