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Travelers and the Road to Self-Realization

uttarkashi walk
Episode No. 53

When we do spiritual practice, we are not really on a path, but we enjoy playing the game of being travelers.


FIRST WORDS FROM THE PODCAST

Tonight, what I want to talk about is traveling. Traveling is really important in this tradition and a lot of other traditions: the idea of the act of traveling, having the bhava, the orientation, of a traveler, and actually setting out on travels of some sort or another. When I was in graduate school, there was a Swiss woman who was at the same graduate school I was at for a year on some sort of fellowship. And she was really fun-loving and adventurous and seemed pretty relaxed and able to try new things without too much anxiety. We became good friends.

Then, she invited me to come visit her in Switzerland. About a year later I went. And it was like meeting a different person. She was really uptight. She was anxious about following rules. She was living in a wealthy coop, a building where people owned their own apartments, and it was quite wealthy. Like a lot of those kinds of places, they had a rulebook this thick for the people who owned condos. One day, she was practicing her saxophone during some prescribed hours when you were allowed to practice with your musical instruments. That was one of the rules in this giant book.

One of her neighbors complained, and my friend absolutely had a hysterical meltdown because someone didn’t follow the rules, because she was following the rules and someone complained about her and that just made her blow her fuses.  I mean, lying on the bed, just weeping inconsolably about this, very concerned about what other people thought of her, about how she appeared to other people, et cetera. So, it was really an interesting experience, to meet someone when they were traveling and then go meet them when they were in their native environment.