I’d like to share my favorite quote from the novel Siddhartha, by Hermanne Hesse. But first to give some background of the situation in the story, Siddhartha and his friend Govinda are living in the time of Buddha. Govinda follows closely the teachings of Buddha and is seeking enlightenment.
Siddhartha however goes out on his own, believing that “you can’t become enlightened just from teaching, you have to find your own path.” Govinda finds Siddhartha years later having experienced many worldly pleasures, and is now living as a simple ferryman.
Govinda has followed the teachings of Buddha but still has a restlessness in his heart. He tells Siddhartha, “it is true that I am seeking, I will never stop seeking.” Siddhartha replies:
“When someone seeks, it can easily happen that his eyes only see the thing he is seeking, and that he is incapable of finding anything, incapable of taking anything in, because he is always only thinking about what he is seeking: his object, a goal, because he is possessed by this goal. Seeking means having a goal, but finding means being free, open, having no goal. Perhaps you, venerable one, are indeed a seeker, for in striving after your goal, there is much you fail to see right before your eyes.”
To me, it’s an analogy of our lives, seeking happiness vs. being happy regardless of circumstance. I highly recommend the book, it’s a simple and quick read and has some great life analogies.