Longing for God.

Stranger, stranger, lover of unreachable heights, why dwell you among the summits, where eagles build their nests? Why seek you the unattainable? Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, P.90

I have asked the Lord for one thing; one thing do I want: to live in the Lord's house all my life,.. Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask of the Lord, it is the one thing I seek: that I may dwell in the house of my Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

In times of trouble he will shelter me; he will keep me safe in his Temple and make me secure on a high rock. Psalm 27:5

God, you are my God; I seek you eagerly with a heart that thirsts for you and a body wasted with longing for you, like a dry land, parched and devoid of water. Psalm 63:1

O God, you are my God - for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless and without water. Psalm 63:2

Lord of Hosts, how dearly loved is your dwelling place! I pine and faint with the longing for the courts of the Lord's temple; my whole being cries out with joy to the living God. Psalm 84:1-2

My soul waits for the Lord more eagerly than watchman for the morning. Like those who watch for the morning. Psalm 130:6

Ah, when it will come, that blissful and longed-for hour, when the joy of your presence shall brim to overflowing the depths of my desire, and you be my all in all? Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.34.3

Ah, come, come! Without you, not a day is happy, not a single hour! You are my happiness; without you, there is no one to share my table. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.21.4

Lead me in thy truth and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all day. Psalm 25:5

But all was heard by You, which I roared out from the groaning of my heart. And my desire was before You; and the light of my eyes was not with me. St. Augustine, Confessions, VII.7

Many desire for Lord's vision but at the same time defile their minds with lust. Such ignorant ones wish to reap the nectar of immortality even though they have sown the seed of poison. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 279.

(...) the eyes of the soul were opened, and I saw love coming toward me. And I saw the beginning, but I did not see its end, only its continuation. And of its colors I can tell no comparison. (...) And forthwith I was filled with love and an inexpressible contentment which, though it contented me, yet created the greatest hunger in me (...). I am so filled with that love that I do not believe I could ever do without it again. Angela Di Foligno. In: Buber, Ecstatic Confessions, P.99.

For when I see him, I would like never to depart thence, but to come closer and closer; and so my life is a dying. (...) so my longing is a deadly torment to me because of the melancholy of expectation. Angela Di Foligno. Ibid., P.102, 103.

Here one turns to God with a burning desire for Himself alone and rests in the blind awareness of his naked being. The Cloud of Unknowing, P.59.

For I tell you this, one loving blind desire for God alone is more valuable in itself, more pleasing to God and to the saints, more beneficial to your growth, and more helpful to your friends, both living and dead, than anything else you could do. The Cloud of Unknowing, P.60.

Let your longing relentlessly beat upon the cloud of unknowing that lies between you and your God. The Cloud of Unknowing, P.63.

(...) lift up your sick self, just as you are, and let your desire reach out to touch the good, gracious God, just as He is, for to touch Him is eternal health. (...) The Book of Privy Counseling, P.153.

On the evening of that same day, I felt in my soul a great yearning for God. I do not see Him at this moment with my bodily eyes as I have on other occasions, but I sense His presence and yet do not grasp Him [with my mind]. This causes me great yearning and torment beyond words. I am dying from the desire to possess Him, to be drowned in Him forever. My spirit pursues Him with all its might; there is nothing in the world that could comfort me. O Love Eternal, now I understand in what close intimacy my heart was with You! For what else can satisfy me in heaven or on earth except You, O my God, in Whom my soul is drowned. Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 469.

O my Creator, I long for You! You understand me, O Lord of mine! All that is on earth seems to me like a pale shadow. It is You I long for and desire. Although You do so inconceivably much for me, for You yourself visit me in a special way, yet those visits do not soothe the wound of my heart, but make me long all the more for You, O Lord. Oh, take me to Yourself, Lord, if such is Your will! You know I am dying, and I am dying of longing for You; and yet, I cannot die. Death, where are you? (...) Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 841.

(...) At the very mention of Your Name, my spirit springs toward You, O Lord. Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 850.

As I sat down to a very tasty breakfast, I said to the Lord, "Thank you for these gifts, but my heart is dying of longing for You, and nothing earthly is tasty to me. I desire the food of Your love." Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 1026.

Thus deep rest can be present in prayer, but its source is on such a high frequency that it is no longer translated as rest or consolation.  There is simply a mysterious attraction or hunger for God.  This is one of the surest signs that one is progressing in contemplation.  The Spirit moves us to renew our consent whenever it gets a little fuzzy because some flashy boat on the river of ordinary awareness conjures up one of the emotional programs with roots in the unconscious.  Until we have completely emptied out the false self with its emotional programs for happiness along with their tormenting desires, passing thoughts will
continue to cause aversions or attractions because there is still something to be stimulated in the unconscious.  When there is no longer anything to stimulate, inner freedom is complete and peace is habitual.  Keating, Thomas. Intimacy with God. P.96.

This amazing simplification comes when we "centre down", when life is lived with singleness of eye, from a holy Centre where the breath and stillness of Eternity are heavy upon us and we are wholly yielded to Him. Some of you know this holy, re-creating Centre of eternal peace and joy and live in it day and night.  Some of you may see it over the margin and
wistfully long to slip into that amazing Centre where the soul is at home with God.  Be very faithful to that wistful longing.  It is the Eternal Goodness calling you to return Home, to feed upon green pastures and walk beside still waters and live in the peace of the Shepherd's presence.  It is the life beyond fevered strain.  We are called beyond strain to peace and power and joy and love and thorough abandonment of self." Thomas Kelly, Testament of Devotion, P.68

Contemplative prayer is a deep and simplified spiritual activity in which the mind and will rest in a unified and simple concentration upon God, turned to Him, intent upon Him and absorbed in His own light, with  a simple gaze which is perfect adoration because it silently tells God that we have left everything else and  desire even to leave our own selves for His sake, and that He alone is important to us, He alone is our desire and our life, and nothing else can give us any joy. Merton, Thomas.  New Seeds of Contemplation.  PP. 221-222. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn ghorn@uswest.com

A man whose mind wanders among desires, and is longing for objects of desire, goes again to life and death according to his desires. But he who possesses the End of all longing and whose self has found fulfillment, even in this life his desires will fade away. As rivers flowing into the ocean find their final peace and their name and form disappear, even so the wise become free from name and form and enter into radiance of the Supreme Spirit who is greater than all greatness. Katha Upanishad, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World Wisdom, P.16-17.

Human desire differs from animal desire in that it is at root insatiable. Man is characterized by a hunger for the infinite, for an eternity of life, love and joy which, whether he knows it or not, can be nothing other than God. Assuming that God exists, it will follow that God is man's true end, for the appetite of a living organism shows its function. The stomach hungers for food because it's function is to digest food.  As physical taste and hunger may often be mistaken as to their true object, desiring nothing but caviar instead of a balanced diet, man is often mistaken as to the goal of his life, desiring wealth, power or physical pleasure instead of God. But his real appetite continues to be God, for which these lesser goals are always unsatisfactory substitutes.  Those who set their hearts on finite goals are always discontented; they must always have more and more and more of what they desire, and failing this are frustrated and miserable. Profound contentment is only enjoyed by animals and primitives, in which infinite hunger has not been awakened, and by the saints and mystics who have realized union with God.
Alan Watts, Behold the Spirit, Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn, P.65.

The purpose of religious lectures and sermons is to awaken in you that irresistible soul-longing for Him. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.115.

The desire to be one with God is the greatest of all. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.128.

The soul of man has been separated from its source, wandering in exile in a strange land - "I am stranger on earth" (Psalm 119:19) - ever yearning to return to that from which it first sprang, and cleave to the Soul of all souls. Attributed to Ba'al Shem Tov, quoted after: Miriam Bokser Caravella, The Holy Name. P.25.

Rinah, [joy, bliss] is the revelation of the Soul's great yearning, where it longs and pines to attach itself to God, and to include itself in the Infinite Light (...). Rabbi Schneur Zalman (1745-1813) of Liadi, Poland, founder of the Habad school of Hasidism, quoted after: Miriam Bokser Caravella, The Holy Name. P.256.

Dear Love, come and grant me Thy vision; I cannot stay alive, away from Thee. Like the lotus without water, the night without the moon, is Thy dear one without Thee, O Lord. (...) What should I say? I have no words to convey my longing. Pray come, quench the fire within my heart. Thou knowest all, torment me no more; have mercy, O Lord, come and meet me. Mira, forever Thy slave, in love surrenders at Thy feet. Mira Bai, Indian mystic, quoted after: Miriam Bokser Caravella, The Holy Name. P.259.

To meet the fountain of the life of truth I run, for I weary of a life of vanity and emptiness. To see the face of my King is mine only aim; I will fear none but Him, nor set up any other to be feared. Would that it were mine to see Him in a dream! I would sleep an everlasting sleep and never wake. Would that I might behold His face within my heart! Mine eyes would never ask to look beyond. Jehudah Halevi, a Jewish mystic of the XII-th century, quoted after: Miriam Bokser Caravella, The Holy Name. P.259.

I seek you by desiring, I find you by loving, I love you by finding. St. Anselmi, Proslogion, Mique Cap, I.C.226, quoted in: Thomas Merton, Run to the Mountain, P.293.

Remember what your soul knows and yearns for. Become that vibration, and it will ALL work.  ANYTHING ELSE  is a distraction.  Marianne Hartsong. www.hartsong.net, well@hartsong.net

What can I give you? Unfortunately I can give you nothing but these few poor words. I cannot give you God, for you must find Him in quiet contemplation, in your soul. I cannot give you a homeland, for you must find it in your heart. I cannot give you love of Man, for there is no love without forgiveness, and forgiving is something everyone must learn to do on his own. I can give you but one thing only - a longing for a better life; a life of truth and justice; even though it may not exist now, it may come tomorrow. Perhaps this longing will lead you to God, Homeland and Love. Goodbye! Do not forget! Janusz Korczak's farewell speech to each child on leaving the orphanage, quoted in: Michael Shire, The Jewish Prophet, P.114.

My thoughts asked me in wonder:
    where are you rushing
        like the heavenly spheres?
To the god of my life,
    my desire's desire,
        whom my soul and flesh
            long to be near.

My joy is all in my portion and Maker,
    the thought of whom brings me
        disquiet'e reward:
How could song please
    my soul till it praises
        the Name of the
            Lord of Lords?

My Thoughts Asked Me by Gabirol (11th Century). Quoted after: Cole, Peter (Trans.) (2001). Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press. P.121.

The real work belongs to someone who desires God
and has severed himself from every other work.
The rest are like children who play together until it gets dark
for these few short days.
Or like someone who awakes and springs up, still drowsy,
and then is lulled back to sleep (...)
If you are wise, you, yourself,
will tear up your slumber by the roots,
like the thirsty man who heard the noise of the water.
God says to you, "I am the sound of water
in the ears of the thirsty;
I am rain falling from heaven.
Spring up, lover, show some excitement!
How can you hear the sound of water and then fall back asleep!"

Rumi, Mathnawi VI, 586-592, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.63.

By God, don't linger
in any spiritual benefit you have gained,
but yearn for more - like one suffering from illness
whose thirst for water is never quenched.
This Divine Court is the Plane of the Infinite.

Rumi, Mathnawi III, 1960, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.96.

The thirsty man is moaning, "O delicious water!"
The water is calling, "Where is the one who will drink me?"
This thirst in our souls is the magnetism of the Water:
We are Its, and It is ours.

Rumi, Mathnawi III, 4399, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.108.

(...) For the first step away from God is a distaste for learning, and lack of appetite for those things for which the soul hunger when it seeks God. Thomas Merton. The Wisdom of the Desert, P.45.

We embitter the heart with the poison of evil thoughts when we are led by forgetfulness to long neglect of inner attention and the Jesus Prayer. But we sweeten it with the sense of blessed delight when in intense desire for God we practise this attention and prayer resolutely, keenly and diligently in the mind's workshop. Then we are eager to pursue stillness of heart simply for the sweetness and delight it produces in the soul. St. Hesyhios the Priest (8th or 9th Century), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.183. One God Note #723, 2016-11-27.

He who loves God consciously in his heart is known by God (cf. 1 Cor. 8:3), for to the degree that he receives the love of God consciously in his soul, he truly enters into God's love. From that time on, such a man never loses an intense longing for the illumination of spiritual knowledge, until he senses its strength in his bones and no longer knows himself, but is completely transformed by the love of God. He is both present in this life and not present in it; still dwelling in the body, he yet departs from it, as through love he ceaselessly journeys towards God in his soul. His heart now burns constantly with the fire of love and clings to God with an irresistible longing, since he has once and for all transcended self-love in his love for God. St. Diadochos of Photiki (circa 400-486 CE), quoted in Philokalia, Vol. I., P.256.

Nothing is more important than true intelligence and spiritual knowledge, for they produce both fear of God and longing for Him. Fear of God purifies us through awe and self-abasement. Longing for Him brings us to perfection through discrimination and inward illumination, raising our intellect to the heights of contemplation. St. Theognostos (VIII Century of the C.E. ?), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.363.

People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. They swim in tears for money. But who weeps for God? Cry to Him with a real cry. Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God. God reveals Himself to a devotee who feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions: the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man, the child's attraction for its mother, and the husband's attraction for the chaste wife. (...) It is necessary to pray to Him with a longing heart. The kitten knows only how to call its mother, crying, "Mew, mew!" (...) That's all it knows. But as soon as the mother hears this cry, wherever she may be, she comes to the kitten. Ramakrishna, quoted in: Harvey, Andrew (Ed). (2001). Teachings of the Hindu Mystics, P.100.

Last updated: 2016/11/27

See the related subjects: Contemplation, God in Human Heart, Human Love for God, Inspiration, Mystical Union, Strive for God.