I’ve done a lot of seeking in my life. Seeking answers from experts, doctors, therapists, pills, gurus, compulsive travel to far-flung temples and other sacred places, yoga and other spiritual practices, relationships and dating. It’s been an incredible journey. The seeking has been relentless, and, at times, the seeking has seemed fraught. There were dark times. What was I seeking? Would all this seeking amount to anything? Was there a there there?
I’m happy to say that it wasn’t meaningless by a long shot. I now see that every step I traveled was necessary. More than that, it was perfect. I became who I am today, perfectly imperfect. Because, at 53, I am now a “finder” as well as a seeker. I’ve found more inner peace, more friendships and community in my town of Boulder, Colorado, more love, a lot more self-love, more belonging, more connection with a higher purpose and power. I’m now 200 pages into a first draft of a memoir manuscript about spiritual seeking and what compels us to seek. In addition to being a travel narrative that takes the reader across Israel, Palestine, the Desert Southwest, and India, this fledgling “thing”–it’s hardly a book yet–is also a look at the psychological underpinnings of spiritual seeking. Which means It’s about big picture stuff such as shame, faith, love, and the tragic disconnect that happens between fathers and sons, a disconnect that causes so many problems in our society, including #metoo and our overfilled prisons.
Thanks for listening. I felt like sharing this about what I’m up to these days, in addition to my writing coaching practice and yoga practice. The picture below is of me during my circumambulation of Arunachala, a mountain in India considered to be a physical manifestation of the Hindu god Shiva.
In keeping with seeking and finding, I am sharing below a wonderful poem by David Whyte about seeking and finding. In a way, this poem says so much about this journey.
The Well – by David Whyte – (in Pilgrim)
Be thankful now for having arrived,
for the sense of
from a well,
for remembering the long drought that preceded your arrival
and the years walking in a desert landscape of surfaces looking for a spring hidden from you for so long that even wanting to find it now had gone from your mind
until you only
remembered the hard pilgrimage that brought you here,
the thirst that caught in your throat; the taste of a world just-missed
and the dry throat that came from a love you remembered but had never fully wanted for yourself, until finally, after years making the long trek to get here it was as if your whole achievement had become nothing but thirst itself.
But the miracle had come simply from allowing yourself to know that you had found it,
that this time
someone walking out into the clear air from far inside you
had decided not to walk past it anymore;
the miracle had come at the roadside in the kneeling to drink
and the prayer you said,
and the tears you shed
and the memory
and the realization
that in this silence
you no longer had to keep your eyes and ears averted from the
could save you,
that you had been given
the strength to let go
of the thirsty dust laden
that brought you here,
walking with her
bent back, her bowed head and her careful explanations.
No, the miracle had already happened
when you stood up,
shook off the dust
and walked along the road from the well,
out of the desert toward the mountain,
as if already home again, as if you
deserved what you loved all along,
as if just remembering the taste of that clear cool spring could lift up your face
and set you free.
A former senior editor and contributing writer at Outside magazine, Brad Wetzler is an author, journalist, travel writer, book writing coach, and yoga instructor. His book, Real Mosquitoes Don’t Eat Meat, was published by W.W. Norton. His nonfiction writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, GQ, Wired, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, George, Travel + Leisure, Thrive Global, and Outside. He teaches yoga at CorePower Yoga in Boulder, Colorado. He coaches up-and-coming authors to write and successfully publish their books. For your free 30-minute phone consult, email Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org