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Please Play Nice!

Discussion in 'Religion and Spirituality' started by Leslie, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    I realize that this topic can bring out the best and worst in us all. I have just added this forum after being asked for it.

    It is fine to disagree with other - but there are ways to do so that are not offensive - lets try that and see if it works.

    I am as close to atheistic as anyone I know - but I still felt something akin to spiritual feelings on the Camino, something I have tried to develop in my day to day life - for me it appears to take the form of realizing how well off I am and developing feeling of gratitude for my life.

    Enjoy.
     
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  2. Jan Ramsey

    Jan Ramsey Guest

    I think this topic is paramount to my decision to even do THIS walk. Pilgrimage can happen in unexpected ways, for sure...but when I try to decide to start to walk an historic pilgrim trail, in a festival year, I too am curious and a bit nervous about how accepting groups of people will be. What is the importance of being a "church" person in today's world? That is part of the reason I want to walk. What is community and faith... for today's seekers of enlightenment, beauty and solitude that chose this particular journey. Thanks, Jan
     
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  3. viclindal

    viclindal New Member

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    Just finished the book "The Path is Made by Walking" by Arthur Paul Boers.
    This has given me great insight in to reasons for walking the Camino.
    Boers covers the aspects of religion and spiritualy in a great way. I am not religious and reading this book has had me assess my plans. I now have a special reading from Sri Chinmoy to go for every day I plan to be on the Camino. Chinmoy until his death lead meditations at the UN. He has profound teachings and has book of readings for every day of the year. I have then dictated onto my ipod and plan to start every day with my reading and listening and then contimplating on the reading. Boers inspired me to take this approach (in directly through his book) He also made a great presentation in Victoria BC a couple of weeks ago.
    Will report how my plan works.
    Vic
     
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  4. Lipka149

    Lipka149 Active Member

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    And so, my friend, are the feelings stronger, different, more well formed ?

    It's been awhile since you posted this ... I would be interested to know how you have progressed along these lines based on your Camino experience, Forum feedback, and of course, Annie.

    :)
     
  5. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Does it matter to anyone except the person concerned why they are doing the camino? HuskyNerd says he is as close to atheistic as makes no difference. I have a totally childish view of the likelihood of there even being a god. In my experience everything has or had a beginning; I cannot comprehend something existing since and for for ever. Something must have started it. That something for me is god. I don't believe in a personal god; I don't believe that there is a fatherly god up there keeping an eye on everything, ready to assist me if things go wrong. I think I believe that I survive death only in so far as the molecules that make up me are re-absorbed into the world and recycled. I am frankly sceptical that St James is buried in Santiago or that his finger is in one of the churches on the Finisterre camino.

    I intend to try to complete the Camino Francés because it has for centuries been trodden by tens of thousands of my fellow humans. Doing it for me is a way of linking with all those others who have or will do it. I was reared a Catholic; I long ago lost interest in belonging to the Catholic or any other church. But I go to marriage and funeral services in any church and receive the eucharist whenever I am in church. I am part of the community of man and at these pivotal moments in life I want to show solidarity with my fellow-human. I look upon the eucharist as the act of breaking bread with my neighbour, surely the most basic of human interaction.

    So I feel in no way less than my believing fellow pilgrim, nor and more worthy than my atheistic or agnostic one. We are all members of the family of man and the camino is a means of expressing that fellowship.
     
  6. grayland

    grayland Member

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    A CORRECTION is needed here. You must have mixed up some posters.
    HuskeyNerd is actually the Rev. Sandy Brown who is the Pastor of a large Seattle Methodist Church.
    Sandy is not likely to have said he is close to being atheistic.
     
  7. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    grayland, I am so grateful to you for pulling me up. The quotation came from Leslie and read "I am as close to atheistic as anyone I know - but I still felt something akin to spiritual feelings on the Camino...." What a very unfortunate slip-up, given HuskyNerd's calling. I do apologise.

    It also occurred to me as I turned things over in my mind late last night that my opening sentence might been interpreted as being completely dismissive of Leslie's profession of belief or disbelief. This was not my intention. I quoted him simply as the originator of the thread; I was really thinking of what Jan had asked about the importance of being "church".

    Once again my apologies to HuskyNerd and my thanks to grayland.
     
  8. BoxOfFrogs

    BoxOfFrogs Member

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    When things get too much for me I try to see my self as a talking primate on an organic spaceship flying in circles around a huge burning nuclear fire.

    That always cheers me up.

    Ok, so on a more serious note has anyone ever felt pressured to attend mass, or go into a church whilst on the camino? I have never even been in a catholic church and would have no idea what mass is. I have no plans to actively avoid churches however I can't really see myself wanting to go into one for any particular reason. I think I would feel like a fraud or at least out of place.

    Has anyone else felt this way on the camino?


    Steve.
     
  9. cw18

    cw18 New Member

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    Steve,

    I'm not a church-goer, and struggle with Catholic services (and what I call 'high CofE') due to the use of incense - always makes it difficult for me to breath even though I'm not asthmatic, and even the lingering incense a few hours later has been known to cause problems for me!! As such Santiago itself is going to be tough for me, as I really DO want to see the huge burner being swung....


    The rest of the route I'd probably prefer to visit churches whilst there's no mass in progress, but I would like to visit them as I see them as fantastic examples of architecture - so would probably attend a mass (quietly at the back) rather than miss the opportunity to see inside. I've always enjoyed have a 'poke around' in churches for that reason, ever since I was little and long before I really understood what architecture was. I certainly wouldn't feel like a fraud, unless my being there meant there were enough seats for everyone else wishing to attend. Surely anyone who is religious would be happy to have a 'lost sheep' come in and soak up the atmosphere?

    The only service I've ever attended in a Catholic church was a christening, and that was way back when (around 1986 at best guess). I have to admit I was too busy admiring the building to take in much of the service though :eek:

    Cheryl.
     
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  10. BoxOfFrogs

    BoxOfFrogs Member

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    Hi Cheryl,

    Thanks for your post, I see what you mean about the 'lost sheep' comment. I also agree that there is some mighty fine architecture on the balance books for the church. Despite not being much of a believer myself, I have been in a few churches here in England, from your village hall type up to the grand cathedrals. It's weird but I do always feel some sort of presence, or rather absence, as if they feel like they were once alive. I know that sounds a total contradiction but I just can't put my finger on it, never mind describe it.

    Maybe I will go to a church during my camino and see if I can figure it out. I was actually in a hospital chapel only a few weeks ago and that proved interesting to say the least.

    Thanks for your input!

    Steve.
     
  11. cw18

    cw18 New Member

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    But I know exactly what you mean, as I feel it too :)
     
  12. grayland

    grayland Member

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    Actually, it is difficult to get to a Mass while on the Camino. The Churches are usually locked up during the day and only open at evening if a Mass is scheduled. They are open in France during the day but not Spain. Spain is a Catholic country for the most part but a very large percentage of Pilgrims are not Catholic. Many of the members here are not Catholic.

    As far as any type of pressure...it is non existent! I have never even heard religion discussed while on the way. There be some who discuss religion but only to each other. This is one worry you can cross off your list.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  13. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Coming from Ireland, when I travelled abroad years ago, I found it strange that churches in 'Catholic' countries were locked most of the time. At that time they were open all day here and only locked really from late evening until first mass very early in the morning. Now, even in Ireland, churches are beginning to have to be locked for longer and longer periods. This is due partly to the drop in the number of priests resulting in many churches having only part-time service of one. It is probably due in greater part to the drop in church attendance by the public. And, of course, there is a loss of that sense of sanctuary which churches once had and a consequent increase in vandalism and robbery in churches.

    All of these reasons stem, I believe, from a feeling or belief amongst more and more people that a rigid hierarchy of authority with its attendant wealth of property and funds is no longer necessary to their personal spiritual well-being. The churches and cathedrals and great works of art of previous centuries are, nevertheless, of great cultural and spiritual value because they were created by or for people who did believe. The great cathedrals of England, France and Germany are places of calm in an increasingly frenetic world and, as such, are a resource for everybody, believer or non-believer, who just wants to take time out to be with himself. I haven't been to Spain yet but my guess is that, away from the showmanship of the giant thurible in Santiago, the churches there are equally such a resource - if you can find one open!

    I get the impression that the whole ethos of the camino is completely accepting and non-judgemental.
     
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  14. Waterweed

    Waterweed Member

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    I want to see the churches and other buildings because, in America, not only our history but also our stuctures are not the age of those in European countries. It is what awed me on my first trip to Europe in 2007. I would love to have the opportunity to travel extensively, but then I would have to leave my loom for far to long.
    Elandra
     
  15. Lipka149

    Lipka149 Active Member

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    Hi Garrett -

    I tucked this post away to give it some thought before commenting ...

    Most emphatically ... YES !

    I suspect that your question is one you pose and answer yourself, so my comment is meant to be one of support, and for all of the reasons you mention. I am deeply thankful to you for sharing your thoughts, your history, your faith walk ... your wisdom.

    Again ... most emphatically ... YES !

    The Camino is all about the spirit of brotherhood. From the beginning, it has given witness to a spirit of restlessness, a spirit of dissatisfaction with spiritual lukewarmness (either within one's self or with one's personal life), and a spirit of moving onward ("ultreya"). This pilgrim spirit was shared by those that were walking the Way and who were striving TOGETHER to reach the goal of a life fully given to the love of God and man. Not just man, but God and man.

    I believe that the spirit of restlessness, the spirit of dissatisfaction with spiritual lukewarmness, exists in everyone who walks the Camino. I believe that everyone who walks the Camino, for whatever reason they have, has a desire to move onward, to grow, to become someone else, someone better. The nature of the Camino facilitates this.

    Some get it. Others don't. No one gets it perfectly, nor does anyone miss it entirely.

    So, IMHO, what we share here helps us to get it better and not miss things we are meant to get. Yes, it matters a great deal why someone walks the Camino, and it matters what their experience is, and MOST OF ALL it matters how that experience changes them. This is why I am so anxious to know the why, the what, and the how that other pilgrims might share. My Camino took 34 days to walk ... my "35th day" is the rest of my life. I'm still walking ... still trying to get it ... :eek: ... and everything I read in this Forum helps me to do that.

    Thanks for the great question, Garrett. It did get me thinking ... :)

    Love ya, man ...
     
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  16. Waterweed

    Waterweed Member

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    Alan, thank you for sharing too; how wonderful to know that once one returns home, we are still walking.
    Elandra

     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  17. Lipka149

    Lipka149 Active Member

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    And sharing ! :)

    Ultreya, hermana, ultreya !
     
  18. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Alan, I am both surprised and grateful that my post drew such a thoughtful and considered response from you. It can be tricky getting a clear grip on one's own beliefs and, to a certain extent, a forum like this provides an opportunity to refine and clarify them. To that extent the pre-camino posting is, for me at any rate, as much a part of the camino as the walking or, I suspect, the post-camino mulling over the experience.

    I think I have come to believe that the New Testament injunction by Christ to "love thy neighbour as thyself" is the essence of all good relationships and actions. If only people would value their fellow humans as their equals the necessity for huge institutions and hierarchies of authority would disappear. I wish I could myself put that advice into daily practice.

    You say 'This pilgrim spirit was shared by those that were walking the Way and who were striving TOGETHER to reach the goal of a life fully given to the love of God and man. Not just man, but God and man.' It reminded me of what a Buddhist monk once said to an enquirer from a christian church: 'Truth is like the summit of a mountain. We all start at the bottom from many different points. The paths we follow twist and turn and rise steadily, somtimes crossing those of other climbers but, if we persevere, all paths reach the summit.' The path, way, track, trail - whatever we call it - is a powerful image.

    I do admire your athleticism in doing the camino in 33 days (not forgetting the 34th); if I manage it in twice that I'll be mighty happy and if my camino is not the full distance, so be it.
     
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  19. Waterweed

    Waterweed Member

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    I am kindred in these thoughts and have posted similar thoughts on the Love thread.



    Thank you for sharing; this is beautiful.

    Ditto.
    Buen Camino,
    Elandra
     
  20. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Thank you, Elandra. Like everyone else I'm a work in progress!

    By the way, I've just been having a peek at your blog. A good tip if you haven't seen or noticed a waymark for a while and fear you may have strayed, is to turn round and look back the way you came. Quite often you will see the marks set for those going in the reverse direction on the same route and then you'll know you're still on track.
     
  21. Waterweed

    Waterweed Member

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    Ahhhh, you have shared and enlightened me again. Thank you Garrett.
    Elandra
     
  22. mtman100

    mtman100 New Member

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    Our Camino is going is spiritual, but we hope to be able to help make others Camino special and better in every way! Please read our blog as we prepare for our Camino to start in St Jean this June.
    http://lbarrettscamino.weebly.com/blog/foot-angels
     
  23. Brucepayne

    Brucepayne Member

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    Actually I walked the Primitivo last year,and in Santiago,people were rushing to the mass,and I was asked if I was going in,and I implied that it was not my cup of tea. My companion took offense and seem to imply that I was undermining her faith,which I had no interest,one way or another. The superstitious seem to believe that everyone else needs to walk their Camino to make it real. Look at the comments about the BBC Documentary, In reality people walk their Camino for many reasons, which are all valid to me.
     
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  24. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I were both raised Catholic and enjoyed the ability to practice our faith during our two caminos. For both our caminos, after arriving in Santiago and going to mass, we stayed in the church after the mass (both times included the amazing Botafumeiro) and prayed the rosary to thank God for our successful camino. Several times during our caminos, we attended mass and most times there was a pilgrim's blessing afterwards. It was so nice to be blessed as a community of pilgrims throughout the world. A highlight for us was attending mass in Leon. Afterwards the priest asked which pilgrims spoke English. I thought he was taking inventory of the different languages spoken. He pointed to me and asked me to join him on the alter. He then gave me the pilgrim's prayer sheet in Spanish and English. He read a few sentences in Spanish and I read the same sentences in English. That was a spiritual highlight for my wife and I. Bob
     
  25. grayland

    grayland Member

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    I have to think this is a unique experience that is linked to the personal opinion of your companion at the time.
    In over 11 caminos I have never heard anyone encouraging others to attend Mass. I have heard someone announce the time of a Mass..but never attempting to get anyone to attend other than those who wanted to.

    The statement regarding "..The superstitious.." probably gives a very good idea of your feelings regarding the religious faith of others.
     
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  26. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Hey, Grayland. I'm so impressed about your camino experience that includes 11 caminos! My wife and I have completed two and plan to walk every 2 years so long as our health holds up. We are both age 60 and in good health and fit.

    I'm curious to know if your 11 caminos cover different routes (like Wily who just completed his third different route), or if you continue to complete the camino frances each time. We've walked CF two times and each time the experience has been different for us and quite satisfying. We've considered walking camino #4 from Lisbon, but after reading part of Brierley's guide for Camino Portuguese, it seems that the infrastructure is not as well developed in terms of albergues with private rooms and long distances between towns. We've decided to leave our sleeping bags at homes and spend all future caminos in private rooms with private showers. It's amazing how refreshed we are after a good night's sleep with no snoring and not scrambling to use the restrooms every morning.

    Bob
     
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  27. grayland

    grayland Member

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    I have walked most of the major routes....My first in 2009 was the CF then again in 2010. I have also walked the Norte, Primitivo, VdlP (mid August), Sanabres, Portugues, Le Puy route, and the Way of St Francis in Italy.
    I have actually walked the CF about 4 times including early January to avoid the crowds and to experience winter and snow on the route.
    One of the major problems now on the Camino Frances is too much infrastructure and commercialism. Brierley's guide for the Portuguese is off the mark in many ways. There are albergues and pensions all along the way with long distances not necessary unless you opt for them by following his "stages". You do not need a guide on the Portugues route. I would suggest starting from Porto rather than Lisbon.

    You may consider walking the Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago ..then train to Porto and walk back to Santiago on the Portugues Coastal Route. Both are great routes and very different from each other. Both are rather short..but together make a very trip to Spain/Portugal.
    Both are increasing rapidly in popularity and it would be good to experience them before they suffer the fate of the CF.

    I might add that you are both much younger than I am....so you should have no concern about your age.
     
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  28. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Grayland. Something for us to think about. We are both retired and prefer the full immersion camino experience of 35 to 40 days. Both times we've walked CF, we started in September and ended in mid to late October, with the cooler weather and less pilgrim traffic. That said, last Sept the camino path was jammed with pilgrims and many albergues were "complete" by mid-afternoon. Fortunately, we made advance reservations for 35 of 38 nights so didn't have to worry about a bed waiting for us.

    I have a guide on the Norte and that is something we might consider. However, I read a few posts about the trail being very near cliffs with steep drop-offs. Some are inspired with the breathtaking views. Being from very flat Indiana, I would need to crawl since I'm so afraid of heights. I might be misguided, and perhaps there are detours to avoid the really high cliffs.

    Camino #4 for us will be the year 2021, so plenty of time for us to think about a non-CF camino.

    Bob
     
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  29. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Grayland - Let me first say that I’m very impressed that you walked the VdlP in mid-August! That’s one hot section of Spain to be walking across in full summer heat! Kudos!

    As much as I really enjoyed the CF, I completely agree with your comments on the growing infrastructure and commercialism let along the increasingly larger number of pilgrims on that route every year. As Bob said above, I’ve just finished my third route. Walking both the Portugués (from Porto) and Inglés with my wife were great experiences in part because we walked both in late-March/early-April well before the Camino crowds. And although we’re just back from Holy Week walking to Santiago, the number of pilgrims was nothing compared to the CF later in the season. We also met up with some pilgrims who had just finished a winter Camino from SJPP. In spite of some difficult weather at times, every one of them seemed to appreciate the peacefulness of walking in January and February.

    So, now I look for my next route and preferable a road less traveled. As you have walked so many different Caminos, I certainly appreciate your insights on your many journeys. Buen Camino!
     
  30. grayland

    grayland Member

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    I can assure you there are no cliffs with steep drop-offs near the camino route. You would have to make a very determined effort to leave the route and get near a cliff. There are a couple very developed paths with park like railings but they pose no dangers and can easily avoided by a longer path. The posts about the trail being near drop offs were, no doubt, written by folks who were happy to dramatize their walk. ;)

    The Norte is becoming very popular as people attempt to avoid the circus that the CF has become at times. I last walked it a couple of years ago in September and the number of Pilgrims reminded me of the Camino Frances back in 2009 and 2010 before the movie promoted the camino. The Norte starts in Irun and offers the option of branching off to the Primitivo at Oviedo or to continue on the Norte. Both hit the Camino Frances a few days before Santiago.

    However...just walking the Primitivo only takes about 12-15 days depending on how easy you take it. There are many towns with both hotels/pensions and albergues. Lots of pilgrims now but not overcrowded as a rule.

    The Portugues is about the same length from Porto depending on which route you walk. Together they make a pretty decent trip. The best thing about doing the two very different routes is that you end up in Santiago twice and each route is different including the language and culture.
     
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