I took a bus yesterday from Tallinn back to Narva, where I am staying for the next couple of weeks. The bus journey started with the usual greetings from the driver. Then he said, “Relax and enjoy your journey. This is your time. When you leave the bus at the end of your journey, you will face your worries and troubles again. While you are on the bus, you have nothing to worry about. Sit back, relax and enjoy.”
When travelling I often feel that I am in between things – leaving behind the old and ready for the new. Going on holiday is always exciting and while on a plane, bus or train, it is time for that excitement to grow and fill you up, to enjoy a taste of adventure. At the same time leaving behind a noisy city and a routine life feels great and refreshing. You are in between the old and the new, the known and the unknown.
Travelling is the time which is entirely yours. Of course you may be travelling with your family and friends and it may not feel exactly that way but still it is. It puts you into a present moment – you are travelling, you are in it and you are very aware of it. You can read, watch a movie or chat with your travel companions but nevertheless all along you are aware that you are travelling. And not much else matters – you can’t change anything that you left behind and you can’t change anything that awaits you ahead. Simply because you are not there. You don’t have to worry about anything because there is no point and you know it.
Being present while travelling and not worrying about anything is such a liberating feeling! We can learn and live our entire lives as if we are travellers, with a sense of freedom and excitement instead of tiredness and boredom. If we see ourselves as travellers through this beautiful life, we then don’t have to worry about the past or the future, because we know we can’t change them, we are not there, we are now, we are travelling. We are free to choose adventures over routines, peace over stress, love over fears…. Simply because we are more present and more aware of ourselves, others, the world around us and it’s beauty.
If you really think about it, don’t you agree that we are travellers? We are travelling through time and space from the moment we are born to the moment we die. We are on a life long journey. Our mind may trick us and make us think that it is not so – we have jobs, which we call permanent (are they really?), relationships, families, houses, cars, we live in a certain country, we follow certain traditions and religions… What journey are you talking about? Traveller? No way! It is all set and permanent. But is it so?
The idea of permanence is an illusion. Nothing in the world, in the entire universe, is permanent. We, ourselves, are only alive because we are constantly and continuously changing. Our cells renew themselves all the time, the old ones die off and the new ones replace them. This applies to everything around us – we are never the same, we are new each moment and so is everything around us.
Our minds, or rather our egos, like the idea of permanence though, even if it does not exist. It gives a false sense of security and stability which ego craves. Even if our lives are dull and just a struggle to survive, we often don’t want to change anything. A change would mean stepping out of a comfort zone and no matter how painful that zone is, it is known. Nothing is more scary for the ego-mind than the unknown, the uncertainty. We feel safe when we believe in permanence. We know it, we know how to struggle but we often don’t know how to live and love. We are afraid to make this change – from struggle and fear to freedom and love.
When we see beyond the overprotecting ego-mind, we will understand that everything is temporary, including us, human beings. We are travellers and what matters at the end of the journey is not how much we’ve earned, how big our house is or how successful our business is, but how much we loved and gave along the the way. We are born to love – ourselves, our family, our friends, humanity and ultimately all life on Earth. That’s what makes us humans.
Gautama Buddha said, “It is better to travel well than to arrive”. Let us travel well and with love 🙂