On the journey to wholeness, longing can serve as an obstacle or an ally; it's all in how you look at it. What I've found through my own investigation is when longing is embraced, it becomes a doorway into the experience of greater fulfillment and peace.
How I discovered this was through an experience of restlessness that arose one day a number of years ago. I met it with curiosity instead of resistance. The curiosity brought a warm, welcoming energy which allowed the longing to unfold and reveal it's deeper nature. I gently inquired within using the question "What am I really longing for"? What came was that I was longing for an intimate relationship. I brought more warm curiosity to the feeling and asked a deeper question: "What will that give me"? What came was that it was actually a longing for comfort. Somehow the association had been made, through previous experience, that comfort is found in intimate relating.
Rather than trying to take action to create an external change, I instead moved more fully into my experience of the present moment to see if the sense of comfort was already here. Starting with the physical, I became aware of the softness of the chair I was sitting on and the warmth of my favourite shawl around my shoulders. Then I felt the steadiness of the rhythm of my heartbeat and relaxed into the waves of breath moving through my body. In just a few moments, I was in an experience of comfort and peace, and the longing dissolved.
What I realized was the mind, through associating comfort as only coming through relationship with other, had completely overlooked the nourishing, delicious comforting embrace that was all the while present and available. Over the next few months, I used the same approach with every longing or craving that arose. I discovered that every longing at its core was always about a felt state rather than an external object. I started thinking about this process as leading a horse to water: I would lead every longing to the experience of its fulfillment.
After doing this practice for a while, I found a much deeper internal rest and contentment, and many conditioned patterns that previously created dissatisfaction came to rest. The delicious state of fullness became the norm instead of the exception.
If you would like to experiment with this approach you can try out this guided process as a starting point. Please feel free to share your results. I'd love to hear from you