The act of walking

“In wandering I felt a sense of union with the whole sky, the infinite earth and sky. I felt myself a part of the cosmic existence. It was as if by walking I was making love to the earth itself. Wandering was my true path, my true self, my true being. It released my soul force, it brought me in relation to everything else. I stood like I stand in front of a mirror. People, nature, everything became like a mirror and I could see myself in them.”

-Satish Kumar, No Destination

I love this quote as it speaks of interconnectedness, embodiment and self-actualisation through the act of pilgrimage.

Pilgrimages are defined as ‘journey’s to a sacred place’ or ‘an act of religious devotion.’ We all have our different reasons, but one thing is certain; no matter what the intention, journeying brings us closer to our true selves. For this reason I believe that all journey is sacred; all journeys are a pilgrimage to self.

I have recently been devouring pilgrim stories from Emilio Estevez’s movie The WayMaya Ward’s book The comfort of water: a river pilgrimage , Robyn Davidson to Satish Kumar. It made me curious as to why pilgrimage touches us in a most profound way when experienced through a physical act in nature?

The journey to one’s true self is an introspective act, as delving inwards is the most likely place for remembering to be uncovered. So why do we need the physical act (or a somatic experience) to facilitate this process? Risa Kaparo Ph.D sums it up nicely with her quote “Only what grows out of your direct experiencing has the power to change everything.”

Direct experiencing in the form of walking can not only help us go inwards much like meditation does, it stimulates the unconscious into becoming conscious. The body remembers…

Anthi Emmanouil-Playne
Anthi Emmanouil-Playne