Lessons on the Road #1
It’s easy to get boxed into our own little worlds, sealed in a bubble and oblivious to reality, losing perspective and drowning in ethereal thoughts. It’s the familiar world of “I, me and mine” – a small world in which nothing very mystical, magical or memorable ever really happens. We sometimes get the urge to exit that world , but it’s not easy at all. I guess that’s what the coming month is all about. This Christmas we’ll be driving up and down motorways, stopping at the urban jungles, standing on street corners, speaking to the busy shoppers and showing them spiritual books. It’s the mission to open minds and open hearts. Our approximate route: London – Southampton – Bournemouth – Chichester – Andover – Birmingham – Leicester – Nottingham – Derby – Sheffield – Manchester – Liverpool – Leeds – Hull (and a host of smaller towns in between!). More than leaving the comforts of home and ‘living on the road,’ the humble efforts of this month are about venturing beyond the space of selfishness and entering a genuine mindset of care and concern for others.
It’s quite a task to stop someone in their tracks, cut through the myriad of thoughts, penetrate the bubble of their life and begin a dialogue about deeper subject matter. Some people naturally tune in, while others are sceptical, uninterested and otherwise-engaged. Sometimes it’s agonisingly difficult, and other times it feels like a mystical drama being orchestrated by higher powers. Either way, it’s where I learn the deepest lessons. My most memorable experiences in life have been in bustling high streets sharing spirituality with people. Anything could happen.
Being out on the “front-lines” is also a wake-up call. Here we come face-to-face with the harsh realities of everyday life – homelessness, crime, conflict, depression, and a stream of other struggles, often hidden behind ‘smiling’ faces. As a teenager, I always found it uncomfortable and awkward to witness images of suffering. Switch the channel, change the topic, turn a blind eye – out of sight, out of mind. Hard as I tried, however, I couldn’t seem to forget. Some of it was compassion, but a lot of it was guilt; I had everything, while others had next to nothing – that was uncomfortable. Years later we have the opportunity to do some spiritual welfare work, helping people get to the root of the problem. It’s an opportunity to make a positive contribution. Let’s see what lessons we learn on the road this time round…