A few thoughts on boredom…
“When you are really bored, the best thing you can do is sit down and let yourself experience the boredom more fully. It may not be a deep or satisfying state, but at least you are not indulging in the things with which you usually cover up this kind of experience. Your real state of mind is more nakedly exposed, because for the time being there are no distractions. If you can stay with the experience of boredom, you can try to feel your way through into something deeper, truer, and more spontaneous within yourself.” – Sangharakshita, “Staying with Boredom” (Source: Tricycle Daily Emails 5/8/13)
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I like traveling. I don’t mean, “I like getting to a destination and having a vacation”, I mean, “I like the act of being in transition from point a to point b.” I particularly like airports. I like walking around very slowly and smiling at people as the rest of the airport seethes. I have some tips for how to enjoy airplane travel.
1. When possible try to book flights that get you in long before you need to be. In the last decade an average of 25% of flights are delayed and roughly 3% are canceled. Chances are pretty good you are going to be delayed. http://www.transtats.bts.gov/homedrillchart.asp
2. Leave for the airport early. Real early. 7:30am flight from a busy airport? Arrive 75 minutes before boarding. This removes any anxiety that might be caused by long lines at security.
3. Check your bag. Yup, its usually $25, but you can walk around the airport encumbered, move through security more smoothly and settle into your seat with less stress of figuring out where your bag will go. Baggage rarely gets lost anymore and its amazing how quickly it gets to the bagage claim on arrival.
4. Board last. You don’t have any extra baggage and your seat is reserved. What’s the rush to get to your seat? While others uncomfortably jokey to be ahead of one more person as zones are being called, you can enjoy a few more minutes of your book.
5. Smile at people, particularly the people who work at the airport. I’m uncomfortable with how dehumanizing most of our interactions are with other human beings who work retail and service jobs and its really bad in airports. It’s very satisfying to see how happy an airport attendant can be just from chatting briefly with a polite customer.
6. Headphones are a must. I’m not normally a fan of blocking out the world, but the inside of an airplane is loud. (70+ dB) Sustained for a long time that can cause headaches and tension. http://www.atlasaviation.com/medical/hearing_and_noise_in_aviation.htm
7. Breathe. If you have a regular sitting practice this is a great time to bring it into the real world. Because you have simplified your travel by giving yourself plenty of time and by traveling lightly, you have no reason to be stressed. You can move slowly, bring your awareness to your breath and treat your day as an extended mindfulness practice.
I love traveling. I enjoy being at point a, point b and all the infinite points in between.
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Some of us will be lucky enough to walk a more perfect road
A way free from justice that would have had us pay for what we sowed
Ever grateful for our unearned reprieve
I free give what can not be received
I ceaselessly pray for all sentient beings
Awaken, awaken, realize our way
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