There was a saying popular in the 70’s. “Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.” It might be a Buddhist saying. I took it to heart and it has been good for me.
I was thinking about that saying this week as I think ahead to the Camino. I’ve read lots written by other pilgrims and a number of writers advise bringing a question or a concern to the Camino. In my first post I listed a few things I will be bringing. However, I think it’s good to not bring too many expectations. What’s the difference?
Well, I think having expectations is about trying to predetermine the outcome. If one’s expectations are not met then one might get angry or disappointed. It seems to me to be more productive and more appropriate to a spiritual journey to have some intentions about how to be on the journey, but remain completely open to what the experience turns out to be.
For example, my personality type (in terms of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator) is an ENFP – an Extraverted iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving type. Without going into detail, one of my characteristics is that I tend to be relatively oblivious to what my senses are telling me in the present moment. Instead I am in my head thinking about the future – envisioning, planning, rehearsing and so on, or perhaps I’m pondering the meaning of things, making connections, and so on. Sometimes I’m even nursing grievances or thinking about what I should have said to someone.
One of the things I have learned is that my spiritual growth is fed best when I can be totally present to my surroundings, whether it’s other people or the natural world. One of my intentions is to walk with as much awareness or mindfulness as I can. If there are insights to be gained let them come to me rather than trying to think them out myself.
The Camino is a river of pilgrims. It flows and I can flow with it. I don’t need to hurry it along, nor do I need to hold it back.
It’s all about surrender – not in the sense of giving in – but in the sense of letting go. I truly believe that when we let go of our need to control our environment and the people in it, or even ourselves, that wisdom is much more likelly to visit us. That is when the divine is experienced.
I leave a week from today (the 15th) and will start walking on the 17th (still a bit jet-lagged, no doubt). I hope that I will be able to walk with the right intentions while letting go of the outcomes. I hope to let the Camino speak to me.