The joy of longing
Is there an end in sight to all of our struggling?
In Torah 72, Rebbe Nachman teaches thought even a complete victory over the physical and emotional appetites of the body doesn’t lead a person to a static state. In fact, the prior stage of victory over ones physicality is but an initiation into an infinite struggle and paradoxical life of oneness with the Divine, while simultaneously struggling to overcome the limitation of each level of awareness to one still higher. So even the greatest tzaddikim still struggle in a more esoteric way.
This never-ending battle sounds kind of depressing. right?
The sense of longing and incompleteness are themselves the greatest pleasure of all. In fact, Reb Nosson identifies the pleasure and delight of Shabbos, (called oneg shabbos) as essentially consisting of a heightened sense of longing (Hilchos Arev 3:7) This is similar to getting to know someone, whereby each new piece of information adds to the formation of a greater sense of the whole of that person, which in turns adds to the attractiveness of the enigma of who the person really is, which begs for ever more profound perceptions of them, ad inifinitum.
So many people associate happiness with attaining the end-goal. “When I finally get ___ , then I’ll be happy”. The truth is quite the opposite. The journey of life and the yearning to reach the goal is the real source of happiness. We associate the word satisfaction with completing something, like being satisfied from a meal. But really the most satisfying pleasures are the ups and downs of the non-static relationship we forge with our Creator. It will never just be bliss, like some might construe, but, thankfully, our souls will always long for more, even when they are already united with His glory.
(gleaned from the writings of Rabbi Leibish Hundert)