May 07, 2007
Physics of a Spiritual Quest
What a cool job San Francisco Chronicle's David Miller has - covering the world of spirituality and spiritual quests and the people in it, whether that be traditional religion or a looser spiritual definition. His recent interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote a book about her post divorce quest is particularly interesting.
David asks her in an interview to describe "the physics of the quest" -- the laws that seem to apply to a spiritual pilgrimage. I love her answer - see below. The only thing I disagree with is the 'not stopping' part at the end, until you understand the point of it all.
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, trying to understand and process it all is part of what chains you, when the whole point of such a quest is to come out on the other end, feeling free and at peace. When you sometimes choose just to trust (pure spirituality in my opinion - its called faith in whatever it is for you), and let go of the outcome, you find exactly what you were looking for.
One of my favorites out of all of the ones which have magically come my way over the years: "When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you." Lao-tzu.
She says: "the simplest way to begin a quest -- not that it's a simple thing, really-- is to recognize that a quest is a process by which a person becomes a question. You know, you become a verb ... all you are is about asking questions in as many different ways as you can until you get to the bottom of it. And that becomes your entire life, your spouse, your vision, your food. That's what the spiritual journey is all about.
The important thing is not necessarily to travel but to make sure that you are shifting inside. Each answer you get should advance you in some way. If you do that and you tell yourself, "I'm willing to regard anybody who comes before me as a teacher, to accept that everything that happens to me is for my benefit on my way to answering the question that I've become, and not to stop until I understand the point of it all," then you're on your quest."
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Reminds me of one of my favorite poems: Ithaca by CP Cavafy.
Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithacas mean."
Posted by: Andrew Kippen | May 9, 2007 11:00:27 AM