You know that excellent feeling you get when you’re traveling solo, and you’e on the first full day of the trip after the journey to get to your first destination?
You know how you realize, “Wait a minute, nobody here knows me or my past! They have no expectations of me. I can be whoever I want, and they will never know!”
It’s a massively liberating feeling. I think it may be a big factor in the “rush” people get from traveling.
I think these experiences help to release us from the illusion of believing we are somehow “required” to live up to our own subconscious expectations/requirements of having to be who other people expect us to be. As if there is a certain identity people expect from us, and we ourselves feel as if we are obligated to express and “be” that identity we imagine other expect from us.
My experience with meditation gives me that “liberation from identification” feeling all the time, even in familiar places, among familiar people.
I constantly feel like I am “traveling solo”, among people who do not expect any particular personality from me.
I no longer feel bound and obligated to be who I was yesterday, 3 years ago, or this morning.
I say things that people who “know” me might be surprised (or shocked) to hear me say. “That’s not ‘you'”, they tell me.
The ruts of identification run very deep. But I think the external social pressure of obligation to uphold and maintain those identifications is an even greater influence over one’s experience of “who I am”.
When the meditation literature speaks of “liberation”, this is currently what I think they refer to. Liberation from identification. Liberation from the obligation of identification, to be more precise.
Or perhaps even more precisely, liberation from the illusion of the obligation of identification.
Liberation is the perfect word for this experience. Because once you’ve been liberated, you can see the prison walls that were invisible up until now, and you were indeed trapped. It’s a liberation that can only be recognized as such once the liberation has taken place, because up until that point, you didn’t even know you were imprisoned.
Unfortunately, people who have not yet liberated themselves base a lot of their own identifications on the expectations of the identifications of those around them. Who they think they are relies upon you being who they think you are. And you are supposed to reciprocate and be who you’ve been, and who they think you are.
So when you’re “traveling solo” among familiar people and places, it won’t have the same flavor as when you’re actually traveling solo among strangers. You may have no ties to previous identities, but they will have expectations placed upon you.
But if you’ve been a solo traveler, and you know the feeling I am talking about, it’s a perfect analogy for the state of mind and experience of the world you’ll be cultivating if you maintain a daily practice of conscious focus and concentration mastery — meditation.