moon, airplane

Do you think that the world is too much with us? That the constant chatter inside the head of rising, working, eating, socializing, exercising, thinking, laughing, planning and, well, chattering, becomes deafening from time to time? That taking care of things — people, laundry, bills, housework, yourself — all becomes a hamster-on-a-wheel routine where one is running to stay in the same place?

Do you have a palliative for this? A cocoon that you can withdraw to, to rediscover your spirit, to rest and recuperate, to still the mind and body, to reinvigorate before engaging with the world again?

No, I am not writing an advertisement for a yoga workshop or a meditation retreat, although those fit the bill as well. I am talking of a long haul flight, or, perhaps, a long train journey. Heck, even a car drive can sometimes do that for you. The days and hours leading up to a long haul flight can be too full, and so can the days after, depending on the destination, but the flight itself is likely to be amazingly, deliciously boring. [1] And that is the main point — to be bored, and to have no option but to be bored.

The boredom is important to still the constantly stimulated brain and senses. The lack of options not only means a lack of “useless” distractions (cat videos), but also a lack of the means to be productive, or “useful” (washing machines, work email). If most people, most of the time, intend to be the latter and end up being to the former, a state of true freedom is when you have no means to be either. And this blessed state of release comes about in a long, boring, interminable long haul flight. This is when the calm descends, when we have time to focus on nothingness, meditate on it, and find it light and lovely. When we, for a while, disengage from our lives, and see them for what they truly are — an interminable circus, where most of the acts are purely for our own amusement.

And so I look forward to it each time. Being 35000 feet high, with no control over where I am going, my life temporarily fading to a speck down below. Sitting in a cramped seat, packed together like sardines, possibly dehydrated, and finding zen.


[1] Well, hopefully. For someone who loves the internet, I think that the increasing occurrence of wifi on planes is a terrible thing. I am generally able to ignore the movies on offer (well, mostly) but resisting wifi is a damn pain. I hope it always remains slow and/or expensive, amen.