In my work as a life coach, and in my own life, I often find a pattern at work underlying the conscious mind. I have come to call it being “Born Homesick.”
Let me describe how this has manifested for me. Perhaps you will find it resonates for you, too.
I have lots of memories from my childhood. I was often confused and uncomfortable, especially around people. I couldn’t understand why they were so loud and so physical with me. They were always patting me or picking me up without asking, and they never seemed to understand why I squirmed to get away.
The world I saw around me just didn’t seem like the right one. There was something fake about it. I sometimes found myself actually pushing very hard on my eyes hoping that they would readjust so I could see what was behind all the noise and color. I felt that there must be some other world, the real one that lay behind the one I was seeing.
I remember being surprised that I couldn’t read since I thought I already knew how! I was offended at all the baby talk and other undignified interactions that grown-ups felt were appropriate for me. I couldn’t understand why my inarticulate baby noises were not understood. I would sit on my bed at home in my very nice home with perfectly good parents and siblings, and feel that I didn’t belong there. I was homesick, but didn’t know the words for that feeling. Later on ET (from Spielberg’s movie) became my poster child. When ET said “HOME,” I would burst into tears.
There seemed nothing else to do but get on with my life. I was a good-natured person, and willingly went through childhood and school, got married and had children, started businesses and made money—all in hopes that something in these accomplishments would eliminate this primal sadness that kept following me. But it was all like Chinese Food—a half hour later I would be hungry again.
My family’s religion never really made sense to me. The idea that babies would go to Hell if someone did not pour water on their heads, or that husbands could force their wives to have unwelcome sex and to make babies over and over simply seemed wrong. So I drifted away from religion, and began to explore other ways of relating to the Divine, what was being called “spirituality.” Slowly, I came to believe there really were answers, and it became my determined mission to find them. I knew that there had to be a pony in all this horse poop somewhere, and that all would come clear when I found my path.
Eventually I discovered that there were technical terms for this feeling of being Born Homesick. It has been called the “Metaphysical Itch,” or the “Divine Longing.” I discovered that many great artists and writers have used this deep need to create fabulous works of art and literature. Michelangelo and Dante are said to have had Divine Longing.
Rumi, the 13th century Sufi mystic, wrote of this in his poem, “Love Dogs:”
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
Rumi is suggesting here that the longing itself is a high form of Divine Love; that our longing is to be reconnected with the Oneness, our true home. Until we understand the true nature of this longing, this deep and constant metaphysical itch we feel, we are more likely to keep searching in hopes that some learning, some job, or some love will finally scratch that itch. But it can’t be scratched to satisfaction by earthly means. If you expect total fulfillment in this life you will be disappointed. If you expect your lover to satisfy what only the Oneness can satisfy it will make him/her very grumpy … and rightly so.
What is a person to do in these circumstances?
Let us describe this Born Homesick phenomenon in terms of a game. We all like to play games but they are a lot more satisfying if we know what the rules are and especially if we are good at playing them.
I call this one “The Earth Game”. It is a virtual-reality game of the highest order. It is so sophisticated that those who are playing it rarely even realize that it is a game.
I visualize it as a bubble that fits over your head and latches at the bottom so that nothing else can be seen but the game itself. I think that somehow a few of the latches don’t completely close and the people inside those bubbles can peek out underneath the edge and see that there is really something else going on outside the game.
The Flammarion engraving above is a wood engraving by an unknown artist, so named because its first documented appearance is in Camille Flammarion’s 1888 book L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire (“The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology”) It depicts this idea of the Earth Game quite well. As you see, I am certainly not the first person to believe that there is more to life than meets the eye.
But back to the Earth Game:
All games must have rules. The rules of the Earth Game are time and space. I think the late great George Carlin explains it best. He says: “Time and space were invented so that everything wouldn’t happen at once”. Remember your feeling that something is not quite right about the world you see before you? Everything isn’t happening at once! There would be no Metaphysical Itch or Divine Longing if all time and space were happening now. All needs would be met, all memories would be occurring now, all the future would be present and all would be in Divine Oneness. There would be nothing to wish for and nothing ahead to fear because everything was already complete.
Why are we here on Earth when it would be so much nicer to be in the Oneness? What happened to us? Here are some of the beliefs that have been told to me over the years:
I am here to perform a mission.
I am here to gather knowledge.
I am here to teach others.
I am here to do good works.
I am here to pay for my sins.
I am here because I must have done something wrong.
I am really from another planet.
I am here to perfect myself.
I have been abandoned here.
I can look at what is important in the lives of my clients and often see which of these beliefs they have favored.
There are many who are in service to help others, many who are busy earning degree after degree and writing and teaching others.
Many seem to have no sense of self-esteem and need to rely on others to be “saved”.
Some strive endlessly to be the best in everything. The ones who feel abandoned have repeated experiences of abandonment and betrayal, both by themselves and by others.
Those who feel abandoned are the ones who often appear to be trying the hardest. Some act flagrantly as if they are sending up flares to the Divine that say, “I am still down here. Please don’t forget me!” Others are afraid to take any chances with love or career in case they fail (again). Many misbehave at the last moment and sabotage a relationship or job that was working beautifully, “missing the train” to success over and over for no apparent reason. Friends and lovers abandon them, but they also abandon their friends and lovers. Addiction is often a revolving door between a successful experience and abandonment/betrayal. Emotionally unavailable people find it too painful to test these issue in case another failure will result in the re-awakening of their original wounding—that of the unconscious belief that their incarnation was an abandonment by the Divine.
I think that all of the above beliefs speak to this subliminal desire to “go home”. They are ways to explain our existence and can set up feelings of accomplishment and importance or fatalism and unworthiness in order to make some sense Job’s annoying question of “Why me Lord?”
What if we all could come to believe that the Earth Game was not a place “down here” and that the Oneness was “up there” far away from us mortals?
How would that affect our lives?
What if the Earth Game was being played inside the safety and perfection of the Oneness?
What if we never left home at all?
What if all the depressing feelings of isolation and the desperate needs to succeed and the resentments at being forgotten here were unnecessary?
What if we could just occasionally rise up in meditation or in some other form of spiritual high to the top of the Earth Game and emerge into the Oneness?
How would we feel?
In my work as a coach and as a staff member of the Nine Gates Mystery School I have been present to witness some people enter into a state of mind that has been called “cosmic Consciousness”. Always curious, I naturally waited for a chance to ask these lucky folks what it was like. Every one of those little stinkers had the same answer:
“This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.”
Do you suppose that this is all a setup? What if we all realized that all this time we were striving away down here and wishing that we were back there that we were ALREADY HOME. What if we could live our lives with the clear understanding that we were vitally important to the Oneness and no extra effort was required to be “reunited”.
What if the truth actually was “WELCOME BACK – YOU NEVER LEFT!”