While contemplating on many available words for “j” for the project and on things currently on my mind and path, the “Journey” of our spiritual life comes to mind. Interestingly, while riding a bike in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and thinking about it, the tune for the song, Don’t Stop Believin’ by the band Journey came to mind. I thought why not. The song was originally released in 1981 and was very successful in US, Canada, UK and European charts. In the last couple years, it had resurgence on charts in Europe and is a very popular download from iTunes according to Wikipedia (accessed June 5, 2012).
I’m not sure what song composers Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Neal Schon meant for the song, but for me, it is a song that evokes a journey. When this came out in ’81, I was in high school and at a crossroads in life. As most teens are, their life is transitioning from childhood to adulthood and trying to make sense of life, the world, and the spiritual realm.
When looking at the song in its different components, it is interesting how the music itself evokes a journey of discovery. The music begins with a tune of contemplation or confusion while the story opens with a small town girl and a big city boy boarding a train to anywhere. Much like our journeys in life, we leave what is comfortable and familiar for the unknown, often not really sure what we will find. This can be started by many things: life transition (such as from child to adult hood), breakups, death, changes in jobs or living situations etc. But something urges us to board that train.
The journey continues with trying to find our place by learning, meeting people, finding the spiritual path that resonates, etc. As the song enters an up-tempo beat so too can this be an exciting time in our lives. Having new experiences and people to share them with is a marvelous aspect of our mortal existence and one that, in this age, we can experience in many different ways.
But even though we go through times of contemplation and change, deep down we have the basics to our being and we should remember the chorus of the song to “Don’t stop believin’/ hold on to that feeling”. I think that even when we are learning our spiritual paths and making journeys, we have a core connection to the web of the universe that we can tap into for our strength, comfort, and guidance when we need it most.
Recently a friend has expressed that his path had felt lost and aimless. He said that he felt his Pagan faith had let him down in some ways and he wasn’t sure how to get balance or control back to that part of his life. My though was “Don’t stop believin’”. Deep down we have what we need and the Kindred are there to support and encourage us. Sometimes we place too much on the external things such as the activities of our faith (rituals, study, groups etc) and we can expect too much. We forget that what we have comes from within through the journey of the inner realms and we can lose sight.
The inner journey is really one we must make ourselves. Our religious practices, friends, and other external sources are what we have to keep sight and guide us like reference points and beacons, but they cannot do the work for us. Our journey will always have trials, that makes us human and makes us stronger. Staying close to the Kindred, people and our faith will help us to not feel alone. When we are part of a community, we strengthen and help each other. If we pull away to do it alone, we make ourselves vulnerable and weaken the whole. When the Journey does get rough, stay in sight of your support – Don’t Stop Believin’!
This blog post comes late after a brief hiatus due to travel. However, it was written during the mid month of May 2012.