Today I tackle another room filled with books. 

The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau falls open.  

In perusing the book, I resonate and recognize this journey through this room’s accumulation is my current pilgrimage. I enter into the sacred territory of books I’ve chosen to accompany me and now release.  

From the book:

Freya Stark in her book on Alexander the Great: “A good traveler does not, I think, much mind the uninteresting places. He is there to be inside them, as a thread is inside the necklace it strings. The world, with unknown and unexpected variety, is a part of his own Leisure, and this living participation is, I think, what separates the traveler and the tourist, who remains separate, as if he were at a theatre, and not himself a part of whatever the show may be.

Cousineau quotes from Rene Daumal’s parable Mount Analogue on the return from the journey.  We return determined to remember to live with redoubled courage.

In the process of putting so much pressure on language, thought ceases to be satisfied with the support of words; it bursts away from them in order to seek its resolution elsewhere. This “elsewhere” should not be understood as a transcendent realm, a mysterious metaphysical domain.

This “elsewhere” is “here” in the immediacy of real life. It is from right here that our thoughts rise up, and it is here they they must come back. But after what travels!  Live first, then turn to philosophy, but in the third place, live again. Then man in Plato’s cave has to go out and contemplate the light of the sun, then, strengthened by this light, which he keeps in his memory, he has to return to the cave. Verbal philosophy is only a necessary stage in this voyage.

It’s healing when we integrate and share our journey, continuously share, with ourselves and others. I want to live as a thread inside the necklace I string.

Man on pilgrimage inside an oak he prunes


With each book I hold I am in awe, with awe, am awe.  It’s not just the words, but the font, the cover, the arrangement – each book a miracle, a collaboration.  Might I receive each book as it passes through hands and mind as Jacques Lusseyran received the light? 

Blinded when he was eight, he later wrote his memoir, And There Was Light. He writes:

“I began to look more closely not at things but at a world closer to myself, looking from an inner place to one further within, instead of clinging to the movement of sight toward the world outside.” 

“I was not light itself. I knew that, but I bathed in it as an element which blindness had suddenly brought much closer. I could feel light rising, spreading, resting on objects, giving them form, then leaving them.”

Guided, I reach for Thich Nhat Hanh: With each step the earth heals us – ah, I first typed heart – earth and heart – and with each step we heal the earth.

“Breathe in and think I am solid, breathe out and think I am free.”

Each plant and animal, a niche