In my office I have put up a few bits of memorabilia on the wall in honour of completing the Camino de Santiago. Forty days on the trail took me from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago del Compostela. I was interviewed by a local news reporter about the walk and am now following up that interview with a series of emails for more information and some photos of the event. The article is to be published sometime in the next week or two from what I have been led to understand.
One of the questions had to do with what I gained from this experience. It made me pause for a bit while I thought about it. I don’t normally try to evaluate experiences but simply be present in the experiences and move forward from that point. During the Camino, I became better at “being in the moment,” as that seemed to be all that existed at the time. Extraneous thinking was banished, thankfully, allowing me to see, smell, and fully experience the trail, the people, and all the unknowns that awaited me with each step going further down the trail. For so many of the kilometres walked, it was as if I was in a state of mindful meditation, being aware and present without thinking taking me away into another world, a false world, the world of ego which is within the head.
Now, more than two months after the final steps into Santiago where I received my compostela of completion, I am finding that I have been able to enter into this state of being present much more easily. It almost makes sitting meditation a redundant activity – well, not really. Yet, if I don’t take time for a sitting meditation I don’t find myself so easily rattled by the events of the day. So yes, the Camino was a life-changing event for me.