Posts Tagged: traveler’s prayer
Summertime – the great annual habit-breaker. If we are lucky, we have the opportunity to look up from our usual routine and try something new. Often that newness involves travel. And it’s curious: some of us sit still to try to reconnect with clarity and insight. But there are some insights that are easier to come to through motion. It’s like when we stand in front of a wooden fence. When we stand still in front of it, all we see are the slats, blocking what is on the other side. But when we walk by it, we can often glimpse the garden through the cracks between the slats.
And yet, the moving itself is often the least pleasant part of the traveling. We like to arrive at our destination, but dealing with traffic, lines, security and all the rest of it is a whole different story. It can feel more like the fence, slowing us down, herding us along, keeping us out.
Reciting tefillat haderech, the traveler’s prayer, can serve as an intention to help us transform the often harried experience of traveling. The traditional Hebrew asks God to guide us in peace, to let us take each step in peace and to help us reach our desired destination alive, joyful and in peace. It asks that we be kept safe from any kind of danger along the way and that we encounter only kindness and graciousness from those we meet. Here is a link to the prayer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tefilat_HaDerech
Imagine if we took this on as a blessing practice. If we began each journey with this blessing, evoking that sense of peacefulness and security for ourselves, then, from an inner place of joyfulness and peace, we might be able to bless all those people with us in those endless lines and crowds – perhaps even the really annoying ones – with the same blessing. May you be guided in peace! May you reach your destination safely! May you encounter only kindness and graciousness! May your prayer be heard!
That kind of inner spaciousness can transform the burden of travel into an opportunity to enjoy each encounter. It can tear down the fence around the heart altogether. (And of course, the summer traveling– the moving from place to place, the crowds, the aggravation, the pleasure, all of it – is nothing less than a facet of – and practice for – our life journey, in which we can only pray to reach our destination in peace.)