Archive for February 9th, 2011

Pilgrimmage

Western wall in Jerusalem at night

Image via Wikipedia

During the Season of  Lent our consciousness is drawn to Holy places like Jerusalem.  I’ve had the privilege of being there during the Holy Triduum. It was the experience of a lifetime and has been since the 4th Century, where those on the path have come to see Palestine as a ‘holy land’ and Jerusalem as the “City of Many Faiths”. No other place, not even Rome, holds the same distinction in the minds of those seeking to find a connection to Spirit.   As St. Jerome once said, “The whole mystery of faith is native to this country and this sacred city.”

No matter how many centuries pass or how widespread the message of Christ becomes, our souls are wedded to this land that gave birth to humanity’s first experience of Creation in the flesh.  A dusty land where many of history’s greatest leaders have  journeyed and even today provides a snapshot of our past, present and future as people of the path. To experience this land as a pilgrim allows us to be drawn not only into the history of who we are as a people of faith, but connects us somehow with the geo-historical locale in which it all took place.  A walk through the Holy Land allows us to be part of the richness of our tradition and journey as a ‘people of the word’, making real the importance of a sojourn to places that nurture and contribute to our process.

Just as incense leaves an odor on the air it touches, so God has left traces of himself in this desolate land. Pilgrims today have that same eagerness to breath in the fragrant air of this relationship where human and divine become as one.

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The Labyrinth

 

I remember my first walk. I was so reverent, so filled with myself. I was sure I was on the path, to where I am not sure, but I was certain none the less that I was one of that rare breed of sojourners that truly got the meaning of the Spiritual Journey. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

I began by lighting a candle to set my intention, placing it in the sand pots near the entrance to the Labyrinth. I then paced around the outer rim of the labyrinth like a caged animal seeking freedom from a captivity I did not yet understand. I stopped at the entrance, bowed sanctimoniously, and began my walk. With each turn along the way, something was moving inside me.

My heart began to feel heavy, my steps burdened. What was happening to me? The ‘Perfect Pilgrim’ I thought I was entering the sacred path, was now experiencing a state of turmoil and fear like I’d never known. Tears began welling up in my eyes, and with each step a shift was taking place. I could literally feel weight being freed from my heart, my body and my soul.

When I arrived in the center I felt lighter than I ever remember, yet the cockiness that convinced me I was one of the chosen, became the karmic moment my spirit needed to transition into a state of humility capable of helping me understand what letting go and following spirit meant.

Leaving the rosette to return to the world, I somehow ended up back in the center again. Guess I didn’t let go after all! In that brief moment, all I could do was laugh. I sat momentarily, then asked Spirit what she wanted. All I heard was, ‘Let Go.’

The Winding Path is all about the healing power of Spirit, and how she asks us all to ‘Let Go’ of our burdens so that joy and peace permeate the way we live in this world.

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