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June 2017

The Unknown

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I’m not a natural traveller.

I know that there’s beauty all around the world, and wonderful people to meet, but there is just this awful unknown quality about it. Will I miss my flight, will I miss so much sleep that I can’t cope, will I have to eat food that I hate, or miss my cup of tea, or will I feel so homesick that I just want to turn around and go back home?

In the present day globe-trotting world, my defence is that my birth sign of Cancer makes me a natural home-lover, but I’m also aware that I need to leave my comfort zone sometimes for my personal growth.

There’s nothing wrong with being a home-lover, but I wouldn’t want to stay put for ever. Why doesn’t the thought of huge foreign cities, and strange, beautiful places draw me – or is it more than that?

Our imaginations or thoughts can run riot and cause us a lot of problems, and I certainly have negative thoughts around travel, and added to the above list is ‘will I get back home OK?’

So where is home? Is it a place, a state of mind, or a state of peace? My intellectual answer after many years of spiritual exploration and meditation is: ‘a state of peace’; but my emotional being is way, way, behind.

Awareness is everything, so if I’m aware intellectually that ‘home’ is peace of mind, but emotionally I’m still not buying it, then I have something to work with.

Enter one of my favourite spiritual teachers Eckhart Tolle, in the guise of his book ‘Stillness Speaks’. Living in the moment and feeling the ‘isness’ of now, whatever might be happening, is his message.

If I can accept everything as it is in this moment, I am at peace – I am home. Thoughts do not then rush into the future with ‘what-ifs’ and dart back into the past with ‘if-onlys’.

If I could stay in ‘the now’ if I travel, then perhaps the negative thoughts around it will be silenced, or at least witnessed and let go of.

Another favourite spiritual teacher of mine, Narain Ishaya, told me once that I needed to learn to love ‘what is’. It really ruined my day at the time, but I’ve come to realise that he was right.

If you can allow life to unfold exactly as it is in the eternal now, the infinite magic and love of the universe is yours.

Awful things can happen of course, and I got stuck on this, until Eckhart came to the rescue again with ‘be at peace with your non-peace’. This simple statement still completely undoes me, and delivers me into peace.

I believe my reticence for travel comes from fear of the unknown. My Ishaya teachers say: ‘let the unknown be love’, and of course there is no reason why it shouldn’t be. What a marvellous way to help dissolve the fears and negative imaginings that can plague our lives.

Suddenly, traveling seems a little less threatening; perhaps outer Mongolia can’t really be so bad?

Joking!