the Unknown Thing

seek and you shall find…within yourself

I know I’m searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night

–The River of Dreams, Billy Joel

 

Sometimes on the Seeker’s journey through life, we find things that inspire us: practices, books, movies, even individual people, it could be any source. But then after following that practice for a while, or reading the book ten times, etc., that inspiration doesn’t “do it” for us any more. And then we wander off in search of something else. It’s like we’re looking for something in every book, in every movie. We used to find it in the stories we loved as kids, or as teenagers, but then we realized it wasn’t really in that story.

It was something we perceived through the story.

And we are still searching for more of it, hungering every day.

Why do we keep getting answers from the Universe that love and life are not what we imagined they were going to be? And what is that unknown thing that we want if it is not love and life? Is it magic? Is it meaning? Is it happiness? Is it connection to Source? Is it simply excitement? (it seems to me the excitement comes from the finding of it, and is not the thing itself)

These answers, that love doesn’t feel or act like I thought it would, shake my foundations as a romantic. How can I be capable of experiencing through imagination this thing, this feeling that I want, if it doesn’t exist in real life? If what I want can’t be had, doesn’t exist, then what is the point of searching? Or at least if it can’t be had from anything or anyone in the “outside world,” then what is the point of going to the well of all the people and things out there every day and struggling yet again to haul up that bucket, when the ordinary water is not what I want?

And the answer I get from the Universe, from the Goddess and all, is:

“Why do you expect to find this thing outside yourself?”

“Why do you expect someone to hand it to you?”

I think you have to bring it out from the Core of your own being and hold it there in your heart and mind and hands, and then go on and do whatever you want to do in life and love.

You cannot find it in your lover; you cannot find it in other people’s stories; you can’t find it in your work; in your family; in other cities and other countries; it doesn’t live in the wilderness; it is not hidden in the night, and cannot be seen in the brightness of day.

Best you might can do is do work and be in places and around people who help you bring it out from inside yourself. And these people also have similar unknown things, or perhaps it is the same thing, that you also help bring out from within them, and you share your things amongst each other. And that is one kind of love.

And yet when I reign in my urge to wander in meditation or drown myself with other people’s stories, and I sit myself down and work on art and writing, I get into that flow and feel at peace. I feel good and free when I’m sketching and not worrying about the quality of the project or the deadlines or all the other projects I’m signed on for. I feel amazing when I finish a piece and it shines with a life of it’s own. Why, then, do I not throw myself into my work every moment I can? Is it fear that satisfaction is a finite thing, something only to be gotten from just the right project? Well, no, but I will say there are a fair number of projects that have not sparkled as much as I envisioned. This is true of any artist, but perhaps it’s a bad habit of avoiding things that take a lot of effort without an equal return of satisfaction (classic example: sports. Even winning is not satisfying enough for me to justify that level of physical work). Perhaps I am at an in-between stage when some things are so easy that the satisfaction is short lived, while other things are so hard that my expectations of satisfaction are not nearly met.

And still I ask, what exactly is this unknown thing that I feel like my soul is crying out for?

The answers to all these questions are sketchy, vague things:

-I’ll know it when I see it (/feel it/thrum it/etc)

-you cannot find True Love, or a kindred spirit at least, without going to that well of the outside world every day and drawing ordinary water, just to see if you draw up a little gulp from the Tucks’ spring or the River of Dreams

-it’s a transitional stage, the dip in the road of life: I won’t give up but I struggle to move on

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I am a writer/illustrator of various types of speculative fiction but mostly modern fantasy. I have loved magic, and the people and creatures who live with it and use it, all my life, and writing and drawing these people in modern environments makes it all the more real to me. I also like to add an element of Darkness and horror, as well as science fiction, for “flavor”. I am fascinated with everything from unicorns and dragons to vampires and demons.

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