General Question

wundayatta's avatar

What do you seek?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) February 24th, 2009

Some people can be thought of as “seekers.” They think a lot about life, it’s meaning, and what their place is in it. Sometimes they go on spiritual journeys. They can try out many different kinds of religions and other spiritual paths.

Seekers: I know you don’t know this, because you are still seeking it, but what it is that you seek? What will it look or feel like when you find it? Just take an imaginative guess about this. What started you on this journey?

Also, where have you been on your journey? What different paths or religions or philosophies have you tried, and what did you learn from each (or as a whole)?

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44 Answers

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

i seek Amy.

brittany spears anyone?

eponymoushipster's avatar

To seek the Holy Grail.

mcbealer's avatar

I seek coffee!!

sorry, Daloon—I’ll get back to you on this a bit later

stillasking's avatar

In my case, I’d say I’m seeking for God’s blessings.

“Blessing” might be used lightly these days, but to those who really understand and comprehend the word, it means much more than what we think it does.

Dog's avatar

I seek more sleep- but that isn’t going to happen today.

DrBill's avatar


Harp's avatar

I would have called myself a seeker for most of my adult life, but I wouldn’t at this point. For all those years of seeking, I was laboring under a misconception: that the truth was hidden, like a nugget of gold in the rubble of existence, and that the seeker’s task was to dredge through all of that detritus until the nugget was uncovered.

All of that changed when I understood that the rubble and the nugget aren’t two, and that nothing was ever hidden. The seeking was a necessary stage in coming to that understanding, but the act of seeking obscured the truth rather than revealing it. I don’t suppose I could have seen this, though, without having undertaken the search.

Now, attending to the truth has replaced the seeking of it. I’ll never know what it is, and that’s as it should be. The truth is to be lived, not known.

wundayatta's avatar

@Harp Where did you go on this journey? Was your bicycle trip across Europe part of it? I think that I believe seekers are looking for some mystical revelation that blasts through them and makes everything crystal clear. Of course, if the truth is there for the living, that kind of revelation would be unlikely to occur. At least, not all of a sudden.

Harp's avatar

The journey was always toward some elsewhere, some “mystical experience”, as you say. Other lands (yes, all my travels were expressions of that search), other ways of thought (philosophical dabblings), other careers. My seeking was always centrifugal, as seeking tends to be, because my ideas about what truth must be like – this “mystical experience” business – led me to believe that it lay further down some road.

I took up Zen practice thinking that this might be the road that would take me there. But, as everyone discovers who pursues it long enough, Zen practice is like getting on a bus to go somewhere else, only the bus never leaves the station. After sitting there for ages on the bus wondering why it never leaves, you realize that it’s because it was already at the destination. There’s the blast that makes it all clear.

bythebay's avatar

…to understand.

kevbo's avatar

Right action

fireside's avatar

I agree with Harp in that the search is not as much a physical one as a spiritual and mental one. What does happen often is that in the act of seeking physically, some people can develop a meditative state of mind which allows for those inner discoveries.

But more often, the act of grasping for something that doesn’t seem to be in reach keeps the seeker on the move always staring ahead, rather than letting go of their notion of what they are supposed to be seeking. I don’t really consider myself a seeker anymore after many years of seeking (passively and actively) as I studied religion and spirituality, hiked in the mountains and danced in the bars, loved and lost women and friends, shared and consulted with others as they followed their own paths.

If you want to read more about seeking, I like the Tablet of the True Seeker

Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled within the seeker’s heart, and the breeze of His loving-kindness is wafted upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude envelop his being.

GAMBIT's avatar

When I was in 9th grade my theology teacher asked the class “how do you know when you have reached your potential”? My answer was when I can sit under a tree and be at peace with my surroundings. I received an instant A+ for the semester and did not have to take a final exam. He said there was nothing else that he could teach me. This has not changed.

My journey has lead me to doing volunteer work in New Mexico, West Virginia, Maryland and Alabama. It also lead me to a wonderful wife and two lovely daughters but can I sit under the tree? No. I work for a paycheck to pay bills and provide for my loved ones. Like most men I am distracted by TV, news and movies.

When I retire I shall seek that tree and hope I will be able to abandon ego, self righteousness and vanity.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

to understand; validation; a community of folks like myself where I am accepted for who I am, not for what I have; and to know the difference between what matters and what I assume matters. You’ll have to get back to me on all four.

adreamofautumn's avatar

I feel as though i’m always seeking something. I am pretty sure this is because of my age and where I am in my life. At this exact moment I seek knowledge and self-discovery. I am 22 (23 soon! Ahh!), I am about to graduate from University. I am seeking my future, my dreams, my destination. I seek to learn, not just what I can from books, school, etc. but I seek to learn who I am and where I am meant to be going in my life. Due to some personal struggles in my life with Bipolar I am also seeking order and “sanity”.

gailcalled's avatar

Read Henry James’ famous novella, “The Beast in the Jungle:” for his take on this issue.

LostInParadise's avatar

For most of my adult life I have lived very reclusively. Please do not press me on the details. I had adopted the existential philosophy of Sartre, who, with his emphasis on self, is good for people who want to live largely alone.

At one point I was out of work and concerned whether I would ever be able to find work again. I went into a depression. I had had depressive states before, but this was different both quantitatively and qualitatively.

As often happens with depression, I found it to be a life altering experience. My previous way of living simply no longer made sense. I still like what Sartre has to say about constructing meaning, but he was wrong about his emphasis on self. We are by nature social beings. For most of us, the most enjoyable moments include shared pleasures and being able to assist and be assisted by others.

So now I am left with what to do to reconstruct my life. There is an interesting aspect to this that may be a normal part of the aging process. The psychologist Martin Seligman has written that it is normal, as one ages, to switch from inward emphasis to outward emphasis. He says it is normal to become less concerned with learning or hedonistic pleasures and more concerned about how to help others.

I have started looking into doing volunteer work. I feel very much like a child learning to walk. It is all so new to me. I have tried meditation and found it to be helpful in constructing meaning. It has also helped to discover some ugly truths about myself.

So I find myself trying to figure out how to engage in the world and where to find love, meaning and fulfillment and how to muster the courage to move out of my highly constricting comfort zone. And at the same time I try to see how this all relates to society at large and whether what has been referred to as an epidemic of depression might have socio-economic causes.

I see it all as an adventure of sorts and as scary and disappointing as it sometimes seems it is not without its pleasures and discoveries.

onesecondregrets's avatar

I’m definitely a seeker. I never realized that I am one of those people, you know, who wants an answer to that ultimate question.
If I really have to give a concise answer, I guess in a nutshell it’d be peace of mind. I really just want peace of mind. With that I imagine happiness and no stress come, you know?

Thusfar on my journey- well, I never really believed in religion. As for my paths, so many things and ideologies I’ve delved into and have thought “Hey, I’ll give that a try.” Which, seekers kind of need to realize that life is constant change, there really is no ultimate answer like we want. You can find what you seek temporarily but your life will move on from that, your desire and motifs will change and the perspective of what you seek will be different. It never stays the same, and I guess that’s what life boils down too. But peace of mind is something that can be acheived, we just make it so hard to obtain and it is something, if obtained that can beat through whatever journey we send ourselves on.

Right now my journey is taking the approach “The Secret” preaches. Think positively, be worry-free, law of attraction, etc. It’s ironic you ask this since I’m so deep into “seeking” right now in my life, haha.

chelseababyy's avatar

Peace of mind when it comes to my mother.
Dreams coming true,
and unconditional everlasting love.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve met many seekers in my life. That’s kind of why I asked this question; that, and also a hint the @LostInParadise gave on another question about transformation after a depression.

In some ways, I am a seeker, myself. Early on in life (teen years) I began to wonder a lot about the meaning of life. I also very much wanted to have a mystical experience. However, as an atheist, there was no mystical tradition that I could lock into, at least, not that I knew of.

I wasn’t enough of a seeker to go on journeys to find what I was looking for. I wasn’t that interested in other religious paths, and I was fairly skeptical of anything that smacked of hocus pocus, like the new age spirituality, or channelers, or anything that could not be experienced be me, or verified. Of a scientific bent, I had to be able to understand what was going on, or at least have a testable theory about what happens when I have a mystical experience.

I wasn’t too happy with the idea of practicing zen buddhism, either, since they seemed also to have very magical ways of achieving what they achieved. One time I spent a night in a Japanese Buddhist temple, and woke up before dawn to meditate and go through their morning ritual. It was painful, and I couldn’t see it getting me anywhere, so I didn’t pursue it, although I always remained curious about it and tried to get it’s practitioners to tell me things I could relate to.

At some point I realized that the meaning of life is whatever you decide it is. I had been given a rather tough meaning from birth. In my family, it is extremely important to leave a legacy. That means making a significant contribution to the welfare of mankind. Since birth, this idea has been drubbed into me. It is a huge burden, and has caused me a number of problems, especially lately, when I know I can’t achieve it.

So I am stuck with a problem. If I can’t fulfill the meaning of my life, what is the meaning of my life? I could change it, if I wanted, and if I had the will. I don’t change it. That tells me that a part of me likes being pushed by that…. goal? Meaning? Achievement? I can’t drop it, but it drives me crazy. Literally. All I know is that I’ll never be good enough. If, by definition, I can’t be good enough, then I just have to become ok with not being good enough.

Over the years I began to practice a music and dance form. At first, it was fun, but slowly it became something more, something spiritual. There were times when I had that mystical experience. I was out of my body in various ways. Once, incredibly, I felt like another spirit (my spirit guide) came into my body, and took it over. It was amazing to feel my body as if I were made of clay, and had never experienced the ability to move quickly and create graceful physical shapes.

I say “it felt like” because that’s what it felt like. I’m not suggesting that spirit guides have any reality outside my imagination. But that’s cool. There are parts of my brain that I don’t have access to, and this is its way of talking to the conscious me.

That’s the other theory I’ve developed. At this practice I have, our goal is to get out of our heads and into our bodies. We have a format that reliably makes that happen. People bring a lot of shit from the day or week with them, but, for most of them, it gets sorted out and incorporated during this practice. So, over time, experiencing this both as a dancer and as a musician, I started to believe that we weren’t really getting out of our heads, but that we were getting out of the linguistic parts of our heads, and into another side, a side that doesn’t have language, at least, not as we usually think of it.

It’s language is physical, experiential. It is very much like what people describe when they have mystical experiences. I have come to believe that this side of the brain is always working in parallel with our linguistic (conscious) brains. Most of us never get access to it, or when we do, it is for a moment that seems like magic. It is this side that creates many of our insights and “aha” moments. The only problem this side of the brain has is how to convert its thoughts into linguistic thoughts that our conscious brain can understand.

Now, I have another meaning of life. I live to move into that side of my brain, and I use dance and music making as reliable mechanisms to get me there. Now, I am seeking something else. I am seeking a way to live like that. To live that practice. To feel that way as much of the time as I can. When I was in my first bipolar depression, it provided the few moments of life where I felt not bad. Now, I want to share this with other people, because it is a kinder way of being oneself. It loses the judgments, and all that horrible stuff our conscious minds mess us up with.

essieness's avatar

I have been on a spiritual journey for quite some time now. While I don’t subscribe to any particular religion entirely, I do read about different religions and look for the similarities in order to put together my own set of universal truths. I guess what I’m actually seeking is inner peace, contentment with my current situation (whatever it may be), compassion for others, and oneness with the God of the universe and the God within myself. I don’t know if I’d say I’m seeking enlightenment per se, because that’s a tall order, but I try to follow a path that is similar to what I imagine a person seeking enlightenment might follow. I try to follow the advice of my dad (who’s with God now), which is to have honesty, integrity, and love for everyone. It seems simple, but it’s so true and so profound at the same time. I truly feel that compassion and love for others is the key to fulfillment, so I guess I can say that’s what I’m seeking!!

Nimis's avatar


adreamofautumn's avatar

@Nimis me too. I think that’s the ultimate thing that would ease everything else that i’m seeking.

tinyfaery's avatar

Like harp, I no longer consider myself a seeker. I would say I started out seeking knowledge, then truth, then peace. Now I’m just in it for the journey.

Blondesjon's avatar

I seek what every seeker seeks. I long for a religion, a psychologist, a charlatan, a fix, an anything that would allow me to live each day without a single worry or regret. In other words, I am seeking a release from what it is to be human.

fireside's avatar

lol, i don’t think religion has allowed many people to live without worry.

Blondesjon's avatar

@fireside…If you truly believe than you have no worries. If I didn’t have this tiny little “devil” of doubt, that plagues me whenever unquestioned devotion is required, I would have blissed out a long time ago.

fireside's avatar

@Blondesjon – I have the same doubt about unquestioned anything.
Luckily, my religion stresses independent investigation of truth, so I can bliss out on my questioning mind.

But what I meant was that all the talk of Hell and Sin only stresses people out to the point where blind devotion is the only way to act. It actually does the opposite of what the spiritual teachings proclaim about the divinity of the individual soul. I also think of my friend’s Jewish mother who thinks he “catch his death of” everything.

90s_kid's avatar

I seek Rebecca…...not explaining

hearkat's avatar

… unconditional love…
It took nearly 42 years for me to learn to love myself. I am still working to correct mistakes I’ve made in the past and to unlearn bad habits; but I am doing it because I realize that those things no longer fit me.

And I am hopeful that someday someone else will love me unconditionally too… I imagine that it must feel amazing.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@daloon music is another form of language, as anyone who listens to it can tell you, and as anyone who creates it knows for a fact. I don’t know a B Flat from an F sharp, but I do know that without music, life would be a mistake. As for the meaning of life, life in and of itself has no meaning, we have to make our own meanings. You have found that out and I am glad for you.

Johnny_Rambo's avatar

Desperately Seeking Susan.

chelseababyy's avatar


onesecondregrets's avatar

No matter the medium of seekerism you’ve found or have discovered so or will discover- I figure this would be appreciated:

In the beginning, God created the universe and all the people in it so that everyone was aware of his or her true oneness with God, and the great love within themselves. These were the secrets of life, and, after all, God loved everyone, so why not give them the greatest gift He could think of? Then God sat back and watched the play of life with all of its dramas unfold.

But as He watched, He soon realized something was very wrong. Whenever a human being met with a challenge, or went through tough times, the person would say to himself, “This is awful. Why should I go through this? I am one with God, so I will just drop this human form and merge back into Him.” And that is exactly what happened. One by one, each human would remember his true self, and be unwilling to play the game of life.

God was very disturbed by this dilemma. The purpose of life was for these beings to learn and grow, not to bail out when the going got rough. So He called an emergency meeting of all the divine beings.

“After much consideration,” God began, “I have decided that we are going to have to hide the secret of life, the secret of happiness from these humans. If they remember it, they have no interest in living an earthly life.”

“But where will we hide it?” one divine being asked.

“Let’s hide it at the top of the highest mountain on earth,” someone suggested.

“No, that won’t work,” God replied, shaking His head. “Human beings are resourceful. They will find ways to climb up there and discover it.”

“What about at the bottom of the ocean? They’ll never go there,” another offered.

“Oh, yes they will,” God interjected. “They’ll invent submarines. The bottom of the ocean won’t do.”

“I’ve got it!” said a divine being. “Let’s hide the secret of happiness in outer space. Surely then it will be impossible for the humans to locate.”

“But they will create spaceships and fly there,” God sighed. “None of these suggestions will work. Still,there must be somewhere we can hide the secrets about true happiness.”

“I know where you can hide it,” a soft voice replied. God looked up and saw a young, female angelic being He hadn’t noticed before.

“Yes, my dear?” God asked. “Where do you think we should hide the secret?”

“Hide it deep within the human heart. They’ll never look for it there.”

God smiled, for He knew He’d found the answer. And then He made it so. And that’s the way it has been ever since.

@daloon…The meaning of life is whatever you make it- for yourself. Spiritual journeys are the one journey that all people take BY THEMSELVES. You can relate others about your individual journey, you can describe it to others but you are the only one who feels and understands (if you get that far) what it truly is, and that’s the beauty of it. I can definitely see how having that idea of needing to make a genuine contribution to the good of human race drilled into you can become a burden- personally I’d feel inferior. When you feel the need to live up to something, chances are you’re gonna be left feeling inadequate about yourself and less likely to achieve that thing. But you can achieve it, don’t think you can’t- or then, you won’t. You can fulfill the meaning of your life, you just have to BELIEVE that you can. If you really want it, and do have the will power to find your own answer, your own meaning of life then you will and you will make that significant contribution you’ve been influenced to thinking you need to make. But you don’t NEED to do that, if you don’t make a substantial, noted contribution to mankind then you don’t, doesn’t change the good in you as a person. Who or what will you never be good enough for? You have to be good for yourself- it’s then that you are good enough for the world, good enough to leave a personal legacy. It all comes with confidence, self-belief, self-awareness. Ultimately, I think once you get IT, once you get the meaning of life that you define for yourself- that’s when it becomes effortless- living with peace of mind. If you are meant to be like your family you will be, if you are meant to be unlike them- you are no less of a person. Don’t let it drive you crazy. Don’t settle on a reality that isn’t yours. And if you settle with thinking you aren’t “good enough,” then you haven’t found your meaning and you aren’t in your reality. It will all come to you. You’re obviously on a path in the right direction just by having the insight about it that you do.

I probably sound like a nutjob, but it’s okay. Haha.

Grisson's avatar

There are a number of things that I don’t have that I wish I had, like peace of mind, and job security, that I’m not really doing anything to get. So I don’t count those in my seeking list.

There are some things that are more yearnings than wants. Those things I tend to ‘seek’. Usually those are based on something I experienced in the past that is now gone.

- I seek a social experience like DelusionsMuck which allows creativity, spontaneous interaction and no fear of repercussions.

- I seek a captivating series of escapist novels like Saberhagen’s Swords books, Clancy’s Ryan books, or Koontz’s earlier books that would inspire me to dive into a book and become so immerse in the story that I don’t notice the passage of time.

- I seek a band or musician that has both captivating folk?blues?accoustic?-style guitar and lyrics that are poetic instead of inane. (like Joni Mitchell or Paul Simon). That could inspire me to pick up my guitar again.

I just noticed a common theme to all of these. I seek something I can get lost in and never notice Real Life going by.

1000oceans's avatar

i will feel calm and at ease with everything

i believe what i seek most right now is being where i am most happy
this seems to be vermont or somewhere grassy and with lots of trees where
its okay to walk around almost everywhere barefoot

i believe wherever that may be is where my soul mate is

clioi's avatar

I have had a sort of flirtatious relationship with religion. My family is Catholic and that is how I was raised – Catholic school and all. Around the time I was in fifth or sixth grade I started to dislike my religious surroundings.

I started to read about Wicca. I admit it was the image that initially attracted me there—it just seemed more “interesting” than what I had been taught before. But also around this time I began to actually start thinking about things like my relationship to the world around me and the nature of God and the meaning of life and the other sorts of things that I think everyone thinks about but may be hesitant to talk about for fear of seeming pretentious. Anyway, I read and thought for a good while about what Wicca said about the world and eventually grew dissatisfied with what I found there also.

From about 10th grade onward I began to grow more and more irreligious. I learned about all sorts of different schools of thought and underwent what I suppose was my most significant spiritual broadening. I had known about Buddhism since I was little, but only then did I really begin to read seriously about it. I was given a copy of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by a cousin after the death of my grandfather and I began to read Hermann Hesse. Buddhism has a lot of ideas that even today I think pretty well model my thoughts about life and enlightenment. But even so, it didn’t answer all of my questions.

Now I’m 19 years old and in college and I suppose that this is the most irreligious I’ve ever been. I’ve come to the conclusion that organized religion is not fulfilling. All of the religions I’ve learned about and thought about and tried to fit into my life have good things to say about life and the world, but none of them seem to get God right. God is supposed to be immeasurable and incomprehensible; the first thought of God is the limiting thought. Even referring to God as “He” or “Him” is limiting. And yet every religion presumes to ascribe qualities to God. “He is vengeful”, “He is merciful”, “He is a blue guy with six arms”, whatever. And there is a danger in using images to describe God. People identify with these images so strongly that it often becomes fanaticism and zealotry. In sum, you should not be dictated your faith, you should discover it.

Just_Justine's avatar

Seeking never ends. We grow older or our lives change in some way, then we start to seek that which is relevant to our circumstances. I seek peace.

wundayatta's avatar

You found me. Now what?

SABOTEUR's avatar

What started you on this journey?

On a boot camp detail (Navy) when I was assigned to clean an office suite, I stumbled across a book by Norman Vincent Peale.

What different paths or religions or philosophies have you tried, and what did you learn from each (or as a whole)?

* Christianity
* Zen Buddhism
* New Age
* Eckankar
* A Course in Miracles

What I learned as a whole is at the very core virtually all spiritual paths say pretty much the same thing, though they place different emphasis on some things and use different terminology.

I know intellectually that there is nothing to seek…I just haven’t mastered it yet.
So, spiritual paths allow people like me something to lean on until such time that intellectual understanding is converted into self realization.

(This is why the process is often referred to as spiritual practice.)

The most valuable thing I’ve learned through seeking is “peace of mind” is all I truly have.
It is the only thing one has that cannot be taken.

It can only be given away or exchanged for “angry ghosts and demons”
(That which is not conducive to peace of mind.)


You can’t make sense out of nonsense.

pickleknuckle's avatar

The man in the boat ;)

TheVaal's avatar

What do I seek?
HAPPINESS. Plain and simple. Just like everyone else. I just want to be happy.

What started me I don’t know. I do know, however, that for most of my life, my very idea of what would make me happy actually got in the way of my being happy.

This lead to my journey. Starting as a preteen, I could never get enough of things.
So my journey has been:
Active Addiction,
Inactive Recovery,
Active Addiction, and
Active Recovery.
I no longer seek, for I have for my real happiness.
It was inside me all along.

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