I want to share with you a sentence I read this morning in Old Path White Cloud by Thich Nhat Hanh. The book is the life and teaching of Gautama Buddha and these words are said to have been spoken by him:
“You already are what you are searching for.”
If I ever read these words before, I don’t remember. If I did, I am absolutly sure I would have totally rejected them because I was so dissatisfied with the self I thought I was. It would have been very dissappointing to think this is all there was, which this saying implies.
I have always been one of those you call a soul-searcher. I thought this was a very important thing. I had a lot of help searching, mostly by using books that are written for people like me by people who think they have found their own soul and know how to do that. There the Dr. Phil type books as well as personality tests like Myers Briggs and the Enneagram. About 4 years ago I did a really intense study using Caroline Myss’ book, Sacred Contracts. The process she took me through was grueling, but worthwhile since it had me looking over my life in a way I’d not done before. The culmination is that circular chart that is supposed to represent my soul and the real me. When I was done, I thought I’d feel complete in some way. But the opposite happened. It felt like walking into a museum of personal artifacts and finding that they’d all been stolen. I thought I’d be able to answer the question, “Who are you?” (which noone ever really asked me, but I wanted to be ready if they did). I went to a retreat not long after and shared my experience with the leader and told him that I felt, after all that work, that there is nothing there. He laughed and said, “Get used to it.”
Well, this is the beginning of my 70th year on the earth. I know that life is a journey because that is what people keep saying. But journeys always have a destination, don’t they? And aren’t we supposed to keep that destination in our minds as we walk forward? It seems not. I think I understand Glinda’s words to Dorothy before she clicked her heels to go back to Kansas. She told her that she had the power to go home any time. If the story of Dorothy is a metaphor for one’s inner journey, Glenda might just as well have said, “You already are what you are searching for.”