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The Journey into Affirmative Introspection

The Traveler Within

By Val Jon

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is little doubt that most travelers would prefer to explore the terrain before them rather than the ground they’ve already covered behind them. It makes perfect sense to want to seek out new experiences rather than return to those we’ve already integrated into our travel memoirs. But according to Emerson, the destinations before us are far less important than those residing within us. And why they are of such importance, he asserts, is because miracles happen when we venture within ourselves and bring what we discover there out into the world.

This is a difficult concept to grasp because it flies in the face of how most people think about their travel plans, themselves, and the origins of miracles. Typically miracles are sought out not sought in. Every year millions of people embark on pilgrimages across the globe to holy sites and spiritual centers hoping to experience a miracle. How many of these pilgrims do you think would consider canceling their travel plans and instead seek out something within themselves that would produce the very miracle they were about to travel thousands of miles to find?

The reality of miracles happening due to our own inner resources is not something most people consider; after all, aren’t saints the only ones blessed with that kind of capability? Besides, what could possibly reside within us that would possess such power?

But what if Emerson is right, that there is indeed a sacred destination within us that possesses the power to evoke miracles in our lives? It may seem like a distant possibility, but what do you have to lose by exploring the notion? After all, the traveler’s credo is, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” And that first step in this case is what I call affirmative introspection. It’s a proactive behavioral practice in which we engage in a self-inquiry process from the positive point of view of looking for something wonderful within us, rather than scoffing at the possibility or seeking out evidence to prove it doesn’t exist.

In my last article I touched on four areas of engagement or inner destinations that pertain to this introspection process; they are our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. The destination I believe Emerson is pointing to within us is somewhere between the latter two, the nexus point between our heart and our soul.

But how do we access this profound resource of beauty, aliveness, and grace dwelling within us? And how do we bring it into the world so it can produce miracles? The next time you watch a sunset, or a lightning storm, or peer up at the golden moon, or close your eyes and feel the cool wind upon your face, step out of time for a moment, forget about you as you’ve known yourself, and open to affirmative introspection by asking yourself this: “How is it I can behold this remarkable beauty before me unless it already exists somewhere within me?” And once we open to what is wonderful within us, how do we bring about miracles in the world, you may ask? Share the experience of beauty, aliveness, and grace moving within you with just one other human being and watch the miracles begin.

Val Jon Farris is an award-winning author and Huffington Post columnist.  He is also a Spiritual Anthropologist and Professor of Mayan Philosophy. Val Jon hosts expeditions to sacred sites and facilitates retreats and workshops for those interested in exploring the wonders of the outer world as well as the mysteries of the inner self.  Feel free to email him with questions, shares or comments at:


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