I once again return to the notion of paradox as an essential descriptor of what fogs our vision of You in this life. I want to seek You. I fancy my life as a quest for You. I search and explore means by which to direct myself toward this end: prayer, meditation, contemplation, centering, reading, writing, and so on. But like the little fish in Anthony DeMello’s story, I can’t seem to find the ocean for all this water, Concentrating on the means of attaining You may, in one sense, make us more remote from You – You whom, without these means, we already possess and who is all around us.
The dark side of the paradox of the quest is that we give our hearts over to the various paths we take on our quest, but with such habit and focus that we lose sight of our destination. Our prayer, reading, and writing become idols. We become what we love best, and unless that is You, present in all we do, then we fall short of that which we say we pursue. We may say we love the Mass, or our routine of prayer, or a particular book, but without constant perception of You in these, they become our gods. It’s good to take stock of our spiritual habits and devotions now and then to see if they haven’t forgotten about You and become simply modes of comfort.
Who but man has been given the mind and heart so inescapably inclined toward searching for You? This is a most marvelous gift – the drive for oneness with the Ultimate. That urge is in every human alive. There is no paradox to that. The paradox is in the other inclination in us to bury this drive under a barrage of busy-ness which includes “spiritual” forms of busy-ness for its own sake. When we find ourselves in such times our best move, it seems to me, would be to simply let the spirit carry us away so that we lose all distinction between ourselves and You and are momentarily absorbed in the tremendous reality of Your presence.