Greenleaf writes: …two kinds of seeker: those who seek to find and those who seek to seek. [The second] are interested in the search. …The search gives them joy…they hope to grow. These…represent tendencies…tendencies that shape choices, and choice makes the seeker. …It is the choice to find one’s way in a direction that has no way, no clear path to a destination. It is the choice that does not name a goal.
I am thinking of Pablo Casals. When he was 90 years old he was still considered to be the best cellist in the world – many considered him to be the best that ever lived. One day a reporter showed up at Casals home for an interview. He was met at the door by a person who took him to a drawing room; the reporter was informed that Casals would be with him in a few minutes as he was in the midst of practicing. When Casals entered the room the reporter immediately said: ‘I was told you were practicing. You are the greatest cellist in the world. Why are you practicing?’ Casals calmly replied: ‘I practice in order to improve.’ Now that is the response of a searcher and seeker.
Gentle reader, how many folks do you know who believe that they have ‘arrived’ – they can learn nothing else; no one can ‘teach’ them anything? When have you believed that you have arrived? I have been an avid reader (of many different topics) for more than 50 years. There was a time when I read in order to ‘find’ – the ‘right answer’ or the ‘right way’ or the ‘right idea’ or the ‘right truth.’ I am not sure what motivated me to change but I did. For the past 30 years or so I have been reading in order to ‘search’ and ‘learn’ and ‘be challenged’ and ‘be intellectually stimulated.’ I can still trap myself into believing I have found ‘it’ – but so far I have been able to get out of my own trap.
I have learned that what I choose to search for and seek out powerfully affects who I am and who I am choosing to become. I search because I am curious. I search because I seek to understand. I search in order to find the common ground (say, to discover the common ground that exists between and among a variety of faith and humanistic traditions). I search in order to discern a variety of ways rather than in seeking to find ‘the way.’ Because of my commitment to being a searcher and seeker my life has been more joy-full and content-full and peace-full and learning-full and challenge-full – it has not been more ‘sure-full.’