On seeking

Sky #2, date uncertain (film) © Gabriela De Golia

My best friend and soul sibling, Sarah, often brings Harry Potter up in conversation with me. Despite the transphobic nonsense JK Rowling has spat out, we still appreciate what the Harry Potter series offered us: characters who embodied the understanding that magic is real; young camaraderie; adventure; wonder; and more.

One thing Sarah talked about once was the role of the Seeker in Quidditch games. (For those who have no clue what that means: Quidditch is a sports game in the Harry Potter world played on broomsticks. The match ends when the Seeker of a team catches an incredibly fast flying golden orb called a Snitch. The huge amount of points awarded for this feat usually means the victorious Seeker’s team wins.) She pointed out the Seeker’s relationship to “doing nothing.” Most of the game the Seeker is, as the name implies, seeking. They’re avoiding other players and distractions so they can get their eye on the prize — the Snitch — and upon seeing it, begin chasing it and hopefully catch it. For much of the game, it looks like the Seeker is doing nothing. They’re just sitting on their broom looking around.

And yet, theirs is the most important task of all. If they capture the Snitch, they bring their team to victory.

When Sarah pointed this out to me, I sighed with relief. What a beautiful, fairy-tale-esque description of how I understand the spiritual process to be. Maybe, even more broadly, life’s entire process.

Capitalism demands that we constantly produce. That we show the fruits of our labor so we can be deemed worthy of belonging. That we make “discoveries” so we can then make claims over certain places, things, even people. That we always be “doing something” because time is money and money is King. Being patient, doing nothing, resting, meandering, getting lost, and seeking without a clear sense of what we’ll find or when we’ll find it are not virtues in a capitalist paradigm. They’re considered wasteful, stupid, and pointless.

Yet in Quidditch, if the Seeker busies themself with trying to do anything other than observe their surroundings patiently, they’ll never locate the Snitch and definitely lose the game. The less they do outside the bounds of waiting and observing, the more likely they’ll strike gold.

The Seeker’s process mirrors many spiritual processes to me. The more I slow down, lighten my load, and observe patiently, the more I take in, feel, and see. In other words, the more I act like the Seeker, the closer I feel to Source/Mystery/God. And the closer I feel to God, the more alive I feel, because I am more aligned with my life’s yearning for me.

What if we considered our own lives as though we were in the role of the Seeker, even just a little more? What if we spent far more time patiently observing ourselves and our surroundings so that, when we do act, we are more sure-footed in our movements? How can we create systems that allow for more rest and patience and meandering and considering, rather than penalize us for it? (I’d like to see universal healthcare, basic income, and unlimited vacation from employers, to name just a few things — all of this would allow us to live lives of ease and abundance, rather than scarcity and urgency, so we could regularly “be” rather than always “do.”)

I pray for a world in which our wins reflect how discerning we were with our actions, rather than how much we tried to cram in a day. I pray for a world where patience and slow, intentional observation are valued. I pray for a world in which our seeking is always revered.

May our seeking and the questions that come with it always be seen as precious. May the answers they unveil to us be healing to our beings.