To be a pilgrim

Tomorrow never came for today stood in its way

To be a pilgrim


First there was all the toiling to set up your life adequately. Alas, the visualizations of the dream job, the perfect partner and a life of pleasure were rudely overtaken by the demon of reality. Okay, so you set your goals for tomorrow. But tomorrow never came for today stood in its way.

So you tried other directions: this way and that way and finally your own way with the step from an outer to an inner life. All your life your ego told you: when all the jigsaw pieces fit together, then you will have peace and rest. But the soul knows that it is the other way round: only when there is peace and quiet will all the pieces fit together. But be warned, at the same time the puzzle will fall into pieces! And is that what you want? Have you the courage for that? The trust?

All those around you advise you in a variety of ways: keep your feet on the ground – but that is the worst way to get moving!

Every day we receive 86,400 time units from the Bank of Life to use, and what we don’t use up is taken from us at the end of the day, for time cannot be saved.

There is, moreover, a snake in the grass: your account with the Bank of Life may at any time be terminated. What will then be left from the unfinished Book of your Life? If you don’t set out on your journey you will only walk around and around in the first chapter which you fully know by heart by this time. So… in case tomorrow never comes, get moving today on the pilgrim’s path. With a hat made out of courage, a knapsack filled with perseverance and a pilgrim’s cloak woven from your yearning.

Actually I do not know who I am anymore, nor where I should wend my way

sang the troubadour Vridanc, as recorded in his Humility in the 13th century.

To be a pilgrim in this manner means getting lost in the right direction –living in the certainty and acceptance of an open-eyed uncertainty. And it is not the obstacles that you will meet in your inner labyrinth that will most hinder you but rather the pebble in your shoe called the ego.

You seek a path, the path of which the great teachers speak, but you quickly find out that there is only your path which you hack out for yourself by going forward step by step. You’ll find that it is not about imitating their lives but seeking for yourself what they sought on their pilgrim’s paths. No well-trodden tracks alas, although funnily enough there are from time to time some portals on your path: the Portal of Letting Go because some things are to heavy to carry along; the Portal of Self-knowledge from which you emerge in full imperfection with the assignment to be without fear or blame for those imperfections; the Portal of Union in which is felt the aching hurting unity with humanity as well as the deep joy of unity with the All.

Seven portals – seven assignments – seven remittances – seven presents. Seven spirals upward in the quest of the pilgrim. From self to seeker, from seeker to soul, from soul to selfless Self.

Miraculously, the seeker who set out on his quest is not the same one who arrives. The path changes while you travel it, and in turn going the path changes the pilgrim. With every stumbling step you exercise your spiritual muscles. Every bridge across a ravine offers you a breath-taking view of the mountain of attainment.

And finally you become aware that the pilgrimage itself knows a transformation as well. After the initial stages of seeking, exploring the path, gaining insight and choosing your direction, now follows the stage of actually going the path with a ruthless disregard for any inconveniences you may encounter. Every step is a letting-go and every letting-go is a receiving. You lose your world and gain the Universe.

Reference: This article first appeared in Pentagram 2017 number 1

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Date: November 26, 2019
Author: Joost Drenthe (Netherlands)
Photo: Pixabay CCO

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