An Old Message For A New Age
Do you consider yourself a seeker? I have a feeling if you’re reading this article, you do.
If so, how exactly do you define it? What does it mean to you to be a “seeker?”
For me, the definition is constantly in process of clarifying itself, shifting in and out of focus as I ask, “What is it that I’m seeking?” There have been times – days, weeks, months, dare I say years – that it felt like wandering, lost and lonely, in search of a nameless, faceless something that seemed forever before me, but like a mirage, moving farther away the closer I drew. I could not grasp it, but I knew that when found it would make all the pieces of my life click together. Instant happiness and abundance, perfect peace and love. Most of all, everything would finally make sense. I’d know my purpose; I’d be brave enough to live it; I’d have no question that I couldn’t readily answer.
I can tell you, after so much time in the desert, I have found no such “something.” But that doesn’t mean the journey has not been fruitful.
In its finest moments the search has been a pilgrimage. One with the hue of holiness. And in those rare instances I know clearly what it is I seek. I’d like to share a story.
Several years ago my husband’s company sponsored a celebrity golf tournament. We attended, and I surprised myself at how star-struck I was! Especially since the stars were sports figures with whom I was barely familiar. Of all of them, the kindest was David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs. Walking next to him, my head came only to his elbow, but I found him to be a gentle giant. Late in the day I, along with many others, asked for his autograph. When he gave me back the piece of paper it had on it his name and the letters and numbers “Matthew 6:33.” I overheard someone explain that he always places a verse from the Bible on his autographs – a different one for each person.
Well, I am someone who does not take things in vain – I believe that everything that happens is a perfect set-up for our growth and learning. So, I went home and looked up the verse. Upon reading it I had one of those “pilgrim” moments.
Matthew 6:33Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you as well.
The perfect message for a true seeker. But, of course, the question follows…what does it mean? I know that some will have a very clear-cut answer, but for me it has taken years of touching upon, moving away from, and coming back to the message…to find for myself the meaning. The day I received the verse I typed it up and put it in my meditation space, where I have looked upon it every day since. But lately it has begun to call for my attention more fervently, demanding from me a clearer understanding.
Ultimately, I have come to realize this one sentence as the most basic ingredient for living, and the word that has always stood out to me is “first.” Here, the order of things. In our society we are driven by the desire to obtain – material possessions, personal achievement, physical perfection…we strive first and we strive hard. But in this verse we are asked not to “do” first, but to seek. We are told where to begin.
I would like to go slowly, go back and explore this simple message, piece by piece…
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…
Is this the answer to the interminable question, “What do I seek?”? If so, then I ask, “What exactly is this ‘Kingdom of God’ that I am after?” My mind immediately travels to another verse – Luke 17:21, which says, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”
And so, it is not something beyond my grasp that constantly beckons me. It is not a place, or thing, a job or person, a philosophy, idea or fragment of knowledge. It is not to be found in books or buildings. That which is sought is the Divine reflection within my own being, that same reflection alive within yours and in everything else. The dwelling place of the holy lives no farther than the beat of our own hearts.
For those of us who have been on this quest for a while, this idea is nothing new. I realize that. We read books about getting to know and love and be ourselves. We take classes and workshops in the hopes of prying open the door to that illusive hallowed ground we’re after. At the end of every yoga class we say, “Namaste,” the Hindu recognition of the Divine spark within us all. I, like you, know where I’m supposed to look; I can think and speak about it; but it is the experience that I am after – that which cannot be spoken of or written about in whole. That which absolutely cannot be taught or bought. That which is secret and private and can only be known in the silent places of one’s own soul.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…Seek first the Divine within…Seek first, your own truth.
And then we read on…
…and His Righteousness…
Now, here is a phrase for contemplation. For some it is instantly understood and revered; for others, it will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It is a loaded word; one that can scare with its asking.
If it is the knowing of our highest selves, a re-union with our own Divinity and, I suspect, with the greater Divinity of all life that we seek, and if we hold faith that the source of Divinity is indwelling, then how do we define this righteousness? I believe that the answer will lie in your own definition, image and knowing of God.