After 25 years of seeking (for the meaning of life, for happiness, for self-awareness, for myself) I still have an idealized, disillusioned view of what I am supposed to look and feel like as a “spiritual person.” I suppose if I’d really done my homework (rather than just reading the Cliff’s Notes) I’d have a sharper vision. Then again, maybe not. Many have sought longer and harder and deeper than I and are still just as confused.
We walk in circles, all of us, constantly experiencing light and dark in equal measure. This is the never-ending wheel of faith and disbelief, illusion and clarity, patterning itself on the human condition, manifested in each person with equal similarity and difference. We spiral, run, skip, looking up, down and all around, hoping our gaze will eventually rest upon the One Essential Thing we need to finally become whole and real and fulfilled. … NOTE: The seeking is fruitless; we already have what we are supposed to have, already are where we are supposed to be, are already doing what we are supposed to be doing. Stop looking outward, it is said. Reverse the gaze inward. There it is. It’s always been there. Like the power of Dorothy’s red shoes. And yet, after 25 years, I’m still waiting to realize the power of my flip-flops. So I seek.
What is enlightenment, anyway, but living our ideals? Setting honest and loving motives and staying as true to them as best we can? Living our best lives, whatever that best looks like for each of us … So long as we’re not harming ourselves or anyone else. NOTE: Defining harm is like seeking for the One Essential Thing— it’s different for everyone.
What do I seek and why do I seek? Why do I meditate, cultivate breath, practice yoga, move my energy, go to hugging marathons? I am soothing chafed parts. Healing broken parts. Internalizing love. Growing lighter. Chasing ghosts. Finding myself. All of this in one breath, hug, or blink of an eye? Maybe. All of this company for my hunger? Sure. Each experience at once a closure and an opening? Most definitely.
Pema says we experience a little birth and a little death every day: we are born with the sun and die with the night. A beginning, an ending (and its middle)—birth, life, death—all in one day. A single day, then, is our whole life, along with all of its metaphorical realities—all of the interactions, accomplishments and failures of our entire lives manifest in a single day, from one midnight to the next, a full and complete lifetime in one rotation of the earth’s axis… So, when we look back on our day, did we make ourselves proud? Did we make ourselves and others happy?
Maybe, after all these years, this is why I seek. Every day I am given yet another lifetime in which to try to do my absolute best at living and loving. Every day is a lifetime to live. To love. To succeed. To fail. To find the power hidden inside myself or in the click of my heels. And a hug from Amma may just help get me there...