Travelling helps us reflect on inner bliss, a contemplative empathy for others, and a yearning to become more spiritual with oneself and the world. In the video that I watched, “Japanology: The Shikoku Pilgrimage,” By Peter Barakan, I was impressed with the path’s serene and calm enlightenment. It made me want to experience it as well for the sacred chants and the visits of all eighty-eight temples bring about a time to reflect and contemplate about one’s life. It is actually called the path of awakening. For me, this is the preferable excursion as it teaches us more about ourselves.
I had a similar experience of spiritual reflections a year ago, I went to Vipassana, a practical technique that teaches one how to lead a more positive, balanced, and peaceful life. It was founded by Gautama Buddha which he passed on and taught to others the ancient techniques of meditation as an “Art of Living.” Vipassana means to see things as they really are.
In this camp, we were not allowed to talk for ten days straight, use gadgets, communicate with others, read books, write anywhere, or do any sort of distraction. We had to take silent sits along with other spiritual seekers for hours without moving as much as possible or standing up. The purpose was so one can focus from within. It was really effective. I believe that this was one example of a spiritual opportunity during my travels. Travelling lead to self-reflection that teaches humility, the acceptance of other people, and the efficiency to change.
Reading the Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred by Phil Cosineau supported my strong leaning towards the state of travelling while finding spiritual peace and understanding. In Phil’s trip to Cambodia with his brother, he was able to experience highly emotional encounters such as meeting a Buddhist nun. It moved him given that he felt that she was in some way suffering but in my opinion, she was actually at peace with herself. He described this encounter as an embodiment of the god of inexhaustible compassion. In travelling, I have met numerous people who gave me a similar kind of feeling. It is some sort of inner connection with other people that changes and links us forever. Human interaction, when in-depth, is exceptionally important.
The sense of wonder and the gratitude in learning so much was prevalent in his travels. “In the uncanny way of spiritually magnetised centres of pilgrimage, I felt a wonderful calm exploring the derelict pavilions, abandoned libraries, and looted monasteries” (5). Travelling is about finding these snippets of bliss from the unusual corners of the world.
To travel is to see the world, (to feel, smell, and sense it in every way) to travel is to keep promises, (to yourself and to others) and to travel is to experience life in its spirituality as one moves forward. (or more so, to live in the beauty of the present) Such as the pilgrim who travels to shrines and holy places. “Pilgrims are persons in motion—passing through territories not their own—seeking something we might call completion, or perhaps the word clarity will do as well, a goal to which only the spirit’s compass points the way” (14). Travelling it the act of removing the feeling of emptiness within and towards the liberation of the self.
(Written on October 2016)