El Camino de Santiago

Saint James the Persian

Saint James the Persian

‎As we live on earth we must walk in faith, nothing doubting. When the journey becomes seemingly unbearable, we can take comfort in the words of the Lord: “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee.” Some of the healing may take place in another world. We may never know why some things happen in this life. The reason for some of our suffering is known only to the Lord. — J.E. Faust

Spirituality: The experience of that domain of awareness where we experience our universality. This domain of awareness is a core consciousness that is beyond our mind, intellect, and ego. When we have even a partial glimpse of this level of awareness we experience joy, insight, intuition, creativity, and freedom of choice. In addition, there is the awakening of love, kindness, compassion, happiness at the success of others, and equanimity. — Deepak Chopra

El Camino de Santiago is medieval pilgrim’s route that runs along northern Spain.

The destination is Santiago de Compostela where lies the remains of Apostle James the Greater, St James.

The Apostle James the Greater, son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of St. John the Evangelist, was born in Galilee. A Fisherman he became one of the foremost disciples of Jesus. He suffered martyrdom in Jerusalem in AD 44. Santiago appears generally represented as an apostle, pilgrim or warrior. His feast day is 25 July. When this day falls on a Sunday it is a Jubilee Year.

In recent times the route fell into disuse with few people walking the route, until Paulo Coelho walked the route as a penance. An account he tells of in The Pilgrimage.

El Camino de Santiago is now very popular with the numbers walking the the route having risen exponentially since the publication of The Pilgrimage in the mid-1980s.

All are equal on the pilgrimage, all are pilgrims wending their way to Santiago de Compostela.

Pilgrims return changed.

On completing the pilgrimage one is expected to give something in return. Paulo Coelho wrote The Alchemist.

Wednesday 25 July 2012 Manuscrito encontrado em Accra was published in Brazil.

Wednesday 25 July 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Pilgrimage.

Below an excellent account of walking El Camino de Santiago written by Sylvie Hanes and posted on The Camino Documentary blog.


Spirituality on the Camino

Jack, one of the pilgrims featured in The Camino Documentary, states, “Life and spirituality are so intertwined and connected that it’s impossible to separate them.”

Sylvie on the Camino

Before I left for my Camino journey I wondered if I would find a deeper meaning to life, a more balanced view of the unseen, of the intangible, and of my purpose in life; quite an imposing feat for such a short journey.

What I discovered was much more than the balance I sought. I discovered the joy of simplicity and the resulting opportunities for introspection. I discovered that beauty lies in everything we see, touch, smell and feel. I discovered the power of silence, be it while walking alone, sitting with other pilgrims during an evening mass, or simply looking into someone’s eyes and feeling the unspoken kindness and connection.

What I developed was gratitude for everything I saw, heard, felt, tasted and experienced. What I relished were the unexpected memories that surfaced in the strangest of times and places – those memories allowed me to honor the beautiful people who were or are part of my life and my personal growth.

What I rediscovered were the joys of feeling at peace and at one with nature. Walking with only the sounds of my footsteps and my heartbeat brought me to a level of mindfulness that I had pushed aside in my busy corporate life.

What I learned was to appreciate the equanimity of all pilgrims. On the Camino, we are not defined by our job, title, position, age, or accomplishments; we are defined as pilgrims seeking our own enlightenment. We look alike as we walk with our backpacks, poles, hat and boots, yet each one of us carries our own stories.

The Camino experience allows us to live life without hundreds of daily distractions. For me, it was simplicity at its best. Decisions were minimal—where to sleep, what to eat, when to take breaks; the other 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day were spent living . . . living each moment to its best.

Upon my return to my usual world I found myself aiming to live a bit of that “simple” life. It may have been a simple life in terms of responsibilities, chores, and time-wasting activities but it did have its abundance of sensory experiences.

Did I experience a deeper spirituality on the Camino? The spirituality I gained while walking the Camino can best be described as a painting with 12 basic colors becoming a masterpiece of millions of colors. I’m reliving life with a whole new palette!

¡Buen “colorful” Camino!

Pilgrim Sylvie Hanes
Completed first Camino in 2011

One Response to “El Camino de Santiago”

  1. Sylvie Hanes Says:

    Thank you so very much for posting my blog entry. I feel very humbled each time I am able to share my Camino experiences with others. I am returning to the Camino next year, and I live each day with my lessons and seek to achieve a better way to live my life to its fullest.
    Buen Camino wherever you may be!
    Sylvie Hanes

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