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Archive for November 4th, 2009

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding: 26                               Consecutive Days Blogging: 27

Today’s Mileage: 6                                              Total Trip Mileage: 250

 stage6

     As I ride the bike today I smile and laugh at myself.  In my posting entitled It’s the Climb! (Oct.25) I mentioned we’re all faced with the challenge of finding balance between looking up so you can see where you are going and looking down so that you don’t trip over things.  I intended on just riding today, letting the wheel spin and my thoughts wander.  Then I looked up and realized we are only a day away from our first Miami area pilgrimage site!

     Tomorrow we’ll stop at a strikingly beautiful spiritual compound situated between Homestead and South Miami Florida, the Wat Buddharangsi, a Buddhist monastery complete with orange robed monks and a golden Buddha.  Be sure to wear clean socks, as shoe removal is required.

candles5

     Over the weekend I indulged myself in “working” on picking up and burning fallen branches.  I saw it as an indulgence because I enjoy any excuse to walk in the woods and build a fire.  The psychologist Carl Jung would say that fire activates some primal archetype embedded within all of us.  You do not need to study anthropology or history to recognize the importance of fire in human sacred rites.  Enter many religious sites today and you will find fire in the form of flickering votive candles, or dancing incense offerings.  I wrote the following poem as I worked,sat and watched, the fire.

 Ageless Pilgrimage

I set the spirits free

Flames dance and leap skyward

Glowing embers join the surge

Dead leaves in overhanging branches

Wave and twist on unseen currents

Tumble and fall like offerings

With a crackle and pop

Thick branches turn to bright coals

With incense streamers

I have no doubt

That human history

Began around a fire

On a Fall evening

With a chill enveloping

The landscape

There is something comforting

Something captivating

About flames

 ****

      As we prepare to visit various pilgrimage sites, I thought I would share the words of Taoist sage Deng Ming-Dao from his book of daily meditations entitled 365 Tao.  He writes on the topic of Shrine and includes good advice to consider before entering a sacred site.

 “It is good to have holy places in the world, and it is good for us to go on pilgrimages.  Ultimately, it is not the place that is important; it is what you feel that is lasting.  To visit a place is minor; to change within yourself is greater. When people visit a holy place, some say that the spirits of that place speak to them. Others remember the exotic pageantry.  When it comes to sacred sites, it’s better to be a pilgrim than a tourist.  Go with a humble attitude, and let your heart be moved by what you experience.  Then you will receive the true treasure of the shrine.” (p.170)

sunset over allapattah by barbara livieri

Nature's flickering candle.

Have a wonderful day!  I hope to see you tomorrow as we visit the path of the Golden One.

A special thanks to the photographers associated with Panramio for the beautiful scenes from along the roadside. The information on holy days and sacred holidays comes from http://www.interfaithcalendar.org.

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