We are born explorers. Explorers in a foreign place, full of potential for adventure and learning. The life before us is a tabula rasa, with ample room for mistakes and missteps.
More than ever, exploration is accessible by most. Ancient peoples migrated through generations, covering half a continent in this time span. We can now be on the other side of the world in a matter of a day or two. What was once a final solemn farewell is now “I’ll call you when I land”. That which was the great unknown is today a quick Internet search away.
There is no denying that we have a great history of movement, restlessness, and general fidgetiness. Yet, even with this natural inclination combined with modern conveniences, the larger portion of us chooses to sit still and stay put.
I once had friends who were traveling between our hometown and our college town. It was a short journey across the state of Georgia that we had all made many times. But somehow, we often found ourselves off on side adventures along winding dirt roads or in some previously unknown ‘town’. It was in one such situation that my friends pulled over to ask an old man at a mom and pop corner store for directions.
His answer, spoken as a fact of life, was “You can’t get there from here”.
Well, of course, no matter where you are on Earth, you can indeed ‘get there from here’. So why? Why couldn’t this man see around the corner? I believe he was conditioned to not allow himself to do so.
There are many surface answers, of course. Family, friends, work, my things, my pets, the house. But rarely do we accept that we all have our own deeper answers. I’m afraid I might be lonely, laughed at, shunned, treated like an outsider. The unknown can be terrifying. Where will I get my next meal? Where will I sleep tonight? Will I have money next week? What if I get lost?
It’s okay to feel these things. After all, these thoughts stem from our subconscious insistence on survival. We trust these instincts. They are tried and true. Safe. Just like our home is safe. CUT Our basic needs. The xxx pyramid shows these basic needs as merely a platform for our higher desires. Once these are satisfied, we are free to pursue greater ambitions. So we must acknowledge these fears as what they are: simple instinctive tools to keep us alive.
But there is something else to be trusted. We must learn to trust in the universe. That everything will simply be okay. Not meaning that there will always be a fairy tale ending. We are resilient creatures. Many times I have been terribly uncomfortable, drenched, freezing, starving, sleeping on concrete and other things that would worry my family. But no matter what, I was still alive.
Often, I have even noticed that just when my stomach is beginning to complain, a meal shows up. Or right as the raindrops begin to threaten me, a welcome shelter appears. This trust that everything is okay is essential to exploration. Not only a trust that all external, basic needs will be met, but also that you are free to safely dive into your mind and soul.
Have you ever felt like a stranger to yourself? At times, we think we see ourselves perfectly. We are so and so, who works at blah blah company, and lives in little unnamed town. But who are we really? And not just the good side, or the simple pretty side… but what about the nastier side? What are our true fears and desires? If we could do or be anything, what would be actually be? Not in the manner of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” but in a brutally honest and limitless manner.
ADD What if you are confronted to with a situation which puts you face to face with racism, the sex trade, extreme poverty, health crisis’, famine, the development of nature beauty. How will we really deal with these issues when we can literally reach out and touch those directly affected? How will we truly respond when it’s not just in the news, but on the street outside? To travel to places where you will witness these things is to bravely face your own true inner self, as much as these outward issues. A traveler may be surprised at his own unexplained anger, frustration, irritability, or even draw into himself altogether.
These are my thought on exploring the inner self by exploring the outer world.