I’m on my way to what I hope is a new habit, a good habit. I typically meditate first thing in the morning. After trial and error, I’ve found that the likelihood of getting myself on the cushion decreases with every passing hour.
However on days that I travel, my first-thing-in-the-morning-meditation is often not possible. I’m often engaged in last minute packing or making other arrangements. My entire family lives out of state, so I fly frequently, as often as every six weeks. Even if my flight leaves late in the day, the prospect of flying somehow interrupts my schedule.
So the last several times I’ve flown, I’ve begun meditating shortly after boarding the plane. I wait until the passengers in my row are seated, set my phone in “airplane mode”, set my timer, close my eyes and find my breath.
As usual there is a lot to notice – the captain’s reminder of our destination, an announcement to fasten seat belts, the sound of the plane taxiing on a runway, a child kicking the seat, a baby crying, cool air blowing overhead. It is a rich sensory experience along with my mental reactions to it all.
Somehow when I hear the timer ring twenty-five minutes later, we are in the air and I am not irritated, impatient or bored.
It’s a given that air travel is stressful. As I write this blog, I am on my way from Michigan to New Mexico by way of Atlanta, which of course makes no sense. I am skeptical that my flight will arrive on time with my luggage, not to mention a quiet but certain anxiety about safety.
But my practice has shifted my relationship with flying; beginning with boarding the plane, as I begin to look forward to the opportunity to find my breath, and simply notice.
July 14, 2017
On route to New Mexico