One of the things I can offer as a minister and a traveller is learning how to appreciate the earth and the people on it. It is like a meditation. You pause on the journey and in the pause, as you quiet down, another set of perceptions comes to you. You see the beauty in different landscapes. You see the faces of people more clearly. This all happens when you quiet down, and mindfully travel.
I have had the fortune and the patience to sit quietly on mountain tops in the Himalayas and in caves in Jerusalem. I have done meditations in the Pope's chapel and blessings with shaman at ancient sites in Cusco. I have twirled with dervishes in Konya, offered water blessings in Jordan and prayed Dzikr at a mosque in Ephesus. I have been to every kind of temple there is, from a sweat lodge to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and I have led travelers safely to all of them.
Spirituality, perceiving the world, is a maturational skill and it is easily learned I believe, through travel. For a short time, our normal rhythms and habits are taken away. For a short time, everything is done for us, food, travel, cleaning, and scheduling. We can put our energy into noticing the many ways life touches us. We can notice the wonderful way others do things. We can even notice how our prejudices and habits confine our ability to see and love the world. This is such a delightful way to hone-in on spirituality.
It is hard to define this way of travelling. Developing mindfulness is like opening an inward door we have previously been too busy to open. It’s like love, hard to define but you know it when you feel it.
For example, when we were in the Golden Temple (pictured above), a very large Sikh holy site in India, it could have been overwhelming. There is white marble everywhere, hundreds of people, the Sikh parliament buildings, a lake in the middle, and a kitchen feeding 5,000 people a day. But when we offered to help and were taken to the Kitchen to make chapattis, an unleavened flatbread, we were able to smile. Slowly we could notice others and allow them to notice us. We were all just making food for people to eat. We know how to do that. As we relaxed in a very foreign setting, we could appreciate the beauty and the cultural difference we traveled for. We could rest in our sameness and delight in our difference.
Come on a Mindful Journey where we can appreciate landscapes, both interior and exterior. Where we can eat beautiful food, see beautiful sites and fall in love with the beauty of this earth. Living more fully while we travel reminds us how precious life is. Isn't this why we choose to travel?