Quoth Siddhartha: “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?”
“How come?” asked Govinda.
“When someone is searching,” said Siddhartha, “then it might easily
happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches
for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind,
because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search,
because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching
means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having
no goal. You, oh venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because,
striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are
directly in front of your eyes.”
Searching vs. Finding
I love that passage from the book Siddhartha for what it encapsulates:
How often do we find ourselves searching for something only to find it was right in front of us all along? Whether it’s a pair of eyeglasses, an important paper, a crucial LEGO piece, the solution to a problem or the love of your life, so often we fail to find the things when we search hard for them. When we stop searching often they appear in front of us, almost without effort and often magically.
When we “search” we focus too narrowly and not only often overlook what it is we were searching for but also many other valuable things. Our minds and hearts are often closed to possibilities and information. We also often get so focused on the search itself that we can even forget what we started looking for in the first place, searching simply for searching’s sake.
I see this play out in health all the time. So many people out there are searching for, often chasing, health. The increasing trend is that those looking to achieve the goal of health often fail to find it. Why? For many reasons I’m sure but could it be in part that they’re so consumed with searching that they can’t see it when it’s in front of them and lose health in the pursuit of it? Probably so. Add in the problem of narrowed vision when it only comes to seeing what you’re looking for. One of our biggest problems in science and research is just this- we are searching for what proves our beliefs and failing to find the contrary evidence that’s all around us. There are things of value everywhere and often the best way to find something is to stop searching for it.
Is it bad to search for things and have goals? Of course not, but we must remember how much we fail to find when we search too hard. I’ve certainly been there, and not just when it comes to LEGOs. My goal now is to spend as much time finding as I do searching. Keeping an open mind, being free and seeing things I used to miss, right there in front of my eyes.
Ask yourself: in all different aspects of your life, are you searching or finding?…
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
P.S. I listened to Siddhartha as a free audiobook, check it out if you can, it’s a short book about self discovery, truth, balance, perspective and the beauty and purpose of everything around us.