"Once we begin to see travel as an inner journey, it is possible to turn every trip we take into a spiritual practice — a hero's adventure that enlivens our hearts and enlarges our souls. Travel becomes a spiritual experience for us when we are conscious at every moment that our physical transportation from place to place has a metaphysical counterpart. Understanding that, the road takes us inexorably to an encounter with the 'stranger' at the heart of the journey — the transformed self," writes Joseph Dispenza, an author, former monk, and co-founder of LifePath Retreats. This paperback is divided into five sections to emphasize the mythological elements of travel as an epic adventure. Dispenza also provides a series of journal prompts to make the most out of this journey.
In "The Call To Journey," Dispenza catches the heroic dimensions of the journey and challenges us to see — along with Lao Tzu — that we have no fixed plans but are pulled to a place. This opens us to the mysteries of the unknown and calls forth our courage and creativity. The author suggests setting up a travel shrine where we can put objects of significance for us that relate to the anticipated trip.
In "The Preparation" Dispenza provides a series of spiritual qualities that can serve as provisions for the journey such as cheerfulness, openness to change, flexibility, self-esteem, and generosity of Spirit. Next, he suggests we formulate goals for the journey, which are not the same as the reasons for the trip. He recommends formulating three simple goals, writing them on 3" x 5" cards and taping them inside a suitcase. Another preparatory step is to choose gifts to give to people we meet. Finally, we should make leaving our home for the journey a ceremonial event.
In "The Encounter" Dispenza challenges us to become aware of all that shows up on our way to our destination. Once we arrive, we are filled with wonder, and we practice being truly present to the strangers and the places we encounter. We give gifts and collect mementos in a spirit of give and take.
In "The Homecoming" we fondly recall the people and places we have encountered and bless the place where we have stayed for the next person. Upon arrival home, we can create a homecoming ritual at our travel shrine. As the novelist Pat Conroy puts it: "Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey."
Finally, in "Recounting the Tale," Dispenza advises us to gather the threads of the journey, display the treasures, and tell our stories.