I’ll find it when I know it

We’re all searching for something. Riches. Possessions. Achievement, social status, respect, the love of another person. It could be happiness or fulfilment. It could be peace, or challenge, or conflict, or comfort, or meaning.

Some are lucky enough to know explicitly, consciously, what it is they seek. Others are not so lucky. And those that don’t benefit from the dim light of the star of purpose often comfort themselves with the following thought: I don’t know what I’m searching for, but I’ll know it when I find it.

They have a blind faith that upon finding the thing they long for, they will recognise it as so. But will they? It’s like me deciding to go find a certain flower, knowing nothing but it’s name. If all I have is a name, how do I know that I’ve found what I seek? How do I decide what is and what isn’t the thing?

Another way to think about this is to flip the above comforting thought around. Instead of “I’ll know it when I find it”, what if it was, “I’ll find it when I know it”?

That puts the emphasis on the understanding of the object of search, not the activity of the search itself. For in the same way that you’ll never arrive if you don’t know where you’re trying to get to, you’ll never find it if you don’t know what it is that you’re looking for.