The Irony of Seeking

The Irony of Seeking

At some point on our life journey we tend to become seekers. The desire for more, experiences, exposure to some teaching; something triggers a shift. We transition from a life focused on our individuality to something bigger and deeper.

Usually, a good part of the seeking process is framed as self-betterment or escape. In other words, we’re still very much personally oriented. The search is usually driven by aversion to pain or a grasping after more pleasure or both. As Yoga observes, both of these lead only to suffering.

At the same time, the seeking activity helps keep us on the path, doing spiritual practices, and eventually culturing presence. In a sense, we grow spiritually in spite of ourselves.

Seeking never leads to awakening though. This is because awakening is a shift in being. A shift out of our sense of personal self. Being cannot be reached by doing. We have to stop doing and just be, even for a moment. We have to let go of the seeker.

Stopping doing is not something we can do. Yet we’re so used to doing, we continue to seek ways to do non-doing. We may try to outsmart the process, but that’s just all mind games. Instead, we must learn surrender, allowing, a deep letting go.

Often this happens in the natural cycles of time. The moment comes upon us unawares and catches us by surprise. Pop! But sometimes, the presence of someone else quite awake can be a catalyst. What is awake in them stirs the awakeness within us.

And there can be traumatic events that cause an ego collapse that leads to an opening. Not an approach I’d recommend. (laughs)

A further point of irony is the old texts noting the importance of desiring Unity. Put another way, the seed of desiring more is still useful post-awakening. Some people wake up and just settle into it. The full flowering comes out of taking it further and that requires we know there is more and desire it.

The path is full of curious ironies.

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  1. Jim

    Yes, what a completely odd event; waking up, when you didn’t even know you were asleep. 🙂

    Yes, good point about desiring Unity – I would hope everyone setting out their shingle as a spiritual teacher or guide, brings the complete vision to the students.

    Not simply discovering, brightening, and establishing the light within each of us, but continuing to recognize the same effulgence within us all, everything, material and non-material, and everything in between. A Unity of consciousness.

    Also, anything less than Brahman contains some suffering, because there are unknown dynamics of consciousness yet to discover. This subtle unease of the not yet known, even though profoundly awake, is not yet what could be called full enlightenment.

    1. (laughs) In some ways, waking up is always odd. Even if we know we’re asleep, our ideas about it never match what it is.

      Agreed. But I would add a matured Brahman. It’s not just “getting” there but settling into our new “home” that resolves the paradoxes that can lead to suffering.

      I’ve also seen examples where the energetic substrate has to catch up to embody it more completely.

      Thanks as always for the comments.

  2. Jim

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, yes, even though it is in many ways the easiest stage to attain, Brahman, the wholeness of it comes to fruition through action, maturation, testing and success, same as everything else, only a lot more satisfying. An infinite, multi-layered, playground sums it up pretty well.

    There is also no place left to hide from sometimes significant dharmic shifts, and on the other hand, there is no longer any need to hide.

    All the tools are in the cosmic toolbox, ready for anything.:-)

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