I absolutely love to travel. The experience of new and exciting cultures, trying exotic foods and learning a different language are all high on my list of favs. But, one of my most favorite things to do when I travel is go through customs.
I know that may sound strange. Facing a grim faced, serious immigration officer does not usually bring forth ideal images of a friendly encounter.
Standing in long lines after a 24 hour flight doesn’t either.
The questions are always the same.
Have you ever been to (insert country here) before? How long is your stay? Here for business? What do you do? (This is the best part)
My answer is always the same. I teach meditation. I don’t know when I began to describe what I do like that. But after the response from the customs officer the first time I expressed it like that I have felt compelled to repeat it ever since. What happens next is fascinating.
There is always a body posture change. They tilt their head slightly to one side. Shoulders drop and relax. They take a breath , sometimes even close their eyes and seem to go away somewhere private and far away for a fleeting moment. They will often nod, smile and let out a “Hmm” or an “Ahh”. Every now and then I will get full eye contact and a “Really?….That’s nice”. Just the idea of meditation draws a response from even the most surly border patrol officer.
When I pass through customs in the airport I sometimes imagine what it would be like to work in that environment day after day after day. Always on edge.
Serious, guarded,suspicious. Boring and exciting all at the same time. Kinda sounds like life!
A good friend of mine says that “We all need our own quiet place.” I agree.
Today…I hope that you can slip away and find your own quiet place.
Wherever you are.