The real meaning of seeking
A small Zen story:
A young disciple had just entered a Zen monastery.
He said to the Zen Master, ‘I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me something.’
The Master looked at him and asked, ‘Have you eaten your rice porridge?’
The monk replied, ‘Yes, I have eaten.’
The Master said, ‘Then you better wash your bowl.’
At that moment, the monk was enlightened! This may sound absurd when you hear it for the first time. The Master was telling the disciple to wash his bowl after he had eaten. What he actually meant was, the disciple was so full with the knowledge he had acquired, with what he had picked up from various places, from various philosophies; there was no room for anything more to enter, for any clarity to happen. Cryptically he says, ‘you better wash your bowl’, and the monk was simply struck by the statement and became enlightened!
This is how Zen Masters caused spiritual awakening in their disciples. In just one moment, the disciple would be awakened. Enlightenment, self-realization, the state of eternal bliss, or whatever you want to call it, is actually as easy as removing your coat and putting it on the coat stand! It is that simple. But because of our layers and layers of social conditioning, we look upon it as something far away from us, something difficult to achieve.
Actually, it is not something to be achieved at all because it is already there in you! How can you achieve something that is already there in you?! All you need to do is drop these layers of illusion, these layers of social conditioning, and you will see that you are already bliss. The concepts like seeking or traveling in a spiritual journey are just ways to postpone your own flowering. You are banging on a door that is already open.
All that a Master needs to do is, awaken you to this truth, that’s all. That is why Zen Masters adopted abrupt and sometimes harsh methods that will simply shake the disciple from his intellect and illusion, and cause self-realization in a moment’s time.
When a Master starts his work on you, awareness will start to grip you and you will realize with every passing moment, with every action of yours, with every thought of yours, that the Master is only showing you what you already are. He just peels off layers and layers in you like peeling an onion and with every layer getting peeled, you will feel lighter and a beautiful feeling of coming home. That feeling of coming home is only coming closer to your core, to the core from the periphery, from far away from your home to closer to your home. And what do we mean by home? Our true Self.
Of course, when the disciple is really ready, this will happen. In the path of seeking, the space inside is created and kept ready so that awakening can happen. But the problem arises because we get stuck in seeking.
Seeking should create the space in us to flower, else it is not seeking; it is simply a trip to fulfill your ego in the field of spirituality, that’s all. It is simply to tell people that you know a lot about God and great philosophies that you have read and not digested, which you are vomiting on others.
Seeking is not creating something, it is destroying something – your ignorance of your true self. Seeking is not searching. Be very clear: If you seek in the hope of finding something, you will land up in terrible frustration. That is why most often you will find that there is a cynicism, a sarcasm, a disrespect in the tone of some of the exhausted seekers. They will be on the brink of turning their backs on the Truth or they will think they have found it and start convincing you with their own nonsensical philosophies.
If you understand that there is no search here at all, there is only discovering, then every minute is a golden opportunity to peel off yet another layer and take one more step closer to the core. Then, the peeling itself becomes enjoyable; the path itself becomes bliss, because you are on the right path! When you are not in the right path, what happens? Instead of peeling off layers, if you keep them intact and search and add on layers to your already fat self, what happens? You will feel suffocated, burdened and you will wonder what life is all about. ……. .. .
So understand the real meaning of seeking. Don’t allow your mind to get caught in the game of seeking. The mind itself is a myth and the game of seeking can take your mind to a complex web of mythology. Understand that your mind and the concept of seeking are the only two things that keep you away from God. If you understand this experientially, you will automatically drop seeking and start shedding all that is not you.