What if our entire lives were a Pilgrimage? Perhaps the destination is Knowing more than what we think we are.
I've been thinking about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route lately. The Way of St. James from St. Jean Pied de Port, France in the Pyrenees Mountains to Santiago, Spain on the Atlantic coast.
There are several different routes. The original and the one most traveled is the ancient pilgrim path called the Way of St. James, also known as Camino Frances. Thirty-three stages which are broken down into thirty-three stops along the 482 mile hike...so roughly a month of walking.
I would love to read The Book of Love and Creation by Paul Selig each morning prior to setting out along the path. The book is set up as a thirty-day read, one day at a time.
Wake up. Meditate. Eat breakfast. Read a day from the Selig book out loud. Walk to the next stage during the day while thinking about what I read in the morning and how it applies to life before setting out. Get a room in a pilgrim hostel or hotel upon arriving at the next stage. Get clean. Eat dinner. Chat with fellow pilgrims or not. Sleep. Repeat the process until the book and the path are completed in Santiago, Spain.
I've read The Book of Love and Creation a few times already. This one is the second in a series. I've read them all at least once and each time, I've read them out loud to another person. There is something about speaking each word to myself and another as opposed to silently reading entire phrases or sentences at a time in my mind.
I see walking this ancient pilgrim route while reading the book each morning, with another person. A fellow human being who is on the classic pilgrimage path to self. Navigating the outer world we see, while navigating the inner worlds of us with a clear destination of Knowing who and what we are.
Knowing this creates a profound action from within the self: a desire to be in service as Love. If one is in service to the world as Love, then a profound Legacy has been created.
He or she could do no harm to anyone. He or she was the embodiment of Love in human form. He or she brought this planet closer to peace for the betterment of their children and the children of all of us.
Why did these thoughts appear in me?
As I was editing the short video included in this post, I was remembering reading The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. I learned about Camino de Santiago while reading The Pilgrimage. I was in Bermuda while in the midst of my own Journey...the solo sailing Adventure in the Atlantic back in 2011. I had just finished The Alchemist by Coelho and the guy who repaired my boat suggested I read The Pilgrimage, since in his mind, I was on my own pilgrimage...and I was. Reading The Pilgrimage sent a shiver down my spine as I was preparing to set sail alone again, this time into the center of the Bermuda Triangle.
Coelho's book is his story of walking the 482 mile route of Camino de Santiago and what he found along the way.
The discovery is the same...Self.
A pilgrimage is something which can be done once I suppose. Yet for me and perhaps others, every waking moment is a continuation of a Journey.
I love the horizon. I love what is not seen with the eyes. I love the call of exploration, for if everything was known to me, life would be a bore.
Yes, I continually seek...and I'm cool with that.
What type of person loves a pilgrimage?
Well, I do not pretend to know the answer to that question in full. However, I can speak to the ones I've run into along my way. Introverts like me...every single one of them. Perhaps extroverts love the idea as well, I've just never been able to go that deep with one. I'll own that inability and it's something for me to work on as I travel a path to non-separation.
For me at least, and I believe in my heart all humans, seek Adventure. Sure, the Calling manifests differently in different people regardless of gender, personality type or anything else. Metaphorically, sailing towards unknown horizons as we explore our inner world and outer world at the same time.
As I was approaching my 50's back in 2007, I was dealing with my second divorce. My stick fighting instructor was from the village of Kalinga in the Philippines. He told me that in his culture, men my age would feel the call to go. In Euro-Culture, this is referred to a mid-life crisis for men, which is fueled by the culture created misconception, that this call to go is selfish and created by something wrong with men.
Back in his village, when men felt the call, the entire village of both men and women, including the wives of the men, celebrated the call. They would throw a big party the night before the man took off into the jungle for up to a year or whenever the man was complete with his inner work.
Four years and another failed relationship later, I took to the sea alone on a small sailboat in 2011 and found my treasure...my Self.
I was asked a question recently as I prepare to be interviewed for an online summit about the Divine Masculine.
Greg, how does a man embrace his Divine Masculine?
My short answer, including a version of the stick fighting instructor story, was this:
He seeks nothing outside of himself, whether it be peace, approval or unconditional love. He heeds the call from within himself and takes off for a time and comes back a solid Man.
The thing is, I'm on a path of non-separation as I stated above. Yes, embracing the Divine Masculine or the Divine Feminine, is a part of the process, but to end the path there would be ending in separation. The goal for me at least, is to embrace who I Am as a Child of God (or whatever you wish to call it) in fullness regardless of gender. The goal is to embrace the Divinity in all of us.
Time to hit the trail of Life again as I know it with the label of introvert. 'Cuz that's how life works for me and I love it.
How not to get lost along the way...
The guidebook I found during my research about the route, A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago, turns out to be more than a typical guidebook. The subtitle is A Practical & Mystical Manual for the Modern-Day Pilgrim. Upon reading the book, I can see why.
There are Outer Waymarks, with the typical guidebook stuff, but John Brierley goes deeper into asking you...Why?
His Inner Waymarks are thoughts, questions for you and points of departure to your own, personal inner world as you travel the path of a pilgrim along the Camino de Santiago.
Does this sound interesting to you?