As humans, we are in a constant state of searching. Whether that search is for something physical, spiritual, emotional, there is that ever present anticipation of obtaining a goal. I am as guilty of this as anyone, although I’m happy to report that parenthood, for me, has somewhat slowed down that feeling of looking for the next thing.
As yogis, we are seeking self liberation through the process of obtaining self knowledge. It’s slightly counter-intuitive, but the goal of freeing ourselves should not be an idea in the forefront of our minds so we are able to live presently and discover that desired knowledge through each moment. It’s less about quenching the thirst for knowledge, and more about letting that knowledge come to you at any given time.
I recently finished Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. For those of you that are unfamiliar, it is a story about a Buddha-like figure who, at different stages of his life, is on a continuous hunt for knowledge. That sought-out wisdom changed throughout his life; at times it was self knowledge, at other times it was the knowledge of a businessman and a lover, and at yet another time it was the knowledge of how to connect with his son. In the end, he reaches enlightenment, or self liberation, and perfectly shares the process with another ascetic who is also a constant searcher of truth:
“When someone is seeking,” said Siddhartha, “it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”
In the pursuit of God, The Bible says, “Ask, and it will be given you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Matthew 7.7).” Perhaps a yogi’s pursuit of God follows, as Siddhartha suggests, “Be and you will find.”