The Deepest Longing
Part of being identified with a separate/small sense of "me" is the compulsive need to evaluate people, places and things in terms of "what they will do for me" or whether "they are useful to me."
When we reflect on moments of true happiness, it is so obvious that this "me" is either way in the background or completely absent. We long to meet the world with this complete innocence full time - not just in small flashes in childhood, childbirth, sex, death and other peak experiences.
The memory of this openness with no agenda echoes throughout our entire being, calling us back.
As we practice, we become more available to this whisper, more sensitive to the energy that draws us inward, away from the uninvestigated priorities of the world.
We were programmed to believe that staying in this openness would make us weak, stupid and vulnerable.
The world's misunderstanding of this state is insidious and subtle. Even in our practice. It's fine "if we're meditating for 45 and one-half minutes on insight timer to reduce stress and increase self-regulation and pro-social emotions" but not fine when we tell our partner we're not going to lunch with that person anymore, or our mom wonders why we're not calling her every day anymore, or our friend notices we're not interested in some external thing we used to bond over.
In other words, as long as awareness remains a hobby or an extracurricular activity, our ego (and the egos around us) are cool because the fundamental structures of identity are not being threatened.
Problem is, this is not what we really want. We don't want to live a limited, conditioned life and try to take a vacation from it on insight timer a few times a week (and usually an unsuccessful vacation at that).
We want to live from awareness. We want to live from the deepest part. We want to taste and savor life from that place. Do not be cynical about this. You are not being idealistic or naive. You are engaging in the only inquiry that really matters when you ask these kinds of questions of yourself. What do I really want? Is this person really in accord with me? Should I stay in this situation? All of these questions come from the sense that each moment is precious. That this human life is precious beyond words.