April 14

The longing By Vanitha Ratnam


 April 14

During the recent course on Mahāvidyā Bhuvaneśvarī’ by Kavithaji, we explored the nature of desire. Desires drive our actions and there is a constant need to acquire and seek. Desires are universal and arise regardless of one’s status or state of mind. They are an essential part of our nature and ensure our survival. 

Ordinarily, when a desire arises our faculties are focused on possessing that object, but as soon as we own it, we lose interest or move on to the next thing. Kavithaji shed light into the nature of desire to demonstrate its insatiableness that keeps us trapped. The truth is that the desire itself is not right or wrong. In fact, the very object of desire serves as the stimulus to turn inward and ask why the desire has arisen in the first place. An effective technique to work with desire, Kavithaji explained, is to shift our focus from the object of desire to the sensation of longing for it. Tapping into the longing does not come easy when we are caught up in the lust for owning the object. To experience the longing, a moment of pause is required before jumping in to indulge. Kavithaji described the pause as, “Between the stimulus and action there is a space and that is Bhuvaneshwari.” This momentary pause defines how the senses are going to engage with the stimulus and the cascade of consequences that are to follow. This space is the window into the root of our longing where we can witness our bodily sensations and justifications that arise in the moment. When we act impulsively, we lose the chance to experience this longing. 

There is a rawness in the longing regardless of the limitations that bind us. Acknowledging and expressing it to ourselves before indulging gives us the much-needed pause to feel into the essence of this longing no matter what the object of desire. In my experience, I see this playing out in my craving for certain types of foods and my impulsiveness to indulge in them. When I pause, even for a moment, this precious space allows me to connect with myself at a deeper level, understand my pattern and acknowledge my vulnerability. As we linger at the cusp of this sensation it starts to feel sweet, playful, and less judgmental. It removes the charge that comes with greed, jealousy, or hoarding; qualities that weigh us down and begins a process of inward turning.

As Kavithaji explained, this pause can only be cultivated with practice. It makes us aware of our tendency to rush in and indulge in a desire entirely bypassing the feeling of longing. Whether we indulge or not becomes irrelevant in this process as the pause guides us to assess the situation for what it is. The pause is subtle but present and with openness and allowing, it leads us to transformation, transmutation, and liberation in this moment. This is humbling and empowering at the same time. It gives birth to the inner smile of discernment and the child-like excitement of engaging with a stimulus and watching it unfold.

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