“There are grounds for cautious optimism that we may now be near the end of the search for the ultimate laws of nature.” -Stephen Hawking
It seems to me that every human is looking for something. What we are looking for exactly—or what we think we are looking for—may vary quite a bit from one individual to the next, but I think the one thing in common is that we are all trying to make “sense” (for lack of a better word) of our existence. We choose many different paths from science to religion, from philosophy to the simpleminded mother who makes her life’s meaning to care for and love her children. But from my observation it doesn’t seem like any of these paths lead to complete fulfillment.
I fear that in our search for “something” we miss what actually is. But just stating that doesn’t matter. I can tell myself everyday to live in the present, not worry about tomorrow, and to stop trying to figure out a “meaning to life” that cannot and has not been found yet… but my mind seems to have a mind of it’s own. Perhaps it’s deeper than that and it is not just my mind but my inner being, spirit or soul? No matter how much I tell myself these things and try to convince myself that life would be better if I could just forget about the unknown, it’s like it entices my mind to search even harder.
There’s a drive in me. It’s like when I go fishing. I am determined because I believe there’s a possibility that if I just throw out one more line into the water I may hook a fish. I have sat out for hours tossing my line in again and again. Most would give up, but what keeps me going is that I have caught fish before. It doesn’t happen very often… but it does happen.
And in seeking God I have had encounters. I cannot explain the encounters—I can try to rationalize them and say that they are mere emotional experiences or even hallucinations—but that would be lying to myself to say I actually believed that. I believe they were more than what can be explained or put into words. And so I keep throwing my line out again and again. But sometimes I can go months without catching anything and it seems time to put the rod and reel up for a season. However I stare at it and in the back of my mind each day I glance at the rod and have a sudden urge to go back to the lake and try again.
The words of Bono from U2’s famous song resonate with me, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” But I can’t stop looking. I refuse to, and from my observation everybody else refuses to stop as well. It doesn’t seem that we have much of a choice in the matter. Many say “this way” or “that way” but really all they are looking for is affirmation and a companion to join them on their journey. I think many struggle to convince others that their path is the correct one just to give them a sense of security in their choice, when really they are just as doubtful as everyone else. Each individual in need of a sense of security will tell you that all roads can’t possibly lead to the same place. But I can tell you one thing for sure—all roads most certainly lead to death.
In attempting to live for what is beyond death—which no one knows for sure—are we actually missing the meaning of life itself—to simply live? Or, is the drive to search in all of us a confirmation that there is still more to be found? And my final thought, is the search itself all the meaning we need?
“If you ask me to show you God, I will point to the sun, or a tree, or a worm. But if you say, “You mean then, that God is the sun, the tree, the worm, and all other things?—I shall have to say that you have missed the point entirely.” –Alan Watts