In Barcelos, we got a room that looked over the plaza next to the Templo do Bom Jesus. On Sunday, there was a kind of festival and students from the University of Coimbra gave a street performance. Their college is highly prestigious and they wear special academic attire (their “gowns” were folded on the ground).
The audience sang along during some songs…..one man even danced! We went to the Castle of Barcelos, the residence of long-ago nobility and looked down at the river we had crossed.
I capture a moment….the church bell rings as I walk toward the fountain by the Templo do Bom Jesus. I read that scientists now believe that water, the foundation of all life, existed even before the creation of the universe.
Lao tsu writes (chapter 22):
“The master, by residing in the Tao,
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn’t display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn’t know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goal in mind,
everything he does succeeds.
When the ancient masters said,
‘If you want to be given everything
give everything up,’
they weren’t using empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself.”
Lao tsu was walking to Tibet. We are walking to Santiago de Campostla. How can we be anything except ourselves? What does it mean “to be lived by the Tao”?
In Portugal, they have a style of music, called Fado which involves nostalgia for something lost, memories of better times. But we are continually walking on, living one day at a time. We don’t want much and we have to carry what we have on our backs. Our possessions slow us down. The Tao doesn’t weight anything. It can’t be lost. Lao tsu says, “You can’t perceive it but you can be it.”
Look into the water and let your mind be clear.