Faith is one of the most profound emotions that a person can feel. Faith has the power to see us through dark times and fill us with joy. This confidence or trust in a ‘higher power’ is accepted in all religions the world over, and in a great many cases, enriches people’s lives for the better.
The kaleidoscope understanding of a pilgrimage demonstrates that such a journey is entirely down to the individual’s perception of their own life. What they deem to be important to them. Their world is profoundly shaped by what they believe in, and what they experience. From religion to art, history to architecture, literature and culture to social interaction and their experiences, a persons’ understanding of the world is influenced by a great number of factors.
A pilgrimage is defined as a journey of moral or spiritual significance. Touching inner spirituality and physical places, the journey is similarly as important as the destination. Deeply influenced by landscapes across the globe, destinations of religious significance and poignant heritage are visited by those journeying to find greater meaning in their own lives.
Finding the meaning of life is the ultimate aim of a pilgrimage. Whether as an image of personal growth, or sharing that spiritual connection with God, for those with religion in their hearts, undertaking a pilgrimage is the surest way to find deeper meaning.
A pilgrimage, however, as mentioned earlier does have a deeper meaning outside religion. Many see sport as their own religion, the wealth of fanatical fans is testament to that. Pilgrimages to arenas, baseball diamonds and football grounds are common. This need to be connected to what we believe in also extends to prominent living and deceased individuals the world over.
Few would argue over the impact that Elvis has had on the world of popular culture. Today, more than thirty six years after his death Graceland is seen as a promised land for the multitude of Elvis aficionados across the world. Every year a great number of people embark on their own journey to be closer to the King of Rock ‘n Roll.
Monuments of national significance are also popular locations for those embarking on pilgrimages. For those that have fought across the world and lost a great number friends in battle, honouring their memory, and the memory of so many soldiers that fought gallantly, is no more aptly demonstrated than when undertaking a pilgrimage to a building of national significance. Such places have included the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC, and represent very human characteristics of wanting to feel connected to events that have meant so much, and are embedded into the consciousness of a generation of people.
Pilgrimages mean different things to different people. This fact is undeniable. For those seeking a deeper meaning to their own lives, and to make sense of the world around them there is no more significant experience.