I was intrigued by Aditi, my daughter when she quoted –
“Be in a museum with an audio guide or be in a forest with a torch”
. Aditi has created a niche in ORIGAMI entrepreneurship — Japanese paper folding art.
Knowledge has two facets –
*Knowing about something that already exists or has existed – Like visiting a museum and seeing the displays in the curio boxes or picture frames.
* Seeking something virtual that needs to be discovered, deciphered or socially revealed – Like finding your way through a dense night forest with a torch in hand.
Life is less about FINDING and more about SEEKING. You find it with your eyes and seek with your mind and intellect.
While on a stormy trip to the Musee du Louvre in Paris, I suffered from the audio guide’s poor connectivity and tried to comprehend the massive creations in bingo in half French and half English lingo. In the corner of a gigantic hall sat a young gentleman with canvases and colours vis a vis a massive Italian Renaissance painting. Upon asking, he revealed that he had been researching that particular painting for more than a month.
To this day, I am confounded – who was better? Me, running around with an audio guide merely filling slots when visiting the cult museum—OR – That gentleman who was seeking something of a sixteenth-century relic.
Captain Cook, Columbus, Vasco de Gama – Robert Peary, Sir Edmund Hillary and Neil Armstrong etc., were explorers and fanatic travellers who ventured into the dark and dense wilderness with the torch of hope and commitment to discovering the unknown. At the same time, we comforted ourselves in woollen quilts adulating and clapping to our heroes. Today we read about the North Pole, Mt. Everest and the Moon and pat our backs for aspiring to learn about the unknown world. We owe this knowledge to a bunch of people who decided to quest into the murky existence of the known world and introduce the ‘UNKNOWN’.
Imagine life as a museum.
All events from childhood to adulthood occur as facts and physical realities as the museum exhibits. What can exhilarate you when you already know what is displayed in the ensuing curios, and your mentors act as an audio guide, helping you to sail through the waters. You eventually work like a programmed robot—
* Happy to be fed, and,
* Happy to raise a family –
Is this the culmination of a rational life?
The big question is—Are you happy at the day’s end? Well, you may be physically satisfied but are you soulfully contented?
Now visualize life as a dense jungle surrounded by Wild Flora and Fauna. Everything is obscure and mentally ambiguous. You have to burn the oil lamp of your mental capacity to pave the way to a better life. You have to eradicate the hanging poisonous ivy, confront the omnipresent wild creatures and fill your belly with whatever is edible.
Such a life may be full of adversity and peril. Still, sure enough, there is contentment and mental serenity about doing justice and perfecting your life. You genuinely toil to achieve it through your solo efforts and energy. The joy is matchless and exquisite. You fall, you rise and ultimately pave your way through the wild with the torch in your hand.
The quest is to search for meaning in everything.
The hard work accomplished may fall short, and you may find nothing beneath the surface, or maybe there was actually nothing down there, but you did justice to your existence. You will continue the pursuit until you discover some hidden treasure somewhere.
“Each moment spent searching is also a moment spent finding.” PAULO COELHO.
Studying History and Geography (things that have happened in the past OR the things that already exist) carries no meaning or authenticity unless you draw lessons about the virtuous or immoral acts that occurred and you search for ways to improve the world’s present and future. It is worthless wasting time ogling at the embalmed 3000BC Mummy or straining your neck looking at restored Michelangelo’s roof paintings at the Sistine Chapel. You should endeavour to embalm the present sagging Humanity or restore wilting Societal Morals.
“Maybe you are searching among the branches for what only appears in the roots.” RUMI.
Yet, there is another aspect to the search and quest of life. —
Holding the torch of supreme knowledge and finding yourself amongst the myriad of heads and busybodies.
“Am I happy and sad looking at the other person, or do I need to dive into the abyss of my soul and seek out myself in the whirlpool?”
Searching for yourself is a lifelong journey of discovery.
The horizons keep shifting, and the quest continues unabated. IT IS EVOLUTION BY DESIGN. You lose all your misery once you find yourself. The irony is that we spend our entire lives searching for something that was always with us – something that just needed acknowledgement.
“Whatever you are looking for is looking for you too.”
The fragrance doesn’t come from the dried flowers in the Herbarium files – it exudes from the seasonal flora that grows after your toil and research.
Don’t search for meaning in life – look for meaning within your life.
Seek to create your life— rather than to find yourself. Hunt for the person you have not yet become with a torch in your hand. Don’t become the formalized creepy fauna in the fancy jar at the museum.
“Searching outside of you is SAMSARA (the world) – searching within you leads to NIRVANA.”