Archive for July 6th, 2012
I was lucky yesterday. I had gone for a long walk of fourteen kilometres along the walking trails in Calgary. On the drive back to the outskirts of the city where I live, I got caught in a hail storm about one kilometre from where I stay. I had to stop and wait out the storm. When I got back, this was the scene from my patio looking out over the golf course. It isn’t really a good photo but it does what I want it to do. As I look again at the scene, I think of how many times I have walked in summer and winter in the countryside, moments of meditative peacefulness after the psychic storms that often plague me. When the storms abate I find the need to walk, to walk the devil out of me.
I am doing a lot of reading lately about the Camino de Santiago as found in various blogs and forums. I have to admit a fascination with the subject, almost an obsession. As I read, I found this quotation taken from a book:
The particular reasons which drive an individual towards an act of pilgrimage are inevitably deeply personal, and in many cases beyond the exercise of logic alone. Even though the physical dangers are not as great as they once were, the psychological and spiritual ferment remains. Those who are close to the pilgrim may well ask why they have undertaken such an action. The act of pilgrimage disturbs the lives of those who surround the pilgrim.
Despite the diversity of motivation, certain themes clearly emerge. The very historicity of the sites seems to exert its own natural attraction. Pilgrims travel in search of forgiveness for sins committed and so search for cleansing. A few travel as a form of punishment inflicting hardship on themselves as they go. Others journey in the hope of physical healing and inner spiritual healing. But above all, pilgrims travel in search of God and so hope to find themselves.
How strange it is that so many are drawn to leave home to find themselves. Yet the familiar sometimes obscures the eternal, not because it is not present but because it simply cannot be recognized without the experience of a broader canvas. Those who travel have understood the essential paradox that we cannot truly find the “I” within until we have found the “Thou” without.
- From Sacred Places, Pilgrim Paths: An Anthology Of Pilgrimage (1997) by MARTIN ROBINSON