January 30 – Being a Pilgrim – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
To journey without being changed is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey and to be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.
We all start our journey as pilgrims, wanting to journey and hoping to be transformed by the journey. But, just as it is impossible when listening to an orchestra to hear the whole of the symphony for very longer before we are drawn to hear only the piano or the violin, in just this way, our attention to life slips and we experience people and places without being affected by their wholeness. And sometimes, feeling isolated and unsure, we change or hide what lives within in order to please or avoid others.
The value of this insight is not to use it to judge or berate ourselves, but to help one another see that integrity is an unending process of letting our inner experience and our outer experience complete each other, in spite of our very human lapses.
I understand these things so well, because I violate them so often. Yet, I, as you, consider myself a pilgrim of the deepest kind, journeying beyond any one creed or tradition, into the compelling, recurring space in which we know the moment and are changed by it. Mysteriously, as elusive as it is, this moment – where the eye is what is sees, where the heart is what it feels – this moment shows us that what is real is sacred.