In the early beginnings of our humanity, people have embarked on pilgrimages. For example, in the Old Testament, prominent Bible figures like Moses and Abraham have led God’s people on journeys to various holy lands. Ever since, religious and non-religious people alike go on pilgrimages, each person with their own motive and purpose. In order to truly discover who you are, it is necessary to first surrender and open yourself up to what pilgrimages reveal to those who endure them. Those who undergo pilgrimages experience various types of difficulties, demonstrating the hardship that these journeys entail in order to achieve the higher goal of personal rebirth and renewal.
The end result of pilgrimages proves rewarding, however, the process of reaching that outcome can be rigorous, challenging, and somewhat discouraging. Compared to those in the past, human beings today have become familiar with the feeling of comfort through the modern technologies that have allowed for our “flying up, driving down, and just walking a little bit” (Sadhguru). Because of this, the long, arduous walks, hikes, and climbs of pilgrimages prove to be a physical strain. Another difficulty of pilgrimages is the mental strain that comes with letting your guard down. Many people are stubborn and “unwilling to dissolve,” hindering their ability to surrender “the sense of who you are” (Sadhguru), a skill that is vital to self-discovery. From these pilgrimages, in the end, we receive our due merit, “the recompense or reward owed for some action” (Meenan), revealing that pilgrimages come with great reward despite also including difficulty. These physical and mental strains that one endures on spiritual journeys prove their worth through the positive outcome of pilgrimages: rebirth.
The question of “Why go on a pilgrimage?” has an answer that emphasizes the importance of humility. One goes on a pilgrimage not only for spiritual reawakening, but for the sense of personal understanding and the understanding of things larger than his or herself. The obstacles of these journeys alone allow for the practice of humbling oneself. The goal of enduring such hardship is to strive to be better than who you were prior to the pilgrimage. It is about letting your old self go and embodying a new, more self-aware version of you. Even beyond pilgrimages, it is important to always aim high in every aspect of our lives so that with each success and loss, we are frequently able to learn something new about ourselves.
Meenan, John Paul. “Why Not Go on a Pilgrimage?” Crisis Magazine, 12 July 2018, www.crisismagazine.com/2018/not-go-pilgrimage. Accessed 29 October 2020.
“Why Do People Go on Pilgrimages?” Isha Sadhguru, 16 Oct. 2019, isha.sadhguru.org/us/en/wisdom/article/why-do-people-go-on-pilgrimages. Accessed 29 October 2020.