Our journey into our souls is often intensified when we leave home or home leaves us. This soulful journey is a spiritual pilgrimage. It is a time when our senses are heightened and we are more conscious of the life we are living than we are many ordinary days of our lives.

When we leave home and enter strange and unknown lands, we become conscious of how strange everything and everyone is.  At home we see more people we know. On a journey away from home, we find our days filled with more people we don't know.  The people in the bus next to us, the people in the restaurant where we eat, the person who checks our passport, the cab driver who takes us to our hotel. These are people who live life in a different world.

But, when we are in unfamiliar places, we often also find strangers within. We discover impulses and desires that might not be noticed when we are in our familiar pattern of daily life. When we break the pattern of work and home, of routine and ritual, we glimpse other parts of ourselves. 

Strangers, without or within, can be insightful companions in our pilgrimage of soulful discovery. They see us differently than do those familiar with us. They do not need us to be what our family needs us to be. In seeing us with new eyes, they reflect newness back to us. We see ourselves with new eyes as we are reflected in the eyes of strangers.

This is why the Jewish/Christian faith has a strong directive to welcome strangers. We welcome them first because others have welcomed us when we were strangers. It is the hospitable thing to do. But, it is also good for our discovering our deeper selves.  Strangers give us eyes to see ourselves differently and maybe more completely. A spiritual pilgrimage opens us up to our fuller selves and gives us a broader perception of our rich and complex personalities.

Be open to the strangers you meet. The world could be a better place when we show hospitality. But, we could also gain deeper insights to ourselves as well.