All of us are filled with longing at one time or another…for a partner, for a connection with the divine, or even for a very good meal. In my case it’s always been the longing to understand the meaning behind things, which led me to a double profession, first as a mainstream journalist and later as a teacher and writer. In pursuit of truth, I delved and questioned and ferreted around for answers to everything that I couldn’t quite figure out
At last there came a time when I realized that there were depths I could never get to the bottom of, and heights I would never reach. Yet the inner pursuer continued to hunt everywhere for answers, and even began to attack me, resenting my inability to get what I wanted.
That raised the question, who in me resents not “getting it?” I’ll often see something out of the corner of my mind’s eye, a manifestation of what’s going on inside or outside me. In fact, there’s information everywhere when you keep mind and heart open. It’s reflected in dreams, in efforts at painting, in affirmations and assumptions, and in a variety of personal blunders. And someone inside looks on all this activity and asks: “What in heaven’s name is going on here?”
Dreams can be terrifying, or quite the opposite, heart-easing. Some of my paintings are quite beautiful and that pleases me. Others seem like repetitions of the same old stuff as before. The usual frustration rises whenever I’m faced with an unknown world that expresses itself through me or to me, even though I know it is trying to communicate. Why can’t I hear the message, demand an explanation, or finally, as a last resort, acknowledge: “I don’t understand.”
I’m unavailable. That’s the word for it. The critical person in pursuit of answers can’t understand. Perhaps my ability to comprehend has gone on vacation. Or maybe I need to learn a new language. What’s hardest to fathom is that even in the best conditions, for example sometimes when I walk in the park thinking, “Here I am at last!” nothing changes. How I long to absorb the message of the trees, to expand with the open landscape and be refreshed. That’s why I came here, in search of a quiet mind, but thoughts burble on.
Or when something bad happens to someone good and it’s incomprehensible why. I look. I listen. But what I seek to understand is beyond my grasp. In such a moment I am face to face with how I want things to be, and what I lack. Finally, not without regret, I let go of the need to understand the mystery, and release my longing in the name of a modicum of inner peace. Suddenly, as I give up this frustrated longing to understand, peace descends like the gentle rain of heaven. I am here, now. Even as the mystery deepens, I ask for nothing.