December 19, 2013

Sitting with Siddhartha. ~ Echo Giesel Widmer

“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek to much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”

~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Fifteen years ago, I might have been called a seeker. I had a curious adolescent thirst for knowledge. I wanted to learn everything about everything. I wanted respect for the knowledge I attained because I thought that knowledge was the only thing that would advance my progression as a human being in this human experience. I asked lots of questions, I read many books, I took journals and journals of notes. I was prepared. I was an intellect. I knew words, I knew lots of them. There were power in those words.

But fifteen years later, I am a freelance writer and artist. Now I know that words are just words. Words are only thoughts projected. And once they are expelled from each of us, they begin to fall apart. Because no thought can be projected outwardly, yet objectively by any one individual. No matter how wisely you speak, your words…they are subjective. They are your experience, and no one else’s. As it is and always has been, we as humans tend to find gravity and stimulation in other people’s prosperity. We also tend to covet and envy others when we find our own paths are so dissimilar. We give power to ego and to envy when we do this. We stray from our path when we find comfort in following others.

Siddartha is the tale of a boy on the journey of self. Well-educated, wise in his words and quick in his step, he knew that the only way he would truly learn anything was to experience it himself. He knew that no matter what his teachers taught, no matter what his elders passed along, no matter his leading position amongst his peers…he would never find what he was looking for through someone else’s experiences.

“Your soul is the whole world.”

I can write a book, I can read a poem, I can paint a picture, but I cannot create wisdom in your mind about this world. Too frequently we look to others to muse us, to inspire us, to show us the way so to speak. But the only way you will ever find your way, is to be on your way.

You can’t expect to find enlightenment in someone else’s words, or someone else’s adventure, or someone else’s story. You have to create it yourself.

I am not saying that the literary world is irrelevant to the human experience. I am saying that it is a tool to guide you on your own way. Use words, use books, use characters to learn more about yourself, and then truly go inward and search for your own story. Every single thing that I will write or speak will be from my personal experience. It will evolve from a place deep within my own mind, my own consciousness, my own will. And my words effect me in a powerful way because they know my story. They have helped me create it and they define me. But my words cannot define others. They can rewrite them, study them, live by them but my words will not serve them.

“I am telling you what I have discovered. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

We confuse intellect with wisdom everyday. We, as a large community, are all guilty of it. Education doesn’t make a philosopher. Words do not make a story teller. Possessions do not make a success story. Experience, imagination, drive, ambition, and authentic individuality make a philosopher, a story teller, a success story.

So do not listen to me when I talk of my experiences and how they have changed my life, and what direction I took to get there. Because within our tangible world lies millions of intangible, obscure, and individual worlds that exist only in our minds. And I will never ever have the ability to seek a journey in yours, and you will never have the ability to seek a journey in mine. So why in the world would you read a guide book to a false vacation?

“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.”

Realize the power that you hold within you. Many people live an entire life searching for solace in other peoples worlds, never seeing the beauty and vastness of their very own. You alone have the key to unlock the magic that exists only within you. How I would love to understand your magic, and how you may envy my own. But never seek out someone else’s magic, it’s a empty desire. You must experience, you must feel, you must gain knowledge on your way. And then and only then will you find intrinsic harmony.

If you are open enough to go that far inward, and truly see the unity of all human experience. You will come to realize that we all are on a journey, that we all seek pure light, and there in you can come to celebrate in a world so far inward that no other visitor would know the path to it better than yourself.

Use words, use books, use intellect …..but only as tools. Nothing more, nothing less.

“He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value . . . he has given to me myself.”


1. Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha Published 1922.


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Assistant Editor: Zenna James/Editor: Bryonie Wise

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