Hawaiians have always been willing to venture into the unknown with confidence that they could deal with whatever they might find. On my first Makani Kai helicopter tour over Oahu however I wasn’t so sure about my own courage! When I was twelve I fell forty feet out of a tree, having an out-of-body experience on the way down and landed flat on my back almost breaking it! Ever since then I have been really wary of heights. As I stepped into the helicopter I felt anxious and definitely not courageous! Nonetheless I found it which just goes to prove that courage is what you do and not what you feel!
When we were young we have all been afraid of things in the dark. What is in the dark is threatening by its unknown-ness. Just because we have gotten taller as we have accumulated years does not mean that we have gotten wiser or that we have lost our instinctive fear of the unknown. Growing in understanding ourselves can be confusing. Coming to understand the workings of our inner life requires willingness on our part to explore, to question, to assume that there are things about which we are ignorant. Admitting that we “don’t know” is not a sign of weakness just as feeling anxious does not mean that one is not courageous. One of the major obstacles to growth is our assumption that we know all that we need to know about ourselves.
Often because we “feel” certain things we think that “feeling” means “understanding”. Does being afraid mean that we should avoid what frightens us? Of course one can give in to the comfort of the familiar and simply embrace the mediocrity of comfort. When one is comfortable then nothing discomforts us, and when nothing discomforts us then we don’t grow. Our lack of growth can be a manifestation of various things… lack of curiosity, being in the grips of timidity, an instinctive fear of change. In the end however we are held hostage by what we don’t understand about ourselves, by what we don’t understand about our motivations and about what certain emotions REALLY mean about us.