Four Zen Proverbs For Transportation Hijinks

January 11, 2014

One of the most frustrating parts of travelling is the actual travel part, the purgatory section of time when you’re heading from Point A to Point B.  Not only is there the endless hassle of tickets, luggage, and security, but something always seems to go a little awry.  Luggage gets lost, trains don’t run on time, planes are delayed or canceled, connections are missed.  These Zen proverbial lessons will help you handle every bump in the road as just part of the adventure.


“If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can’t be solved.”

So basically, stop your stressing.  Chances are, most of your travel problems are solvable.  Can you stop the raging weather and uncancel a flight?  Probably not.  Can you convince the airline to put you up for the night and enjoy a little stop in an unexpected destination?  Possibly.  Don’t waste energy worrying over things you can’t change.  Devote it instead to making the most of the things you can.

“No ego, no pain”

Stop worrying so much about the “I.”  Remember that this is not just about you.  No one is conspiring to make your day, in particular, worse.  It’s easy when things go wrong to feel as if they’re happening only to us, but the truth is, you are not the only one being inconvenienced, and that includes the people who have to tell you the bad news.  Things will be a lot better when you stop taking it all so personally, and realize the situation is bigger than you.


“There is nothing infinite apart from finite things.”

This is not going to be forever.  In fact, in the grand scheme of your life, it’s probably not going to be very long at all.  Think of it this way: Three extra hours in the train station is shorter than the movie Titanic.   In the long run, that’s not very long at all.  So remember that, and relax.  Your life is not being stolen out from under you.  This, like all things, is finite.

“To set up what you like against what you don’t like — this is the disease of the mind. “ -Sheng-ts’an.

Practice equanimity.  Let go of automatic reactions judging situations as “good” or “bad.”  Take things as they are, as they come, and you may find yourself enjoying the journey just as much as the destination.  Transportation hijinks can mean more time to read a good book, see a city you’ve never seen, have a fantastic, leisurely meal, or get to know your fellow travellers.  Who knows? You may make a great friend or meet the love of your life.  Stop labeling situations as negative just because they’re unplanned, and you’ll allow all their positive aspects to arise.   It’s all part of the adventure, after all.  May as well learn to enjoy it.