Anatomy of an Explorer

Anatomy of an Explorer April 21, 2023

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava

I have always been adventurous. I’ve written about it several times before but the phrase that emerged is Leaning Forward. If all goes well, that will be the title of my next book in the fall.

I don’t know if this will be coherent when I finish, but my hope is to communicate what I’ve been learning over the past 6 years since I started my deconstruction.

Most of us are born and raised, accepting the beliefs of the people around us. They shape our worldview and, in many ways, project their beliefs about god, spirituality, and politics onto us.

But a part of us always longs for adventure. We want to discover what we don’t already know, but we are afraid that we will discover the wrong thing or forget about the things that we care about most.

For me, the last few years have been a journey of discovery and here is what I’ve been coming to understand.

Adventure Can’t Be Scripted

When I went to Taiwan to visit my son, I was angry the first few days because everything that I had planned didn’t work out like I expected. I missed the fact that I was already having an adventure because I was too in love with my itinerary.

Adventures are not on the well traveled road of predictability. They are what happens when we are invited to leave the main road and see what’s over there. When we ask the questions like “What is that?” or “I wonder what that means?” or “How does this work?” we open the door to mystery and discovery and understanding.

Recently, I asked “I wonder if I could publish a book?” The answer was “yes,” and the book is being released May 9th. It was different than I imagined, but I discovered so much and was able to take what I love doing to a new level.

The Truth Will Remain

All of us worry when we start to do something, like deconstructing our faith and religion, if we are making a mistake. But it’s the same feeling we have on every adventure.

When we discover something new, it shifts our paradigm and understanding. At first, we are afraid that what we already know we will be erased and we will be left with nothing to center our life around.

Adventurers know that discovering new things often does the work of disproving things we formally thought were true. Sometimes it also helps clarify what we previously knew. And at other times, it totally confirms what we thought was right.

The things that survive are the things that are worth “believing.” If we lose our faith because we broaden our horizons and investigate further, then we were probably devoting our life to a misunderstanding.

In my new novel (The Diner), George states, “The Universe doesn’t stop to debate misunderstandings. It simply keeps moving forward toward truth, progress, enlightenment, and evolution. It is led by adventurers that understand this journey can’t be scripted by the patterns of the past.”

Truth Doesn’t Need Defending

Most of us understand the way that we have been conditioned to behave. We adopt the beliefs of our origin, then we spend the rest of our days defending that narrow set of beliefs and practices that were passed to us.

The unfortunate side effect of this behavior is that we tend to stop growing wiser, because we believe we are already right and God is on our side. History shows that this approach only eventually leads to violence because if we are right, then they must be wrong. And to prove that they are wrong, we come to see them as dangerous.

I’m not encouraging you to be reckless in your pursuits. I love the fact that we have unbelievable access to information and we need to proceed responsibly. But for me, this means a steady journey toward what I don’t already know.

Sure, it frightens me to move forward and grow and change and heal. But once I take the next courageous step, I’m able to see better what I will soon discover. When I finally do return home to rest, I am grateful for the new understanding, respectful of the past, and optimistic about the future.

Be where you are,
Be who you are,
Be at peace.

Karl Forehand

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava:

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