When Siddhartha met Buddha (and walked away)

I recently read Herman Hesse’s book Siddhartha, which tells the story of a man seeking enlightenment. From a young age on, together with his best friend, he sought spiritual teachers and mentors to learn and guide him. Because he was a very dedicated disciple of these different teachers, he excelled in many practices, but soon reached a point where he became dissatisfied with what they could teach him, and that despite their life-long spiritual practice, they still were far from enlightened.

He embarks on yet another quest for a worthwhile teacher—this time, the Buddha. He recognizes that the Buddha is indeed enlightened, and is everything he’s hoped to find in a teacher. Yet, he decides to not become a disciple of the Buddha, but instead let his own life be his teacher. And that’s the moment in the story that was most interesting to me—when he decided that the best way to evolve spiritually was not to obey the instructions of a teacher, not to follow in the footsteps of an enlightened person, but to instead find his own way.

To me this resonated with me because a lot of my inner work this year has been around finding myself again, building a relationship with myself, realizing how important is to spend more time with myself, instead of just being outward focused. I’m discussing this in today’s episode of the podcast.

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