By Ilona Ciunaite, author of Liberation Unleashed
I was a seeker once. I was looking for something. I did not know what that was, but I had heard stories about enlightenment, awakening, constant bliss—I wanted that. I knew that where I was at the time wasn’t it. I had an urge to find out what the holy grail was that would make my life better in every way.
Somebody once asked me straight, “What are you looking for?” And I replied, “Enlightenment.” Did I find that? No, but I am not looking for it anymore. I stopped chasing ideas and found something else instead: peace. Not in a way that everything is quiet and slow, but in a way that there is no more internal narration about what is “not enough.” Everything is just fine. There is no more judgment of good versus bad, no more fight of good versus evil. There is a silence of mind that is much more delightful than fighting what is.
The seeking pattern has stopped running. The drive that was here before, trying to get/achieve/improve something, is now absent. There is openness instead, a spaciousness that allows all happenings to pass without internal friction. If I get annoyed, which I still do, it lasts only a short time and gets resolved quickly.
Seeking is a form of striving energy that wants to get somewhere. This, here and now, is not what it wants. There is something else to get, so that the tension will cease. But it does not cease; it only takes small breaks. The “happy tomorrow” does not arrive; it feels like you are trapped in an unwanted time and place, a prison that has no doors. The seeking continues. New books, videos, talks, gurus—they all seem to have something desirable, yet not achievable. How to get off of the seeking merry-go-round?
There is a flip from seeking to seeing, and it is not what the mind thinks. It is not about making something external change so that I will feel more comfortable; it’s internal. The energy that feels intense wants to be felt—fully, openly, purely felt. When we look at what seeking itself is, rather than toward the direction of where our attention is going, seeking can be seen as a mechanism, a pattern, a strong energy. Observing it with conscious awareness, recognizing it, and then feeling the sensation melts it like a sun melts a cube of ice.
So, if you are looking for something, stop for a minute and feel the sensation that is driving the search. This sensation is here, and it does not matter so much why it is here, or who put ideas of “not enough” in the mind. What matters is that this sensation is recognized and fully felt. Seeking for flips to looking at. Once the energy is allowed to be fully present and embraced, the mind becomes relaxed, spacious, soft; it no longer feels the tension.
Try this exercise. Feel the sensation of “not enough.” Feel the sensation of lack. This sensation has a location in the body. Observe it. Allow it. Let it be as it is for a minute or two. Don’t think about what should be different or how much you dislike it; just feel it as it is. Be honest with your own feeling. Be curious about the sensation. Let it enfold you fully, even if it is intense. What is behind it?
Doing this a few times a day may feel like practice. But it’s worth it to remember and engage with this, because the more you become honest with the feelings that are arising—the more you look at what is—the less there is striving for something else. It’s a focus shift from seeking to seeing; all it takes is a conscious look at what is actually happening here and now. The mind can find peace, and that’s the end of the seeking pattern. Then a whole new world opens up—the one that was always here, always present, but was ignored or unnoticed, because of that constant nagging feeling of it not being enough. Thoughts stop running wild; there is more spaciousness felt. There is ease and lightness.
Seeking ends, but exploration continues. And exploration is a different kind of energy—it has a sense of wonder, curiosity, playfulness, and childish innocence. There is no more striving to get out of an unwanted situation, but rather resting in the situation that is neither wanted or unwanted, but simply is.
The author of Liberation Unleashed, Lithuanian-born Ilona Ciunaite has a degree in psychology and a mind-set to focus on freedom for herself and others. She’s had conversations with people from all around the globe, and has held meetings and group sessions in the UK, where she lived for twenty years. Ciunaite and her husband ran a custom tattoo studio in West Sussex until the spring of 2017. They’re in Mexico at the moment, starting fresh.