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Hildegardisweg: Contemplative Path

The official title of the recently (2018) opened Hildegardis Trail is «Hildegard von Bingen Pilgerwanderweg» (Pilgrims' Way of Hildegard von Bingen). With a total length of 137 km (85 miles), it leads from the town of Idar-Oberstein to the town of Bingen at the mouth of the Nahe river into the Rhine, in close vicinity of the two monasteries Rupertsberg and Eibingen. The trail is laid out around its natural center of Bad Sobernheim and the Disibodenberg hill, where Hildegard von Bingen lived during the first 50 years of her life. The Hildegardis Trail offers a wide variety of different experiences. Dr. Annette Esser, one of the initiators of the trail, summarized this as follows: people using the trail with a spiritual goal in mind may enjoy the athletic aspects as well, while others coming with sporting ambitions may also experience the trail's spiritual aspects. However, common to all the different ways of enjoying the Hildegardis Trail are unforgettable memories of the unique cultural heritage found almost everywhere in the Nahe Valley.

Getting to Know Yourself Better

What is this all about? Many of us did not learn anymore that "true" life necessarily includes ups and downs that may switch between each other from time to time. By nature, we possess all the means to successfully copy with the varying demands of the daily grind. However, current lifestyles (i.e., "awareness of life") are dominated by comfortably consuming almost everything, while taking this for granted: a fulfilling life, uninterrupted entertainment, frequent vacations, constant health, everlasting good fortune —and sports, of course, without being physically active. The drawbacks: chronic stress on workplace, overweight, increased risk of psychosomatic disturbances, emptyness, social isolation, excessive alcohol consumption, illegal drugs.

Several scientific studies with more than 2,500 students from 6 different countries in Europe, the U.S., and Southamerika have recently revealed that 15% of young people exhibit insufficient coping behavior under chronic stress, thus being exposed to a significantly increased risk for physical illnesses and psychiatric disorders. Yet these studies have also demonstrated that regular excercises, riding a bicycle on a habitual basis, or going for a 30-min walk several days a week, can achieve true "miracles" of change [Prof. Dr. Hans H. Stassen, author of numerous scientific publications in this field].

Key points are: get some distance, come to a rest, observe your environment consciously with all its facets. The term «contemplative» encompasses exactly these aspects. And where else could this better be realized than during a several-day hike along the Hildegardis Trail with its many and various places of peace, reflection, and fascinating outlooks. A perfect oportunity to learn more about the complex interplay between body and mind.

vSpacer Lucca Codex (Liber Divinorum Operum: 1163-1170)

The picture is taken from the «Lucca Codex» (Liber Divinorum Operum), which Hildegard von Bingen wrote in the years 1163-1170 and which was illustrated in the monastery Rupertsberg with full-page plates. We see Hildegard with an open book in her hand, from which she quotes to an audience. The «Lucca Codex» is held by the Library of State in Lucca/Tuscany (Italy).

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