Reflection is an essential practice for the pilgrim.
Oftentimes, as we move through our everyday lives or travel from one destination to the next, it’s easy to miss the small moments where the True Self surfaces and the Sacred abounds. The spiritual practice of reflection heightens the pilgrim’s awareness of the journey at hand as they consider where Sacred Encounter occurred along the path and where the Sacred Guide is leading next. It is an especially valuable practice at the end of the day as the pilgrim seeks to draw meaning from their experience and make space for whatever the new day will bring.
To practice the awareness of the pilgrim, consider reflecting on these seven questions at the end of your day. Like the Ignatian practice of examen, use these questions as tools to highlight meaning in the day that has passed and look with intention on the new day to come.
1. How have I welcomed the stranger?
Hospitality to the all that is known and unknown is a central practice of the pilgrim and is essential to the pilgrim on a journey in a strange land. How have you welcomed the stranger today both without and within?
2. Where have I crossed borders into foreign territory?
The word “pilgrim” comes from peregrine, meaning “foreigner.” The pilgrim is then, by definition, one who journeys beyond the familiar. How have you crossed borders today into unfamiliar terrain?
3. What questions have formed that invite me on new quests?
In The Art of Pilgrimage, author Phil Cousineau says that our questions can lead us to our quests. What quests might be hidden within your questions?
4. Am I carrying extra baggage that I need to surrender?
The pilgrim is committed to traveling light, carrying with them only what is essential for the journey at hand. Are you carrying any additional weight that would be best left behind?
5. What were my moments of Sacred Encounter?
The true destination of the pilgrim is encounter with both the True Self and the Divine. Where have you glimpsed the Sacred today?
6. Was there a unique thread woven throughout my day that I’m being invited to follow?
Oftentimes we can discover themes in our days that offer direction for the journey at hand. Is there a theme woven throughout your day that offers insight on which step to take next?
7. What is my intention as my journey continues?
If awareness is what aligns the pilgrim with their quest, it is intention that guides the pilgrim along the way. Considering all that this day has held, how will you move forward with intention in the day to come?