Continuing or enduring forever, everlasting.

Continuing without interruption, ceaseless.

Blooming almost continuously throughout the season or year.

The last definition of perpetual is definitely my favorite.   I love the idea of blooming continuously.  I don’t think flowers ever get tired of blooming.   They need to have dormant times in the winter to rest and store up for the next blooming season but that doesn’t mean they aren’t perpetually being themselves.

Being a pilgrim on the spiritual path also must have this same “perpetualness.”  There may be times of rest and dormancy but the pilgrim is always at heart a pilgrim.   Spiritual life must be always tended, perpetually renewed or the heart will wither.

A rose bush never declares itself finished.   It never says “I’ve done all the blooming I need to do, I’m good now, I think I will stop here”.  There is always a new branch sprouting, new leaves growing and flowers blooming, otherwise it runs the risk of the gardener digging it out or the flower lover overlooking it.    The same way the pilgrim can never declare “I’ve arrived”.   There are places to explore in each new land.  There are vistas yet beyond that.   New interior layers to uncover and constant changes in our world to push you forward.

Several years ago I read and reread a book that has been very helpful.   Halfway Up the Mountain: The Error of Premature Claims of Enlightenment by Mariana Caplan.  It describes the pitfalls on the path, and there are many.   When a seeker claims “I have arrived at the top of the Mountain” they will be surprised to see there is yet another range to be climbed.    So I am a perpetual pilgrim for as long as I’m alive.   If I’m still breathing then I need to keep blooming.


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