I’ve been trying to get my head around spiritual aspects of doing the Camino that are not necessarily ‘religious’ in nature. The walking bit in this whole exercise had to do with my belief in the benefits of taking some ‘time out’ from our fast-paced existence, even if it is for only an hour and a half on a few days of our holiday in Spain.
I have found a piece written by a very down to earth Protestant pastor, who has walked Santiago three times. You might like to cut and paste this link. http://www.caminodesantiago.me.uk/forum/religion-spirituality/1810-ideas-making-most-caminos-spirituality.html
I have also started reading Paolo Coelho The Pilgrimage, also recommended by this guy, and which I’d recommend you buy.
Below you’ll find a summary of what of what I have extracted:
Many people take the pilgrimage at a turning point in their lives. Many are helped to come to terms with a personal crisis through a period of separation from all that is familiar and sharing the hardships of the road. The Camino offers the opportunity to explore life’s metaphorical journey by literally putting one foot in front of another and exploring your inner landscape while you move through the Spanish countryside.
What role do religious, linguistic and cultural issues play in the Camino’s spirituality?
What historical details about the Camino will help me better understand its spirituality?
How can pilgrims prepare at home in order to get the most out of their upcoming Camino?
What daily steps can a spiritual pilgrim take to deepen their experience?
When I arrive in Santiago, what are traditional and contemporary ways of completing my pilgrimage?
Here are some questions you might consider, in fact, perhaps you would want to write these on a sheet of paper and keep it with you as you walk:
◦ Why am I willing to deprive myself of comforts for a few weeks or more and endure an ordeal?
◦ What burden do I carry that I hope will be lifted?
◦ Is there part of my life I hope to change, to leave behind me?
◦ Is there a new part of myself I hope to discover?
◦ What commitments will I make for my spiritual practice while I walk?
◦ What decision is pressing on me for which I could use wisdom and guidance?
◦ What will I offer other pilgrims as my unique gift for their pilgrimage?
◦ What important person(s) from my life will I keep closest to my heart as I walk?
◦ When I return, how will I say “thanks” to those who made this pilgrimage possible for me?
◦ How will this pilgrimage help me in my larger purpose of loving God and neighbor?
Having clarity in advance of the walk is certain to give deeper meaning each step of the way. And it could be that your personal clarity will enrich the lives of other pilgrims who stumble onto you as a they look for clarity in their quest.