Preparation for Pilgrimage
Create your own pilgrimage adventure! Increasing numbers of seekers are taking off on pilgrimage to quench a spiritual thirst. That is why James and Colleen Heater from Nevada City, California wrote The Pilgrim’s France and The Pilgrim’s Italy, as an answer to their own quest when searching for sacred sites in these two delightful countries. They have learned much from their travels and want to share the following tips with those souls seeking more meaningful travel experiences.
Don’t bite off more than you can meditate on
Plan your itinerary to include rest and relaxation. You will receive the inspiration you are seeking if you choose fewer destinations and spend more time in each one.
Practice before you go
If you find it difficult to sit quietly and meditate at home, it will be more difficult in a noisy, crowded shrine. It would be helpful to practice sitting quietly for five minutes each day and build from there.
Read about the sacred sites and saints
Read about the saints and meditate on them, so you can tune into their individual vibrations. When you reach the shrines, you will more readily feel their presence and receive their blessings.
Find quiet areas for meditation and prayer
Almost every large shrine has a side chapel for silence and prayer. Be inquisitive—ask and look around. Sometimes there is a garden courtyard or small chapel in an out-of-the-way place.
Locate lodging in monasteries and convents
It not only makes economic sense to stay in religious housing, but you will be cultivating an environment in which to spiritually spread your wings. Although you may not have the amenities of higher priced hotels, you will find the uplifting ambience you are looking for.
Five Steps for Meditating with the Saints
By James and Colleen Heater
Create your own pilgrimage adventure! Increasing numbers of seekers are taking off on pilgrimage to quench a spiritual thirst. That is why James and Colleen Heater from Nevada City, California wrote The Pilgrim’s France and The Pilgrim’s Italy, as an answer to their own quest when searching for sacred sites in these two delightful countries. They have learned much from their travels and want to share the following steps with those souls planning a pilgrimage to meditate with the saints.
In order to meditate, the body must be relaxed. If you find it difficult to unwind, do some yoga stretches that involve deep breathing and slow, conscious movements. Then sit in an upright position, close your eyes and mentally let go of each body part, slowly, one by one.
Begin to be aware of your breathing by focusing on your breath going in and out of the lungs. Mentally follow the breath from the nostrils into the lungs, and then follow the breath out again. As you continue to watch the breath, you will begin to notice that you are becoming more peaceful and relaxed.
Open your heart
After you are relaxed and focused, visualize your heart open and loving, like when you see a puppy or a smiling baby. Imagine this love expanding out in concentric circles beyond your body to include first your loved ones, then your community, and eventually the world.
Feel the saints’ presence
When you feel openhearted and peaceful it is a good time to pray to the saints, asking to feel their presence. Visualize the saint’s face or eyes and feel their grace flooding your consciousness and your whole being. Sit quietly and absorb their blessings.
Practice before you go on pilgrimage
Start meditating at home for short periods of time (five to ten minutes), and then lengthen the time as your body becomes accustomed to sitting quietly. Actively invoke the presence of the saints and you will soon tune into their blessings, even before you begin your pilgrimage.
The Heater’s pilgrim travel guides provide vital information for visiting powerful pilgrimage sites in Italy and France, meditating on the lives of the saints, and experiencing their blessings. With up-to-date resources for lodging in monasteries and convents, you will have all that you need to prepare for a bliss-filled pilgrimage.
By James and Colleen Heater
The Pilgrim's Italy
ISBN 0-9719860-2-2 second edition
The Pilgrim’s Italy: A Travel Guide to the Saints
ISBN 0-9719860-2-2 Price: $19.95