Discovering the Spiritual Bliss of Air Travel


I think everyone will agree that modern commercial air travel is the perfect way to discover serenity and inner peace. At least that’s what occurred to me the other day while I was in a holding pattern over O’Hare (I wasn’t in a plane at the time, just waiting for Brendan O’Hare to get out of the lower bunk bed so I could climb down and find the washroom).


Of course, the path (or as I like to call it, ‘runway’) to meditative oneness during air travel requires some guidelines (as does the path to twoness) so I wrote down a few helpful hints. Unfortunately, I put them into my checked luggage which was sent to Kuala Lumpur instead of Pittsburgh (or PIT as we say in airport lingo) but it’s nothing to get hyperventilated about. I’m sure they’ll find it, or perhaps I can pick it up in Cleveland the next time I’m flying non-stop from Newark to San Diego.


This brings me to the first important requirement for serene and blissful air travel: don’t bring any baggage - unless it belongs to me in which case, please drop it off in Cleveland (see previous paragraph). With no baggage, you can truly unburden yourself (not in public, of course). When (or, as the experts say, “if”) you arrive at your destination, simply pop into a department store and buy a few items to wear. Tube socks, at 10 pairs for $1.43, are a particularly versatile choice and can easily be stretched, pulled and tied to create a smart evening ensemble for any business occasion (note: some ensembly required).


Perception is the key to Zen air travel. If you are perceptive, you will certainly suffer. However, if you have carefully dulled your senses (or sensed Dulles) with a creative assortment of alcoholic beverages before boarding the aircraft, you will be surprised at how spiritually calm you can be when your flight is diverted to Toronto (or, “oh no, not Toronto” as we say in airport lingo).


Empathy is another key weapon in the Zen air traveler’s arsenal (for those who don’t believe in empathy, I know exactly how you feel). Try to look at things from the airline’s perspective (usually 35,000 feet) unless, of course, you’re concerned about Vertigo (population: 5,000, slogan: high neighbor!)


Most of all, the ability to live in the moment (or at least in a cheap motel nearby) is key to your spiritual airline experience. I can’t count the number of people who have complained to me about long delays (but then, I did skip grade two math). The key is to embrace those precious five or six hours (who’s counting? certainly not me) as a source of radiant Joy, the charming flight attendant with the bar cart.


I don’t know about you (after all, we only just met) but I feel more relaxed already.