the story continues - part 8
An amazing adventure ensued, encompassing areas as diverse as seminars on wealth creation and real estate, heated yoga rooms, music festivals, guitar gigs, eastern and western philosophy, long distance running, and finally meditation. I soon learnt that to rest in one place was to become bogged, as moments of profound revelation would slide almost effortlessly and uncontrollably back into the mundane nothingness from which I had been striving to escape. As with any journey there were moments of clarity and perspective, times where the underlying purpose was shrouded beneath sweat and tears, and also times when my route took a sudden turn in a different direction. One of these changes of direction occurred unexpectedly, when, in an attempt to channel my energies into something unquestionably positive, I had set about a thorough tidy of my room. After hours unearthing forgotten relics of my childhood I came upon a book called 'Soul Survivor'. Initially surprised as to where it had come from, I then recalled that my uncle had given it to me a few years previously. Opening the cover I found that the author had in fact written a personal message to me- 'To Chris, God Bless, Paul Hawker'. Turning the page, I began to read. My initial curiosity was gradually replaced with something far stronger as I read of the spiritual experiences of the author during a trip he had made into a mountain range in New Zealand in the depths of winter. Within his words I perceived a relevance to my own existence and it dawned upon me that there were many 'bigger picture' questions that I had not asked myself. ‘What is the nature of the universe? What is the meaning of life? What happens when we die? Who am I?’ These questions began to percolate within me and over the ensuing months there was a distinct change of course; the wealth creation books began to accumulate dust whilst other 'bigger picture' books gradually took pride of place upon my bedside table.
I read voraciously, my horizons expanding rapidly as I ventured into the realm of spirituality. I was astounded by the abundance of spiritual literature; tales of yogis in hidden Himalayan caves, marathon monks running endlessly in sandals over mountainous landscapes visiting sacred shrines, everyday people integrating spiritual values into contemporary life styles, Zen monks tending exquisite Japanese gardens; all in the quest for meaning and happiness;
I found merit in the words of many, but true wisdom proved a much scarcer commodity. I was searching for that elusive moment of profound realisation in which it would all suddenly make sense. Yet as my mind became over filled with myriad spiritual concepts I was developing a growing sense that the answers lay elsewhere. But where?
Increasingly I would put my books aside and spend long hours gazing out of my bedroom window, watching lorikeets dancing in the morning sun. The more I watched the surer I became that there were some definitive answers to my questions. ‘Perhaps the answers lay within simplicity and not within complicated mental concepts’ I thought to myself; and so I would simply continue to watch the lorikeets. Hours would pass, marked by the steady ascent of the sun, the sky changing from the initial soft hues of purple and pink, growing into brilliant oranges, then lavender, and finally into an infinite blue. Still, I would just watch. I could vaguely sense a collective purpose here, a totality of existence, a natural harmony between the birds, the trees, the sun, and me, the observer. It felt as if the answer to every question was somehow right before my eyes, yet at the same time veiled from my complete perception.