Last week I had the pleasure of visiting and experiencing Machu Picchu - one of the seven wonders of our world according to a worldwide Internet poll taken in 2007. Its location high in the mountains of Peru, its terracing, buildings and the sheer size of the rocks in its construction can make one wonder how was it humanly possible to construct?
Yet, instead of marveling at what man can do with collective effort and know-how, it’s unbelievability is such that many minds jump to conclusions, including the belief that aliens must have been involved. Similar to the unbelievable accomplishment of putting a man on the moon - many still believe it to be a hoax.
Why is it that our minds are so uncomfortable with the unknown, that we can just fill the gaps with comfortable stories?
The mind’s primary Why is simply to fill the uncomfortable gap with something in which the mind can comfortably believe in, may it be true or not. It’s the classic: “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it”.
Rather than deal with uncertainty, the mind prefers to dismiss things hard to comprehend assigning them to “the hoax” category. But some things are too grand to be a hoax, like successfully landing a manned spacecraft on the moon - not once, but six times.
Why Visit a Wonder?
How about the gift of humility?
How about the gift of opening to possibilities beyond our current mental limits?
To know that there are questions that will likely never be answered and to be okay with it; also to elevate our comfort in the unknown future, to marvel in it and to be excited about being a part of it- a part of life itself.
The great English writer G.K. Chesterton wrote of the freedom enjoyed by the poet, the artist, who can celebrate mystery and be at peace with it - as opposed to the engineer who lies awake at night uncomfortable with not knowing.
Consider the saying: Knowledge is Power. We can all certainly appreciate how powerfully helpful knowledge has been in our lives. However, the statement invites the question:
Is not knowing a weakness?
Does not knowing make us power-less? It seems that for many, not knowing exposes vulnerabilities and signals danger, rather than serving to humble and open them more to grow and learn.
Science has answered so many of our questions, serving us in previously unimaginable ways, but fortunately there are still wonders among us that invite us to imagine possibilities beyond what we currently think possible; both in the world around us and within us. The unknown future holds all of our possibilities and presents to us in each new day either a glorious new adventure to be had or another unknown threat to survive.
Embraced Mysteries from our past open us up to the mysterious unknown future - it is thus our mindset that will either fuel our fears of potential dangers or fuel our excitement for potential possibilities.
If the unknown causes you fear, if you find yourself making up stories, consider a reset to your mindset. Embrace the unknown, the wonder of it all and turn that anxiety into excitement. Paulo Coelho beautifully depicts this idea in his book The Alchemist: “People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want. We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property, but this fear evaporates when we understand that our life story and the history of the world are written by the same hand. Live the present moment as you live the lessons of the past and the dreams of the future.”
Wishing for you a life filled with wonder - whether you visit one or not – and hoping you will receive this week’s post as a reminder to you of what’s possible in this great adventure we call life.
Make it a Wonder-Full week!