When we hear the word pilgrimage, we think the long journeys Christians, Muslims, or other religious groups make at least once in their lifetime. It’s the time when they visit places with historical significance to their faith and religion. It’s like the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS taking a trip to the Great Salt Lake Temple in Utah or the Muslims exploring Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
But did you know that embarking on a pilgrimage is not just for the pious? Anyone can be a pilgrim and go home full of new conviction. Here’s why.
It teaches a lot of things
BoldSky® enumerates the things that going on a pilgrim can teach us. One, it enlightens you about different practices and cultures. Whether you are taking a trip to a country halfway around the world or a neighboring site, chances are you will meet at least one person with a different practice and perspective.
Two, pilgrim sites exude a positive aura that you can only experience in that place. This positive energy influences you to be optimistic about your surroundings albeit short-lived at times.
Three, the sites also teach you about the simple life. If you are surrounded every day by material things and all the hustle and bustle of city life, visiting a pilgrim site will give your eyes and mind a break by offering a mostly minimalist way of living.
It boosts our spiritual wellness
Spirituality has many definitions, says an article on the University of California, Riverside website, but it can be summed up into searching for the meaning and purpose of our lives. One way to achieve spiritual wellness is to meditate and be in touch with one’s self and a higher power the person believes in.
Since pilgrimage teaches you to appreciate things from a different place—new culture, positive energy, and a distinct environment,—it will then help you understand yourself and your values. Hopefully, the new knowledge will also lead you to know your purpose of existence and the meaning of life. Meditating in these places is also beneficial as they are often serene and calm.
It helps us trace our roots
Not all pilgrimage means visiting a holy or historically significant place. A rabbi named Reuven Bulka shared his experience of going back to the place in England where he was born for his pilgrimage. He found the house listed on his birth certificate and met people who recognize his family. He also searched for the hospital where he was born and found out it was right outside the Windsor Castle although it’s already been torn down.
While he did not explicitly say how the trip made him feel personally connected to the place, he mentioned that going back to our roots “is a very special and bonding experience.” He also noted that knowing where we come from is vital to “understanding who you are, why you are and where you are heading,” which brings us back to the previous point of spiritualism.
Pilgrimage is a pursuit not just for the saints and the holy. Anyone can go on pilgrimage and expect a renewed stance in life. This is because a pilgrim journey offers new perspectives, enhances our spiritualism, and helps us appreciate our origins—things that no other trip can offer.