We have a natural drive to seek greater happiness and fulfillment. And that’s great. Most of us want to be happy and fulfilled. And as we seek more and more happiness and fulfillment, we just need to be alert to some underlying drivers that play a role in our seeking.

For almost everyone there is a very strong underlying driver at play which manifests as control, manipulation, convenient beliefs, defense armor, deflection, self-aggrandizement…and the list goes on and on. This driver is the survival instinct wired into our body-mind. Because of this instinct, many people do not know how to authentically surrender to the Divine Presence that is infinitely distributed through all manifestation, including through each of us; nor how to naturally transcend the commotion of their life experience to discover that Divine Presence as the light of their true nature.

And there is another important driver: the avoidance of pain and suffering — whether the pain be emotional, psychological, or physical. This avoidance, similar to the survival instinct, understandably drives people to the spiritual path as a hopeful means of getting out of suffering, or to answer their questions of “why me?”  After all, many people believe the spiritual path holds the potential of a breakthrough out of the ordinary experience of life.

I have observed the condition and dilemma of many seekers. These underlying drivers push them very hard. And they feel an urgency to have that breakthrough, and in their impatience they grasp at every straw of evidence they are progressing towards their goals. And they feel proud of themselves when they find evidence of any step forward. This pride is a salve to these chronic drivers which continue to push them.

There is a fairly common false belief in the spiritual community — that the seeker, through his/her efforts, can bring about his/her own awakening. This is reinforced by the false notion that it is the personal self, the individual existence, that actually Awakens. These false beliefs play into the action of the underlying drivers, and further lead to frustration and disappointment when one’s efforts do not in themselves bring about Awakening on one’s preferred timetable; nor produce the kinds of changes one might expect within the life of the personal self as a result of seeking.

It is not the person that Awakens. It is identification with the person that releases. However, as individuals we must be able to reflect, or be a clear channel so to speak, of the Awakening. And this is how we, as individuals, participate in the process. We engage in a spiritual path as a means of preparation, to open up to an expanded capacity to reflect the Awakening when it occurs. And Awakening occurs when we are sufficiently prepared. That is when Divine Grace removes the veil of ignorance. And this can happen at any time because we, as individuals, have no reliable way to gauge our preparedness.

This is why I emphasize spiritual practice, and the exercise of patience. But not just any spiritual practice. I advocate a practice that naturally brings about authentic surrender, for it is in surrender that our resistances, fears and constrictions, that are driven by our survival instinct and our avoidance of suffering, can resolve into openness and receptivity. We align with the Divine through our spiritual practice, open to Divine Presence, and prepare for Divine Grace.

But with all this said, what truly drives us to seek awakening is the true seeker, which seeks and explores the full scope of itSelf through each of us. The underlying drivers of survival, and avoidance of pain and suffering, support the true seeker’s natural movement towards more happiness and fulfillment. And this serves as motivation to align with the Divine and prepare for Divine Grace so that we, as apparent individuals, can serve the Divine; and offer our unique perspectives as clear reflectors of the one true seeker, our truly Divine source.

– Joel

Drivers and Seeking