TNG 1×6: Well wishes for The Traveller

Think happy thoughts. That’s an order!

We’re still on TNG 1×6, “Where no one has gone before”. We’ve already covered the nature of thought and reality, and Kosinsky’s error. Here we’re going to talk about warm fuzzy well wishes – which may be more powerful than you realise.

To recap, in this episode the Enterprise finds itself in a strange place where thoughts can instantly become reality, causing all manner of chaos throughout the ship. They got to this place through the intervention of The Traveller, who unfortunately ends up in a weakened state, and it seems unlikely he’ll be able to get them back.

So Picard comes up with a genius idea – if thoughts create reality here, let’s give the fella a little boost. He puts out a call the the whole crew, and asks them to mentally wish the traveller well, and to think about sending him some of their strength.

Here’s what he says:

“All decks, all stations. This is the Captain speaking. All decks, I must have your full attention. In a few moments, as we attempt to warp back home, it is vital, absolutely vital, that you centre your thoughts on your duty or on the welfare of the one called the Traveller. Think of giving him some of your strength. Now, this is an order. You must try to do this. And now, attempt to concentrate completely on your duty of the moment. Or on the Traveller, on his well being. Think of him as someone you care deeply about.”

So he’s giving the crew two choices – either concentrate on you duties (to prevent stray thoughts causing further dangerous manifestations), or concentrate on the well-being of the Traveller, of giving him strength.

His gambit works – the crew’s thoughts indeed become reality, and they give the Traveller enough strength to get the crew home.

Troi notices the impact quite clearly – her empathic abilities mean she soaks up all the positive emotion on the ship, and she gets a little loved up, “I feel such an abundance of well being on the ship. It feels… quite wonderful,” she says.


Troi looking quite content.
“This is good shit, Captain.”

What Picard advised his crew to do here is very similar to a Buddhist meditation technique called metta, also known as loving kindness meditation. I know, it sounds like hippy nonsense, but don’t switch off just yet – a number of studies have shown that this technique is actually beneficial to our own happiness.

To do this, you think about a particular individual (we’ll come back to who in a sec), you picture them in your mind, and do as Picard ordered – wish them well.

It is often recommended to repeat certain phrases in your mind, mentally directing them at the person, for example:

  • May you be happy
  • May you be at peace
  • May you be free from suffering
  • May you live with ease

As you repeat these phrases, try to be genuine. Try to create a feeling – to genuinely feel that you wish them well and want the best for them.

Objects of metta

Here’s how to decide which people to choose as the object of your well-wishing:


One way is to make a series of individuals the object of your metta. There could be…


Metta begins at home, so start by wishing yourself well. Change the phrases appropriately, “May I be happy, may I be at peace”, and so on.

Someone you feel positively towards

Next, move onto someone you have a very positive, uncomplicated relationship with. A family member, a partner, a close friend, someone like that.

Someone neutral

Now, try someone you feel neutral towards. Maybe someone you don’t know well – a cashier at the store, a friend of a friend, someone at work. Someone towards whom you have no strong feelings either way.

Someone you feel negatively towards

This is a tricky one. There will always be people we come across that we don’t like. Maybe we disapprove of something they do or have done. Maybe they have actively wronged us in some way.

But if we carry around negative thoughts towards these people, does that really serve us? It’s not a pleasant experience to dislike someone, is it? In some cases, the negativity might be unjustified, and a product of our past experience or neuroses. Even if it is justified, does it help us to feel that way, to carry around negative feelings that might spring into our minds every now and then? Usually not.

The idea behind targeting metta towards someone like this, is to help us let go of all that. It can be a first step towards forgiveness. This doesn’t mean that you suddenly start singing the praises of those possessed of poor character. It doesn’t mean you start trusting people who are untrustworthy. To forgive, does not mean to forget, as they say. On a practical level you still behave towards people as is appropriate. It just means that you can release some of the emotional negativity you may be carrying.

If there are people who have seriously wronged you, perhaps to the point of trauma, then don’t choose them for this. These kinds of relationships are best explored and understood along with a professional, who can help you process all that happened.

So start with someone you feel somewhat negatively, but who hasn’t brought serious harm to you. Maybe someone you just find a bit annoying or irritating. A particularly good option is someone you are envious of for some reason, but hasn’t done anything towards you. In this case, the negativity is all on you, and there’s no reason to be carrying it around. You might think you can use envy of others to motivate yourself, and there is some truth to that, but it can lead you down a toxic path. Take heed from Ryu on Ken for the right way to use rivalry to your advantage.

Groups of people

A second approach is to use groups of people.

Start with people very close to you, geographically. Maybe everyone in your house or your street.

Then move to a wider area, maybe everyone in your town.

Keep expanding – your county, your country, your continent, and the whole world. Maybe even expand to other strange new worlds.

The practice

  1. Choose whether to use groups or individuals
  2. Decide on which groups or individuals you will use
  3. Sit or lie down somewhere you won’t be disturbed
  4. Start with the first person or group – bring them to mind, and use the phrases above to generate well-wishes towards them
  5. Repeat for the rest of the individuals or groups

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *