In India there was a Sadhu who lived simply and shared his wealth of knowledge with the people who sought him out. He lived what is called a spiritual life devoted to what he had always believed was his path in life. It was how he defined himself and he helped many others come to better understand themselves. They would come to him with questions about their life and seeking and benefitted from his words and wisdom.
Over the years his awareness and understanding of things also grew for interacting with others was in many ways an enriching and rewarding practice. But he was not fully satisfied with his life in that he could still perceive that he lived mostly from his ego-personality rather than through the deeper part of himself. He desired to live only through God and was willing to let go of everything in his life to achieve that. Yet the more he perceived his separation from God the more frustrating it was for him and this perceived state of lack was always a source of uneasyness for him. He wanted more and began to feel that his teachings had limited value.
One day he set out alone into the wilderness with just the basic necessities for survival. His intent was to take time out from his life and move into an expanded state of being and understanding so that he could then share that with the world. He settled into a cave overlooking a valley of trees and meditated and prayed for hours everyday and lived isolated and away from civilization and people. Days turned into months and months turned into years until his former life in service to others became a faint memory. Like something from a dream. And he was aware enough to realize that in all of his yearning and searching he had not moved closer to his goal of becoming more God-like. He desired ego-death. Annihilation of any limitations.
And one day he was sittting in quiet contemplation and looked down at his folded hands in his lap. His skin was wrinkled and aged. And it occurred to him that his act of moving away from the world was reflective of his whole approach to finding God. And how his perception of insufficiency was a reflection of his lack of self-love he had for himself. That God was found in the world, in his movements within the world and he realized that his choice to leave the city was not an expansive one for him. With that he returned to the city and took up his former role as teacher but with a new approach to life: to allow life to happen and surrender to it and to open awareness to encompass All-That-Is rather than trying to deny some part of himself. He chose to love himself completely and embrace every part of himself.
And with that choice his life blossomed and his awareness expanded. His life became a reflection of essence.