We might like to travel to experience the awe and beauty of other places and cultures, but not anticipate that if we are taking in the 10,000 joys, we are simultaneously entrusted with the 10,000 sorrows. If you are traveling to a country with high rates of poverty, or one that has been impacted by war or economic dependency, you will witness that. Don’t turn away; this is part of the work you came to do. Being grounded in a compassion practice can help us witness harm and suffering, which lends itself to taking effective action to reduce pain and injustice. When working to be present to the pain of injustice—including that caused by travel— I turn to these phrases that I adapted from Buddhist teacher James Baraz.
A Mantra for Compassion
This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is a part of life. May I turn toward this pain with compassion. And allow it to expand my heart and deepen my practice.
These inquiries are not easy! But they can help you travel responsibly.