‘Why’ is the name of a small town in Arizona that I passed through today. It reminded me of a series of questions that I was asked when passing through US customs at Dublin airport a couple of weeks ago – Why (are you travelling to the US)? Answer: I’m on a tour offering meditation/pilgrimage. Question: “Why?” I can’t remember my answer of this point, except to point out that I would not be earning money. “Why?” the immigration officer continued at least a third time.
The officer’s probing then ended, as he was presumably satisfied that my purpose was not a cause for security or other worries, and he duly added a stamp to my passport.
Continued probing using a “Why?” question is a well-known technique in coaching and counselling to get to the root of a person’s motivation. It’s not an unreasonable approach for an immigration officer to take to, I would imagine.
However, to be on the receiving end can at times feel uncomfortable. Such probing causes you to dig deep and question your own motives, bringing to the surface things that might not be obvious. It can, not to be too dramatic, feel raw and soul baring.
Where my journey is concerned, I only know a part of the answer to why I’m doing this. A little has been revealed as I have continued my journey, and ultimately I like to think that my purpose is simply that I feel led to do this, gently testing this out with The Divine before committing to my jaunts across the Atlantic. Still, the greater purpose remains unknown to me.
Quite how the immigration officer may have responded had I replied in terms of”I just feel this is right,” or” I feel led by God,” or similar, I cannot say. But fortunately, that level of probing wasn’t necessary this time.