We have a friend we call Wu Di, and this is his legend. He’s always traveling, and he is always at home.
I’m laying out 30 practices for a full life in this month. It’s day 5.
Wu Di did his MBA from a well known institute nearly two decades ago. All this time, he has traveled places and seen things, like one does when given a chance. He went to famous places and he went to exotic places. He even went places where the authorities start to track you at the airport as soon as you land. One day in Iran, another in Cuba and then Paris, all of a sudden. It seemed this work-travel rhythm would settle eventually…there are only “so many” countries in the world. Work for a few months, see another country, work, travel, work.
Late last year, however, the pattern changed. One night, he slipped across the border. He sent photos of himself dancing at a wedding in Pakistan. From that Indo-Pak border trip, it seems he’s never returned home. He has been seen in places I’ve only heard of in middle school geography. Mauritius, New York, Ecuador and godknowswhereelse for the last ten months.
Wu Di is an escapist, you might say, thinking may be he’s running away from something. And it’s true, many people move because they are moving “from” something. When we feel like a stranger, we want to find home, or we want to find ourselves, and so we move. We move countries, companies, homes and even families in our search for our kind. This sense of alienation drives us crazy, and we even look to the stars for our place in heaven. We want desperately to return home, even though we may live in our own house.
But Wu Di has returned home; you could say he’s never left home. When we tease him about his travels, he’s quick to say he’s not a tourist. He’s always at home wherever he goes. He’s not running because he’s made enemies in one place that he’s running from. He roams this planet freely, always comfortable, never a tourist. From the outside it seems like he is running from something, but from his point of view, he is at home everywhere, so why should he stay at one place? He sends photos of smiling kids in the mountains, the barber in Spain, the taxi-guy on the small island. He has friends everywhere. He is a friend for every one.
These are two ways to look at our own situation. Either we believe we don’t belong here, and our aching heart longs for home all the time. Or we realize that wherever we go, we are home, and then all movement is free.
When we cultivate our heart, we learn to find home. And home isn’t a physical place- it’s a state of the heart. The Isopanishad says,
ॐ ईशा वास्यमिदँ सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
The loving spirit envelops this world, whether changing or unchanging. Knowing this, renounce and enjoy everything, for what can be possessed by anyone?
When our relationship with the all-enveloping spirit is one of love and friendliness, we feel just right. Everyone appears to be friendly and the heart is at peace. Move or stay, you’re always home.