Why go on a pilgrimage?

 

When you go on pilgrimage, you leave the ordinary life behind. The many duties, the complex relationships and the demands placed on us are becoming distant as we undertake our pilgrimage. And because the pilgrim absorbs his mind with the Lord and often has spiritual experiences, he develops a new perspective to the challenges in life – he opens himself up for a new vision. A good example of what happens is found in the life of South American eagles.


Learning from the Eagles

There is a certain species of eagles that in the midst of their life face a dramatic choice: will they go on as usual and die – or will they change and live another 30 years.

 

Those who opt for the second choice go on a very special journey with a difficult mission. Completely alone, they fly to the high mountains. There, in a painful process, they grind down their beak and talons, which have grown too long, and tear out all the surplus feathers. They can only survive the second half of their lives when they divest themselves of all that is not necessary. Otherwise, they die because of themselves.

 

The eagle has to invest trust in this process. The talons and beak are necessary for him to catch prey and defend himself. The feathers are needed to fly and keep warm. But by being convinced of the dire necessity and by his will to live on, the king of the sky lays down his armor and his beautiful dress, knowing well that they do not serve, but kill him. When he undertakes that journey, he concentrates on what is essential – his true life – and in this way finds himself a new horizon. In many ways, his journey resembles a pilgrimage.