I've decided that longing is actually more of a friend. It shows that I am drawn to cosmic love. It shows that I feel the distance between reality and the ideal, and long to overcome it. It "presences" that which is only partially actualized, and lets me live in a world infused with magic and meaning.
The first entrance into longing is love. Many of the mystics explain their experiences in terms of this love-longing. If you can't experience longing, you've never known separation from the beloved. I think that's why poets like Rumi so often employ the metaphors of sensual love to try to express the mystical communion and... its absence.
But the absence is a present absence. It becomes true absence only when it is cast out from the mind, heart and spirit - when it is covered over by the everyday, by the norm, by the inauthentic, by the "they" mentality. If you can feel longing for someone in their unique self-ness, then the avenue for love-communion is not closed.
Nice tongue-in-cheek version: You, Me and Dupree (2006) references to "-ness" throughout:
Dupree: "The point is, is somewhere along the road, you lost your magic. They knocked you off your game. Your Carlness went right out the window."
Carl: "What's with this 'Carlness'? It's not even a real word."
Dupree: "Yes, it is."
Carl: "Oh, it is?"
Dupree: "It's a verb. It's a conjunction, a preposition, it's a philosophy, a way of life. It's your name with 'ness' attached to it."
I heard a song recently that describes the longing in the kind of terms I'm thinking about lately. See if you like it.
Eels - The Longing (lyrics)