Pilgrim vs. Tourist

A tourist travels to see the natural and man-made sights and wonders outside himself, or herself. A pilgrim travels to discover the depths within.

Here in my sannyas years, I’m no longer so strongly attracted to travel as a tourist, which is a role I’ve much enjoyed in previous adventures. Indeed, as a tourist I’ve had opportunity to gawk at the Eiffel Tower and walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and stare dumbfounded at Michelangelo’s David, not to mention Des Moines’ stockyards. Lots to see as a tourist in this world. “Travel broadens the mind,” as they say.

Of late, however, rather than broadening my mind, I’ve found myself more curious about exploring, experiencing, the depths beyond, or beneath, behind my mind– especially my daily mind– indeed, behind form itself. Of course, I can explore such subtleties quite easily, efficiently, in the comfort of my easy chair or on meditation cushion in my den or living room.

And yet, in the comfort of my living room, and daily routines, I observe how easily I succumb to routines, get lost in routines, same ol’ same ol‘. When I travel on pilgrimage to distant holy places and foreign lands and meet there with spiritual siblings, I’m taken out of my daily mental and emotional routines and thus have an opportunity to witness my mind’s response to new formations and relationships. Here’s the ideal:As a pilgrim (rather than a tourist) I now travel in order to grow more familiar with that stillness within myself that does not move.
Granted, the only true and necessary pilgrimage is the pilgrimage within. Still, the outer travels allow the inner doors to open more easily if the intent of the travel is to explore the center, to become more familiar with the essence that does not move– that is still– that knows no time or space.
Clearly, every place is a Holy Place. The first shrine, or temple on this upcoming pilgrimage will be Denver International Airport– a magical tepee portal into the Infinite, or at least Atlanta. Pilgrims aplenty at DIA, and snacks. On previous pilgrimages I’ve discovered that airport meditations can really take flight. It begins in less than a week.
If you want to travel along, (please do!) click here. I’ll send notes from the road.

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