In the culture where I grew up, seeking lives like a dirty secret, hidden below the depths of everyday life. Our focus is invited to stay on the practical and logical. Do what you need to do to house, feed and clothe yourself and your family. Don’t think too hard about your life; there is no need to challenge the rules or rebel against the system.

Even in the church, being with god/goddess is far more about praising an external authority and confession of sin rather than an invitation to explore the wildness of your own psyche. It, too, has fallen to the system of conformity.

Not all cultures operate in this way. Many ancestral societies believed that the discovery of who you are was the most significant journey you would ever take. As you reached the cusp of adulthood, you would undertake an initiation process —perhaps a vision quest or ordeal—often brutal, always challenging. The seeker would return from the wilderness both broken and enlightened. Their process would be celebrated and their insights welcomed and cultivated. They would be ready to take their rightful place as a contributor to the community.

Who are we without such initiation?

What activates the inner core and lays the strong foundations on which to build our life?

And if we seek, with whom do we share our findings? Who will help us to make sense of our discoveries? Who will show us how our personal process fits with the wider needs of our family, community and planet?

We may lack an appropriate form of initiation, be missing the wisdom of an elder, feel alone, confused or lost.

But seek we must. Initiated or not. We must find a way.

For a shallow life is a life half-lived or less. Without seeking deeply to know who we are, we learn only of our ability to fit into that box of conformity. Our greatest potential lies untapped. Now and forever. Until, as we take our last breath, we come to realise what might have been.

Seeking is the willingness to undertake a personal quest or ordeal. Metaphorically speaking, it is leaving the safe harbour of the village and walking, unarmed and vulnerable, into the darkness of the forest.

Who knows what delights or monsters you may encounter? The wilderness is a place less travelled and those who return speak nothing of what they saw, only what they discovered.

If you feel afraid, you are not alone with your fear. I feel it too. Countless others before us have felt and hesitated, yet gathered themselves and continued.

Perhaps if we examine the path before us closely enough, we may spot a footprint or two. Take heart and take a step.

For nothing in life will serve you more than the discovery of your True Self.

Seek and ye shall find.

(Taken from a series of articles written for a project called “Notes from a Seeker”)

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