the art of pilgrimage

After spending last month on retreat in the Philippines, I have returned feeling refreshed, recharged and re-focusedFrom the moment I set foot on the remote island of my destination, I felt deeply at home. I have a firey love in my heart for developing areas, where I feel a closer, rawer connection to humanity. I flew there to study with my teacher, a master of Tantra, astrology, and energy healing,  who had oodles to teach me, as always. (I will be spilling more juice and tools here, so stay near.) Having left home at age 12, toured as a pro-rock climber, and ventured over 15 years on spiritual journeys through Nepal, Tibet, India, Egypt, Japan, Europe, and Africa, he is also an expert on the art of spiritual pilgrimage. Here, I will share with you 3 gems for perfecting this art for yourself.

A spiritual pilgrimage can be any journey that leads you on a path of growth. You might visit  a place of immense natural power, a religious holy site, a beloved teacher, or anywhere your heart clearly calls you. Your trip could be a 3 hour drive or days long of mixed transportation methods. If you are someone who integrates your personal and professional development, you might also include business trips in this category. Trips to see family for the holidays are absolutely included, if you view them as the opportunity for profound healing that they are. Do not discount where you are beckoned to go, just because it isn’t Mecca or Machu Picchu. You simply set the intention for where you want to grow in your life and trust that a special, enticing trip will hold a clear opening to that.

First guideline to pilgrimage success:
when you reach your final destination, while usually this means you head straight for the hotel or wherever you’re sleeping, it is critical instead, that you go to a place where you can “land” and focus on your feelings. You do not want to go straight home with all that baggage. A restaurant is an ideal place for this. Coffee at the airport is not recommended, although it can work if you arrive at 3am. Or, you may try room service in the hotel lobby, only if there are no other options. The key is, to arrive somewhere outside of your living space, be with yourself quietly, and focus on the good feelings you want to have. Receive the goodness of your new surroundings. Then, go to your homebase. This goes for your return journey as well, because coming home is also the beginning of a new journey, of integrating all that you learned on your pilgrimage. This single act is the spiritual equivalent of getting up on the right side of bed.

Another tip for best results on your journey,
if you are not sure what comes next, like where you are going or what you are doing during a certain window of time, you will best serve your pilgrimage if you let it find you. What I mean is slow down and increase your attention to your surroundings, as opposed to speeding up to figure it out or know the answer, right now. Otherwise, you are likely to miss many promising opportunities because you will be moving to fast to see them. This is kin to slowing down to follow directions while driving in a car. Except, these directions come from trusting your internal version of Google Maps.

One last potent key to sacred travel..
is do not to exclude the transportation segment of your experience when extracting meaning. The moment you leave home for the taxi, the airport, the ferry, or the bus, the pertinent and juicy clues begin, about your inner journey and about the work that needs to be done to realize your intention. Certain unexpected themes emerge during actual travel time. Pay close attention to repeats. Do you run late? Are there crying babies around, making it difficult for you to relax? Does someone magical sit next to you, lending you some helpful advice? Does a certain song keep playing? Here is an excellent opportunity to gain added energy and momentum for your journey. Sometimes it’s easier to make moves while making moves, if you catch me.

*.May all your adventures serve your highest growth.*

Bon voyage!

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