The beginning of the spiritual path is often marked by a deep restlessness, an uncomfortable feeling of being out of context, an inexplicable anguish or nostalgia.
It is a moment of a more or less consciously experienced crisis that we could characterise as a ‘sacred dissatisfaction’. Something stirring within, impels the person to seek answers, answers to the big questions in life: who am I, what am I, and where am I going? And even though he may not yet fully understand what he is seeking, still he is impelled to begin his searching.
Instincts, intuition and consciousness mingle, while life presents him with the consequences of his seeking. As a general rule, over time these consequences prove to be lacking; they fail to satisfy a deep inner need, even when this need is still not fully understood.
Gradually however, he becomes conscious of everything that no longer satisfies him. Slowly, one by one, those things from his outer life that once captured his attention, begin to lose their grip and fade away. He becomes more and more aware that he is searching for something higher, something lasting, something not relative or temporary, something not from his old life.
He begins to suspect that the answers to the impulse for fulfilment are of another kind. Everything that previously was so full of promise loses its lustre, and his interests shift to understanding the essence and nature of the longing itself.
The emptiness within, the once misunderstood discomfort, takes on a deeper meaning and is recognised as a spiritual calling, a mandate for the realisation of something radically different from anything accomplished previously. So different that it can be described as a transcendent longing.
Where can this impulse take you in this world marked by alternations and relativity? How can he accomplish anything as high as that which this inner voice speaks of? Would he be worthy or even capable of achieving it?
This doubt is an expression of humility so characteristic of a seeker of Truth. He is deeply aware that he is devoid of any true spiritual values or faculties, that he is in fact ‘poor in spirit’. Yet something within bears witness to a totally different sublime reality. His spiritual thirst continues to grow until it becomes irresistible, launching him on a journey of self-knowledge, a journey for the fulfilment of this higher calling.
As with any journey, he can be guided by others who have gone before him, even recognising some of the landmarks on this path, but in the end, no one can walk it for him or lead him to the source deep within. He will have to do this for himself. But how?
Just as his consciousness is fully engaged in this search for answers, so glimpses of the path come to him. His consciousness experiences flashed of illumination, sometimes clear, sometimes more elusive and vague, but all pointing him in a certain direction. These experiences also bring him into contact with others, who like him, are also searching for answers.
The seeker eventually finds a spiritual school where he receives the help of a community committed to making the inner change necessary for his transcendent vocation. He finally perceives the path under his feet and can now take firm steps, accompanied by countless others, with the inner certainty of a single objective: to be transformed in order to transcend.