A Pilgrimage of a Few Steps


The road to growth can be a circuitous route.

I recently went to a two-day spiritual event. The spiritual tradition was fairly new to me, although I had heard of this spiritual leader many times before.

On the first day I waited for 6 long, hot, tiring hours for my personal blessing. As the day wore on I found myself wanting to slip into exasperation at the seeming chaos, and reminding myself that this event was about loving kindness and maybe I should try a little of that. I felt surprisingly fussy and exhausted from the wait, the height of expectations, and the struggle of trying to understand the speaker. As I drove home that night,  I felt like I truly had been on a pilgrimage that day. I was in bed by 9:30 that night.

I played with the idea of not going the following day. I was tired and cranky and felt like I had been all revved up with no place to go all day. Did I really want to subject myself to that again?

I pushed on and went anyway. The following morning’s yoga, meditation, and teachings were wonderful. It was fascinating to learn more about this wisdom tradition, to understand a little more about this different road to God.

After a delicious lunch we went into a two-hour teaching session where I fought hard to understand what the speaker was saying. It was also late afternoon, the room was warm, and the lights were dim…food coma. I struggled to stay awake. After the teaching there was an hour-and-a-half-long meditation session in a darkened room. I lasted about 15 minutes before I popped out of the Depth. For the next hour and fifteen minutes I fought one dragon after another, changed positions, and tried every trick in the meditation book. I kept coming back to the prayer, “I know you’re there God. Help me find you.” I was totally unable to connect. I jumped out of my seat as soon as she concluded. I was out the door before you could say, “Namaste.”

As I exited the building, I saw a beautiful bird feather on the ground in front of me. I paused. I got into my car and a catbird jumped onto the hood and started tapping on the windshield right in front of me, “Knock, knock, knock, are you there?!” I heard the message—Work is happening, progress is occurring even when the space feels empty. It’s like when there’s a rainy day, just because there are clouds doesn’t mean the sun is not there. God was with me all the time.

This was not one of those rainbow and butterfly spiritual experiences, but sometimes the road to growth is a circuitous route.

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