Finding without seeking

Young Thoughts

History is filled with stories of wanderers. Prince Siddhartha, a wealthy Brahman and wanderer, later known as Buddha, is just one example. Though the wanderer does not seek, they find much.


History is filled with stories of wanderers.

Prince Siddhartha, a wealthy Brahman grew up in the shelter of his father, the King, who wanted to show him a world free from suffering. Feeling restless and unsatisfied with his ‘perfect’ life, he leaves home, initially spending time with a group of ascetics and later developing a Middle Way (between asceticism and indulgence), summarised in The Noble Eightfold Path. Later, he became known as Buddha.

The 13th Century mystic and poet, Rumi, wandered extensively throughout the Middle East. 

So did Jesus Christ. Mahavira. Swami Vivekananda. And more recently, Paulo Coelho’s fictional Santiago in The Alchemist, or Cheryl Strayed’s autobiography, Wild. 

Such periodic withdrawals from societal norms seem to be a necessary part of living well. Only with the perspective granted by distance could Archimedes’ lever lift the world.

But this kind of wandering is not something that can be scheduled, or commodified into nature retreats. Wanderers do so because they must. There is no other foreseeable path to the future. It is not that Siddhartha sought out to be the Buddha, or the son of Mary sought to be Jesus. 

“When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal...”

This is not to say the wanderer lacks ambition. The ambition is to live the best possible life.

Though the wanderer does not seek, they remain free, receptive, open to the world. And in this manner the wanderer finds much. Happierness, an expanded sense of love, freedom, and even, worldly success.