What are we searching for?
Last evening I watched, once again,"The Searchers", a classic western film directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne. Spiritually, the story involved is one of the most profound in film. If you haven't seen it, do, and in the meantime I will give you an encapsulated summary.
The main character (Wayne) has just returned home to Texas from the trauma of the Civil War. His spirit is broken by the experience of war and he is bitter on life. The only family he has is a brother, his brother's wife (who once was his own sweetheart) and the couple's two daughters, one of them teenaged and the other very young. As we get into the story, ravaging Indians sweep across the plains, attack the farmstead, kill (horribly) the couple, their elder daughter, and kidnap the younger. It is now Wayne's duty to hunt down the particular Indians involved and rescue his niece. The quest takes years, and the mindset in those days was that the most merciful thing to do with a white female held captive for so long by Indians was to kill her, as the experience of captivity most often led to insanity. Ethan (Wayne) believes, in his own mind, he must do just that. It is during the search that Ethan is ultimately transformed, finding himself in the harrowing process. This story is, then, one of personal transformation, a re-awakening of Spirit and the discovery of Truth.
Are we all not Searchers? I have stated in previous articles my belief that the human experience is one of Choice, that among all life forms on this planet, human beings alone have this capacity. It is then the human imperative to reflect on and consider the experience choice has provided and to discover meaning in that consideration. Our search is one of meaning.
Quest is the root of the word "question", and it is through questioning that meaning is derived. If you do not question the world surrounding you, there will be very few answers provided to you. The answer to a question, however, invariably leads to another question and so, perhaps, in this physical life, there can be no ultimate answer. It is the imperative of human beings to ask. If there were an ultimate answer, no further questions would be necessary and, hence, no imperative for life. Meaning and Truth are the products of the Search, our Quest, and are not revealed in any particular answer. Discovery is a process and with each answer to each question as our lives unfold is Truth glimpsed and then solidified.
Perhaps ultimate Truth is realized in the world of Spirit, but if that were so, what is the need to experience physical life? It appears to me that the search for Truth is never ending, that our being is on a Quest that lasts for eternity.