Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Quest is for Our Life

The spiritual quest is the search for that which brings us to life, for the ground of our life, our existence, for that which is meaningful to us. We spend our lives looking for life. Life lies all about us and we are not alive, not vibrantly alive, not enthusiastically alive, not involved in our life, not invested in our lives. We are hanging out. Going through the motions, without much in the way of a reason to get out of bed, without any sense of why we are here.

What are we here for? That’s the quest. We aren’t looking for our assignment, for some obligation that is laid upon us by someone else. We are looking for what brings us to life, and is life. We are here to be alive, yet, to be alive our lives have to revolve around something. What draws us toward it, into it, and serves as the source and goal of our lives? That’s the search that fuels the journey. And, every journey begins, of course, where we are.

We begin with what we care about. We care about the wrong things of course, but the wrong things can lead us to the right things if we let them, if we care about the wrong things in the right way: with our eyes open. We have to care about what we care about and see where that takes us. Nascar, baseball, fishing, photography… It doesn’t matter. The problem with what we care about is not what we care about, but that we don’t care about it deeply enough, and we don’t care about it with awareness. CARE about what you care about! Get into it! See where it leads!

It will lead you to something else to care about. Care about it! Who knows why we care about what we care about. It is enough to know what we care about and to care about it, to see what happens. Carl Jung suggests that we not limit our understanding of libido to sexual energy but think of it as the energy of life, as enthusiasm for some aspect of life, and follow that energy where it goes. This experience with life energy, with being moved by something, to something, was called the Holy Spirit by previous ages. We have to become aware of the energy of life, noticing those places, ideas, people, events that are charged with energy for us, that we care about.

We are to move toward those things, those people, that attract us, that are charged with energy for us, spending time with them, incorporating them into our life. But here, as in all spiritual matters, things are not what they appear to be, and we cannot take even life energy at face value. We have to always get to the heart of the matter, looking past the surface to what else is there.

We have to decide how to read and how to direct life energy. Energy for sailing may have nothing to do with buying a sail boat or taking lessons. What is the charged idea of sailing, for example, asking of us? We have to sit with it imaginatively to know. Imagination and curiosity and patience are essential tools in the work of soul, of finding and doing the work, the life, that is ours to do, to live.

Our holy obligation is to care about what we care about for as long as we care about it and then care about something else. We will always care about some things, but not all things. People are always trying to talk us out of what we care about and into what they care about. We are here to care about what we care about, to follow our enthusiasm for some aspects of life throughout our lives, as it evolves, shifts, transforms and leads us a merry chase. No matter what they say.

What do you do that you care about that nobody notices, knows, or cares if you do or not? What do you care about that nobody wants you to do or care about? If you have never had a life to call your own, never done a thing you wanted to do just because you wanted to do it, what are you waiting for? How much of your life do you live because other people expect it of you? How much of it do you live no matter what anyone thinks? Whose permission do you need to do the things you do, to live the life you live? Whose disapproval do you fear? Whose life are you living? Who is guiding your ship on its path on the sea? If you are not at the helm, who is?

We don't have to worry about destinations and outcomes and what we are going to do with our lives. We only need to know the right road when we see it and walk it. The right road will take us where we need to be. We can trust ourselves to the rightness of the right road, knowing no more than that. We know the road is right the way we know anything is right. A cup of coffee, a walk in the woods, watching the sun rise and set... You wouldn’t trust anyone else to choose your deserts for you, why think anyone else will know the right road for you? You know what is right for you and what is wrong, what is life for you and what is death, and whether the road you are on is IT.

We aren't here to get anything out of it, to gain the advantage, to have our way. We are here to find the right road, the beam, to stay on the right track. We know the right road, the right track, the beam when we see it but. We can be led astray by 10,000 self-serving things. The rule is always: Stay on the beam! The "force" is the power of the beam, the right track, road, path. In it, on it, we have all we need. Off it, we are lost and on our own. We want to live the way we want to live AND have the "force" be with us, paving our way, smoothing our path. Our way is not THE way, our path is not THE path. We don't want to do what our life requires. We want splendor, privilege, smooth and easy. We have to be on THE way, THE path! And, the quickest way to THE way is walking the path we are on with our eyes open to what is happening and our hearts open to what is calling our name.

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