It's a bit difficult for me to tell when my spiritual searching began.
Was it when I tried to figure out in high school the deeper meaning of Bob Dylan's enigmatic song lyrics? Was it when I devoured Sartre, Camus, and other existentialists during my early college years?
But for sure it started when, in 1969, my wife-to-be and I began learning hatha yoga and meditation from a crazed Greek guy who melded Christianity and Eastern philosophy in a decidedly weird fashion.
Ever since, I've pursued some sort of spirituality.
For several decades I spent about two hours a day meditating in accord with a mystical practice that aimed at uniting my soul with God.
Eventually I came to doubt whether soul and God even existed, which understandably deflated my interest in trying to join them together.
In my early 40s martial arts became a sort of spiritual search.
After earning a black belt in a karate style that was pleasingly eclectic, I switched to Tai Chi in 2004, which I've practiced ever since.
Taoism and Buddhism became my favorite spiritual philosophies. I made mindfulness my meditation.
Now, at the age of 72, I've started to ponder the pros and cons of ending my spiritual searching -- with a emphasis on the pros.
Always looking for more from life than what life already is giving me is beginning to seem unwise.
More meaning. More happiness. More purpose. More depth. All that more, more, more seems to lead to a hamster-wheel sort of existence.
Spiritual seeking can become such a habit, the seeker doesn't realize that they're going around and around without really getting anywhere.
If we're in an endless loop of seek-find-seek-find, the way out is to either stop seeking or find that which satisfies completely.
Since I'm not completely satisfied with life (who is?), it seems to me that giving up a quest to make life into something that it isn't already is the best way to go.
Understand: in no way do I see this as embracing fatalism or not trying to make my life better.
But I want to do this in a natural fashion. I want to just be an average person living life as it is, not as some imagined Spiritual Life with capital letters.
Three weeks ago an inguinal (groin) hernia came into my life, an unexpected guest.
About a quarter of men will get a hernia at some point. So what I'm dealing with is common. Last week I had a consultation with a surgeon, which went well.
My old spiritual self would have tried to find some deeper meaning in the hernia. Working off karma? A way to test my equanimity? The universe sending me a message of some sort?
My new not-so-spiritual self just wants to handle the hernia as smoothly as I can and to get it surgically repaired ASAP.
In other words, I'm viewing myself realistically. I'm just a guy who, like lots of other guys, has a hernia that he wants fixed. End of story.
This is, of course, the way lots of people look upon problems in their life.
Not as an opportunity to evolve into a more refined spiritual being. Just as a damn problem that needs attention.
I can't say that I've totally given up my addiction to spiritual seeking. I just see the light at the end of the seeking tunnel.
Or maybe more accurately, the lack of extra light.
Life already has plenty of light. That's how I'm able to write this blog post. An LED bulb is shining on my desk. My laptop's screen is aglow.
Where's the need to be spiritually enlightened when the world already has so much light?