This is the essential prime mover in the seekers journey along the spiritual path. Without longing, the practice of spirituality becomes a dreary exercise, a duty that you feel you ought to do rather than an exciting adventure of the heart.
When spirituality becomes constricted by a sense of duty, it no longer serves its purpose. To put it simply, spirituality is the unfolding, the cultivation, the growing of love. And love is not amenable to force or compulsionit must spring spontaneously from within the seeker in response to the inducements of the Master.
Consequently, the most important work of the Master is to arouse a longing in his followers to see and to know God. It is the mark of the true guru that he arouses in the people who come into contact with him a sense of their own potential for realizing Truth. He acts as a mirror for the seeker, living out the life of Perfection as a Divine Example, instilling in his followers the desire to become like the Master. It is through the qualities which he manifestsan inexhaustible love, an uncompromising compassion for all creatures, an understanding which is the master of every situationthat the True Guide makes his indelible impression on those who come to him.
The longing that the Master creates in his followers is not merely a momentary inspirationit is an influence that grows long after the initial contact with the Master and endures the most varied circumstances of life. This compelling desire becomes the new pulse in the life of the spiritual aspirant. Without it he cannot move on the path. He can study forever, practice all kinds of exercises, and meditate diligently, and he can even have visions and other so-called spiritual experiencesbut without longing (longing for the Goal and longing for the Master who represents the Goal), his progress is labored and cheerless. Even more: without longing, he is like a locomotive without steam.
How To Choose A Guru, written by Rick Chapman and first published by Harper and Row in 1973, addresses dozens of topics concerning spirituality and mysticism from the perspective of Meher Baba's teachings.