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Chapter 5. Travel Thinking or Redesigning Our Psychological Worlds

Chapter 5. Travel Thinking
or Redesigning Our Psychological Worlds

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

—John Milton

The traveler physically collapsed and groaned with relief as he gazed upon the white-haired old man who sat before him. He paused for a moment to cautiously look over the sheer cliff he had just climbed to reach the top of the mountain. He gazed upon the thick jungle beyond that had been his home for many days. “Old man,” he gasped, “I have traveled for days to speak to you because many have said you are among the wisest of all the living. I must know the true nature of life—is it good or is it bad?”

The white-haired old man responded with a question of his own. “Tell me first—how do you see life, my son?”

The traveler looked away, frowning, and said slowly and sadly, “I believe life is bad—people are selfish and basically cruel, and fate always seems anxious to deliver a disheartening blow.” Then he turned to the old man and asked, with obvious anguish in his voice, “Is this the nature of life?”

“Yes,” responded the old man, “This is the nature of life, my son.”

The traveler dropped his gaze, his face going blank, pulled himself to his feet, and solemnly began his descent back down the cliff.

A few moments later another traveler pulled himself up over the edge of the cliff and collapsed at the feet of the white-haired old man. “Tell me, old man of much wisdom,” he gasped, “What is the nature of life? Is it good or is it bad?”

The old man again asked the question, “Tell me first—how do you see life, my son?”

At this question the traveler looked hopefully into the old man's eyes. “Life can be hard, and the way is often difficult,” he started, “but I believe the nature of life is basically good. People are not perfect, but I see much value in the heart of each I meet—even those that would be called the most lowly. I believe life is challenge and growth, and offers a sweet victory for those who try and endure. Is this the nature of life?” he asked as he continued his hopeful stare into the old man's eyes.

“Yes,” responded the old man, “This is the nature of life, my son.”


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