We think hunters are sexy, but ancient people had a different approach to success
You are on the trail of your dreams. You are chasing the life you want. You are in pursuit of happiness, meaning and nice things.
You are the hunter.
But are you?
Is this the right way to think about it? It’s a nice story, but is there maybe a better way to think about it?
Maybe you’re not a hunter. Maybe you’re a lover.
I mean, the ‘hunter’ story is nice. Maybe you see yourself in the forest, little feather in your cap, on the hunt for the things that will bring you happiness.
They are elusive. They move with soft, padded little feet. They flit quickly through the under-growth and avoid your traps. They can smell you coming and run away as fast as they can.
The only way you can catch them is to be smart, strategic, disciplined and a little bit courageous. They are the keys to success.
That’s one way to think about it. Call it the hunter story.
Let me give you another. We can call it the lover story.
You are lost in the forest. It’s a big forest. Everything you want is not some small woodland animal, but is your lover – your sweet beloved. They are also lost in the forest.
And you hunger to be together again. You search for each other desperately. As much as you yearn to be with them, they yearn to be with you. As much as you search and call their name, they are searching and calling out for you.
And as much as you grieve to be separated from the life that you truly want to be living, that life is grieving for you too.
That’s quite a different way of looking at it, isn’t it?
But it’s not very fashionable to think about it like this any more. Hunters are sexy. People who are lost in the forest… not so much. It’s might be a bit poetic, but it’s not sexy.
And so we like to think of ourselves as hunters. And when we catch what we are hunting for – when we achieve some success or victory – then we like to put it down to our skill as a hunter – our strategy or our discipline or our courage.
It is definitely not because our prey was desperately seeking our nets.
But in more ancient times, we thought about it differently.
Take this passage from the 13th Century Persian Sufi poet, Rumi:
When I run after what I think I want,
my days are a furnace of distress and anxiety.
If I sit in my own place of patience,
what I need flows to me, without pain.
From this, I understand that what I want also wants me,
is looking for me and attracting me.
There is a great secret in this for anyone who can grasp it.
“What I want also wants me… there is a secret in this for anyone who can grasp it.”
The beautiful life that you imagine on your best days – that life is searching for you.
But many of us cannot accept this. Because if we do, it means that we have to accept that we are not in control of our fates. We have to allow a role for something else – perhaps some greater intelligence or a guiding hand – collaborating on the course of our life.
That means we have to give up the illusion (and it is an illusion) that we are in complete control. Not many people have the courage to do that. Our egos freak out.
And so it remains a secret that not many people will grasp.
But if you can find the courage to admit that you are not a hunter – that you are not in complete control – if you can admit that some days you are just a lover hopelessly lost in the forest…
… then you might be surprised at what comes looking for you.