What, exactly, is Spiritual Traveling?

Posted on April 6, 2014

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When the topic of traveling comes to mind, it can invoke, it seems, an extremely wide range of thoughts, topics, beliefs, and ideologies. The traveler within has many ideas of how a dream journey would play out: how it would feel; where it would take place; what the outcome might be; budget; why we would want to travel to begin with; etc. Expectations are created and then, if the potential traveler is edging nearer an actual launch, an itinerary slowly develops – whether it is concrete or very loose-leafed or somewhere in between.

In what may be a totally unrelated parallel, when the talk of spirituality comes up there might not be an instant invocation of travel to foreign, exotic locales with a backpack and a shoestring budget. Yeah, there are pilgrimages to the Holy Land, el Camino de Santiago (brought to light by the Sheen/Estevez team in the movie “The Way“), and probably dozens of other images of spiritual journeys that we can draw quick reference to in terms of spiritual travel. But in the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, when so many are experiencing this Awakening of some sorts, there is little instant thought that comes to mind in terms of traveling for spiritual purposes. Thus, what I aim to do with this blog.

For me it all seems to have started when I launched myself into a solo trekking journey to the jungles of the Amazon, deep into Peru’s dense rainforest in search of a soul-clearing that would hopefully be best served with the ceremonial use of Ayahuasca in her home turf. As in many of my posts, you can check out my book for explicit details of that trip (metaphorically as well as physically) and how it led to a deeper Universal evolution for me.

What happened during that four-month diversion from the “norm” of my Westernized, American life was not necessarily unexpected, but certainly a permanent change on the imprint that is my soul’s way of operating. While I knew that leaving for South America was intended to be permanent, I didn’t necessarily fully connect to the reasons why it would be a permanent change…at least, not right away.

As I’ve become more and more connected to myself again since my recent travels – one exact year post-South America – in the jungles of SE Asia, I’ve been slowly returning to the seeds of why a person like me simply must travel. For the first few weeks of this journey I was swept into confusion and even a bit of homesickness (something that I totally didn’t expect) and therefore quite disconnected from what I had felt the previous few months of isolation would have prepared me for. Bouncing from hostel and tourist “must-do’s” to the next set of experiences quickly took a toll and suddenly I realized that I was no longer certain of what, exactly, the F I was doing this time around.

While we’ve made sure to stop into the Wats (Buddhist temples) that abound in Malaysia and Thailand frequently, something still wasn’t feeling settled within. A real loss was taking over inside, and my Twin Flame and I began battling frequently – a point which can really make traveling in a foreign land that much more intense and visceral. So we were in desperate need of a place to stop and rest while also having the time to really look inside and ask some important questions. Some would pray, some would meditate, while others might find a familiar activity or any manner of connecting to their comfort zones.

Which brings me to the core point of this writing: that I believe spiritual traveling is all about reaching far beyond one’s comfort zones for so long that ultimately we find our deeper truths. Think about it – when Buddha found Enlightenment it was from a very long period of isolation while meditating frequently. Native Americans and many other indigenous cultures have long sent their maturing youth on vision quests in order to find their connection to Truth on their own, often with the shaman checking in periodically. This could last days with little to no water, food, or shelter. It is a practice still carried on both indigenously and now into shamanic tourism. Basically, all practices of any similar nature are designed to be rites of passage and are quite critical to the healthy and holistic survivability of those who participate. In Western cultures, we hand our children car keys and booze and tell them to go learn the hard way. Makes for a lot of disparity, as we can all plainly see today.

Well, I have already submitted myself time and again – sometimes by choice, others by demand of the Universe – to leaving my comfort zones in search of my Truths. And for every time I believe that I’ve reached “It”, I am constantly reminded of how little I truly do know still within my human mind, a fact that continues to keep me on the path to full compassion, commitment, love, and knowledge.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”   Eleanor Roosevelt

What has finally come to me these past few days is that I can never, ever, return again to what I used to know as “normal”. You know that world, the one in which you’re struggling as well to understand and operate within. The one where rules are made seemingly out of thin air and serve to make a few feel powerful and many to feel oppressed. That world is described really well by don Juan in Carlos Castaneda’s “Journey to Ixtlan“, wherein we all have received membership into a world of things that we probably all, at our deepest levels of knowledge, know is not the truth about who we are and why we are here.

That world has long left my ability to be a part of, and yet it still is all around me and does, in fact, still act upon me whether or not I like or agree with it. For in truth, we wouldn’t be here on this earth if we didn’t have things to learn and/or to teach. For me, the lesson at hand recently is how, while being a real foreigner in a country not my own, I, in truth, have always been a foreigner. From my own childhood at home or at school or church, to my adulthood as a sailor, parent, and homeowner…I have never once in my life felt like I belonged somewhere. And so as I travel and sometimes become homesick, it is occurring to me lately that I will actually always feel disconnected as long as I have not become my own best friend. And while I thought that South America introduced me to my Self, the reality is that was simply the doorstep.

As I travel and get to know my wife more deeply, I realize how many things about my own self that I have yet to discover and to come to terms with. Add in the strange languages, foods, faces, and buildings of a land completely 180-degrees opposite (geographically as well as literally) and I am once again reminded of why I have chosen the path of the perpetual traveler. It has become abundantly clear that I am one of so many who travels to find Truth. And while I am becoming more and more “American”, being that I am finding so much hidden pride and love for my upbringing and country, I am also discovering that by being a traveler always outside his (or her) comfort zones I am actually doing more internal work than I was capable of by homesteading. A spiritual experience and existence can, indeed, occur anywhere and anytime, but for those like my wife and I, there is so much in this Miraculous Universe to discover that a life of settling is, fundamentally, unsettling.

Therefore, as I now move forward with a little more knowledge into yet more uncomfortable zones, I will continue to share what I am learning and the faces, places, and moments that add to my growing index of teachers. I do hope that you, too, will discover more ways that you are learning through my own revelations. In fact, maybe you, too, will realize that you are another spiritual traveler on the global caravan of Awakenings.

Wind

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