I remember having intense crushes through my teenage years. I never spoke to these crushes. Oh, no! That would have spoiled the fantasy. I didn’t know this at the time though. I always thought the reason was just that I was so painfully shy I couldn’t actually talk to the ones I longed for. Later in my college years I would plot ways to meet a crush… after a year of longing and finding a way to attend a party where he would be, I somehow got him to ask me out on a date. I was excited and scared. We dated for 3 whole weeks and it was quickly realized it wouldn’t last. I had been in a year-long relationship with my longing. He could never measure up to that.
I started to notice longing in my life in other situations too. There was something about the pain of the longing as a kind of sweet suffering that was almost enjoyable. I had different names for it like “future nostalgia”, or “melancholic optimism”, or simply “something’s missing”, and it felt romantic and dramatic and rich. I had a love affair with my longing and if anyone tried to take it away by showing up and being who they actually were, I would be sure to sabotage the relationship so I could go back to my longing. Of course I didn’t know this consciously. I got really clear about this about a year ago when it dawned on me that I am no longer longing, but more present and grateful for relationships exactly as they showed up in my life.
Once in a while I am asked by clients at the center about what personal benefits I’ve gained in my own life in working with The Living Inquiries. Although it’s impossible to measure really, one thing that’s become clear is that it’s not that my ups and downs don’t exist. It’s that it’s just not as important as it used to be. A wide range of emotions are still available to me. I’m human. But the relationship to my emotions has changed. It’s no longer crucial that I feel happy all the time. I’m not measuring my well being as much on my emotional state. If there is any measuring going on, it’s more about whether I’m able to notice and rest with my states that do show up. And the noticing and rest happen for longer periods and more naturally since I’ve found the Living Inquiries.
I must admit there is one state that has changed and has not showed up for a long while: the longing is gone. It’s just not there, and although I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when this shift happened, I can trace it back to a few facilitations a few years ago that I started to become aware of this love affair with my longing and I stayed with it, observed it and noticed it any time it showed up. I didn’t try to change it, I just kept noticing it, resting and inquiring into it. And as I looked at the different layers of thoughts about it, memories and images associated to it as well as the intense sensation that felt so stuck in my body, at some point through the continual looking, the whole thing was less and less compelling or interesting. Today I’m in a relationship where I can honestly say I don’t wish him to be any different than how he is. It’s a very refreshing change to want what is already in front of you.
– Marina Bajszár from What is your “Love Affair” with?
I notice this longing in myself, and remember it even from childhood. I would wake up some mornings with a deep longing in me, and nothing I did seemed to satisfy it (strawberry jam sandwich, hot chocolate, reading Donald Duck magazines or adventure books, being with friends or my parents). I see a longing for….. a soul mate, the past (my time in Oslo, Salt Lake City), old loves, women I longed for but never got together with, certain experiences, places (San Francisco, Salt Lake City, the US South-West, the cabin in Norway), missed opportunities, and more. It’s almost a compulsion to long, which takes precedence of actually having what I long for in my life.
This is a good topic for inquiry, including the Unfindable Inquiry (longing, what I long for, the one longing), Anxiety Inquiry, and Compulsion Inquiry (compulsion to long, to have what I long for, to not have what I long for).