Maybe this sounds familiar to you. You are sitting at an airport, waiting for your flight with a whole bunch of other passengers. You have already been through commuting to the airport from home, got your heavy luggage and yourself checked-in, went through airport security and got scanned by the metal-detector as well as body-checked by a friendly airport security member. Now, you just want to board the plane and get to wherever you want to get to - nice warm beach, be with family or friends. So you are already imagining your destination. But wait, did you stop to think about this process you are now in of getting to your destination?
Most of us don't. We just seem to want to get where we want to go and forget the way in which we get there, as it may be uncomfortable, strenuous and long, not really worthy of our attention or we just want to skip it altogether, if we could. Because we imagine that the destination is more important than the journey. However, this is not the case, as you may have read in the title of this blogpost. You might think it is that cliché in those stories or songs and no one really believes it. Of course, often in our society we often focus on goals and destinations, but spend little time on the process of getting there. Take the popular sports we have, like tennis and football, where the player/team plays horribly or unfairly, but end up anyway winning in score. Thus, winning the match. Did they really truly win? Is winning the game more important than being human, by helping your fellow human being get off the ground when s/he fell or by informing the umpire that s/he called a ball out when it was in, even if it was not in their own favour? I observe that in our society, we are often not trained to be aware of the journey. We get graded on a test in school, but not often given feedback or encouragement on how we got to that grade. We allow professional athletes to misbehave or even disregard their own health, as long as they score and win. But we don't reward them for their honesty and empathy that they show by giving them an extra point.
My opinion is that the journey is very important. It is this process that we undertake and experience, which brings us to a state or a place that is the destination. If we skip this process, would we be able to be fully prepared to be at the destination and for what awaits us there? Take that example of the airport and plane ride, we may just simply skip it, if we could "disapparate," a magical means of travel where the individual disappears and reappears in her/his newly intended space, as J.K. Rowling writes in her Harry Potter books. But even in her books, the process of disapparating requires diligent study and practice, or else the consequences are devastatingly painful. If we just got to our destination without the process of travelling, would we value being at our destination as much? Maybe the time and the effort that we take to get there creates/invokes the feeling of appreciation within us of being at our destination. Maybe, a bit of exertion is needed for us to realize that the destination is special and is significant for us to even be there.
The journey teaches us to be in the present, to feel and be conscious of that particular moment of NOW. If we stay in this present moment, we become the moment and we are aware of who we are and what we are experiencing. When my kids play a tennis match, I remind them that the score is only one aspect of the game. I encourage them to find "excellence of self," (some wise words we learned from the movie Kung Fu Panda: The Secret of the Furious Five). This is to find their best in their physical and emotional self, fairness and respect of their opponent, as well as playing the best technique in tennis they can. Each match is always different, determined by the physical circumstances of the day, the tennis court conditions, their emotional as well as mental state at that very moment and every aspect related to their opponent of that match.
Next time I am sitting at the airport waiting to board my plane, I will remind myself that my journey is now. I look forward to arrive but I can be open to the now, that maybe the person sitting beside me has something interesting to share with me or I with them. I may perceive myself as being in a tight space on my seat, but my inner self can create more space whether within or around me, simply by changing my perspective of the situation. This time of travelling to my destination gives me time to reflect but also to observe my environment. It is after all quite a wonder to be up high in the sky, flying among the clouds.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay