Traveling through Hong Kong, Beijing and Taiwan with my girlfriend, Christine, I am reminded of, not only, how enjoyable it is to directly experience new people, places, cultures and beliefs, but also how stimulating travel is to our personal growth and development. Travel is one of the fastest and most effective ways to gain insight into yourself and the world.
The Law of the Triangle states that when two opposites come together, there is the potential to create a third entity. By encountering new and different stimuli you are prodded into examining your previous beliefs. Conversely, when there is no new stimulus, there is no incentive to change – you tend to stagnate.
By traveling you can consciously act to discover differences which have the potential to create new perspectives for you, as well as seed new ideas in others. Travel is an accelerated learning course, in which you are motivated to expand and modify your previous assumptions about life.
Every great spiritual teacher has spent at least some time traveling. While obviously the teacher desires to share his or her knowledge, which is made easier by traveling, there is also the direct stimulating effect of travel.
Buddha’s life story of forsaking the cloistered walls of his father’s kingdom to explore the world is a case in point. He was unaware of the poverty and lack of wisdom that prevailed in his father’s kingdom. Only by travel did this knowledge reach him and inspire his quest for enlightenment, which he later shared to influence billions of people.
Moses, Jesus, Mohamed and John the Baptist all spent time in the desert or on a mountaintop. While the mountaintop is a metaphor for communing with God, in the more literal sense, both actions represent a change in the immediate environment as a means to gain insight. In these cases it is a lack of external stimulation which is sought, which eases access to your inner senses.
If you are like most people, you spend a vast amount of time reliving your past or, conversely, worrying about your future. While is it is possible to affect your experience of the past by using such mystic techniques as Mental Alchemy, the most powerful place to be is the present. After all, only by acting in the present can you affect your future.
Travel is a built-in mechanism to induce you to stay in the present.
We are all creatures of habit. A man who shaves will begin his shaving ritual by starting on one side of his face and will invariably continue to do so for the next 60 years of his life. Most people will drive along the same path to the office on a daily basis. It would be easy to pass an exciting or noteworthy event and ignore it, as you have placed yourself into a virtual trance.
Any time your mind “knows” or you say “I know that” there is a tendency to shut off any potential for learning. This is not the ideal environment for insights to arise.
Travel stimulates your mind by exposing you to new activities. There are so many new ideas and objects to explore that your mind does not have the chance to say “I know that.” By traveling you creating a highly effective environment in which to grow and develop.
Synchronicities occur far more readily when you are living in the present. This is partly because you recognize these meaningful coincidences when they occur, but more importantly because you are able to tap into your subconscious mind. When you are in the present, you are in the flow of life and you are acting to manifest these coincidences.
One of the greatest gifts I have ever received came while traveling. I was waiting to meet with Mark and Andrea to plan for last year’s Sacred Journey to Peru. Eating a continental breakfast at the Inn of Sedona, my eyes locked onto a beautiful Chinese woman who entered the room radiating joy. I waited for her to approach my table and asked her to join me. She considered it, but declined my invitation, preferring to sit at a counter overlooking the beautiful red mountains of Sedona.
I thought about joining her immediately, but dismissed the idea as being too forward. I waited for another opportunity to ask her to join me, which came a few minutes later when she arose to get some fruit. This time, she accepted my invitation and we discussed our many shared interests in travel, spirituality and healing. When she learned about my upcoming trip, she stood up and announced that she was coming with me to Peru. She did, and Christine has enriched my life ever since.
What is the chance that two people living on opposite sides of the globe would ever meet? Would either of us have noticed the other if we had been immersed in our typical workday ritual? Would I have been so aggressive to ask her not once, but twice, to join me, and would she have accepted if either of us was not fully present?
From a pure statistical perspective, to have all these circumstances come together would have been virtually impossible. But the universe conspired to arrange these synchronicities, and we chose to recognize the opportunity and act by being in the present. Travel facilitates such moments.
While it is certainly possible and desirable to live in the present and experience unlimited synchronicities within our normal everyday lives, there are many times when we need a little stimulus. Consider taking a trip. Your life may change forever.