Vacations are designed to help us. We say we need a break, we need a rest, we need to get away. Vacations can help us with detachment. When we go away or just stop our normal work or activity we are forced hopefully to disentangle from that very activity. We get to see how involved we were, which may not have been for our or anyone else’s good.
So vacations can be a good tool from the standpoint of spiritual practice. Perspective can arise when we have some distance from our normal life. This clarity will only come, though, when we do not take a vacation from our practice. There is never a time when we should take a vacation from our boring in and resting in the Heart.
Vacations can become a detriment when we do not practice and we just attach ourselves to our vacation environment. We are then perpetuating the practice of attachment; reinforcing attachment to what is temporary and always changing. If we practice going into and resting in the Heart, then whether we are in our normal life or on vacation we are focused on what is Real. This way we do not lose sight of who we are, and we can approach each environment appropriately.
Nonattachment is a skill we each need to develop and then constantly practice in order to live life to its fullest. This may seem strange, that nonattachment brings richness, but nonattachment is not apathy and not caring. Nonattachment means we are disentangled from what is not real so that we do not identify inappropriately. We can see clearly and remain calm when we are nonattached. We can see clearly enough to truly know when it is time to back off from a situation and give it a rest.
So a vacation is a way to make sure we see clearly. We can see how attached or not we are. We are not to replace one attachment with another. That is reducing life to a series of affairs. We go from repulsion to attraction. Not good. If we are not practicing, we are approaching our life from the standpoint of ignorance. We are taking our environment as Real. Once we believe that, then we identify with and lose our subject in the object of the environment. From there we are attracted to certain things based on our ‘identity’. We are repulsed by other things based on that same wrong identity. And because we are so sure that this is Real, then we are afraid of losing what we are, what we have. So we cling for dear life.
When we go on a vacation those bonds can loosen. We can really work to disentangle from the life that we are clinging to and see that we are something greater than any thing or lifestyle. But if we just jump into the vacation with the same ignorance then it really does not matter whether you are home or on vacation; it is all the same.
So wherever we are we need to practice. We can then actually be there for our life instead of being driven into or escaping from what we are here to learn from. Our task is to participate wherever we are, and not lose ourselves in the process.
By all means go on vacation; I am presently on vacation in Orkney. But we have to be present to be able to go on vacation. That means we neither take the environment we have vacated with us nor do we enmesh ourselves in the new one. And if we have gotten attached even though we practice, then we have to go on vacation. Through practicing, going into and resting in the Heart, we will find our Self, really vacating who we are not and returning to who we are. Love will be who and how life is, whether in daily life or on vacation.
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