By Elizabeth Flynn Campbell
On my way home a while back, I passed several cars pulled over by the side of the road, their drivers and passengers compelled to stop their rush to wherever in order to gaze at the super moon that glowed like a mysterious beacon over the red barn at the corner of Dorset Street and Barstow Road. I pulled over, too, wanting to join these strangers in their worship of this hovering orb. We were, for those few minutes on the edge of the road, a spontaneous community of seekers.
It was a wondrous couple of minutes that, I imagine, re-aligned all of us watchers and gazers into better harmony with our essential selves. A glimpse of something transcendent, like this rare moon, invariably quiets our egos and thus calms us down. But for most of us, these moments of transcendence are fleeting and easily forgotten amidst the relentless tasks awaiting our attention. Which is why all the great wisdom traditions put such value on the discipline of seeking. Seek and you shall find. Don’t seek … never find. In other words, we have to look for the thing we yearn for but isn’t yet in sight.
Seeking is the restless outcome of longing and hope. It requires that we bear our desire, for what we do not know, long enough to suffer and doubt a bit, until, in due time, a super moon makes itself known and reminds us that we are part of something far larger and more mysterious than we can ever imagine.
Seeking as a daily practice is not easy, especially now when our spiritual longing can be so easily sidetracked by Netflix and emails. Something in us doesn’t like the gap between seeking for our heart’s deepest desire and finding it. But if we don’t wait, then we tend to settle for lesser moons, so to speak, like the minor and major addictions and distractions that beset us all.
The most effective way to cultivate a seeker’s state of mind, an expectant perspective, is to quiet the mind long enough to encounter the peace that, like the depths of the ocean, is unfazed by the storms on the surface. A daily meditation practice is ideal for this, but even a quiet cup of tea with no distractions will help us to recognize all manner of super moons: those fleeting blessings that remind us to keep on seeking and expecting, no matter what.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” -William Blake
Elizabeth Flynn Campbell is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Burlington.