Travelling, Conflicts & Meditation

Travelling with people will inevitably bring about negativity and occasionally conflicts. The joys of having travel companions seems to incur a price in the form of conflicts that can arise amongst themselves. At times these conflicts are dealt with harmoniously. In other situations, they can lead to a long term relationship crisis.

However, if you know what to do if you get into that situation, then there is little to worry about in this matter. To make your ventures abroad worthwhile and enjoyable, read on to find out how to deal with the mutual unwelcome encounter of friction between travel companions.

You see, if you’re travelling with people, you must mentally prepare yourself to expect that conflicts may occur. Those conflicts can occur for many different reasons and this is quite understandable and even normal. It’s natural for people to hold a different opinion from another by having a different perspective which may result in disagreements. What matters here, is how you deal with conflicts or negative situations you experience on your travels. As well as conflicts, other obstacles you may experience include behavioural clashes, personality clashes and an exposure of bad habits of a fellow travel companion. (Of course if there is something you see another person doing which is wrong, it is your responsibility to reprimand them; this should be done bearing in mind the context and the temperament of the other person.)

Sometimes a travel companion may not be doing anything wrong, but because you have never had to live with them before, or may not have spent much time together before the journey, you end up seeing certain aspects of their behaviour or personality which you dislike or find difficult to tolerate and endure.

Fortunately, for this and for all the intolerable situations like this, there is a solution.

A strategy that I have found extremely useful when this happens to me is meditation. I don’t mean sitting by the coast with legs crossed with the back of your hands resting against your knees. I mean taking some time out from everyone and finding a quiet place to sit by yourself and ponder.

On numerous occasions I have been seriously affected by this and tried finding a way to solve this. It’s not always about finding a resolution for a conflict; sometimes it is healthier and a lot more effective to take some time out to be alone.

You may find it helps to communicate your intention to your fellow travel companions by saying:

“Look, I’m going to spend a little time at such and such space so I can clear my head.”

Remember to express your intention without a grudging tone as this will ensure that any mutual ill-feelings do not escalate.

The one strategy that always helped me was confining myself to solitude. This allowed me to slow down, review what just happened as well as figure out what can and cannot be done. It gave me clarity and helped clear my mind. At first it was not easy; it is not easy to sit by yourself, quietly, think, review and meditate. In an absurd world of around-the-clock distractions, thinking can be almost unachievable.

However, it can be done, and it will yield positive results.

A moment of reviewing your actions and meditating over a particular incident, object or thought can have profound effects on your behaviour post-meditation. It stops you from bearing grudges, furthering conflict, and prevents you from hatred as well as other nasty stuff.

A moment of meditation and solitude can rid you from many vices which in turn will help you to disseminate positive energy.

So, when travelling (or life) gets difficult, find a quiet spot and meditate. This can be anywhere. I find the Mosque a great place to do this. The prayer hall always has the right temperature, it’s peaceful, it’s quiet and most importantly it’s aesthetically pleasing. Mutually everyone in the Mosque knows why you are there which prevents anyone from coming and disturbing you. There are of course many other places that can be used for the same purpose; it’s just about finding what works for you.

For me, meditation is not simply about mental organisation and clarity, but it is also a profound way to connect with Allah. Faith in Allah is a powerful thing and when coupled with meditation it can lead to improving your well-being in many ways. Just like eating and exercise is used to keep the physical body in good order, meditation can be used to keep the mental and spiritual health in good order. We lose Allah when we get tangled up in our daily activities and when you find a moment to find yourself, you ultimately find Him, and this brings about positivity and a vibrant energy for the soul.

I leave you with a quote from Imam Ghazzali. Regarding meditation, reflecting and reviewing, he mentions:

‘[From meditation a person] will gain an answer to his unanswered questions and he will return in a good state.’

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