In his 1966 essay, The Search and The Seeker, Greenleaf wrote: . . .the search is a lonely affair. Beyond the few with whom I share individually, I have found it so. No group, no movement carries me very far, although I value the ‘lifts’ they have given me. When. . .there are brilliant bursts of group effort, they succumb quickly to the leveling effect of organization. This may be for the best, I do not know. But I do believe that every seeker must face who he is – alone; and that it is disturbing – sometimes terrifying – until he learns to love himself as he is and to see as Emerson put it, the good of evil born (not the evil in men’s deeds, but the evil in men’s hearts). [The Search and The Seeker, p. 5]
One of Greenleaf’s recurring themes in his essays is that the focus always begins in here, in the person him/her self. Looking out there first is, in fact, a distraction from the inner work that each of us, as searchers and seekers, is called to embrace. A challenging piece of inner work is that each of us is called to seek to understand who one is and then to learn to love one’s self. A daunting challenge.