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The Modern Pilgrim

Cameron Broughton

Glenn and I had the pleasure of being guests on our good friend Gwendolyn Evan’s TV show Abundant Living last week. The topic of the show was Pilgrimage, which you may have gathered. is dear to my heart. Gwendolyn shot me off an email about an hour before we were to leave, sending me to a link at Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary and bringing me to the meaning of Pilgrimage. She was amazed at the breadth of its two meanings:

1: a journey of a pilgrim; especially : one to a shrine or a sacred place

2: the course of life on earth

I too was awed by the magnitude of these definitions and aware that being a pilgrim requires a choice and commitment and that the power of our intention will impact the quality of the journey.

There are as many reasons to commit to a pilgrimage as there are pilgrims but I believe that there is an underlying theme that is the impetus for many. Philosophers, mystics, students of metaphysics, spiritual and religious leaders and seekers have been prevalent throughout time. They chose this way of being because of their deep seated knowing that everything couldn’t be answered by logic alone; that there is a balance in the Universe between the mind and the heart, the rational and irrational or unexplainable, the individual and the power greater than ourselves. When one is courageous enough to embrace the unknown a pilgrim is born. Albert Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

It has been my experience that society in the 20th century and into the 21st century has been predominantly logically based in a desire to create an aura of safety in knowledge, possibly in reaction to religions that previously asked us to unquestionably believe their doctrine of the unknown as the ultimate truth for the same reasons. Both ways are flawed in their extremity but have had a significant role in birthing the modern pilgrim. 

“Two souls, alas! Reside within my breast,

and each is eager for a separation:

in throes of coarse desire, one grips

the earth with all its senses;

the other struggles from the dust

to rise to high ancestral spheres” ~ Faust

The modern pilgrim has grappled with the dilemmas of our times and searched for answers to the questions that have arisen from the past and the incongruities present in society, religion, history and science as well as within their own personal experience. As a result of facing these issues we have broken out of our individual and collective shells and welcomed the unknown, no longer willing to be dominated and guided by fear. We have embraced spirituality as a mystery to be explored knowing that as such we will be continuously learning and evolving. We have learned about the power of our intentions impacting our experiences in the future and the holistic nature of life, honoring our body, mind and spirit. We have come to appreciate our life journey and the paths that we have chosen to support our spirituality and evolution. As I write this, Carol King’s Tapestry is floating through my mind… ‘My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue, an everlasting vision of the ever changing view…” 

We have been blessed with so many visionaries that have aided in the collective shift throughout time, and increasing in numbers as we are becoming aware that all of this wonderful knowledge and creativity is within us, waiting to be tapped into. Some of my favorites: Lao Tzu, Jesus, Buddha, Rumi, Neale Donald Walsh, Melodie Beattie, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Pema Chodron, Sonia Choquette, the Dali Lama, Wayne Dyer, Jude Currivan, Glenn Broughton, my sons Jamie & Nick, my mother Nancy…. the list goes on and on. I recently heard Sister Helen Prejean, author of ‘Dead Man Walking’, whose life has become a pilgrimage of following her passion. She is a humble woman dedicated to her cause of stopping the death penalty. She said that she’s asked what gives her the strength of her conviction, her paraphrased answer was ‘I’m no different than any other human, my strength comes from being in an awakened state’. I was so moved by her words. Greatness lies within us all.

Many modern pilgrims have become explorers and seekers and as part of their journeys have traveled to sacred places that speak to their hearts, with fresh eyes and tools. The desire to connect with and affirm their awareness of the unknown is forefront in their reasons for the journey. They have explored their innate abilities, finding they have senses not yet experienced, such as the ability to dowse, to intuit and to find Spirit within. Some have developed their senses further and become psychics, clairvoyants, clairaudients, healers or channels. Many have become aware of the interconnectedness of everything and that there’s much more than meets the eye; we are but a microcosm of the macrocosm in a universe that is perfectly designed yet continually evolving, as are we. 

Being a pilgrim on a journey through life and exploring energized sacred sites honored by our ancestors, has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined and I especially enjoy meeting other awakened beings along the path. I end with a quote by Goethe: “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”



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