When someone is seeking … it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything … because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal.
I have a stubborn streak. I took me ten years before I saw the movie ET the Extraterrestrial.
And I knew only one thing about Hermann Hesse’s book Siddhartha: It was the paperback tucked into the back pocket of anyone attempting to look more enlightened than the rest of us fumbling saps when I was beginning college in Nebraska. Sure I wanted to hang with that clique, but I refused to fall for the hype.
So when a friend asked incredulously, “You haven’t read Siddhartha?” I had to sheepishly admit my literary and yogic faux pas. He pulled the book from his shelf. “Here.”
I took the book from his hands and thumbed the pages. It looked thin enough. Even though I had several books ‘on the go’, what harm would it do to take the weekend to read this one?
I opened the book and a bottle of Hefeweizen that afternoon. Beautiful, lyrical prose. I kept reading, the beer grew too warm to drink and the truth began to reveal itself. Somewhere in the final pages I recognized my clinging, grasping nature. More than that, I realized that what I was trying to grab hold of was an illusion.
There’s a part of me that regrets not tackling Siddhartha when it was suggested reading for my Philosophy 101 class. But there’s another part of me that believes the book fell into my hands at the perfect moment. My advice? If the last time you read Siddhartha the Beatles were still together, consider reading it again. And if, like me, you were waiting? All I can say is, for what?