Just landed in Nepal for a bit of a summer’s end adventure. This type of travel, the travel away from comfort, security and familiarity towards the discomfort (and of course wonder) of a completely unknown place can be very challenging on an inner level but also very rewarding. In reading back on my writings from my previous travels in India, without question the most difficult challenge came from being torn between the desire to return to the comforts of home and to remain within the challenging terrain of discomforting travel. See The Heart Knows Better Than the Mind.
A persistent thought on my mind these days has to do with the splits of our personalities and how to live in as integrated way as possible. The more I’ve paid attention, the more I realize that there are many aspects of our personalities, each of which if given the opportunity might act in a way which best suits the nuances of its own particular beliefs. Those aspects (or splits as I like to call them) tend to engage in contrasting decisions/actions depending on which split is engaged in a given moment.
The tricky part of all of this is that we often fully identify with one particular aspect as if it is the only reality that exists. When we do so, we act according to that split. When we feel something strongly we generally fail to recognize that feeling as simply how “a part of us” feels. Humans are largely creatures of compulsion and we are generally compelled by our emotions and instinctive drives that either pull us toward more of the perceived positive (commonly comfort and security) or away from the perceived negative (discomfort and unease).
To come to Nepal I was able to recognize the pull/desire to remain in comfort/security yet step forward into something more challenging. As social beings, we are effectively pack animals who have a striving for a sense of home and belonging, a place where we can be at rest, put our feet up, and trust that all is fine. The Armchair Traveler industry has built up around that tendency. Traveling can be unsettling. In fact, most travelers bring their “pack” (their person or people) with them which offers a sense of continuity of home. I find that I like to spend more time in my room when I first arrive in a new place. I think in a way what I am doing is establishing a sense of place, a place which is mine, where I belong, in a land where hardly nothing else is familiar.
Upon landing, I was immediately struck and reminded of the spirituality present which touches my soul and draws me to this part of the world. So far more than a half dozen people have pressed their palms together, fingers upward, and greeted me with a slight bow of the head. This “namaste” greeting is commonly translated as “I bow to the God in you.” The recognition of something sacred which resides within all of us rather than as an external God resonates with my soul. It is this subtle feeling of being at home on a spiritual level that I can already feel beginning to settle my system and bring a subtle sense of home and comfort. One of the most satisfying aspects of traveling comes when we find a kindred sense of familiarity and home in a foreign place. I’m curious to see how that unfolds for me here.