Recently we were part of a pilgrimage with fifty other devotees who traveled to Italy to enjoy her history, art, and, especially, her inspiration. Everywhere we went there were also thousands of tourists enjoying the cultural richness. But as I observed the other groups, I became aware that somehow we were different from them.


The others moved hurriedly through the museums, the historical sites, and even the sacred places without seeming to make much of a connection with anything they saw. Our group, by contrast, tried to pause, find a place of inner silence, and feel the inspiration. We tried to be, as Swami Kriyananda suggested, “spiritual archaeologists,” digging deep to find the treasures hidden beneath the surface.EricaL'eremo

The “hurried tourist” mentality was epitomized for me a few years ago when we were with a small group of people in the Vatican Museum in Rome. The place was packed with people trying to push their way forward through the throng, and at a certain point, we heard a loud thud and saw a lot of commotion.

Our tour guide said, “Oh, it’s just one of those ‘See Europe in Seven Days’ tours. Their schedule is so packed that they barely have time to sleep or eat. One of them is always fainting.”

What is the point of visiting inspiring places in such a way? But more important to us: What is the point of living our lives in such a way?

Most of us are like tourists barely taking the time to appreciate what we find each day. Then life draws to a close, and we ask ourselves, “What have I really learned from my experiences?”

After our pilgrimage ended, I decided to continue living as a pilgrim, trying to appreciate the presence of God all around me.

J&DItaly-2You, too, can do this in your daily life: When you awaken in the morning, you can think, “I am emerging from God’s omnipresence. Let me remain in His joy.” As you go to meditate, think, “Now I am entering the inner temple of God communion. Let this time be sacred.” When you go to work, think, “Now I have the chance to see God in all and do divine service to help others.” And when withdrawing into sleep at night, think, “Thank you, Lord, for giving me this beautiful day to dwell in your Presence. I give all my experiences back to you and rest in your freedom.”

May your daily pilgrimage be filled with expanding wonder and joy.

With love,
Nayaswami Devi


  1. This is so inspiring. I look forward to taking this pilgrimage with Hriman and Padma next year. I consider myself a pilgrim, and do enjoy this pilgrimage through life and savor God’s Grace every step of the way.

  2. The blog is always inspiring . Moreover I have noticed this connection, almost everytime it has an answer to something I am looking for that very day. Thank you for sharing .

  3. Thank you for the beautiful analogy. A great deal of my life has been lived as though I were on one of those “7 day tours.” Gratefully through meditation and especially Kriyas, I am at least becoming aware and able to choose to savor much more in the moment.

  4. This letter was a sweet way to start the day. Gracias, Devi, y ‘vaya con Dios’.

  5. Thank you for these lovely thoughts and guidance on this inner pilgrimage we are all taking through this lifetime. I have had two pilgrimages to Italy and have been blessed on each one! Not to be missed!

    1. Thank you, Devi. I love those words, ” Now I am entering God communion…” I’ll use this quote and think of others doing this along with us! Joy, vicotria

  6. This is so beautiful! Even not considering being a tourist, but just an every day person in the U,S. it seems we rush around, never stopping to really see the environment or the friends around us. So, missing much of life. May I always have time to share God’s world. In Master’s love, Marilyn

  7. Thanks, Devi, for this thoughtful piece. Especially touching to me for having been on the recent pilgrimage to Italy. It was such a delight travelling with Ananda. We did so much, saw so much, but we didn’t rush and we had time to meditate and to reflect, in some of the most inspiring places! One of the effects of pilgrimage that seems thankfully to be lingering is this more pilgrim-like orientation in my daily life. Your piece helped me recognize this, and helps to reinforce this wonderful way of being. Thank you, Namaste!

  8. Dear Devi,
    When I was on the plane returning from this pilgrimage I felt guidance in myself to do exactly as you have suggested. The thought in my mind was, “I can live every day as if I am on pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is an attitude. It never has to end.”
    Now weeks later, I still feel a very high level of upliftment and freedom. Life is sweeter.
    Thank you for these letters. They help keep my life in proper perspective.

  9. Having longed for travel, for pilgrimage, but as of yet not being able to experience all of the possibilities for growth, transformation, & inspiration that such a journey promises, this piece is particularly poignant for me. Thank you so much for reminding us that we travel daily & that it is how we travel & our inner direction that matter most. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

  10. Thank you Devi, for the reminder that mindfulness is so very important–for it helps us to unite mind and body…so often our mind is off doing one thing, and our body another….

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Traveling on an Ananda Pilgrimage there are constant reminders we are on pilgrimage– travel delays or other obstacles, but always starting each step with a prayer. Life is a pilgrimage, and to be constantly reminded by emails and online Ananda community postings is a deep blessing
    Thine Own Self

  12. Dear One, thank you for the reminder of our pilgrimages to Italy in ’99 & 2000 for the Oratorio Tour.
    I remember Rome, the Vatican. Everyone was rushing about and I had to take a moment, remove myself from the crowd and sit. I asked “what is happening”. All the beauty and upliftment I had experienced seeing the Pieta and the Cistine? Chapel ceiling. What was the rush? God IS here. Enjoy, be still and know…Namaste

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