I began practicing meditation about a month before I moved to Spain. Before that, my mind would race at night with one to-do list after another.
I can’t forget to pack that one jacket.
What’s it going to be like in Ibiza?
I wonder if I’ll make friends easily there…
The thoughts and questions were incessant. I even noticed that my day-to-day conversations turned to these thoughts and ideas of what my life in Spain would be like.
One day, I came across the book Walk Like a Buddha by Lodro Rinzler. After reading this book, I began to meditate for ten minutes a day. I learned to quiet my mind and began to practice being fully present in each moment. A few weeks into my new routine, I sat on my colorful meditation cushion and had a sort of revelation: If I could learn to be here now and appreciate this moment of peaceful solitude, I would be able to really enjoy any given moment in life. Instead of thinking about tomorrow or yesterday, I learned to enjoy today.
So many times in life we’re thinking about the past or future instead of being truly present in the moment. With thoughts of the past or anticipation of the future, we lose the authenticity of what’s happening around us.
But aren’t you supposed to be writing about travel and stuff? , you wonder silently. Of course I am, best friend! Glad you asked.
Travel and meditation go hand in hand. When you’re traveling, you’re seeing one new thing after the next. You’re trying new food, hearing new languages, smelling foreign scents (some good, some bad); the list of new experiences lengthens by the minute.
This, of course, can quickly become overwhelming. You can’t always be on the go, which is where meditation comes into play. Meditation gives your mind, body, and spirit a chance to catch up, relax, and recharge.
You don’t always have to meditate through cross-legged silence on a yoga mat. You could also meditate by taking a leisurely stroll on the beach or by writing/drawing. Whatever relaxes your mind and helps you to unwind.
When you live in the moment, you can take life as it is instead of reflecting on how you could’ve done something differently or what you’re going to do next. You can always find something to worry about, but then again, there’s always something you can appreciate right now, and this is exactly why I can enjoy this cappuccino while “Hit Me Baby…” by Britney Spears (WTF, Spain?) plays in a small café in Ibiza. Sometimes you gotta appreciate the small stuff, you feel me?
I’ll close with a short story of what happened to my friend Jack and I while we were in search of yoga mats:
So my roommate Jack and I walk into the Store of All Things Ever aka Xin Xin Shang Chang. The aisles are packed full to the ceiling with miscellaneous items, and each aisle is just wide enough for one person to walk down without causing an avalanche of useless items. We’re in search of a yoga mat. Simple enough, right?
We find the aisle with rugs of all sizes, colors and patterns, but still we can’t find any yoga mats. Eventually, we approach the cashier to ask her where we can find them, yet we aren’t sure how to say “yoga mat” in Spanish, so we improvise as best we can.
(Our conversation translated from Spanish to English)
Me: Excuse me, do you have the thing that you use to mediate and do yoga?
Me: You know….yoga?
*Jack and I proceed to do dramatic yoga poses in the middle of the store to demonstrate what we mean by ‘yoga’.
Cashier: I don’t understand… *begins to stare at us like we have serious issues*
*Jack is now standing on one leg with his hands pressed together above his head*
*Jack and I give up and decide to ask someone else in the back of the store*
Me to other worker: Do you have the thing that you do meditation and yoga with?
Other worker: Yep, the yoga mats are over there.
It was a good time. May your search for yoga mats be easier than ours! Namaste, fellow travelers.