Thursday, October 17, 2013

Camino Spirituality

One of the major attractions that lures - beckons - entices - draws - people to walk El Camino de Compostela de Santiago - is the spirituality factor. The promise of quiet - walking undisturbed - being alone with one's thoughts - is very attractive.  For most of us - in our daily lives - the opportunity for quiet and seclusion - evades the majority of us - sort of like the tooth fairy that never shows.  Stealing precious moments when we may gather our thoughts - say a quick prayer - breathe a quiet breath - tend to be few and far between.  On the Camino there is plenty of time for the quiet that eludes us in our normal lives. The average peregrino walks six hours a day for an average of thirty days - presenting the pilgrim with almost one hundred and eighty hours of quiet time. If the pilgrim avoids other peregrinos almost exclusively - that number jumps to an astonishing five hundred hours or more.  From our experience - we valued the quiet time as much as the time we spent talking with the other peregrinos - the majority of whom lived somewhere other than the USA.  Meeting and greeting peregrinos from countries other than our own - exposed us to new thoughts and ideas - old ideas presented in new light - broadened our horizons. These two factors led a lot to what we experienced in regards to spirituality on the Camino.
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Who were these people who took the time to bake fresh bread daily and leave for peregrinos passing through this small hamlet? Was it Christian love and concern for their fellow man/woman - or was it a way to insulate themselves from the constant string of peregrinos walking through their backyards without personal involvement?.

 In The Past - Town People Left Bread for Peregrinos Here

The Camino winds itself through terrain that poses challenges to anyone walking or biking - many uphills and downhills - some with treacherous twists and turns - causing unsuspecting peregrinos many issues to cope with - who selected these trails - were they left completely natural - how does one cope not only with these issues but those that happen in our daily lives - do we cope well - or poorly?

 Meditating On The Roman Route - Bike Path on the Side

There are a lot of churches along the Camino - some open - others closed - many abandoned. Who designed these - what community worshiped here - who did they serve - were they faithful to God in their service - am I faithful to the God I serve - does all this gold make me feel better or worse as a modern day Christian - as a believer - an unbeliever?

Old World Churches - Modern Spirituality 

The Cruz de Ferro - one of the most spiritual sites on the Camino - an iron cross on a big pole - surrounded by thousands of small stones and rocks - left here by other peregrinos - symbols of prayers left here - sins given up - promises made - promises broken - eyes awakened to the possibility of maybe - and yes - hopes renewed - what is my own spirituality - do I worship God - do I worship something else - am I right or wrong?

Cruz de Ferro - One of the Most Spiritually Significant Sites on the Camino Frances

The Camino is Roman Catholic in formation and tradition - today it is walked by many who are not Catholic - many who are not religious - many who claim no spirituality - many out for a long walk - a goal to be achieved - a passing fancy - yet all who walk - are touched by the hand of God - whether they want it or not.  Nobody walks the Camino without experiencing a touch of the Divine - most know it - few don't.  The Camino has a spirituality that is special for each and every person who chooses to walk - The Way of Saint James.

Buen Camino
Dale and Arlene