Pilgrimpace's Blog


longing for a fuller experience
July 30, 2012, 2:44 pm
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This account of praying and walking on the Camino by Joyce Rupp rings very true.  In some summertime resting and working less hard, it is a good reminder of grace and beauty in amongst a great deal of hardness and difficulty.

The interior solitude, along with the steady rhythm of walking mile after mile, served as a catalyst for deeper awareness.  The solitude I found and savoured on the Camino had an amazing effect on me.  The busyness of my life slowly settled down as the miles went on.  For a good portion of my life I had longed for a fuller experience of contemplation, that peaceful prayer of the heart in which one is able to look intently and see each piece of life as sacred.  Ten days into the journey, totally unforeseen, the grace of seeing the world with startling lucidity came to me.

My eyes took in everything with wonder.  The experience was like looking through the lens of an inner camera – my heart was the photographer.  Colours and shapes took on nuances and depths never before noticed.  Each piece of beauty appeared to be framed: weeds along roadsides, hillsides of harvested fields with yellow and green stripes, layers of mountains with lines of thick mist stretching along their middle section, clumps of ripe grapes on healthy green vines, red berries on bushes, roses and vegetable gardens.  Everything revealed itself as something marvellous to behold.  Each was a work of art.  I noticed more and more details of light and shadow, lines and edges, shapes, softness, and texture.  I easily observed missed details on the path before me – skinny worms, worn pebbles, tiny flowers of various colours and shapes, black beetles, snails, and fat, grey slugs.  I became aware of the texture of everything under my feet – stones, slate, gravel, cement, dirt, sand, grass.  I responded with wonder and amazement.  Like the poet Tagore, I felt that everything “harsh and dissonant in my life” was melting into “one sweet harmony”.

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You and I know that condition of inner solitude, that state of contemplation and intense of observation of nature — all bestowed on us by the grace of the Camino. It’s so rich and exciting, that feeling when suddenly everything seems harmonious and infinitely deep and nuanced and detailed and marvellous, as if we are seeing things for the first time.

The heart as photographer — yes, I understand what she means.

Comment by The Solitary Walker




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