Adam Schomer is a director & producer whose 2012 film, “The Highest Pass“, appeared at Wanderlust Festivals across the US and Canada. His recent release “Road to Dharma” is a highly-acclaimed docuseries spurring cultural change. Episodes one and two of the docuseries are available to view free, and linked at the bottom of this piece penned by the fimmaker himself.
For me, an adventure and spirit-driven documentary film/tv maker, pilgrimage sometimes takes on very extreme stakes, like motorcycling on Himalayan cliffs through monsoon rains, high-altitude hiking, or meditating with masters at sacred Indian sites of freedom. But what I’ve learned is that pilgrimage, no matter where or when, has certain distinct qualities to it. And whether we like it or not, this Covid19 pandemic has really sent us all on a pilgrimage. Furthermore, if we realize it is a pilgrimage, then our approach to this time could be the most powerful journey yet.
So, the four reasons below not only lay out these qualities of a pilgrimage, but also show us how to shift our attitude now so make the most of it. As we say in my recent pilgrimage and DocuSeries, The Road to Dharma:
“You are greater than any idea you have of yourself.”
1. Popping the bubble of your “World View”
Let’s accept that we all carry a certain perception and lens by which we see things. And we all live in the normalcy of our daily “bubble.” Pilgrimage is meant to pop the bubble and expand how we see the world. In order to grow, our small worldview has to give way. What’s that mean? Who we have been and how we’ve been living will not really make sense anymore. It means we cannot remain as we were. This is a good thing! This is how we know that growth is happening. We talk about it in the series, using the term “QUANTUM LEAP” because evolution is not a linear thing; Nature takes big leaps. So this covid19 has forced us into a huge leap, it has popped our normal bubble, and surely will change how we see the world.
2. Stories will rise up to hold us back
Wanting things to be how they used to be or craving the “old normal” is a sign that the stories we have are creeping in… These are the stories of who we are or how life is meant to feel or be. And these stories are trying to hold us back. We’ve initiated a Leap, a pop of the bubble, but now that we are 100 days into a pilgrimage or C19, we resist the change. We’re all familiar with the word “Triggered” right? When we are in this triggered state, which many are during this crisis, then we look to the circumstances and use the circumstances to justify the triggers. We create a story to justify our resistance to the circumstances too. One woman on the Road to Dharma was up at 12,000 ft in small town where it was dark, it was cold, nobody around, full moon and she used that to justify this feeling of “lost. all alone. Scared.” Whereas someone else saw it as beautiful. Trust me, she was not lost, that was a story. So pilgrimage will bring up the old stories, but we must rise to meet them.
3.Challenges – We will be tested.
“Challenges reveal who you really are” says our Himalayan guide in The Road to Dharma. If we see a challenging moment as having the potential to reveal our best, to unlock a deeper faith or power than we knew we had… then challenges become something we want to encourage. As we have challenges in C19, we will no doubt be faced with the cravings and aversions. I want life back. I don’t want to have to stay in. I’m bored. I’m unsure about my next paycheck. When we stay with the challenge instead of running from it, we grow. You see, normally we have a lot of escape routes which help us avoid having to deal. On a moto journey you don’t have many. You focus or you die. You rise up beyond your petty preferences or you stay angry the whole trip. Its that simple. And perhaps now, amid C19, we are all realizing that we are more resilient than we thought, more able to rise above cravings.
We ultimately must come to a place where we take responsibility for our perception of the circumstances. We cannot control the circumstances as we know, but our reaction and perception of it, we can. Yet, this responsibility is often something we are afraid to take. We in some ways fear our own power. We fear that there is no one to blame now. We fear stepping into responsibility as if it’s a burden, but it’s not. It’s simply the ability to respond. When you are not caught in your story or craving and can simply respond appropriately. True freedom doesn’t mean more choice as we have been taught. Freedom actually comes with responsibility. The freer from stories, from small world views and from petty cravings, the more able you are to rise up and be “Greater than any idea you’ve had of yourself.”
A pilgrimage can set you free. Why not approach this time and these challenges as a pilgrimage and truly unlock your freedom and total potential?
Adam Schomer (i2i Productions) is known for going to extreme lengths to follow stories that empower us. Feature documentaries include THE HIGHEST PASS (2012), THE POLYGON (2014), ONE LITTLE PILL (2015). WOMEN OF THE WHITE BUFFALO (2020) and the #1 iTunes Best-Seller and NETFLIX hit, HEAL (2017). Adam created and directed the stunning DocuSeries, THE ROAD TO DHARMA (2020) and its companion online course for Living a Life of Freedom. In addition to film, he’s a certified Master Sattva Yoga Teacher, has been leading meditations for over 10 years, and his mission is to Unite Through Wisdom and Entertainment: www.Livingi2i.