Mystical Longing as a Spiritual Path

I used to write a lot of songs in minor chords & blues scales, wailing from a place of desire…a hungry heart. It seemed music was the only way I could tap in and communicate this longing.

That longing was a big ache that encompassed the most uncomfortable cravings- neediness, loneliness, and even desperation.

As I matured, something changed. Instead of dramatizing the desires, I let myself be their witness, more like a monk, and I welcomed desire as a friend.

The tantrics, bhaktas and mystics say that hunger of the heart is a direct current back to God/ source. When we merge all of our desires with that current, the ego & self-destructive tendencies naturally dissolve.

In India Radha and Krishna play out this journey as two deities- lover and beloved. Radha is the individual soul crying out, and Krishna is the expansive love that receives her.

Like a bee and honey, or the bird and the hand, there is a natural dance of affection, devotion, longing and satisfaction that plays out when we let ourselves go where we’re attracted. In bhakti yoga we discover that the thing we are being magnetized toward is actually God.

When I traveled to India I was coming down from the roller coaster of opening myself to a friend/ lover who was suffering bipolar disorder. The experience tipped me over into a highly creative state mixed with feelings of brokenness & bitterness toward god.

When I described this feeling to a friend who happened to be Jewish he said in the Jewish community it’s normal and ok to feel bitter toward God, and even express anger, shout at God. He gave me a copy of his book (coincidentally titled ‘A Spirituality for Brokenness’) which I read on the plane and am forever grateful for.

By the time I arrived in India I was in a state of total surrender, trust and release into the unknown. I silently asked God to show me something new and promised him I was ready to trust it.

What was revealed was a gentle nudge to write music again and express it. And to allow Neem Karoli Baba’s grace into my heart.

That divine guidance has continued to play out in my life since then. My heart is less hungry now, and my relationship to God has sweetened up.

I humbly offer you these tunes from ‘past me’ and ‘current me’, so you can witness the incredible transformation that’s possible with bhakti:

Before: (2010) Desperation (recorded on the kitchen floor with my friend Whit) and this one where I sing about demons, being hungry and screaming with former bandmates Kathryn and Miranda.)

After: And if you’d like to hear the kind of music I write now you can find that here.

This is post #4 in a 6-part blog series to recap insights discussed during dharma talks at Inner Warrior yoga studio in Louisville, KY.