What is a quest? The literal meaning is a long or arduous search for something…. The adjectives long and arduous make the idea of undertaking a ‘quest’ a bit intimidating and a lot of work, don’t they? However, as with all endeavours, the reward or payoff at the end of the journey is what motivates a lot of us to take the initiative to begin, and to persist through the challenges that we face along the way.
According to Wikipedia, a ‘quest’ is
a journey towards a goal, serves as a plot device and (frequently) as a symbol. Quests appear in the folklore of every nation and many cultures. In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero, and the overcoming of many obstacles, typically including much travel. The aspect of travel also allows the storyteller to showcase exotic locations and cultures.
Some of the common threads among the ‘quests’ taken by heroes (think of Homer’s Odyssey or King Arthur and the ‘Holy Grail’) are singleness of purpose, extensive wandering and suffering, and in some cases, eventual success. One spiritual parallel of such ‘quests’ as described in literature and mythology is the inner quest for self-knowledge, self-improvement, and perhaps, eventual self-enlightenment. The path or paths taken by many of us in our inner spiritual quest(s) are as varied as the individuals themselves – but the goals are perhaps very similar.
The seekers or questers are often familiar with the inner voice that starts out as barely a whisper, and then grows louder with each passing moment of increased awareness. The seeker’s quest may use practices like mindfulness, silence, stillness, meditation, service to others and communion with nature as tools for overcoming the challenges and distractions on the arduous journey. The seeker’s quest may draw strength from other seekers whom they meet along the way, who are facing challenges similar to their own. The mere exchange with each other, of the stories of their struggles in their quest, can fuel their journey forward to the next milestone. Sometimes, the seekers may even travel together for a while, in the form of a dynamic community whose members support each other simply because they know intuitively that they have a shared purpose.
The further we travel in our personal spiritual quest, the more we become acquainted with the value in practicing virtues like patience, courage, selflessness, equality, equanimity, oneness, and more. Every so often, we may be fortunate to find ourselves in the company of those heroes who have completed their personal spiritual quest, and returned to share their spiritual treasures with those who are earnestly seeking to travel their own path. The light and love of such questers can help us, if we open our hearts and minds, and learn from their wisdom. Gautama Buddha was one such example of a quester who shared his love and light freely with those who chose to receive. Can you think of someone who has helped you in your quest in a similar way? Were you ever in a situation during your quest when you felt like giving up, but some serendipity connected you with one or more questers who helped you to continue? What is the greatest challenge that you have faced on your quest so far – have you overcome it, or are you still working to overcome it? Is it necessary for every quest to have an ending, and a triumphant return ‘home’?
I hope that one or more of the above questions help you to pause and reflect on your spiritual quest so far. If you would like to meet some unique questers, and learn about their quests, join us in #SpiritChat on Sunday, April 26th at 9am ET. We will discuss some of these questions, and more, as we spend an hour or so together, moving forward on our individual quests.
Ready? Q1. Reflect on the phrase ~ a (spiritual) quest. What does/would your quest look like? #SpiritChat Q2. Is 'being on a quest' important for us to 'grow' in our spiritual life? Why or why not? #SpiritChat Q3. My quest/path/goal(s) may differ from yours. So, how can I assist you? Or can I? #SpiritChat Q4. If you believe you are on a spiritual quest, do you have a goal? Or is it more a 'wandering'? #SpiritChat Q5. All these questions that we seem to ask. Are they relevant to our spiritual quest? Why or why not? #SpiritChat Q6. What is the greatest challenge you have faced on your quest so far - have you overcome it, or are overcoming? #SpiritChat Q7. How is our quest affected by the victories and defeats of others on similar quest(s)? #SpiritChat Q8. In your opinion, what are some worthy quests? Are there any unworthy ones? #SpiritChat Q9. Share some life/work milestones that reflect your work, your quest... #SpiritChat Q10. How may we best tell our (life and love) stories to best inspire fellow questers... #SpiritChat