Seeking is a word often applied to the spiritual path, and many people are proud to call themselves seekers. Often, they are the same people who once chased too hard after money, sex, drugs, alcohol or work. With the same addictive intensity they now hope to find God, the soul, the higher self. The problem is that seeking begins with a false assumption.
It doesn’t mean the assumption that materialism is corrupt and spirituality is pure. Yes, materialism can become all-consuming, but that’s not the really important point. Seeking is doomed because it is a chase that takes you outside yourself. Whether the object is God, money or whatever; makes no real difference. Productive seeking requires that you throw out all assumptions that there is a prize to be won.
This means acting without hope of rising to some ideal self, hope being a wish that you’ll get somewhere better than the place you started from. You are starting from yourself, and it’s the self that contains all the answers. So you have to give up on the idea that you must go from A to B. There is no linear path when the goal isn’t somewhere else.
You must also discard fixed judgments about high and low, good and evil, holy and profane. The one reality includes everything in its tangle of experiences, and what we are trying to find is the experiencer who is present no matter what experience you are having.
People who race around trying to be models of goodness are trapped in 'spiritual materialism'; the transfer of values that work in the material world over to the spiritual world. The pitfalls of the seeker are: knowing where you’re going, struggling to get there, using someone else’s map, working to improve yourself, setting a timetable, waiting for a miracle. There’s no better way to be a genuine seeker than to avoid these pitfalls.
Spiritual growth is spontaneous. A single word can open your heart; a single glance can tell you who you really are. You should glean teachings from all directions, keeping true to those that bring progress yet remaining open to changes in yourself. People get stuck in bad places that they can learn to get out of. Rather than a timetable, give yourself support for spiritual growth.
If you strip away all the distractions of life, something yet remains that is you. When people say that they are seeking, it’s this level of themselves that is calling to them in its silent, untroubled way. Seeking is really just a way of winning yourself back. The 'I am' consists of nothing but a silent witness.
Look at a rose and break it down from the level of a physical object; to the level of energy vibrating in empty space. So, when you are seeing a rose, is nothing looking at nothing? So it would seem, but the real phenomenon is more amazing: You are looking at yourself. One part of your awareness, which you call yourself, is gazing upon itself in the form of a rose. There is no solid core to either the object or the observer.
There is no person inside your head, only a swirl of water, salt, sugar and a handful of other chemicals like potassium and sodium. This whirlpool of a brain is always flowing, and thus every experience is swept along in currents and eddies as swiftly as a mountain stream. So, where is the silent observer located if not in my brain?
This is a cause for incredible excitement because, if the real you isn’t inside your head, you have been set free, like awareness itself. This freedom is limitless. You can create anything because you are in every atom of creation. Wherever your awareness wants to go, matter must follow. You do come first after all; and the universe second.
We imagine a fixed 'I' who is in control, at least as much as possible. But there is another, far more stable point of stability: the witness. No one can predict your next step of unfoldment, including yourself. But if you are willing to follow the flow, the path will certainly lead you closer to the silent witness, who resides at the source of all your desires.
On the other hand, when you feel distracted, lost, confused, fearful, scattered, or trapped inside ego boundaries - you are not in flow. Pick a strongly negative experience, put yourself back in the situation and feel what you felt then. You might want to close your eyes and visualize. Do what it takes to make the situation vivid in your mind.
When you feel that stab of anger, hurt, mistrust, suspicion or betrayal, say to yourself: “That’s how my ego feels. Now let the feeling run. Get as worked up as your ego wants; envision fantasies of revenge or self-pity, or whatever your ego thinks is appropriate. Imagine your feeling spreading like the shock wave from a slow-motion explosion.
Follow this wave as far as it wants to go, watching it grow fainter and fainter as it spreads to infinity, filling the whole universe if it wants to. Now, just as you see the wave disappearing into infinity, look at yourself and see if any of the following feelings are present: a giggle, the desire to laugh, a shrug, peace, exhaustion, release or letting go.
These are the telltale feelings that arise in us when we are crossing the invisible boundary between ego and the real self. If you follow any emotion far enough, it will end in silence. But it’s asking a lot to get that far every time. Your aim is to get to the frontier at least, the line where the ego’s needs begin to lose their grip.
When you laugh, you are losing the need to take yourself so seriously. When you shrug, you lose the need to blow things out of proportion. When you feel calm, you lose the need to feel agitated or to have drama. When you can look at yourself as if you are another person, you lose the need to be the only one who counts.
When you feel relief or fatigue coming out, you lose the need to hold on to stress. When you have the feeling of letting go, you lose the need to be vindicated - the possibility of forgiveness is in sight. When you suddenly realize that the other person may be right, you lose the need to judge.