April 2020: Due to the Covid-19 health crisis travel on the Camino is not possible. We need to keep safe, and we need to keep those who live and work on the Camino safe. The Camino will not disappear, it is just temporarily inaccessible. Keep your Camino dreams on hold until such times as it is safe to travel. Read more
Australian Friends of the Camino
Life Lessons From The Camino: A Pilgrimage of The Heart
The infinite potential for change within a human being is a life long pilgrimage to being human.
A distant trek is nothing more than a series of small steps:
When one is present, the moment is in each step, the degree of difficulty is measured in comparison to the single step, not in comparison to the thousands of steps it takes to complete the trek. Live one moment as a whole of time and the whole of time becomes that moment.
When money becomes the ends rather than the means to an end, life’s meaning is distorted:
When space becomes our focus and end, time (our life) is lost or spent in pursuit of things of space. Space is the means and time is the ends. Money is the means to an end, which is life (time). When time or life becomes our focus, then we use things of space to buy time so as to enjoy life. We make money to spend time, we don’t spend time to make money. We make money to live life, not we live life to make money.
Don’t micro mange your pilgrimage rather macro mange your trip
To micro manage your journey is to eliminate the surprise life has reserved for you. Spontaneity can only happen without the details being predetermined, this is latent potential and potential is diversity. If you micro mange you tend to kill the potential and limit the diversity. To macro manage your trip is to have a goal, to know where you start and where you finish. To know the beginning and the end only, then everything in-between is potential. Chaos and order are in tension, not too much chaos nor too much order. Plan your trip in order and leave the the details to chaos.
Encounters and departures are two sides of the same coin:
The encounter creates expectation, the time together creates friendship and the parting creates appreciation, a sense of longing and gratitude. You have the feeling a part of you is left behind and a part of the other is now with you, so your loss is compensated by their loss and vis versa. When you encounter someone, you first meet the being and when you depart you leave the human.
Putting others ahead of yourself:
The people you encounter along the way are part and parcel of the walk! To put yourself ahead of others on the way is to make the path parochial, narrow, myopic and the journey tends to start and end with you alone. If however you regard the people you encounter as part of the journey, the real Camino commences in your open heart and extends out as far as the open heart of others will allow. To walk into the open hearts and minds of others is the most awesome, grandiose pilgrimage of all. The Camino is analogous of life’s sojourn, the path belongs to all, just as life belongs to all, your right to walk the Way is the right of all to walk the Way. The Camino is one single narrow line that stretches out in front of you.
One’s life is a narrow path, sometimes difficult, sometimes easy, sometimes shared and sometimes alone, all life belongs to us just as our life belongs to all
Walking alone for the sake of walking is an exercise that engages the whole you. It is an experience in experiencing self, it is a meditative act:
When you walk alone you walk with your shadow person and you contemplate the self in relationship to your shadow person. This rhetorical dialogue enables introspection, it is a conversation with the soul. You walk with your thoughts alone, it is the meeting place of the physical body and the meta physical inner self. If you can’t enjoy your own company it may indicate that you don’t know your shadow self well enough or you may not love your shadow person enough. You may need time alone with your shadow self to learn to live with him, forgive him and love him. Walking alone grants us the opportunity to discover our relationship to our shadow person.
We need very little in life, less is more and more is less:
To know you have a roof over your head and bread on the table gives you security and to have water when you are thirsty gives you life. Our needs are simple, when we have too much we are suffocated by choice. Our needs represent life filled with the necessary things of space and an abundance of time to enjoy life. Where as our wants may represent our life crammed with unnecessary things of space that leaves little time to enjoy life. Too much is an evil that chokes our soul, too little is an evil that chokes our life.
We are all essentially the same, yet unique:
We are all vulnerable to the same needs of shelter, food and water. We are all the same as to things of space, but we are all unique with respect to things of time. Moments of time reveal our uniqueness and places of space reveal our commonality. Moments speak to the metaphysical and places speak to the physical. Moments are doorways of the spiritual, places are doorways of the material. Each person is as unique as to the moments of time that create his human experience. Each person is as common as the places of space we inhabit. The places we experience are finite where as the moments we experience are infinite. The former is freshly the latter is spiritual. We are the same as to the space we share, we are unique as to the time we spend.
On the Camino time is compressed especially as to self discovery and interpersonal relationships: As for interpersonal relationships.
8 hours on the Camino spent talking, walking and eating with another is like 8 weeks spent talking, walking and eating with someone at home. What compresses time is a willingness to be open to one another, quickly abandoning any defences or masks that otherwise impede our truly knowing someone. Sharing with another their pleasures and pain without reservation, looking out for each others physical needs makes short work of the time that separates us and one begins to feel time compress. One day of sharing may feel like months or even years knowing someone. The more you are connected to the inner life the less time you require to experience this close bond and time begins to compress, the more material or freshly you are the more time it takes to bond and time begins to dilate, time literally drags on. Share space and time without fear, and love fills that time and space with friendship. To be vulnerable is courage in the face of fear, to share your fears is faith in the face of another and to have faith in the face of another is to love unreservedly.
Caught in a loop:
The Camino is supposed to represent the way to live life with purpose and meaning in relation to others and the planet. Some, however are caught in what I call a loop. I met young young men that had been on the Camino 6 or 7 times or couples that were there for the 4th time. It occurred to me that experiencing the Camino is to allow yourself the time and space to learn new lessons or reaffirm old lessons. To test your mind and body, to know thyself more deeply. The end of the Camino should symbolise the beginning of the lessons learnt. The Camino’s end should represent the the beginning of a new life or a rebirth of the old. It should move us to live without fear of the absurdity and banality of life. However for some I met, the Camino has become a safe place to avoid confronting life’s tragedy, absurdity and banality, it seemed as if they were endeavouring to numb the aforementioned. They do this by returning to the Camino often so as to heighten their senses and awaken their life force from without. The Camino should teach us to heighten our senses and awaken our life force from within.
Listen with your eyes
When you hear with your ears you pay attention to the information conveyed by another, when you listen with your eyes you pay attention to the person behind the information. Ears hear facts about a person, eyes listen to the feelings of a person. If you employ both you connect to the soul of a person. Ears receive Logos, Eyes perceive Pathos and the heart manifests Ethos.