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Am I a Seeker?

May 4, 2012

I just finished reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I first read it a long, long time ago. I even used it as one of the readings in a class I taught at Mount Holyoke College. This time around, its impact was stronger. It grabbed and shook me.

Toward the end of the book, this passage gave me pause:

Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal . . . in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”

Much of the time, Don and I lived life as seekers, always with goals–large and small goals–often obsessed with reaching them. In Don’s physical absence, with so much past behind me, I do not want to seek goals any longer. I just want to live.

And yet, I am still obsessed with getting a few more tasks done–publishing our memoir being at the top of the list. How do I reconcile this obsession with what my heart increasingly desires, not to have any goals?

I wrote about this conflict to my friend, Grace. She wrote back, “Well the artist is different from the seeker. And you have transitioned into artist (while not losing your other attributes) for the artist enters the unknown without understanding the outcome. And the product is the result of discovery.”

A wise response, but am I now an artist, free of seeking? I might worry less about the outcome, but I am still seeking–if not consciously, then unconsciously.

Siddhartha learned from “the many voiced song of the river.” I am looking at the Hudson River through my window. If the river sings, I am too far to hear it. But I know that the river sings many songs to let me know that life is in perpetual becoming.

I will let myself flow with the river–sometimes a seeker, other times an artist–but always with love in my heart, the love that Don and I shared and continue to share. And as an extension of that love, love for the less fortunate.

As I grow older, the more unreal time feels. With that, the dividing line in life–between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil–grows more faint every day.

It is not as if I am here and Don is there. We are together–death has eternal life, just like life has dying. We are approaching more closely, all the time, in life and in death.

And I live with love.


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