Wild Azalea blossom
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
"Just because a man lacks use of his eyes does not mean that he lacks vision." - Stevie Wonder
It has been said that the journey outward and the journey inward are one and the same, meaning that as we grow and mature spiritually we see and appreciate things on ever deepening levels. But figuring out how to go about this growth is difficult - in fact it seems that unless I am faced with some crisis I will not really try new things. I merely experiment with different variations of what I already know because so I can feel "safe." And going to new locations and using the same old attitudes and behaviors I have used before will ultimately net the same results I have always gotten. Wherever I go, there I am. Wayne Dyer said "If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change." But how do I go about getting new vision if I cannot get it by changing locations?
One thing for sure is that the false sense of security that comes from exercising variations of the same old behaviors doesn't lead very far. If day after day I do what I did, then day after day I will get what I got. And since I do not know what I do not know, this stagnation that I justify by seeking the security of the "known" leads to bad places. It leads to holding contempt for things that I know nothing about, it leads to building barriers against anything that would threaten my illusion and it leads to ever deepening ignorance of myself and the world around me. And thus, without making fundamental changes to the way I view myself, this world and this life a change of location is no change at all.
The question really becomes "How do I grow without waiting for some catastrophe to force me out of my comfort zone?" First we have to realize that change is not an event. It comes about over time in increments so seemingly small that it is only every once in a while that I notice a situation where I acted dramatically different than I have in the past. I must voluntarily take myself out of my comfort zone and take actions that expose me to new ideas and circumstances where I can force growth on myself in small increments. These seem foreign and risky, and they always will because before I experience them I lack the vision of what that growth will look and feel like. In short, I must make myself vulnerable and give of myself at levels I never have before. Does the notion of death make me uncomfortable? Then I need to go volunteer and help others who are going through the end of life transition. Am I afraid of poverty? Then I need to get to know and assist those that are poor. Is there another race or creed that I dislike? I need to attend their social functions and come to understand them as they are. Are we struggling with an addiction or eating disorder? Then we need to get around those that have already successfully done it so we can learn what they did.
Often, what we are afraid of disguises itself as things we "hate," so whenever we find ourselves intensely disliking something it is time to take a closer look. I am not talking about flavors or fashions - I am talking about circumstances and people. And the learning brings the new outlooks, the vision, the awareness and the appreciation that we need to grow. Putting forth a little effort toward the things we are uncomfortable with on a daily basis leads us to a place where we do not have to face misery to grow.
Today, may I face life head on.
Have an awesome Monday !!