We keep busy all day long. Even after a full day of work, we relax by finding something to ‘do’. We watch TV, listen to music, chat with friends and family or indulge in hobbies and pastimes.
We fill our lives with all sorts of activities.
What exactly are we doing? Vedanta, the science of life, tells us that every action we take is a manifestation of some desire. We all have different desires that drive us to do different things, but…..
The common and fundamental desire of all human beings is the desire for happiness.
We do what we do because we want to be happy.
There is a problem with all this activity though—we never seem to find the thing, person, or situation that will make us permanently happy and put an end to the constant striving to be happy.
Why can’t we find permanent happiness in the world?
The world never stays the same.
Relationships change, your perfect mate isn’t so perfect anymore, your cute kids grow up to be difficult teenagers, people may move away or die, jobs change and your body feels great some days and not-so-good on other days.
Nothing stays the same. Just when you thought everything was just perfect—things change and you’re left striving to make things just right again.
There comes a time in when there arises a growing sense of dissatisfaction with life.
You become frustrated with the endless striving to be happy in a life full of limitations, pain, sorrows, unfulfilled desires and incomplete joys.
The bottom line is, you want complete and permanent happiness. Nothing else will suffice.
This is when a spiritual seeker is born.
We are all spiritual beings on a journey in life, but when we consciously and seriously start seeking answers to the fundamental questions of life and the path to true happiness, we become true spiritual seekers.
Questions like these come into your mind – ‘Will I ever be happy?’ ‘How can I find true and permanent happiness?’, ‘What is the purpose of life?’.
Here are some scenarios that may lead up to this inner seeking:
- You take great efforts reorganizing and setting up your life—health, finances, career and relationships, and somehow have never found success and happiness. You blame your bad luck, others or even God. You wonder when and if you can ever be happy.
- On the other hand, you may be very successful already. You may have achieved your goals and got most of everything you want in life. But the same things, activities, people and circumstances no longer excite like they used to. There arises a feeling of ‘Been there, done that – what next?’
- It may also be that you may have experienced disappointment, pain and loss in areas of life such as health, wealth, relationships and career. In my own case, the death of my father got me searching for more meaning and direction in my life.
- Some of us have come to be painfully aware of the shortcomings and failings of our character. We realise we have hurt others and ourselves by our wrong choices and self-centered ways. We become deeply disappointed with ourselves and resolve to take steps to mend and change our ways.
- Some people may have thought about their lives and decided they have had enough of superficial living. They are tired of the dog-eat-dog world and want to get out of the stress of that and live more peacefully and fully.
- It may also be that you feel out of place living the life you are living now. You have a nagging sense of unease and feel you should be doing something else more in alignment with who you are and your soul’s purpose.
- Sometimes, we start thinking about our lives after observing the challenges, losses and failures of others. Something ‘clicks’ inside and we start wondering what life is all about.
There are many reasons why you may embark on your spiritual journey. But what is common to all serious seekers is a disenchantment with superficial life and living.
Here’s a quote from Swami Sivananda of the Divine Life Society: “Worldly life is bed of roses until a thorn pricks you in your foot. You then realise that the world is a bed of thorns.”
This is the auspicious time when a when a spiritual seeker is born.
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