The Camino Cafe

John Brierley - Ch 1 - "The Camino: A Path of Awakening" - The Docuseries

July 17, 2023 Leigh Brennan
The Camino Cafe
John Brierley - Ch 1 - "The Camino: A Path of Awakening" - The Docuseries
Show Notes

YouTube Version

It was in John’s last wishes that Leigh Brennan and Patti Silva document the most important pieces of wisdom he gained from walking the Camino paths for over a quarter of a century. This project grew into this docuseries of several short but poignant video messages for Pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago. 

This is the first chapter of the multipart series. John stated the driving thought behind the title of this chapter by saying,  “The Camino as a Path of Awakening: This is, perhaps, the easiest to grasp because it pre-supposes we are asleep. Every mystical tradition has Awakening as a core theme of spiritual development and no more so than in Christianity. The Bible tells us that, ‘A great sleep came across Adam’, and nowhere in the bible is there any reference to Adam waking up! We, collectively, are Adam and we remain asleep but now urgently need to awaken to a new consciousness. The Camino can offer us a path into transformation”.

About John Brierley:
John Brierley spent his early life in Dublin where he qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and set up practice as Brierley & Co in 1971 later merging with Jackson-Stops. An existential crisis took him and his family to Findhorn in Scotland in 1987 as part of a mid-career break. This was to prove a pivotal time in his life with a reordering of priorities towards a spiritual perspective.
In 1996 he convened the international conference ‘Business for Life’ where the core issue was identified as the crisis of the human spirit and the search for meaning in life. The idea of Business sabbaticals as an antidote to burn out and pilgrimage as a way to reappraise life's purpose became his abiding passion. In 2000 he walked up through Western Nepal into Tibet to complete the renowned Mount Kailash pilgrimage sacred to Buddhism, Hinduism and esotoric Christianity.
t of a celestial alarm clock.

10 years of quiet desperation led to a turning point, that opportunity that comes to each of us at some pivotal stage in our life and offers us a time to re-assess our direction. The classic existential mid-life crisis that can lead to breakdown and breakthrough. For me it started in January 1986 with an alarmingly persistent wake-up call. Looking back I laugh at the idea of my spiritual guides working overtime to wake me up. The dream needed very little interpretation but I was so blind that I still could not read its message. I had this dream, off and on, for a whole year before its significance began to dawn on me. I really thought I was going mad during that period and of course, in conventional terms, I was. The turning upside down of consensus reality is frequently misunderstood as some psychotic episode whereas, within the bigger picture, it is simply spiritual emergence and the opening to knowledge of higher worlds. I slowly became aware of a spiritual reality behind the sense-perceptible world.

At the end of that year I realised that something profound was trying to happen and it gave me enough courage to claim a mid-career break. I was 39 and Ireland was in recession so my business partners needed little persuading, my wife and children needed none. She had spent her earlier years in an Ashram and couldn't wait to break away from the mindless social and business circles. The children had suffered a few years of the state curriculum and where likewise ready to experience something more liberating. So a gap suddenly appeared with this amazing potential for change and growth - I was off the treadmill for a year!

We headed away in a camper van to ‘travel the world’ and during that year, 1987, I stumbled onto the Camino de Santiago for the first time and felt its welcoming embrace. The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland was the next stop along the Way and it was there I realised that i