I truly admire those people who remain single and alone and happy! But it may be true that most of us seek a life partner, and that we feel most whole when we are in relationship. When I was in my thirties and single, I desperately wanted a husband. In fact, I felt lonely and depressed. Everyone seemed matched up but me.
I met Brad when I was thirty-nine, and we have been harmoniously and happily married for twenty-five years. Our marriage is amazingly effortless – what a gift! But I am realizing that there is a deep longing, a kind of deep grief, even in the most perfect marriage.
Brad longs for God, and I long for…well, I am not sure what I long for.
I have been with yoga gurus and Zen teachers. Whenever I have developed that deep bond of love and devotion with a teacher, I become overwhelmed with a sense of love and grief and longing. I used to ask myself of Baba Muktananda, “What do you want? Do you want to sit on his lap?” I know that no teacher can satisfy that longing. The teacher can only evoke that longing.
Recently a senior student at Everyday Zen asked me, “Were you held by your parents?” I knew I was at the edge of a precipice when I said, “No.” She helped me see that that longing and grief is primal, is pre-erotic. One might be tempted, perhaps, to see this as a matter of poor parenting or a dysfunctional family (which mine became). But I think it is much more than that.
Brad says that this longing is a gift. I think it is a deep longing for completion. All the yogic and Buddhist teachings say you are already complete. Maybe, but clearly I don’t feel that! Now what?
One could experience completion or wholeness in each person you meet. On every meeting. This is remarkable to contemplate! And one can certainly sense completion while being in nature.
I am wondering, now, whether this seeking for completion is never-ending, that completion is never complete. While always seeking, always going deeper could be a good thing, I wonder if the grief and pain of separation will ever go away?