Long ago and far away, in the land of one of the desert sultans,
there lived a creature who, according to the lore of that land,
was created during a moment of the Creator’s distraction.
Though any number of theological problems
might be raised with regards to such a proposition,
creation does take a tremendous amount of concentration,
and legend has it that at the precise moment of this creature’s creation,
some of the angels were … how do you put it? … raising a ruckus.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that here was a creature
given being, but no form.
Consciousness, but no body—no shape.
I am referring here specifically and singularly
to the creature of the desert sultan’s land,
but as everyone knows,
the Creator created all creatures male and female.
This was no exception.
It just didn’t seem to mean as much, in this case, without a body—
without any ways of being recognized—
no means by which to communicate.
For much, indeed most
(though many are those who are decidedly uncomfortable admitting to this)
most of relationship is related to embodiment
and, usually, attractive embodiment at that
(though that is another issue).
So it was that these two creatures drifted apart—
unseen—unnamed—unknown, to the world and even to each other—
very, very lonely—very, very sad—
beings the heart of which was a desperate yearning—
a desire, above all else, to be touched and held—
to be seen—to be known and named—
a deep longing—a fierce ache even the Creator felt.
And thus it was that these two aches were granted
a blessing by the Creator—the ability to borrow the body
of any other creature—not to possess or manipulate,
but to share in the experience of that particular form—
that particular body.
And the aches radiated anticipation and hope.
To think that the dream that was basic to who they were would come true—
to be with another—to know another.
But after the initial excitement and the first few attempts,
the aches weren’t real sure that this was, in fact, a blessing.
To be, without being able to be with, can be excruciatingly painful.
It is, after all, part of what initiated the whole creation process to begin with.
And being with someone, they learned very quickly,
is not just a matter of your knowing you’re with someone,
but also their knowing that you’re with them.
To know without being known is not fulfilling,
is, in fact, frustrating,
is, in fact, one of the reasons the Creator, having created,
remains involved in the whole process of creation.
Now in the course of sharing the being of a host of creatures,
our ache came to an amazing realization.
The loneliness and the yearning he identified
with his own experience of formlessness
was a state of being found in every creature with whom he shared life.
In every single one—that sense more familiar to the creature
than any part of any body could be known to anybody with a body.
Some did not seem to be aware of their pining.
Some, while aware, misidentified it—
identified it as something unique to them:
sunflowers with their reaching for the sun,
mesquite with the searching extension of its roots,
wolves with the instinctive drive for a life-long mate,
eagles with ever higher flight,
salmon with their place of birth,
some, progeny, some sustenance, some safety,
rivers with the ocean, and mountains with the sky.
In unexpected ways—sometimes frightening
and sometimes wonderful ways,
every being under the sun
dealt with the experience of something integral to them
not being a part of them—being apart from them,
and every being under the sun dealt with the search for that something
being somehow fundamental to who and what they are.
Humans were particularly fascinating—
vehemently denying that anything fundamental
to them wouldn’t be a part of them—
would be apart from them—
not deigning to admit that a search—a looking—a longing,
might be fundamental to who and what they are—
unwilling to identify something other than themselves
as significant and thus inevitably and consequently
miring themselves in insignificance.
It was in the land of this particular desert sultan,
as the ache bounced from the being of the street vendor
who always needed just one more drink,
to that of the seamstress
who always needed just a little more money,
to that of the butcher
who always needed just one more person with whom to be intimate—
it was in the land of the desert sultan,
overwhelmed again by the experience
of the common experience interpreted in so many different ways,
that for the first time the ache sought out the Creator—
sought out the Creator with sighs too deep for words—
sought out the very being of the Creator—
needing words of assurance, comfort and explanation.
How can it be that they’re all like me?
Why is my dream basic to who we all are?
The Creator smiled, sadly it seemed,
and whispered softly, “Love is loneliness.”
There was a long pause.
“It is also the fulfilling of loneliness,
but it is first loneliness,
and it must always be loneliness.”
There was another pause.
“Because loneliness is a focus.
Emptiness is an awareness,
or maybe just a sense of a potential more.
Everyone would like to think that wholeness is the basic truth.
But without the sense of the need for a wholeness
beyond what is, where would we be?
Part of being God is having no illusions.
Love is loneliness.”
“And, my friend, take away the dream
that is basic to who you are,
and basically, you won’t be you.”
And the ache realized that he loved
all these lives he had shared—
loved them for what they were missing and looking for—
loved them for their attempts—however off target they might be—
loved them for the yearning they had in common
with everybody else
and for the ways they handled their yearning
which made them uniquely who they were.
And with this revelation came the Creator’s affirmation:
“The day will come when all illusions will fade into reality—
when all will know that what we need most
comes to us from beyond ourselves—
is given to us, and, in turn, given by us to others.
One day we’ll all wake up and discover
in the light of a new day that our dreams are true
and nothing will be the same as it is.”
and so did the ache.