Pilgrimage-in-place, or, Walking as Spiritual Companionship.
For this week’s podcast, I (Matt Whitney) went for a walk with a spiritual companion. That is, my friend Jeanette Banashak went for a walk around her neighborhood in Chicago, and we recorded the conversation we had while Jeanette was walking. Jeanette is a co-founder of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute, and is pretty knowledgeable on the topic of Pilgrimage, having undertaken multiple pilgrimage journeys around the world to many different holy sites. She is the author of The Mindful Pilgrimage: A 40-Day Pocket Devotional for Pilgrims of Any Faith or None.
We recorded this conversation last month, and now as I record this today, there’s not a whole lot of travel going on. Our conversation feels prescient now, because we spend some time getting to what the essence of a pilgrimage is. What is supposed to happen on a pilgrimage, and what makes for a successful pilgrimage? Knowing or understanding these things, can a pilgrimage happen on a walk from your home to the grocery store? Or the post office? Or just meandering around your neighborhood?
We used the Five Excellent Practices of Pilgrimage as a framework to address this question, from a book called The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau. I hope our conversation inspires you to try this out for yourself.
Go for a walk. Go a different direction. Go somewhere you don’t normally go. Go for the sake of going. Take your phone and call a friend, and chat while you walk. Describe what you are seeing to one-another.