Saying that God is longing to know itself is, as anything else, only a pointer, an invitation to exploration. It is not true or not true, apart from in the most limited sense, and the reversals are equally true.
So how is this a pointer? In what way is it a helpful teaching? What is it a remedy for?
The most obvious may be as an invitation to explore our own longings. I can take any longing in my own life, however mundane and unspiritual it may seem, and trace it back. What is it really a longing for? What is more genuinely true for me about it than its surface appearance?
I have a desire for food. What is it about? I find that it is about survival, avoiding suffering, and finding some happiness. It is innocent, and a way to take care of this human self.
I have a desire for success. Here too, I find that it is about survival, avoiding suffering, and finding some happiness. Again, it is innocent, and it is love filtered through stories.
I have a longing for connection. Again, I find the same things.
By exploring this, I find that my longings – the ones I have looked into so far – are all innocent, and they are love filtered through certain stories. The longing is always genuine and innocent. And the strategies to fulfill those longings may or may not make sense after I investigate them. If they don’t, there is always room to try something else.
There is a relaxation here, a relase of struggle with myself.
I also find that each longing is a longing for allowing what is, as it is, and for a full and rich human life. In other words, it is a longing for waking up – for appreciating what is, as it is, including the confusion, drama and mistaken identities, and also for releasing identification out of stories and identities, and the drama and resistance that comes from getting caught up in them. And it is a longing for growing up, for healing and maturing as a human being in the world.
So the pointer God is longing to know itself is a way for me to clarify my own longings, my own intentions and desires. Not to change them, but to see what they really and genuinely are about for me. And I may find that they are innocent, and genuine desires to grow and wake up. There is a new sense of alignment when this is recognized, and it may happen over and over as I explore new longings and desires, or explore again the ones I have looked at before. It is always new. Fresh. Different.
There are also other ways the hadith God is longing to know itself is a pointer.
It is an invitation to see what is happening here now. To notice that form happens within and as awakeness, and not even that, just as the mystery no pointers can touch. This world of form, as it is, is God longing to know itself. It is no thing longing to know itself as (the appearance of) something, in always new, fresh and different ways.
It is of course an anthropomorphism. There is no longing there. And yet, maybe we can say there is. The movement into form in itself can be seen as a longing for God to know itself as and through form.
Including as this universe, planet, plants, animals, humans, mistaken identities, awakenings, and whatever else is happening.