Coming to Vila Franca de Xira

We walk along a bicycle and pedestrian path along the River Tagus. We pass beside a cemetery and bull ring. Bull fighting in Portugal differs from that in Spain in that the bull is not killed. Men on horses have a more important role than in Spain. There is also a kind of dangerous gymnastic feat by men on foot. One man grabs the charging bull’s horns and lifts himself up between them while other men attempt to control the bull with their bare hands. Then they withdraw and the man holding the bull’s tail must withdraw safely, something that is not easy to do! The bull attempts to gore these men with its horns!

There are many things to think about.  Our minds are active. We are walking among people strolling on the walkway. We are looking at the bull ring and thinking about the ritual that takes place in which humans grab the bull by the horns, a metaphor for dealing with their problems. The cemetery reminds us that all bulls and men will experience the end of life, in Portugal, Spain, and all other places.

Lao tsu gives guidelines for the spiritual path, a method for coming to terms with this.

“Practice non-doing,

and everything will fall into place.”

Meditation is a pathway to understanding this. It is an exercise in non-doing. The activity of the mind prevents understanding.

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