Looking over an October, 2006, journal entry when I was planning a talk to the Newcomer’s Club, I see that I was pondering the reasons why there is often fear and hesitation about striking out on one’s own, to see the world in a very freeform and solo way. I narrowed things down to the three ongoing questions which a human being is always trying to solve – whether at home or away.
1. How can I meet my needs?
2. How do I fit into this social situation?
3. What is to become of me?
In familiar surroundings, these questions don’t intrude into consciousness because the routines are established, the social order is understood, and the ultimate destiny question doesn’t pop up until major change occurs.
But in travel, any uncertainty is likely to set off all three questions clanging at the same time. Many people are not accustomed to the kind of inner analysis that would identify the new, heightened anxiety, so they tend to blame their uneasiness upon travel itself and not on the fact that they don’t like to be thrown into an undefined social situation. Or one where everyone else has a partner, or friend, as on a cruise with mostly couples, when they are solo. So, they simply don’t go unless someone comes with them.
Traveling as I do causes all three questions to constantly need answering, every single day, so one has to have gained a level of self-confidence about taking care of that business. The Inner Self, which is the one who becomes anxious about each equation, must trust the Outer Self to take care of its ongoing needs, so that it will settle into the adventure and not worry about survival. This requires a deeper knowledge of one’s own self and thus, the insecurity of travel is a wonderful school for the development of these qualities.
So, routinely leaving your comfort zone gives your Outer Self a chance to learn, excel and become comfortable with its own abilities. It’s easier to become acquainted with yourself when that’s all you have to count upon. A sheltered life won’t get you very far in the maturity department.
But now that I’ve been at home for a long period of time, when those three vital questions retreat to the background, I find that they morph into referring to the Inner Life. I still want to know the answer to those three questions, but they take on a deeper, spiritual meaning that keeps me constantly pondering and evaluating.
1. How can I meet the needs of my soul? Am I growing? Am I happy?
2. How am I doing as a member of Humanity? Am I contributing?
3. What shall become of me? What is my ultimate destiny?
Now, it’s the Inner One who must guide the physical body through the challenges of life on the material planet and get across the minefield of almost unlimited choices in one piece. Just as in the outer sense, it appears that a human being can only be at ease and happy, if they have some solution at hand, moment by moment, to these three simple little questions. Spiritually, as well as Practically.
We can’t escape them simply by staying home. We can’t leave the Inner Life behind simply by leaving home. Wherever we go; there we are!