Siddhartha on Seeking

“It is true that I am old,” said Govinda, “but I have still not stopped seeking. I will never stop seeking–this seems to be my nature. You, too, as it seems to me, have also been a seeker, Will you not tell me something about it, reverence?”
Siddhartha saud: “What should I have to tell you, venerable one? Perhaps you seek overmuch? That you seek so much you do not find?”
“How is that?” asked Govinda.
“When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “it can easily happen that his eyes only see the thing he is seeking and that he is incapable of finding anything, incapable of taking anything in, because he is only thinking about what he is seeking, because he has an object, a goal, because he is possessed by this goal. Seeking means having a goal, but finding means being free, open, having no goal. Perhaps you, venerable one, are indeed a seeker, for in striving after your goal, there is much you fail to see that is right before your eyes.”

I have been hesitant to call myself a seeker, and this excerpt explains why perfectly. It doesn’t feel like seeking; more an extended process of finding. It is true that I am exploring many ways of connecting with the divine; but always with the knowledge that if there is anything to be found, it is within and around me, and always has been, and always will be.

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    1. Thank you.

      I’d be interested to know what path you have been taking lately… I know a few years back you wrote about what you were moving away from, spiritually, and why… but I don’t recall reading much about where you’ve headed since then. Of course, if it has receded in importance, or if it is too personal, I can certainly understand.

      1. i wish i had time right now to give you a more thought-out answer. right now I have pretty much rejected the concept of any organized faith being accurate. it might have some things right but in large I have decided that either God does not exist or God is irrelevant. Any supposed actual communication with any deity has to immediately suspect because I have seen people easily convince themselves of ‘god talking to them’ where it was absolute bs. i have experienced it myself, the power of the human mind and suggestion is great, even if you are telling yourself something you don’t really want to hear. i believe in my ability to take in data and form my own opinions on things, i’m a sort of “experimentalist” now if people ask me. i don’t just think about what i believe anymore, i think about why i believe it and if i examine the very reasons i have for thinking things. i delight in being wrong because it means i can change and grow. i can embrace new ideas without shame or guilt. i give myself control to try and the freedom to fail. beyond that, i’m working on it.

        1. oh yeah, i’ve been reading on buddhism and find that i identify with many concepts within. I’m not buddhist yet tho.

          i’m not wiccan either but i love the wiccan rede. Harm none, do as ye will.

        2. Thanks for indulging me. I think it’s interesting that, where you seem to have come away from the knowledge of man’s suggestability with suspicion, I’ve embraced it. For me, the search for “ultimate truth” has receded – I don’t doubt it’s existence, only my capability to discover it – in favor of a more pragmatic search for what draws out the greatest strengths in me. I haven’t rejected the concept of truth, but I’m coming to realize the power of useful fictions.

          Unfortunately when I actually talk about it I suppose it comes across as so much new-age claptrap ๐Ÿ˜‰

          1. i believe that some form of cosmic truth is probably out there. I also believe that mankind will never accurately know if they have discovered it. I have learned from gina’s economics classes that things do not have to be true in order to be useful. the concept of useful fictions is a good one, especially if you can recognize it for what it is. i think people have immense power to influence their own thoughts, mind and spirit. i therefore see the power that people have over themselves and am left with doubt concerning any genuine spiritual experience. how do we know the source? was it divine or self-indulged? “Pragmatic” is a driving force for me as well. what works and why? I don’t expect to ever find this elusive truth, i just hope to continue moving forward in my willingness to pursue it. this is why i liked reading your post here where it talks about being so focused on seeking something that you can miss anything else that is not quite what you are seeking.

            it’s probably time to write another essay regarding my current world-view.

          2. yeah, exactly… my answer these days to “was it divine or self-indulged?” is “who cares – did it work?”. Has there really ever been any other confirmation of divine events than the fact that they had concrete effects on people’s attitudes and behaviour? It’s the same conclusion that William James came to a hundred years ago in The Varieties of Religious Experience – the only yardstick we have for the “reality” of prayer is whether it has an effect on us. In a like fashion, who cares if the gods and goddesses exist outside our brains? If they are, as Jung put it, numinous images; if they have power; if invoking them brings out the best in ourselves – then by all means, invoke them!

  1. The Master keeps her mind
    always at one with the Tao;
    that is what gives her her radiance.

    The Tao is ungraspable.
    How can her mind be at one with it?
    Because she doesn’t cling to ideas.

    The Tao is dark and unfathomable.
    How can it make her radiant?
    Because she lets it.

    Since before time and space were,
    the Tao is.
    It is beyond is and is not.
    How do I know this is true?
    I look inside myself and see.

    Tao Te Ching, Chapter 21

    1. Question…

      Do you consider yourself a Taoist these days?

      1. Re: Question…

        More or less.

  2. hence the search for the elusive “find.”

      1. absolutely not! ๐Ÿ™

        1. Hmmm. Could I ask you to elaborate, then?

          1. Totally off with my interpretation of what you wrote. But as for what I meant … to think that there is only one “find” is silly. Hence the search is elusive. When a seeker truly seeks, they “find” repeatedly. When we talked about this last night I discovered that our ideas were similar. What I thought of as a seeker is what you think of as finding. Uncovering truths as I walk through the various paths that interest me is what I consider seeking. As I find one thing to be true I feel the need to seek out more truths. When I exhaust one source I move on. Hence my constant jump from one religion to another. Always in search of, always finding.

            Just decided to consider it more like being a student of life. Always learning and experiencing, always thirsting to learn and experience more.

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