The last three rules of the pilgrim are fundamental matters. Today’s can be – controversial. Well, that’s: “THE GOAL is the most important for a pilgrim on the road”. The journey itself, along with its many charms, distress, suffering and moments of happiness, is only for the purpose of the GOAL.
One don’t undertake a pilgrimage because of the way, because of the journey itself. Such a walking, taveling – to experience the way – is not a pilgrimage, although it is still a tour, a bit of travel as well. Such an undertaking – traveling because of the journey – is an effort to enrich oneselves, bring oneself beautiful experiences, valuable memories, something – you will not forget for a lifetime and such approach is also worth doing. However, this approach to a pilgrimage is a mistake.
This mistake is expressed in the conviction that “The way is the goal“. That your goal is to experience the way. That experience and that way are to become – in our intention – our wealth, which we gain thanks to “traveling”.
Meanwhile, we can’t add anything to our true self. We can put nothing into the bag labeled with the word “I“, because … we are not a sack. We are the source from which life flows (in this metaphor: water), which has its own destination. The GOAL of the source in metaphor will be the ocean, in reality … our destination and goal … we can feel it.
Well, but what about those who go to Santiago de Compostela not because of St. Jacob, not because of Jesus, whom Jacob was an Apostle or not because God himself?
Some day in the Spain, when the stars were still in the sky and the blackness around and under my feet, I marched Camino pathway with a German. “For me, Camino, it’s a way of spending holidays,” he said. For him it had nothing to do with faith, cause he seemed not to be a religious man.
And I found it good, to walk with him and talk to him. And I was happy that he and I were going to Compostela. And there was nothing that I could think negative about him or about his pilgrimage. Why? Because we both walked towards Santiago.
Atheists and believers, Catholics and Buddhists, Protestants and everyone else, going to Santiago, all are people on THE SAME way. And the way is THE SAME due to it’s goal. We’re not going to the headquarters of the World Bank in Basel. We do not go to Sphinx in Egypt or to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Such walking would not make us this unique community in the world. Because again – it’s the GOAL which builds and creates the WAY, and not the other way around.
And even if someone does not realize it, even if he consciously rejects or denies it, going to Santiago he actually goes to the same goal as the believer. Because this GOAL is written in this way. It “seeps through” the consciousness of the walking man, somewhere deeper. To the place, where there’s the very truth about the man and the GOAL shines in that truth.
So it’s good that Poles and Asians go to this cathedral in Galicia, Catholics and agnostics, atheists and Buddhists. In each of them, a real pilgrim finds a good companion. The GOAL – invisible to the eyes – remains a “sheet music”, which from – seemingly – completely different “notes” creates a unique “melody”. With seemingly different people, it creates a family in which one can count on another, in which everyone feels good, which – repetition comes – has its own GOAL.
It’s good to enjoy the road too. With all that many impressions and a long range of experiences. It is worth to enjoy the road because it’s a gift. Because we receive this gift due to the goal which we set out for. Those doesn’t enjoy a gift – ungrateful! 🙂
So it’s worth to experience and to value experiences. The bottom line is not to “dwell” in those experiences, not to make them our “home”, not to put our heart and soul in them, because … “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Can we make source a better one? Can we “add” something to it? Not at all. We can only stop throwing “things” into it: a cell phone. a sense of acceptance, these most beautiful impressions that we have had. The source is still new, still full, not needing anything, creating a stream running through the world, which – connecting with others and creating an amazing network of life – will reach its goal somewhere there. And yes, the GOAL is not the end, because when the river “achieves” the ocean at last, it doesn’t stop running. It still remains, that amazing path between its source and the its GOAL. That’s what life is, an experience on the road to GOAL.
And ultimately the road becomes not important. It can be long, hard and full of toil, like a work of laborer, who started in the morning and sweat under the scorching sun all day long. It can be comfortable, pleasant and short, as for whom which was hired in the late afternoon, when the sun is low, shines up nicely and the work lasts only a moment.
People will argue. That the two of them had a different path. That the way is important. But it’s not like that. Both, reaching the GOAL, receive the same payment. So what is the value of their journey?
We’re trying. To live for ourselves. To build and strengthen ourselves. To make ourselves valuable or invincible. To improve and enrich ourselves. To set up journey because of the road. But it…
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” This promise of Jesus looks really strange. He says that it is worth losing everything you have, everything you are, because of Him. He is “something” that exceeds everything we can want, desire and imagine. He is the life that shines and shimmers, that flows, that is not limited … by anything. We receive everything from Him. What hurts us and what we enjoy. We walk in Him if we want it to. He is the wealth of every experience. He is “the content” of our life. The content that can not be taken away from us, that does not pass away, which is still and always new. He is the GOAL of our pilgrimage. And in this GOAL, all our experiences find their meaning. And this GOAL indeed, creates for us and with us … THE WAY.
The previous of the 10 pilgrim rules:
#10 – It’s not too late
# 9 – Trust God
# 8 – Rely on yourself
# 7 – Be a good road companion
# 6 – Do not take too much
# 5 – Talk to God
# 4 – Enjoy and smile!
“Road” – my book about pilgrimage.