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A spiritual journey is a nebulous concept, defined best by each person who decides to take one. It is some form of travel, physical or mental, which may occur over a long or short period of time, and might be any distance or to a specific location. The principal goal of this form of journey is spiritual enlightenment or understanding, and this could mean a person has greater faith, understands a spiritual path better, or simply feels mentally and emotionally refreshed. Many argue that everyone is on a spiritual journey at all times, though they may be more or less aware of it, and others most use the term to speak of very specific journeys that include travel to certain locations.
Most search engines treat the term spiritual journey as a request for travel information. Popular pages from travel sites pop up in search returns, offering vacations to spiritual destinations. These are useful for those interested and with the wherewithal to take such a trip.
In some religions, pilgrimages to certain areas are required of most people, as for example, the trip to Mecca that many Muslims will take at least once. There are other destinations that are held sacred by many people, such as Jerusalem, Tibet, Cairo, Rome, and Delphi. One or more of these destinations may be excellent places for connecting with spirituality.
A plethora of companies arrange tours to popular locales and some are even led by religious leaders, new age spiritualists, or others. It isn’t necessary that the spiritual journey include a guide. In many Native American cultures, the vision quest was frequently without guidance and was the way for young men to determine their spirituality and self-nature. Today, people can feel free to decide exactly how they’d like to take a spiritual journey; they can determine if it needs guides and destination assistance or if wandering is a better plan.
There is distinction between the pilgrimage and the quest, though both are journeys. In the pilgrimage, people make their way to a specific location, like Canterbury in The Canterbury Tales , but in a quest, greater understanding of the spirit is sought with no specific destination in mind. In other words, the destination is the spiritual instead of the physical. Those with few means who are interested in a spiritual journey can certainly be on a spiritual quest or use their more limited resources to find spirituality in the self and in the connection with locations close by.
A spiritual journey that fills the heart could take place at the church a person has attended for years. People might find what they seek in wind rippling the tall grass of an open meadow. The journey might be found in a child’s embrace, volunteer work at a homeless shelter, or in the dulcet sounds of a favorite musician’s guitar. Ultimately, people can look for spirit in the remotest locations and never find it, or they may realize the spiritual journey exists down numerous paths.