Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Five: Post-Pilgrimage Edition

This week's theme courtesy of Reverend Mother, who recently returned from a pilgrimage to Iona, "the cradle of Scottish Christianity".
  1. Have you ever been on a pilgrimage?
    I believe the closest I've come to a pilgrimage similar to RM's visit to Iona was my visit to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, CO. The actual shrine is at the top of a hill. There is a path to the shrine, with plaques for the Rosary along the way. So, I very intentionally prayed the Rosary as ascended the hill, stopping to briefly meditate at each plaque.
       Reverend Mother recently posted a poem which, as I read it, suggests that any point in life's path may be a pilgrimage. The difference between a hike up a hill and my ascension of that hill in Golden, CO is intention and focus.
       I talk about my annual pilgrimage to the Walnut Valley Festival. This is not a blatantly religious event. Excepting the first year, when I began each morning in prayer, I have not engaged in obviously religious activities while there. Yet, my journey is intentional: I carefully pack, I plan what music I will listen to enroute, and the week is focused on music and fellowship. Since music is a major aspect of my spirituality, this journey can, and often has, enriched my spiritual life.
       I just finished an article in the July 2007 issue of Shambhalla Sun which suggests the primary difference between normal thought and meditation is a matter of awareness. I suggest the same applies to the difference between a ordinary trip or vacation and pilgrimage.

  2. Share a place you've always wanted to visit on pilgrimage.
    Iona seems an excellent destination.

  3. What would you make sure to pack in your suitcase or backpack to make the pilgrimage more meaningful? Or does "stuff" just distract from the experience?
    "Stuff" has distracted from the experience. Again, I think intention and awareness plays a large part. I have taken my guitar on retreat at least twice: one time playing music was a part of my prayer; a few years later, playing music distracted, in a sense, from my prayer. Same guitar, possibly even the same songs; the only difference was me, my discipline and intentionality.
       A book I have taken on retreat is the St. Augustine's Book of Prayer. It's extremely Anglo-Catholic, but I like many of the prayers included, it's small (light-weight and easy to pack), and the copy I have originally belonged to Padre – so it has sentimental value.

  4. If you could make a pilgrimage with someone (living, dead or fictional) as your guide, who would it be?
    Ummm ... Virgil? Dante? William Blake? I did start a poem, years ago, in which I played guide to Dante.

  5. Eventually the pilgrim must return home, but can you suggest any strategies for keeping that deep "mountaintop" perspective in the midst of everyday life?
    Boy, the person who could develop successful strategies for that could make a mint!
       Thing is, we already know the way. Being fully awake to each moment is hard work, so most of us chose to be fully awake for relatively brief periods of time, for retreats or pilgrimages.
       Previous pilgrims, such as Brother Lawrence or Dorothy Day, suggested ways of finding the sacred in the ordinary, in quotidian activity.
       It is humanly possible. Thing is, we're easily distracted (oo, pretty!), and sometimes we're lazy.


reverendmother said...

Very thoughtful answers.

Scott said...

Fully awake is definitely a challenge for most of us. Thanks for the thoughts.