Roadtrip

Have you ever been on a roadtrip? Roadtrips are fun.

Here are the things which I think make a good roadtrip:

You are together with the people whom you love and love you.

If you are with the people who make your heart smile, then that love makes any journey worthwhile. It doesn’t even matter much where you go or even if you arrive, because the love you seek is already here with you in the people you love.

Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

– Franklin P. Jones

Seeing all these magnificent sights in nature alone is incomplete. Christopher John McCandless whose life was shown in the movie Into the Wild and a novel with the same name, has realized something important right before he died in his solitary sojourn into the woods:

Happiness is only real when shared.

– Christopher John McCandless

Christopher went out into the woods alone, and he realized what makes a great roadtrip is sharing with the people you love and who love you. Next time you want to go out running into the woods alone, I suggest you learn about Christopher’s story.

There is no fixed destination…

There are desired destinations, but there is a certain openness to what may happen.

When you break up any expectations that the roadtrip should happen this way or that way, there is a certain openness that frees the Universe to flow its energies to you more freely.

When you have no expectations of what should happen, there is no possibility for disappointment. When you leave that space for uncertainty and embrace it, you become awake to life’s mystery.

Like a sailor who directs the masts and sails, but does not control the winds and the waves. Such is dynamic interplay of will and circumstance.

…and no rush to get to anywhere.

A roadtrip may have possible desired destinations, but there is no rush to get to them. The focus is in the present moment and enjoying where one is.

If we hurry and go towards a destination, we are taking away the best part, which is the roadtrip we are having now.

In a roadtrip, we are always in the midst of travelling. Destinations are merely part of the roadtrip.

Happiness is then found along the way, not at the end of the road. We don’t even know if we could even reach the end of the road.

This quote just about sums the roadtrip attitude:

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

– Lao Tzu

These insights of course do not just apply to any particular roadtrip, but the great roadtrip of life itself.

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I hope you are enjoying your roadtrip. Have a great one.

Space

Cut doors and windows
to make a room.
Where the room isn’t,
there’s room for you.

– poem 11, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.
Translated by Ursula Le Guin

Have you ever wondered what makes a room valuable? It is its space – its emptiness.

In our civilisation, we have made many things that have many uses; but have we stopped to think about the uses of things that are not? Space is what is not in order for us to be inside it. Space is the emptiness in which fullness can happen.

Because the room is not, the shelter you need is inside.
Because the glass is not, the water you drink is inside.
Because the lungs are not, the air you breathe is inside.
It is in that space in which we are.

More and more things inside lead to a fullness. Our lives in this modern are world are full of things – things to have, things to do, things to become. We fill our lives with as many of those as possible. But is being full really better? Maybe bloated is a better term to describe the human condition. We have so much that the space of our lives cannot contain.

This doesn’t mean that you should have no things at all or to give up all things so you can have a life of nothing. Not at all. What this means is that we appreciate the context. We need certain things, but we also need the space. We need that space even more.

Why? Because we are space. Think about it.

Consciousness is a space in which experience happens. You are that space.

Here is an awareness exercise that I’d like to share with you to help you appreciate being the space that you are.

1. Put yourself in a comfortable position. Sit in a relaxed manner or lie down. Stand if you want to.

2. Be conscious of your breathing and relax as your breathe in and breathe out. Breathe slowly and relax deeper with each breath.

3. Now as you breathe in and breathe out, I want you to notice that in between inhaling and exhaling there is a moment that there is no air in your lungs. There is a space in which you neither breathe in or out.

4. Notice how you are and how you feel while you’re in that space.

5. Now as your breathing in and out slows down, your time in that space becomes longer and longer.

6. Be aware of how you feel. Is your mind silent? Your emotions calm?

This is an exercise that can help you feel the space that you are. As you dwell in the spaciousness of being, know that this space is in every single aspect of your life. The more you appreciate the space that you are, the more you will appreciate the spaces in your life.

You will see that you need space for things that actually matter to you.
You will see that you need space for activities that actually matter to you.
You will see that you need space for people that actually matter to you.

You will see that you need space.

It is in the realisation and appreciation of this space that you naturally see what is taking up your space – things that don’t really matter to you. Then you let go of those things, those activities, those people. You take back your space.

So that you can appreciate the really important things in your space.

Your space is sacred, precious, scarce. Do not let unworthy things into that space. Let only the worthy things abide in that space.

May what brings you peace, happiness, and truth abide in your space.

Begin

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

To begin. This may be the most difficult thing to do. In every great endeavour, it may be daunting to begin seeing that there is a long way to go.There is inertia – an unwillingness to change from the stillness or motion. But once you have started, it gets a lot easier.

Take a step. Then another. One more. Now don’t stop, you’ve already begun.

Here are some things to consider about beginning things in your life:

1. Begin with the end in mind and the feeling in heart.

Why begin? That is the probably the most important question. Ask it. In simpler terms, does it make you happy? Plain and simple.

One must know why and feel why. The union of the logical and the emotional is quite sublime. One can have the ideas, but without the passion for it, it won’t last. One can have the passion, but without the ideas for it, it won’t go anywhere.

First, know your purpose. Be clear with what you’re striving towards. Make it concrete, but allow for changes.

Second, feel this purpose. If it makes you happy, then it can last. Otherwise, you might waste energy doing things you don’t really want to do. That would be worse if you get stuck needing to continue working on things you don’t feel.

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art,” Leonardo da Vinci said. Do things that make your life a work of art.

 2. Simply begin rather than getting stuck at “how to begin”. 

“How should I begin?” The possibilities are so numerous that this may be a question that plagues people who are thinking of doing something – they end up doing nothing at all. While there must be a time allotted for weighing your options, oftentimes it becomes excuse to procrastinate.

Just decide and begin. Just do what feels right and play it by ear from there. You’ll save time and energy.

3. Expect a common beginning. 

Most of the time, beginnings aren’t that spectacular. Some people expect that beginnings of great endeavors will be movie-worthy. They aren’t most of the time. They’re usually quite ordinary. But they are beginnings.

This means that when you begin in something, you won’t be that good at it right away. So if you take up a sport like basketball, don’t expect that you’ll be shooting hoops like a pro in your first few weeks – unless you’re a phenom. More often than not though, beginnings are quite difficult and unimpressive.

4. You can only do so little. Make that little count. 

That little can be much. But you have to appreciate the little that you have so that the little can be much. In knowing that you can only follow through with only certain things in your life, you won’t be beginning things you won’t really follow through because you either don’t really want to or you have other things you want to do more.

It is in your limitedness and littleness that you appreciate the value of what you have. Your time and energy are precious. Make sure you put them into things you actually want to do.

5. Things you begin won’t necessarily be finished. 

Arguably one of the greatest polymaths in human civilisation, Leonardo da Vinci said: “Art can never be finished, only abandoned.” In a work of art, one wants to express the quality of beauty that may never be adequately expressed. One can keep changing it, making it a bit better. Accept that the things you begin don’t really end. There is always something to be done in the things you have begun.

6. Allow yourself to end things (or abandon them).

Leonardo da Vinci had many unfinished works. In fact, he believed that all of them are unfinished. But the thing is he allowed himself to abandon things that he no longer felt like doing. Why?

Because he believed that “where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”

Do things you enjoy and want to do. Allow yourself to change in that what you find. This goes around in full circle with the first point. Begin things because you feel in tune with these things. Abandon things because you don’t feel in tune with these things.

Because really, what is the why behind all these things. Isn’t it your happiness?

May you begin, abide, and end in happiness.