Sign up for my Newsletter & Podcast!

Journal: My Companions on the Road

Note: This Journal entry was written on September 6, 2001, as I walked on the Old Tokaido. Take a look at that day's Logbook for more.


I plan to walk this road basically alone (although friends may join me occasionally). But I've discovered I'm not alone. Spiritually, I'm with everyone I know. Some have made requests; others have made donations. Still others are with me for various other reasons. But you're all here.

However, I also have physical companions. The Shikoku pilgrim carries a stick; in the words of Bishop Miyata, "Be sure it is the Daishi." That is, the stick is Kobo Daishi, founder of the pilgrimage.

This set me thinking about my stick as a companion. Like any companion, it has pluses and minuses. Sometimes, I wish I could leave it behind, and swing my arms freely as I walk. At other times, though--especially at the end of the day--it's nice to have "somebody to lean on"--literally.

If the stick is a companion, a support, what about the hat? It, too, is a companion, one who protects me. It shelters me from the sun and the rain. It, too, can be annoying, like when a big truck goes by and blows it back, and the string catches around my neck and chokes me! Other times, though, it makes me laugh, like when a light breeze lifts it an inch off my head. It must look like I'm parachuting in for a landing.

These two companions, while sometimes annoying, are mostly givers, not takers. My other two companions, although useful, have been taking a lot. They are my two bags, a backpack and a shoulder bag. As described in the Logbook for today, I have gotten rid of some things, but before I did my bags had a combined weight of 30 kilos (66 pounds). These are like those friends, then, that you have to carry through life. They give a little (they hold my things), but everything they give is something I gave them in the first place!

Teachers including Jesus and Buddha have often said that you must leave everything and everyone who holds you back from the journey. I'm thinking about these bags. When is it better to continue to support a companion, and when is it better to set them free? Or modify the relationship? More on this tomorrow.

Posted September 23, 2019

No comments:

Post a Comment