Today marks the start of Ramadan, and I have such fondness and admiration for the Islamic faith. So I’d like to share with you something based on the writings of one of my favourite poets, the 13th century Muslim Poet Rumi, who said:
“What you seek is seeking you”
This fascinating and seemingly paradoxical phrase has stayed with me for years and been a great starting point, when I have tried to reflect deeply and consider deeper meanings and purpose in life.
So what could it mean for you in your life?
We tend to focus a lot on what we want in life and go out and get it:
- We want a healthy body so we work out
- We want a successful business so we attract clients
- We want to learn a skill so we practice
- We want something, so we put the work in
And that is brilliant. The ability to self motivate and then put in the work to achieve an outcome is one of the most important life skills that we can have and use in a variety of different contexts. However, the problem with it is, that if we cannot give 100% at all times, or we do not know exactly our direction or what we want, we can become extremely frustrated, depressed, angry, overwhelmed or even worse, think that our life is only the result of the efforts we have put in.
Can you relate to some of these circumstances?
- We get injured and so cannot train and think we will lose our fitness
- Our business fails and so we feel we are a failure
- We lose a resource and so cannot practise our skill and feel that it is lost
- A relationship ends despite our best efforts
- We have to have time away from work due to stress
The problem here is that we may be thinking in a narrow, shallow way about our lives, by thinking that our effort, and our will alone, is the only important factor in our happiness and our success in life. It is here that Rumi’s phrase can offer a beautiful and liberating way of thinking differently.
The first part “what you seek” does not mean what you desire, what you want, material items, the latest tech, the things that seem so important in a moment and then fade quickly. It means something deeper. What we often seek is meaning, purpose, authenticity, connection, to fulfil our potential, to be loved and to belong. These are the aspects that we seek, that we yearn for, that our soul longs for and our heart cry out loudly for. What you seek in your life you will have always have been attracted to and looking for; it’s those situations and areas that you are always interested in, wanting to explore, where you feel you belong, nobody has to tell you about them, you are just drawn towards them.
And so we go after what we seek, we go looking, we make efforts and strive, and like I said before, that is all good to do. And yet, sometimes, it’s still not enough.
So what can we do?
Here is where the beauty of the second part of the phrase has its power, “what you seek…is seeking you.”
Let’s explore what this could mean for you in a variety of contexts.
Religious and spiritual
You do not need to go looking for God, as if you will find him/her under a rock. They gave you your life because they loved you and when your life ends, you will go home to them. Their arms are always open for communion with you and your life offers you endless opportunities to connect with them. Also, God does not need you to accomplish or be successful in any way, they love you unconditionally, especially on the days when you are a mess. They gave you the gift of love in life to understand how special the connection is between you and them.
If you are single and looking for that special person, they are looking for you too! They are alive right now and exist in the world, and it’s only a matter of time until you find them. And their search for you is just as important to them as your search for them is to you. What a wonderful thought! The special person they are looking for is you and they are yours too.
Your body wants to be healthy and thrive. Just consider, for a moment, that your body actually heals itself when it is injured. What a wonderful aspect of our bodies to appreciate! Your body cares for you and wants to look after you so much that is is constantly healing, digesting, growing, changing, adapting and doing its best to bring you optimal health and wellbeing.
Your ideal role and the places where you feel most at home are known to you deep down. And you may have had one role or one position or several, but each will have been brought to you to teach you something about yourself, if you take a moment to consider. The best and most successful moments in our professions are often when we are being the most authentic, we are just being us, and opportunities seem to keep presenting themselves. This can be a great balm to thinking that we have to consistently keep flogging ourself with the notion that we must work or be productive all of our waking hours.
Working hard and making efforts are indeed very important in life, but Rumi helps us to see that the true deeper aspects of our life transcend our ideas of work and striving, and offers deeper, wider concepts of attraction, connection, non-striving and acceptance. Of having the eyes to see just how much beauty is offering itself to us very single day- from the nature we love to walk in to the people we love of be with.
Here are 3 self reflections you can try this week to allow yourself to remember this beautiful empowering phrase
- Write down all the blessings in your life that you have been freely given, such as your body, your family and your life
- Think of all the wonderful events and situations that are ahead of you which will require no action from you
- Think about a time where you felt truly connectedness and affirmed by someone or a situation, when you felt at home, with no need for effort on your part
It’s a wonderful thought to think that right at this moment, whatever or whomever you are seeking is looking for you too, today, right now. And it is only a matter of time until you will be together.
That could be your relationship with God, your best self, a partner, the satisfaction you crave or the love that you need. They are on their way to you, they will meet you half way, and you will feel at home in the eyes of the other.
Love and best wishes,