The Soul’s Homing Instinct
From the moment we gain some awareness in life, we are on a quest, a mission to be happy and content. We endeavour to fulfil our many desires, one after another, and hope that this will bring us that sense of happiness we long for. But we soon find out that none of our accomplishments have brought us any closer to the fulfilment of our purpose.
Through the wisdom of our Master, we discover that the destination we are looking for is not somewhere after the next turning point in life, but rather, deep within the core of our being – where our soul has her home in the lap of the Creator.
‘Home’ is a concept that holds great meaning in our lives; it is where we belong, where we start from and where we wish to end up. The very notion of home creates deep-rooted feelings of being loved and cared for, of being understood and appreciated, of being grounded and safe.
Salmon are a type of fish that swim hundreds of miles across the ocean or up rivers to return to their place of birth, where they lay their eggs and die soon afterwards. Turtles, pigeons, and rats, too, return after their long and wide wanderings to mate and die at home. This is a phenomenon that is known as a ‘homing instinct,’ and it has been observed and studied in many animals.
Similarly, our soul is equipped with its own homing instinct. In the Bible it is said that God has planted eternity in the human heart, and Hazur Maharaj Ji simplifies it further by saying:
The soul is always yearning to go back to its own source, to the Father.
Die to Live
For some of us, this instinct dictates every action and every choice we make, but for others it manifests as brief moments of loneliness and even feelings of hopelessness. The soul longs to go back to its home, and that longing always tugs at us one way or another. But how receptive we are to that homing instinct dictates how content and at peace we are in this world.
It sounds contradictory that one would feel more at peace when the soul’s longing to go home intensifies. Maharaj Charan Singh explains:
What is the difference between longing to go back to the Father and having that peace and bliss within yourself? Those who are filled with love and devotion for the Father are in great agony, no doubt, but they would not like to exchange that agony for anything else in the world. It means that there is some peace, some solace, some happiness, even in that pain of longing and devotion, which they don’t want to part with at any cost.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live
The homing instinct of our soul will always keep us restless in this world, but at the same time our only shot at being happy is to face it and allow it to deepen. We can then find solace in the fact that we are making every possible effort, in every moment of our lives, to return home. It is the longing of our soul that will carry us there.
Many talk of the pain and suffering of separation;
O pain, you are the ruler of all.
Sheikh Farid, The Great Sufi Mystic