Travel and Meditation February 11, 2021 – Posted in: Blogs
Travel is so much more than going from Place A to Place B. Along the way, you become an accidental sponge, soaking up the experiences which become a part of you. Not all of them are ‘enlightening’ or ‘soulful’. It can be as simple as a steaming bowl of Maggi in the freezing cold of the Himalayas. Or playing a friendly game of poker and bashing that simpleton of the group who can’t maintain a straight face to save his life. So, how can these seemingly mundane experiences compare to meditation, bolded and underlined? How can you equate travel and meditation?
Understanding the end-goal of meditation
People think meditation is something grand, to be followed by yogis and older people who’ve experienced everything else in life. Think about it. How many young people today talk about spirituality or higher purposes?
But if you read up on the art of meditation, you’ll realize it is more about being present in the moment than “elevating into contact with a higher being” or “calming your racing thoughts”. These can be side effects, if you sincerely believe in these traditions, but they cannot be the objective of meditation. The Sanskrit word for meditation is dhyana which is seemingly easy to understand: it means ‘attention’.
But underlying to this simple meaning is a deeper concept, or rather, a deeper question: how attentive are you to the world around you? When was the last time you really paid attention to your environment? If you’re someone who likes to tear through the wind on your bike at thrilling speeds, you might say, “Yesterday, when I took a ride on the highway.”
And if you think these two things are unrelated, think again. If you are soaring at these speeds, you cannot afford to let your mind scatter, for a terrible crash might be in your fate. You need to be fully immersed in the moment, eyes on the road, focus on handling the bike and racing ahead.
Hang on, you don’t need to fire up your engine like crazy to get the point
There are a few things that happen to you when you are travelling, either short distances or longer trips. Unknowingly to you, they entrench you in a meditative state. That’s why people associate taking a vacation with regeneration or rejuvenation. Here is why we think travel and meditation go hand in hand:
Leaving familiarity behind
Once you have decided to go on a trip, you’ve made a pact with the universe to enter unfamiliar territory. No matter if you’ve been to the place hundreds of times before. Traveling is inherently a game of variables. Every moment is something new, be it a flower that’s meekly peeking from a ditch that wasn’t there before, or a new Misal Pav place that’s been newly established. Nothing can ever be the same two times in a review. How can one guarantee the sunshine will be just as intense or the traffic will be just as light as the last time?
This is one of the premises of meditation: having the courage to venture into a new experience by leaving the craziness of daily life behind.
Living in the moment
This is actually one of those moments when peer pressure is actually good. When you set off on an adventure with your gang, everyone wants so badly to have a great time, you automatically end up putting in all your effort into forgetting everything else and just having a blast.
There are worry warts and enthusiasts in every group and they balance out. Your attention is laser focussed on just what you are doing here and now; neither on the mischievous past nor the tantalizing future.
You’re in the care of God’s own creations
Nature has no master. Nobody created mountains and forests (although human hands may have worked on the trails leading up to them). You are closest to yourself when you are closest to nature. There are no miseries of city life there, nor clocks that govern your moods. You eat when you’re hungry and rest when you’re tired.
This is nature’s way of resetting you to your ‘default settings’. Any ruts you may have been in, or negative habit patterns you may have had are cleansed automatically.
This is another one of the premises of yoga and meditations which are used to mend any faults in your body system and restoring any invisible damage.
You may or may not be convinced, but…
Travelling is great fun anyway. Do it for your own reasons, but do it. Intentionally, deliberatively. Maybe we’ll cross paths sometime. Come say hi. You can always make out Trip N Me family members by our designs and colors.