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  • Parisa Rose

Travel far enough, you meet yourself*

*travel not necessary

There is a bloated romanticism about travel and the treasures it promises.

I feel eternally blessed and grateful to have had the privilege, the time, the courage, the right passport, everything that has allowed me to travel to dozens of countries.

But I believe there is an inflated, misleading idea about the transformative power of travel in itself.  One’s travel experience is not always proportional to one’s knowledge of self or awakening.

For those who cannot travel, there is hope.

The answers to our questions are not found in foreign lands.  They are found in us.  And change and growth and discovery can happen right here at home.

Then where did we get this idea about travel and self-discovery?

When we leave the familiar behind and travel, especially to places starkly different than our home, usually something in us shifts.  Suddenly, every sense, previously dulled from monotony and routine, is alive and taking in fresh information.  This shakes everything up.  Changes our perspective, our state.  We think things we don’t normally think.  We see the world around us as if for the first time.  We feel alive, excited, inspired, full of possibility and wonder.  This change of scenery is a powerful tool to make us tuned in to our senses and fully present.  (And it gives you a really nice high.)

But this vivid sense of presence, this aliveness, can be cultivated right here, wherever we are.

This is the practice of Mindfulness.  Ugh, I know, not that word — that over-used word that  sometimes feels empty, touted as the answer to everything.  But here’s the thing.  It might just be.  Hear me out.

(What is it, anyway?  My brief description of Mindfulness.)

Not only does developing mindfulness make us feel alive, happy, and better able to enjoy each moment, fully present in the here and now, but this is what offers us the gifts of self-discovery and growth.  It is from this place of quiet contemplation, stillness and solitude, that we can observe the contents of the mind — the stream of thoughts and feelings — in constant flux, that filter our experience.  With practice, we learn to notice which filters create a negative experience and bring us suffering.  We start to have more clarity, more freedom, and more of a choice, rather than being slaves to the mind.

This introspection is what brings about discovery and change.  Shedding what doesn’t serve us, picking up a few tricks that do.