This week’s story is about pilgrimages. Literal pilgrimages. The kind we’re told to take three times a year. To Jerusalem, a word that today I’ll use to mean a special center of the spiritual universe: a moment and place in space-time where you can hook up to energies of insight and peace. You can substitute any special place of your own, but think of a pilgrimage as the journey you’re instructed to take regularly to commune with the divine.
It’s an action that supersizes whatever’s your daily practice, whether that’s sitting in quiet meditation or walking in the woods. Three times a year to carve out a chunk of time to remember that we’re here to do some holy work, to heal this planet and ourselves, to learn compassion, to practice good and free will. Three conscious opportunities to exercise them, and to enhance the likelihood that all of us can live a life of abundance and joy, however you translate those concepts.
They’re times to remember where we’ve been and where we still want to go. Where and why our spiritual energy is focused. So why wouldn’t we aim there in a fast straight line? Hit the road running and not stop till we get to go. Build our temple; live on milk and honey.
Because we’re human. And we blow it regularly. We get distracted by paying our bills or broken water heaters, by dark chocolate and summer berries, by falling in or out of love. We forget and we need help to remember.
Every time I wrestle with something, whether it’s a deep spiritual lesson or some silly life blunder, I always come back to the question: How do I live with greater awareness and greater intention? How can I wake up, and live more consciously?
The problem’s chronic, probably eternal at least while we incarnate as humans.
No matter how much good advice we get, human or divine. No matter how clear the instructions on the roadmap, we take wrong turns. Pull into dark canyons. Fall over cliffs and have to start again, sometimes after healing a broken leg or heart.
Life’s journey isn’t simply from a here to a there. We make pilgrimages to remind ourselves how we want to feel whenever we get there for real. We hope the glimpses will help us stay awake between them. Sacred art, music, prayer, and nature reinforce those glimpses.
What matters is your intention. A sincere and humble visit to wherever you find that sense of grace. An opening. Your heart open to the heart of the divine. A deep meeting of like energies. No buffers. A willingness to listen. A willingness to be witnessed and to be open to what you need to receive.
Some days you may go unconscious, or get lost. But every step on your pilgrimages will bring you a little closer to the temple of your holy spark, a little closer to your inner Jerusalem.
This week: Think about where you feel peaceful, inspired, and holy. Go there. And resolve to return and return and return.