Leaving Santarem for Vale de Figueira

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We walked from Santarem to Vale de Figuera and planned to return  to Santarem by train. This would allow us to take the train to where we finished the day’s hike and do only 12 miles the next day. We met other pilgrims and saw some who had missed the way markers and had gone off the Way. The people in Vale de Figueirs were helpful and called out to people when they were going the wrong way. They must have seen many people miss the way signs. We struggled to find the train station in Vale de Figuera and while we searched, people were concerned because they thought we had missed a way sign and were searching for the way. My pronunciations of the Portuguese words for train station were not adequate but we finally found the station and returned to Santarem. It is hard for people who speak different languages to understand each other. It is sometimes hard for people from different cultures to get along.

In the Santarem train station, we saw tiles pertaining to Santarem. King Afonso’s men were scaling the walls of the castle fort.  This resulted in a great victory over the Moors and Afonso become the first king of Portugal. There were other tiles from Santarem, pertaining to the struggle between Muslims and Christians.

This story is mainly about signs. It is a metaphor. People struggle to find the right way to go and it is the same with the Inner Way. The guide books are not always clear and sometimes you need the advice of others. Yet only you can follow your Inner Way.

I hope that no one attacks my Muslim friends. I hope that Christians and Muslims can learn how to live with each other.

Lao tsu (Chapter 5) says: “The Tao doesn’t take sides. It gives birth to both good and evil. The master doesn’t take sides; She welcomes both saints and sinners.” It is not always easy to follow the Way. The way markers are not always clear.

Lao tsu warns us about following the Great Men. The human capacity to follow leads to the creation of armies and the continuation of war. Don’t make the mistake of getting involved in this. Here is what I say to you: beware of Great Men. Do not seek to follow the wise men of old. Seek what they sought. Follow the Inner Way.

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