Below is an apt description of the Seeker.  What causes it to arise, how it comes on the scene, some of the initial experiences it creates, and the shifts it brings to a person’s life.

Everyone gets the call, often more than once. It has been described by countless people in similar ways for as long as humans have been pondering life’s intricacies. The Seeker hears the call and answers it. An answered call may ring again at a future phase of one’s life. We don’t remain static. The most important call is the very first one. That one will keep ringing until it’s answered. The Seeker will want to every time, but the individual must recognize and embrace the Seeker first.

If we really listen, we can hear that life is trying to get our attention as well as wake us up. This call to wake up happens when our lives are no longer satisfying, when we have lost interest in all the things that once made us so happy.

The call speaks to us in questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What am I doing with my life? This internal dialogue can be frightening, even overwhelming. As we look for answers, we are forced to question the very foundation of everything that we hold on to—our relationships, religious views, politics, career choices, and even our social status.

As this process of self-discovery moves toward greater understanding, a radical shift starts to happen. Sometimes our inner questioning takes us to exotic environments or new communities. We may be drawn to things that are unfamiliar, taboo, or even dangerous. In our attempts to discover our deepest truth, we may begin dancing, singing, exploring our sexuality, or following a new spiritual path.

This process is often misunderstood in our culture. It is labeled a midlife crisis, Saturn’s Return, or even a nervous breakdown. The powerful call to awaken can be shocking and confusing to people who are accustomed to seeing us behave in our predictable ways. It may seem that we have gone temporarily crazy—and we may feel crazy at times. This is when we must be willing to take a leap of faith—to trust our inner voice and overcome doubt. To trust what is emerging…

During these times of awakening, things appear in our lives to sustain us. When we say yes to the call to wake up, the people, situations, and opportunities we need to move forward present themselves naturally and at the perfect moment. We might find refuge in a spiritual teacher or set of teachings. We may be guided to go on a vision quest or visit holy sites that hold power and meaning for us. We may have visions, dreams, or even experiences of non-ordinary states of consciousness. All of these signal that something important is happening.

— Spring Washam

Calligraphy for "dō" or "michi:" path, road, street, method, way.
Calligraphy for “dō” or “michi:” path, method, way, road, street.

I started writing this series because quite a few of the people I work with and teach are unable to sustain growth and the practices that nourish and empower it. (Read: The Attributes of Growth and Gapless Awareness.)

This happens for several reasons. The most common is simply not knowing what a path entails. People come to spirituality for different reasons, but there’s usually a sense of reward; if I do this, I’ll get that. The trouble is that the spiritual path isn’t a transactional engagement.

It’s more of a live or die proposition. Without it I can’t live. I can exist, but I can’t live.

It’s also long term. Till the very end, as much as there’s an end. Whenever it is we awaken, it’s for the purpose of staying awake and taking it as far as we can. The path isn’t designed for us to feel good for a while. It’s designed to bring us to the point of our origin.

The seeker within must be embraced and established. This provides consistency in applying ourselves to personal growth and spiritual development. Because the seeker won’t allow for too much inertia, procrastination or denial. The seeker will goad us always, appropriately and with precise timing.

— Pamir Kiciman, from The Attributes of Growth

Part of the problem is that every activity is allotted a duration and location and we go from activity to activity. Work, gym, movies, other entertainment, attending our kids’ events, our own hobbies, socializing and so on. This sets up a mindset that spirituality too is in a compartment. In some ways it is, because one of the best ways to ensure you don’t miss your vital practices is to schedule them.

If the practice habit isn’t formed, this obviously leads to less than ideal results. But even if it is, spirituality is all-encompassing, i.e., it permeates every nuance of our existence, which means it doesn’t stop after twenty minutes or three months.

The problem is compounded by the fact that spirituality is usually not engaged for its own sake. We want to be happier, have a better job, improve our circumstances, feel more secure, find the right partner and take advantage of the affluence available in a society of goods and services. These aspirations are all fine.

However, the only way spirituality yields all its potential is if we fall in love with it!

Similar to healing, spirituality has to be adopted as a lifestyle. Both healing and spirituality are most powerful when they become our worldview. Left to brief experiences here and there, they remain conceptual and superficial. We don’t embody healing and spirituality to increase creature comforts.

Instead they are profoundly transformative and facilitate a richly meaningful way of living. They are meant to be lasting, not a curiosity.


Spirituality: The Unifying Bond of Life

The Nature of the Healing Process

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The Call to Awaken