We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps. – Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse
Have you read Siddhartha? So many realizations hit me throughout this short 150-page book. It’s a beautiful story that I will repeatedly read, each time learning a new and profound lesson.
Summary of Siddhartha
Siddhartha is a story of a man’s spiritual journey. As a boy, Siddhartha left his home and life-long religious practice, for a contemplative life. He then discards his spiritual quest to take on a life of the flesh.
He explores a romantic relationship to learn more about love and lives with a merchant to observe ‘the games’ that every day people play in work, love and greed. He loses himself in it this world, falling into the same temptations that he previously looked at with distaste.
Siddhartha eventually finds himself old, sick and desperately pulling at straws, thirsty for feelings of being alive.
He gambles irrational amounts of money and becomes addicted to the rush. He increasingly grows depressed and sickened by who he let himself become.
What is the meaning of any of this? Is there any point to living anymore? He considers death, wishing Atman (God) to ease him from the pain of his existence.
In deep despair, Siddhartha contemplates the river, and in it, he hears a strange sound that awakens the voice in him that was quieted as a result of his everyday life.
This voice awakens Siddhartha to the true beginning of his life. A life of suffering, rejection, acceptance, peace, and finally, wisdom…
Main takeaways from the first read:
“Words do not express thoughts very well. they always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.” Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
A creators affliction
I see this quote as an example of the writer’s affliction. Nothing written will ever feel ‘right’ compared to what is felt by the writer.
Part of the reason so many artists suffer is that the feelings that inspire the artist to paint every stroke or write every word are so much greater than the result. Even when the result is a masterpiece, it doesn’t compare to what the creator was feeling when they did it, therefore they’ll never feel fully satisfied with the outcome.
They might feel it’s worthy of sharing, but something in them knows it’s not quite right. I think this is what holds people back from practicing their crafts. Simply put, it’s terribly painful to not get it right.
But practicing your craft regardless of the outcome is what matters, and we desperately need more people practicing their crafts and more beauty brought into the world we live in today.
As I see it, art is the only way to bring that ‘feeling of something greater’ into a state of existence/form. Think about a time in your life when you had that feeling flowing through you, that feeling that something greater than you just helped you complete something remarkable.
Whenever humans do anything that is in line with this essence, you can feel it radiating. When a singer finally finds her voice, when a mother finds a moment of peace in parenting, when an athlete finds their way around the defense to shoot a game-winning shot, when two people come together and (even if for a moment) forget that the rest of the world is turning.
The feeling comes through all of us, and the creation of art is what pulls that feeling into a state of form and existence.
I don’t want to get too tripped up on wording, but as Siddhartha said it in his final awakening: the feeling is love.
I’m not aware of another word that can describe it, but I am sure that love is the most important thing, and I believe that if you found a way to channel that feeling into a creation, then you should never stop creating.
“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.” Siddhartha
The human’s struggle through existence derives from living in a world of polarities, which as Siddhartha notes, is why ‘Gotama’ or ‘The Buddha’ is forced to explain his teachings based on polarities.
The polarities of good and bad are present in us all, and we will continue to suffer until we’re graced with wisdom to finally understand the never-ending flow of life and connectedness of it all.
Until then, we will suffer through the illusion of the polarities in life: we will deem things as good or bad and suffer through our existence when events do not go how we imagined they would.
How silly of a life is that? How silly is it to resist the current moment when the only true reality is our current moment.
Nothing else exists but what is happening right now, and we will continue to suffer until we start waiting, observing, accepting and loving in each moment.
“But what can you offer me” said the beautiful Kamala to Siddhartha.
“I can sit, I can wait and I can fast”
How Siddhartha effected me
I saw myself in Siddhartha. I’m sure most people will.
He’s constantly seeking, and constantly judging others in a different stage of their journey to then ironically fall at the grips of the same turmoils and the same pain.
I’ve done as Siddhartha did when he lost himself in the vices of the people he just passed judgment on. I’ve done as Siddhartha did when he realized that his path caused him nothing but pain.
It frustrated me, but also made me laugh at myself- the way Siddhartha laughed at the universe when it brought life full circle to him through his painful relationship with his son.
What hit me while reading this book, is that for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel like I’m seeking anymore.
I haven’t felt the need to search for anything. All I feel compelled to do is observe and enjoy. I’m not seeking an answer from someone or somewhere else, I’m observing my own thoughts to allow for the answer to break through my mind’s chatter. (Sounds like its time for me to revisit The Power of Now)
Maybe Siddhartha brought me to this next step. Maybe meditation, breathing techniques, or The Power of Now taught me that. Maybe it’s from all the years of reading spiritual books.
This short book profoundly affected me, and if you have interest then I hope you take a moment to read it.
Have you read Siddhartha? There are so many more profound lessons throughout this book and I’d love to hear how it affected your life. Leave a comment or send me a message!
You might also like:
How to get what you want: here
A short story about faith, gratitude, and pain: here
A book review of The Zahir, by author Paulo Coelho: here
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed. Be sure to give us your email so you can get notified when a new post by OmniMinds is up!