Love versus Longing (Evil Twin Series)


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Love versus Longing

In Buddhism the core values or qualities that we cultivate are Love, Compassion and Equanimity. All those allow for a life of service to ourselves and the world but all three have tricky Evil Twins that are worth knowing off because they lead us to Darkness instead of Light.

The evil twin of Compassion is Pity, the Evil Twin of Equanimity is Indifference and the one of Love which this blog post focuses on is Longing.

What is Love?

Love is the feeling that makes us think about someone else “I wish you well, I wish you happiness, I wish you joy and avoidance of pain”. It’s one of the most transformative feeling in our practice because it focuses our energy on the well being of others which is one of the greatest sources of Joy and Light in Life.

Love is what gives us the inner drive to serve the world for the best. Purpose can only be found out of a core of love. Unconditional love is the only way of true love and once found a tremendous source of pleasure and drive.

What is Longing?

Longing is almost the exact opposite energy to Love. From a certain distance the feeling is the same. It’s a feeling that pulls us towards an other being and makes us want the pleasure of its presence. The core difference is that it’s not focusing on the other but on ourselves. Our needs, our wants and our greedy expectations of something more or something different. Longing is not fuelled by a desire of happiness for the other but a desire of pleasure for ourselves. Longing is killing the unconditional nature of Love by judging what we get from the other as not enough, not satisfactory, not what should be. It prevents living the joy of the present moment and focuses our brains on future plans where we will get more. The consequence for the subject of longing is that it is put under increasing expectations which makes it feel inadequate or insufficient. It’s a source of sadness for everyone.

How to cultivate Love

Like always in my healing advices here, the way of achieving transformation is first to focus on what is, the feeling of Longing in this case, and understand where it’s originating from. Very often we find under the longing a sense of inadequacy in ourselves. We feel we are incomplete and unworthy without the positive image of ourselves the love subject mirrors back. Seeing again and again in meditation this sense of unworthiness will allow us progressively and gently to get to its roots, understand its source and dissolve it into Light. It’s a patient practice so don’t worry if it arises often. When it’s rooted in childhood trauma it is even more tricky to unroot. Inner Family System Therapy, as explained by Peter Gerlach on his website Breaking the Circle, can be a powerful complement to meditation and is emotionally and practically very easy to align with the meditation practice.

The other side of cultivating love is to work in meditation on Loving-Kindness type of focused practice. These practices focus the brain on the subject of Love and the Kindness we feel for it instead of our own needs and greediness.

Deep transformation

Practicing regularly Love instead of Longing will bring progressively potentially deep transformations in our lives. The realization that the only way of Loving is unconditional sheds new light on our relationships and highlights codependency and weak bonds that we form out of our broken and closed hearts. This kind of transformation is always benefit but never simple or painless. Many illusions are unrooted and can leave us with a sense of sorrow for how we lived our lives and made others suffer. Grieving and Letting Go will be the almost inevitable next step of the healing process.

Bringing the practice back into Life

I use the opportunity of this post to remind myself and you, my dear reader, that practice can’t be separated from real life if we want to achieve healing. Working in the protected environment of meditation or inner family system therapy is only a preparation for applying our new skills in daily life. Our practice needs to include all aspects of life. Expose yourself to Love and to Longing with your heart opened by practice. Apply Loving Kindness in everyday life. Make random acts of kindness and feel the joy they bring you. This is where the deep transformation happens.

Closing Words

I leave you with the words of the Loving Kindness Practice mentioned above. Love yourself and Love others unconditionally.

This post is not specifically about romantic love but I recommend the wonderful answer of Thich Nhat Hanh on my video page for those struggling there. 

For Yourself

May I be filled with lovingkindness.

May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May I be well in body and mind.

May I be at ease and happy.

May I be filled with lovingkindness.

May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May I be well in body and mind.

May I be at ease and happy.

For the Love subject

May you be filled with lovingkindness.

May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May you be well in body and mind.

May you be at ease and happy.

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Spent years in the business world, now looking a bit more at myself and why I'm here and where I want to go. This blog shares my experience.

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  1. kameamoonmaiden

    Where’s the spot to like this post? Absolutely wonderful advice. Thank you so much for these priceless tidbits of wisdom! I am jumping up and down inside, because giving and sharing of myself is absolutely what is most fulfilling. It is in nurturing that I feel nurtured too. Have a wonderful day!

    1. healingly

      Well that’s a good question. I have two plugins competing so the like is only available in the WordPress reader. Sorry for that. Thanks for the compliment though. 🙂

  2. blogginginpa

    Great post, very thought provoking! I’m not very well educated on the core values of Buddhism but the concept of the “evil twins” is pretty interesting.

    1. Walter

      It is so interesting. The qualities and their evil twin feel so closely related but are actually so far apart. I still need to write Equanimity vs. Indifférence one of these days.

  3. Rachael

    Oh how interesting to read of the evil twins! I hadn’t heard of this before, but it sure makes a whole lot of sense. I have often thought about the compassion/pity difference so will be reading that post soon too! Have a wonderful day.

  4. otwyl

    What a beautiful post, it gave me a sense of peace. I am not very well informed on Buddhism just yet, I found the concept of the evil twins so interesting. Also this “Make random acts of kindness and feel the joy they bring you”. Absolutely. That and practicing gratefulness gives a boost to my days. Thanks for posting,


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