Here are a few real-world examples of identifying someone afflicted by our serious seeker syndrome. It would give my mind great comfort to say that this is a completely fictionalized account, and I never demonstrated any of these symptoms.
- For starters, our serious seeker is serious. Seeking, after all, is a serious affair. Smiling’s not allowed. Laughing is also prohibited. Especially in the vicinity of temples.
- Our serious seeker looks intently for signs. Like searching for smells in his apartment. If the odor’s foul it’s because seeking is not going well. Could also be because of the stale food in the refrigerator but that does not register with our serious seeker. It’s the seeking that’s not on point yet.
- Our serious seeker carries on. He now looks for even more distinct signs when he’s traveling. Let’s say he goes to Bali. There he meets a driver who promises to help him find salvation by the beautiful remote beaches at midnight. Except salvation does not arrive that soon, but the wild dogs do. Both the seeker and driver are forced to run for their lives with our seeker left wondering how the gods are clearly displeased with him.
- And then the seeker gets really serious about seeking. He now finds another driver in Bali who takes him deep in the forests, gets him to attend a sacred cacao ceremony, cons him to drink stale hot chocolate making him believe it is the elixir for life. No salvation. The seeking continues.
- The seeker returns from Bali with a renewed resolve to be even more serious. He starts visiting 3 temples instead of 1. The math’s simple: he’s now 3x more likely to succeed with his seeking. Ouch.
- Not the one to give up, the serious seeker now starts negotiating. Giving up on ice cream for 12 months + unhealthy beverages surely has to expedite this whole seeking business. And succeed he does in letting go off his double chin + baby fat but he’s in no mood for jokes. Seeking is serious business, baby fat or not.
And so it continues, the absurdity of this all, until the seeker is totally taken over by this syndrome. Unfortunate, isn’t it?
I’m not exactly sure what made my mind a serious seeker but this I do know: when we approach faith from the vector of desperation, serious seeking ensues. When we approach faith from the vector of inspiration, the absurdity of seeking – let alone serious seeking – dawns on us.
What is there to seek? Likely, nothing. Life’s too short not to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. As long as we perform our dharma to the best of our abilities, and live life one breath at a time, is there more to do?
Live. Love. Laugh. Give.
If this is not our life’s mantra, then what is?
In Saxon White’s words:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.