Searching For Answers
“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.” — Kahlil Gibran
When a new disciple came to the Master, he was subjected to the following examination: “Do you know the one person who will never abandon you in the whole of your lifetime?” “Who is it?” “You.” “And do you know the answer to every question you may have?” “What is it?” “You.” “And can you guess the solution to every one of your problems?” “I give up.” “You.” Anthony de Mello’s delightful parable highlights the growing tension to look for answers outside ourselves. In Zen Buddhism, it is said every question contains its own answer. Many people search for answers outside themselves to make sense of their life. Some give up, while many are disheartened since the solutions never arrive in the form they hoped for. If something within us seeks change, it will only come from inward, not from an external source.
Take a moment to contemplate the significance of that? Our inherent power is already contained within us and involves letting go of that which obscures the realisation of it. We often look outside ourselves for validation that we are living a purposeful life. Yet the irony is, nobody can grant it because our lives are independent of others and they can only share their wisdom relative to their experience. If this message resonates with you, your personal evolution is calling you to expand, not contract. You needn’t know the details, but recognise you are dissatisfied with your current conditions. I call it leading with love because life answers the call of your soul when you go in search of it. I’ve often said life doesn’t know what it will become until you step into it. Until we show up with purpose and seize opportunities. We all want to live meaningful lives instead of allowing external forces to control us. However, if we judge our life from what is missing, we will look for answers based on the question. Yet, if we ask: “How can I live my fullest potential and enjoy the process?” we will attract conditions in alignment with that very question.
Is this making sense? Can you see nothing is missing from your life? As a conscious creator, you decide what you want your life to be. I enjoy the above quote by author Neale Donald Walsch, who reminds us we are stuck between a rock and a hard place: “You are afraid to die, and you’re afraid to live. What a way to exist.” So how can we find peace of mind within our circumstances? Pursue that which resonates with our highest values. Life is full of ups and downs, and we will make many mistakes along the way. Yet, those mistakes are pivotal in drawing us closer to what is significant. Rather than dwell on the mistakes, see it as separating the wheat from the chaff; from chaos emerges order. We ought to pursue what is important to us by letting go of minor concerns. Life is full of contrasts to help us make conscious choices.
Separating The Wheat From The Chaff
“You are afraid to die, and you’re afraid to live. What a way to exist.” — Neale Donald Walsch
Contrast exists in the subtlest details. For instance, an unpleasant thought is replaced by a positive one, and conflict is contrasted with kindness. It involves choosing our focus of attention to find meaning in the questions we pose. Similarly, people are disillusioned that happiness is not a constant state. Here’s an enlightened perspective: We can be happy and experience struggle but choose to turn our attention to gratitude. I’m not talking about false optimism or Pollyanna syndrome. I am referring to the dualistic nature of life and aligning our awareness with our highest values. Our point of reference determines the meaning contained within our circumstances. It is why altruistic people tie their good deeds to service and the meaning contained within it. Conversely, those who align with negativity, act on impulses and unconscious desires. They are conditioned by forces not of their choosing.
We can stop struggling any moment and accept life’s circumstances are always serving our personal development. There is no place to reach, other than paying attention to our personal evolution. Assuredly, searching for purpose and meaning outside of us, is analogous to using our hands to carry water, instead of a bucket. In gathering water from a stream and being careful not to spill it, we are left empty-handed. So it is with life. Holding on to what we desire most causes it to vanish because of the anxiety devoted to it. Are you satisfied with this idea that life is not about trying to get what you need to be happy? Rather, it involves turning to the source of our happiness and giving it our attention?
The great American mythologist Joseph Campbell once said: “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about.” Therefore, we must avoid looking for answers to empty questions, but consider what is already complete in our life. We use that as the foundation of what we wish to realise. Nothing outside of us will bring about what is already contained within us. This sentiment is echoed by Anthony de Mello’s opening tale of the Master who counsels his new disciple that everything we desire will arise by looking within.