"Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it,
I must listen to my life telling me who I am."
- Parker J. Palmer
What is a pilgrimage?
Essentially a pilgrimage is a journey. A journey that changes you. It would seem that human beings have made pilgrimages as long as they've been able to walk. The Greeks, Israelites, Mayans, Chinese, Christians, Muslims, and a variety of other peoples and religions throughout history have always taken long, often arduous, journeys toward some new understanding about their lives and the world they lived in. The journey itself was just as important as the destination, if not more so. Our ancient ancestors may have something to teach us about ourselves in our own times.
In today's world, pilgrimage has taken on new meanings for those who may or may not identify with a particular faith tradition. Millions of people increasingly identify as "spiritual but not religious" or may classify themselves as "nones," no religion at all. But at the same time, an estimated 300 to 330 million "spiritual tourists" visit significant religious sites every year. Why is this? What are they looking for?
They're looking for different things: from reclaiming a faith long abandoned, to hopes for healing, or clarity around an overwhelming decision. People today, just as much as at any point in history, are looking for something more than the status quo when the status quo can no longer sustain their lives. They're searching for new perspectives, relief from unending busyness, and deeper and more meaningful connections to themselves and their work. They want to encounter a simpler way to be in an increasingly complicated, and an ever more rapidly changing, world. They're hoping to go away on a journey that will bring them back to some greater sense of what it means to be at home in this life.
“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.”
Charles Gosset is a Certified Professional Life and Leadership Coach (CPC) and founder of Full Integration Coaching, LLC. He helps big-hearted people with huge drive lead exceptional lives. You can find out more about him and the transformational services he offers by visiting: www.fullintegrationcoaching.com.