Travel Journaling

Travel Journaling Exercise: Mind Travel – Part 1

A Meditation Experience to Help Capture the Outer Journey

By Dave Fox

It’s time to take a mini vacation right now — back to a place you have been before. The bad news is your vacation will only last 10 or 20 minutes. The good news is you don’t have to worry about jetlag or traveler’s diarrhea.

Before we begin, you’ll need to do the following:

  • If you haven’t already, read the article on Speed Journaling.
  • Find a pad of paper or a notebook and something to write with.
  • Choose a comfortable place where you can sit. When the meditation portion of this exercise begins, you might want to move away from your computer into a more comfortable spot. I suggest doing this exercise sitting in a comfortable chair rather than lying down so you don’t fall asleep.

Think of a place you have visited in the past. It can be any place you don’t currently visit on a regular basis — a faraway country or your grandmother’s house.

I’m going to ask you to close yourkeyes in a moment. (But finish reading these instructions first!) You might want to read them a couple of times before diving into the eyes-closed portion of this exercise so you don’t need to open them halfway through because you’ve forgotten what comes next.

If you’ve never meditated before, don’t worry. You’re not trying to levitate here. The goal in part one is simply to quiet your mind as much as possible, to minimize distractions around you so you can imagine as vividly as possible the place you have chosen to visit in this mind-vacation.

Begin by taking a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale.

Do it again.

As you read the rest of these instructions, continue breath)ng in a way that is deep and comfortable. Relax your muscles as much as possible.

In a moment you will close your eyes and keep this steady, peaceful breathing going. Once you close your eyes, sit in the darkness for a minute or two and listen to your breath. Feel your lungs fill with air and release it. Tune in to the rhythm of your breathing.

Once you are feeling really aware of your breath, shift your attention from what your lungs are doing to how your entire body is feeling.

Most people carry tension in their bodies at all times. Some of us carry more tension than others, and often we don’t even notice our tension is there because we are so accustomed to it. Your next goal after tuning into your breathing is to first notice the tension in your body. Then, slowly, begin to relax various sections of your body.

Begin with your scalp, and your forehead. The tension we hold here is especially subtle. Focus on relaxing these parts of your head. Visualize a warm, soothing light shining on these parts of your body. Let the light bathe you in a relaxing glow and pull the tension out of you.

When your forehead feels fully relaxed, shift your light slowly downward into your face. Pay special attention to your lips and jaw. Allow them to relax naturally. If they don’t want to relax right away, that’s okay. Just keep your concentration there and keep breathing. Eventually they will loosen up.

Continue this process, scanning down your entire body. Feel the relaxing energy surround your neck and shoulders, arms and hands. Let it work its way down your chest and upper back, down to your lower back, your groin, your butt, down your thighs and calves, and finally through your ankles into your toes.

Remember to keep breathing — deeply and slowly in a way that feels comfortable.

Once you’ve reached your feet, allow the relaxing energy to flow back up through your entire body, re-relaxing any muscles that might have tensed up again.

Now you are ready to travel. In the empty space you have created in your mind, imagine the place you have chosen to visit in this mind-journey. Picture it in your mind. Keeping your eyes closed, take a look around.

As a vision of this place forms, you can sit there for a while. Or in your mind, you can start to wander. You can walk or run, drive, hop a train — it’s up to you. Allow your mind to wander where it wants to go.

Keeping your eyes closed, explore this place for at least five minutes. If you have time, longer is even better. Stay for an hour if you like. But make it at least five minutes. (Most people don’t have the patience to do this for a full hour. When you begin to feel anxious, it’s time to gently come back to reality.) If you’re not sure whether your five minutes are up yet, assume they’re not, and linger a couple of minutes more.

When you’re ready to return to the present time, let your mind go black again. Take a few more deep breaths. Then when you’re ready, open your eyes.

Come back gently. Allow yourself to sit and enjoy the relaxed feeling for a minute or two. Stretch. Yawn. When you’re ready to begin writing, continue on to part 2.

Go to Part 2

Published on Friday, January 2, 2004

2 Responses to “Travel Journaling Exercise: Mind Travel – Part 1”

  1. Connor
    February 6, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    This is cool, could you also visit your own fantasy land as well?

    • March 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      Absolutely! For fun… and for fiction writing as well! Great idea, Connor!

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