The End of Seeking

(Recording and transcript from a Retreat talk December 3, 2023)

I went to a silent retreat this summer with Sharon who was asked to teach by Adyashanti. And one of the things that I noticed is that whereas it used to take me sometimes days to drop into quiet, into the silence that I was seeking, I found that on that particular retreat within the first meditation I was there.

And as I reflect on that, I think one of the reasons is that to a great extent, that part of me that is seeking for anything different than is here right now is really very faded. And so sometimes the seeking itself is what prevents us from dropping into presence and to peace.

We’re all seekers in some way. Many of us may call ourselves spiritual seekers or people might say to us, well, what are you looking for? What are you seeking for with all this spiritual stuff?

But the truth is all human beings are seeking in some way, maybe not when they’re really young. Babies are just enjoying and of course they go for a breast or they go for a toy, but it’s a natural expression of their soul. It’s a natural expression of their pure energy.

But in time, when the conditioned self begins to get laid down through the expectations of our culture, we begin to seek those things that we believe will help to satisfy the conditioned self, the one that needs to win, the one that needs to succeed, the one that needs to appear intelligent, all of those things that we attempt to be, that are often in contrast to who and what we actually really are, all of those things become something that we orient to and they become our main focus.

And even when we enter into the world of either self-improvement or even spirituality, there’s still a seeking that goes on. So, as adults, maybe all of us have come from the place of seeking for the perfect partner, or seeking for a home, seeking for education and a job, and the status that it might give us, the opportunities that it might give us.

So there’s kind of a seeking orientation in all of us. And many of us find that we do it and something’s missing. It’s not all that’s been cracked up to be. It’s not all that’s been promised us. And even if it is wonderful, we have a wonderful partner and beautiful home and we love our work, there’s still something missing.

I think that’s probably what has brought all of us here. And so we change the direction of that seeking to spirituality. And we seek through teachers and books and courses and practices and plant medicines and breath work, all the things, right?

And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But one of the things that I notice is that if the attitude going into any of these things is about looking for something that’s not already here, it actually takes you further away from the peace, the perspective, the wisdom, the love, the joy, that is really what we’re seeking.

I think that ultimately we’re seeking our true selves. It just gets distorted because of the way that our minds have been conditioned to see things. So just connecting with your own experience right now and just opening to any kind of energy of seeking that might be here in you, seeking for a better state, seeking for relief from some kind of energetic discomfort or emotional discomfort that you’re feeling.

And just kind of noticing what that seeking energy feels like. It often feels just slightly ahead of yourself, kind of impatient, not really willing to settle, really quite intent on its own point of view and what it is that it wants and what it is that it believes that is going to give it.

So I think the first thing is to meet this seeker energy, to notice what it feels like in the body. It’s going to be slightly tense because it’s not quite happy in this moment. Something needs to change, right?

And we can meet the seeker with utter compassion, knowing that it is simply responding to program that pretty much all of us have bought into. And the seeking can be sort of a positive way of making this moment okay, knowing that we’re doing something to create a better moment in the future.

And it’s usually a place that most of us start with. But the whole concept of seeking and of looking for something in the future that’s better than now really doesn’t address where the dissatisfaction or the lack is coming from in the first place.

We think that it’s something that’s lacking in our lives, a person, a quality that we haven’t yet developed, a purpose that we haven’t really quite found. Because that’s what we’ve been told.

So we could ask ourselves the very simple question, is it true that what I’m seeking for isn’t already here? And you could say, well, yeah, I don’t know what my purpose is. I don’t have a wonderful partner in my life.

But my encouragement there would be to reflect on, what will it feel like when this, or what do you imagine it might feel like when you’re aligned with your purpose? What do you imagine it might feel like when you have a beautiful partner in your life?

And that’s something we can do right here right now. We can either visualize it or just kind of turn back towards the place from which we’re seeking. Because if we can seek for that beautiful partner, it’s because we already know what the feeling would be, what the feeling is.

If we are seeking for that purpose, the seeking is coming from here, and then we just fall into that habit of looking out there. So we can turn back towards that which is seeking and notice the feeling that is wanting to be fulfilled with that outside thing.

And this can be a very potent contemplation. And it’s available to us right now. It’s actually, I mean, it might feel not as practical as doing something to find your purpose or to find a partner, but actually it’s the most practical thing because what you’re doing is you are feeding the magnet of your soul essentially with your attention because your soul will draw these things to you, but it needs to be nourished by your attention.

And so as you turn your attention back to what’s what likely is sitting in your heart, as Charles Eisenstein says, the most beautiful world that we know is possible that lives here in our heart. The most beautiful world for us, but for all beings, it’s a feeling in the heart.

So we can turn our attention towards that and through that really allow ourselves to feel that joy that we’re wanting to get from that partner or that job or that home or that vacation is already here, is already here.

So notice as we all bring our attention together towards this place that is common to all of us, this place that knows the most beautiful world that is possible, knows that feeling. And now that we’re in our hearts, we can kind of let the mind’s ideas, its programmed ideas about how that’s going to happen.

We can just let that go for now and open to the much more interesting possibilities that exist from the viewpoint of the heart. The mind is actually quite limited in what it can imagine for us. The mind thinks about the most beautiful that we know is possible. It will come up with what it knows. But honestly, that is just so small and limited. So we really have to let our hearts take the helm here and let that light in the heart be our compass.

And here’s the thing that happens with that practice. As we begin to spend more time in the territory of the heart, in the territory of what we know is possible for us? The layers and layers and layers and layers and layers of the false self begin to get burned off.

And so this is where it’s important to really devote ourselves to this because of the burning off of the layers, the revealing of the layers, you know, as anger or sadness or guilt or jealousy or whatever is not going to be comfortable, but they have to go.

The only reason we’re looking out there for anything, the only reason we’re seeking is because we are separated from all that we are, which is everything right here right now. So maybe this weekend, this time together and your dedication has burnt off some layers.

And so there’s been tears, maybe there’s been discomfort, anger, who knows. Rejoice. As long as you’re attached to your comfort, really not much is going to change. And it’s not that we look for suffering, I’m not saying that either.

But sometimes a natural course of things is that these layers, and sometimes maybe all the time, that these layers will be revealed. Stay the course, stay the course. Don’t be fickle. Find whatever tools and use whatever tools you have to come back.

So you know when I think about how the seeker kind of disappeared in me, I’m not quite sure how it happened honestly. I couldn’t tell you the steps to take. It’s not like we can just kind of notice the seeker’s agenda and then erase it.

I mean we can notice it and pay attention to it and notice the whole constellation of beliefs and feelings that come with that and that may be a lifetime’s work. But just seeing that you’re seeking is not enough.

I mean, I could think about some possibilities of why that seeker has kind of been disarmed over here. Part of it is really living the guidance here around meeting my life head on at all costs and recognizing that even in the most difficult, challenging times in my life, I experienced for myself that freedom was available, that joy was available. So we have to use these tools and these practices, maybe even more so when life is challenging, which is usually when we let them go, I just have to fix all of this stuff first and then I’ll get back to the spirituality.

But it’s actually a very difficult time. when life is most challenging, that these tools are really the most important. Where the darkness is, is where it’s easiest to find the light. Right? If you put a candle in a bright room, you might have a hard time finding it. But if you put a candle in a dark room, you’re going to find it quite easily. So it’s in our darkest times that that light is often most available, but that also we’re often most reluctant to look because it entails needing to open to unintegrated energies that all of our being, our thoughts, our emotional body, our energy body, our nervous system is invested in avoiding.

Not only our own beings, but the being of humanity. And so this is the work, is opening, not assuming that you know that this that is visiting you right now isn’t exactly an answer to your prayers. Isn’t the layer that is wanting to be sloughed off in this moment.

And that’s the other thing I think that I have learned over the years of practicing this: life and what it brings to me is a better guide and way maker (I don’t know if that’s a word), than anything I can possibly do here.

That exactly what life is bringing me right now and exactly the feelings that it is evoking here are exactly the portal that I need to walk through right now. So when you realize that, what’s the point of using your energy to seek for something?

And I think that’s probably a big reason why a lot of that has dropped away. Not to mention the fact that it’s just far more comfortable to open and to feel and to be in intimacy with the 10,000 parts of our being.

Some of you were expressing that yesterday. that we get to experience that the light of our being is coexisting with all of the energies that our beings are integrating on our behalf, on behalf of our families, on behalf of humanity.

You may not see that the work that you’re doing right now, yes, it’s going to create a greater sense of ease and harmony in your own life, but it’s an incredible contribution to humanity. Because the energy soup that we are swimming in and the patterns that humanity has gotten itself into that are creating a tremendous amount of pain and suffering on our planet, the place that those get clear, it is not from the mind, it is not by forcing other people or other nations…

The destruction, if you want to call it that, needs to happen at the level of the energy body. This is where it’s most powerful. And the destruction is created by love, by the light of love which lives inside of our hearts.

That’s what burns off all of these layers. And so we can have all kinds of ideas about how the world is going to get better and how our lives are going to get better and how your life is going to get better.

But really what it comes down to is the reason we’re in ideas is that there is a disconnect between our minds and our hearts. And in order for our hearts and minds to become one, we really need to allow those layers that have put themselves between the mind and the heart to allow those layers to clear like clouds parting so that they can be in harmony.

And so then there is no longer any seeking and life continues to happen. You might think, well, that’s not very fun. If I’m not seeking, if I’m not striving for something, it actually is a lot of fun because everything is now a mystery.

It just opens to what life brings you. And you say yes or you say no, it’s up to you. And all kinds of surprises can come your way. When all that seeking energy is liberated, it all gets fed back into your radiant being and the expression of that radiant being.

And then when you act in your daily life… When you do things, it’s not because of anything. It’s just what is naturally flowing through. And it’s natural that the mind is going to balk a little bit at this, because it’s been in control for so long.

It’s not going to want to relegate this very easily, and it doesn’t have to. We don’t have to wrestle it into aligning with the heart, because on some level it’s already aligned. So again, it’s not about adding anything, it’s more about sloughing off, and life takes care of that.

It just makes it extremely obvious what is the layer that is wanting to be seen, that was wanting to be liberated. It’s the one that’s here right now.