One thing that is all over the news these days, are the events in different European countries. For example, the terrible things that happened in Paris, France. The next day we learn that Brussels (Belgium) turned to a police-state for a few days.
A very important thing I noticed was the effort of many citizens from different countries all around the world to educate everyone that it is one thing for someone to be/become a terrorist and another to condemn all people that relate to a specific religion. Which we shouldn’t do at all. That is, to condemn all for the actions of few.
From my side that is a remarkable thing. Many times people tend to get carried away from their emotions when things like that arise. Actually, violence of such kind is not just a “priviledge” of specific groups with a specific philosophy. It happens from “civilized” countries to “less civilized” too. It is part of the sad case of the history of humanity.
To get back in track, though, when huge groups of people raise their voice in order to avoid blind blood shedding and blind revengeful actions, I feel optimistic.
So, where this kind of positive thing for humankind comes from?
This is something that comes from things like: education and familiarity with different and diverse cultures. It also comes from the ability to distinguish facts from emotion, up to the most possible level.
Which brings us to examine traveling as a medium to reduce discrimination, racism and, at the same time, as a way to increase compassion and love.
When people have the opportunity and ability to travel they will definitely confront situations that they will place them out of their comfort zone. From a simple thing like learning how to order their food in a restaurant, or asking for directions, to the huge opportunity to have to work with people from different ethnicities. Add different religion beliefs to the whole mix and there you are. A huge challenge and a class for learning is in front of you.
Traveling pushes you to overcome superstition and bad behavior. It pushes you to see how people live below the “tourism” mask of your traveling brochures.
You will see the reasons to love the world, but first…
You will visit places where locals depend largely on the money you spend there. Especially if you go to countries where 10 pieces of your “gold” buy you food, accommodation, sightseeings and souvenirs for quite a few days.
You will see poverty and you will see wealth and glamour. Both teach you something about people and you.
Local music can teach you many things. The way people have fun, outside their jobs shows their actual culture. If you visit some of their musical shows or local festivals you can experience the authentic nature of people.
If you get invited for dinner at a house you will see local families up close. You will see what children seek.
In that way you may experience things profound.
Like, that all people, no matter where they stay, eat, drink, wear or how much money they have, they do not actually want to suffer.
With one way or another they seek love. They can bring forth the good nature of themselves if they are properly educated and treated.
You may see that even people who blindly believe in a religion, they actually hope for something better in life by doing that. Many times this is exploited by those who want to manipulate humans and feed their selfish self.
But is such selfish behavior a “characteristic” of specific nationalities or people or it is just the outcome of ignorance and lack of education and/or even the lack of cultural proximity and mingling with other cultures?
In a few words, perhaps it is a result of ignorance?
Is traveling helping to overcome ignorance? Is acquaintance with different cultures a way to overcome prejudice, superstition, false beliefs or any kind of inherited views for people and things?
Traveling helps people to explore themselves. It can cultivate compassion and love for others when you see that they are hungry for love, food, friendship and safety like you.
Traveling helps to decrease racism. To get into other people shoes. Especially when you try to walk, eat, follow the customs of locals at the places you visit.
It is a way to explore and see yourself. To see if you really love yourself or if you act in a discriminate and racist way against yourself. To see if the characteristics you feel ashamed for yourself and the things you don’t like are actually the things you feel the same way for others.
Traveling can help you see yourself as you are. And, possibly when you see that, you may feel peace and start loving yourself clearing out all inherited false beliefs.
If you do that, then how far can it be to love all other people in this world and feel compassion for them. Give it a thought…