“That which we need the most will be found where we least want to look.” ~ Carl Jung

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Rumi (1207–1273), the famous Sufi and Islamic metaphysician, has a deep fondness for homely metaphors and humor.

He’s quite partial to the image of the drunk who, in many ways, serves the function of the fool who has access to deeper wisdoms than most other people.

Rumi tells the story of the drunk who’s one day found by a policeman as he’s looking frantically for something near a streetlamp.

The policeman asks the drunk what he’s looking for.

The drunk replies that he’s looking for a key.

The policeman stops to help him look.

After a period of unsuccessful searching the policeman asks: “Where do you think you dropped it?”

The drunk replies: “Oh, I think I dropped it over there,” pointing to a place a little distance away.

Flustered, the policeman asks, “Then why are you looking here?”

The drunk replies, “Oh, because the light is better here.”

To my mind, this story functions as a decent commentary on the quote from Jung above.

We all know the everyday mantra about the importance of going beyond our comfort zones.

“A person floating or falling on grass in a meadow in Boone” by Ashley Bean on Unsplash

I think it’s much more than that.

I think we each suffer deeply from a sense that we can be so much more than we currently are.

Very often we also know what we need to do in order to take our lives to the next level.

The only thing holding us back is fear.

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of rejection.

Fear of failure.

Fear of losing face.

Fear that our toxic fathers were right all along.

Fear that our toxic relatives were right all along.

Fear that succeeding at the thing that we’re meant to do will actually mean that we will have to change our perspective of ourselves — that we will have to change our self-narratives.

Fear of growth.

Fear of responsibility — for a radical shift in our abilities as well as self-narratives will mean that we will have to start taking greater responsibility in life, and that will mean that we will have to start growing up.

Fear of the pain associated with real growth, for growth is necessarily always painful.

Fear of fear itself.

“A shirtless woman in a paper wolf mask standing in front of a cloud of pink smoke in a forest environment” by Christal Yuen on Unsplash

And yet, the place we really need to go, the place we really need to be, is always necessarily found in that place where the light is not the brightest.

Where the demons lurk.

Where the risk of pain is great, while the risk of reward is even greater.

Where the twisted vines of the deep, dark forest threaten to always suffocate you and even kill you.

Where the creatures of the depths are multiheaded and multifarious, and killing one gives birth to two more.

And yet, when we embrace the deep, when we embrace the darkness, when we seek out the hardest path for the precise reason that it’s the hardest path, when we grow and grow and grow and then grow some more, when we’re unrelenting in our persistence as well as our patience, then that which we need the most reveals itself as the pearl that’s been hiding in the ocean’s depths all along.

Dr. Hasan Azad is a holistic masculinity coach who deals with all aspects of a man’s life: from Purpose to Relationships, from Finances to Health, from Spirituality to Religion. He has a PhD in Religion and Philosophy from Columbia University. You can find him on Facebook, as well as reach him via email here: ha2248@columbia.edu

and on the phone here: