Taking an Internal Pilgrimage
There is no denying that most of us are lost. Even if you are very good at being on auto-pilot, doing the tasks you are expected to do, living the life you are supposed to live, you might be completely off course in finding the deep, personal meaning you long for.
The ancients called this soul-loss, and it happens when we stay on the path of least resistance, and feel deeply unsatisfied with the way life is going. You may not know what you need or want; only that something is missing.
If you feel this, you are not alone, but it’s time for you to take a personal pilgrimage. Most of us stay adrift too long, only to regret not having followed our deepest desires.
You may think that being off course or losing direction is something to be avoided, but the truth is that we need to get lost.
We are drawn to knowing because it provides a feeling of certainty and safety, but it is the opaqueness of life that stimulates growth and personal discovery.
Stepping out into the unknown, feeling uncertain about where your feet will land is scary. What’s even scarier however, is living a life with zero risk, and a feeling of deadness inside.
“When we no longer know where to turn, our real journey has begun.” Phil Cousineau
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into your internal world. While I encourage you to take a geographical pilgrimage to a place that feels right, I am presently suggesting that you begin with a journey into your own mind and heart.
Here are 5 steps toward internal pilgrimage:
The first part of starting your pilgrimage is figuring out where you long to go. In order to do this you have to zero in on what is missing. Get in touch with that deep, inner tug that has been pulling you toward the person you feel destined to be. You know there is more potential within you, so ask yourself what will make you whole?
When setting out on your pilgrimage you will want to shed what you don’t need. You don’t want to carry any unnecessary baggage that will make the journey harder. Decipher between what you need to let go of, and what essentials you will want to keep. The two heaviest pieces you carry will mostly likely be filled with unnecessary experiences from the past, and the relationships that weigh you down.
Next you need to decide what is sacred to you. This will come in the way of values, and it might tap into your spirituality. Different aspects of your life will seem important at certain times. Your children may be your main priority right now, or your own deeper search for meaning in your life may take precedent. Knowing what gets you up in the morning, expands your heart, and widens your eyes will direct you on the path you are destined to walk.
The basis for any new experience is a beginners mind. Asking questions, being open to learning, and admitting that you don’t know everything will serve you well in this process. There is always something new to discover whether it’s a place, a person or an idea. A pilgrimage is about growth, and relinquishing the control you illusively feel you have over your life. Letting go will free you up to explore and expand.
Lastly, use your imagination to propel you into change. Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. If you think about how well you were able to use your imagination as a child, you will realize that it’s not hard to get back. As adults we replace imagination with knowledge, but lose so much in the process.