The Call of Love
Sometimes in life, we get this inexpressible feeling. When we try to put it into words, we call it loneliness, unhappiness or some kind of lovelessness. Like a vacuum in the heart, this feeling presents itself from time to time for no apparent reason. Sometimes it comes when we are by ourselves, alone and contemplative. For instance, a walk in the park, surrounded by nature, could kindle this feeling. Sometimes it is triggered by an unexpected event, like an illness, a broken relationship, a financial setback or the loss of someone dear to us. And at other times, it comes when everything is going perfectly well. There is no explanation for it. It just comes and goes throughout our life, and since there is no word for it, we call it that empty feeling.
On the other hand, there are many who do not address this feeling at all or who perhaps have not thought about it. Infatuated with the world, they are busy shopping, travelling, changing jobs, entering new relationships – not realizing that much of this frenzy stems from the desire to fill that inner void. These days, we are living in a world where human beings have a constant need to fill every silent moment with some kind of social stimuli just to escape from that empty feeling.
Sometimes it works. When we are distracted, we think we are happy and life is good; but it does not last long. Eventually, things change and that empty feeling comes back, stronger than ever. Then it becomes clear that no amount of distractions or visits to the therapist can help.
Saints and mystics tell us that this indescribable feeling exists for a reason. They say that the Lord himself plants it in the hearts of those beloved souls whom he wants to call back to him. It is this feeling that prompts us to search for the true meaning of our existence.
Before it (the soul) is wholly one with Him, He fills it with fervent desire, by means so delicate that the soul itself does not understand them, nor do I think I shall succeed in describing them in such a way as to be understood, except by those who have experienced it; for these are influences so delicate and subtle that they proceed from the very depth of the heart and I know no comparison that I can make which will fit the case.
Saint Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle
When we reach a point in our life when material things and worldly pursuits no longer fulfil us, we turn to spirituality. And through the teachings of the saints we are given the opportunity to channelize this feeling of loneliness towards our meditation. The feeling of not belonging anywhere and not being satisfied by anything in this world is conducive to the spiritual life. Hazur Maharaj Ji calls it the Lord’s grace.
That is a God-given gift, I would say. That’s his grace, if we are able to realize that fact and live with it and then try to overcome that loneliness by meditation. This feeling of loneliness may pull us to the senses or may pull us to the Father. To overcome this feeling of loneliness we become a victim of the senses or bad company. And to overcome this loneliness, we become saints. This instinct has been kept by the Father within every one of us.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I
This feeling is a precious gift that leads us to the doorstep of a living Master. It is actually a clear sign that the soul is weary and wants to return home. It is for those souls that the Lord sends his beloved sons to this earth on a mission: to bring them back home. So when we embark upon the path of Sant Mat, the Master is our unfailing guide; he takes charge of our lives, delegates our karmic load as he deems fit, and places us in an environment that allows the soul to be cleansed and fit to be taken back home. It is through meditation and living the Sant Mat way of life that our empty feeling is converted to yearning and love for the Lord.
When we read about lives of the saints, we can see how the same feeling of emptiness led them towards union with the Lord. They channelized this feeling towards their devotion, and as their love grew so did their yearning. And they found happiness in this feeling.
The saint Mirabai was once asked, “Why don’t you forget him? You are so miserable and unhappy in separation.” Her response was “Don’t take this love from me. Take anything from me, but don’t take my love for my Guru. I appreciate this separation more than giving it up.”
As a matter of fact, this feeling is the outcome of the thirst of the soul for its Lord, and should be welcomed. If correctly employed, it will lead our footsteps to the palace of the Lord. The Lord’s gate is open to all. He loves to meet us even more than we can possibly long to meet him. It is He who creates in our hearts the desire to meet him.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light
In retrospect, that empty feeling is actually a call of love – a call from the beloved Lord to look inward and upward. By placing this feeling in our hearts, he offers us the opportunity to get to know him and experience the wonder of his ways. It is a game of love that he plays where he keeps himself hidden in our hearts, and that empty feeling is him calling out to us so that we might seek him. And when we meditate, we seek him and respond to his call.
There is a candle in your heart,
ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?
You feel the separation
from the Beloved.
Hush, Don’t Say Anything to God:
Passionate Poems of Rumi