Welcome to Mondo Samu - Questions and Answers about my self-work.

Mondō: "questions and answers"; a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and teacher.
Samu: Work service; meditation in work.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Don't leave home without it!

If you travel, particularly by airplane, then you know that it can be a very stressful event.  Getting ready, packing, planning and all the other things that go in to just getting out the door offer a variety of stressful scenarios.  Then there's the drive to the airport.  Depending on where you live, and what airport you use, the trip TO the airport can be very grueling.

And then there's the airport itself.   That bastion of befuddlement.  The continent of confusion.  The sea of stress. The isle of irritation.  The....well...you get the idea.   And that's to say nothing of the compounding of these issues if you are also overweight!

Thich Nhat Hanh touches on dealing with this kind of stress in "Savor" very briefly when he talks about "Standing-In-Line Meditation".  He offers a nice meditation for the security check line or baggage check line.

Mindfulness will serve you very well in the entire adventure though.  You can practice mindful mediations like the one above in any of the stressful portions of your travel I mentioned.

Another thing that I like to do, and which helps me immensely, is making sure I get to the airport extremely early.  I always allow myself three hours at the airport before my flight.  This allows me to walk calmly amid the sea of people running wildly to catch their flight.  I can't "stress" (sorry for the pun) enough what a difference this will make in your entire trip.  You'll not only find you are much calmer, and more able to deal with unexpected challenges that inevitably arise, but I believe that you will actually derive great pleasure from the fact that you are so calm when everyone else is stressed.

You'll find that when you are so calm, you'll be ready with a friendly smile for the stressed airport workers who are berated all day, and they will be very grateful for your kindness.  You'll spread your calm and joy to the people you encounter, thereby spreading your mindfulness to others who sorely need it.

In "Peace Is Every Step" Thich Nhat Hanh also talks about this.  He says he does the same thing with arriving at the airport early.  He also suggests using walking meditation to help with airport stress as well.  Most airports are large, offering ample opportunity for walking.  In the Atlanta airport, which is gigantic, I no longer ride the tram to my terminal.  I started taking Thays' advice and walking to my gate.  In ATL this can easily add up to a few miles!

As I write this, I am sitting in the airport waiting for an international flight. I did a little quick research and found an interesting item that I wasn't aware of.  Apparently a lot of airports now offer meditation rooms, or they may refer to them as quiet rooms, which people can use for meditation or prayer.  It seems they are offered to people of any, or no, religion for their spiritual or relaxing needs. VERY cool.  Check out the story on meditationgeek.org.  I was not familiar with this blog, but it looks like the author is also a "Savor" fan himself.  Skimming through while looking for this link, it looked like there were a lot of useful articles on meditation during stressful times there.

Another item I discovered while I was writing this post is minutesuites.com.  They apparently operate rooms by the hour, and not the bad kind that springs to mind when you hear that!  Meditation Geek mentioned it in the same article I believe.  Check this out, it might be a very big benefit for your state of mind during travel!

If you're traveling today, give some of these things a try.  I think you'll find it's worth it.  Just be sure that when you leave home, you bring mindfulness with you!

Travel safe!


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