The idea of making a pilgrimage, an inner journey, is as old as the desire of human beings to have eternal youth. Maybe the terms to describe this have changed over the years, but the principle has remained the same! Giving thanks for health, a plea for recovery from illness, doing penance, making a vow – or quite simply, a longing for peace and quiet - is it not the same today, maybe with even more justification – as it was hundreds of years ago?

The path is the big picture of our life

The path

The path is the big picture of our life. We see ourselves as “homo viator”, as itinerant people. Our lives are moving towards a goal – through space and time. The path has a goal; and our life too, whether it’s an inner journey or a goal beyond our own selves. For the religious soul, this goal has to do with what he means when he talks of “heaven”. People have always set off on a path with a goal in mind: the Three Kings from the East searching for the new-born King of the Jews, pilgrims to Jerusalem, Rome or Santiago de Compostela, Muslims on their pilgrimage to Mecca…
Where am I going, what goal am I pursuing on life’s path?

The circuitous path

To make a detour is a positive thing if it enables me to reach my goal more safely, if I receive the gift of experience on the way and it allows me to orient my life towards new horizons… the negative side of the choice of a detour is when I take that route to avoid making a decision, when I shun the more direct path out of cowardice…

What circuitous paths do I take in life?

The wrong path

Many goals are inherently seductive or promising and automatically lead us on to the wrong path. Most of us take wrong turnings on our path through life. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. The only way of leaving the wrong path is to turn back and that means we need courage to deal with other people or even with ourselves, I have to admit that I was on the wrong path. Everything that I thought for ages was the most important and right thing to do, doesn’t apply any more? Am I aware of the wrong paths that I’m following – sometimes consciously, sometimes not - to gain some advantage for myself?

The way out

There are plenty of things in life that we see as having no way out. Is it really true, or are we just avoiding the effort?