The various experiences for which we long are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad. It is the longing we must look at, not the object to which the longing attaches. That’s the error – to become focused on the object as if it were the problem (so often masquerading as the solution), rather the longing which actually generates the object.
To want anything other than what is is to implicitly deny that you already have everything. Longing begins in overlooking this simple fact, and it survives on the hunger generated by continuing to overlook this fact.
But to understand this, you have to reframe your understanding of your body. Your body is an experience of the world, of the cosmos, creating a body in order to perceive itself. Thus, the body is not in any way “you” because you are not a partial or local phenomenon. You are the cosmos experiencing itself through a certain perspective. The body is more like an aperture than anything else – an absence or gap through which the whole is glimpsed, albeit partially.
If you don’t know this, then you will sense that something is missing and you will naturally want to find what is missing. At its most simple, this shows up in our craving for experience – new loves, flavors of tea, resonant songs and so forth. These experiences come and go on their own, but you can invest in them a kind of intensity and purpose that far exceeds the natural range of their being.
This constructs what A Course in Miracles calls “special relationships,” which are like idols worshiped for what we think we can get from them, rather than for what we can give. Nobody can actually give anything to an idol because idols are dead and inanimate. Their only life comes from the illusion of life projected onto them.
The solution is to look past the idol. Just forget about it. The idol has no power but what you give it; the special relationship only has the power you give it. Let it go. Let what happens, happen. Let what doesn’t happen also happen. You’ll see that the objects go nowhere, and the narrative apparently giving them meaning also goes nowhere, but the desire creating them . . .
. . . that shifts in a subtle but powerful way. Its generative capacity turns to life and renewal, rebirth in forgiveness, rather than death, sterility and mere repetition.
When we are invested in idols and specialness, we are projecting, we are casting out a self, which creates an apparent lack, which must then be filled, remedied, amended, healed. Suddenly, the song or the person or the landscape feels like a natural extension of you, the part of you that’s missing and which you must have, will have, and when you do have then you will be complete and know the joy and peace of God.
Not so. Not so.
On the one hand, this error makes a certain kind of sense because what you are seeing is only your own self projected. It is meet and just to care deeply for that self. But on the other hand, you don’t realize that you are looking at your own self. You think you’re looking at a song. Or a person. Or a landscape.
Hence the confusion, the specialness, which are the absence of holiness, for which you do not need to be forgiven but which you very much do need to allow to be corrected if you want to be happy in the deepest, most sustainable sense of the word.
Peace is knowing that it’s all you, because it’s all life. It’s not something that you understand in an intellectual sense; it’s something that arrives in you as a fact of your own being. It is a moment of self-recognition and it ends the illusion of separation (which also, by the way, ends “you” as you presently understand yourself). Henceforth, you will not be tortured by fantasies of future joy conditioned upon finding the right person, place, spiritual practice or any other apparent thing.
You will say “oh.” You will say “oh . . .”
You will be grateful and still, and your praise will be quiet and meaningful. You will be a prayer generated by the Love that names you its brother and sister, in which you are home forever.
Make it so my dear friend. Make it so.