Discovering Yourself Through Travel

“Becoming conscious is of course a sacrilege against nature; it is as though you had robbed the unconscious of something.” ~Carl G. Jung

Beam Me Up Scotty: Discovering Yourself

“I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.”  ~James Baldwin

As I take a sip of my coffee, it hits me, as if a strange energy slowly descended upon me. This energy is the penetrating realization that I am simply “here”. I have been in South Korea for 5 months now, but this feeling is one as if I just got teleported here this very instant.

What is this strange feeling that many travelers happen to encounter, yet may not exactly know what’s going on, or where it’s coming from?

This feeling is the one of becoming self-aware, becoming aware of your own awareness. Typically we live in our own self-imposed bubbles, where we our lost in the conceptual images of our mind. We think we are conscious and awake but the reality is that we are psychologically asleep, and don’t realize we are asleep. Discovering yourself is the most beautiful discovery you can make.

The first step to becoming more conscious is realizing you’re asleep in the first place. This is very difficult because you need to experience what it is like to be truly self-aware and awake in the world, you need contrast to be able to compare different states of being.

Try this small experiment: sit in your couch and just simply try to remember your “Self” for 5-10 minutes, this means just keeping your attention to the feeling of being alive. Just feeling and acknowledging the living presence inside your body.

How long can you keep your attention here and now without your mind going off on some mental tangent? This will show you the level of your “Being”, if you were truly self-aware this would not be difficult, you could keep your attention on whatever you chose without it going in other directions, true will power. It’s time to discover yourself.

Are You Taking Your Life For Granted?

Living unconsciously we take for granted the most important thing in this world, which is our life, the simple acknowledgment of our existence, the feeling of “I am”, just pure simple “being”.

Like I mention in my blog, my main concern in life is to become fully awake, to live life with an unconditioned mind, to die psychologically to the past every single day. To have a mind that is young, fresh, new. A mind that does not carry the burden of the past. If you are able to have a mind that is totally free, being self-aware is your normal state.

This path is extremely arduous, but I enjoy it so much because I am constantly learning, becoming more aware, more alert, less divided.

This is the reason why I have not been able to stop living abroad. I have used it as a way to experiment with everything I learn on a daily basis.

In Discovering Yourself Knowledge Is Not Enough: Participate In Life

In trying to transform yourself, knowledge is not enough. One can possess an enormous amount of knowledge and yet not be able to do anything with it. You can actually create more problems by knowing too much. You need to live your life and create the situations in which you will truly grow.

You can read a manual on fixing engines and know it forwards and backwards, but until you actually attempt to fix the car your knowledge won’t even begin to show its value.

How Traveling Helps You Grow

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” Alan Alda

When you become exposed to an environment that is completely different, that is out of your comfort zone, what happens….even if its for a split second is that you stump your mind. What does this mean? This means you stop the movement of your mind, or rather it stops movement on its own.

If you ever observe your mind, you will see that all it is, is a constant never-ending thought process, which is to say the mind is just movement. This never ending movement consumes so much energy, so much that it can lead to stress and depression.

What happens when your mind stops moving? You become extremely quiet, utterly still, in this stillness you are free to observe without any dissipation of energy. In fact you accumulate energy.

This energy is what causes you to feel extremely alert, yet calm and relaxed, like you just had 10 Red Bull Energy Drinks without any of the side effects. This energy is what helps you transform and go beyond your previous unconscious tendencies. You start encountering your true self. Living in moment is delightful and beyond any description I can give.

It takes a huge amount of self understanding to know that this is whats taking place. People who just catch these glimpses simply know that they like it and want more of it. This is another trick of the mind, the mind always wants to know, wants a logical answer, so it may say to you that the reason you feel like this is only because of traveling.

So now you might become a travel junkie because you want to keep experiencing these feelings. Anything the mind derives pleasure from, it seeks to continue it. This is a game you will never win.

You need to be able to see that it’s not the traveling that gave you this feeling of bliss, but that your mind became still, your new environment simply gave you a friendly push.

It’s not a question of constantly seeking new experiences with travel, but how can you make your mind quiet. Then every day is “full of life” no matter where you are or what you may be doing.

I Need Your Help

I am currently starting to work on a small guide to meditation, where I hope to demystify what meditation is and how we can practically incorporate it into our lives. Please let me know if meditation is new to you and what questions or challenges you have had in trying to meditate. Leave your comments below, I will try to address them in the near future.

Thank you so much for reading my blog, If you find it useful please help me out by spreading the word.

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13 Responses to Discovering Yourself Through Travel

  1. I do remember having that feeling when I traveled to New Zealand five years ago. I’ve been to Mexico since then but other than that haven’t traveled out of the country. It is definitely one of my life goals though….to travel often and see different places and experience different people.

    Thanks for the post because it awakened me again to going after that. =)

    • my pleasure 🙂 glad you could relate…which you luck on your future travels 🙂 and thanks for stopping by

  2. Awesome thoughts. I think that spending time on the computer while traveling — spending time in an environment that is essentially the same whether we’re in New York City or Kathmandu — really works against the possibility for growth that you mention.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with spending time online, but it’s important to get out and walk around. It’s important to leave the camera at the hotel room (or wherever you’re staying) and just walk around fully taking in the environment. To participate in life.

    The stillness of mind that you mention is akin to being fully present in the moment (something that walking around a new country generally forces us to do). By being fully present, we begin to grow internally at an exponential rate.

    Meditation is excellent for developing a habit of being constantly present in the moment. It’s something my dad has encouraged me to do my entire life but that I’ve only recently found great interest in.

    I think an ebook guide to getting started with meditation would be awesome and I’d love to help however I can! One of the things I found crucial when I started meditating was to not get disappointed or frustrated when the mind doesn’t want to sit still. Just keeping using the noise of the mind as an opportunity to observe it and don’t stop.
    Raam Dev´s last blog post ..Punching my Inner Critic in the Face- An Interview and a New Project

    • awesome points :)…it really matters what approach and attitude you approach traveling :)…and thanks for the feedback on meditation…it will be addressed in depth 🙂

      • Ivan and Raam, I agree on Raam’s points of traveling and then being in the place FULLY, completely, mentally, physically, emotionally, and sometimes yes, leaving the camera behind and taking mental shots of the beauty (or the ugliness) around. Oh how I am getting the travel itch again…..Great great post here, thank you Ivan!

        • my pleasure 🙂 let me know if you come to asia anytime soon….be well and happy travels 🙂

  3. Hi Ivan, very interesting read. I find that I have been taking my life for granted. I’ve been doing many things that I don’t really want to do. There are so many interesting things in our world that I want to experience.

    I tried the experiment above and find my mind wanders almost immediately. This is also the problem I have had when I have tried meditation in the past. My thoughts tend to race and become just rapid flashes of light. Trying to control this has been near impossible and usually ends in frustration. Your guide sounds interesting.

    • thank you 🙂 I am happy to hear that you are making strides in going after the things that will bring you joy…don’t give up…keep at it my friend 🙂

  4. Ivan,
    What a great post!

    I loved this part: What happens when your mind stops moving? You become extremely quite, utterly still, in this stillness you are free to observe without any dissipation of energy, in fact you accumulate energy. This energy is what causes you to feel extremely alert, yet calm and relaxed, like you just had 10 Red Bull Energy Drinks without any of the side effects. This energy is what helps you transform and go beyond your previous unconscious tendencies. You start encountering your true self.

    I was going to say that this is the experience we all hope to achieve as frequently as possible during meditation….but then I read that you were going to be writing beginners guide to meditation.

    Wonderful idea. I think your ebook will be excellent!

  5. I like meditation but realized that if I don’t make time for it, whether or not I’m actually in the mood, I fall out of step with it and lose it as a habit. It requires discipline like any other practice.
    Not to mention the fact that no matter how I feel going into it, meditation always feels good.

    Also, I realize that you can meditate during everyday life, sitting on a bus, waiting in line at the grocery store, even just sitting at your computer. You can take a few minutes of silence to calm your mind and instill bliss in your awareness.
    It doesn’t have to be sitting on a mat for 20 minutes, it can be whatever you want it to be!

    Can’t wait to read your manual- super excited!!

  6. Do you think that meditation is best done the way most do it–sitting or walking and observing the thoughts, etc.? I seem to do better with an activity that focuses my mind on something and totally puts me in the moment (eg, drumming, creating something, etc.)

    Just wondering what you think about meditating other ways….

    And good luck with your ebook!

  7. Hiee ,
    I am Sameer.I am spiritual and vegetarian for the last 15 years.I do meditation but i still lack focus on it.
    As soon as i start meditation my mind starts wandering from one corner to the other and i end in frustration so now a days i simply do the paryer.
    My desire is to go deep into the meditaion and discover myself.
    My question here is do you need to sit silent or do some japa.I just need some guidance to improve my meditation.
    Waiting for your respponse.

    Thanx,
    Sameer.

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