A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred destination. This journey of discovery can be internal or external. People have participated in pilgrimages for many centuries. They are a spiritual discipline that many faiths value including Muslims, Christians and Jews, according to On Pilgrimage. Many people feel a calling to embark on a pilgrimage as a means to delve deeper in spiritual matters. There are numerous places that are considered holy to choose as a destination. Mecca, Lourdes and Jerusalem are popular choices. There are various reasons to go on a pilgrimage. One is so that modern spiritual seekers can enrich their spirituality.
A predominant reason that people of all faiths go on pilgrimages is to develop a closer relationship with God or nature. Holy locations tend to inspire a sense of awe in those who visit them. Emotions and thoughts can clear and crystallise so that the divine can more easily be recognised. Cultivating a relationship with the sacred is the central theme and benefit of travelling on pilgrimages.
Seeking forgiveness is another reason people go on a pilgrimage. A common belief among people of traditional religions is that a pilgrimage is a dedication to God that can lead to forgiveness for transgressions. Sincerity and the desire to transform negative experiences into positive ones is part of the forgiveness aspect of pilgrimages.
Many believe that holy destinations contain a healing energy. From the time of Jesus, people have travelled to sacred locations in hopes of obtaining a physical or spiritual healing. Religious preference is unimportant because anyone can pray and connect to the healing deity of her beliefs. Immersing yourself in a sacred, peaceful atmosphere can have the positive effect of nurturing your soul and your body.
Many people seek guidance for a specific issue when they voyage on a pilgrimage. When the mundane world is left behind, the ability to listen and receive guidance from God is made easier. Making a commitment to let go of problems and to fervently seek the answers from the spiritual realm can often lead to divine guidance.
No matter the original reasoning behind a pilgrimage, personal transformation is often a positive effect. Pilgrimages offer rest and renewal which can lead to personal discovery. The old is left behind and new visions of the future are illuminated. If healing, forgiveness or divine guidance has been given, this can be a powerful catalyst for change within the individual.