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question for spiritual pilgrims

2020 Camino Guides

Gwaihir

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Nijmegen (Holland) to Fisterra, July-November 2019.

Future: Te Araroa, NZ
Hi peregrin@s.

I´m looking for spiritual pilgrims. In particular, inclination towards Buddhism or similar, or who have practiced meditation. I think spiritually inclined people might understand, or at least not second-guess my experience. And that´s important to me.

I achieved a state of mindfulness on the Camino that I can only call "All-Pervasive Silence of the Mind".
My mind was there only as a mirror, to help me reflect when I wanted. When I did not need it, it would simply not produce thought.

Adding to this I would find that the mind - as it is not chattering - produces no judgement either. Usually the mind always reacts, reacts, reacts - and it makes judgement good and bad about everything. Back on the Camino, my mind did not judge. I talked to someone about this and he says this is the "zero state" of the mind, the natural state of the mind.

Usually people try to achieve this through meditation. And fail. Because it is so difficult, to really really manage this.

Once home of course, once again surrounded by input, and traffic and noise and facebook and advertising and on and on, the mind wants to revert to its previous chattering. But I wish I could hang on to the Zero state.

Have any of you experienced the same? How did you manage this when you got home?
Did you manage to at least keep parts of the mindfulness?

Gwaihir
 
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
I have some thoughts but they are all centered on experience of the Meseta. It will take me awhile to put them all together if you wish more definition.

Shoot me a PM if you wish a more definitive response over the next day or so...

B
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (May-June 2020)
I achieved a state of mindfulness on the Camino that I can only call "All-Pervasive Silence of the Mind".
This is what I hope to achieve during my first Camino next spring. Will be watching this thread with interest to hear what others with more perspective than I have to say about it.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
The function of the mind is to know, and it does that effortlessly. Once you relax into that, the receptivity feels like silence. That is normal and actually not at all special. What you describe happens without effort when nothing is in the way. It's just balanced receptivity. The 'zero' part is that our habits of trying to control and 'stage-manage' experience are absent.

But I wish I could hang on to the Zero state.
You can't. And wanting to hang onto it is keeping it forever at a distance.
The flip side of that coin is wanting distance from what is, now.

I am sorry to say the only way out of the pain of life is to go in. To connect with felt experience, whatever that is. Once you can find a way to let it be without fighting the fact that it's there, it goes on its own accord.

And meditation actually does work. but it is neither instant nor easy. It actually takes a lifetime. So, many people give up when they realize there is no magic bullet. But walking the camino is (for me anyway) moving meditation - not so different process-wise from what happens in a retreat. But it's naturally integrated. And more relaxed, because usually there is no meditative agenda, hidden or otherwise.

Short version.
Buen camino de la vida, peregrino (Thank you @SYates - this is your expression and I like it a lot!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
@ Gwaihir -

I reflected upon your questions as I prepared supper respectively for the bride and puppy. For whatever reason, the answers are easy though the path to them is laden with emotion of a recent loss so, therefore hard. The number of edits I have had to make here is frightful.

" I achieved a state of mindfulness on the Camino that I can only call "All-Pervasive Silence of the Mind".

Yes, I only first reached this state of mind on the Meseta. It was not sought, though it was welcomed upon arrival. I believe that it had something to do with the landscape being unchallenging (not boring!) to the degree that the mind went walkabout 'inwards'.

"Back on the Camino, my mind did not judge."

That actually did not happen to me until I was well past Leon but the realization was almost heralded by trumpets. "Huh...not everything needs to be analyzed...who knew?"

"Once home of course, once again surrounded by input, and traffic and noise and facebook and advertising and on and on, the mind wants to revert to its previous chattering. But I wish I could hang on to the Zero state."

The solutions that worked for me might not work for you...and I do not recommend them. But, then again, if you wish to hold on to the "zero state" they might be worth a try. Do remember, I have warned you....

"Have any of you experienced the same? How did you manage this when you got home?
Did you manage to at least keep parts of the mindfulness?"


Yes, experienced the same - - in spades.

From week 2 of the Camino though arriving home to the current time, here is what I did:

1) DITCHED "NEWS"! It is a waste of time, it explains nothing, you have to exert effort to filter down to what actually matters to you, you have no control over most of everything "they' breathlessly talk about as if it actually relates to you, it messes up one's ability to think because it is all aimed at triggering your lowest brain's response centers and thus is all toxic to your body. Taking in any mass media is akin to drinking out of a toilet bowl, IMHO.

2) As I go to bed...I do a whole body inventory of stresses accumulated through the day. I then "breathe" my way through releasing them. (In through the nose and out through the mouth. There are several traditions for the right kind of breathing and I am no expert. Maybe some of our resident experts can chip in here?)

2a) After the de-stress and breathing then it is a matter of counting up my blessings. While it may be a cliche', it is no less true that I fall asleep before I am done with this part of my routine.

3) Upon waking...offer gratitude to whatever Higher Power you recognize for the gift of another day to fulfill your purpose here and request the wisdom, sufficient to the day, to keep true to your mission.

Some stray final thoughts:

"When going through Hell, just keep on going!" (paraphrased from Winston Churchill maybe?)

"Need little, want less, love more." (A friend that I would dearly love to meet sometime..."Jesse" at
"Jesse's Cafe Americain") (https://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/)

"“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” (attributed to Plato but I do not remember it from his writings. others here may be able to help out...)

In any case, my friend @Gwaihir , it sounds easy but the practice I am finding difficult though very worthwhile.

B
 
Last edited:

Gwaihir

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Nijmegen (Holland) to Fisterra, July-November 2019.

Future: Te Araroa, NZ
I am sorry to say the only way out of the pain of life is to go in.
These are two separate things though. I did not say there was no pain. There is and was still pain - a ton of it - but the way the pain is experienced is different because again, there is no judgement on it - and so you can allow it to just "be" on its own accord.

I agree that frantically trying to hang on to anything is counterproductive, but I don´t agree that you should just deal with the chatter being back because it´s how it is. If my mind (and any mind) can do this on the Camino, then we can do it back home.
 

Simon B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles and Camino Frances. VDLP Spring 2019
Hi peregrin@s.

I´m looking for spiritual pilgrims. In particular, inclination towards Buddhism or similar, or who have practiced meditation. I think spiritually inclined people might understand, or at least not second-guess my experience. And that´s important to me.

I achieved a state of mindfulness on the Camino that I can only call "All-Pervasive Silence of the Mind".
My mind was there only as a mirror, to help me reflect when I wanted. When I did not need it, it would simply not produce thought.

Adding to this I would find that the mind - as it is not chattering - produces no judgement either. Usually the mind always reacts, reacts, reacts - and it makes judgement good and bad about everything. Back on the Camino, my mind did not judge. I talked to someone about this and he says this is the "zero state" of the mind, the natural state of the mind.

Usually people try to achieve this through meditation. And fail. Because it is so difficult, to really really manage this.

Once home of course, once again surrounded by input, and traffic and noise and facebook and advertising and on and on, the mind wants to revert to its previous chattering. But I wish I could hang on to the Zero state.

Have any of you experienced the same? How did you manage this when you got home?
Did you manage to at least keep parts of the mindfulness?

Gwaihir
From a non-spiritual pilgrim have you tried ditching your facebook page in an attempt to get to where you want to be!!!

Simon B
 

Bodi

For this breath, I am present.
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Najera Sept. 2017; Najera to Astorga Oct. 2018; SJPP to Pamplona May 2019
I find my daily meditation practice helps immensely but I love the practice @simply B suggests for morning and evening. I think I will add that to my practice. I have stopped using Facebook for quite awhile now and it’s amazing how freeing that is. I am trying to subscribe to a more minimalist lifestyle although it is difficult in our society. @Gwaihir I wish you peace as you move forward on your Camino of life.
 

pilgrim b

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances 2013-Ingles 2014-Frances 2015
St Cuthbert's Way 2017-Via Francigena 2018 & 2019
The beginning of freedom is the realisation that you are not the “thinker”.
The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.
You begin to realise that there is a vast stream of intelligence beyond thought that thought is only tiny aspect of intelligence.
You realise that all the things that truly matter - beauty , love, creativity, joy ,inner peace - arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.
I couldn’t put it in a simpler or more succinct way than Elkhart Tolle.
pilgrim b
 

Mark Di Marzio

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
I think you are on the right pathway already . I recognize your courage and acknowledge your search for answers and certainty - however difficulty is inevitable in human life . In Buddhist philosophy the three characteristics of human existence are impermanence , egolessness and suffering (or dissatisfaction ) . The struggles we experience of these ‘realities’ is unique to all of us yet common as well -basically it is ordinary life . Moving through the life cycle of existence . It is very brief . We wake up and we go back to sleep and we wake up again . It is cyclical . There is nowhere to hide or escape from or to. We can only keep walking forward -putting one foot in front of the other -accepting everything that is there . Doing what we can with what we have . Accept our blessings -have gratitude for our gifts , experiences , insights . We all have the capacity for bodhichitta (noble / awakened heart) . It’s always there waiting for us to activate it -by walking the Camino , meditation , practicing loving kindness and compassion . By giving up or releasing our sense of self -importance, our protective walls and the fixed beliefs about ourselves that we have built up we can recognise our kinship and interconnectedness with others - practice loving kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others . This can and does happen on the Camino de Santiago all the time . It’s open to everyone from any age , gender , nationality , belief or non -belief system . We just need to re-remember it and have awareness of it in the Camino of life so that we can manifest it wherever we may be . It’s easy and it’s hard . There’s mountains to climb and meseta’s to walk through . We all have to walk our own camino. There are fellow pilgrims along the pathways that we can connect with that understand what we are going through . I wish you well . Buen Camino 🙏
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Gwaihir, great post. Your experience on pilgrimage is the same as those who go on retreats ... and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to lose it ... no need for the chattering mind to come back and take over ... internal aware silence, no chattering, is the natural state

People are always going off to isolated beaches, beautiful hills, by a stream, or under blossoming trees where it is quiet to try to 'attain' but, of course, there is nothing to attain .. it is only necessary to 'see'- and that takes but a moment ... it is not 'learning' it is 'remembering' .... to spend years on meditation is a waste of a life .. you might as well spend your life polishing a roof tile with a handkerchief in an attempt to make it into a mirror ... pointless - realisation is an instant thing, a moment, and no one needs to be sitting under the bhodi tree for it to happen.

So - you have had the experience, have lived it, and now are concerned that in the hugger-mugger of back-home life it will disappear? Do this - go, at the busiest time, to a main train station or big shopping mall and sit ... just sit, half-close your eyes, relax the lids ... the sounds will wash over and through you .. they will become clearer and yet not invasive ... you are also part of this ... allow it .. allow it to just be and you an integral part of it ... learn this and then you will find that you can do it with your eyes open - as long as you do not focus then onto one external object, that comes later - do this and all will be well.

The whole of the teaching of Gautama Buddha can be summed up in one word 'detach'- the universe still manifests whether enlightened or not ... the body gets hungry, the fire gets cold, food needs to be bought, money needs to be earned, one has to interact - but if you are detached then you watch it all, participate in it all, but at the same time in a very real sense, are free from it.

And - look, a pitfall here - don't add to your experience by thinking that you now need to be 'nice' all the time ... be real.
There is being 'nice' and there is being 'kind'. The nice person is only thinking about themselves (they don't know this, they always think that they are being kind) ... things that happen to other people that are 'bad' they feel for and may try to help, but the emotions they have are about how they feel, not how the person feels .. they act to appear nice to others, they say things to appear nice to others, they stay silent to appear nice to others, and to themselves ... and it is always about themselves.
Being kind, on the otherhand, is not related to being nice - being kind is to see the universe as it is and to see people as they are .. then when a person is hurting one feels their pain, their emotions, their situation and from this empathy one tries to help - but here is the thing - sometimes one can be kind by shouting at someone, if shouting at someone is the only way to wake them from a certain behaviour, one that you can see clearly and they cannot .. so being 'kind' is always about the other and being 'nice' is always about the self ... Yeshua, if you read the NT, is never ever nice, but he is always kind, even when he is speaking what seem to be unkind words, attacking people, being dismissive of their closed and delusional beliefs, as he was always trying to wake them up.... Zen masters were and are renowned for being very ascerbic and critical - why? because they are trying to help the other, not look nice in front of others ...

so, with this new awareness beware - really, beware - of accretions, of taking on roles ... be who you are, be awake - hey, go sit in that railway station.

and this poem
"In that tiniest fragment of eternity when
for a timeless and endless moment
the games ended, and reality began
I remembered."


Buen Camino Gwaihir ❤
 
Last edited:

Gwaihir

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Nijmegen (Holland) to Fisterra, July-November 2019.

Future: Te Araroa, NZ
Thanks for your reactions.

I have two things to say :)

- I know that it is the human condition to be searching for this state: I know that many camino walkers and not-camino walkers have experienced the same thing, and I have experienced it before walking the camino. But this experience was always limited to minutes. And now it was weeks.

- Nate of pilgrim house (if you read this, hi!) gave me a booklet that spoke to this state. "The freedom of self-forgetfulness", by Timothy Keller. (Keller) basically writes that once you give up on trying to describe yourself, and/or judging yourself, you can allow God to judge you.

I´m not completely sure why I wanted to mention that but I feel like it´s related. It means that you do not have to be perfect in every moment or that you have to achieve enlightenment "right now" but can relax.

I am in a state of positive mental chaos right now so that´s it for today ;-)

From a non-spiritual pilgrim have you tried ditching your facebook page in an attempt to get to where you want to be!!!
Haha, yes I have. I ditched it for four years, and I am on it again but find that this time, I can use it much more mindfully. I don´t care about what is said (about me) anymore and I don´t read other people´s posts (I prefer to talk to them directly). I use it to connect with potential employers and to find people who might want to hike with me.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
When I go on camino, I go to listen, spiritually. But I haven't the faintest idea what I shall hear. If I knew, I wouldn't have to go, since I would be there already. But it is a challenge bringing my insights home. All I can say is that I try to listen to the affirmations when I get home and to sit lightly to the negative. But this is just skimming the surface. If you go, and listen, and carry it with you, you will know what it is, for you. But for me the next time will be different, only I don't know how. So I listen, but I don't try to replicate whatever comes to me.
 

Simon Shum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Oct 2013, Porto, San Salvador & Primitivo 2014. Norte 2016, VdLP & Via Francigena 2017
Hi Gwaihir, welcome to the world of “knowing mind”! Through your experience, now you KNOW you can use Facebook as a tool without causing you passion or aggression, now you know you can feel good when not your mind in not thinking! Your precious “knowing mind” will get stronger and stronger – just recall your beautiful experience in the Camino, enjoy your breath and the relaxation, THIS IS HOME.

When you are using your “thinking mind” to deal with things in everyday life, you might feel stress etc; then just take a breath. Enjoy that breath – your mind will fill you up with that beautiful Camino feeling, and you are back in your “home”! You do not need to leave that beautiful Camino experience behind – your knowing mind will let you know that it is within you. There is no need to search or seek. The more you enjoy your breath (and the energy and relaxation it gives you), the stronger your knowing mind will become!

Many everyday activities give stress, your knowing mind will remind you to “enjoy the breath”, and you are home and stress fades away right here and right now, no need to wait till the end of the day to un-stress yourself!

Meditation is really that easy – just enjoy your breath, feel that energy from the breath spreading to your torso and your limbs, each breath you enjoy gives rises to more enjoyable sensation! Your mind becomes clear with equanimity! Aware of this happening is a good start of meditation!

I have “Buen Camino” every seconds of my daily life, here and now, with a clear knowing mind! This is my years of meditation experience talking, and 8 Caminos and counting!

Buen Camino de Vida!
I love all the comments posted by fellow peregrinas/peregrinos!
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
...
2) As I go to bed...I do a whole body inventory of stresses accumulated through the day. I then "breathe" my way through releasing them. (In through the nose and out through the mouth. There are several traditions for the right kind of breathing and I am no expert. Maybe some of our resident experts can chip in here?)

2a) After the de-stress and breathing then it is a matter of counting up my blessings. While it may be a cliche', it is no less true that I fall asleep before I am done with this part of my routine.

3) Upon waking...offer gratitude to whatever Higher Power you recognize for the gift of another day to fulfill your purpose here and request the wisdom, sufficient to the day, to keep true to your mission.
...
"Need little, want less, love more." (A friend that I would dearly love to meet sometime..."Jesse" at
"Jesse's Cafe Americain") (https://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/)
...
Thank you very much for sharing this.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
...
Have any of you experienced the same? How did you manage this when you got home?
Did you manage to at least keep parts of the mindfulness?
...
I experienced not the same... but probably something similar.

I think it is very difficult for me to manage to keep at least parts of the camino feeling at home.
We live in a capitalist system. It is very different from the camino world.

In the capitalist system: make money, consume, make more money, self-optimization, be better than..., career, stress, too much work for work-life-balance...

In the camino world: Go at your pace... do not judge... be grateful... help and get help... "Need little, want less, love more."... "The Camino is God's dream for how people should be when they're with each other".

And it starts early in our lives. My two girls got their reports in school last week. I would say they got good reports... but again... judging... comparing... is it good enough? ... And they are still children...

I like my job and my family. I do not want to quit my job and I want to stay here with my family.

I want to try very hard in the coming years to work less... want less... and live my 'normal life' in a way that is closer to the camino life... but it is very difficult for me... and until now I am not very successful with integrating the camino-way-of-life in my normal life.

Sometimes I can dream of my next camino in 2020. Maybe I learn a little bit more on my second camino... and can live the camino-way-of-life a little bit better afterwards in my normal life.

When do I get closer to the camino feeling?... when I walk in the dark for half an hour or so... I am not close to the camino feeling... but closer than most of time in the normal life.
 

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