What Happens When You Go from Being a “Seeker” to a “Finder”?

Jeffery Martin has studied people who awaken. He has evaluated the experience of over 2,000 people who have had enlightenment experiences, and identified the most common characteristics of this type of experience. He summarizes these in his book The Finders (Integration Press, 2019). The term “Finder” refers to crossing the boundary from being a “Seeker” of truth to being a Finder.

An unexpected discovery was that the experience is different for some people than for others. There are four basic states or “Locations” in which those who awaken find themselves. People who jump into awakening land in one of these 4 locations. They are all characterized by what Martin calls “fundamental wellbeing,” the sense that everything is basically okay. This replaces the anxiety and uncertainty in which many people live their pre-finder life.

I have interviewed Jeffery on several occasions, as well as watching his presentations, attending his conferences, reading his book, taking his basic course, and having a series of personal dialogs with him about these states. Below is a summary of the four basic Locations drawn from his book, as well as my own terms that describe each one.

Location 1 – Quieting the Self

  1. Location 1 by Jeffery MartinFundamental Wellbeing. Finders have a newfound sense that everything is fundamentally fine. It is usually in the background, but occasionally comes to the foreground. It might be disturbed by external events such as the death of a loved one, job challenges, relationship or financial upheaval. However it returns, or can usually be sensed despite the setback.
    2. Mind Chatter. Finders experience a reduction in the mind chatter of the narrative self. Your “inner commentator” quiets down. A sense of spaciousness or inner stillness is felt.
    3. Present-Centered Awareness. Rather than past and future, Finders have greater focus on the present. Memories arise less frequently. As a Finder, you have less attachment to the story of your life.
    4. Indifference to Stories. Finders notice a reduction in interest in all stories. This manifests as less interest in the news, TV series’ and the dramas of people around you.
    5. Reduction in Negative Emotions. A range of positive and negative emotions is still experienced, but negative ones are transient and lack impact.
    6. Self Beyond the Physical Body. The sense of self of Finders becomes larger and expands beyond the physical body. A feeling of connection between the external and one’s internal world is experienced.
    7. Reduced Attachment to Outcomes. Goals can change. Finders have a sense that everything is perfect just the way it is, so they have less attachment to goals. For a period of a few months to two years, they have reduced motivation.
    8. Pain. Finders have a reduced experience of physical pain.

Location 2 – Positive Emotion

  1. Location 2 by Jeffery MartinFundamental Wellbeing. Fundamental wellbeing moves further into the foreground the further one progresses in Location 2. It eventually infuses experience most of the time.
    2. Mind Chatter. Finders see a further reduction in the mind chatter of the narrative self, as well as a reduction of the emotional content of those thoughts that remain.
    3. Present-Centered Awareness. Deeper immersion in the present moment is a characteristic of Location 2 Finders.
    4. Dissolution of Conditioning. This Location produces a reduced need for approval by others, and acting in ways that elicit it.
    5. Increase in Positive Emotions. Negative emotions are less able to draw Location 2 Finders in; they have diminished emotional reactivity. Emotions are primarily positive.
    6. Dissolution of Boundaries. The boundaries between “me” and “other” disappear; the classic spiritual experience of “nonduality.”
    7. Intuitive Inner Sense of Direction. Location 2 Finders make intuitively based decisions when faced with choices. Actions seem like part of a great universal order which is moving human beings.
    8. Pain. This Location produces further reductions in the experience of physical pain.

Location 3 – Radiant Love

  1. Location 3 by Jeffery MartinFundamental Wellbeing. For Finders in Location 3, fundamental wellbeing is not only in the foreground, but radiates out all around them.
    2. Mind Chatter. Location 3 produces an even greater reduction in the mind chatter of the narrative self, though it may be noticed more. While suffering is almost completely absent, that which remains is noticeable. Anything that disturbs fundamental wellbeing is difficult to ignore.
    3. Peace and Peak Wellbeing. Location 3 Finders have a sense that this is the peak of wellbeing that humans are capable of experiencing.
    4. Profound Sense of Truth. Finders in Location 3 have a sense of certainty that this is the ideal state.
    5. Positive Meta-Emotion. One dominant meta-emotion remains. It is a mixture of compassion, joy, love, gratitude, awe. It is a near-constant experience. Love is felt as divine, universal and impersonal.
    6. Union and Connectedness. This Location produces a sense of oneness with the All That Is. The pinnacle experience in many religions.
    7. Service and Outcomes. While having little need of approval from others, people in Location 3 often engage in service, or facilitate others’ awakening. However they are detached from the outcomes.
    8. Pain. This Location produces even further reductions in the experience of physical pain.

Location 4 – Unfolding With the Universe

  1. Location 4 by Jeffery MartinPeace and Wellbeing. In Location 4, peace and wellbeing are an order of magnitude greater than other locations.
    2. Mind Chatter. The narrative self has entirely or almost entirely disappeared. Finders in Location 4 often describe it as “freedom.”
    3. Present Moment. Constant and unwavering immersion in the present moment is a characteristic of Location 4.
    4. Disappearance of Agency. These Finders have no sense of agency, or the ability to make decisions. Life is unfolding and you are watching it happen.
    5. Disappearance of Emotion. The experience of emotion disappears in this Location.
    6. Nonduality. There is no sense of a separate self. The universe, speaker, hearer, are all one.
    7. Memory Deficits. Location 4 Finders often have an inability to recall scheduled events. Memories aren’t being stored in their minds, especially those to do with stories.
    8. Approval. This Location is characterized by a complete disappearance of need for approval from others.
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