The Camino de Santiago can change you if you let it.
The long walk opens up the potential to allow some interior changes to happen to you. I believe that in the silent time of walking day after day, you can find rest and peace. That might sound very strange at first. How can one be experiencing rest when you are walking all day, every day for a five weeks? Yes, it is true, Terri and I experienced great physical stress on our bodies during the walk. Yet, we did experience rest in the “great silence” of the walk. We rested in the change from our normal daily routines at home and the from the daily news cycle. All the activities we would have been doing at home stopped for those five weeks. We greatly simplified our lives and we experienced times of great silence.
I believe that silence can change us if we let it.
Unfortunately, as the Richard Rohr quote below says, silence is something that appears to us as useless.
“Culturally, sitting in silence is no longer a value we appreciate, or seek or find places for. It really is a lost art. Maybe it is this way culturally, because it is viewed as useless. Silence is useless. It appears as something useless, to no profit.”
I am experiencing that this is not true. I am finding it priceless not useless. Silence has led to rest for me and that is essential to discovering the peace within.
Here is a beautiful metaphor from a class I just finished taking that speaks directly to the value and benefit of silence.
Imagine you are holding a new born infant. Your amazed how small the infant is in your arms. Your amazed that a beautiful little person is all wrapped up in your arms.
You know that reflex that the newborn baby has that when you put little finger out they grasp it with their hand. The thing is this infant is not helpful at all, it doesn’t help with the chores; it doesn’t chip in and do its part, it can’t even roll over by itself or feed itself. Yet, at this moment your heart is stilled. It’s as if the axis of the turning world is stilled.
I have found we all need the “pause”, the stillness that comes from silence. To be stilled. To refuse to be carried away on the waves of “doing” and not stopping to rest in the silence of “being”.
I realize that our lives can seem way too overloaded to stop or slow down and to find even 5 minutes of time to remain in silence seems to be too much. That is probably why I have always loved to walk in nature and let the beauty take me away and to simplify and renew my body, mind and soul.
I hope this blog inspires you as well to seek the inner silence and see for yourselves it is not useless.
Photograph of the Month
This image speaks stillness and silence to me. I captured at sunset during a camping trip to Lake Osoyoos.