Sacred Journeys

January 24th, 2015


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~Lao-tse

Walking an ancient pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago from Porto, Portugal to Santiago, Spain last fall, the idea to write a series of blogs about sacred journeys occurred to me while talking with my traveling companion. In the book Sacred Space at Home, I wrote about the three major movements of the spiritual path; Upward, Inward, and Outward. As I walked the trail I became acutely aware of how important actual movement, experiencing my physicality, is to my spiritual well being. In that vein, I like to think of each of these spiritual movements as corresponding to areas of our body – head, gut and heart. The upward direction or head region involves looking outside ourselves for guidance and wisdom. It’s where we experience awe, wonder, and inspiration, either through beauty such as that found in nature, music and art or by someone’s writing or thoughts. It is our mind and reason that help us to gain insight and clarity.

In contrast, the inward movement, or gut area of our body, finds wisdom and guidance by looking inward. It’s our intuition and inner knowing. We listen to our heart and not just our logic. This wisdom often comes from memories stored in our body or information we sense but can’t articulated at a conscious level and is how we first experienced the world before we had language. It’s the proverbial “gut feeling” we get about a decision or situation. The outward movement or heart region, is where head and gut intersect and naturally move outward like outstretched arms. Participation in community and connection with others is key to this wisdom. It is the sense of unity with all beings, a common purpose beyond our individual stories, the collective knowing where the sum is greater than the individual parts.

During my walk I had an awareness of each of these spiritual paths and at different times they intertwined. The following posts will expand on the theme of pilgrimage, sacred paths, and the common movements within our souls. When it makes sense, I’ll point out the connection between particular aspects of the spiritual path that relate to architectural elements in a home. So often the physical and spiritual are interconnected and mirror one another. I’ll also invite you to ponder a question that relates to sacred space, whether that space is within you, surrounding you, or found along the way of your own pilgrimage.

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