Spirituality is about seeing.
— Richard Rohr
I forgot where I read or heard him say that. He went on to say that much about spirituality is three steps forward and two steps back. When you think you see, that is, when you think you have it all figured out, then you no longer truly see. One never really can hold on to the vision. It slips in and out of our hands, in and out of focus. It is probably a good thing too, because we would want to try to control what we see.
My morning meditation/prayer this morning was from Luke 12:22-34. Within verses 29-32 (from NAB):
As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.
Seeking worldly things diverts your attention from seeing what is really important. Duh! Spirituality 101 and a host of other clichés like “let go, let God”. But, there is more to just seeking God.
Yesterday, one of my students read a passage from Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha that reminded her of me. (The senior religion class is currently reading this book because the first semester is mostly comparative religion.)
Siddhartha said: “What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”
“How is that?” asked Govinda.
“When someone is seeking,” said Siddhartha, “it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”
There is a deep connection here that I can barely describe in words. Seek God instead of worldly things. Yes, got that. Trying my best. But seeking in and of itself is searching for a goal, an end, a prize. It is as if God is external, out there to be found, to be searched for. But God is not out there, He is here, now, everywhere, everything. Seeking is not seeing. Seeking is not noticing. In seeking God, I will not notice Him here, now. I miss the opportunity to dance in the rain of His grace now within every moment. Seeking is not being open to the gifts of now.
Two steps backwards, three steps forward. I am reminded of the story about the little fish.