Today I was in conversation with a friend about the experience of travelling, learning about a place, the people, culture, the sights and smells of a country compared to reading about it or watching a documentary about it.
I know Psychologists say if you immerse yourself and imagine things, your brain can’t tell the difference from when you are actually doing it.
However, there are some things in life that you can read about all day long but you will never “get” unless you actually experience them.
Riding a bicycle, having sex,travelling to a new city, piloting an airplane for the first time — these are all examples of this phenomenon. You can study all you want, but you never really understand what these experiences are like until you actually do them yourself.
Once a friend student asked me where was my favorite place in the world. Without much thinking it slipped out of my tongue: “airplane”. It was a moment to own up to; what was always there – my affinity for moving into space, preferably when it is unknown territory.
I remember a moment from Tolkien trilogy ” Lord of The Rings” when Frodo and Sam are set to leave the Shire. Sam stops Frodo by announcing: “ This is it. If I take one more step, this will be the farthest away from home I ever be.”
That one step “away from home” sets in motion their whole journey of personal transformation and revelation of the life meaning and purpose. That one step of leaving the comfort zone behind is the promise of transformation, a transcendence of individual consciousness.
It is this fear of leaving a comfort zone that makes it acceptable for most of us to live on auto pilot suppressing inner quest for life with meaning and purpose.