Searching: The Sixth Step on the Spiritual Journey
STEP ON THE JOURNEY – 6. Searching
LEVEL – Soul
KEYWORD – Crisis, Illness, Change
ACTIONS – Seeking & spiritual study
BELIEFS – “I am lost; I am not who I thought”
CHAKRA – Brow
JUNGIAN ARCHETYPE – The Seeker
SIGN – Virgo
Searching and the soul
As cryptic as this step may appear to be, it is nevertheless one of my favorites of the journey. Searching is the step that begins the hero’s adventure at the deepest level, the level of spirit.
We thought the adventure was over—we set out from the tribe, found ourselves, and returned triumphant. We settled down and created a satisfying life for ourselves. In the previous step of Sovereignty, we were the hero become king/queen of our domain. But this is linear thinking. Life moves in a spiral and now we discover that there is much, much more, should we use our free will to go further.
As mentioned in last week’s article, not all feel moved to leave the castle they have built. This is their free will and there is no judgment in this. They end the adventure at its mundane level, having made a good life and cultivated contentment. Others discover that despite all their success and satisfaction, they are still unfulfilled at an inner level. Though they may not be conscious of it, by yearning they are using their free will to signal the soul to go to step six of Searching.
Searching is the catalyst step, the mid-point of the journey. The soul asks, “Are you ready for the second half of the adventure?” If we pay attention to the little voice within that keeps asking us if we are truly satisfied, if there might not be more to life than what we believed, and if we have truly discovered our calling and purpose, then step six can be a relatively smooth experience. We hear our soul, and we decide to respond by finding answers to its questions.
This is rarely the case, however, because no matter how you cut it, step six brings major life change. It is daunting, if not downright terrifying, to ponder doing anything that would unsettle all that we’ve built up. We are secure, and change undoes this security, period. And so, like in the Fisher King myth, an illness or a crisis is needed in order to push us out the door.
Our soul, in all loving appropriateness, does whatever it needs to do to get us on the spiritual path. If we have not responded to its whispers and taps, it has no choice but to throw a brick. This brick can show up in many forms: a serious illness, unconscious self-sabotage, and/or sudden disruption from an outside source—our partner leaves us, or we lose our jobs, for example. Welcome to the famous mid-life crisis! If we don’t learn to see the gift in the crisis, we will experience one crisis after another until we “get it.”
This time of confusion and disruption is designed to move us into searching. Through therapy, self-help, spiritual study, wandering, exploring our inner purpose, and many other forms, we are meant to find the soul. It can be very unpleasant, very pleasant, or more likely a mix of both. We may feel lost, abandoned, and stuck. We may also feel excited and driven to find the answers to life’s mysteries, rendered awestruck every time we do. Either way, we change. And our life changes right along with us.
The Searching phase lasts for as long as it takes us to consciously acknowledge the spiritual aspect of ourselves and our existence, in whatever form that takes. We must learn to hear the voice of our soul, and to surrender to its guidance. Only then do we begin to find resolution for the crisis or answers to the questions posed during seeking.
Searching and spiritual systems
Chakras: Step six of Searching is associated with the sixth chakra, the Brow/Third Eye chakra. This chakra is responsible for many functions, but core among them is our ability to seek out the inner guidance needed to access our spiritual purpose. The Brow chakra is most often associated with inner vision, imagination, and intuitive insight. Chakra six also contains the beliefs we hold about our true potential and divine nature.
By clearing any limited beliefs we may have about who and what we really are during the Searching phase, we open ourselves to our soul’s higher vision for our lives. If our beliefs are in alignment with our spiritual nature, then we move through step six of Searching with grace and relative ease, consciously seeking out the meaning of life and our purpose within it. If our beliefs are out of alignment, however, and we see ourselves as limited (which most of us do), then the Searching phase is one of seeming destruction as we work through our shadow beliefs until we can access the life-affirming visions that our soul intends for our future. These visions are held in the Brow chakra.
Archetypes: Archetypically, Searching relates to the energy of Jung’s Seeker. The Seeker can manifest positively and negatively. On the positive side, the Seeker asks us to find the higher truth regarding our life’s meaning and purpose. It gifts us with the feeling of yearning so that we consciously undergo the spiritual journey. On the negative side, the Seeker may become enamored with finding the Holy Grail, seeing it as something outside of ourselves. We then seek and seek and seek, never returning home to actually fulfill our purpose. The main trap for our Seeker is looking to fill the void from without rather than from within.
Once we answer the Seeker’s call of yearning and dissatisfaction, we move through the trials and tribulations that test if we have adequately prepared for the spiritual journey. Hence, we experience the many crises that occur during step six of Searching. We also experience some of the grandest adventures of our lives, ripe with revelation, beauty and transformation.
Astrology: Astrologically, step six correlates to the sign of Virgo, an Earth sign and seventh on the wheel. When one thinks of the Virgin one thinks of innocence or inexperience, yet the true meaning of Virgo is purity. There is the purity of making oneself into a Tabula Rasa in order to remake one’s life at a higher level. There is also the pure intent for personal transformation. That is the Virgin at work within each of us at a spiritual rather than mundane level.
Virgo seeks fulfillment through meaningful service. For this sign, there is no separation between who you are and what you do. Ultimately, this entails finding and fulfilling one’s soul purpose. Virgo drives us towards perfection, for she sees the spiritual potential within us. This can be a trap for us if we let the gap between where we are, and where we envision ourselves being, deter us on our journey. When we keep going, despite the seeming distance to the other side and all the blocks along the way, it is Virgo’s earthy practicality, groundedness, and competence that assists our Seeker in passing those spiritual tests mentioned. She helps us move through crisis with grace and inner strength.
To summarize, step six of Searching is all about consciously undergoing the spiritual journey from a place of free will, though it may not feel that way when we are in the midst of this dark night of the soul. This step, despite its trials, is profoundly life-affirming and deeply transforming. It strengthens us and prepares us for the journey ahead. It puts on the path that leads to our true purpose and our spiritual destiny.
When we finally grasp that there is guidance in all we experience during this step, something beautiful happens: we go down on our proverbial knees in thanks that we aren’t alone and that we don’t have to figure it all out by ourselves. That lands us in step seven, Surrender, which we will explore next week.