Continued from my previous post…
If all experiences are true and valid and equally valuable, then does this mean we all sit at home and do nothing, as that is also an equally worthy experience?
No. So here’s my take. Experiences serve two purposes. To entertain and to grow. Entertainment experiences are for the pleasure centers. To relax. Important as well. Such as watching a movie. Or taking in a spa.
Growth experiences I personally rank them by how much they put you outside your comfort zone. Walking to the grocery store and back, if it does not put you outside your comfort zone, is in my opinion, not a growth experience.
An experience that enriches, stretches you. The purpose of this blog is to reinforce the viewpoint that enrichment can be found in more places than we decide they exist. All that is needed is a different lens to look at it. A small change in how we conduct the experience.
The walk to the grocery store could be made enriching if we have an outside the norm interaction with the store salesperson. Perhaps a different route home. Perhaps one of myriad other tweaks to stretch the comfort zone of rote actions.
If so, you might ask, cannot one have enriching experiences sitting right at home? Sure. Why then need one travel? Why not go through your own town with an open mind and open eyes, akin to that which we have when traveling?
In answer to that, dear critical reader, I submit to you a quote made by someone a lot more wise than I:
No matter how much will we have to be and stay open, if the environment is one where you are used to the route, where you have a steady laundry list of things to do running through our mind, very every action has been so oft repeated that it’s automatic, it’s nigh impossible to ever stay open.
Strange environments. Strange customs. Not knowing where you are going to stay that night. Every interaction forces upon you the need to be present to the moment. As every moment is strange and new and requires your full focus on the now. It’s not unlike the presence a child has as he stares, wide-eyed, at the mundane. Mundane to you. Exotic, new, unique to him. Thich Nhat Hanh used to go on walks with a child so that he, too, may share in the wonder of the present moment that the child is engrossed in. Environment is more powerful than willpower.
So in short, dear reader, as long as you have an environment that fosters being open to the moment, that is enough. For a lot of people, travel does it. What have you found helps you stay open?