At one point in my Los Angeles adventures I purchased a season’s pass to Disneyland. Every few weeks I’d head down with a friend and enjoy the rides. My favorite was Space Mountain – a futuristic, indoor, steel roller coaster. As far as roller coasters go it’s not exceptional, but what really makes it stand out is that you ride it in the dark. You don’t know when the ups, downs or sharp turns are coming. They catch you by surprise. It’s both frightening and exhilarating. But even though you are racing into the blackness at 60 miles per hour, it never becomes terrifying. Because we know that many highly intelligent and skilled people build the track with plenty of light to guide them. What’s unknown to us, was painstakingly determined and engineered by others for our enjoyment.
The future is always unknown. It is always dark. That’s it’s nature. But the nature of our mind is to re-engineer the liquidity of the future into something more solid and certain. To see light in the darkness. To predict, project and prophesize. It is extremely difficult to overcome this wiring and see the future exactly as it is – a dark sea of probabilities and possibilities. Unpredictable and unknown. Instead, we see our past projected in front of us like a movie screen. Our past experiences and conclusions made (however inaccurate), like candles, illuminate the dark spaces in our minds, revealing likely outcomes and giving us temporary comfort. As long as we play it safe and take little or no action, we can live in this delusion with little to contradict our foretelling. But the moment we step into the game, or onto the track, we risk shattering those delusions and coming face to face with our fears. Face to face with the reality of our lives.
People often say that ‘practice makes perfect.’ But I disagree. In my understanding, practice makes the path. Practice build the track. Practice ensures a degree of safety while on the ride. Practice grinds down the stones beneath your feet into a fine sand, softening any obstacles that you may encounter. But ultimately, when practice is done and the time comes to run full out on this path, you cannot guarantee safety. You cannot determine the outcome. Just like riding a roller coaster in the dark. There will always be surprises and hidden dangers. But the more time and care you’ve put into your path (practice), the better the chance that you will get through the darkness without being harmed and with new opportunities at your feet.
So after a day of path building on the hill behind my house, my family celebrated New Year’s Eve by sledding through the woods in the dark. Endless possibility awaits you in 2013. So don’t be afraid of the dark.
This video is a follow up to my video about Finding Direction in Life.
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