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, 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. I don’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 or money 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.
Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).