The Pilgrim Road

Pilgrimages come in so many shapes and sizes.  Some involve sacred places; Jerusalem, Kayavarohan, Mecca, Nauvoo, Palmyra, Rishkesh, Rome and countless others.  Others involve events; Temple of Sound, General Conference, Prana Awakening, Meditation 101.  Yet others involve personalities; Amma, Thomas Monson, Eckhart Tolle, Amrit Desai, Bhagavan Das, your favorite musician.  People make pilgrimages to be in these places, participate in these events or even go just to hear or be near these people.  Why?

People make pilgrimages in hopes of a marvelous change.  While many do experience change, it is often a flash in the pan that does not last for long.  The tendancy is to attribute the flash of change to being in that place, at that event or with that person or those people.  When this happens, we quickly become dependent on the visionaries, the sacred destinations, the marvelous events to continually rekindle that spark of change or that fleeting euphoria, neither of which lasts long.

If pilgrimages to holy sites, sitting at a master’s feet or flitting from one event to another are none of them the answer to our need for change, then what is?

First, what is the change that so many feel they need?  Peace, happiness, quiet.  “If I can just lose 10 pounds, then I would be happy.”  “I just need a little peace and quiet at the end of the day.”  Just a quick sidenote, have you ever noticed that peace and quiet go so very well together?

Simply filling your passport with pilgrimages will not bring lasting peace, happiness or quiet; rather, it will only serve to increase your hunger for that which you seek.  If you find that you are frequently looking forward to that next adventure on your spiritual journey or you look back frequently at your memories of the good times, chances are high that you are a pilgrimage junkie.  The same is true if you have found yourself thinking, “Life would be so much better if I could only be there/with that person/doing that thing.”

Take a good look at yourself, are you a junkie?  Is there that thing that you do, those people you meet, that place that you go that is your source of happiness, of peace?  If so, then you are dependent on that place, that event, those people and you are not free to be happy and at peace without that place, that event or those people.

Jai Bhagwan

Next post will look at the question, “What is the answer to our need for change?”