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Most of us like the idea of being an explorer. The promise of adventure and discovery as we launch into the unknown. But then something changes. We have an opportunity to go somewhere new and off comes the explorer hat. We slip back into the old and familiar. It’s comfier to stick with what we know, we tell ourselves. It’s safe. It’s good enough.
I know about weighing the prospect of going somewhere new because I do it often. It can be as momentous as choosing to leave one career for another, or as mundane as trying out a new grocery store. Putting the old behind and going forward doesn’t always come easy. Some say it’s the risk factor that holds us back. Others cling tightly to their comfort zone. Still others find no compelling reason to break out of old habits. Even when they have a reason to change, it isn’t always simple to do.
We learn that the impulse to go somewhere new needs to have behind it more promise than a whim or fickle human will. It takes a feeling of the rightness of venturing into new territory in order to overtake the array of excuses that argue for staying put.
Do we consider that there are thoughts above our human outlook, thoughts that have a purely loving, divine source, that are intentionally with us and that intelligently lead us forward? We may not have expected something like that to come knocking, but we should be open to the possibility. If life is feeling sluggish, stuck in routine, it may be that a higher perspective is needed, one that is closer than we thought.
Over the centuries the ancient prophets glimpsed and shared liberating perspectives on life. Isaiah, for instance, lifted the thought of his hearers with the message that the Holy One, God, leads us in the way we should go. Might the impulse to go somewhere new come from God, the Giver of life, who wants us to have a clear sense of the potential and abundance of that life? Such an idea invites us to leave behind the ordinary concept of life as uncertain, short on purpose, dull, tracking downward, and instead discover the inspiring, unbounded nature of a life that is utterly spiritual and good.
That sounds enormously promising. But you might think it seems beyond my reach.
Perhaps, but that can change. In quietude and prayer, people find they can turn away from every day routine and the conception of life as anchored in a physical world, and start to feel calm and comfort and a sense that their thought is heading in a good direction. It’s opening to something that feels new, a spiritual sense of life, where stillness and harmony are in abundance, as though waiting to be experienced.
When I’ve had such inspiring moments I’m reminded of the vastly better state of thought in which I would prefer to abide all the time, and in a deep sense feel is closer to the way life really is. Conversely, I recognize that I’ve allowed myself to be more absorbed in a material life than I want to be. “In league with material sense,” wrote author Mary Baker Eddy, “mortals take limited views of all things.” A discoverer herself, Eddy knew the enormous difference it makes in one’s life to set aside limited human conceptions and aim for a higher, more spiritual perspective. Later on in her book about her spiritual discovery, Science and Health with Key the Scriptures, she wrote: “Mortals must look beyond fading, finite forms, if they would gain the true sense of things.”
It’s not hard to imagine what’s discernible and attainable when we’re willing to seek out some quiet time in today’s world and consider what the spiritual terrain includes – what’s invisible to the eye yet perceptible to the open thought and heart.
In the quietude of the Isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, the Revelator beheld “a new heaven and a new earth,” a dwelling place abounding in harmony and happiness. It was a glimpse of existence so heavenly yet so real that he devoted his life to letting others know what wonders already exist – a substantial universe that can be experienced.
What does this mean to us in our everyday lives? For one thing, it means there’s so much more to life than the material world shows us. We, too, have the capacity to experience the spiritual nature of a “new,” wondrous life. Second, and maybe the most important point, is the idea that it already belongs to us in all its harmony, vitality and permanence. We’re not disconnected from it. It’s an inspired state of consciousness – “the true sense of things.”
That’s reason enough to keep that explorer hat on the next time you feel an impulse to go somewhere new.