“What should I possibly have to tell you, oh venerable one? Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?”
― Hermann Hesse
(image: freshwater mussel shell, Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2013)
Imagine my surprise, or better yet, shock, upon glancing down while out walking in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, only to spy some sort of “sea” shell. My husband is up ahead of me as I, always the ready with camera in hand, scouring the landscape, shout for him to come take a look at what I’ve found.
“What in the world?!” I exclaim. “How in the world did a sea shell get here?!” We are actually very deep in an old growth forest of rural midwest Georgia, nowhere near any sort of ocean nor house for that matter. My husband picks up the shell telling me it’s a fresh water mussel shell, which was most likely taken from the nearby creek by a raccoon, who then enjoyed a “seafood” dinner.
All of which of course got me thinking. It is often amazing what one finds when simply out for a walk–be it in the woods, the beach, a park—and it is always by happenstance, just randomly stumbling upon some small trinket or treasure.
And that is how it is with life. We so often, egoistically, think that we can just take off, going out into the world in order to find our heart’s desire. We try in vain, over and over, attempt after attempt to capture what it is we most often believe will make us oh so happy and content. If only this or if only that. . .and bingo, we’ve got it. . .be it happiness, contentment, inner peace, fulfillment, just fill in the blank.
Yet sadly no matter how hard we search and seek, find and dig, wander and plead, the “it” is just not there.
Then all of a sudden when we are no longer seeking and searching, no longer conscious of our quest, no longer hyper foucsed, no longer consumed, simply out of the blue, “it” is laying at our feet, in plain sight as if it’s been there the entire time. We exclaim, “oh my gosh, how in the world?” as we quietly bend over, picking it up. The dawning of the revelation, the cognizant realization, finally the contented exhale. . .
Maybe we can learn to stop our vain seeking and searching, our mad dashing about, our oh so valiant effort of running about all willy nilly for those most elusive things in our lives just long enough to take stock, realizing that perhaps, the “its” we so desperately are longing for, have been there all along. We’re just so busy and consumed, we don’t / can’t stop long enough to actually “see” that our searching is not necessary—it never was necessary.
The sweet release of letting go as we finally have what “it” is we’ve wanted for oh so very long—blessed contentment has been found—at last. . . but was it ever really missing. . .