Perceiving Without Naming – Why Traveling Can Quiet the Mind
An excerpt from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth aptly describes how some people can travel to a country without actually experiencing anything new. I’d not quite heard it put this way, and always felt I had observed two types of travelers, but couldn’t put my finger on it, that is, not until I heard the passage below by Tolle.
Our goal at Mountain Spirit Institute, and the reason we strive to take people to Peru and other such magical places, is to encourage radical growth of inner wisdom and help participants reconnect with one’s self, fellow world community members, and the mountains of a place.
Tolle writes, “Most people are only peripherally aware of the world that surrounds them. Especially if their surroundings are familiar. The voice in the head absorbs a greater part of their attention. Some people feel more alive when they travel and visit unfamiliar places or foreign countries because at those times sense perception, experiencing takes up more of their consciousness than thinking. They become more present.”
He adds, “Others become completely possessed by the voice in the head even then, their perceptions and experiences are distorted by instant judgments. They really haven’t gone anywhere. Only their body is traveling, while they remain where they have always been, in their head.”
Tolle concludes, “This is most people’s reality. As soon as something is perceived, it is named, interpreted, compared with something else, liked, disliked, or called good or bad by the phantom self, the ego. They are inprisoned in thought forms, in object consciousness. [One does] not awaken spiritually until the compulsive and unconsciousness naming ceases, or at least until [one becomes] aware of it.”
This may be why a participant on our Peru program spontaneously had a wave of emotion come over him, at a historical site in Cusco. Maybe it had something to do with the tone setting I’d done a few minutes prior, at the start of the program, where I encouraged participants to step out of their comfort zone, open their minds and try new things.
Our job is to simply put the people, the setting, and situations in place so that the participant may have an insight. Of course, you don’t need the mountains or a foriegn country to do that, but it can’t hurt.