Happiness always waits for us on any pilgrimage!
Happiness holds its bribes for us in millions of ways! And one way easily available at all times is to go on a pilgrimage says Michael Norton in his book 365 Ways to Change the World!
The better side of every religion (when it is not about one religion battering and crushing another!) is the peace it arranges ready for us inside mosques, temples, gardens, parks, churches, animal shelters and many more!
But you can also make a virtual pilgrimage without leaving your house! Choose to visit one of these ‘heroes’ says Norton. Nelson Mandela on www.freedom.co.za or Gandhi’s virtual ashram www.nuvs.com/ashram or Karl Marx in Highgate www.redrocks.net/travel/london/image23.html
Well I have been enchanted by many churches in India and London and Florida and stained glass windows always take me very near heaven! I even visited Highgate cemetery and was pleased to find a young woman gifting a bowl of fresh red roses to the tomb of Karl Marx! But to be frank, though I was glad to see a lovely statue of Karl Marx I was more overwhelmed by the beautiful black cat who came to greet me in Highgate village. She had absolutely nothing important fixed for that day, was free and totally willing to pose endlessly for my Nikon 83 into zoom! She showed me how we can spend an entire day with the sun and not lose anything while its bright, sunny light washes away all our wrinkles and woes like a magic cleaner!
The other day I had to visit the most crowded terrifying tangle of traffic and people in Bangalore to collect my repaired camera charger. It took almost half an hour to cross the malignant snaky pounding mess of cars, auto rickshaws, cycles, buses, vans and people, to reach the shop. But when I came out finally I found the most enchanting temple around the corner. It is more than 500 years old and is neatly, exquisitely designed. More important, the priests inside did not pounce on me to warn me not to photograph anything or they would crush the camera! This happened in all the temples in Delhi and was very unnerving. Here I was allowed to use my Nikon copiously, and was given Prasad and holy water and came out refreshed! This was one pilgrimage that turned a nightmarish travel into gentle, cultured joy that crept into the heart like balm!
If you want to travel out of the country there are many sacred places to choose in India, and everywhere else. It could be Hiroshima, Woodstock, Selma Alabama where Martin Luther King once stood! The sky is the limit! But all too often I just want to settle down before the calming adorable safety of a family of ducks and let them sort out all the clutter in my soul, with their magic!