Travel is full of tiny, symbolic moments. For instance, catching the scent of sunscreen for the first time, with all the promise of adventure it carries; the feeling when the tips of your toes meets the froth of the ocean; the haphazard, flush-with-the-road excitement of the first tuk-tuk ride. If you’re currently preparing to travel to a faraway place, you may already have some mini-milestones of this nature in your mind’s eye.
As beautiful as travel is, however, they are inevitably moments of stress when we are exploring the world – and these moments can sometimes feel overwhelming. But while stress can be hard to avoid, we don’t have to let it cloud our travel experiences. After teaching hundreds of people on our meditation courses in London, we’ve found that mantra meditation is the perfect on-the-move stress-relieving travel tool.
Travel preparations: the quest before the journey
Backpackers and more luxuriously-minded travellers alike acknowledge that the better you prepare, the more you can prevent stressful situations. With this in mind, your time beforehand is likely to be dominated by a checklist of crucial tasks.
No matter where in the world you are bound, your pre-travel headspace will likely be characterised by frantic attention to detail as you ensure your travel plans are well-laid. You can almost taste the first mango lassi, but with the flurry of preparations in which you are currently embroiled, that pleasure can still feel like a distant prospect.
Between focussing on the tangible elements of the immediate present, and the far-off future when you can reap your rewards, you will almost certainly feel far too busy to think about learning a new skill. However, this is the perfect time to pick up the ancient art of mantra meditation.
Equipped with a stress-busting tool you can use to restore equilibrium to a frazzled mind anywhere in the world, you will be able to maximise the amount of magical moments your journey comprises. In terms of transforming the way you approach each experience – helping you get the most out of it – your mantra could be about to become one of the most useful items in your entire travel toolkit.
Think more clearly
The premise of mantra meditation is simple. By silently repeating your mantra during your practise, you will be able to access – and develop a command over – a greater area of your consciousness than you use in day-to-day thought. You become equipped to weather experiences which would once have caused more alarm.
In this way, your mantra becomes your personal tool of transformation. Faced with any of the stressful situations that travelling potentially entails – like spending hours in the hot, crowded carriage of a delayed train, or missing one altogether – what could be more useful than an immediate, personalised method for tapping into your inner resources of calm?
Travel more lightly
One of the most useful functions of mediation within the context of travelling is that it can widen your sense of perspective. Regardless of whether you’re weighed down by a backpack – or whether a carry-on and a flight-lounge espresso martini are more your bag – it would be ideal if you could avoid being weighed down by the additional baggage of an anxious mindset.
Your power to meditate is your secret weapon in this regard. You will develop the courage to find your way around your chosen destination, without any new worries that crop up along its paths becoming problems that derail you from enjoying your overall experience.
Embrace the unknown
Another important benefit of meditation is that it can dramatically increase your flexibility, with regard to plans of all descriptions. Every traveller knows that the best laid plans often go awry, in the blink of a sunkissed eyelid.
Unfamiliar environments are, by their very nature, full of unexpected happenings that can necessitate a change of plan. Nevertheless, with a cool head, you will find that a sense of excitement replaces your fear, making you feel ready for whatever lies ahead.
And make new friends along the way!
With a can-do, will-do attitude, every day of your trip is likely to be packed full of new experiences. This may make time feel like it’s passing quickly, but the memories that you make on your travels will last a lifetime. Whether you’re in a group or travelling solo, meditation can give you the social confidence to relish every situation, as you write new chapters of your story which you will treasure forever.
This post was written by Rosalind Stone, who works with Beeja meditation in London.