I read this quote in ‘The Tao of Pooh’ a long time ago. (The above version is how it hangs out in my mind, the actual quote is below). It remains as one of my guiding principles. I can say it helped me to understand addiction in a profound way. Being an emotional/addictive eater, I know ‘the moment before’ quite well.
The last months as I have been dancing with shadows, my choice has been to lean into my places of discomfort rather than away from them. To feel rather than run from the difficult places. I am finding myself quite aware of a steady yearning. Yearning for what? It is very easy to give it a face or a thing or a place, yet I am more curious of the yearning itself. I have a great deal of experience in attempting to quiet this yearning with ‘something’. It does not work for long.
‘Yearning’… When I go to the Thesaurus it gives me this: Appetite, eagerness, craving, thirst, hunger, fascination, hankering, passion, ache, craze, longing, urge, need, want… Yes, that all sounds about right!
For me, Shadow Dancing is about digging deep for roots… I have grown weary of dancing only with the things and the people who cast the Shadows… I want to know the source. I believe we all have an inherent ‘yearning for’. Look around as we all attempt to fill, that which feels empty. To quiet the ache. To feed the yearning. The frenzy of not feeling.
This returns me to that ‘moment before’… The place of pure longing. For me the urge is connection. The passion for wholeness. The ache for The Divine. Union. Yoga. In Sanskrit: Aham Brahmasmi… I am that, you are that, we are all that. One.
Where does this primordial yearning originate? I do not have to look far… In 28 years of tending birthing women, I have seen thousands of ‘first breaths’. We all went from the warm connection of saltwater and being held inside of our mother’s body… To the ache of first air into lungs that have only known water, to space all around and a literal cutting the cord of connection. Of course we spend a lifetime aching to return. To reconnect. Yet every attempt falls short as we continually seek…
That which was never lost.
The real Shadow is not the loss of connection, the yearning occurs because we believe an illusion. At some point we were told and made the choice to believe (and continue to make this choice) that we are not whole. That somehow this space around us is the proof of separation. Yet this ‘space’ is full of information and energy… You and I and the grass and the squirrel and the air moving across my face… Are one.
Why does a woman run into a burning building to save a stranger? Because in that moment of one-pointed attention, the illusion disappears. In that moment she recognizes the person crying for help… As herself.
Now… Just what does all this have to do with eating honey? Somewhere in the ‘moment before’ the illusion can fall away. We feel the pure yearning, which because of a sense of discomfort, becomes the honey (or the face or the thing or the place). By the time the honey is gone we forget, then find ourselves soon yearning for honey once again. Attempting to fill what we only believe is empty.
The ache, the craving, the urge, the hankering, the passion… Is simply to remind us. We are never alone… We are all/one. Separation (from anything) is an illusion. Next time you feel the yearning, recognize its source. Do not believe the illusion. The illusion that you… Remarkable You… Are in any way separate from The Divine… That you are anything less than whole.
When we recognize the yearning as an illusion of separation... We arrive at a choice point: Eat the ice cream, or buy the car, or remodel the house, or watch the Seahawks, or go to the casino, or drink the beer, or work harder, or open your arms to the person…
Or eat the honey. Or not. A simple choice.
Grace occurs when I am fully present with the honey rather than the blind impulse of the yearning... Then if I make the choice to eat it, the honey will be so lusciously sweet… I will weep with joy…
Sticky paws and all...
You do not need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait.
Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
- Franz Kafka