Feels like a long time since I wrote my last blog. I trust you’ve all been well over the last few weeks and that Rich, Maria and Nick have kept you entertained in the Headspace blogosphere! A big thank you to all of them. The Siberian adventure was amazing. Contrary to popular opinion, I’d not been exiled there by the rest of the Headspace team (although I wouldn’t blame them), but had instead whisked my lady away on the Trans-Siberian Express to pop the question - but don’t worry, today’s blog isn’t going to be a mushy one!
Whilst many friends thought the idea of 4 days and over 5000km on a frozen train across the middle of Siberia sounded like a journey of a lifetime, plenty of others thought it sounded like madness. A common response was “Why? You won’t see anything from the window, so why not just fly there and get there quicker?” I think this reflects the way in which many people approach their meditation - and life in general. It’s become all about getting to the destination, rather than experiencing the journey.
But without wanting to get all philosophical on you, when it comes to meditation, the experience itself is the destination. The journey itself is the destination. Think about it, if the goal of meditation is to spend more time in the present moment, then the experience of here and now is everything - both the journey and the destination together.
And so it was with our journey across Russia. Sure, we talked, we laughed, we ate...but mostly we just stared out of the window, watching the world go by...as temperatures fell, houses disappeared, trees became less common and the vast expanse of land opened up in front of us as we headed from Moscow down towards Lake Baikal on the Mongolian border.
The lake is incredible by the way. The statistics are impressive but they don’t really do it justice. It’s 30 million years old. It’s over a mile deep. It holds 20% of the entire earth’s fresh water. The sheer size and scale of it is difficult to comprehend. The ice is so thick that lorries use it as a shortcut from one village to the next on either side of the lake. One day we even saw locals sitting around a camp fire which they’d built on top of the ice to cook their dinner.
But it’s the space and the stillness which make it truly special. There are few places left in the world which are quite so remote, where there is so little activity. So I guess coming back to London is quite a contrast, in some ways. And yet, if you stop and listen to the mind, even with all the craziness of a big busy city like this one, there is still a sense of calm and stillness to be found. Maybe it lasts for a long time, maybe just half a second. The point is to watch it, not chasing after it, but just appreciating it as it passes you by.
Oh, and just in case you’re still wondering...she said ‘yes’!