The Loneliness of the Spiritual Seeker

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To be "a seeker" of any sort implies that something is missing from one's life, something that then has to be be sought. To be a spiritual seeker implies that one's surroundings do not, to some extent or another, nourish one's soul. And so whatever it is that might fill the holes has to be quested after. Loneliness, then, is an inevitable part of the journey.

Myths often address this moment, when a hero's family is slain, or he or she is shunned by the surrounding community and must seek for a new home in a far land. The inventors and explorers of the world tend to lead lives of great discontent; they are acquainted with the loneliness of "living outside".

The contented like the status quo, and so where would be their motivation to search for the new?

In Humanity's Way Forward, the third installment of The Edge of the Known trilogy, narrator Brandon Chane circles around this very conundrum as he describes his band's struggles to attain recognition. Brandon has always seen life through the eyes of an outcast and misfit. For him, loneliness and artistic vision are deeply intertwined.

Any other band might have taken the hint by this point and at least begun to re-think their overall ambitions. But we were utterly incapable of envisioning any other path in life. We threaded a narrow way through the straits of the world, with our fierce passion for art and honest self-expression on one side and our fear of convention and control on the other. What most people considered society’s tried-and-true roads were veritable death to us.

Failure was unthinkable. And yet success on our terms, under the circumstances, was scarcely any more conceivable. This was the precarious existential point that I had endured for many years– somehow, miraculously and beyond reason.

Those who do not find a resonating chord in society's song may end up being the great musical innovators of their age, but their vision may also, by its very nature, make them solitary. They are often misunderstood. Not everyone wants the boon that the spiritual seeker journeys in search of. Many feel comfortable right where they are.

What do you do when your sense of reality is not supported - or even recognized - by the status quo? Is loneliness one's only recourse while walking such a path?

Brandon becomes one of the very lucky few to break past this barrier and actually reach some receptive ears. Being long acquainted with society's misunderstanding and indifference, the experience of suddenly being "popular" in the eyes of the world is initially baffling.

And so how confusing do you imagine this was, to a young man who’d spent the better part of his adolescence shut up in a mildewed basement room with naught but a black guitar for companionship? It really had a sort of fairy-tale air about it, like one of those stories where a starveling street vagabond is suddenly invited to a banquet at the palace.