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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

The Varieties of Camino Experiences

vinotinto

Active Member
#1
The title of this thread comes from two (somewhat opposed) books: The Varieties of Religious Experience, and The Varieties of Scientific Experience. Based on my experiences on this board, and on the actual Camino, the way attracts people of all ages and all walks of life.

Atheists, pagans, Christians, deists, agnostics, and rationalists are all to be found on the Way. All do it for various reasons, and all are affected in various ways. How do you fit into this mix? Below is an example of what I mean.

There were two big reasons that led me to the Way: 1) Turning 40 (Americans love a mid-life crisis), and 2) struggling with my faith. I've been an Xian for over 20 years. That path led me to many churches, where I served in various ministries. I even graduated from a (Protestant) seminary with an MA in Family Ministry. When I began planning for the Camino, I was a firm Xian. Now, many would call me a lapsed one.

Much of my "backsliding" can be attributed to 1) travel, 2) experiences in the church, 3) getting older, and 4) reading the many "atheist" books that have been recently published. Indeed, the Camino actually led me further away from the traditional church, due to exposure to various folks from all over the world.

Anyway, that, in a nutshell, is where I'm at, due in part to the Camino (indeed, it colors much of what has happened in my life & faith this year). There's more of course - but I'll dish later in this thread if it actually goes anywhere... :arrow:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Vinotinto wrote:Atheists, pagans, Christians, deists, agnostics, and rationalists are all to be found on the Way.
That's as it is...and that's as it always shall be!

I believe the greatest gift I've ever received is free will!
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#4
JohnnieWalker said:
Yes Vinotinto these varieties and more are found on the Way - and there is room for everyone!
Well, sure - that's the beauty of the Way. But I'd like to hear more from ya'll about your "varieties" of experiences on the Way. I've seen other postings in other threads that have alluded to such things - like the guy who believes in a guiding deity, and Sil, who appears to be a non-believer. So I'd like to go deeper into these ideas so we can better understand each other.

For example, did the trek reinforce your belief system, or shake it up? Did you meet and get to know someone who you never thought you'd connect with - someone who's belief system was diametrically opposed to yours?

In my case, I met and had interesting discussions with an atheist woman from Slovania, and a pagan gal from Denmark. They were both interesting people, but if it hadn't been for the Camino, I probably would never have gone deeper with them... :arrow:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#5
Interesting. And I like the tone, and I do hope we can keep it 'fluffy'.

Arn - with a gift there has to be a giver .. where do you see this gift of 'free will' coming from?
VT - you believe that you have been 'backsliding'. In what sense? Was it that the belief system you were with had specific rules that you now break or that you believed specific things to be true and you no longer believe those things?

And this is where the difference lies. Those who can only perceive a solid mechanistic reality cannot perceive what the universe is truly like - but to them, of course, those who do perceive it are actually just deluding themselves.

You all persist in classifying things, as if this world is the way you have been told it is, whereas I think that deep down you know it is not. The way that you classify those on the Camino, christians, pagans, buddhists, etc sounds to me like avoidance. It is like counting things so that you don't have to face something. - I'm not saying it is, only that this is what it seems like to me. This avoidance is a very modern thing, really springing from Europe in the 1840's onwards. I blame that dreadful drunk, Marx, and his foolish ridiculous tales. Fantasies that have caused the murders of hundreds of millions of innocent people.

Have any of you read the first two or three chapters of the Imitation? (Thomas a Kempis) - I don't mean read the words but read it in the Lectio Divina way? You know of Lectio Divina?

The theatre is an interesting place. What happens on the stage isn't real, it is all made up, with thin scenery and people wearing make-up and odd clothes. What is it about? Why are we drawn to it? Because, by suspending our disbelief we get drawn into the play, we forget that it is only a virtual world, make-believe ... for an hour or two we are there and part of it, and feel emotions as if it is real, we laugh, we cry, we mourn, and by doing this the true and deeper meaning behind all that goes deep into our hearts and minds and we are changed. We are bigger, better, more mature, more kind, more sensitive, more loving, more - well, more human.
This world, this creation, is exactly the same. Exactly the same. And our task is to be drawn in to all that it offers and by this to become more fully human - except, that there comes a point where we pull back from just experiencing it and grasping it and trying to own bits of it, we have perceived it, we understand it, we see the master behind it all - ...

Then we see people at the theatre saying to each other, they are only actors you know, look at that rubbish costume, I don't think much of the scenery and so on - and by doing this they miss completely what the experience is there for and what it has to offer and they leave completely unchanged .... but, there are ways of letting go a bit, of connecting with the writer behind the play, of surrendering to the experience so fully that their love is your love, their joy is your joy, but also their pain is your pain, and their tears are your tears, and their tragedy is your tragedy and it is at this point that the house lights go up and you get to see both the players and the audience, and, if you are lucky, a glimpse of the author in the wings - and you are amazed. Amazed.
And once perceived, once you actually perceive, if only for a fraction of a second, you cannot return to how you used to see the world.
So, the link ...
So, Lectio Divina is a way of reading a religious text as if God had written it specifically for you and you alone and was actually speaking it into your heart. It is a method of suspending disbelief so that you may be filled with an unexpected radiance. It isn't easy at first but, as we say in England, the proof is in the pudding. The result comes from the doing. Try the Imitation using this method, speak it quietly out loud to yourself, as if the God you don't believe in was real and speaking those words into your ear, just for you, written just for you - go on, what do you have to lose - try it, just for a week.

All religions, at their heart say that the way home is to surrender. In our modern world with its cult of the individual and its consumer fetishism this is seen as being asked to give away our rights, to give in, to be taken over, but this is not what is meant. The invitation to surrender is an invitation to become what we were designed to be.

Now, I perceive that this invitation, this call is constant and therefore all people of all beliefs and non-beliefs are pulled by it, even unknowingly, and that is why they are on the Camino. And, of course the Camino is filled with pagans, and wiccans, and buddhists, and muslims, and jews, and atheists and failed protestants, and criminals, and so on - well, who else would you expect?

And that is what I mean when I say - quite persistently - God Calls.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#6
Br. David said:
VT - you believe that you have been 'backsliding'. In what sense? Was it that the belief system you were with had specific rules that you now break or that you believed specific things to be true and you no longer believe those things?
That about sums it up. For example, I'm not big on hell and predestination anymore (if I ever was). And I'm tired of overauthoritative pastors and leaders telling me what to do and threatening me with dire consequences if I deviate from their theology - or Xian gurus handing out "how to" lists on right living, but then failing to follow their own advice. I'm just not down with that stuff anymore.

Overall, the last couple of years has seen me shift into a more rationalist form of thinking and living. Indeed, science may trump religion when it comes to ultimate truth. In America we're having a big controversy over faith vs. reason - especially when it comes to church and state. Frankly, I'd rather have a secular state like France vs. a theocracy.

As for the rest of your post...I think I'll need a bottle of good Rioja to figure it all out...maybe even a Reserva. :wink:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#7
Yes, although seeing phenomenal growth in some areas, that literalist view of interpreting christian texts is appearing more and more old-fashioned. I think that the times call for modern interpretations that are couched in the language of today. Sounds like you have been through the pin-ball effect ... attracted to something then repelled, then attracted to another, then repelled ... it will appear fun when you look back, I'm sure.

"Indeed, science may trump religion when it comes to ultimate truth."

Ho - very good, made me laugh out loud - very funny! :lol: and I thought most Americans didn't do irony! - sorry.

"Frankly, I'd rather have a secular state like France vs. a theocracy."

Absolutely, next thing you know those mad right wing fundamentalist Christians would elect someone with a silly name like ..errmmm Bush? and be invading somewhere like, oh, I don't know, Iraq, say, and killing 700,000+ innocent people. :shock:

Actually I do agree with you, mind you, I also agree with Thomas Moore. In his Island State of Utopia "anyone who seeks public office is barred from public office for life".
Yes, the French seem to handle it quite well at the moment, you may practise whatever religion you want in your home or temples (as long as you do not harm) but not in public. Seems to work well. In England we allow Mosques but do not allow the public calls to prayer that are usually sung or called from the tower (which is why you don't tend to see the towers on English Mosques).

Mind you ... as wearing Muslim Hijab in public in France is illegal I wonder if wearing a Christian medieval outfit along a French pilgrim route would be considered illegal as well..

As for the rest of your post...I think I'll need a bottle of good Rioja to figure it all out...maybe even a Reserva. :wink:[/quote]

S'okay - the rest isn't really for answering, just a viewpoint to be considered - even, heaven forbid, internalised or acted upon.

Thank you for opening up like that. Back in the 70's a Church of England rev chap did a survey of Christian belief by getting volunteers all over the country to wait outside churches on a Sunday at the end of service and ask 927 people what their beliefs were (as they left). He ended up, basically, with 927 different answers. From this he suggested that although we follow the outward forms, we do not necessarily believe them as they are taught. So you are not alone.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#8
Br. David said:
Thank you for opening up like that.
I know some might find it difficult to go public with this stuff on the net (or even with someone else). But I figure, what the heck? How else are we supposed to learn and grow? Of course, there's a fine line between transparency and being an open wound, and I'm trying to avoid the latter...

Br. David said:
Sounds like you have been through the pin-ball effect
I dunno about that - I've been an Xian since 1984, and it's only recently that I've begun to veer from the path. It's hard at times, but liberating as well. I would like there to be a God, but I'm prepared to live without one if it's all a pipe-dream. I don't like the idea of a God waiting to nail me with a board or a lightning bolt, as my (now former) Xian martial arts sensei said when, after I returned from the Camino, I informed him I was leaving his class, and told him why (I was the class chaplain, and a 2nd degree black belt in the assistant instructor group).

Br. David said:
Absolutely, next thing you know those mad right wing fundamentalist Christians would elect someone with a silly name like ..errmmm Bush?
Sigh...and people wonder why I took to drink on the Camino...I purposefully shied away from political discussions during my trek. I live in a small town near Vancouver, Washington State - but I told most people that I was from Portland, Oregon (where I work), since when I said "Vancouver", they immediately thought of Vancouver British Columbia, and when I said "Washington", they would reply, "DC? Oh no - Bush!" and go on with some sort of disparaging comment. Most folks knew were Portland Oregon is, so that was a lot easier...but at least I never claimed to be a Canadian.

Br. David said:
that literalist view of interpreting christian texts is appearing more and more old-fashioned.
My issue with this is: at what point does it leave the transcendant plane and simply become cafe religion, where we can pick and choose what we want because it makes us feel good? One reason I did the Camino is that it's bigger than I am - sure, I can put my own spin on it, but I still have to walk it like everyone else. If the Bible is a mishmash of wackiness, then why bother with it? At that point, it becomes a quaint historical document we can learn from, but it's not from the mind of God. Ugh - it's enough to make one's head spin... :arrow:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#9
Spins indeed!
sorry, I only meant about the literalist translations is that modern scholars now know so much more than we ever did before of the actual situation at the time (of, say, 1st - 3rd century BCE).
And I won't become involved in discussing the Bible this way - you most likely feel the same? - so will move away from that area (happy to meet anyone on the Camino and have a discussion night - entry fee one good bottle of Rioja!).

But, will say this, .... have you noticed that those that use the 'pick n mix' system to create their own 'religion' or world view always choose those things that reinforce their lifestyles/worldviews as they are -?

Bush - cheap shot - we had Blair - anagram of B***** liar.
Though, I should make it clear I think, that I support legitimate troops (those men and women who feel brave and committed enough to take the Queens shilling - dollar in your country I suppose) and stand in harms way so that garrulous old fools like me can sit safely at home and say whatever they want in complete safety!

So we are in accord I think.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#10
Br. David said:
But, will say this, .... have you noticed that those that use the 'pick n mix' system to create their own 'religion' or world view always choose those things that reinforce their lifestyles/worldviews as they are -?
Absolutely. Pastors focus on things like tithing, loyalty, submission to authority, and rewards for service. But, yeah, we all do it. What's funny, though, is how we pay lipservice to certain doctrines but then don't act upon that so-called belief. For example, if every Xian really believed in eternal damnation, then we'd all be out witnessing like wildfire. But, that's not the case - I certainly never broke any proselytising records.

Br. David said:
So we are in accord I think.
Mas o menos, I suppose - which is cool, because I'm not looking for a Borg-like mentality here (by that I mean the Star Trek kind, where "resistance is futile - prepare to be assimilated"). I think the only way I'll go deeper into spirituality again is via Kierkegaard's "leap of faith" route...but I'm tired of being told to put my rational mind on hold to do so. Then again, a number of folks thought I was nuts to do the Camino - "You mean you're going to walk 500 miles across Spain? Why would you do something like that?" :arrow:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#11
Aww - you made me laugh out loud!! (Borg-like mentality etc)

I do agree though, this rational mind thing. Whether it is Creation or Chaos - we have this mind, these abilities, I wouldn't give them away (even if I had a butler to dress me and so on). I say God given, others may say ' high point of evolution' - but whichever viewpoint .. my brain works, I can't stop it working, and nor do I want to -

Incid' - is this the sort of stuff expected on this thread? varieties of ..or have I bent it askew?
 
#12
Sigh...and people wonder why I took to drink on the Camino...I purposefully shied away from political discussions during my trek. I live in a small town near Vancouver, Washington State - but I told most people that I was from Portland, Oregon (where I work), since when I said "Vancouver", they immediately thought of Vancouver British Columbia, and when I said "Washington", they would reply, "DC? Oh no - Bush!" and go on with some sort of disparaging comment. Most folks knew were Portland Oregon is, so that was a lot easier...but at least I never claimed to be a Canadian.
On my Camino, whenever I said I was American to a French man, he would talk anti-American politics on and on, always saying he has nothing against Americans, but....and no doubt I would agree with everything, but I found it tiresome and difficult to follow at times, for my French is not fluent. Once I told a Frenchman I was from Florida, he talked about the wonderful beaches we have, Disney, his cousin in whatever town..... and I thought "hmm"... from then on I was Floridian to everyone Never talked politics again.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#13
Br. David said:
Incid' - is this the sort of stuff expected on this thread? varieties of ..or have I bent it askew?
Ah - I dunno. Guess I'm merely hoping to get various "pilgrim perspectives" here. This kind of thread is threatening to more private folks, who don't want to go too deep into personal matters. But I hope they can come to some sort of internal compromise and reveal a bit of what's going on inside their minds and hearts.

Even so, it's not my goal here to wring out personal confessions or dark secrets. And I certainly don't want to debate about who is "right" or "wrong" (although some thesis-antithesis-synthesis action isn't bad) I just want to get some insight into why people are leaving their homes to walk across a foreign country, what they hope to get out of it, and what actually happened to them.

That includes all the aforementioned groups: atheists, agnostics, theists, deists, pantheists, etc. I think there's rich potential to learn about each other. After all, it's a lot harder to maintain a stereotype when confronted with a personal reality... :arrow:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#14
MermaidLilli said:
Once I told a Frenchman I was from Florida, he talked about the wonderful beaches we have, Disney, his cousin in whatever town..... and I thought "hmm"... from then on I was Floridian to everyone Never talked politics again.
Well, there's something to be said for "state's rights," eh? :wink: Looks like a good strategy. Focusing on Portland and the Pacific Northwest helped me as well along those lines (I tried to avoid even saying the word "Washington" if I could help it)... :arrow:
 
#15
I am reading with some amusement this thread and particularly the American contributors. It is only when one is in relative security and freedom that one can voice dissent. People around the world can bad mouth the USA, but when your trusty Airbus or Boeing loses an engine or has an electrical failure in mid-Atlantic, guess who they call to escort them to safety? I spent thousands of hours flying search and rescue missions over the atlantic ocean, and I can't remember anyone not being grateful. Likewise, I can't remember asking about the political persuasion of a vessel in distress. The next time you are in mid ocean on your way to the camino, ask yourself the question, is Washington a good or bad word?
My camino experience was probably as conventionally Catholic as they come. We planned our daily schedule around the towns that had an evening Mass. I wanted to be in a Catholic environment and experience a fundamentally Catholic culture. This forum is full of wonderful stories about the camino a its people, yet who makes the connection as to why it is so? Either Don Elias knew something worth sharing or he was just a great salesman. Which is the greater miracle of Cebreiro, the eucharistic one or the one of Don Elias?
My wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table in an alberge one evening, I said that I was surprised at how little visible evidence there was of religious spirituality among the pilgrims we had encountered. Then, I looked down at the table and a young man who had sat down next to me laid a bible on the table. I began a conversation and found out that he was from the US and was from a small town about 20mi. from my small home town. Additionally, he was doing the camino as a preparation to enter the Benedictine monestary of St. Meinrad. If you read this Hi Kyle!
Ultreya, John
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#16
I was having a debate in another place and British troops in Afghanistan came up. My last comment was "If you saw armed soldiers coming into your village at dawn would you want them to be British or Taliban?" Says it all really, don't you think?

So - Catholics on the Camino? Whatever next!



All of a sudden I don't feel alone.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#17
papajohn said:
I wanted to be in a Catholic environment and experience a fundamentally Catholic culture
Yes, but did you notice that many of the local attendees of Mass were older folks, particularly women? I took a day's break in Burgos, and decided to fulfill a dream by doing a Segway tour of the city (that's really fun, by the way). My two guides were both young twentysomething Spanish - one male, and one female. I spent the bulk of the time talking with the gal, since she had a decent grasp of English (and was nice while looking good in stylish shades).

I asked her about church attendance, and she began her answer by talking about the many formerly religious-oriented buildings that have been converted to secular uses. She then confirmed that most of the young folks don't attend church, and when I mentioned that I had mainly seen old women at Mass, she half-joked that, "they are there to pray for the rest of us."

So, as she also mentioned, Spain is becoming more secular. With that in mind, I wonder if you can call Spain a "fundamentally Catholic culture" anymore - unless you mean that Catholicism in Spain is sort of a rote (and perhaps fringe) practice vs. an intense devotion... :arrow:
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#18
Br. David said:
So - Catholics on the Camino? Whatever next!
All of a sudden I don't feel alone.
As a 'lapsed Catholic' I understand I won't be short of company either :wink:
Margaret
 
#19
Yes, it seems that most people are giving up classifications and the dogmas that perpetuate them. So maybe a bit of unlearning on the Camino is good for some. Freedom from the Known, as Krishnamurti put it. Then you can start to really experience things..... or you can just abandon yourself to materialism. Actually science and spirituality aren't so far apart these days, as Br. David was indicating with his talk of life as theatre. That's actually advanced physics as well as ancient wisdom.

I heard someone say (the author of a book called Jesus and the Goddess, which I haven't read), that spirituality is about three things: the oneness of everything, love, and who we are. Now how can you be a non-believer in that, if you're still alive!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#20
Yes, Charles. With regard to, say, Roman Catholicism, they say the same - although sometimes it cannot be seen. The problem is - well, actually, the situation is - people achieve their religiosity, or spiritual maturity, at different levels and that has to be catered for in an institutionalised religion.

This knowledge, of different levels, seems to have been lost in this age so people on the outside criticise Christianity as dogma to be followed, not knowing that there are levels and that we progress through those levels on our inner journey - some people become 'stuck', some people are perfectly content at the level of simple devotion, some ... well .. some although they look similar on the outside are Christians at a different level.
A Catholic priest is trained for a decade - he is not a fool in any way at all. He will engage in conversation with you initially at the lowest level but, if you come to know him, he will alter the level at which he communicates based on the spiritual level he perceives you to be at.

In this age of instant gratification and mediocre education people have no desire to 'come to know' they tend to flit like a bee in a garden of flowers.

That's ok, the world is as it is - but it isn't becoming secular in the sense of people becoming less religious/spiritual ... social patterns have changed and the cohesion of families is temporarily failing. The young move out or move to the town, patterns are changing, tens of millions of people are doing things that they know are wrong, from simple lying to drug taking, abuse of partners, illegality, deception, uncontrolled animalistic sex, and these people are not going to face who and what they are - so church attendance drops in certain areas - but when they get older and realise how empty their lives are they will return - watch. .. so church attendance is changing - but humans don't change, they have never changed, ever. The spiritual longing is still there it just pops out in different ways .... weak churches, such as wishy-washy CofE churches, are almost empty, but my Roman Catholic church in Cambridge is packed. Utterly packed. It is a big church with seating for over 400. But on Sunday, for instance, at each mass there is only standing room. Thousands of people - including many many young people and families with children - attend every Sunday - and there are other services throughout the week. It is rather wonderful. But I waffle....
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#21
Br. David said:
tens of millions of people are doing things that they know are wrong, from simple lying to drug taking, abuse of partners, illegality, deception, uncontrolled animalistic sex, and these people are not going to face who and what they are
Yes, but people do this stuff in the church as well. And that's a major issue of mine, I suppose. Sometimes it seems that there's no discernable difference between church goers and secularists - and indeed, the churchgoer may often fall short of his/her secular counterpart when it comes to morality. I think the churchgoer should live on a different plane than the secularist - and have a life that appeals to the unchurched.

However, at least in the US church there seems to be more emphasis on external comformity vs. internal change. Sin management is huge here, and I think it actually drives people kind of nuts in the end - hence the church exodus you mention. And unlike the Catholic church, which I recently read values a rational approach to faith, the evangelical church is more inclined towards a feelings-based walk - one that is suspicious of science, and that even views it as an enemy conspiring its overthrow.

Church leadership in the US tends to create an unreachable standard that most can't live up to - indeed, not even the leadership themselves. They get by by being charismatic speakers and dynamic individuals who rely on Biblically-mandated submission to authority. I've seen much of this in the last 23 years, demonstrated by pastors, elders, seminary profs, and religious authors. Not cool. No, I'm not expecting perfection - just a plausible reality that is better than life w/out God.

In addition, what good is spirituality when its foundation is shaky at best and false at worst? Do we really need an opiate of the masses that is bogus as well? To me, spirituality should be ideally from beyond ourselves, and not something we manufacture to feel good or make sense of a hard, rational reality. We've gone too far from the basics, preferring to sword-fight over neutral things (like R-rated movies or alcohol consumption) instead of diving in the deeper waters of what really matters - like doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Br. David said:
A Catholic priest is trained for a decade - he is not a fool in any way at all.
Perhaps. But in the US they have lost much credibility due to the sex scandals. That, combined with the celibacy thing, has made the entire institution suspect. I'm not sure how it will recover, but I'm hoping for the best. Even so, the "best" may involve some radical change of doctrine and dogma... :arrow:
 
#22
If only it was as simple as training.The Magdalens were run by nuns all of them trained but it didn't stop terrible cruelty and abuse taking place.There is hardly a week goes by but that we hear of yet another priest convicted of child abuse.It is possible to train for ten years and still be as ignorant of the world as when you started.For most people training is about indoctrination.If a person is born in Iraq they become a Moslem.In India something else and so on-all examples of indoctrination. It is hard to break the mould.
An ex-colleague of mine was a Mother Superior responsible for three convents.She became disillusioned by the politics of the Catholic church and as she said, decided to join the world.
She remains a lovely and gentle person but her good works are seen in a different way now.She is no longer a nun but a person who happens to be a nurse.The church/religion certainly doesn't have a monopoly on goodness.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#23
Boy, this is one I really don't want to enter into...that said, although I'm the product of a Roman Catholic (Father) and German Lutheran (Mom) union, I was encouraged to choose whatever Way I thought was best for me.

I grew up in a part of Chicago that was heavily Italian and Polish (thus Catholic) and Jewish. Many of my best friends were Jews and, with my friend Philip (a Jew) we attended Schul on Wednesdays and a Boy Scout troop sponsored by St Mark's Catholic Church. My Mom's family was fairly devout and very different from my other family and friends. I didn't understand it all, but I could see the difference between those that practiced their religion and those that chose the "cafeteria" product.

In my travels, I lived in Buddhist, Hindu and Moslem countries. Again, the "good folk" were good no matter their chosen religion...or lack thereof.

A friend the other night asked my why I was a Catholic and about the forgiveness of sins in confession. To make a long story/explanation short (er), I said, (probably heresy here)...that my Priest provided me with "insight" into my situation, discussed options and ended with the admonishment to "sin no more".

If I do all he (God's emissary in the confessional) asked, I'm sure I'd live a better (more moral) existence. Could I have come to this conclusion on my own...most likely. Did I need someone to make it perfectly clear that my morals were in need of a perfection boost...most likely not. But it was good to talk it out with someone that was "trained" and could provide me with both a secular view and a Catholic based response. The training of a priest, or any religion for that matter...I am sure, is steeped in psychology and/or a Confucian/Zen type Thought process.

How or what you choose as a "way of life" is very personal, so what works for you...as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, can be very fulfilling, or delusional. This includes everything from a structured religion, to opiates to meditation, to nothing but yourself.

Rafferty mentioned: There is hardly a week goes by but that we hear of yet another priest convicted of child abuse
.

A bit of an exaggeration there...that would be 52 a year. Hardly a credible comment to come from a normally very credible individual.

There is a widespread movement among the main stream media to discredit any religion, with the "celibate" therefore "unnatural" priest an easy target.

The "abuse" is not a beating, it's not starvation, it's not pedophilia, it's homosexuality!

Yet, according to the papers and major networks, only for the Catholic Church and it's priests.

It's OK to be homosexual and a congressman (unless you’re a republican), it's OK to be a homosexual if you want to be in the military, it's OK to openly be a member of NAMBLA, it's OK to be a female teacher (got to be a knockout) and have a sexual relationship with a minor boy student (but not a male teacher with a minor girl student).

It' OK, because in the media's mind...priests and, men in general,...should be held to a higher standard.
Probably because, if you have no standards...you can never fail to meet them!

Be whatever you want, just don’t be a hypocrite!

We all have failings...some of us are aware of them and will try to improve, while others are happy to live every day...one day at a time...until they run out of days. It's our choice...choose!

This is the last time I'll venture into this topic (religion/politics both).

The Camino is a Way of personal fact finding, enlightenment and discovery. May Your Camino meet all your expectations!

Buen Camino,
Arn
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#24
The subject here is "The Varieties of Camino Experiences" and I, for one, would be very interested in reading of other pilgrim's experiences.
There are many people who walk the camino, tick it off on their list of achievements and move on to the next adventure without a backward glance.
Others are 'born again' (not necessarily in the religious sense), write books, establish websites, make films and become camino evangelists. When I first heard about the camino there were very few websites, only a couple of books and one Forum. Now every man and his blog writes about it, new confraternities have been formed and a new DVD comes out every year.
(It is OK to continue the religious/political discussions - just click on the PM facility and take it off the open Forum!)
 
#25
Hear, hear!

I too am fascinated by this. I've met some people who have no interest in what they describe as the "pilgrimage side" of the routes - they simply enjoy walking a trail which has support facilities dotted along it. I've met walkers who consider it a walking holiday, others who have no interest in St James or indeed Santiago - even some who decided to bypass Santiago to go direct to Finisterre.

I try never to make any judgement about them - I learned some time ago it is best not to stick my nose into someone else's Camino. I also know that for many the fellowship and experience of creation cannot fail to rub off.

Then of course there is me and many like me who become addicted to the whole pilgrimage "thing" . I would never have predicted it but having experienced walking with a purpose in the footspetps of millions of pilgrims who have gone before, guided by yellow arrows painted by other pilgrims I find I just want to walk more and more - adapting the old saying to walking: sometimes I walk and pray and sometimes I just walk. Or maybe more frequently "sometimes I walk and think but mostly I just walk" . This is because I find the rhythm of walking about the most meditative experience ever. And all this from someone who used to think "roughing it" was no room service after 10pm!

And so we log on to share experiences and information and keep the feeling going. We entertain fantsasies about opening an albergue or we actually work as hospitaleros - and we are always planning the next Camino.

Great isn't it?

John
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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#26
The caminos in Spain are unique. I have only walked two other pilgrimage trails - one from Paris to Spain and the Via Francigena to Rome. Neither had the same magical charisma or the intriguing spiritual and mystical characteristic of the camino frances.
We all bemoan the rising numbers of pilgrims on the caminos, and some renounce the refuges, but perhaps it is their energy that gives the Spanish trails their extraordinary magnetic quality?
It isn't quite the same walking for a month without seeing another pilgrim and staying in hotels or inns.
 
#27
Well Sil, I for one have found this religious debate very interesting because, whether we like it or not, the Camino de Santiago is organised by and largely walked by members of the Catholic Church. I am not a Catholic and so was very interested to know what everybody was thinking about all that. Had it been confined to a PM debate, I would have missed it all.

That said, there does seem to be a perception of the need to allow others to walk their own camino without visiting judgements upon them; and if they are being judgemental, we don't have to get caught up in the same game, because it is rather infectious. The morality and judgement aspect of religion is not what the Camino is about, it is a Way, as John says. Which is what Jesus taught in the first place.

So getting back to the original question, yes I too have written my own account of my experiences elsewhere on the web, but as the invitation is to put something here...

Walking the Camino was a meditation for me too and the first time I did it, I had a deepening experience of peace, and the second time I did it, it turned into a deepening experience of joy. And from the first time it happened to me, on Mayday at O Cebreiro, when I woke with this wonderful feeling of joy filling my chest, I often wake in the morning with that awareness.

I also grow on the Camino. When I get back, I feel literally taller. The rooms seem smaller to me, and so do other people. There's also a light in the eyes of people who have just walked the Camino that others don't have.

Also, last time, I found myself coming out with a bunch of poetry about spiritualtiy and life on the Camino. The idea came when I offered to carry a beautiful notebook my wife found at the airport on the way in. The poetry flowed after I spent a while meditating in the little church of Santiago at Villafranca. There's one verse that sums up a lot of this:

When you've seen so many beautiful things
That all you can say is, it's perfect
Then joy displaces judgement
And fills the empty space inside
Left by thoughts no longer needed
Blown away in the wind.

Charles
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#28
Hello Charles,
Your poem is beautiful and indeed is an excellent reflection on the Camino. You mentioned that you had written about your experiences elsewhere on the web. I was wondering if that is a public link and if so, would you be willing to share the link?
Buen Camino,
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#29
Thank you for sharing with us and thank you for the poem. May I add it to the page of mantras and prayers on my blog?
Bendigáis,
 
#30
Thank you Deirdre and yes you can find my experiences in a little more detail in the My Camino section of http://www.balsacamino.org - and some more poetry on the Spirit of the Camino page.

And yes, Sil, you can do what you like with it. I was thinking that the special nature of the Camino Frances stems from more than the energy of the people walking down it. It's been a road of spiritual discovery for a long time and more than people in bodies walk along it. When my wife Linda walked from SJPP in 2003 she was accompanied the whole way by a guide who had walked it in the 1500s (he was from Italy then). Someone on my last trip was accompanied by a friar. Maybe we've all walked it before in previous lifetimes, that's why we love it so much, and we'll be doing it again as guides for others after we've moved on! If you believe in such things.

Charles
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#32
Johnny Walker,

You're completely on track...I guess I need to realize that while My Camino has many facets and others have their own understanding as to what a Camino is...we might agree to disagree on the particulars and motivations!

Arn
 
#33
I've been following this thread with such interest, why has it been thwarted? Do not religion and theology count among varieties of camino experience? Don't take your discussion off the public forum please! If people want something that's "light and altogehter fun" let them start a different thread maybe entitled "light and altogether fun varieties of camino experience"

Come back Arn, Br David, Vinotonto, all is ... well, forgiven? :)
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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#34
The initial thread was "The Varieties of Camino Experiences" - whether they be light and fun, or deeply spiritual, life changing or love it and leave it, everyone has an opportunity to share their experience if they so wish. But, it kinda wobbled off course.
I'm sure a quick search of Yahoo.groups or Google.groups would reveal any number of Forums that discuss the important issues of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, paedophile priests, consentual homosexuality, etc. I don't think that this is the right forum at all!
 
#35
I agree that it might seem beside the point to look at such isues in THIS context, but people were talking about their attitude to the Catholic faith and difficulties posed by the behaviour of some of its "shepherds". As it was pointed out, whether people like it or not, the Catholic faith has a big hand in both the Camino's origins and its contemporary organisation - perhaps then, it is helpful to discuss such things in a forum where people might not necessarlily otherwise address them.

My feelings are that when people go to a concert, say a Mozart concert, because they truly love Mozart, they don't worry too much whether the person next to them is a "genuine" Mozart fan or not. They might, however, be very much interested in who the conductor is because the interpretation can be vitally important to the understanding and enjoyment of the music. Similarly if we decide then to open ourselves to God, just like the Mozart fan, we too seek an "interpretation" which touches us. If that "interpretation" is provided through Catholicism it is unlikely that we will find the same resonance in, say, a Happy Clappy environment. But why, when it is question of religion rather than music, do we "rubbish" the interpretaion through judgement of our fellow conert goers "the people in the congregation are hypocritical" or even the musicians "catholic priests are all P.D".

The history of the Catholic church is like that of humanity itself; full of stories of beauty and horror. But its combination of intellectual rigour and mysticism, its ultimate acknowledgement of the frailty of humanity and genuine emphasis on daily renewal and its provision of a framework for doing just that which beats any psychiatrist's couch (confession) put it, as far as "interpretations" go, in a fairly strong position.

And, my dear pilgrims, let it not be forgotten, that without this ancient Catholic church (for all its less-than-pure-time-scuffed-humanity), you would not have your blessed Camino at all.

btw, I'm not over fond of Mozart :wink:
 
#36
So its OK to say that tens of millions of people are doing things they know are wrong, from simply lying to drug taking,abuse of partners,illegality,deception,uncontrolled animalistic sex and then to describe the C of E as wishy washy.When it is pointed out that the Catholic Church also has problems suddenly it is too heavy to cope with on a discussion site.
Your right though I suppose many people do enjoy "fluffy bunny land" more then reality.
On that note I will retire from this site altogether.
Buen Camino.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#37
No Rafferty, please don't go. That people have different points of view to you isn't a reason to leave the building. nor to be rude before you go. Keeping it 'fluffy' is a gentle English term for not attacking people personally.
That your view of the CofE (Church of England) is that it is not wishy-washy can be demonstrated by a few well chosen examples from you, not high dudgeon - I would like to hear them.

I also used to be involved with working with children. Decades ago when I was a family man my wife and I opened a truant school in a city in the West of England to take truanting children off the streets. We ran it along the ethics of David Wills. Later, when our own children were old enough not to be affected, my wife and I fostered children. We were on the emergency list and over the years took many that were suicidal, sexually abused, beaten, etc, so I too know that background. Now this is about varieties of Camino experience and this actually is pertinent to that (honest Sil!).
Statistically 5% of unskewed population groups abuse children in some way - physical, mental, sexual. That is 5% across the board, police, judges, nurses, teachers, - which would include all priests - including Roman Catholic priests. It will also be 5% of the pilgrims you meet along the way as well .... it is a human thing, not a priest thing.

So .. experiences, loved that poem "then joy displaces judgement" - is that not the perfect line? How glorious it is.

And then the analogy of orchestra and Mozart - perfect. So, the debate is more lively now - surely, as long as we don't harm each other this is a good thing? Look at the support coming in.

So, I say let us enjoy it.
And, although until recently the agnostics seem to be the most voluble here let us not forget that this is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage and has been for some 1200 years a Roman Catholic pilgrimage and that it has been the Roman Catholic Church and the people of the Roman Catholic Church that has invited all people of all persuasions and none to join it.
It is not a hike, it is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage - and ALL are welcome.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#38
But, experiences. I did a terrible thing in Spain on the morning of April 1st. The couple of days before I had asked different nationalities if they did the April fools joke on April 1st and most did. On April 1st I was in Logrono, we had had a wonderful Spanish group meal the night before (you know, where a group of Spanish people you've never seen before suddenly buy lots of food and wine, get everyone to put in a few euros and concoct a joyful feast). There was a new Pope in the Vatican, a young German ...
In the morning I went down early to the big kitchen/diner and started moaning to people that came down that I had listened to the radio and the new broom was sweeping clean in Rome. He had issued an edict that as it was a Catholic pilgrimage from that day on the Compostela would only be issued free to Roman Catholics, all others would have to pay 35 euros. But, in an invitation to all he had authorised the setting up of a row of booths manned by priests and if pilgrims went into a booth and converted to the true church they would get a slip of paper which meant they could then get their Compostela for free.
Absolute uproar, especially from the Dutch and German Protestants -- woke everyone up though. Eventually an Australian guy came down and he was the only one to see through it - then I shouted out April Fool! - a verr funny morning, and a sharing - a sharing because you only play practical jokes on people that you like. Not spiritual but fun.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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#39
There is a fascinating pilgrimage account on Ideal Spain - posted by a priest and an agnostic (who is now a lecturer at the Dept. of Religious Studies in Lancaster).

http://www.idealspain.com/Pages/Places/ ... ntiago.htm

A quote from the Priest:
For many Catholics the secularisation of the pilgrimage will be a great disappointment but it didn’t jar with me or prevent me from savouring the spiritual nature of the pilgrimage. I found it to be an excellent microcosm of the tangled world today and I would have been disappointed and probably even bored to find only pious, traditionally minded Catholics. Aside from the precious opportunity of speaking at great length about the Faith to those who would otherwise never have any contact with a priest, I find personally that faith thrives on challenges and conflict.
 
#43
Just an un-wishy-washy C of E moment for our Brother :). There are a number of central London C of E churches that open up as night shelters in the winter months. These are run on a shoe-string budget and are staffed by members of the congregation. Homemess men and women doss down on the floors and one is reminded of those images of Londoners down in the Tube during the Blitz (only this is the plump 21st century and there's no war on... well not in central London anyway). Often members of the homeless community stay on to attend Mass on Sunday morning - the celebration is, after all, taking place in their "home". One Sunday morning, as the collection plate came round a man, who hadn't been easy during the celebration, thrust his hand in his pocket and put all his begging takings on the plate; I do not believe that all the bells of Christendom on an Easter morning can make a sound more sweet than that messed-up bloke's small change in the plate of St Mary's Somers town.

For some, dear brothers and sisters, life on the road is not a matter choice, and a refuge is indeed just that.

But this generosity, these little act of giving and self sacrifice, do not they define the Human condition just as much as child abuse? And yet that "5%" is so dominant in our medias, it is the true celebrity of our popular culture of fear; and so we hear of daily atrocities in Iraq and not the small daily acts of heroism which no doubt characterise the lives of these people struggling to live in a tattered society. And so we hear of the priests who abuse children and nothing of those who have transformed peoples' lives, who have saved people from suicide, despair or their own violence. And we talk of dogma and doctrine when the face of Christ is to be glimpsed in the face of all men, even a drunken down-and-out in Somers town.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#44
Ah - couldn't agree more - that was why I brought up that 5% - so ... errmmm ... what are the other 95% doing!

Yes, I know .. and seriously large parts of Britain are so good because of that CofE influence -- who got the slave trade abolished?

Yes, agree with everything you've written :wink:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#45
Francisco,

You are spot on! There’s an ecumenical council in my town that provides evening meals and shelter for the truly homeless. Each night the shelter rotates among the member organizations: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, etc. The individuals cannot be abusers of drugs, or on the street by choice, rather than chance. If they chose to be on the street or do abuse drugs, there’s an effort to help them through church services to get proper medical or psychological care.

Arn
 
#46
For those who have read read the account of the monk and the agnostic on the website supplied by the ever resourceful Sil it would be interesting to read the account by Richard Spence on:

http://www.tekauri.com/camino/triplex.html

Richard's introduction is as follows:

By an accident of geography, New Zealand is the exact antipodes of Spain, having reverse latitude and longitude and thus being exactly on the opposite side of the globe. A New Zealander therefore makes the longest possible journey to Santiago, not less than 19,900 kilometres. On 12 May 1995, Richard Spence commenced his pilgrimage by visiting Santiago's precise antipodean point, a spot in the Southern Alps of New Zealand's South Island. Arriving in Santiago on 27 August, he is probably the first person to make this, the longest possible pilgrimage.

Born in Christchurch New Zealand in 1941, Richard is a self-supporting Anglican priest. Fluent in both the languages of his country, he is one of the relatively few clergy licensed to both the Maori and European wings of the Anglican church. In secular life he earns his living as a computer guru and is an international pioneer of computer education. With a background in competitive long-distance running, he found this experience stood him in good stead during the eight months of physical preparation he undertook before leaving for Europe.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#47
Joseph Chan said:
By an accident of geography, New Zealand is the exact antipodes of Spain, having reverse latitude and longitude and thus being exactly on the opposite side of the globe. A New Zealander therefore makes the longest possible journey to Santiago, not less than 19,900 kilometres.
Joseph, thanks for sharing this. I know I have a long journey to Europe ahead of me.... lots of timezones to cross and jetlag to get over for a start! I did learn when I was at school that Madrid and Wellington are kind of 'opposites', but hadn't related that to the Camino. I doubt that I will search out the spot in the Southern Alps that matches Santiago, but merely knowing I have travelled so far will help me walk with an extra step of pride for my own beautiful country, and the ones I am walking through!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#48
Fascinating. Would be quite nice to put up a mound with a scallop shell on it at that exact spot ... perhaps you could tunnel through, save all that flying!
 
#49
The posts here seem to have gone way off topic and been gently pulled back by Sil and others from time to time.

As long as people debate in a polite and friendly manner it will be left open but why not start a separate topic to discuss the rights and wrongs of the various churches if you all want to?
 
#50
William, thanks for what you said.

I have been following this thread which has been most interesting and entertaining. It has captured my attention and just when I feel the forum has run out of things to say, a fascinating thread grows which reflects the diverse community that we pilgrims are?

The thing is the issues that most have seem to have are by those that have no religion or particular beliefs.

I have strong Christian faith but respect others beliefs, a friend of mine sent me a page from a prayer from Chartres cathedral which sums it all up, Christian unity.

I know that on my Camino some deeply profound events occurred that only reinforced my faith, so much so that I wrote a testimony to the amazing changes that restored my sanity at a time when I was at great risk from mental damage and a suffering that deeply affected my spirits.

Keep on the views.............
 

Attachments

vinotinto

Active Member
#51
francisco said:
Come back Arn, Br David, Vinotonto, all is ... well, forgiven?
Heck, I started this thread, and I'm cool with its direction. That's why "Varieties" is in the name - its not meant to be a rigid monologue. It's good to discuss internal baggage for a change, vs. debating which pack to buy or what anti-chafing lotion to use... ;-) Indeed, the internal stuff provides insight into people's reasonings for doing the Way - ones that we may share but suppress or repress for various reasons until someone's innocuous post acts as a tipping point to self-awareness.

Indeed, the Camino was originally a Church trek - or was it? I've read that the Finisterre route was originally a pagan pilgrimage to the so-called "end of the earth" - a pilgrimage that was co-opted by the Church, as so many other pagan holidays and rituals were taken over. That's a sticking point for some - indeed, I met a pagan woman on the Way whose reasons for doing the Way probably wouldn't fly with the average priest (she found a large shedded snakeskin and put it under her bunk at the albergue, considering it a "gift"). The woman running the albergue was a bit skeptical, but the pagan woman and I had a nice chat over vino (without the snakeskin, though).

When I put in for my leave of absence in March of 2007 to do the Camino, I was a committed evangelical Christian. As of this writing, I'm not sure I could claim that label anymore. As a result, I've made some big changes in my life. Part of that change came from the Camino - somewhat ironically, given it's religious nature. But I consider myself a seeker of truth - a dime-store philosopher, perhaps. And the Camino changed my life, or at least was part of a major change that was long in coming.

One striking thing I heard about the Way that is truth to me: While on my monastic retreat in Rabanal, I read through a Camino memoir written by an Englishwoman. She was told that when you walk the Camino from St. Jean to Santiago, it is akin to living the Three Stages of Life.

The first stage begins while crossing the Pyreenes, and it is youth - you are like a young person, making dumb mistakes, freaking out, going too fast and doing too much while trying to grow up too fast. The second stage commences during the meseta, and it mirrors middle age - all your stuff comes bubbling up to the surface, and you have to deal with it while sweating the load and bearing the heat of life. The third, and final, stage - old age - comes upon you as you enter Galicia. By then, you have worked through your issues, learned what you needed to learn, and can finally enjoy the Way at your leisure all the way to the End - Santiago.

One thing she didn't mention about the third stage, that I discovered on my own, was its bittersweet quality. Like an old person, many of those who I started with were gone, replaced by young whippersnappers who were making all the bumbling mistakes I'd left far behind. Like a typical generational gap, we struggled to understand each other, learn from each other, and merely get along. You want them to avoid the same dumb mistakes you made, but often they had to learn the hard way - as is the way of things.

I guess that's why I recommend people walk at least that far, and do it all at once, if possible. I think the Camino is best done that way, for the kind of benefit mentioned above. I'm not dissing anyone who can't, though. Indeed, everyone is different - different levels of ability, work issues, family concerns, etc. But I don't think it's belitting anyone to mention that different levels of immersion produce different levels of effects... :arrow:
 
#52
[quote="KiwiNomad06"
By an accident of geography, New Zealand is the exact antipodes of Spain, having reverse latitude and longitude and thus being exactly on the opposite side of the globe. A New Zealander therefore makes the longest possible journey to Santiago, not less than 19,900 kilometres. [/quote]
Joseph, thanks for sharing this. I know I have a long journey to Europe ahead of me.... lots of timezones to cross and jetlag to get over for a start! I did learn when I was at school that Madrid and Wellington are kind of 'opposites', but hadn't related that to the Camino. I doubt that I will search out the spot in the Southern Alps that matches Santiago, but merely knowing I have travelled so far will help me walk with an extra step of pride for my own beautiful country, and the ones I am walking through![/quote]

Margaret - it seems to be a pity not to start your Camino from the exact Antipodes of Santiago de Compostela as with the present cheap airfares you could fly from PN or Wellington to Christchurch and I will drive you to the exact spot at the foothills of the Southern Alps for the start of your walk. I can meet you at Christchurch airport upon arrival from PN and also drive you back to the Airport upon your return from the Alps. We have a spare room and our family would love to meet you. Fares from Christchurch to Auckland has dropped dramatically so you could fly from CHC to AKL to connect with the AKL-SIN flight, on the other hand with a bit of luck you could try to change your flight AKL-SIN to CHC-SIN, saves you going to AKL for the start of your great Walk.
Cheers
Grandpa Joe
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#53
Joseph Chan said:
Margaret - it seems to be a pity not to start your Camino from the exact Antipodes of Santiago de Compostela as with the present cheap airfares you could fly from PN or Wellington to Christchurch and I will drive you to the exact spot at the foothills of the Southern Alps for the start of your walk. I can meet you at Christchurch airport upon arrival from PN and also drive you back to the Airport upon your return from the Alps. We have a spare room and our family would love to meet you. Fares from Christchurch to Auckland has dropped dramatically so you could fly from CHC to AKL to connect with the AKL-SIN flight, on the other hand with a bit of luck you could try to change your flight AKL-SIN to CHC-SIN, saves you going to AKL for the start of your great Walk.
Cheers
Grandpa Joe
Grandpa Jo... that is very kind.... but I am already booked with earlybird tickets from PN. I am actually coming to Christchurch for a few days next month.... but will be camping at Okains Bay with friends... then seeing some relatives in Christchurch. I know there are some good steep hills to climb out of Okains Bay.... but I can imagine I might flag any training there and just enjoy relaxing in the water! We'll see!
Margaret
 
#54
Hi Margaret,
Met the father of a girl in Christchurch yesterday who walked the St James Walk ... not as a religious experience but just to follow a group of Kiwi mates she met in London. She had graduated with two degrees in Christchurch, applied for many jobs, but could not get a job in NZ for over a year so she did the usual thing and took off to UK for her Overseas Experience.

Her interest is in Conservation, Zoology and things of the outdoor nature so she had no hesitation in doing the 40 day walk. In the middle of her walk in Spain she sent a excited message on her cell-phone to her father in New Zealand that her dream job of working with the New Zealand Department of Conservation had come through and she was asked to finalise her details to take up the job offer asap. She negotiated her job whilst on the Camino, completed the Camino, and returned to New Zealand after being away for 3 months instead of the planned 3 year OE.

She was offered and is presently doing a Phd scholarship in Australia after the completion of her contract, to her the experience of a dream come true by getting the job whilst on the Camino is a Variety of Camino experience. No one is more proud than her father.

Was that you I saw cycling in CHC? On the subject of walks in the Akaroa hills you have many choices in walking in one of the most beautiful part of the world, one un-missable walk is from Lyttelton on the Bridle Path which continues now to Halswell Quarry park past the Summit.

Grandpa Joe
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#55
How wonderful to hear she got a job like that!!!!

No, it wasn't me cycling in Chch..... I leave home in about an hour for the airport!!! I am not sure I will be climbing those hills on the Peninsula.... we might be lazy-camping - and just swimming lazily in the ocean. We'll see!
Margaret
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#56
Joseph Chan said:
to her the experience of a dream come true by getting the job whilst on the Camino is a Variety of Camino experience.
Nice! I've been thinking about the experiential aspect of the Camino, and have come to change of perspective.

In earlier posts (probably in other threads), I've indicated that "moderation is key" when it comes to anything. However, I'm not sure of that anymore. Readings I've done lately have shown me that sometimes we need an extreme experience in order to snap ourselves out of a funk, or a "set in stone" way of thinking.

For some, that extreme experience can be a near-death encounter, the passing of a loved one, or losing a job. Those examples have one thing in common: we don't choose them - they are forced upon us.

However, the Camino is an extreme experience that we choose to expose ourselves to. It's extreme because it involves becoming a pilgrim - a new identity - and removing ourselves from our safety-net lifestyle and plunging into a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding environment that is unfamiliar to us.

And if that isn't enough, once we are on the Way, the unchosen/unforseen aspects of the Camino work their will upon us. After all, no one chooses to get blisters, catch food poisoning, suffer heat exhaustion, have run-ins with oddball/nasty folks, or any of the other difficulties we can encounter. As some have said, "if it doesn't kill me, it makes me stronger."

And lest we think it's all about the hardships, there are also the sublime (extreme in their own way) pleasures of the Way that have a profound effect. A beautiful sunrise in the Pyreenes, a grand meal with pilgrims from all over the world, a hard stage conquered, a new love found, a profound Mass, and the glorious walk into Santiago are all moments that can crack our hearts.

So for me, it was the extremes of the Camino, good and bad, that truly made my walk a pilgrimage and changed me forever... :arrow:
 
A

AJ

Guest
#57
I saw this in Bruce Chatwin's 'Songlines'

"...among the Sufi Orders...the action or rhythm of walking was used as a technique for dissolving the attachments of the world and allowing men to lose themselves in God.
The aim of a dervish was to become a 'dead man walking': one whose body stays alive on the earth yet whose soul is already in Heaven...towards the end of his journey, the dervish becomes the Way not the wayfarer, i.e. a place over which something is passing, not a traveller following his own free will."
 
#58
Hey Vinotinto, have you been watching British TV or did you pick it up on the airways?
There's a programme called Extreme Pilgrim running at the moment which involves an Anglican priest doing arduous pilgrimages in China, India and Egypt. In this week's he was wandering up the Ganges with two apprentice holy men, stopping at intervals and doing yoga exercises in a loin cloth!
I think the Camino is still a moderate pilgrimage and rightly so!
Charles :lol:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#59
Charles said:
Hey Vinotinto, have you been watching British TV or did you pick it up on the airways?
Not really - the last British TV show I've checked out was The Office. And I never heard of "Extreme Pilgrim." Sounds interesting, though.

Charles said:
I think the Camino is still a moderate pilgrimage and rightly so!
I guess it takes all kinds to do the Way, but all I know is that it was hard for me, and for others as well. Anything that gets me out of my comfort zone is extreme in my book. :arrow:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#61
Arn said:
Does a bus ride and yellow footprints come to mind!
Now I'm getting flashbacks - good thing there are no drill instructors in the albergues, although one or two of the folks who ran one along the Way could've worn the Smokey with pride... ;-)

Arn said:
Good to hear from you Brother!
You too! D-Day for the Way is coming fast for the Class of 08! :arrow:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#62
Well folks,

My Camino experience has begun. No, I'm not in SJPP, I'm still in my parlor in Virginia. What I mean is that I'm starting to count the days (93), calling for cheap air fare (not yet), letting the embassy know I'm going to be in-country, leaving all the particulars with my Daughter and my two cats with Cookie. I spoke with the local Sheriff's Dept and arranged for a "property check" patrol while I'm gone, got my bank things in order and a calling card. I've increased my training by two miles a day (up from an eight mile average) and canceled all non-essential meetings and activities.

While I was at a national symposium this past week, I struggled not to change my plans and return early to conduct a "most vital training" package...crap, it wasn't vital until I told them I'd be gone. Sorry folks..."Gone Walking"

I'll probably purchase a "Spot" to insure my Daughter gets regular reports as to where I am and that I am moving. EMMM, I wonder if the Google Earth picture is good enough to show I'm outside a bodega and have been there for three days. Must check that out!

I have all my equipment except my poncho. I'll get that soon!

Ah, I just can't wait and April can't get here fast enough!

Buen Camino,

Arn
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#63
Arn said:
April can't get here fast enough!
This is probably the only time you'll ever say that, considering what comes due on the 15th...by the way, don't forget to do your taxes before you leave, or else the IRS may send an agent on a pilgrim-hunting mission... :wink:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#64
Vinotinto wrote:do your taxes before you leave
No problem, since the passing of my wonderful Boer Meisie, my Daughter has taken up the endearing "keep Dad in line" nagging; and I cherish it.

She has already told me I can't go until I do two things:

1. Complete my taxes AND submit and,

2. Have a will (trust) made and filed.

Boy, the Gov't wants to get my money and, my kids want to make sure any that's left they get.

Ha...they forget I have two cats!

Buen Camino,

Arn
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#65
Nothing much has changed in 1000 years!

In the middle ages, a pilgrim from England had to:

1. Obtain a Licenciam concedimus et dedimus (a personal exit permit) before going abroad. (Passport)
2. If embarking on a pilgrimage, the pilgrim would also be granted Royal protection for their properties, men, rents etc. (Insurance)
3. A statute in 1299 forbade the carrying out of the country good silver money. Exchange tables were set up at Dover and other ports to provide currency for travelling abroad. By the 11th c and 12th C there were numerous money changers in Santiago and by the 13thC there were money changers and bankers at Bordeaux (FOREX)
4. Make a will before departure which were usually deposited in episcopal registers or church missals.
5. Alien pilgrims and those from Scotland and Wales needed an Enlish safe-conduct if they crossed into England or English domains in France. (Visa)
6. Practical arrangements included modes of travel, routes (sea and land) clothing. Staffs could be long with bells on the top or short with a cross-bar - some had metal tips and were weapons as well as walking aids.
 

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