I’m halfway through an 8-hour trip, sitting in a bus station somewhere between Moni and Labuanbajo, on the island of Flores, Indonesia. A local guy who was with me in the van on the first part of the trip, who had took me to his house to meet his family and then helped me change money and find somewhere to eat after the first four hours of the trip, dropped me here and told me to wait for a mini-van to leave to Labuanbajo. As soon as I arrived someone took my backpack off my shoulders and put it in a van, to secure me as a customer.
At one point I saw the van leave. I thought whether my bag was safe, and went to ask a driver there. He told me “no problem”. They didn’t know any English there. Something inside me told me that it’s useless to panic, just sit and wait and it will probably be ok. And 5 minutes later the guy came back with the van. Seemed like he had gone to buy food or water. Soon after that, more locals arrived and as soon as the van filled up, we were off. I hoped they knew I wanted to get to Labuanbajo.
This was the first time I was travelling alone in an Asian country, and one of my lessons in patience and trust that travelling has been teaching me. I had to be patient while the van left, not really sure what time I’ll leave or get to where I wanted to go. I had to trust people I didn’t know, I wasn’t sure they new where I wanted to go and many other doubts going through my head.
Back home everything is under our control. We know how long it takes us to get somewhere, who to trust, how to complain if we’re not served well, and so on. When we are travelling, especially in non-western countries where things are done differently, without trust and patience we won’t last, we won’t enjoy the experience.
Patience is a great thing to learn. It reduces a lot of stress and helps us enjoy the moment so much more. Many times we are to eager to get our plate of food at a restaurant and we forget to enjoy the company we are in. Even if that company is just a good book or ourselves. And we’ve probably just eaten a few hours earlier. Some people go days without eating and they survive, but in our culture we want everything now, eager to move on to the next thing that will excite our mind.
Maybe we’re in a big city waiting for a train to come, or somewhere where nothing interesting is going on. That makes it harder to be patient, and that is when the ability to be silent with ourselves comes in. Impatience sometimes stems from our inability to be with ourselves, and if we can’t be with ourselves, we can’t really fully be with anyone else.
Patience reminds us that the whole world does not revolve around us. We have to go with the flow of things. If we resist what’s happening around us and are constantly trying to control the situations we are in we only create anxiety and stress. Patience and surrender go hand in hand.
Trust also goes hand in hand with patience. And it is beautiful when I am able to practice it. In many situations I have to trust that things will be fine, letting go of trying to control a situation over which I have no real control gives me peace of mind. Trusting that I will find a place to sleep in the next village I visit when I’m travelling for example, or trusting that if I won’t it will be ok too.
Trusting people also makes travelling, and our lives in general, much more full and beautiful. If we don’t trust people, we are scared of people and we don’t give ourselves the chance to get to know different people and cultures. Apparently not everyone out there is out to get us. With all the propaganda on the news we think every part of the world which is not home is burning down and people are killing each other constantly, but in most of the countries we end up visiting there are normal people living there lives. Nice people. Sure they may be trying to make money off us at times, but that doesn’t mean they’ll rob us. We have the option to accept or decline what they are selling to us. But in the meantime it is good to smile and just soften the conversation. People open up, and then it becomes more human.
By learning to apply trust in my everyday life, I have broadened my experience many fold. I got to know new people and had new experiences, which led to getting to know more about myself, since everyone we meet mirrors something in us and teaches us something.
Without trust we cannot really enjoy life. We are always in a state of fear and closed up to the world around us. And when we put out that energy we also put people on edge. The more we trust, the more we attract trustworthy people in our lives, and the opposite is true, the more we fear, the more we attract the same people acting out of fear.
Intuition comes into play here too. We will start noticing more when not trusting is just paranoia or there is good reason not to trust. Most times it’s the first, because even if people are trying to be greedy or take advantage of us, they won’t force it and we can still be soft and calm with them. At other times we have to use trust in another way, and this time trust our own intuition and maybe leave from the place where we are. Then this would not be because we have lost patience. In fact we would need more patience to find another way around the situation.
Both patience and trust have thought me to be still & wait. Even in emotional situations, things are never clear. We might not know where something is going, or when a feeling will change. When we will feel better. Being patient with myself and trusting that all will be well, and all is already well, helps me feel at ease and continue with my life while a storm passes. Even enjoy the storm while it passes. It’s no use trying to change the weather.
We just look at our actions, and if we see they’re coming from a good place, from a loving place, then all we can do is let go.
The more still, patient and trusting we become, the better our contact with our inner guide, our God, our intuition, becomes. Then we can learn and know better when we need to let go and trust, and when we need to act.