It’s not all about the inner journey

The otherCable car day, I travelled over 100 miles (in each direction) to attend a workshop given by Peacebang.

Was it worth it?

No. But then, nor did I expect it to be. It wasn’t at all billed as something worth travelling a hundred miles for.

It ended up as a three hour, well-facilitated discussion with interesting people, some of whom I am already friends with, some were new to me. Peacebang was much as I expected her to be. And since she lives in Massachussetts, I’m unlikely to get another opportunity to see her in action. It was worth it for me, because I knew that I would be annoyed with myself if I didn’t go. Besides, it got me out of leading Sunday school.

I stayed for the evening service at Rosslyn Hill chapel, where our loose theme was ‘pilgrimage and the inner journey’. In that service, there is a time for sharing – very loosely similar to Quaker meeting for worship, but with a stimulus, in this case two poems by Mary Oliver and a short homily by the worship leader. Various people made their comments on the importance of the inner spiritual journey, and how you can’t really travel to find yourself.

As frequently happens, I found myself disagreeing. Sort of.

You see, the inner journey is all well and good, but it’s not enough. I find that I can very easily spend hours, days and weeks on introspection and self-examination. But, that doesn’t help me live a fuller life. Because in contrast to some, I am naturally less inclined to connect with people. And so it’s something I need to push myself to do.

This means that it is worth travelling, even for something as slight as a short workshop led by a person I’ve long wanted to meet. Because it’s worth travelling to connect with people, and it’s worth travelling to think and talk about something you’re interested in with like-minded people.

Wherever you go, there you are. But the people you connect with may be able to help you find something new.

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