Spiritual Travelings…hmm…what exactly does that mean? What is a “Spiritual Traveling”? What constitutes a Spiritual Travel and what does not? It occurred to me the other day that that may not be so simple an answer…heck, might even be a bit confusing. As I think about it, I guess, the struggle for me comes in two parts: the word Spiritual and the word Travelings. The first word in the description actually might be the simplest. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines spiritual as “of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit.” Merriam also describes the word travel as “to go on or as if on a trip or tour: Journey.” Just to lay down a little bit of context for the discussion…I say the first word might be the simplest because the word “spiritual” has an entirely different meaning to each of us and is, therefore, in good taste…off limit for debate. Our relationship with our higher power is one that each of us has come to through many miles of personal experience and is, therefore, rightly so, our own definition.
Herein lies the struggle in my mind’s eye…what is a Traveling? Better yet, how do you define Travelings when it is followed by the word Spiritual? I mean, we all know what travel is, but when does travel become spiritual? Are there certain types of travel that lend themselves more often to spiritual intervention or do those definitions even exist? Well, again, herein lies the intellectual struggle. As I think about this, my mind goes to the idea that maybe the best way to understand this is by acknowledging the affects of such an event. What is the outcome of such a thing, if it is possible to define? Well, I’m going to give it shot, and please correct me if I am wrong, but what is coming to mind is the word Transformative. A moment in time that connects us to something that is bigger than ourselves and such an event transforms our lives and thinking from that point forward. Often times accompanied by a strong sense of “profoundness”, if there is such a word, these travelings are tailored to a very subjective meaning.
Well, now that we have a rough description of what a “Spiritual Traveling” might look like, can we describe under what conditions they might happen? Can we describe when and where they might occur? To that, I most humbly say no. And THAT is the beauty of the subject. The surprise and gift of such an occurrence. I believe that they can happen anywhere and at any time under any type of travel. From a short walk down your street to a pilgrimage to India, the profound speaks to us at any given moment on any given day. These places, these e events…they don’t need to be big. They don’t need to be conquering Mt. Everest or trekking to Machu Pichu. They can be small. Unexpected. Like energy spots described by Carlos Castaneda, author of “The Teachings of Don Juan.” In his writings, Don Juan speaks of places of energy…special places…spaces that rejuvenate, affect, and transform. Often times these are obscure and unknown places of no particular relevance. In Don Juan’s attempts at teaching Carlos Castaneda in his shamanistic ways, one of the disciplines was the art of a type of spiritual travel…to seek out those places of energy, spending hours traveling a lonely desert, Carlos was encouraged to hone out his skills seeking out those place of power…profound places. And it is with that wisdom that I would like to encourage my fellow explorers to seek out those mundane and ordinary places as well as those places with elaborate histories.
It is with that spirit that I hope and encourage everyone to participate in this online community to mentor and provide support for one another with our journey to those special places where our lives can be changed in deep and powerful ways. And as the honorable Dalai Lama XIV was quoted in saying “once a year go someplace you’ve never been before”. What a great spot to end on…Gasho.