The Search for Truth and Fulfillment
- by Donald Webley
All my life, from the earliest childhood, I have been aware that there was something missing, something that life required for its fulfillment, something that seemed always outside my grasp.
It is difficult to say much more about this, except that even in my best and happiest moments, I knew that there was something lacking, something without which real happiness was not possible.
I very early discovered that no one around me seemed to notice this. Of course, all of this was pre-verbal — I could not have explained it as a child. Nevertheless, this perplexity was the enduring constant of my life.
I devoted myself to my studies, because it seemed clear to me that this was the way to get to understand something that I did not understand.
That was how I would find the answer to the fundamental questions — or so I presumed. And even in the midst of the most painful moments of my young life, I was completely certain that there was a Perfect Answer.
The problem, of course, was that I did not really even know what the question was! But since science is the dominant paradigm of the day, it seemed to me that that was where the answers presumably would be found.
Throughout high school, therefore, I dedicated myself to physics, the fundamental science. I wanted to be sure to get into the very best college, where, I was certain, the eminent professors in the physics department would have all the mysteries of life neatly solved.
In September 1969, full of hope and anticipation, I left my native Jamaica for the United States and one of its most prestigious institutions of learning, Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.
I was soon disappointed. True enough, there were very, very bright people in the physics department, as there were everywhere at Yale. But it quickly became obvious that they did not know anything more about life itself than did my relatives or high school companions.
I had nowhere to turn and was plunged into despair. I began reading even more voraciously and widely, but all to no avail. At the end of the day, I stood at the dead-end of my search, with nowhere to go.
One evening in October or November 1970, I was alone in my room when I was suddenly moved beyond body and mind and dissolved in Bliss beyond words.
It was a complete dissolution. I have no memory of the event itself, and I remember its Perfect Bliss only as it faded and as I returned to my "normal" state.
But a lifetime of accumulated mind had fallen away in a moment, and I knew that I had glimpsed and been touched by the answer to my question.
And even though I had read nothing about the esoteric spiritual traditions of the world, I somehow knew that my life's purpose was to find a spiritual teacher who would make this glimpse my stable realization.
From this event, I understood that the intellectual edifice that I had constructed and over which I had obsessed all my life was irrelevant. The "answer" was not to be found in classrooms, in laboratories, or in books.
I stayed at Yale until the end of the semester, but thereafter left to begin my search. I was first attracted to Zen Buddhism because, as I understood it, in that tradition there is "no reliance on books or letters". I had read enough.
Next: Suspending All Disbelief