So, we meet again, on this voyage of discovery into heroes and adventurers. And so let’s take a look at another of those archetypal heroes that we uncover when we look deep into the core of our being. Because what we discover there is truly awesome….
If you remember, we took some time out in the last part to look at what drives us forward – and before that we looked at the power of the Caregiver to love and provide much needed compassion in our lives.
This time we begin The Journey – we start to step from a place of preparation into a place of adventure, where we actually let go of safe harbour and step into a journey that’s far more draughty, far more scary than we had encountered before. The previous archetypes seemed to be about protection – through love or through force – or about the nature of our own beings.
Now, we’re more about motion – about stepping out on the journey and making a difference in our lives – and the lives of others.
And as I have said before, you may find the stories and character of the heroes we meet speaking to you, and when you do, you’ll also find that you find your place on the story line – understanding where you are in the journey. Mark that place well, because there are important messages for you here.
The stage of the journey
So we set out on the Journey itself. Something will have happened to move us into this place, to take those steps into the unknown, to move into change, and embrace new things in our lives. From this point, nothing will ever be the same again.
Whether it feels as if we have stepped onto this path by choice, or been forced onto it by circumstances outside of our control, at some level, metaphysically, we will have chosen this. Because at the deepest core of our beings we are meant for adventure and exploration. We are meant to be curious, discovering, walking into new situations. And this is the energy of the Seeker.
The nature of the Seeker
It is the Seeker that will drag us across the threshold of discovery, that will pull us out of normality and boredom, out of sameness into a richer and more beautiful – if scarier – place. This is what drives the gap year explorations of the world – but also what starts us out on a search for enlightenment and inner discovery. It’s also the energy that starts us looking for a better world, a more just world.
(You could also call the Seeker ‘the Explorer’. I prefer ‘Seeker’ because I can feel the energy within that of the search, the sense that we’re not just exploring for the sake of it, but that we are actively seeking something greater. You choose what works for you.)
Without something of the Seeker, then we will remain stale and stagnant – we will remain stuck. For all of us, something will move us to look for something new. We will begin a search for adventure – and perhaps find it in hedonistic pursuits, or in a meaningful purpose of loving service. Or we will look for answers deep inside ourselves, looking for our spiritual edge.
The only thing that will really satisfy us is to begin to step into our heroic nature – and heroes can never be found standing still. They are always on some sort of voyage of discovery. This is the world of Jason and the Argonauts, of the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, ‘seeking out new worlds’. This is where Dorothy found herself on the Yellow Brick Road – torn from safety by the tornado, but now motivated to explore the options that would release her from this strange world.
The Seeker is motivated to search for something better. In the world of the seeker, the grass is definitely greener on the other side. Or anywhere else. And, in a sense, it always is – simply because it’s different. And that, for the seeker, makes it interesting. It will be the Seeker that decides that things can be better, can be different. The Seeker will be certain that answers exist, somewhere, and will clear everything out of his way to find them.
It was partly the Seeker that caused me to sell up and go on a journey round the world. As I think back, I know I was looking for adventure and discovery – a chance to explore the world that I had denied myself when I was younger. But also a search for some deeper answers – for meaning that I hadn’t until then found in my life.
Here’s where Luke Skywalker is looking for answers – answers to the mystery of who his father was, to the mystery of the message from a beautiful princess stuck in his R2 unit, and the secrets of the mysterious ‘Force’. And of course it’s that that drives all the great explorers from Magellan to Columbus – and those also who seek to explore the limits of human potential.
It’s the Seeker who will suddenly decide in the middle of a steady yet fundamentally unfulfilling career to go into business for herself – or to suddenly start sending out CVs in search of that perfect job. The seeker will often read voraciously, or embark on new programmes of study, or even new sports or pastimes just to see what happens. This is where the pioneer is – someone who would rather be on the road than settled in a safe and comfortable home.
The primary fear of the Seeker is of course the idea of getting stuck. This might be fear of never achieving anything, of being stuck in a dull and dreary life. This might be the fear of just being like everyone else – conscious that somewhere inside burns a bigger and brighter light. The Seeker will be afraid that they are missing something – that somewhere out there lies the secret to life – or a party that they are missing out on.
The Seeker fears being trapped, held prisoner by circumstances or relationships. It may be that claustrophobia, that fear of confined spaces, is actually an outgrowing of that same sense of the need to discover, to be on the open road and to have clear skies above.
The Seeker may well be found amongst others who are the same… and yet they will fear conformity and be looking to differentiate themselves from others… and perhaps afraid of making the huge leap of faith that will make them truly stand out.
Response to the challenge
It may be a very natural thing to respond to the dragon by running away – but for the Seeker that comes from a different place, a different power. The Seeker is looking to simply get out of the place where the danger exists – recognising that in separating themselves from the place where the problem exists, then they will no longer experience the problem itself. If a difficult situation presents itself, then they will simply exempt themselves and leave. That’s not particularly a response from fear – but a pragmatic response that says ‘OK, time to change things around’.
In a very real sense the Hebrews of the Exodus were escaping from a tyrannical ruler – but also they knew that they needed to be ‘somewhere else’ and in fact to discover their land of promise and hope.
A Heroic Task
The Seeker is called to be true to something higher – to seek out and discover something. That might be a scientific discovery, or a new way of doing things. That might be a new social order, or a new understanding of humanity. It may be a deeper wisdom, a greater insight – or it may simply be a new freedom of being. It’s the Seeker’s nature to look for deeper meaning, to recognise that this is not ‘all there is’.
The Seeker brings a sense of autonomy and independence – without that independence, there will be no Journey, no voyage of discovery. Here the Seeker finds that he or she can exist without others – that although they may crave companionship, that something greater and more exciting drives them further and further on.
(And, for sure, the philosophy of the Seeker will resurface in the future in the wisdom and understanding of the Sage, the Magician and the Fool).
The Seeker is compelled to take a risk – to move out from safe harbour and move into uncharted lands. Until he does, he will be restless and unfulfilled.
The shadow Seeker
There is a shadow in all of our heroes – that’s what makes them human. The Seeker’s idealistic restlessness is also his weakness. They find themselves unable to rest, unable to commit. They become addicted to new experiences, always looking for something greater. No sooner than they have found something they are looking to improve it, to go beyond. They may seek a greater ‘high’ or be continually unfulfilled by their job, or their relationships. And perhaps in that they have too much ambition, and too high a perfectionism. If anything is ‘wrong’ in their world, then rather than work through it, they simply up sticks and move on.
Levels of the Seeker
The call of the Seeker is usually an internal one – an increasing dissatisfaction with ‘What is’ and a search for ‘What could be’. If that call is ignored for too long, then something will happen to make that a reality… an unexpected redundancy, the end to a relationship, a massive life changing event. Or there may be an opportunity that is too good to pass up, a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance.
There is often a sense of emptiness, a yearning that must be filled by something.. and a certainty that an answer exists.. somewhere. Deep within is a core dissatisfaction with the status quo.
The Seeker’s mantra is always to say ‘Yes’ to the opportunities presented – to step without hesitation into something different – because the Seeker knows that everything new brings something better, something greater – even if that secret may be hidden at first.
At first, the Seeker will seek to scratch that itch by doing something – anything – new. They might start out by experimenting with new things, by deciding to write a new story for their lives. That’s exactly how I found myself on the morning of January 1st, 2000 – having spent Millennium Night essentially alone at a black tie ball, miles from family and friends, and having just been dumped by my girlfriend, I decided to write a new story for my life – seeking a better place, seeking to create something different. And that’s the journey that’s led me to this place today. I joined an adventure club, learned to dance and to ski and snowboard, and began a search for meaning and truth in life.
(A warning – you might find yourself feeling ‘I have too many responsibilities’ and simply reject that dream. Yet the real dream comes from a deeper, truer part of you – it’s a calling that cannot be ignored. Find some way to honour it, to accept it, and, ultimately, to call it into being. As Morpheus said in ‘The Matrix’ – the dream is real, Neo)
The Seeker may immerse themselves in study – seeking answers in the writings of others. After all, someone must know the answer, right? They will often dart from one thing to another, unable (or unwilling) to settle. All this change initially satisfies their quest for more – and for ‘different’ – and yet, ultimately the Seeker is looking for real answers.
The Seeker will often look to expend that energy in climbing the ladder of success – whether that ultimately yields financial success, or greater recognition – and ultimately, that won’t satisfy the Seeker either. There is certainly a drive for the Seeker to become ‘the best’ – not usually in competition with anyone else – but in competition with herself – reaching out to become all she can be, to see just how far she can go, just what she can achieve.
Ultimately, our Seeker hero will find herself on a search for meaning. Often that is a spiritual search. They step through the fire transformation into being something new and unique, and learn to be at peace with themselves. They find meaning whether it is in the admission of a higher power, or , curiously, in deciding that no such Higher Power exists. It is the wisdom and truth that they seek, and perhaps we need to recognise that, surprisingly, the only ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth. It’s said that the search for meaning is the call of God – that the enormous cosmic itch to discover truth is the heart of God in us calling to be united with All That Is. As Mohinder Suresh put it in ‘Heroes’:
‘So much struggle for meaning, for purpose, and in the end we find it only in each other – as shared experience of the fantastic – and the mundane. The simple human need to find a kindred – to connect and to know in our hearts that we are not alone’ .
At its highest expression, the Seeker is looking to bring new truth to the world – to climb the mountain and bring something back. And he who seeks – will find.
The Seeker’s story
The archetypal story of the Seeker is of feeling alienated in their community – perhaps by being ostracised for being ‘different’ or by being forced to conform when there is a huge dream in the heart that longs to be fulfilled. This is where Dick Whittington runs off to seek his fortune – or where the Prodigal Son becomes bored waiting for his inheritance and escapes to a far country.
The Seeker sets of on a journey on his own, certain that he is the only one who has ever felt this way.. and yet through finding truth, by learning how to live independently, by revelling in his difference, he discovers like minded companions who are on the same journey. He either rediscovers his family when he returns with new wisdom or a new gift for his tribe – or he settles with his newly discovered family. Until the desire to discover something new returns again!
Exercises and dreaming
Where do you feel yourself under pressure to conform? Where do you find your creativity stifled, your initiative blocked? Where do you find yourself thinking ‘life could be better than this?’
Take a few minutes to just breath and relax.. and then let your imagination go. What would you like to explore? What do you find yourself drawn to? What would, for you, symbolise freedom?
And just for a moment, because this is a story, after all, what would happen if you did seek out your dream? How would it feel? What would you do? What would it look like? Perhaps it’s time to write yourself a new story…
So, we’re on the journey. We’ve left safe harbour and we’re making things change. Next time we’re going to discover the power of the Revolutionary – the Destroyer – providing the energy to create change by destroying what is in order to build what could be.
Until next time – enjoy the journey!
Find out more at www.timhodgson.org
PS – If you missed any of the preceding parts of the programme – then catch up here: PREVIOUS CHAPTERS