The Tao of solitude in a busy airport terminal

The 8 year journey, post 1.

First entry – Friday, 2/23/2019 11:19am

It’s funny what a difference a few months of conscious yoga practice can make. I just arrived at the Philadelphia airport, about to catch a flight to Miami for a work weekend, followed by work on the Monsters of Rock cruise. 

In the past, work travel excited me. I used to look forward to squeezing in the available minutes and hours as an opportunity for micro vacations. Though it is not yet noon, I’m aware that tonight I will not have to work. In the past, I may have already found myself parked before a bar and ordering a beer. 

But I find myself completely content. I have no desire for a beer. I have no desire for anything. I find myself instead relishing the simple joy of just living and being in the moment. A beer cannot replace the satisfaction I felt just walking to my departure gate. Instead of purchasing a bottled water, I stopped at a water bottle refill station to fill the empty I brought from home. I have no interest in gorging myself on a Bruegger’s bagel and coffee or a vegetarian Smashburger, if such a thing exists. 

I am learning to once again be mindful in the moment, to surrender to the moment, of wherever my feet and legs have directed me. Though I anticipate events and opportunities to come in the week ahead both while hosting clients tomorrow and on the cruise to follow, I find my mind relatively quiet and desireless. This is a plus. For, in the practice of yoga, it is helpful to witness the gauge of progress in the small things of life. Therein lies the secret. 

A year ago, I went on the same cruise. I’ll post that story soon. Looking back, when I review that saga, though filled with funny moments and interesting anecdotes, I view it as somewhat pathetic. I’m not judging myself. I had a good time. I just don’t feel like the same person now. I see how that 57 year old guy was burning off what may have been the final steam of my partying years. I still don’t judge, because my own experience is now my guru. There is a lesson, for me, to learn by reflecting on my actions. They weren’t bad, weren’t wrong, but just less conducive to the direction I’m presently heading. 

I’ve learned that all those activities, in the bigger picture that yoga unveils, represent somewhat wasted time. Not wholly, though, and specifically because of the lessons and insights I’ve gained. So, in this regard, I am excited for the week ahead simply to see how this awakened being now embodying me will respond in the exact same scenarios. 

Already the tests issue forth. In the terminal here, I had selected a seat in the back row against a wall where it was quiet and I could write. Then, a few minutes ago, a guy talking very loudly on his cell phone sat across from me. It’s not just normal tone, it’s exceptionally loud. When he first sat down, I found myself unable to think. I could see how my instinctual mind was prepared to begin its parade of condescending remarks: Oh, how inconsiderate! What’s with this guy? Doesn’t he know how loud he is? Should I politely ask him to keep his voice down? Surely others are disturbed. But I didn’t listen to these thoughts. I saw them, like a school of fish swimming close to the water’s surface – perceivable and wanting food. I didn’t feed them. 

Instead, I looked at what I needed to do to kind of turn off my hearing and focus on writing this through the sound. Besides, if I think this guy is loud, I’m in for a surprise when I spend a week with a boatload of heavy metal bands and rock n roll fans, with concert sets blaring from every corner of the cruise ship. And there’s my self-ordained sadhana practice for the cruise – how to stay quiet within myself in the midst of loud and attractive noise. It will just be what is, in that moment, just as this good fellow – who is curiously quiet now once I surrendered to being with it – was in the moment a few minutes ago. And who knows? Maybe someone else finds my quiet disturbing. So, who am I to allow my mind to influence my state of being and initiate judgement?

Like my account of the cruise last year, I plan on logging a daily entry of the day’s events. My friend Carol has already contacted me, asking if I’d like to go in on a drink package with her. It’s funny because though I’m aware I did drink last year, I actually have little interest in subjecting myself to the same situation, and have little desire to drink. 

I have noted my desire to drink and dependency on stimulants to feel good beginning to wane. None of those things, which I’ve done for most of my adult life, have provided any of the internal euphoria, contentment, satisfaction and exhilaration that I have experienced since again engaging in a serious, focused daily meditation practice. Of course, I like a beer now and then. What’s shifted is my desire to drink. It doesn’t control me. There’s no need. I can take it or leave it. That’s the difference.

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