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The Journey Within: How Travel and Meditation Converge



I recently reconnected with a college friend which brought back memories of a time when we were immersed in exploring psychedelics and spirituality - a time when our search for life’s mysteries and meanings often eclipsed our academic pursuits. It was 1973, and I was just 19 years old. Back then, meditation was gaining popularity thanks to the fascination with Transcendental Meditation and influential teachers like Ram Dass and Alan Watts.


In those days, meditation was more than just a practice, it was a movement that resonated with our generation’s search for a deeper understanding and purpose. I began to practice daily meditation and was eager to explore its potential benefits. I approached it with an open mind, yet before long, I realized that meditation was - not so much a path to enlightenment for me – but more a valuable tool for nurturing my mental, and psychological well-being.



Over the years, my relationship with meditation has changed and I have had phases of committed practice, sporadic exploration, and long extended breaks. I’ve experimented with various techniques but found that traditional methods like sitting quietly or repeating mantras, while effective for some, just don’t resonate with me. My goal has always been to find a meditation style that aligns with my personality, rather than one that follows conventional approaches.


Now, more than fifty years since my first foray into meditation, I can confidently say that I have discovered a form of meditation that suits me uniquely. While it may not adhere to traditional practices, it encapsulates the fundamental benefits that meditation seeks to offer. My newfound meditation practice is travel.



Just as meditation takes us inward on a journey of self-discovery, I see traveling as its outward counterpart - a chance to explore the external world in a way that reflects and impacts our inner selves. Traveling has shown me that it's much more than merely moving from one place to another; it's an experiential journey that engages the mind, body, and spirit. Each trip becomes a moving meditation, offering a variety of experiences that enrich my soul and broaden my perspective. By immersing myself in new environments, cultures, and communities, I develop a deep sense of connection and mindfulness akin to the tranquility found in meditation.



As I travel through different countries, embracing the life of a wanderer, I discover not only the world but also aspects of my own inner being. Traveling, with its mix of uncertainties and delights, has become a discipline of mindfulness, awareness, and profound education.



When Carla and I venture beyond our comfort zones and leave behind our familiar routines and surroundings, we escape the hold of our habitual thoughts and behaviors. Like meditation, where the mind is encouraged to disengage from its constant chatter and seek inner tranquility, travel allows us to disengage from our regular life patterns, offering introspection and self-discovery.



Each time we explore a new place, engage with a different culture, or find ourselves in unfamiliar situations, it ignites a sense of self-awareness within us. We welcome diverse lifestyles and perspectives that push us to question our existing beliefs and biases. This exposure mirrors the insights gained through meditation, peeling away layers of the self to unveil a wider and more inclusive understanding of the world.



Travel serves as a catalyst, refreshing our outlook and allowing us to appreciate the diversity and beauty of the world more fully. It has a profound impact on our hearts and minds, fostering empathy as we engage with people from walks of life vastly different from our own. Through travel we discover the common humanity that binds us all, much like the teachings of meditation on the interconnectedness of all living beings. These moments of connection, whether through verbal exchanges or nonverbal expressions, inspire within me a deep sense of unity and empathy.



Travel, like meditation, is an ongoing journey that never really ends – it is perpetually unfolding. Even when our travels come to an end and we return to the familiarity of home, the mental and spiritual journey continues. The insights, experiences, and personal growth we experience while traveling remain with us, continuously shaping, refining, and advancing our perception of ourselves and the world around us.



For us, travel is more than a part-time activity; it is a form of meditation – a way to find inner stillness and grow as individuals. I wholeheartedly embrace travel as my newfound form of meditation and intend to continue this journey for as long as possible. The ever-changing landscapes and the stories that unfold with each trip creates a meditative rhythm that speaks to my soul.  I hope to continue dancing to this rhythm for many years to come.

 

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11 Comments


Wishing you both many years of dancing to this lovely idea of travel meditation!

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Guest
Feb 08

Hi Simcha Weinstein! Love your piece on meditation. I saw the Buddha in your eyes, on that platform in Perugia heading for Assisi :-) Much love to you and Carla from your Bavarian fellow traveler...Yahoo! Sabine aka Ma Deva Sananda.

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Guest
Feb 08

I loved viewing all your vibrant pictures and could see/sense how this type of environment could embrace meditation. For me, Instead of techniques, I've always found meditation to be more of a way of life that I take with me wherever I go. Like they say...Chop wood, carry water. I'm glad you've found something that works for you.

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Guest
Feb 07

Beautiful reflection, Simcha. Your journey echoes mine in many ways (and the hair from the 70s!). I see travel also as a kind of living meditation. We’re encouraged to be present all day long in unfamiliar surroundings. My practice is an amalgam of many techniques and experiences… one that seems to fit this particular human at this life stage! Happy travels

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Simcha
Simcha
Feb 08
Replying to

Thank you! The seventies were a fun time. We were young and so wide open. It's what I love so much about travel . . . it continues to keep us wide open, and now we have a little more sanity and to accompany our openness to life - a nice healthy balance. 😉 Your approach sounds wonderful. No doubt, being present in the moment is a beautiful way to go, and travel encourages that as constantly engaging and exploring "newness" keeps us thoroughly engaged in the now. Thanks for sharing and happy travels to you as well.

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Guest
Feb 04

I have been struggling for years to find a meditation that works for me. I totally understand how travel could touch you deep within and therefore bring you moments of clarity and openness. I am so happy for you. Keep going.

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Simcha
Simcha
Feb 05
Replying to

Thank you and best of luck on your meditation journey. I think when it's all said and done . . . ultimately, life itself can be seen as our meditation practice . . . cherishing every moment, embracing joy, and remaining fully present with those around us at any given moment. I have a ways to go . . . but, I'm working towards this one.

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