The Camino in Spain has in many respects been a life-changing experience for me. The lessons learned on the pilgrimage are in so many ways an analogy of life. My book “Walking on Edge”, a work of fiction, takes up many autobiographical cues and is dedicated to some of the most amazing people I have met on the Path.
For many centuries Christian pilgrims walked thousands of kilometres from the doorstep of their homes throughout Europe to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, where according to legend lie the remains of one of Jesus apostles St. James. Fear of landing in the fires of hell after death was deeply entrenched in the minds of the people of the Middle Ages. The church at the time promised those folk that they and their families would be cleansed of all sin and have a wonderful afterlife in heaven if they did the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
Today hundreds of thousands of people are rediscovering this ancient route as a wonderful way of self-discovery and through that deep look inside, finding their own inner spirituality and soul purpose.
In my book, I have changed the characters but some of those modern-day miracles are based on true experience. Yes, I am convinced that miracles are still happening, if we open our senses and look around us. For me, the Camino was not one massive bolt of enlightenment striking on a hill, but the sum of many exceptional experiences over a period of several walks on different paths in Spain and France.
Since the days of my childhood, I have agonized over the teachings of religion telling us to believe this or that or to follow this or that teaching. It’s all external. One major lesson I have taken from the Camino is that there is a major difference between religion and personal spiritual experience. In my book, the pilgrim Chuck calls it the difference between head and heart-mind. The soul path cannot be understood with rational thought and can only be felt with the heart. And, a growing number of people are saying: “Let me go out and seek an answer to why I am here and who I really am.” Through this self-recognition comes what I will call “God recognition” and what is a very personal and individual experience.
Suffering inevitably leads us to go out looking for answers. A lot of people are getting lost and feeling left behind in the digital revolution. In some ways, humankind is facing a similar dilemma as the people in the Middle Ages. It’s no longer the church that rules over our lives but the information overload of countless distractions polluting our minds with clutter we don’t need.
Ronaldo was one of those pilgrims “walking things off” by going at a pace most others could not keep up with, avoiding all conversation as the emotional clutter gradually released itself, opening up space for new experience.
And it was that space, as Chuck called it “that can then be nourished with inner peace, forgiveness, and compassion. You in fact are working on becoming a better human being.”
Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters
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